The funny thing is that most of my frugality comes from the fact that I really just don’t want to walk to the store.

In turn, I end up saving a lot of money with these easy tips – like how to stretch that list bit of dish soap you have and/or make your own entirely!

There are a lot of different “recipes” for this out there – and I shouldn’t even call them recipes – more like “combinations”.

Bottom line, is you just want to make sure you are killing the germs.

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Here’s what I use:

  • Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Pure Castile Soap
  • Baking Soda
  • White Vinegar
  • Left over Dish Soap

 

Mix the Baking Soda and Castile Soap until you get a Paste Like substance

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Add in about 1/4 cup of water, or enough water to get to the consistency of “dish soap” (If you make it too watery, just add more baking soda)

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Add in 1 cap full of the white vinegar. The mixture will bubble and that is good!

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Use a funnel to transfer the soap into the container. (If you don’t have a funnel, you can just drop the ingredients right in the container and then shake it)

 

And voila! You have dish soap!!

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Let’s be honest. All the blogs and videos out there show these AMAZING before and after pictures. The dirtiest, grimiest pan, now sparkling clean! And all of the forums I visited, everyone would say “Oh just put “this” on there – oh put “that” on there – it’ll come right off!” While that may be true for grease, if you have an old rental like mine that has years and years of burns on the surfaces, AND if you cook as much as I do, then let me give you the benefit of a disclaimer: Your Stove Will Not be Perfect (at least not right away). The goal of this blog is to teach you how to CLEAN your stove/oven. This will get 99% of the gunk off. For severe burns, that’s another story, and for my situation where part of the stove is literally worn off – you just have to deal. BUT, like I said, this will help you get it CLEAN.

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As you know, this blog is about yuppie problems. Eating well, saving money, and overall advice for those of us attempting to live a healthy life in an urban area while working 10-12 hours Monday through Friday. As most of you probably also know, rentals in urban areas are often out of date and many of them have these older style electric stoves. So, if you, too, have been putting off cleaning that old electric stove – or if you’ve tried and it just HASN’T WORKED – do not fear, and read on.

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Cleaning these old stoves is WAY easier than you would imagine. There is actually, literally, no excuse why we don’t clean them every single day. NO EXCUSES! IT’S SO EASY!

Step 1) Lift up your burner and pull. It is literally plugged into your stove (Get it? Electric? Haa haaaa).

Step 2) Pop out your drip pans and put them in your sink. Fill your sink with hot soapy water and let them soak for 20-30 minutes.

 

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Step 3) Pop open the hood of your stove, and prop it up with the wire stand underneath. A lot of people don’t know this, but many electric stove tops pop up just like the hood of a car! It will reveal a wonderful world of grease and grime, so I hope you’re excited.

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Step 4) Make your paste! I used Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide the first round of cleaning, and then I used Baking Soda and Distilled White Vinegar the second time. I don’t know if one worked better than the other, I personally think that either one would work.

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Step 5) Using a sponge (that you probably will want to throw away after this), spread the paste all over your stove surface and on the surfaces of the oven.

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You will see the mixture begin turning from pure white, to a brownish color as seen above- that is the grease lifting up to the surface!!

Step 6) After letting the baking soda sit for 30 – 60 minutes (In my case, I let it sit over night, and then the second time, I did it in the morning and had it sit all day), grab a dish scraper and begin scraping off the grease. Do this while scrubbing with some steel wool SOS pads as well (available everywhere)

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After scrubbing and scraping, it’s going to be pretty disgusting, so I put some water in a bowl and then rinsed the suds and grease off with the sponge. At that point it was pretty watery – so afterwards I dried it off with a microfiber cloth and some paper towels. (Disclaimer, the microfiber cloth got DISGUSTING and I would not use it again unless I had an outdoor space I could ring it out at. I also went through a whole package of paper towels. We were definitely in the big leagues here.

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At this point I would also like to point out that my nails were not chipped at all, and I had been scrubbing for hours and NOT wearing no chip. Just a side note of how awesome and perfect I am.

I repeated these steps on the drip pans as well. I soaked the drip pans, and then coated them with a baking soda/vinegar mix, and would scrub it with steel wool. I did that twice, letting them sit overnight/during the work day BOTH TIMES.

I have to say – the baking soda mixture did MAD WORK. I think if my pans/stove/oven weren’t so disgusting and such a level 10 code red, it would have been fine with one cleaning.

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I still have some rust on the drip pans that honestly just won’t come off – and it looks like my stove is actually peeling from years of wear and tear – but it is now shiny, and clean, and doesn’t smell when I cook! A major improvement, with a great all natural cleaning solution. Hope this post helps you be less intimidated to clean your stove and oven! :)

Happy Cleaning!

 

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Recently I read the book, “The Japanese Art of Tidying Up” in which Marie Kondo discusses her methodology for the best way to tidy your home, and live clutter free.

I decided to go against her rules somewhat, and start with my pantry (rather than clothes). I have lived here for about three years, and have NEVER even TOUCHED the pantry. Could you tell??

The first thing I did was remove everything from it. I mean – everything. I cleaned it out, threw away everything I didn’t use, and examined what I had left.

I decided I was going to follow the Mason Jar Method of organizing the pantry. I chose this because 1) It looks nice and 2) It seems functional and a great way to make sure I’m eating a balanced diet. I also cleaned out under the sink area, so under my kitchen sink can now be used to store large bulk quantities of Grains, Pasta, Flours, and Beans/Legumes. I can refill the jars, or simply buy more of something when it runs out.

I also splurged and bought a label maker, and I am SO GLAD I did! It really makes the pantry feel professional, and is also keeping me on track to keep the same items in the same jars (which ensures I keep a balanced diet). For example, I will always have a mason jar for beans, a mason jar for granola, a mason jar for almonds/peanuts, and for pasta, etc.

So here is a quick road map of what the finished product entails:

  • The top two baskets are for to go drinks. The first basket holds all of the K-cups I rarely use or have for guests (i.e., coffee since I cut out coffee this year!) and the second basket is filled with teas for work, emergen-c packets, and crystal light packets which I use for company.
  • The two French chefs were a Christmas present and I am SO excited they fit so perfectly in here! One is for flour, and one is for sugar, and extra supplements are in the center. However, I may take out the middle jars of supplements considering I NEVER take supplements!
  • The fourth shelf has a really great level shelf I found at target. It is perfect for my canned goods, honeys (is honeys a word?), Vanilla Extract, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Witch Hazel, and other odds/ends for baking and cooking.
  • The fifth shelf is likely to change drastically very soon as the more I look at it, the less I have a need for almost all of the items. On this I have Mason Jars of Coffee grounds (light and dark) which again, I’m not drinking coffee! I also have Marsh mellows left over from my Christmas party’s hot chocolate bar, and popcorn, of course. The popcorn will probably be the quickest to go!

On the bottom I have all of my cooking oils, a large bucket of peanuts that I use to make peanut butter for granola bars, and some other extra items that were too large for the shelves.

The whole idea of the KonMari method is to throw away anything that “doesn’t bring you joy”. I know it sounds dumb, but what she is really saying is “throw out everything you don’t use on a daily basis” or “will need at different points in life” haha – like Baking Powder!

Another reason I love the mason jar method is that it is a great money saver. This method allows me to buy items in bulk and store them under my sink, and simply refill the mason jars as needed. I always make sure to have brown rice, some other protein packed grain, nuts, flour, pasta, granola, rolled oats, peas, and beans on hand so this is a great way to keep me on track and cut my monthly grocery bill by having bulk storage.

So, let’s recap:

Step 1) Remove EVERYTHING from the pantry. Make sure you collect EVERY ONE of one item (if you have olive oil in your pantry but also in your cabinet, take out the olive oil from the cabinet! Everything should be laid out on your floor together by category. If you have a cleaning spray in your pantry – put it with the other cleaning sprays in the house! Take it out of there! OR, take all the cleaning sprays and put them in the pantry – everything should have a place!)

Step 2) Sweep and Clean the Shelves of Your Pantry and Line them with Clean Liners

Step 3) Group Food Items Together, and Discard/Donate any Old, Unused items (DON’T FEEL BAD)

Step 4) Remove EVERYTHING from the store bought packaging and transfer to your own storage methodology (i.e., mason jars or Tupperware bins, etc.)

Step 5) Develop a System that You Know You Can Follow. Discarding Unused Items Helps This Process!!

Step 6) Place Items Back in Space, and Make the Space Cute & Inviting so You’re Inspired to Keep it Nice!

Step 7) Label Your Storage Options to Promote Consistency in the Future

And Voila! It’s been about 2 weeks that I’ve lived with this Pantry, Cooking every single night and weekend, and it’s working out BEAUTIFULLY. I have also used this method on my kitchen cabinets, linen closet, bathroom medicine cabinet/storage, under my bathroom/kitchen sinks, on my “Junk Closet” which has now become designated spaces, and on my bedroom closet/dresser. So let me know which spaces’ makeover you want to see next and I’ll be sure to show you more!!!

Spring Cleaning has never been more Life Changing!!!

Well friends, it’s official. For the first time since I was….ten maybe? Just kidding. 18. I mean, 21 of course…. I have gone 4 full weeks with no alcohol or coffee.

I decided to focus this blog on alcohol, as alcohol is such a prevalent and expected part of society. In the past month I have given up alcohol and coffee. Reactions I get when I say I gave up coffee are usually along the lines of “good for you!” “that is awesome!” “you’re going to feel so great!”. Reactions I get if I start off saying I gave up alcohol are usually “are you serious?” “Why would you do that?” or simply….”Ha.”

Why the difference? Alcohol is actually 100x worse for you than coffee! Well, the difference is alcohol is a huge crutch in society. Coffee is an admitted addiction – but alcohol is not. Even one glass of alcohol at dinner can cause serious health effects such as lack of sleep, sinus congestion, digestive issues, acne/premature aging, and liver/blood issues. On top of that, we drink at the worst possible time for our bodies – before bed.

So in celebration of my 1 month detox coming to an end today, I am reflecting on this month by highlighting the 4 things that will happen when you cut out alcohol for even just 4 weeks.

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1) YOUR SKIN GLOWS AND YOUR SINUSES CLEAR UP

Your liver’s health is reflective in your skin. Alcohol is actually a poison – or – more commonly referred to a “toxin” (sounds better right?). We all know this, and we all know our liver is responsible for breaking it down. When your liver cannot break down the large amounts of alcohol, it has to be rid of your body in other ways. So, your body can rope in your skin for reinforcement. Side effect? Your skin looks dehydrated, old, and “flat” or not glowing, and break outs can even occur. You ever heard of why pregnant women “glow?” a big part of that might be because they aren’t drinking! Ditch that $30.00 face cream that promises you “glowing skin”. If you really want to see an improvement, you will, in 4 weeks of no alcohol.

Additionally, there are very large levels of histamine in alcoholic drinks (especially beer and wine) which directly attack your sinus cavities. We usually drink at night as a society, when sinuses naturally get worse anyway. Even one glass of wine at dinner is enough to dehydrate you, increase histamine levels, and keep you awake. The combination of not sleeping well, not being hydrated, and having increased levels of histamine leave you waking up with a head ache, stuffy nose, and wrinkled/dehydrated skin.

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2) YOU WAKE UP BEFORE YOUR ALARM

Did you know that one night of poor sleep takes your body roughly 10 days to recover from? You may think drinking a glass of wine or whiskey before bed can help you fall asleep (and you are in a sense correct…) but your quality of sleep is going to suffer. Drinking even one glass of alcohol puts your body in “overdrive” trying to break down the toxins in your body. Your cells basically freak out because they know the alcohol doesn’t belong there. This makes your body work 10x harder when you are “sleeping” (which probably won’t involve REM cycles because alcohol typically makes your body skip REM completely) which makes you either wake up around 2-3am unable to fall back asleep, or makes you feel very uncomfortable and unrested when you wake.

Ditching the alcohol brings your body and your brain back to a place of comfort and routine. You will begin to dream, and remember your dreams, and wake up at the same time every morning happy and energized – and fully rested.

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3) YOUR STRESS LEVEL GOES DOWN

When you are supplementing your body with toxins and stimulants and depressants, your body gets stressed out. You may feel stressed and blame it on your job, or your coworker, or your dumb boyfriend (who let’s admit it needs to grow a brain), when in reality your body is stressed by what’s been going into it. Taking out alcohol and coffee brings your body to a level playing field, and your brain is satisfied and isn’t over-working and over-stressed. When your brain can finally relax, so can you. Stressful situations seem manageable, and you can attack issues from a strategic, calm place vs. a place of haste, confusion, and anger.

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4) YOU SAVE A LOT OF MONEY

Wine bottles are expensive. So is a drink at a bar. So is getting a cup of coffee from your favorite breakfast place every morning every day of the week. I can’t even begin to tell you how much money I have saved this month. Should I buy a pony?? (Seriously, though).

So there you have it. I’m beginning to think this was the best thing I’ve ever done – regardless if the sinus infections come back or not.

 

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Earlier today I did something I have never done before. I instagrammed a picture of a bubble bath. Yes I have mold in the corner of the grout.

Why did I do this?

Because I was thinking about this all day. How do you de-stress? Yes, You?? Comment on this post and tell me how. Most people – I think – de stress in the following ways:

  • Going Out With Friends and Drinking
  • Watching Their Favorite Show while Eating Oreos or Chips and Dip and Drinking Wine
  • Going to the Gym and Lifting Small Children Large Weights for 3 hours Straight
  • Running on Concrete/Pavement For 3 hours Straight
  • Smoking Something and Listening to Bob Marley

I went to college, I know what you people do.

But the problem with this is – that these activities might actually be stressing out your body more and you don’t even realize it. Especially considering most of these activities could interfere with you getting a good nights rest.

Going Out With Friends and Drinking

You go out with friends and binge drink. This is fun for a couple hours, but you are leaving your body dehydrated, mal-nutritioned (Is that not a word?), and begging for relief.

Watching a Favorite Show While Eating Oreos or Chips and Dip and Drinking Wine

You watch your favorite show and binge eat, and now you’re full, hyped up on sugar, your immune system is being depleted, and in 3 days your skin will begin breaking out and you’ll wonder why. Not to mention, your brain is now over stimulated and you likely won’t get an adequate sleep. And if you do, you might wake up with indigestion. It had to be said.

Doing an Intense Work Out For an Elongated Amount of Time

You work out too hard – you stress your muscles and your body goes into overdrive trying to repair them, which can result in you getting sick, or feeling more tired than you need to. You run on concrete, which causes your joints to slowly deteriorate leading you to a knee surgery in 10 years. (Side note here: 10 minutes on a rebounder *mini trampoline* is equal to 30 minutes jogging. It’s GOOD for your joints, therapeutic, efficient, endorsed by NASA, and costs $29.99 on amazon)

And if you’re smoking and listening to Bob Marley, I don’t even have a comment for you. You do you.

Regardless, take a step back and think about if your “de-stressing” mechanism is doing you more harm than good. Ways to really de stress your body should include giving it all the nutrients and hydration it needs, while providing it the essential rest and relaxation it deserves after a long day.

People ask me what “I do” when I say I don’t like to go out on a Friday or Saturday night. What do I like to do? I’ll tell you right now. I like to Treat Myself and Recharge after a long, stressful week. Here are ways you, too, can de-stress the proper way:

  • Take a Bubble Bath
  • Cook a Nutritious Dinner and Serve with Fresh Pressed Juice
  • Read an Inspirational Book While Cuddled Up in Your Favorite Blanket Drinking Tea
  • Do a Craft, Relax your brain while working parts of it you don’t work during the day
  • Write in a Journal or a Blog and Reflect on your Life
  • Read the Bible
  • Pray to God
  • Get a Massage
  • Rebound on a Mini Trampoline (Google this; you’ll be surprised how much comes up!)
  • Go Tanning for 5 minutes maximum to get some Vitamin D in the winter
  • Sit in Nature and Listen to Music
  • Take a Walk around the Block and Meet New Neighbors
  • Go To the Dog Park and Maybe Someone Will Let you Play With Their Dog (I do this in the summer. Side note: Do not swap “Dog Park” with “Children’s Park” – not the same – you’ll get reported)
  • Go To a Museum
  • Talk to a Friend, Really Talk, Not Just “Drink Together” talk
  • Learn to Play an Instrument
  • Practice that Instrument
  • Learn a New Language
  • Research Your Ancestry

There are numerous things you can do to de-stress that don’t involve a) Putting toxins in your body or b) Putting your body under Physical Stress.

And that’s all I have to say about that :)

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There is a World Beyond My Phone Screen

I wake up in the morning, and I check my phone. I get on the bus to work, and spend the entire bus ride – on my phone. I get to work, and stare at the computer screen with intermittent breaks – on my phone. When 6 o clock comes around, I’m exhausted. My eyes are tired, and my head hurts. So I get on the bus, and go on my phone. I get home, cook dinner, and sit on the couch to watch TV and browse things on my phone. I take a shower, get into bed, and spend another hour or two – yes –on my phone.

DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH I AM ON MY PHONE? What am I even doing? If I had to take a quiz solely based on what material I was scrolling through on twitter, facebook, Instagram, snap chat, or abc news, I don’t think I would pass. I am honestly just mindlessly scrolling, and it needs to stop. So for 2016 – I am deleting all of the mindless apps from my phone. I’m deleting facebook, Instagram, twitter, and snap chat. I’m going to start enjoying the world around me.

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Life is Too Short to Feel Sick

Growing up my family always cooked from scratch. Even as a baby, my mother made baby food home made because she said I refused to eat from a baby food can. When I went to college, things changed. I started eating processed foods, drinking alcohol, and having coffee every morning, and some afternoons and nights.

By senior year, I was so sick, I couldn’t take it. I was getting three to five sinus infections a year, and my skin was breaking out all over. The end of senior year, and the first two years on my own after school, I completely cut out processed foods (not including the occasional peanut butter pretzel or noodles meal of course). The result? My skin cleared instantly. Weeks I would eat processed foods more than others, my skin became bad again. Direct correlation? Yes I think so.

Recently I went to an ENT about my sinuses as well. He told me that along with yogurt and cream, alcohol and coffee also make your mucus thicker, and can cause sinus issues.

It’s the end of 2015, and at this point, I don’t care what people think of me. I don’t care if we are at a bar and I order a salad and you order a burger. I don’t care if I choose to drink lemon water when we go out and you choose a bud lite or vodka cranberry. Life is too short to feel sick, and in 2016 I am not making myself sick anymore.

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I Need Sleep

Some people can spend Monday – Friday waking up at 6am and going to bed at 11pm, and then on the weekend stay up until 2 or 3am and wake up at 10am. I am not one of those people. I have one schedule – and as hard as I have tried to break that schedule – it cannot be broken. I am happier, sharper, and much more productive when I have gotten a good nights sleep. (Did I mention I’m also prettier?)

I’ve been made fun of COUNTLESS times for leaving events at 9pm vs. 2am. And after being out of school for a couple years now, this again, is more important to me than what others think.

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Worship the Bedtime Routine

The older I get, the more I value taking care of myself (If that wasn’t obvious). Nothing has become more important to me than my night time skin care and oral health routine! It is SO important to use the proper skin care items and to brush AND floss your teeth. It’s vital to have a big jug of water by your bed, a humidifier, and take your medicine/probiotics. Not only do I sleep better when I follow a routine, but I wake up feeling fresh and properly rested as well.

All in all, if there is anything I have learned from 2015, it’s that I come first. I care too much about myself, my body, and my happiness to deplete it by staying out late at night, drinking, and eating junk food. The last two years I have successfully cut out processed foods, and now I am ready to see how good my body is capable of feeling by cutting out the 3 things that are the most negative to me right now: mobile social media, coffee, and alcohol.

Here’s to 2016, an even healthier && happier year ahead!

 

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Studies show that people who wake up early are more successful in life. So I guess that explains why I’ve been reading a lot of posts lately on “How To Be a Morning Person” – and it seems as though most people truly do want to master the morning mayhem. Growing up, I was NOT a morning person at all. In fact, my Mom once bought me a pajama shirt that said “Not A Morning Person” because she thought it was funny when I would be wearing it in the morning, grumpy and tired and not talking at breakfast.

In college, that all kind of changed. I started waking up at 5am, and enjoying a couple hours to myself before the stresses of the day began flowing in. It’s a habit I have maintained, as I believe waking up early has 1) Kept me Sane 2) Lowered my overall stress level and 3) Has made me a healthier/better person.

So take it from me, an ex morning hater, how to really be a morning person.

It Starts The Day Before

If you really want to wake up the next morning, and every morning after that, feeling awake, energetic, and ready for the day, then pay attention to how you live during the daytime. Don’t drink alcohol. Drink a lot of water. Eat Well. Work Out. Be Productive. Address all of your worries. Write down what is stressing you out and develop a plan of attack. Don’t let the sun go down until you’ve accomplished everything you wanted to, or made a plan to accomplish what you didn’t.

Make a night time routine, and Stick To It

Make a bed time routine and follow it religiously. Start when the sun starts to go down. Take a hot shower, and get ready for bed- slowly. Take your time, and really pamper yourself. Pamper yourself, and you’ll sleep better. I don’t know why that’s true, but it really is. Also, if you’re not tired, don’t lay your head down on the pillow. If you try to force yourself to go to sleep, you’ll just lay there awake all night. Read a book, clean out a closet, take up a craft like scrapbooking or knitting, do something that will make you tired, and your body will get used to winding down at the same time every day. It takes time to train your body, so be patient.

End your night with hot tea

Buy some chamomile mint tea and take a couple minutes laying in bed with a hot cup of tea & honey reading a book or writing down a to-do list for the next day. Tea is good for you, and it relaxes you and prepares you for night time. I’m a big fan of using a real tea pot to steep loose leaf chamomile and real mint, or whole ginger root. I then add honey & lemon, and my body says thank you in the form of sweet dreams and productive REM cycles.

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When You Wake Up:

Stand up and Look out the window. This should be the very first thing you do when you wake up. Take a couple minutes after you open your eyes to drink three huge glasses of water, and just stare out the window. I know this sounds weird, but forcing yourself to drink 3 glasses of water AND forcing yourself to look out the window when you do it is extremely energizing in the morning. It hydrates you, and really gets you excited to be awake and alive. Just try it! You will also be surprised how thirsty you actually are when you wake up, and how energizing just drinking water can be. It’s also a nice time to analyze the weather outside and how you want to dress ! 😉

Take up Skin Brushing

Skin brushing is a technique where you literally brush your skin with an all natural haired brush. In the morning, get in your shower and brush your arms, legs and back/stomach in soft strokes towards your heart. This stimulates your lymphatic system, and wakes up every single cell on your skin. It feels amazing, and is incredibly energizing. Skin brushing has been proven to increase circulation, improve digestion, detox your entire body, reduce cellulite, exfoliate, and has many more benefits other than just feeling plain good.

I like to turn on music in my bathroom while I do this and while I shower afterwards. The combination of the music, brushing, and hot shower puts me in a great morning mood. I got my skin brush at CVS but you can also find them online. Click here for an example: Skin Brushes at Amazon

Prepare Breakfast the night before; or on Sunday; so it’s ready to grab and go/eat right away

I love preparing fruit and berries in mason jars either the night before our several days before, and then I can just grab the mason jar to eat on my way to work. I will also get out of the shower, crack a couple eggs on a hot skillet with some pre-chopped mushrooms/tomatoes/spinach, and let them cook sunny side up  with the veg while I do my hair and make up. By the time my hair/make up is done, the egg breakfast is usually done and ready to eat!

You can also prepare a smoothie the night before, a bag of oatmeal/flax seed/cinnamon ready to be microwaved, or some home made granola and nuts. Deviled eggs are also a great snack to make a head of time and eat while you’re getting ready in the AM. For a no mayonnaise deviled egg recipe check out my deviled egg blog post here: Greek Yogurt Deviled Eggs

Eating should be first priority in the morning, and will give your body what it needs to fire on all cylinders during the day.

Rebound for 2-10 minutes

Rebounding is a quick easy way to get your blood flowing before you walk out the door. You don’t sweat when you do it (unless you want to) and it’s been endorsed by NASA as the best work out you can do to get your lymphatic system moving. Rebounding is a great digestive aid, and really helps you in the morning to get your digestive system working properly :) It’s been proven to increase immunity and prevent colds, and 10 minutes on it is equal to a 30 minute jog. I usually just rebound for 1-2 minutes in the morning before my skin brushing and shower, and then for another 30 seconds to 1 minute before I walk out the door.

Don’t know what rebounding is? To be short and sweet, it is a mini trampoline that doesn’t take up a lot of room and can easily fit behind your living room couch. Rebounding is the act of just bouncing up and down on the mini tramp like a little kid. Bouncing lightly is enough to wake up your lymph system, but if you want a work out in 10 minutes equal to a 30 minute jog, then jumping up and down with a bit more height is your trick. It’s also great for high rise living, because the jumping won’t wake up your neighbors! Click Here for some Rebounders via Amazon

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Adding just one of the above tricks, I promise, will drastically change your opinion on the mornings. There’s nothing better than being able to pleasantly enjoy that crisp morning air, and witness a new day breaking, all while wearing a new pajama shirt that says “Warning: I’m A Morning Person”

 

 

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Well, this post is going to be a little bit different, but is something I need to get off my chest.

Lately on Facebook, I’ve been reading article after article that has a beautiful young woman as the main picture, and a list of reasons “Why You Should Want to Be Alone” or “30 Reasons Not to Have Kids” or “Why You Should Embrace Your Curves” or “How To Be Happy”

Let’s start with why I should want to be alone. These articles talk about how you don’t need a man, you shouldn’t want a man, and how being a single woman is the way to go. And if you want kids (which you shouldn’t) no problem – there are options.. OTHER than a man.

Well, I have lived alone for 2 years now in downtown Chicago working a corporate job, and let me just say, I am happy alone. I am 100% happy coming home, cooking dinner, making tea, and reading in my bed until I can fall (yes, diagonally) asleep across my full size bed (which is really only big enough for one person anyway). But let me also say, I want to get married. And there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t think there should be. I believe the greatest gift God gave us was our ability to love, and I want to love whole heartedly one day, and that doesn’t make me weird, and doesn’t make me mentally challenged, and certainly doesn’t make me weak.

Also, as a woman, I was built with a tenderness and a motherly instinct, just like any other living being on earth. And I don’t want to deny that. So I can tell you 30 reasons why I want to have kids, and will do everything I can TO have kids one day. And again, this doesn’t mean I have to give up my life, and doesn’t mean I have to desert my identity as a person. It simply means I get to grow another soul to reflect my own. And that makes me beautiful.

And guess what, I think I’m hot. I work out, and I eat well, and I love my body. If I feel myself gaining weight, or getting extra “curves” – I begin to watch what I eat better, maybe cut off the pasta for a couple days, and make sure I eat nutritious meals. That doesn’t make me self conscious and it doesn’t make me have an eating disorder. It doesn’t mean I’m not confident in my own skin, either. It means I love myself, and I love my body, and I want to treat it well and be as healthy as possible. And you know what? I’m not ashamed to turn down a hamburger on a date because I want to look like a “girl that eats”. If any guy has a problem with me loving myself enough to nourish it with some spinach and tomatoes, he can hit the road and grow his beer belly on his own terms.

The final article type I want to address, are those that tell you how to be happy. In almost every article it addresses how you “probably went to school for a degree you didn’t want” or how you “probably wake up every day to go to a corporate office where you sit in a chair all day and never see the sun”. And well, that’s pretty on target. If I had it my way, I would have gone to the University of Iowa to be a writer. Or, I would have skipped college entirely and pursued my rhythmic gymnastics career, or some facet of it. But the truth is, I went to Iowa for Finance, because I knew it was sustainable and dependable. And the other truth is, I do wake up every day and go to an office where on most days, I don’t see the sun. But you know what? Everyday I go there, I challenge myself. I challenge myself mentally, physically, and sometimes emotionally. I’m dedicated to my clients and to my work, and the feeling I get when something is completed correctly overrides any other feeling in the world. Above all, this “degree I didn’t want” pays my bills, and increases my intellect. And being intelligent, and able to pay my bills – that makes me happy.

No, I didn’t make this article to put down the authors of these articles. They’re great writers and I love reading others thoughts and opinions. I just wanted to write this post to say that it is okay to want to be with a man, and it’s OK to want kids, and it’s OK if you wake up every morning and go to an office chair until dusk. In fact, it shapes you as a person. And if you are able to find happiness in the “monotonous life” that these so called “Happiness Experts” so gracefully ridicule, than you, my friend, have achieved something most people probably never even so much as stretch to obtain. You have achieved a personal happiness within yourself, that nobody can ever take away from you. And you didn’t need an island to do it. And you can be with a man. And you can raise kids. And you can be a damn hot super model doing it. And that is completely OK.

 

 

green drink (2)

I’M A FUN PERSON but large amounts of alcohol and I do not go together. I don’t think anybody in college would get as bad of hangovers as I did. The Worst. Literally would leave me down and out for an entire day.

I remember the day I cured my worst hangover ever, very vividly. I feel like it was yesterday – in a good way.

I had just gotten my juicer from Wal Mart (mine is pretty old, and I remember I got it for about $40.00 – I got one for my mom recently from Wal Mart for $60 – and I think that’s the best deal around right now). I think I got this recipe from Dr. Oz – or I just googled “Green Drink” – but nonetheless, I got my stinky butt out of bed, made this drink, drank it in my bed, and within 20 minutes was showered and working out. It. was. magic.

While I don’t go as hard as I did that day anymore – I do get the occasional headache after a good concert or long night out – and this still does it.

  • A bunch of Spinach (I prepackage my spinach in ziplock bags, and use 1 bag; equals about 1-2 cups)
  • A handful of parsley
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 apple
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 lime
  • sliver of ginger root (optional)

You guys, I can’t even.

The only bad thing about this is was the process of juicing – but I promise that this works so well that clean up is not an issue. I can’t explain it – I just know it works. Now, I’ve tried other juicing in the morning – thinking it was just the fresh burst of vitamins that works, and I have to tell you- no other juice recipe is as magical as this one.

If you have a juicer- give it a try! Let me know if it works for you or doesn’t because nobody I know has actually done this – so I could be the only person in the world this works for!

(Also I am dying laughing because I went to look for a picture of juicing – and found the picture above in my instagram. This is the exact drink that I instagram-ed 21 months ago with the caption “10x better than Gatorade” ha ha!)

 

 

The BONGS Treatment

By ChristianaAlissa

 

Feel a flu coming on? Or perhaps you are already knee-deep in one? Take it from someone who used to be (and still sometimes am) a professional flu-getter. Remember, I am NOT a medical professional, and nothing I say here should be taken as medical advice. I am just a professional at getting sick and this combination is what works for me.

I used to have chronic sinusitis – and by that I mean I basically had a sinus infection non-stop and then every couple months or so it became extremely severe. I had my tonsils out, adenoids out, got rid of the cat, did the works, but nothing really worked until I changed all aspects of my life, and also adopted my own regimen that I call: the BONGS treatment.

B: Homemade Broth

broth 1broth 2

Ever hear mama say chicken soup will heal your cold? Well she’s right – but not the canned chicken soup you get in a store. What makes chicken soup so good for you is that it’s a home made broth, with real chicken. And forget the noodles – many noodles are made out of tons of chemicals that you really don’t need. If you really want to get better, make a home made broth FILLED with vegetables and chicken.

You can also drink your broth, add in some apple cider vinegar and honey, and heat it up for an immune boosting drink.

O: Oranges

apple juiceruntitled

A big mistake other than canned chicken soup when sick, is bottled orange juice. Packaged orange juice contains tons of unnecessary sugars and artificial ingredients, that again, will not make you better, not now, not in the long run, not ever.

If you are sick, the best thing to do is freshly juice your oranges. There are several ways to do this, with a hand held juicer, or a juicing machine. I highly recommend getting a juicer, I got mine for $40.00 at Walmart and it was the best investment I ever made. Add an apple to every 2 oranges to naturally sweeten it, and nothing beats that burst of vitamin C. If you don’t have a juicer, and use a hand held juicer, just add a spoonful of sugar! (Helps fresh OJ go down 😉 )

Link to handheld orange juicers:  Click Here!

N: Nasal Rinses

Nasal Rinse 1

I usually do a nasal rinse several times a week, but like I said, I am prone to sinus infections. If you feel a stuffiness coming on, then a nasal rinse can certainly help you. However, if you are so stuffed up to the point you literally cannot breath – then don’t do a sinus rinse as these rinses should not hurt you when you do them they should feel good and allow loose green gunk to escape. I find that when I’m sick my nasal rinses do best after I have slept with a breath-rite strip, and taken a hot steamy shower which I cover my face with a hot wash cloth during. If I do not do those two things before I try to rinse, the rinse just never seems to go well.

Remember when you rinse to use distilled water and warm it up a bit before hand if you can, just to make the water luke warm. Do research before doing a nasal rinse, and see the best ways and methods, and negative side effects before doing them.

Click Here for My Favorite Nasal Rinse!

G: Ginger Tea

ginger 1 teapot

I used to hate tea. When I was younger and would get sick, my mom would offer me tea, and I would actually get mad at her that she would suggest such a thing. But the truth is, nothing is better for you. The best tea when you’re sick or when you are getting sick is whole, fresh made, ginger tea. Ginger is an all natural anti-inflammatory and if you add it with a couple spoons of honey, you’re going to feel instantly better.

Another great addition or tea, is take an old pasta jar, or mason jar, slice up a bunch of lemons, and mince a bunch of cloves of garlic. Layer in the jar your lemon (no seeds by the way!) and garlic and then fill the jar with honey. Let the jar sit in your fridge over night, and throughout the week. Every morning take your boiling water and add a spoonful or pour a little bit of your lemon/garlic/honey mixture into the cup. It will cool off your boiling water enough to drink it, and adds the tremendous benefits of lemon and garlic, both natural detoxifiers.

My next G is Gargling. Gargling salt water or cayenne pepper mixed with water honestly does heal sore throats. You have to do it with warm water, and do a cup of it every hour. Doing it aggressively through the day is the only way it has ever helped me (and yes, this is a last resort for me too)

My Blog on Ginger Tea Benefits <<Click Here for my Blog on How to Make/Benefits of Ginger Tea

S: Steamers

steamer 1essential oil diffusersteamer 2

A couple years ago I invested in a Revlon Face Steamer. I got it from Amazon for about $20.00 and again, was an amazing investment. It has two attachments to steam either your whole face, or just your nasal area. You simply plug it into the wall, fill the little bowl with water and steam. It steams for about 20 minutes and is great while watching TV. Nothing loosens me up better, and this is a great exercise before a nasal rinse.

Humidifiers are also NECESSARY to keeping your nasal passages healthy. I have a humidifier that I use every single night in the winter.

Another great tool is an essential oil diffuser. You can use this in combination with your humidifier at night, and adding in some tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil will help your nasal passages clear and detox while staying lubricated and moist.

Some people recommend steam rooms at health clubs when you’re sick, and I have to say, I stay away from them. Air born illnesses such as flus thrive in water particles, and if your immune system is already compromised, going into a steam room which is a confined space with other people breathing heavily into the steam, in my opinion, can only worsen you, or get someone else sick. A better alternative is a steamer, or if you don’t have one, closing your bathroom door, putting a towel under the crack, and running a hot shower and holding a hot wash cloth over your face. (Be careful when you open the door if you live in a small apartment, because the steam CAN set off your fire alarm – learned that the hard way!)

 

Well that’s it those are the 5 exercises I do in the winter when I’m not sick to prevent getting sick, and especially kick up a knotch when I feel the onset of a cold or flu coming on.

Do you have any cold fighting remedies?? If you do I want to know about them!! Leave a comment below!