Category Archives: Beauty

It’s official: Mercury IS in Retrograde

I knew it was coming.  I knew the 17th was the start of that dreaded period.  I’ve come to believe that when Mercury is in Retrograde, it affects lives.  Electronics and gadgets don’t work right.  Things just go askew in one’s life.  MercuryRetrogradeMercury is in retrograde until October 9th.  The last retrograde period, my very-capable, very-powerful laptop lost it.  The keyboard stopped working properly, and somehow in the process, the motherboard shorted in the area where the keyboard is controlled.  So we attempted to order a new mother board and keyboard.  None of them ever worked.  Thus I was forced to buy a new, powerful ‘desktop replacement’ laptop.  I need the power for graphics which is the main part of my ‘real job’.   Well, you can bet THAT wasn’t cheap and it definitely was NOT budgeted!  And then, there is the time it takes to transfer 1.5 TB in files and configure a new machine. I was out of commission for weeks.   Grrrrr…

So, I thought I’d be safe this time.  I’d already a few months ago, accidentally dropped my iPhone into water, retrieved it and had it successfully repaired.  Nothing can go wrong, I thought.   Wrongo!   Today I jumped in the car to run two deadline-sensitive errands.   I’d put it off, dreading the prospect of getting out in the out-of-control biker traffic for this weekend’s event.  I still had time, I reasoned!  I just planned to make my deposit by 1 PM when the bank closed, and I needed to drop off my sales tax reports at the post office by 1 ish.  I sat in the driver’s seat, pushed the button. CloseEncountersLIGHTS!  Everywhere were lights!  Clicks, bells, dings, flashing lights!  The seat moved up and back, the steering wheel moved back and forth, all on it’s own. It reminded me of the scene from ‘Close Encounters of the Third  Kind’.   Of course, the car wouldn’t start at all.  Everything inside was locked. What the hell????  Let me tell you, when you have a computer controlled car and when one thing goes south, it’s a nightmare!   Hello?  Mercury?  Why me?

I said to myself “Ok.  I’ve not ridden the scooter in a while so I’ll just use it.”  No way.  It wouldn’t start either.

My husband came home, removed the old battery from my car and headed to Sears.

With the deadlines, I knew I had to start walking.  Nothing like a stroll at high noon, in the sun in September in the sub-tropics and on a deadline.  My friend at the bank invited me in to cool off but I needed to finish my errands.  My friend, Tom, at a Sebago booth on Duval provided a frosty bottle of water.

My husband found someone at Sears willing to quickly help.  He came home, installed the new battery.  $173.60 gives us no more dings, clicks nor other anomalies. He picked me up as I was walking home and delivered me to air conditioning and took off to his golf game with his buddies.

Now, the lessons?   I realized as I embarked on my walk that this was a message, a sign if you will.  I’m very big on signs.  As I walked, I made every attempt to walk under every massive shade tree that I could.  That helped with the heat.  Then I saw the butterflies.  There were butterflies everywhere!  A few fluttered in front of my face for a short time. I remembered that our friend who was recently killed had a wonderful butterfly sculpture in her office. More signs!   Except for my soon-dripping clothing and hair, it was a great walk – at least until I got close to the obnoxious bikers. They took all the peace and beauty from the walk, but hey, I just got away from them as quickly as I could and once again, felt peaceful and grateful for the experience.

For those who have never paid attention to the entire Mercury in Retrograde phenomenon, there’s this from the Old Farmers Almanac“…Perhaps Mercury’s retrograde periods can cause our plans to go awry. However, this is an excellent time to reflect on the past. Intuition is high during these periods, and coincidences can be extraordinary.

“The planet Mercury rules communication, travel, contracts, automobiles, and such.  So, when Mercury is retrograde, remain flexible, allow time for extra travel, and avoid signing contracts. Review projects and plans at these times, but wait until Mercury is direct again to make any final decisions.”

For me, it appears that Mercury in retrograde results in failures and complications when it comes to mechanical items and electronics. However, I’m taking the advice from the almanac to heart, and reflecting, enjoying the coincidences and paying attention to my intuition.

 

 

Fight stress by immersing yourself in nature – and meditate!

BeachScene

An example of LOW stress!

Stress is often at the basis of disease.  While stress can be helpful when you need an extra boost of energy for something like an exam or a job interview, most stress is not helpful.   ‘Good’ stress is what triggers the fight or flight syndrome.  This results in a chemical reaction when a threat to survival is perceived, and triggers a physiological reaction. It’s essentially a survival instinct.

Our bodies, however, are not meant to live in constant ‘fight or flight’ or stress mode.  Chronic stress can often be the trigger for mental and physical disease. Constant worry about family or life can result in chronic stress symptoms.  PTSD is a prime example of the mental component that comes with chronic stress.

With chronic stress, you can count on high levels of cortisol and other corticosteroids circulating in the blood for a long period of time. Over the long term, mental and physical damage may occur. Symptoms such as depression, sleep problems and anxiety are not uncommon.  Your body will react with high blood pressure, digestive problems and heart disease. It doesn’t take much of this abuse for your immune system to become compromised.  A healthy body embodies a strong defense mechanism, whereas all organs, cells, tissues and systems work together to fight disease and infection.  When stress is present, you will see chronic inflammatory conditions, and a lower threshold to weather infections and situations where healing is necessary.

The best way to fight stress is to immerse yourself in nature as much as possible.  Even a short walk every day gives you an opportunity to see trees, nature and your surroundings in a new light.

Hana waterfall

Hana Waterfall. What a great place for a nap!

And a vacation?  A week or more can set your body on the road to healing. If you make your holiday relaxing and stay away from stressful situations, crowds and schedules, you will come home with a healthier body and a healthier outlook.  Well, that said, it’s important to eat right when on vacation.  The last thing you want is stomach distress from eating the wrong things.  The past three years, we’ve rented a condo or a house on a beach (Maui or Southwest Florida).  Since we were close to excellent organic foods in all locations, and since we love to cook, we ate out rarely and made marvelous meals with healthy local foods. We slept late if we wanted to.  We toured if we wanted to.  We napped if we wanted to.  And believe it or not, we came home without a single extra pound!  How’s THAT for a vacation with benefits!

And finally, daily mediation will make a big difference.  If a vacation isn’t on your schedule or vacation time is nowhere in sight, there’s meditation.  Since I began my daily meditation practice every morning, my health is far better, my stress levels far lower and my outlook on life is far brighter. Not only did I lose weight, I’ve found that the peace and joy of meditation carries over into my daily life.  My book “Mediate the Pounds Away: How I Met My Weight Loss and Wellness Goals Through Meditation” includes detailed meditations and visualizations for weight loss, but there is no need to stop there.  Meditation allows you to examine your life, quietly, and to quiet your mind and allow information to flow.  You can calm your body, your spirit and your heart.

Meditation is also a great way to meet goals in your life.  You can meditate your way to better golf, better relationships, better health, and better business practices as well.

Once your cats and dogs are past the rambunctious kitten and/or puppy stage, they will enjoy meditating with you as well.  They feel your energy and your calm.  You can see a real difference in your entire household.

I highly recommend it and I’m living proof that it works.  My life is calmer, my anger threshold has almost (not entirely) disappeared, and my ability to see to the heart of a problem has increased to the point that everyday issues have become a ‘no brainer‘ to me.

Pet, hug and kiss your kittens and your pups.  Show love and affection to your family members.  And meditate.  You will find that you are LIVING your life authentically, and no longer simply reacting to life.

 

 

 

Don’t forget the rest of your body!

It seems I’m constantly working on my skin to encourage it to tighten and smooth after the excess fat vacated.   Since I’m very diligent about using products that are good for the skin and are not overloaded with chemicals, I often turn to making my own products.  For sunscreen, though, I’m finding very little that isn’t heavy on the chemicals.  I’ve been using LaRoche-Posay Anthelios 40 Sunscreen Cream with Mexoryl SX, SPF40.  Yup, it’s a mouthful to say!

Good Sun Cream

It rates well, a 2, on EWG.org’s sunscreen ratings.  It does give good protection, it doesn’t smell like most sunscreens but it’s a bear to blend in. It can leave a white cast to the skin.  It doesn’t have a greasy finish.  However, I’m looking for something better.

In Europe, there are many healthy sun products available.  However, they have not been ‘approved’ here in the US so we’re stuck with whatever toxins the manufacturers sell – and the government approves.

I urge you to do as I’m doing – digging through EWG.org’s site for something that is not toxic, that will protect and who knows, maybe even be GOOD for us all!   I’ll be writing about my findings more in the next month, and I encourage you to contribute and comment.  Let us all know what you find!

(Edit:  I just read this on EWG’s site:  http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/report/does-europe-have-better-sunscreens/  Looks like what I have noted above, is about the best we can hope for here in the US for now.  I find it interesting that the FDA claims to be protecting us from dangerous chemicals, yet they approve anything Big Pharma asks them to approve, with long lists of deadly side effects. )

For overall skin conditioning, I make my own body oil blend of essential oils in either a coconut oil or jojoba base and use it immediately after a bath or shower.

I have a number of excellent recipes for skin and body products that are homemade, and I will be sharing some of the recipes in the future.

OH, and something I failed to mention on the facial regimine’s original posts:  WHATEVER YOU DO FOR YOUR FACE, DO FOR YOUR HANDS.  That’s right.  Use the same toners, serums, creams, masks and treatments on the back of your hands and your decollette as well as your face.

 

You CAN Tighten the Skin with Nature’s Help

QueenOfTheHiveCreamBees are wonderful creatures.  Without them, we’d have no flowers, no fruits, no vegetables and no honey!  This product is all about the bee.  I use this after cleansing, toning and any toners or glycolics.

I began using this product in early May.  My interest in this product was triggered by the amazing appearance of the glowing Kate Middleton on the steps of the hospital hours after she gave birth.  Yes, of course, I know she had a massive team effort involved in that unbelievable presentation, and I’m sure she collapsed immediately upon getting into the vehicle for the ride home.  And of course, she’s only 33 years old.  One article commented that she was a great advocate of a bee venom facial cream from a London spa, that had been introduced to her by her mother-in-law.

SO, I looked up pictures of her mother-in-law, the Dutchess of Cornwall,  and in doing so, I realized that she seemed to have shed years from her face as of late.   I didn’t find the exact cream in my price range, but in researching, I did find what I would consider to be a good quality cream from a good company, Wedderspoon.  I’ve used the organic Manuka honey from this New Zealand company for many years and they have a good reputation.  Now they have a Face Contour Cream with Manuka Honey and Bee Venom.   After cleansing, toning and lightening serum (with hyaluronic acid) in the mornings, I apply this over my entire face, neck, back of hands and even my eyelids.   Before bedtime, I cleanse, tone, use the lightening glycocide cream (which has hyaluronic acid), this Face Contour Cream before other steps (detailed in following posts).

I have combination skin so I always test in an inconspicuous area before I try anything new.  AND, since I’m also allergic to bee stings, I was especially careful with this cream.  I had zero reaction from this cream!   It has a nice, light vanilla / honey scent

Hyaluronic acid, by the way, is in many serums and creams, and it encourages moisture to be drawn into the skin.  BUT a word of caution:  It is NOT a moisturizer on its own.  If you put plain hyaluronic acid on your skin (I make my own hyaluronic serum) and you do not put a moisturizer on top of it, it will draw moisture OUT of your skin.  So it’s important to know a bit about this ingredient and to always put a moisturizer on top of it.

Next up:  Firming / Sculpting cream AND sun protection

 

Improving skin after weight loss : A multi-part series.

A weight loss and wellness journey doesn’t end at the scale.  Once the weight is gone, it’s important to maintain your skin.   Moisture is important and drinking plenty of water is important.  But still and yet, you will end up with skin that is not as tight as it once was.  In my case, I was mortified to find that my old double-chin was now replaced by a ‘turkey neck’!

Thus, I’ve started yet another quest to do all I can to eliminate this atrocity.  I’m not in the market for plastic surgery and as always, I am looking for products or a combination of products that might help that include some ‘outside the box’ thinking.

I seem to be off to a good start.  While I know that skin renewal / turnover is usually a 4 month cycle, I am already seeing some results.

This post and the subsequent posts, detail a series of products that I have found useful.  Please ‘Comment’ if you have any questions or if you’d like links to purchase these products.

AND I highly recommend visiting a spa regularly for a facial.  They lift your spirits and lift dead skin and dirt from your face that you don’t even know is there.

PevoniaStarting with basic skin care at home, I wash my face with a cleanser for combination skin (since that’s my skin type.)  Finding a cleanser that will clean but not strip your skin is important.   I like the Pevonia, shown here.  I was introduced to this by a local spa owner and the line is really nice and very affordable.  Initially I used the sensitive skin cleanser and recently moved to the combination skin version.

(edited 07Aug15) Something to remember: Whatever you do for your face, be sure to do the same for your hands.  That’s right.  Use the same toners, serums, creams, masks and treatments on the back of your hands and your decollette as well as your face.   You’ll be happy you did it!

After rinsing and patting dry, I use a light organic rosewater toner.   This step remains the same, morning and night.  From here there are some differences.

At night, I then use the Pevonia Botanica Ligne Radiance Renewing Glycocide Cream, which is a glycocide cream.  For me, this can tingle from time to time.  And on my neck?  It really can tingle.  But since I can’t tell that it’s doing any damage, I stick to it.  It contains glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and chamomile and for me, I find it to be  smoothing and it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines. It is said to improve skin texture and I tend to say that it does.   Yes, it is hydrating but this is when I prefer to then use not one but two different creams that are firming, and lifting.   I occasionally use this in the morning as well, in the place of a serum.

Up next:  Moisturize and Contour naturally, organically and cruelty-free