Phew! The holidays are over! I’m not trying to sound like a grinch because as you know, I absolutely love the holidays. By now, though, all of the presents have been opened (and apparently I was a very good girl this year!), the yummy meals have been eaten, and well… lots of wine seems to have disappeared! All of this clearly means that I had a fabulous holiday season this year, but it also means my body is in need of some serious rehab.
Hitting the gym is my favorite way of rebounding from my holiday indulgences. Not only does it wake you up, but just because it’s the winter doesn’t mean you should slack! Plus burning all of those extra calories will certainly help keep off the holiday weight gain!
Now don’t forget to take care of your skin as well! Make sure to wash your face every morning and night and apply moisturizer twice daily to help beat the dry winter skin! Your hands and feet need extra pampering too! All of those heaters on at home tend to pull moisture out of the air leading to problems with those of us with dry skin! If you happen to be one of them like me, try these recipes to help repair your skin!
Peppermint Body Scrub
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 crushed candy canes (I’m sure you have some leftover and you need to crush them so put them in a baggie and take out some holiday frustrations!)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil (optional but highly recommended!)
- Melt coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds, or on stove top. Allow to cool slightly and add sugar and candy canes. Mix thoroughly
- Add essential oil and mix. You can omit this step if you want.
Cranberry Facial Mask
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice
- 2 tbsp plain greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup bentonite clay
- Puree cranberries and cranberry juice
- Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly
- Place mask in airtight container (I use mason jars)
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days
- To use apply to face and leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off and continue your normal skincare routine
A few years ago I was introduced to essential oils by a friend of mine. Being a typical girl, I loved smelling the various fragrances and, as I’m sure most of you can relate, many of the scents triggered specific memories or feelings. Lavender has long been known to have a calming effect and is great for helping you relax. Citrus scents are great revitalizers- which is why it’s associated with summer scents/flavors! Eucalyptus (which is my absolute favorite) is great for that “clean feeling” and is often used to treat headaches, colds, and sinus congestion amongst other things. In homeopathic medicine as well as other non-western medical practices, aromatherapy is a well known and utilized tool. If you don’t believe me just think back to your childhood. If your mom was anything like mine, as soon as a cold started she would slather my chest with Vick’s Vapor Rub. What’s in that amazing little jar? Camphor, Eucalyptus oil, and menthol (amongst a few other things as well!).
One of my favorite things to do with my oils is to take a 4 oz spray bottle and fill it with water along with 25-30 drops of my favorite oil. Right now my spray bottle has lavender in it and I’ve sprayed it over the bed sheets/blankets for a calming feeling at night.
Another fun trick I have used is to take warm water with a few drops of oil and oak a few washcloths, ring them out, and put them in individual baggies. When I come home from the gym and need a quick pick me up, I can grab one from the refrigerator where I store them and hold it to my face for a few minutes and take some slow deep breaths. It works like a champ- between the cold and the aroma it’s heaven! (And in case you’re wondering- I use my orange citrus oil most of the time for the towels!)
I know a lot of people like to add the oils to the bathtub, but I’ve never had much luck with simply putting drops in the water. Oil doesn’t dilute in the water. Umm it’s oil. My best solution is to take Epsom salt and add a few drops of my favorite essential oil (usually 1cup salt to 20-25 drops of oil). I’ve been known to make 2 cups at a time and then store them in an airtight container. Mason jars work great for this! Then add 1/2 cup to the water (or more if you’re so inclined) and enjoy a nice warm bath for 20 minutes! It’s a great way to end your day! You can use epsom salts, sea salts, etc, but remember the larger the salt is, the longer it takes to dissolve. Plus, you have to stand on them to get in the tub and then sit on them. Do you want to sit on pebbles during a bath?!?! I think not!
There are a ton of different websites to learn about the benefits of different oils. I tend to use Aura Cacia most often. Their website is great and there’s an app for your smartphone as well! They even have an essential oil directory to help you get started!
Pumpkin is full of vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc. Together, these help create gorgeous skin! Since I seem to be on a pumpkin kick lately, here is an awesome scrub to use to try to avoid that winter skin slump!
Pumpkin Body Scrub (please note BODY, not FACIAL scrub)
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
While in the shower (and its best to let your skin soften a bit so I usually do it after I wash my hair), apply scrub in a circular motion from your feet up to your arms! Rinse and pat dry with a towel, apply your favorite lotion to help hydrate your skin even more.
Ahh fall! It’s my favorite time of year! Bring on the warm cozy sweaters, hot apple pie, gorgeous leaves… and all things pumpkin! That’s right! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies! Yeah do you see conundrum? Most of the time you’re gonna have a hard time finding the gluten free version readily available. Then of course there’s the all important symbol of the season- the wonderful, spectacular pumpkin spiced latte! (Inset applause here)
So Starbucks lovers out there are all aware and in love with this yummy fall treat. However, for you gluten-challenged folks out there, beware! Starbucks claims that nothing prepared can be guaranteed gluten free. While the syrups are mostly gluten free, they cannot guarantee cross contamination- likewise with the yummy toppings. So, if you’re someone that reacts to small amounts of cross contamination or just do not want to risk it- stay away! These are definitely to be enjoyed at your own risk!
That being said, pumpkins are one of my favorite things! So if you want to take advantage of all things pumpkins, I have a little treat for you! If you’re looking for super soft skin and enjoy papering yourself- try this pumpkin based mask! Just don’t eat it as the Bentonite clay is not edible. The mask lasts for a few days if you seal it and toss it in the ‘fridge. I usually use it every 2-3 days on my “rough patches” like my elbows and legs and once/week on my face. Trust me. You’ll thank me later.
1c pumpkin purée
1/2c bentonite clay
3tbsp almond oil
*super easy! Just mix it all together!