RAW THOUGHTS

Ingredient Spotlight: Pineapple

Pineapple is serving up big beauty benefits and has quickly become the go-to for skin brightening and generally perking up tired, dull skin. Not only does it add a gorgeous, tropical scent, but it’s full of a powerful enzyme called bromelain, which helps break down and sweep away dead skin cells.

 

Aside from the skin brightening and gently exfoliating bromelain, pineapple is rich in vitamin C and E… two vitamins that really pep up your skin tone. They help brighten and even out skin tone while the antioxidants help heal and protect from UV damage and premature aging. It also contains a healthy dose of vitamin A that reduces the risk of inflammation and is a known anti-bacterial.

 

Drink in all the delicious benefits of Pineapple and get on your way to transforming your skin with a brighter, more beautiful glow.

5 California Hiking Trails

Take a hike. 😉  Here are our picks for the Top 5 Hiking Trails in California.

With gym life closed, there’s never been a better time to opt outside and get a healthy dose of fresh air on California’s best hiking trails.  We’ve broken down our top five best in California. Below that is a top-line list of LA’s best too, in case you’re looking for local vibes.   

CA Top 5 Hikes 

  • Yosemite Falls Trail, Yosemite 

This famous trail rewards hikers with views of Yosemite’s most spectacular waterfalls as well as sweeping panoramas of the valley floor. The Trail includes two parts: The two-mile section to Columbia Rock, a moderate hike that ascends 1,000 feet through a switchback trail. Be sure to stay on the path, since wandering off can lead to dangerous sheer drop-offs near the trail.  Most hikers will be satisfied with completing Columbia Rock portion that takes two to three hours round-trip. From here, hikers are awed by the bird’s-eye view of Yosemite Valley’s meadows, with the Merced River winding its way down the center, enclosed by Half Dome and Sentinel Rock.

 

The second part of the trail up to Yosemite Falls is more difficult.  This strenuous seven-mile round-trip hike ascends 2,425 feet, up rugged terrain and steep hillside staircases.  To complete this round-trip hike takes another six to eight hours from Colombia Rock. The trail lies thrillingly close to Yosemite Falls. While climbing, hikers often feel mist from the waterfalls, and after reaching the summit of this challenging trail are rewarded with incredible vistas.  The panoramic outlook from the top of Yosemite Falls extends over the entire valley.  

 

  • Mount Shasta 

The majestic snow-capped Mount Shasta is one of the most inspiring places to hike in California. Many visitors come to Mount Shasta seeking a spiritual experience in nature. Adventurous outdoor enthusiasts come for the challenge of climbing to the mountain’s summit. However, Mount Shasta has plenty of hiking trails that are suitable for the average hiker. A popular hike is the Gray Butte Trail, with its trailhead at an impressive 7,500-foot elevation. This moderate four-mile round-trip trail gains 600 feet in elevation and takes about two hours to complete. The trail crosses through the expansive Lower Panther Meadow and continues up through a pristine forest of old-growth Red Fir Trees. At the fork in the trail, the right hand side ascends through a stand of fragrant Mountain Hemlock Trees. The trail continues past the Lower Peak to the Upper Peak of Gray Butte, offering splendid panoramic views at several vantage points along the way.

 

  • McWay Waterfall Trail, Big Sur 

This trail lies in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, named after the pioneer and frontier woman who owned a ranch in Big Sur country in the early 1900s. The park stretches along the mountainous Big Sur coastline with its 3,000-foot ridges that drop off dramatically into the Pacific Ocean. Lush wooded areas flourish with redwood trees, oaks, and chaparral. The McWay Waterfall Trail is a marvelous hike leading to an overlook that affords a stunning view of the 80-foot waterfall, one of the most breathtaking and frequently photographed sites in Big Sur. Hikers are awestruck by the sight of this magnificent waterfall descending from a sheer granite cliff into the ocean. Despite the grandeur of the scenery, this trail is surprisingly easy and short. The 0.7-mile round-trip hike has only a slight elevation gain of 50 feet and takes only about 30 minutes to complete. Hikers may spend more time admiring the amazing scenery than actually hiking.

 

  • Sea Lion Point Trail, Point Lobos

The Sea Lion Point Trail delights nature lovers who appreciate marine wildlife and ocean views. A short and easy hike, the 0.6-mile loop trail is an especially scenic portion of Point Lobos State Reserve in Carmel. The trail winds around peaceful coves and rocky ocean bluffs that meet with crashing waves. Along the way, hikers will have a chance to spot barking sea lions on offshore rocks. The trail also passes by Headland Cove and Sea Lion Cove, quiet coves where seals swim, and sea otters bask in the protected waters. To get a closer view of the animals, hikers may walk down a staircase that provides access to the coves. 

 

  • Fern Canyon at Prairie Creek,  Redwoods State Park 

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park lies 50 miles north of Eureka, an off-the-beaten-path destination. This beautiful state park is dedicated to the protection of coastal redwood trees, the tallest living plant on earth. With their giant amber-hued trunks and leafy canopies, the stately redwood trees create a refreshingly serene, shady environment. Bordering the coast, the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park also has sandy beaches and expansive open meadows. Many visitors enjoy the gentle nature walk to the Fern Canyon, a site so remarkable that is was chosen by Hollywood directors as a backdrop for scenes in the Jurassic Park film. In fact, relatives of today’s living coastal redwoods existed 160 million years ago, during the Jurassic Era. Visitors are delighted by the breathtaking scenery of majestic densely wooded redwood stands, a pristine fresh-water creek, and lush ferns cascading down the canyon walls.

 

Top 5 Hiking Trails in Los Angeles

Runyon Canyon
Located in the Hollywood Hills, Runyon is a fairly known hike and trail around Los Angeles.  Often, you may see the beautiful view of Hollywood posted on Instagram or Facebook tagged at Runyon.  People commonly known Runyon as a place to bring dogs, spot celebrities, and see a full skyline. This trail is not very long, as it only extends around 3 miles round trip. 

 

Solstice Canyon
Solstice Canyon is located near Malibu just West of Los Angeles. Aside from the 2.6 mile round trip hike, Solstice Canyon also features historical ruins and a waterfall. Also, along the Solstice Creek there are picnic tables for a nice outdoor lunch.

 

Cahuenga Park
Another park in the Hollywood Hills is Cahuenga Park, which leads to a view of the Hollywood Sign and the Wisdom Tree. Heading up the East trail, there is a 1.6 mile round trip hike to the Wisdom Tree. This trail is more rugged and less paved than Runyon Canyon, and it gets steep at points. To the West, the trail gets even steeper and more rugged, but eventually leads to the back side of the Hollywood Sign. Both of these trails offer a large amount of elevation for a short distance. 

 

Santa Anita Canyon
The most challenging hike on this list, the Santa Anita Canyon, is an 8.7 mile loop, best made for a full day hike with lunch and swimming stops. The Santa Anita Canyon is located Northeast of Pasadena. Along this trail, there are numerous cabins, a 60-foot waterfall, and a total escape from Los Angeles. The waterfall is comes up in the first half of the trail, so you can jump in then dry off the rest of the way. 

 

Sandstone Peak
Sandstone Peak is the furthest hike to the East, past Santa Monica and Malibu but is one of the highest points in Southern California. You can see jaw-dropping views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Bay. The summit is over 3,000 feet and follows a 6.25 mile loop. This hike features a picnic area and plenty of shade on the way up. Another beautiful aspect are the Grottoes with creeks and pools.

What Hair Type are you?

Do you know your hair type? Determining what type of hair you have can play a massive role in how well your hair care products work for you and how it holds a style. Buying the right shampoo, conditioners and treatments can do wonders whether you’re trying to detox and balance your scalp, tame your wild curls, fight the frizz, pump up the volume or simply shine.  

 

There are four basic types of hair including straight, wavy, curly and kinky. The best way to determine this is to look at your hair when it dries naturally. Does it dry straight, have some bend to it, dry in ringlets or kinks? Then there’s texture including fine, medium and thick. The way to check is put a strand of hair next to a thread. If it’s skinnier than thread, you have thin hair… equal to the thread is medium and fatter than the thread, then your hair is thick. The other thing that affects the look and feel of hair is how porous the strands are. The more open the shaft of hair, the dryer and frizzier it tends to be. Whatever type you have, look for shampoos that address your concerns.   

 

If you have porous frizzy hair, you’ll naturally want to use a product that helps fight frizz without the use of sulfates and parabens. They may smooth the hair shaft temporarily, but ultimately they dry out hair causing more damage. The Truly Unruly shampoo battles frizz with a blend of nourishing plant-derived ingredients and is fortified with avocado, apple cider vinegar and rosemary oil that help define curls  without weighing them down.  

 

Moisture Smoothie is a great option for hair that needs strengthening and repair from damage done by environmental factors or over processing. Dehydrated locks love the vitamin infused formula made with Cold Pressed coconut, agave and sweet almond milk. 

 

For hair that needs a lift and shine, our Bounce Back Shampoo and Conditioner are infused with shine enhancing Cold Pressed carrot oil and vitamin packed nutrients in a formula made with Certified Organic mango butter and agave. It delivers weightless bounce and soft body for hair that wants beautiful movement and softness.  

 

All hair types should also consider having a scalp detox on hand that will balance the scalp enabling the growth of stronger, longer hair. Our Scalp Restore ShampooConditioner and Therapy treatment do this with a blend of charcoal, organic tea tree extracts and moringa oil that work to lift out impurities and replace them with plant derived extracts, B5 and a surge of hydration.

 

Whatever your type, the best thing you can do is embrace it, love it and work with your natural beauty.

Everything you need to know about gratitude journaling

We’ve all heard how grateful thinking can shift our mindset, but keeping a daily gratitude journal has actually been scientifically proven to have huge benefits.  Why is writing a few words of thanks so powerful? In a nutshell, writing in a gratitude journal forces us to pay attention to the good things in life we might otherwise take for granted. In that way, we start to become more attuned to the everyday sources of pleasure around us — and the emotional tone of our life can shift in profound ways.

 

In Ariana Huffington’s book Thrive, she writes that “Gratitude works its magic by serving as an antidote to negative emotions. It’s like white blood cells for the soul, protecting us from cynicism, entitlement, anger, and resignation.” But that’s not all. Here are some other meaningful ways gratitude journaling has been proven to help. Take a look and get out your pen to start journaling, because this is powerfully good stuff.  

 

    • Lowers Stress Levels 
    • Helps you gain a new perspective of what is important to you and what you truly appreciate in your life.
    • By noting what you are grateful for, you gain clarity on what you want to have more of in your life, and what you can cut from your life. Having that vision is the first step to achieving the reality of it.  
    • Helps you focus on what really matters.
    • It helps you learn more about yourself and become more self-aware.
    • When you make your gratitude journal a safe zone, for your eyes only, you can write anything you feel without judgment. 
    • It Increases Positivity – When you take the time to focus on the good things in your life you naturally become more positive.
    • It improves self-esteem – Keeping a journal is a very personal activity and allows you to be present with your own achievements.
    • It helps you sleep better – Spending just 15 minutes before bed writing down a few grateful sentiments can help you have a much better night’s sleep.
    • Dr. Caroline Leaf, a neuroscientist has shown that negative thoughts actually change the brain chemistry and structure. Gratitude causes your brqin to release neurotransmitters and neurohormones that will boost mood, focus, clear thinking and activates a flow of quantum energy through the brain and body, enhancing both mental and physical health. 
    • It makes you happier – Showing gratitude means you are acknowledging the goodness in your life and by writing these things down you are able to feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, and build stronger relationships.

 

  • On days when you feel blue, read back through your gratitude journal to readjust your attitude and remember that you have great people and things in your life.

 

 

Our Raw Sugar Living Daily Ritual

You only need to do a cursory google search on daily rituals to get some really interesting ways successful people structure their day and stick to a set of rituals — or habits — that ground them and give their day structure. Daily rituals can be anything you do on the regular, from mindset to self care practices. Benjamin Franklin started his day day with the question “What good shall I do this day?”. There are serious dry-brushing devotees, but here at Raw Sugar Living, we have our own little routines that help us face the day feeling beautiful, refreshed and good-to-go.  

 

Generally we like to wake up before the sun so we have a sense of peace and a little extra time to nurture our bodies. And before we hit the shower, have warm water with some lemon or tea and spend 10 minutes deep breathing and or doing gentle stretching to wake up our bodies. 

 

Shower. Here’s where the good stuff comes in.  

—We start the shower with whatever our favorite smelling Body Wash is for that day. We keep a few in the shower so we can match our mood to our scent. The Cold Pressed essential oils and botanicals in our products turn the shower into an aromatherapy and mood lifting experience. Our current go-to is the new White Grapefruit + Rosemary scent for days when we want that spa-like, uplifting and fresh feel. 

— Use a Sugar Scrub to exfoliate. Especially now when skin is dry from winter weather. It gives our skin a smooth, refreshed look and leaves the most velvety veil of moisture on our skin so it has that dewy glow to it.  

— We keep a lip scrub in the shower to exfoliate our lips too.  

— Detox the hair. Our new Scalp Therapy collection helps us remove all the junk thats accumulated on our scalp, like product build-up and pollution residue that hinders the growth of long, strong hair. The activated charcoal and tea tree extracts, lift that out, leaving our hair and scalp super clean and totally revived without stripping it of the essential oils we need for shine and vibrancy.  

— Out of the shower we moisturize. Hydration is a biggie with us. Both internally and externally. Right now with the weather, we’re all about Body Butter to make us feel extra moisturized and protected against the lack of moisture in the air.  

— Hands get a little extra love and attention with our Micro Algae Hand Cream, made with a progressive blend of Algae, Sea Kelp and Ashwaganda Root extracts plus skin plumping hyaluronic acids and nourishing plant peptides for an anti-aging and skin softening boost. 

 

—Before we head out the door, and all throughout the day, we swipe on our current favorite flavor of Natural Lip Balm, like the yummy Raw Coconut + Mango to soften, soothe and protect our lips with their 95% organic formula.  

 

Our daily ritual gives us the confidence of a totally clean body, a beautifully fresh smell and feel and revived spirit to take on our day.  

Ingredient Spotlight: Cucumber

We love them in our water and our sushi rolls, but cucumbers are so much more than a refreshing bite. They have so many beauty benefits, i.e, the standard cool cucumbers placed over our eyes as a post-late night remedy for puffy eyes. They have the ability to de-puff, cool, soothe and nourish our skin… but there’s more! Cucumber extract contains enzymes, vitamins and minerals essential for strong cell growth and repair. They can help revitalize skin. Here are just a few more benefits of cucumber as an ingredient in your favorite self-care products.

Cucumbers have a high water content and are a natural moisturizer.

They soothe skin. The cooling effect soothes dry, inflamed and even sunburned skin.

Cucumber extracts reduce inflammation and help protect skin from oxidative stress.

The peel contains natural silica that helps firm sagging skin.

Cucumbers contain phytochemicals that help in the production of collagen, so it helps boost skin elasticity and youthfulness.

The Benefits of Maqui Berry

If you have zero idea what a Maqui Berry is, you are not alone. Maqui Berries are the newest discovery in the superfood family. They are indigenous bright purple, wild berries of Chile, mainly harvested by native Indians and used for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes.  But the discovery of Maqui berries to the world at large is a newer phenomenon and the impact is huge.   

 

Consider this.  Acai berries contain ten times more antioxidant vitamins than grapes, and twice as many as blueberries. The Maqui berry is reported to have an antioxidant level 4 to 30 times higher than the average Acai berry, basically making it the most superior of all the superfoods.  

 

Maqui Berries have amazing healthy and nutritional benefits, but they’re also a super food for your skin.  For starters, the high levels of potent antioxidants have a profound effect on skin in their ability to help fight free radicals that cause premature aging. Free radicals can cause DNA damage and lead to wrinkles and fine lines. Not only does the Maqui Berry help prevent that, but nourishes skin, providing a more radiant and youthful complexion. It also helps repair damaged proteins to protect and promote skin elasticity.  

All this makes you understand why our Pineapple + Maqui Berry + Coconut line has become a fan favorite and we just introduced the new Pineapple + Maqui Berry + Coconut Body Wash. The benefits are big and the scent is amazing. Try it here.

Affordable Self-Care

Spa days, massages, facial treatments and expensive, trending beauty products are all part of magical self care rituals, but self care doesn’t have to be a splurge to have meaning and be effective. In fact, the best kind of self care are often the consistent things we can do from home, any day of the week and where cost isn’t a factor.

We’ve curated a list of some of the best low cost or no-cost self care ideas. Plan something just for you, every day and the benefits of loving and caring for yourself will keep growing. You deserve this.

•Meditation or breathing exercises for 10 minutes after waking. This will help center you, set your intentions and set the tone for your entire day. Even better if you think of 3 things you’re grateful for while you’re at it.

•Take a bath. Baths are so restorative both physically and mentally. Add some of our incredibly affordable Bath Fizzes, Foaming Bath or detoxifying Unfiltered Salt Soak for a special treat. The plant-derived ingredients nourish your skin while the scents uplift your spirits and refresh your soul.

•Deep condition your hair. How often do you use a masque on your hair? Give yourself an extra 10-15 minutes before you shower and use a face mask along with a hair masque to deep condition and restore your hair’s life and shine. Good hair days are pure confidence.

•Unplug. Turning off the phone for a period of time every day will quickly become addictive. At first, you may have a minor freak out, but when you see the world does not end when you unplug, you’ll come to relish the time unattached to responding and reacting.
•Eat intentionally. Is the food you put in your mouth caring for your body or is it a craving? Choose to cook yourself a warm, delicious meal instead of reaching for the craving that may or may not be an emotional reaction. Your eating will become more and more conscious every time you thoughtfully choose what to put in your body. Weekly meal prepping is also a great way to show yourself some serious love.
•Stargaze. Wrap yourself up in a blanket or jacket and go out at night and watch the stars. Dream. Imagine. Wonder. Just be.

•Be in nature. Go for a walk, sit in the grass and look at flowers growing. Hug a tree, even. Nature is the soul’s most inspiring friend.

•Wash with an uplifting scent. All our products are formulated to fill your senses with touch, texture and scent. An uplifting scent that fills your shower and makes you take a deep breath of something beautiful is such a boost to your day. Smelling good and facing the world clean is the ultimate self-care and confidence boost.

•Buy yourself flowers or pick them wild. Don’t wait for someone else to bring them. Be your own secret admirer.

 

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Guide to Plant Based Diets

 

You’ve heard the Vegan buzz.  There are plant based “burgers” in your supermarket meat aisle and major fast food chains are beefing up their veg options.  So if you’re thinking about a plant based diet, here’s just a glimpse into what that means and why you may want to try it.  

 

There are a lot of reasons to go plant based.  Overall better health and energy, avoiding chronic illness, helping the environment and maintaining a healthy weight are all by-products of following a whole food plant based diet.  GREAT reasons to give it a try. But make sure you follow a WHOLE FOOD plant based diet and don’t get into the trap of thinking French Fries, vegan donuts and pastas (both plant based) are going to give you better health.  

  

When you focus on whole foods that means basing your diet on natural foods that aren’t heavily processed.  Plant based means foods that come from plants, and don’t include animal ingredients such as meat, milk and dairy products in general.   

 

Here’s a quick rundown on the basic types of foods you can eat on a whole food, plant based diet: 

 

Vegetables: Every kind of vegetable is encouraged with the exception of white potatoes as the mainstay of your diet.  Let’s be real. If we thought we could get by on mashed potatoes or fries, we’d all do it.  

 

Fruits:  Every type of fruit is allowed.  

 

Tubers: Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, etc.  All good! 

 

Whole grains: grains, quinoa, brown rice, millet, whole wheat, whole oats, barley, buckwheat, etc. are part of a plant based diet but in conjunction with other whole foods like vegetables and legumes or you’ll find yourself in an unbalanced,  major carb-overload situation. 

 

Legumes:  Beans of any kind, plus lentils are a great source of protein.  

 

Other Misc:  Tempeh, Tofu, seeds and nuts are all allowed.  Keep in mind, nuts are really high in calories, so keep nuts, nut based milks and butters as a snack or addition to meals instead of a mainstay if you have weight issues.  

 

Another good idea, and something practiced by vegan athletes, is to supplement with a good quality protein supplement once a day, especially if you want to build muscle.  

If you’re ready to look into plant based further, some great resources can be found online at ForksOverKnives.com , health.harvard.edu  and NerdFitness.com

Solo Date Night Ideas.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha 

 

The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. So if you find yourself single this Valentine’s Day, embrace it and use the opportunity to connect with yourself on a totally new level. Focus on the positive aspects of flying solo. Find the beauty in solitude. Be brave. Treat yourself. Be completely selfish and enjoy the gift of having time just for you.  

 

Here are some great ways to show yourself some love on a date night for one.  

 

  • Have a self-care day. Walk in nature. Take a bath. Meditate. Cook for yourself. Take one full day to just care for you with special products that make you smell good and feel good, music that lights your soul and food that nourishes you. 

 

  • Take a new exercise class. Sign up for yoga, dance, pilates or a new cycling class. Try something different and embrace the challenge of moving in new ways.   

 

  • Find a fun workshop, special event or take a cooking class. Trying new things and meeting new people may light a spark that lasts much longer than a day.   

 

  • Get inspired. See art. Go to the theater. See a movie. Art inspires creative thinking and reminds you that we live in a big, beautiful world.  

 

  • Movie Marathon: Snuggle up. Make popcorn, pick a couple of the Oscar contenders and watch the ones you missed.  

 

  • Book a spa day. Getting a massage or a facial will do wonders for your soul. Hang out. Steam. Order a glass of champagne. You deserve it.  

 

  • Do something kind for someone else. Plan to do something special for a neighbor or co-worker. Bake something sweet for friends.  Just showing some love to others is honoring your best self.  

 

  • Sight see in your own town. Make a day of seeing all the sights in your own town you never get a chance to see. Book a table at the hottest restaurant. Take your camera with you for the full tourist vibes.  

 

  • Give your bedroom a refresh. Why not spend a day making your room a prettier place to be? Buy some new bedding or pillows for the bed. An update in an instant uplift.  

 

  • Table for one. Be brave. Eating alone can often feel awkward, but if you really embrace it, make an event out of it and savor it, it can be an incredibly powerful experience.  

 

  • Buy yourself flowers. Your favorites. Bunches of them. You know what you like.  

 

  • Give yourself a mini-makeover. Buy a new dress, go to the makeup counter for new spring colors and then go out for a cocktail at the swankiest bar in town.  

 

Whatever you do, remember, time alone can be empowering in your quest for the ultimate love affair — the one you have with yourself. Enjoy it.  

 

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A little Raw Sugar Love

Crafted and produced in sunny SoCal, Raw Sugar Living is a natural lifestyle brand on a mission to promote clean and healthy living through products that are good for the body and nourish the soul.

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