As the commercial goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” Back to school can be exciting, liberating and fun — or, if you’re not prepared, it can be a major fail. Getting organized now will help you and your kids start strong and set the tone for a best-in-class year ahead.
1. Get back on your sleep schedule, NOW. There’s nothing quite like a summer send off with a pool party that ends at midnight and you have to be up at 6am to catch the bus. Take the week before school starts and get serious about a firm bed-time and wake-up time. It’s not easy, but oh-so-worth it when the alarm goes off on day one.
2. Shop for School Supplies, Together. The togetherness of shopping gives you a chance to have a relaxed conversation about the excitement and trepidation concerning the year ahead. It also gives your children a chance to show their own personality and invest in the year by choosing their own supplies. Buh-bye meltdown over the wrong color folder or the uncool lunch box you bought.
3. Fill out the forms. And we don’t mean the night before. You want to set a good example for your kids by being on top of paperwork yourself. Get a folder for papers you have to return on the first day and make sure you have copies of all immunizations and other records you may need. A+ parenting is all about planning ahead.
4. Shop for school clothes early. The earlier you shop, the less drama and less chance of sizes being sold out. Take stock of what you have before you go and make a list of must-haves. For a built-in teaching moment, make a pact to donate old and outgrown clothing before you bring anything new into the house. Your kids will learn a good habit of donating and learn that not having old items around frees your mind and physical space for new things.
5. Make a plan for meal time. The end of summer is time to establish the eating habits that will take you through the school year as well. Plan as many nights as you can for family meals even if you have to pick up takeout— the consistency will help you bond and open the channels to good communication. Conversations that happen at the dinner table are precious moments. Don’t miss this powerful time of creating a routine with benefits far beyond nutritional value.
There’s a definite buzz in the beauty industry to stay away from sulfates and parabens in your hair products. As consumers, we know we’re supposed to avoid them like the plague, but what are they?
First, let’s tackle parabens. Parabens are chemicals that are made to give products a longer shelf life. They’ve been used since the 50’s to prevent bacteria and act as a preservative in shampoos and other products like deoderant, lotions, lipsticks and scrubs. Studies have shown that parabens can mimic the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells and have been found in breast tumors. However, scientists stop short of actually saying that parabens are the cause of breast cancer.
Sulfates are the detergents responsible for the super-sudsy lather you get out of most shampoos. So why are they bad? They can strip the hair of natural oils and proteins that make it look shiny and healthy. It can also cause premature fading of colored hair and keratin treatments. In addition, if sulfates are not thoroughly rinsed from your skin they can over strip it of skin oils leaving you dry and prone to allergic reactions. Even more alarming, sulfates were found to break down proteins, which can lead to a degenerative effect on the cell membranes. Sulfates were also found to leave residue in the heart, lungs, and brain.
No matter what, chemicals are chemicals and if they appear to pose any risk at all to your health — and your hair — is it worth it? There are far too many natural, sulfate-free and paraben-free products to have to worry about the side effects. We say lather up knowing you’re not risking your health or your hair color.
We use them to speak truth, eat yummy food and to kiss the ones we love. We use them to laugh and to smile — yet the all-important lips are often left out of our beauty routine. Its time your lips got a beauty upgrade because a consistent lip regimen will not only give you a prettier pout, it can prevent premature aging, soften skin and add to the overall vibrance and glow of your face.
Lets face it. No one likes looking at lips that are cracked, dry and chapped so step number one is to use an all natural gentle lip scrub for exfoliation of dead skin. Look for a scrub that does double duty with moisturizing ingredients like macadamia nut butter or coconut oil to hydrate while you exfoliate.
Use a balm. The very word balm means anything that heals or soothes. A balm is basically a salve for your smile. Keep it on your countertop to remind you to swipe it on whenever you walk by. We like our balms chock full of hydrating and restorative ingredients like macadamia nut and shea butter, vitamin E, virgin coconut, jojoba oil and other plant based essential oils to lock in moisture.
Doing these two simple things will have a profound effect on loving your lips, your life, your smile and your glow. Kiss. Kiss.
The long, warm days of summer in LA call for a short list of cool things to do after work, on weekends. Think of it as a summer staycation or if you’re from somewhere else, add these to you vacay agenda.
Here are our top 5 picks of places to see and be seen in and around LA from power hikes to pool parties.
Watch a movie among Hollywood’s departed.
It isn’t summer in L.A. until the first cemetery screening brings movie-lovers to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, toting folding chairs, picnic blankets, snacks and lots of booze. Watch classic cult favorites at the hallowed resting place of Hollywood greats like Rudolph Valentino and Bugsy Siegel. It’s an L.A. rite of passage, a quintessential summer experience and one of the best outdoor film venues in the city. Movies play through August 24.
Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl.
Take in live music at this gorgeous outdoor amphitheatre. In the summer, it’s home to the L.A. Phil, but this summer, you can hear everyone from Tchaikovsky to Death Cab for Cutie, Lionel Richie and Chaka Khan to Michael McDonald. Best of all? You can bring wine to almost every performance. Check HollywoodBowl.com for tickets and info.
Hike to the Hollywood Sign.
Have you really been to LA if you haven’t done this yet? There are three routes ranked from easy to difficult; the Mt. Hollywood Trail, the Brush Canyon Trail and the Cahuenga Peak Trail, all offering stunning views of the Hollywood sign as you trek the rolling hills of the Santa Monica Mountains.
The western frontier of Griffith Park offers hikers the closest encounter with the sign —which, by the way, is off limits to human hands — and is just below the Ridgeline at the 1708 summit of Mt. Lee. On the longest hike, you can ascend above and behind the sign’s 45’ tall aluminum letters and on a clear day, see the blue pacific winking at you. The trails are open the same hours of Griffith Park, 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset.
It’s not the same thing…
Your once glowy skin is suddenly a little dull and tired looking. So what’s the culprit? Dry skin or dehydrated? They are definitely not one and the same.
Dry skin refers to a “type” of skin that lacks oil and needs to be moisturized. Dehydrated refers to a condition where the skin lacks water and needs to be hydrated.
The sudden appearance of exaggerated wrinkles, redness, lots of congestion and inflammation along with darker circles are common signs of dehydration while dry skin tends to be uncomfortable, rough, flaky and even itchy.
While there’s no “cure” for dry skin, there are things you can do to help. Exfoliation helps moisturizer sink in more effectively and using a richer night cream is a good idea.
You can fix dehydration fairly quickly with some lifestyle changes. Water is essential to making it look more plump and bouncy so drink up. In addition, eat a water-rich diet of fruits, veggies, and good fats and use a humidifier.
Remember, skin is the last organ to receive the nutrients we consume which means the last to get the water you drink. 8 glasses is just a start. Cheers!
EAT LESS MEAT.
The single most effective action you can take to combat climate change is to stop eating meat, or at least, eat less of it. Red meat is the real culprit, producing 5 times more emissions than poultry counterparts.
You don’t have to become a vegetarian, but eating meat less frequently will significantly help the environment. Make it fun by declaring Meatless Mondays and Veggie Wednesdays. Every meatless meal helps reduce your footprint.
We don’t just mean put your tech away — we mean unplug the chargers too. ALL electronics suck energy when they’re plugged in, EVEN IF they’re powered down. It’s called “vampire power.” Anytime a cord is plugged into a socket, it’s drawing energy – so although your device isn’t charging, you’re still contributing to your carbon footprint. Leave your electronics unplugged at all times, unless you’re actually using them.
Choose leg power over horsepower. Public transport over individual rides. Any time you choose to walk, bike, or take the bus – you’ll be making an easy decision with immediate benefits on the environment. Not to mention, leaner, stronger legs are an added bonus. If you can’t avoid driving, make sure you make lists and group outings so you’re being more efficient on the road — and in life.
PLANT A GARDEN.
Hear this: Plants absorb carbon dioxide. Planting trees or a garden will clean your air, give you shade and nourish your body. Whether you live in a house or an apartment, planting some greens will absolutely reduce your carbon footprint. So get your hands dirty — whether it’s by planing some bee-friendly flowers, a few trees, or a vegetable garden. Mother Earth will love you for it.
Whenever possible, try to eat local, in-season produce. Sticking to foods that are grown locally, in your own city or surrounding area, helps to reduce the carbon footprint created by shipping foods from elsewhere. The closer it’s grown to you, the better. Shop local farmer’s markets or look for “locally grown” signs at your grocery store. The less that you food has to travel, the smaller your carbon footprint.
Benefits of using a daily scrub in summer.
Your skin goes through a lot in summer — from too much sun exposure to sweating through the warm summer days. Using a gentle and nourishing skin scrub to exfoliate at least once a week will help you break out of your dry and dull skin rut and leave you fresh, revived, nourished and glowing.
If you’re using a daily scrub, make sure the one you choose is gentle and contains pure, essential ingredients that will help, not harm summer sensitive skin.
Daily Scrub Benefits:
- Gets rid of dead and dry skin cells, revealing smoother softer skin
- Increases blood circulation and reduces toxins in the lymphatic system which helps skin renew and maintain glow
- Helps relieve clogged pores
- Reduces ingrown hair potential
Eating organically can make you look and feel better. GMO’s and pesticides have built themselves quite a home in our food supply, and chronic illnesses have seen an increase in the years since. Going organic allows you make sure what you’re putting in is exactly what nature intended. Not to mention, most people think organic tastes better too.
So which fruits and veggies should you focus on when buying organic? The Environmental Working Group has a guide to the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15” which lists the fruits and vegetables most — and least impacted by chemicals.
For the biggest nutritional impact, cook your organic fruits and veggies less or better yet, eat them raw. The nutritional boost with leave you glowing from the inside out.
Try the two easy summer recipes below that require no cooking to beat the summer heat and get you glowing, organically.
The Dirty Dozen
The Clean 15
Frozen Sweet Peas
Summer Watermelon and Feta Salad with Cucumber and Mint: Serves 2
1/4 watermelon diced into bite-sized chunks
1/2 organic cucumber, diced into bite-sized chunks
2 ounces organic feta, crumbled
1 Tbsp. Organic extra virgin olive oil
4-5 fresh organic mint leaves, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Toss the watermelon and cucumber together in a large bowl. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Whisk olive oil, lime juice and black pepper, drizzle on top. Sprinkle the chopped mint leaves over the salad as a garnish.
Acai Morning Breakfast Bowl:
1 packet of frozen organic acai berry
2 heaping handfuls of organic spinach
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
dash of cinnamon
ice as needed to thicken
Simply add all ingredients into your Vitamix or high-speed blender until thick and creamy. The texture should be very thick, if too thick then add more almond or coconut milk.
If you stick a spoon into the mixture the mixture should be able to be thick enough to stay on the spoon, if not add ice or more frozen bananas. Eat right after making!
“Stop being so sensitive!”
Tips to keep sensitive skin refreshed this summer.
If your skin is angry, thirsty, irritated or just plain sensitive, there are things you can do to help it stay calm and cool this summer.
First, treat the products that go on your skin like food. Look for nourishing, replenishing and soothing ingredients like raw Coconut, Avocado, Banana oil and plant based Almond milk that will feed your skin with naturally restorative ingredients.
Be gentle. Pat don’t rub. Go easy on exfoliation and look for products without harsh chemicals. Gentle exfoliation using natural ingredients can help remove dead skin cells and freshen up your natural glow. Intense treatments containing glycolic or salicylic acids will likely exacerbate dry, flaky skin and cause even more irritation.
Cool or lukewarm water means happier skin. Hot water strips the skin of natural oils, can leave your skin feeling even dryer and may lead to acne flares and skin irritation. No thank you.
Hydrate from the inside out and the outside in. Drink more fluids in the summer months to compensate for the warmer weather and just after a shower or bath, moisturize with naturally rich body butters and lotions. Remember, your skin is the largest organ of your body and since it is porous, it absorbs whatever you put on it. What you put on your skin should be as pure as what you put in your mouth.
Lastly, love your skin, no matter how sensitive it is. Its yours. Give it grace, be kind and treat it well. <3