Friday, March 29, 2013

Small Sacrifices, Big Benefits: Part 2/3

I hope you tried to incorporate some of the "sacrifices" I mentioned in last week's post and your body is thanking you for it :). This week I want to talk about another set of small sacrifices that will benefit your mind. 

For your mind:

- "Sacrifice" your television watching by 20%. Give that time to your mind to just rest- without meaningless chatter, background noises, or that flickering light from the TV. If you watch an hour of TV a day, cut it short by 12 minutes. Dedicate those 12 minutes to your mind instead to relax, rejuvenate and even rejoice! I think this might be a good anti-aging trick as well ;) Your eyes and ears will thank you too!

- Let laziness take the back seat (that's where it wants to be anyway!) "Sacrifice" your laziness to learn something new. As we have all heard, the mind is like a machine- it needs to be used as well as cared for to function properly, otherwise it will rust. So even though you should conscientiously take the time to let your mind rest, as mentioned above, doing so will make it perform better and stay in shape. 

Sharpen your mind by learning, discovering and solving things/issues that are a little beyond your comfort zone. If you start doing it now, you will recall this blog post when you are 93, (because your brain will be sharp enough to do so!) and you will thank me :) Jokes aside, mental stimulation is key in Alzheimer's and Dementia prevention.

- Exercise your way to a better mind. Yes, exercise. The link above actually ranks exercise as the number one of keeping your mind healthy. So "sacrifice" the desire to park right in front of the grocery store or the gym and instead park as far as possible. You can squeeze exercise into your day in many ways. 

Please share some "sacrifices" that bring big benefits to your life. I would love to hear them and incorporate them in my life :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Small Sacrifices, Big Benefits: Part 1/3

Best things come is small packages and so do big benefits. If we make the tiniest change in our habits we will see their effects add up overtime. Here is a quick list of "sacrifices" for your overall well-being. This week we will focus on the body and next week I will talk about small sacrifices for the sake of your mind and your soul.

For your body:


Sacrifice drinking cold water for room temperature water. You will notice that you drink a lot more and we all know the advantages of drinking more water (need a refresher, click here.)Also, I have heard that the Chinese don't drink cold water, in fact, they drink hot water because they believe it is better for your body. So drink up, room temperature water that is :)

If you drink alcohol a few times a week, start by "sacrificing" one alcoholic drink for tea/coffee, cranberry or grapefruit juice. Milk anyone?:)


If you are a smoker, start by sacrificing that one cigarette in your day or week and when you feel ready build up the count from there. A dear friend of mine (ehem, no names will be mentioned) always says to me, "But I smoke only one cigarette a day,"  and my response to that is always the same, "that means you smoke seven a week and 365 cigarettes a year!" See what I mean about things adding up? Surely, you see the danger of smoking 365 cigarettes, don't you? 


Last night when I had baked some cookies for dessert I made one less than I usually do. Even though I always want four (yes, I'm a cookie addict, I know) but I don't ever make more than three and yesterday I made just two! Yay me! Maybe I should get a cookie for being so good ;) Kidding! Joke. The point is, just make the smallest of changes and you will see the difference. Eat two less pieces of french fries, one spoon less of ice cream, one bite less of pizza and one morsel less of rice. Maybe you can even sacrifice half of a decadent dessert for some fresh, seasonal fruit instead? Sweet fruit is really yummy and can be very satisfying. A sweet sacrifice indeed :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Be in a good place.

A lot of us are in search of utopia. We keep wishing for things to be a certain way for our lives to be perfect. Perfection is boring, and may even be impossible at times. Let good be good enough and you will be much happier.

Pause for a second and count the things that are "pretty good" in your life. I think you will need more than just a second :).  I can tell you that when my husband walks through the door, or my son finishes his food, or I get a hairstyle right in one go, I'm in a good place ;) 

Here are some (more substantial) ways to be in a good place:

- Don't reminisce over the past too much. Nostalgia can be good sometimes but not when it holds you back from connecting with your present and your future.
- Connect with your community, build a bond and get involved. There are cool people everywhere, after all you are there too, aren't you?
- When you build a support system for yourself it becomes easier to not brood over the "good old days"; you will think more about the "good upcoming days."
- Feel good about yourself; dress better, eat better, live better! 
- Workout in a class and get motivated by your instructor. My spin instructor, Sherresa, says, "If it doesn't serve you, it has no place inside of you." So exhale and get the negative energy out :)  
- But before you exhale, breath some fresh air in. Step outside and do it.
- Love those that are around you and show gratitude for the value they add to your life.
- Is there someone you'd rather do without? Well, still be grateful that they taught you the difference between those who perk you up and those who drain you out.
- And always remember, no matter how bad it is, it could be a lot worse - so enjoy the present and quit the complaining.

Life is sweet and salty and sometimes bitter but after this post we have agreed to focus only on the sweet and salty, right? Try a combination of that in your next meal, something like chocolate ice cream with a pretzel cone, trail mix, chicken or fish with a pineapple and brown sugar glaze; let your imagination run wild...and come back and share the recipes :)

What makes your life "pretty good"?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Best Beauty Buys For Your Buck

Taking care of your mind and body is important and the process is also co-dependent. When your mind feels good, your body behaves positively and when your body is in good shape, or you look good, then your mind is happier and functions better.  Today, I want to talk about some beauty products that have made my body feel and look great.
In the forest of beauty products it is hard to find a tree that bears the right fruit. After spending hundreds on department store and even drug store brands I have realized that very few products are worth their price. Spending more hasn't always shown me the results that I wanted. After going through scores of products I think I can finally narrow down 10 of my favorites that REALLY work. Some I discovered out of curiosity and some were recommended by family and friends. Bear in mind that I have normal/dry skin so if you have oily skin you might want to look for a version of the product best suited for you.

I'll start in ascending order, cheapest to most expensive :)

1) e.l.f Essential Brightening Eye Liner

First things first, it costs a $1. One dollar, people! What can you get for a dollar these days, except for maybe this fabulous eye pencil. Those who know me in person know that I never leave my room without my eyes lined in kohl so I take eye liners seriously. This pencil goes on smooth, doesn't smudge easily AND comes with a sharpener- win win! It is also available in 5 other colors, which I will be trying soon.

2) Maybelline Baby Lips

They cost $3 a pop and I have never met a better lip balm. You can get one with a slight tint or just a plain one but which ever one you choose, you will end up with truly baby soft lips. The tinted ones gave lips a sheer color but didn't rub off on my sweet baby boy's cheeks when I kissed him. Genius. I have tried the peppermint (lime green stick) and the cherry one (red stick) and they are both wonderful. I also tired the peach one (purple stick) but because I am brown, it looked a little chalky on me - if you are light skinned, it should look just fine.

3) Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner

Who doesn't want touchable, soft and beautiful locks? I know I do! I have tried expensive brands but this one will show you the difference with just one wash. The regular sized bottle costs about $3 and would be worth every penny even if it was priced at $6. I also like the fact that it doesn't smell overwhelmingly of coconut - it has a nice refreshing smell; a balance between fruity and floral toned down by a hint of something clean. Love it.

4) Bath and Body Works: True Blue Spa Walnut Shell Smoothing Foot Scrub & True Blue Spa Super Rich Foot Cream in Shea Butter

$15 each and the best thing for your feet! Another product that shows results in the first use. Say goodbye to rough soles and cracked heels. The scrub just dissolves on your feet (you don't need a pumice stone) and the cream is non-sticky and super rich.

5) Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Splash Away Foaming Cleanser

It's meant for normal/combination skin but works perfectly on my dry skin too. Squeaky clean results with a small dollop - I use a pea-sized drop and work into a lather. Clean, clean, clean! Costs $20.

6) Oil of Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting "CC" Cream

At about $24, it is so much better than your average BB cream. My mother has been using Oil of Olay products since before I was born and her skin is the living proof of how well Olay products work. This little bottle gives skin all the benefits of a BB and then some. No need to carry several bottles of primer, serum, moisturizer, foundation, SPF….jeez, out of breath- Yay for Olay CC!!

7) Origins Never A Dull Moment

or a dull spot on your face! Light up the room with your freshly polished face. Use a small (dime-sized amount) of this scrub once to twice a week and reduce the frequency of facials - it's that good! Costs $27.

8) Chanel Lotion Doceur - Gentle Hydrating Toner


Yes, Chanel is good at everything it does and no beauty product line-up would be complete without at least one Chanel product. Why pay $45 for fragrant water, you ask? Because it is so much more. The days you don't use a scrub or even a cleanser, use the toner to clean, hydrate and replenish you skin. Leaves face feeling fresh, clean but never tight.

9) Clairisonic  Mia Sonic Cleaning System

Costs between $100-$120 depending on where you buy it but it is a blessing for your face. There are other similar products available in the market but this definitely the best. It cleans gently yet effectively and comes with a charger so you don't ever have to worry about batteries.

10) I don't have one! I want your recommendations on a lipstick, bronzer and mascara. My jury is still out on those. Let's hear about your favorites! :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

It's called birthDAY, not birthSaturday

It's called birthDAY for a reason; it's the day you were born, so go ahead and celebrate that day - even if it falls on a Tuesday.

I can hear my readers saying, 'But not everyone can party with me on a Tuesday!" Do not despair, why not have two celebrations? One on your birthDAY and then one on that Saturday. Two parties are always better than one!

Of course, there are a million ways to celebrate, read Sarah Van Borgen's blog post A million ways to celebrate your birthday (or 12) however, cutting a cake should definitely be a permanent feature for any birthday celebration. In my household, we always cut a cake for everyone's birthday, no matter how young or old. It doesn't have to be a big cake, a cupcake would do (although, I say the bigger the better.)

So celebrate the day you were born, give it the significance it deserves. After all, the world was graced with your presence :)

This year my birthday is on a Sunday - I guess it would have to be a party weekend! Woot! Woot! :)

Here is some eye candy, or shall I say cake? Enjoy. And please share how you like to celebrate your birthday.