Below are two of the articles I've read this week that I thought you might like to know about. Enjoy!

4 Scary Reasons to Make Your Own Skincare Products: 
51 Fantastic Uses for Baking Soda:

   When I went to pick up some tea tree oil for my oil mixture, supplements were on sale buy one get one free, so I picked up some tumeric capsules. I've been learning about all of the health benefits tumeric (active ingredient is curcumin), like relieving inflammation, reducing pain, preventing strokes, lowering risk for certain cancers,  is an antioxidant, and aids in skin health. 

   I thought, why not see if it does anything for me, especially since I often suffer from headaches, terrible periods and inflammation in my knees and my bad hip (I know, I know, I'm I blame my gymnastics and dancing past.) Plus, I got to try it out for free because of the sale.

   Tumeric can also reduce acne and improve the condition of skin when used in face masks. A tradtional Indian skin mask called peeti is used on a bride preparing for her wedding to give her a smooth, soft and glowing complexion. To read more about face masks with tumeric and watch a tutorial to make your own tumeric face mask go to:

And to read more about the health benefits of tumeric, both as a spice in food and as a supplement, go to:

  Please make sure to check if any prescription medications you are taking may have any interactions with tumeric. Tumeric can increase bleeding risk if you are taking a blood thinner because it is a natural anti-coagulant.

   I've been taking the supplement for two days now and I'll let you know if I see any improvement in my acne and my overall complexion.

   I've made some changes to the Health & Beauty Home page and I wanted to share them here, just in case you missed them. Below is an introduction to a new component of my blog: natural and alternative cosmetics. I'm really excited about this new direction and I hope you are, too! 

Expressions of Beauty

    I've always been fascinated with ancient beautification rituals and hygiene methods that were used by the likes of the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians. Many of our modern cosmetics were inspired by and evolved from the beauty recipes of those vibrant and healthy civilizations. 
   For individuals with sensitive skin, searching for a cure for acne or dry skin can often leave them feeling discouraged, their wallets empty and their skin no better or worse of than it was before. But there is a wonderful world of beauty recipes for skin, hair, and nails that still exists today that many people don't know much about. 
   Whether you want to use all natural products, reduce your budget, experiment, or just incorporate a couple alternative methods into your routine, there is a DIY natural beauty recipe out there for you!
    We've all heard about face masks with food items such as cucumbers, strawberries and yogurt but there is so much more that simple, natural ingredients can do for our bodies! 
    In my Health & Beauty blog, I want to share the fascinating information about natural cosmetics that can be made in your own home that really work! Not only do I share my experiences and opinions but also provide links to other sources of information so that you can form your own opinion and decide what is best for you. Aren't you a little bit curious? 
   The cosmetics industry often falls short of their purpose, using cheaper or "filler" ingredients to reduce production costs and increase profit. They make exaggerated and unrealistic claims in advertising that the typical person may not be able to achieve with their products and often use experimental ingredients, making the consumer a human guinea pig. Often times a cosmetic might produce results at first, but fall short of their long term claims, causing us to have to go back to the store to find another product...   
   Many people with sensitive skin have to take extra precautions to avoid certain chemicals contained in many hygiene products, some of which can irritate all skin types when used too often. While all hygiene care is trial and error to some degree, we live in a culture that lives and breaths to find the next miracle treatment without the cosmetic industry's full honesty on the science behind their money making products. 
   Also, there are plenty of cosmetic products that are overpriced and even unnecessary because they contain very effective ingredients such as essential oils and plant extracts (of course combined with additives) that can be used on their own or mixed with other simple ingredients to produce the same results (if not, better!). But if those companies were completely honest with the public, they would risk many people not buying it from them. *Gasp!*

   I hope I've piqued your interest and I'm excited to share the age old beauty "secrets" I've learned with you.

Timeline of a Craving


Also, here is a humorous compilation of illustrations I found today.

   So, last night's hair setting didn't work out as well as the last time. This time I obviously hadn't slept long enough for all of the sock curls to dry, and even after using a hair dryer on them, they still were more straight than I needed. The pin-curls were completely dry, but the method I used to style them did not turn out as expected.
Lol, it wasn't that bad.
   Basically, I wasn't creating an exact finger wave look, but I was doing something similar in order to incorporate my bangs into the whole look and to create soft curls/waves. Unfortunately, when I brushed the curls I was not able to tame down the frizziness like these two lovely ladies did. I'll definately try doing it again though.

   I think it was either that I didn't use the right type of product along with my hair being damp or that I didn't spend enough time brushing them into shape. 


   So, I ended up puting my hair in a side pony tail, but then the hair that had been sock-curled was practically straight along side the pin-curls. I took that out and used my handy-dandy much loved hairigami to make a bun.

The nice thing about the way my hair was, was the amount of volume it added to my bun. This isn't a very good picture of it, but my camera died before I could take another.

Off, I went to school.

     Tonight, I set my hair with sock curls on the bottom and pin curls on the top. I tried sock curling once before and it turned out much nicer than I expected. I read that the reason curls set over night hold their shape better than curling iron curls because the hair follicle actually dries bent, making the hair a different shape than usual. Because I have bangs that I like to keep relatively short, it can be challenging to incorporate my utterly straight bangs into curly hairstyles. 
     I tried to blend them into a longer section of hair using a curling product/conditioner and water to make them stay inside the other hair. It's a similar method to hiding bangs in victory rolls. Hopefully, they will stay in there shape until morning and not be sticking in funny directions! I'll try to remember to take a picture tomorrow.
   I'm finding interesting information on grape seed oil and I'll make a new post soon to keep you informed!
   Olive oil can do wonderful things for your skin, hair and nails, not to mention it has other practical uses for around your home. When used in an oil sprayer it can be used as a substitute for WD-40 and it can also be used to polish wood furniture in small amounts. The uses for olive oil seem to be endless, so why not use it in DIY skin care recipes as a cheap alternative to expensive commercial products. 
   Unfortunately, skin care companies often make claims that their products will do 'this or that' for you, only to leave your skin the same, only slightly better, or sometimes worse than before. All products are not useless, but as consumers, we're left gambling our money on products that may or may not do what they say they will. Also, some products contain skin irritants like certain fragrances and preservatives that people with sensitive skin or allergies can't use (not to mention there are certain chemicals we're not positive don't cause cancer). So, adding olive and other oils to your hygienic routine could dramatically improve your skin/hair problems while reducing your budget. 
   Using oils such as olive, tea tree, sesame, almond, sandalwood, chamomile, lavender, and sunflower oil can bring back the moisture balance for really dry spots on your body, soothe sunburns, strengthen damaged hair, treat acne, treat dandruff and more! Many types of oils have been used for centuries in countries all over the world. Perhaps you've heard of Cleopatra? 
   The Egyptian queen was famous for her beautiful complexion  and the regimen she used to maintain it. Honey, apple cider vinegar, milk, clay, aloe, various fruits and vegetables, and numerous oils were included in her beauty rituals. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and people of the East were just a few cultures that used these methods. Many of those same ingredients are used today in DIY recipes and even in commercial beauty products.
   Provided that your individual skin type responds well, plant based oils can be used as all over moisturizers using numerous methods. You can add them to a hot bath, rub them on your feet and wear socks for an overnight treatment, use them to soak your fingers to soften cuticles and strengthen nails, use them in place of shaving cream for soft and luxurious legs (really soft!), an (if you want to go natural all the way) use "The Oil Cleansing Method" for all over skin cleansing and moisturizing.  

Olive Oil as Shaving Cream
   I recently started using olive oil for shaving cream and I've experience awesome results! You can rub plain olive oil on your legs by itself, or add other ingredients to suit your needs.   I want to note that, while I've experience slightly dry skin in the past year, I am prone to breakouts and oily spots on various areas of my body. I have breakouts on my legs, back, and arms most of the time no matter what I use on my skin or what I do to it. So, at first, I tried this with skepticism and curiosity.

    Much to my delight, the skin on my legs is actually less broken out and my skin looks healthier with no overly dry or oily spots! As long as you don't use too much as a moisturizer on dry skin, it actually does not make your skin greasy like you might think. 

   In addition to using olive oil as shaving cream, I recommend exfoliating with at least a shower poof when you wash your skin to remove any dead skin cells/residue and to improve your sins circulation. 

   The first test batch I made, has lasted me longer than I thought it would because you don't need a lot of oil at one time, so I've only made one recipe thus far. I made a hybrid recipe from a few recipes circulating around the internet using olive oil, sesame oil, and almond extract. I first used it to wash my face using the "Oil Cleansing Method", but it's harder (takes longer) to use the steam of your shower and a hot wash cloth to get the oil out of your pores than I thought it would be. Then I used the batch to moisturize my dry ankles overnight. Now I'm using it for shaving cream. Here's my hybrid recipe.
                                                                  2 Tbs olive oil
                                                                  1 Tbs sesame oil
                                                                  3-5 drops almond extract
I put the ingredients in an extra small tupper-ware container, and shook it to mix the ingredients. Remember to shake the mixture before each use in order to make the ingredients evenly distributed.
Sesame Oil - Like many oils, it contains vitamin E, A, and B complex vitamins. These work together to moisturize and repair damaged cells, repairing dry skin and fine lines. It's easily absorbed.
Almond Extract - Softens skin, soothes and remedies flaky skin. Especially good for facial skin. The extract is great to add to other oil recipes, while almond oil can heal and soften skin on its own.


  There are also lots of natural alternatives for darkening and lightening hair color, both natural and dyed. I'm going to try out a deep conditioning treatment with cinnamon, which surprisingly lightens hair. I'll update you on the results later.

   I hope you enjoyed this topic and I plan on sharing more information with you! Have fun pampering yourself naturally! 

Photo Credits 
Italian Olive Oil And Bowl Set by Shari Weinsheimer
Almonds by Peter Griffin
Photo of Ingredients by Elizabeth McCallum
  I've been reading a lot about alternative uses for edible items such as olive oil, cocoa powder, eggs, chamomile tea, fruit and honey. For example, olive oil is a wonderful moisturizer for dry feet and elbows and you can even use it as a shaving cream. Eggs work wonders for skin and hair. And honey can actually be used as a lightening agent for hair.
  Below is an article on 13 different healing powers/uses for lemons. Check it out.

  The other day, Brennan started talking to me about people making and breaking habits. I happened to know some research about the topic and we had a great conversation. Though, we were including all types of habits surrounding different facets of one's lifestyle, most of the examples I came up with had to do with weight loss, diet and exercise. Another, example that came to mind was flossing and brushing your teeth.
  This conversation brought my mind back to how I started successfully losing weight in the first place by acquiring good daily habits and maintaining my state of mind surrounding them. But I also thought about the amount of time it took me to pick off my good habits one by one last year, until my daily habits are almost unrecognizable. There were some habits that lasted longer than others (like eating oatmeal and an apple most mornings for breakfast) and others that just fizzled out within a week of me falling off the wagon (like during a summer vacation).

Below is a link to one kind of habit tracking chart I found on Google. I'm going to print some out for Brennan and I and I'll let you know which habits we each choose to track. I know one of mine will be exercising.

  One thing I know, is that becoming a healthier person doesn't happen over night, but instead occurs when you add information and tactics to your lifestyle little by little. I did this by reading information and watching shows like "The Biggest Loser" and "Dr. Oz" and health documentaries like "Chow Down." (Chow Down is a great documentary about heart disease and plant based diets. It can be found on Hulu!)
  Also, watching certain shows to scare you into good habits isn't a bad idea either! Haha
  Everyone is different, so the articles that may help one person, may not help information click for you or inspire you. So below are a few different places to start. Most of the information is similar but its laid out differently and includes different points. Use the ones that will help you.

Tips for Breaking Bad Habits & Developing New Ones
The Catch-22 of Forming Habits
Creating a Pleasant Morning Routine
How to Maintain Not-Quite-Daily Habits
How to Form Healthy Habits
What Are Healthy Habits?
Healthy Daily Habits
Why is it Important to Exercise & Have Healthy Eating Habits?
  Ask Men Magazine
Top 10 Habits That Improve Your Appearance
Top 10 Habits That Ruin Your Appearance
Top 10 Habits That Make You More Productive
   Fitness Magazine
Exercise for Life - 9 Habits
7 Habits of Highly Effective Exercisers
9 Motivation Rut Busters
Breakfast Recipes for Every Morning