January 29, 2012
Winter means hibernation, rejuvenation and renewal. Then how come this season, for most of us equals more stress, more anxiety and more colds? According to Nina Curtis, California based Wellness Consultant, it’s because, “We don’t know how to turn off.”
The majority of our problems and sicknesses can be traced back to our habits that we create in the bedroom; Sleep, are you getting enough?
Most adults have experienced insomnia or sleeplessness at one time or another in their lives. But an estimated 30%-50% of the general population is affected by insomnia, and 10% have chronic insomnia. Which means we are not getting enough sleep.
The truth is, sleep is the best beauty and anti-aging remedy we have available to us, and it is free. Yet so many women are overworked and have a difficult time turning the monkey brain down when it comes time to fall asleep. Nina Curtis, The Grand Del Mar’s Wellness Consultant, shares tips to help you get the most out of a good night sleep.
The majority of us don’t breathe properly. In fact when people yawn it is not because they are tired, more often than not it is a signal that there is not enough oxygen going to the brain. When we breathe we are releasing carbon dioxide, which means that we don’t have enough balance in our flow of oxygen to the blood stream. Basically this means we are not getting enough oxygen to the brain, which makes us feel sleepier. Try to practice breathing in and releasing out to get more oxygen into your system. You can do this anytime and anywhere. As you breath out, hold and release for mini pulses. This will help create a more vigorous oxygen flow.
Drink Green Juice
The reason juicing and drinking your greens is so popular these days is because it really works. It is an excellent way to get your vitamins and healthy calories. The nutrients found in vegetables pumps straight into your body to make you a lean green sick-fighting machine. But who would have thought drinking your green juice would help you get more zzzzzz’s. According to Nina Curtis, this is one of the best tricks to help you during the winter. In the winter months we don’t sleep as much as we should, because we are stressed with work and life demands. We forget to get the nutrition our body needs to rebuild and repair itself. But drinking pure, healthy rich nutrient foods will help our body throughout the day and at night when we rest.
Nina’s Green Mean Fighting Machine Recipe:
4 stocks of celery
1 Fuji apple
1 cucumber (optional)
1-2 teaspoons of Spiriilina
Add Essential Oils & Tincture’s
Adding lavender into your daily diet will not only help you sleep better but it will balance you out. Lavender flowers are used to treat digestive problems, insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness. The balancing effects are in measurable. In the winter months many people get dehydrated and we do not drink enough water. But putting flavor in your water might help you consume more. A simple trick to feel more balanced and sleep better at night is to add lavender tincture (10-20 drops) in your water. Drinking lavender water is an excellent way to calm the body and mind. The Lavender ‘tincture’ is an infusion of the flowers in a mixture of water and alcohol vs. the distillation process used to make the essential oil.
Still having a tough time sleeping? Try these tips:
• Remove all technology, including bright alarm clocks
• Use a sleep mask
• Paint your walls (use muted cool colors that evoke relaxation)
• Unwind an hour before bed time
For more information about mastering sleep visit The Grand Del Mar Weekend Winter Wellness Retreat
~ Post by Shannon Kaiser
image: yogaeatrun.com/beautyandeverythingelse.com/The Grand Del Mar
Patience is a virtue, what about paying attention to the details? Perhaps being good with details is a virtue as well. This seems to be a well developed skill that could feasible take lifetimes to master. People fall into one of two categories, either you are great with details, or you are not. What about the spa community? When you visit a spa and they seemingly do not pay attention to the details, your entire experience could be lack luster and unmemorable.
But every once in awhile we have an opportunity to come across a spa that over delivers on every end of the wellness spectrum, from service, amenities to paying attention to the little details. We found our new favorite top-notch spa that has made mastering the details look simple. The Spa at The Grand Del Mar, in San Diego, California is a renaissance inspired spa that takes guests back to basics with organic earth inspired treatments.
From the moment you walk down the hallway corridor toward the spa, eucalyptus and lavender flood through the air. A warm gracious welcome at the front desk helps reinforce that this experience will be a rewarding and memorable one. As you are escorted to the private waiting area, luxury indulgence is right around the corner.
The Spa at The Grand Del Mar has mastered the integrate aspect of pampering down to a specific art. Everything in this oasis is catered to help indulge every sense to its maximum rejuvenating capacity. From the tantalizing of the taste buds with the sea salt dark chocolate carmels, and pineapple pistachio mini muffins, your mouth will be watering for more. Fresh orange water welcomes you as you rest in the waiting area.
If you prefer, you can relax in the eucalyptus infused sauna, or marble steam room. As you step out of the intense heat, your pores will be open and sinus’s will be cleared. After your exit the steam room you can wrap your face with an ice-cold cucumber washcloth.
The details of each treatment are unique as well. From highly trained perfected touch therapists, who create a unique treatment based on your current energy and needs. On site therapist, Vanessa Zunino, mix’s up a custom-blended herbal tea to relax you from the inside out.
Perhaps the immaculate attention to detail is derived from the top. British born, world reknown spa consultant, Anne Bramham is the The Spa at The Grand Del Mar’s consultant. She developed the unique treatment menu exclusively for this spa. Her inspiration came from the Renaissance appeal of rebirth and rejuvenation. Bramham explains that each treatment is a, “powerful treatment that can touch someone, I mean REALLY touch someone.”
Spa Director Jim Croghan describes that the entire staff is, “devoted to delivering a sublime experience of relaxation, renewal and restorative wellness. The Spa’s comprehensive programs and a la carte services are designed to reconnect guests with nature.”
The Spa at The Grand Del Mar uses’ enriching elements of the earth: warm mineral muds and clays, native herbs, soothing stones and calming botanicals, which are all found in our adjacent Los Peñasquitos Canyon.
Embracing the creative and rejuvenating spirit of the Renaissance, The Spa delivers a sublime experience of relaxed, renewed and restorative wellness.
- Shannon Kaiser
January 27, 2012
We at Healing Lifestyles & Spas are never without our lavender oil. For skin, hair, and overall well-being, not many essential oils can match its usefulness, versatility, and aromatherapy benefits. It also has many uses in the home. Next time you wash your sheets why not make it an organic experience by infusing your mattress, bed linens, and entire bedroom with the sweet and healing smell of lavender.
Interestingly enough, ancient Greeks and Romans used lavender as a disinfectant, antiseptic, and for washing their clothes, and in fact, centuries ago laundresses in England use to be known as “lavenders,” from the Latin meaning of lavender “to wash.” You can bring some of that ancient wisdom to your modern sleeping chamber by removing your bed linens, placing several drops of lavender oil in a spray bottle with water and spraying (or wiping) your mattress down with the mixture. When washing your bed linens, add a few drops of lavender oil to your final rinse cycle, or place a few drops of lavender oil on a cloth and throw it in the dryer with the bed linens. Before going to sleep at night re-spray the lavender spritz on your entire bed. Besides smelling divine, the relaxing and calming properties of lavender will balance your mind, body, and spirit and help you sleep.
The lavender spritz makes a great air freshener as well and is a wonderful alternative to the toxic-laden commercial air fresheners that permeate the market and our lives. I use the lavender spritz on carpets, curtains, upholstered furniture, the car’s interior, my closet, and even the litter box, to instantly perk up and revive tired and stuffy feeling spaces. The uses of the spritz, like lavender oil itself, really are endless.
Depending on your mood and the season, you can make also make a spritz with rosemary, lemon, bergamot, sandalwood, ylang ylang, jasmine, cinnamon, clove, frankincense, myrrh, or just about any essential oil you find pleasing. If someone in the house is coming down with a cold, try adding eucalyptus, peppermint, thyme, or tea tree oil to help ease congestion and open up the nasal passages.
Now simply sit (or lay) back and get ready to breathe in the goodness!
January 26, 2012
Last week, we told you in a Daily Retreat & Renew Tip about using an oil moisturizer in the winter to lock in moisture, since many store bought lotion contain waxes, petroleums and synthetic fragrances that not only aren’t that great for you but also don’t actually penetrate the skin.
We told you a few, au naturel ways to try one, such as unrefined coconut oil or pure jojoba oil, which mimics the skin’s natural sebum. Contrary to popular belief, these oils won’t clog your pores.
In addition to great product choices in our Earth Day Beauty Awards, we recently found a line of body oils that fit the bill. That is, if you aren’t sure about how to make your own customized combination or want the most natural moisturizer possible. I have been concocting body oils for myself all winter from a grapeseed oil base, but have never been able to achieve a strong and pleasant fragrance.
That’s why we like the line of essential oil-based moisturizers from Wild Beauty Skincare, which contains family recipes AND has expiration dates, and we like that! With daily use the 2 oz. containers could last two to three months.
We especially like the Cham Loves Neroli oil, which is so fragrant that when applied after showering it stays on your towel for days, and on your body all day! The body oils also leave your skin softer and hydrated for longer. The Cham/Neroli contains grapeseed oil, chamomile, jojoba seed oil, chamomile oil, and neroli oil. The Stress a Wee Bit Less is also fantastically fragrant – a mix of olive oil, lavender flowers, Madagascar vanilla beans, Spanish lavender oil, and vanilla oil.
What a fantastic combination!
January 24, 2012
As you know, the staff at HL&S are DIY beauty and spa junkies. We experiment with new ingredients and recipes so you don’t have to, and tell you what works and what doesn’t.
I decided to try making an all-natural shampoo with a castile soap base, so I purchased a 32-ounce bottle of castile soap from Dr. Bronner’s, which is a blend of organic coconut, jojoba, olive and hemp oils. I decided to go with the baby mild, unscented, because I wanted to be able to separate the large bottle into smaller containers and add different scented essential oils if I wanted. I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into just one scent. All of the oils are great for replenishing nutrients in skin and hair, so I thought I’d give it a try.
I purchased mild, unscented castile soap to use as a base. I won’t tell you what I did because, well, my attempt failed. The castile soap did not work great with my long, color-treated hair, making it feel greasy and tangly. The castile soap weighed down. That’s not to say it wouldn’t work for someone else (someone with very short hair that is tangle-averse could be a good candidate for a castile soap based shampoo!) More on how to make a GOOD DIY shampoo in a later post.
But what is castile soap anyway? It used to mean an olive oil-based soap that originated in the Castile region of Spain. But now, it mainly means that the soap is vegetable oil-based as opposed to animal fat-based. Pure Castile, which is what Dr. Bronner’s is, also means that it does not contain detergents that could harm the environment.
And while the castile soap didn’t work as shampoo for me, I’m still glad I bought it. I found a few other great uses for it to share:
1. Add a few drops of lavender oil and chamomile tea to a half cup of the soap for a wonderful bath soak, and/or as a body wash
2. Use unscented, mild castile for dog shampoo (it’s natural but cleans the pup just as well as commercial shampoos, which contain chemicals!)
3. Add a squirt to your regular shampoo for a little more moisturizing action
4. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a small batch of castile for antibacterial and moisturizing bathroom hand soap
5. Use 1/3 cup of castile as laundry detergent with a dash of baking soda (it’s sudsy!)
January 20, 2012
Every so often we come across a fitness outfit that combines elements of durability, cuteness and comfy-ness. All of you fitness fanatics who are looking for your next shopping fix, look no further! We’ve put together a few of our favorite items to get you fired up for fitness in 2012.
We chose the C9 Long and Lean tank because there’s nothing we hate more at the gym than a tank that rides up while cycling or doing 100 jumping jacks in body pump! The C9 line is comfy and yet super affordable ($11.99 right now for this tank at Target), so you won’t feel bad if you to wear it out in a few weeks (good for you!) Just get another!
C9 by Champion® Womens Long & Lean Running Tank
lululemon is the pinnacle of comfy and durable yoga and fitness wear, but it can get pricey. This crop, about $87, is ‘da bomb, though, and with a little pocket on the back for a credit card or ID, it’s super convenient. You won’t get enough of these pants. And everyone loves a crop for cycling, lifting, zumba and pilates – there’s no way your pants will get in the way of your movements.
lululemon Back on Track Crop
Don't forget about your feet. We love this slip-on kigo shoe in its flit style for going to and from yoga and the supermarket, and for your strength training,or zumba classes. That's because they are amply wide, and I find sneakers are too constraining unless I am running or cycling. These make your feet feel free and comfortable. The "barefoot lifestyle" shoe in the Mary Jane style, $87, is made from post-consumer and recycled materials and certified non-toxic dyes, glues and water/stain resistance. They wear four ounces each, so you can kick lift those legs higher during workouts, sista!
kigo flit in black
January 18, 2012
As if I needed another reason to love coffee! But, because of my insatiable desire to use and reuse everything, I decided to experiment with using many, many ounces of used coffee grounds each week as an exfoliate. When I read that coffee tightens the skin and infuses antioxidant powers into your body, I decided to give a coffee body scrub a whirl.
Naturally, I wanted the oils and other ingredients in the scrub to complement the coffee scent and sound yummy. But they also needed to serve a moisturizing, nutritious purpose, especially since the dead sea salts are a little rough (but they are fantastic for exfoliating). I applied this scrub and rubbed in gentle circular motions before I got in the bath, where I could soak in the oils and salts a little more for some extra TLC.
Here’s what I used:
- 1 cup ground coffee (antioxidants, exfoliate)
- 1 cup dead sea salts (exfoliate, minerals)
- 1.5 tbsp almond oil (vitamins D, E, emollient)
- 1.5 tbsp macadamia nut oil (fatty acids, vitamin B, emollient)
- 1/2 tsp peppermint oil (gives it a little tingly touch
The mixture should be moist and grainy. If you want, feel free to add essential oils like tea tree oil or rosehip seed oil. It’s totally up to you!
Use twice a week or as needed for supple, smooth, java-enriched skin.
January 16, 2012
Roses, revered for centuries as a symbol of beauty and love, have a delightful fragrance and are extremely therapeutic. The water distilled from roses is rich in flavonoids and Vitamins A, C, D & E, and is found in several medicinal, cosmetic, and culinary concoctions. Rose water is said to help fight bladder infections, heart disease, digestive problems, eye irritations, nervous tension, and periodontal-related issues.
Rose water was highly valued in Ancient Persia, India, and Egypt, and was a favorite beauty product of Cleopatra no less. Cleo’s love of rose water as a beauty aid was more than justified. Rose water purifies, soothes, and hydrates dry and aging skin, and stimulates, nourishes, and strengthens hair follicles as well. Aromatherapy-wise, the sweet smell of rose water is emotionally and psychologically soothing.
While there are other more involved recipes out there, here’s a quick and simple recipe for making homemade rose water that works well for me:
Wash and place one cup of firmly packed fresh rose petals in a ceramic or glass bowl. Pour 2 cups of boiling distilled water (plain water can also be used) over the petals and allow petals to steep until cool. Strain the petals and pour the liquid into a clean bottle. Store in the refrigerator until needed.
You can use your homemade rose water as a toner to tighten your pores and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It can also be used as a gentle facial cleanser and it makes an excellent sunburn and aftershave treatment. Put the rose water in your bath to relieve fatigue and to smooth and firm your skin. Take the rose water in the shower with you and use it as a hair rinse, or put some in your shampoo, to promote hair growth and moisturize your strands.
For a commercially prepared rose water-infused skincare line, try Duchess Marden. Nourishing, hydrating, free of parabens, petrochemicals, and chemical preservatives, and beautifully packaged, you’ll feel more like a princess (or a queen for that matter) than a duchess after using these products. The Damascena Neck & Décolleté Serum, $59.00, in particular, containing damascena rose flower water and mushroom extract, will help smooth, tighten, and lighten those often neglected areas. I was amazed at the results after just one use and personally couldn’t keep my eyes off my décolleté area the entire next day. Cleopatra would certainly approve.
January 13, 2012
The fifth annual Winter Feast For The Soul encourages people worldwide to engage in a period of stillness, whether it be in the form of mediation, prayer, yoga, martial arts, journaling, expressive arts, or kindness toward others, for forty minutes a day for forty days, starting January 15, 2012, and continuing to February 23, 2012. Last year over 10,000 people in over 29 different countries participated in this worldwide event. Sponsored by Winter Feast For The Soul, a nonprofit group operating under the auspices of Rising Tide International, the goal of the Feast is to use the power of daily spiritual practice to promote awareness, peace, kindness, and compassion in our everyday lives and in the world.
Why forty minutes for forty days? The 13th century mystic, Jelaluddin Rumi, who is the inspiration for the Feast, wrote:
What nine months does for the embryo
Forty early mornings
Will do for your growing awareness.
Moses, Elijah, Buddha, Jesus and Mohamed also each spent forty days in retreat or contemplation before discovering spiritual enlightenment and consequently changing the world. What better way of honoring and observing the birthday of another great spiritual leader, Martin Luther King Jr.
According to it’s website, Winter Feast For The Soul will provide guided meditations and interviews with spiritual teachers of various traditions to deepen your experience and guide you through your forty-day spiritual journey. You can divide your forty minutes a day into two twenty minute sessions or four ten minute sessions if that works best for your lifestyle and goals.
To learn more about the 2012 Winter Feast For The Soul and obtain a schedule of this year’s events when it’s posted go to http://winterfeastforthesoul.com/
January 11, 2012
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For the most part, I was blessed with good genetics on the skincare front (thanks mom!)
But there is one thing I struggle with – dark circles under my eyes. I get plenty of sleep, and my aesthetician tells me that sometimes this is caused by thinner skin under the eyes, aging, and genetics.
Marine and plant-based products are great for this because they contain natural collagen-boosting properties. The more collagen your skin produces, the more plump, supple and full it will appear. It also helps restore elasticity and gives that thin skin an extra nutritional boost. Here are three products I’ve been using simultaneously and noticing brighter skin!
Origins Plantscription™ Anti-aging eye treatment, $42.50
Plantscription™ Anti-aging eye treatment is formulated with Anogeissus Tree Bark and Kombucha (fermented Black Tea), which offer strong collagen-boosting benefits. This potent combination of ingredients ultimately helps restore elasticity to the eyes for brighter skin. You just dab around eye area with fingertip in the AM and PM, and in between if you can.
Seaflora Potent Seaweed Serum, $56
Just look at all of the amazing ingredients this serum packs: wild organic seaweed, witch hazel, aloe vera leaf juice, rosehip seed oil, emulsifying wax, Vitamins E and C, cranberry, blueberry and and raspberry extracts. Specifically, the Certified Organic Iridaea seaweed firms, tones and boosts skin with antioxidants. The rosehip oil to reduces inflammation and irritation. The Certified Organic Ulva Lactuca seaweed refines pores. With all of those antioxidants and nutrients, there’s no way your skin couldn’t get an instant boost. I’ve been using this for about six weeks and can feel my skin drinking it up. It’s a great replenishment after cleansing at night, and we love that the product is certified organic by this British Columbia company, whose owner handpicks seaweeds from the Pacific Ocean!
Eyedews under eye gel pads, $25 for six pairs
These are one-time eye treatments (sort of like a pair of cucumber slices, but better). I used them after a night of drinking to brighten my eyes and give them a cool boost, but you could also use them before an event or in the bath (ahhhhh). Eyedews are jelly pads of natural marine collagen infused with Hyaluronic Acid, Chitosan and Vitamins C & E to combat free radical imbalance, sun damage, discoloration, and dry skin. Best used in a nice, quiet place while lying down.