TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE. LITTLE CHANGES MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
"When practicing holistic wellness, feeling good about ourselves means feeling good about every part; mind, body, and spirit, inside and out."
Today we’re focusing on the outside. Our skin! Why? Because if your skin feels nice YOU feel nice… and feeling nice is GOOD! Our skin is our body’s largest organ so let’s take care of it! Here are some very simple and inexpensive ways to keep you skin feeling soft and looking healthy, right at home.
Exfoliation, as I’m sure you know, is the sloughing off of dead cells from the surface of the skin. While beneficial, we need to be careful not to overdo lest we sensitize and dry the skin, nor do we want to be pulling on it. It’s better to do a little at a time for a cumulative and lasting effect than too much too quickly.
What you’ll need:
Once a Week to Once a Month
First, let me say that the term “Sugar Scrub” is a misnomer. You don’t need or want to “scrub” your skin! Moving forward, let’s call it:
Take about a cup of sugar in a shatterproof container into the shower, keeping it out of the direct flow of water. Wet you skin, turn off the water, and with a palm-full of sugar at a time, give yourself a nice light buffing, working your way from your collarbone* down to your feet. Use a soft, circular motion until you feel the sugar dissolve, paying extra attention to your elbows, hands, and feet. I never add any oil to the sugar simply because oil and water on the smooth surface of a tub or shower is a recipe for disaster in my little world! Rinse thoroughly - and please remember to rinse away ALL the sugar that may have found its way to the walls and/or shower curtain… ants and other critters LOVE sugar! If you’ve ever been to South Florida and left a soda can on the counter for a couple of hours you know what I’m talking about!! Proceed with the rest of your shower.
*A word about sugar on your face and neck: DON’T!! Sugar crystals have sharp edges and will cause micro-tearing on facial skin. Please don’t do it. Use a bamboo cloth or facial round instead. It’s gentle yet effective, sustainable, and has naturally occurring anti-microbial properties.
Every Day or So
Before you get in the shower, if you take a minute to softly brush your skin with a good quality, natural bristle body brush, you will not be sorry. It gently removes dry flakes, increases circulation and invigorates the skin. And it feels SO good!!
In the shower, set the water temperature to a comfortably warm level then make it just a little bit cooler. You don’t need to freeze but too hot dries the skin. I admit, I used to take scalding hot showers and baths but I’ve grown wiser with maturity (and when I say “with maturity” I, of course, mean with menopause and hot flashes.) Now turn off the water and suds up using your favorite (organic, naturally scented, paraben and sulfate free) soap. You can do this with or without your washcloth but if you put a dollop of soap into the cloth you’ll use less, and it adds one more exfoliating opportunity. Rinse off, using the washcloth to help gently wash the soap away from your skin, squeezing fresh water through the cloth as you go, until all the soap is gone. Turn off the water and while still in the shower use your wrung-out washcloth to “dry” yourself off, wringing out the cloth a few times as you go, removing the drops of the water from your skin. When you squeeze out the cloth, you’ll see how much water you actually remove! No need to scrub, a gentle gliding action will do the trick. Once again, pay special attention to your hands, heels, and elbows, giving them an extra polish. Step out of the shower and apply your favorite lotion or oil to your still lightly damp skin** - don't forget your feet - then air dry, no need for a towel. In just a few days you’ll really feel a difference in the softness of your skin!
** On really hot, humid days I use a lighter body lotion, applying a richer option to my hands, elbows, and feet. On cold or dry days or in arid climates, a couple of drops of oil in the lotion is very nice! I use unscented oils and lotions, adding a few drops of organic essential oils to customize.
To Shave or Not to Shave. That is the Question.
Only you can answer it. My suggestion is to do what makes you feel best, and do it for yourself. I lived alone for years and, even in the dead of winter, I shaved. Why? Because I love the way my legs and underarms feel when they’re smooth and freshly shaven. I did it just for me and for no other reason than because it made me feel good.
Hands and Feet
Soft, smooth, well-groomed hands and feet feel fabulous! Conversely, have you ever kept them hidden when you’re out because they looked like hell? I have, but no more. It’s so quick and easy to keep them in shape that there’s no need. Exfoliation, lotion, and simple nail grooming are your hands and tootsies best friends!
Before your fabulous shower sit for a moment on the edge of your tub or nearby stool, take your foot emery and spend a few minutes on the rough parts of your feet. It will take a little more time when you’re just starting this grooming ritual, but less and less as your feet improve. Remember, as when filing your nails, it’s best to move the emery in one direction across the rough, dry skin and PLEASE, be very careful not to over-do! It’s easier than you’d think to get down to tender skin, which often doesn’t reveal itself until hours later. It doesn’t feel good and you’ll have to wait to let it heal. Go easy and take your time, this isn’t a one-time fix it’s a cumulative process and part of an ongoing self-care ritual!
After your shower, and any other time you think of it, moisturize your feet. A couple of drops of peppermint essential oil added to the lotion is fabulous! Just be care not to slip afterward!
Do this foot treatment for two or three days in a row when you’re first starting out. Once your feet are soft and smooth, one or two times a week will do it, but apply the lotion every single day!
Wet your hands in the sink and “wash” them with sugar until it dissolves, then rinse and wash with soap as you normally would, dry and moisturize. If your hands are really rough, do this a few days in a row then once a week or so to keep them soft, liberally applying lotion every time. For daily care I find that drying my hands with a nubby towel after I wash helps to keep them soft.
There you go! Does it sound like a lot? It is! But like anything if you want something you need to put forth some effort! If you like, just pick and choose one or two things you’d like to try, but it’s really just two steps: exfoliate and moisturize.
Common sense guidelines:
I’ll be posting more specifics on skin, nail, hair, and face care in the upcoming months!
Please comment below!
Let me know if you’d like to see some skin care videos. How about some videos featuring some French experts from Paris, where I live?
Let me know if this is working for you, or any tips, concerns, or skin care woes you may like to share. Don’t forget to subscribe to have the blog posts delivered right to your inbox!
When it comes to making life changes, I write them down – I make a list. Why? Well, for this, I have two sayings:
Nearly every time I’ve made a change in my life, large or small, I started by making a list. When I changed my career. When I got out of debt. When I wanted to move across the country, and when I was hoping to travel across an ocean. Doing so has moved me (quite literally!) from “I’m considering this” to “I’m doing this”.
Granted, “turning a wish list into a to do list” may be over simplifying it a bit… there’s a process. But even grocery shopping is more effective when you’re armed with a list!
Let’s take my dream to start traveling internationally; I took that one item off my “Bucket List” and broke it down into the simplest of steps. I didn't worry about how I would accomplish it or anything else, just what I would need to do to go from point A to point B.
And then I just started doing them. You can Click Here to read my other blog “Daydream Voyages; How I Became a Solo Woman World Traveler in My 50’s” if you’d like the details of how I made it all happen.
I did the same when I wanted to move three thousand miles back to my hometown. The thought alone felt overwhelmingly prohibitive but then I wrote it down:
Moving To Do List
When you break it down in to bite sized morsels you can create a realistic, doable plan of action. Focus on one task at a time and the outcome will take care of itself.
The point is, you can either tell yourself it’s impossible, so why bother? or you can begin chipping away at a list. Time goes by either way. Want to move to your dream town? Turn your passion into your career? Heal your past? You can. People do it all the time.
It’s OK to start small… the more you do it the more you’ll see that it can be done. This is not just some Rah Rah cheerleader new age BS. I know. I’ve done it. xoAmie
Are you a list maker?
Do you have something that you'd love to do but it feels too big an undertaking?
What list will you make today?
Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!
“Running early and running late can each set off a chain of events in a positive or negative direction. When I’m hurried, I’m likely to move with impatience and frustration. With the luxury of time, I’m inclined to move with kindness and grace. Either way, the energy moves with me, through me, and is passed to those around me.”
I like to be on time. Actually, I like to be early. Having the luxury of time keeps me calm and helps me to be a happier, nicer person overall. Conversely, when I’m running late, especially when driving, I’m far less inclined to be generous with other drivers – letting them go first, for instance – and suddenly it’s my job to critique everyone’s driving habits which of course I find painfully sub-par. I’m no longer smiling and waving someone on, saying “No, please, you go first!” Nope. I’m throwing my hands in the air saying “Oh my God! Just F*#@ing GO!!”
Being on time doesn’t just happen, it’s intentional. One of my best tips for getting out the door is “Don’t Do One More Thing.” That means, when I know I have to be somewhere and I have a few minutes before I have to leave, I don’t try to squeeze one more chore in before I go. You know what I’m talking about. Just go. Be early. Trust me.
Speaking of intention, I also get ready to go early. If it’s something for which I’d like to look particularly nice, a lunch, dinner, meeting, etc., I’ll try on some clothing options a day or two in advance. That way, I’m sure the outfit will look - and fit – as nicely in reality as it does in my head! If it needs pressing, I do it right away. I’ve even been known to have a back-up outfit on deck for, say, a possible change in the weather.
If you leave early, not just on-time, you won’t freak if you hit traffic, catch every red light, or get stuck behind that “very cautious” driver. If you arrive early, you can find a decent parking spot, take a moment to breathe and collect your thoughts, and still have time to visit the rest room! Talk about a luxury!
Here are several other benefits of being early/on-time:
I have other hints and tricks for running on time and we’ll see them in future posts.
What are your favorite tips for arriving cool, calm, and collected with smile on your face as opposed to… oh, I don’t know… power sliding in sideways?
PS: I love, likes, comments and shares!!
“The order or disorder of my surroundings is directly proportionate to my state of mind. Visual and physical clutter is the external manifestation of my internal clutter.”
One of the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself was tidying up and organizing my home. No matter where I lived it seemed there was never a sense of order which, for me, meant no sense of peace or calm.
Initially, it was the entire place. It was a mess. It isolated me and I never opened my home to family or friends because I was ashamed. God forbid someone showed up unannounced “Sorry about the mess! I’m right in the middle of purging and reorganizing the whole place!” I’d smile and lie while cringing inside. Even when I finally managed to straighten the common areas, there was always a section, a room, that was jam packed with junk, boxes never unpacked, clothes; cupboards and closets that oozed forth their jumbled contents whenever I dared open the door. It was stressful, and because I couldn’t lay my hands on anything, a massive time thief.
Long before I'd ever heard of "Sparking Joy", I made the decision to face the overwhelming task and address it once and for all. There is a lot of emotional energy tangled up in that mess and to move it is to unleash it. Doing so was greatly upsetting and often made me feel sick to my stomach. I knew it was going to take several weeks or more to tackle it all but it had to be done.
I’d pick a day, shore myself up mentally, open the windows wide, and attack. I did it piece by piece, section by section, room by room. I made piles: trash, donate, sell, keep. Once I lay my hands on something, I would only allow myself to set it down in one of the four piles. If I didn’t love it or truly need it I let it go (this often required some seriously tough self-love: “C’mon, Amie, just face it. You are never, EVER going to use that pasta maker.”) And there was no room for excuses: “But this belonged to so and so” or “Whosiwhatsis gave it to me!” I was no longer in the business of being an emotional storage unit. For clothing, it had to meet all three of the following criteria: it had to “flatter the wearer”; aka make me look and feel like a million bucks, be age appropriate (just because I can doesn’t mean I ought to!) and have no tears, stains, or wear, otherwise it was gone.
When I was done sorting, the items I wanted to sell went on Craig’s List that same day and the garbage and giveaways were taken out of the house immediately. The trash went to the curb or straight to the dump and all donations went directly to the car to be dropped that day or as soon as the place was open. I had one hard rule: once it was out of the house it didn’t come back.
Then, I’d clean the area top to bottom. The more I had gotten rid of the easier it was to put away and organize what was left.
It was a huge job but once it was done, I felt amazing. For days afterward, I would keep going back to the newly cleaned area to gaze upon and admire my work. I started keeping my car clean, too. How different this all made me feel!! Oprah Winfrey (or maybe it was Nate Burkus on the Oprah Show?) once said “Your home should rise up to meet you.” This is so true! Few things feel better to me than waking up or coming home to a tidy space. It shows respect for my belongings, my home, and myself.
How do you feel about keeping you home in order? Have you done it? Do you hope to? Or do you like your crap just the way it is, thank you very much!
Please comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experience! Maybe you have a source of inspiration you'd like to share?
Marie Kondo has Sparked me some serious Joy!! https://konmari.com/
Six words: Nate Burkus, Oprah Winfrey, 'Nuff Said: http://www.oprah.com/home/take-nate-berkus-home-with-you_1
No one can hold you prisoner for the mistakes of your past without guarding the gate and keeping track of the key. The inmate and the warden are trapped in the jail together.
If there are people in your life that refuse to support or recognize your growth, it may be time to let them go, or at least keep them at arm’s length. Their inability to move on isn’t about you it’s about them. They cannot recognize in others what they are unable to accomplish themselves. If they are determined to try and shame you, it is due to their own shame. If they keep bringing up your past, it is because that is where they live. People who feel good about themselves don’t try to make others feel bad. The trap, however, only exists in their mind. Wish them well and leave them to it. To free yourself, you only need to walk away.