DRY BRUSHING FOR BETTER SKIN

Dry Brushing | The Bombshell Files

Let’s talk about dry brushing.

Basically, dry brushing is using a specific type of body brush to brush your skin.  All you need is yourself and your brush.

The first time I heard about dry brushing was several years ago when one of George Clooney’s super hot ex girlfriends said it was the secret to her glowing skin.

Interest piqued.

AND I heard there were perks for the lymph system, which I am just all about these days.

Benefits of Dry Brushing | The Bombshell Files

First let’s start with the benefits:

◊  Great way to exfoliate and brighten skin

It removes dead skin cells and opens clogged pores (which can help with ingrown hairs).

So far, I am definitely seeing this.  I’ve always been pretty lucky with having soft skin, but after dry brushing, I have noticed an improvement.  My moisturizers are absorbing better and everything is feeling more silky smooth than before.  So thumbs up for this benefit.

◊  Wakes up the lymph system

“The lymphatic system is a major part of the body’s immune system. It is made up of organs and lymph nodes, ducts and vessels that transport lymph throughout the body. Many of these lymph vessels run just below the skin and proponents of dry brushing claim that brushing the skin regularly helps stimulate the normal lymph flow within the body and help the body detoxify itself naturally.” (source)

This also brings me back to my post from last week about the benefits of rebounding and the importance of stimulating the lymph system regularly.

◊  Increased energy and blood flow

I feel energized after dry brushing.  Even the process of doing it feels great.

◊  Reduces appearance of cellulite

This little bit of info has not been proven in any of the sources I have read.  Some people claim they have seen a reduction in the appearance of cellulite.  I, however, have not.  So I’m not sure if this is a bogus claim or if it just doesn’t work for me personally.   Don’t you think, if something could actually reduce cellulite, EVERYBODY would know about it?  If I’m wrong here, someone please let me know.  But I have not seen improvement in the cellulite department.

Dry Brushing | The Bombshell Files

When to do it…

This is something that you can do daily.

You should do it right before a shower or bath on dry skin.  I like to dry brush first thing in the morning because of the little energy burst I get afterwards.  Plus, it feels like I’m waking everything up and getting ready for the day.

But, I also like to do it when I get home from work.  If I save my dry brush & shower routine for the end of the day, I think it feels even better.  Probably because my legs have been stuffed in my skinny’s all day and I have those seam imprints on them.  And it feels so good to come home, take my pants off and dry brush. TMI?  Just being real here.  But you can pretty much do it whenever.  Some people suggest against doing it before bed though so you don’t get all pumped up and then can’t fall asleep.

How to do it…

You always want to brush in the direction towards your heart and chest.  The way you brush is very important, so you can get the most benefits from it.

Here’s the video I watched when I first started dry brushing to learn the technique.

What brush to use…

The brush in the pictures is the one I started with and it’s great for beginner’s.  I don’t think it’s too hard and you can adjust the pressure easily.  I might be in the market for one that’s a little stiffer in the future, but so far, this one is still working for me.

You can also find body brushes at health food stores.  You just want to make sure the bristles are natural and not synthetic.

Also, be careful if you have any skin conditions.  Dry brushing can irritate eczema or rashes.  Be sure to ask a doctor before you do it, if that’s the case.

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I absolutely love dry brushing and would recommend this to everyone.  I hope this inspires you guys to give it a shot.  May as well show your skin some serious love.

Have you guys tried dry brushing?  Let me know!

♦ Stephanie

REBOUNDING FOR A FULL BODY TONE UP + MANY HEALTH BENEFITS

Rebounding

Okay guys, I am very excited about rebounding… aka jumping on a mini trampoline.

Rebounding has quickly become my new favorite workout.

It’s the workout I’ve always wanted but never really thought about.

First things first, rebounder’s are easy and accessible.  Which is wayyyy up there on my ‘must have’ list when it comes to new habits.

This great workout doesn’t require you to leave your house, or pay for a super expensive piece of equipment. It doesn’t take up too much space, it’s light enough to move around your place, and it’s actually pretty fun.

Just wait til I get to the health benefits (!!!)

NASA uses rebounding for their astronauts.  After only 14 days in space they can lose 15% of their bone and muscle mass and they use a rebounder to help reverse the damage.  You can read more about that here.

If it’s good enough for NASA it’s good enough for me.

I’ve been reading up on tons of different sites and have consistently been coming across these health benefits:

◊  It aids in lymphatic circulation, which can help remove toxins << I will talk about the importance of this in a future post

◊  Gives you an energy boost

◊  It helps improve your balance

◊  It great for the skeletal system and improving bone mass

◊  Helps with digestion

◊  It’s a low impact workout

◊  It works out your entire body

◊  It’s considered a cellular exercise and is said to stimulate all the cells of the body

If you want to learn about even more benefits (because there are a TON) check out this site.

I came across this site for a 6 week program if you wanted to follow a routine.

Rebounder with a timer and resistance bands

(I bought my rebounder here.   It came with a timer & jump counter and it also came with resistance bands that you can attach to it, although I haven’t used those yet)

Rebounder Counter

When do I use it…

I currently keep my rebounder in the living room.  Having it in the living room makes jumping on it beyond easy.  Since this is one of the main hotspots in my house, I pass by it all of the time.  In the morning, after drinking my lemon water, I will jump for about 5 minutes.  It gets the lymph system moving first thing in morning, which is so important.  Then when I get home from work, I will jump for a few minutes on it.  I am always pretty beat right when I get home from the office, so this gives me some energy when I need it most.  Then after dinner,  I might throw on a tv show (like a Real Housewives…let’s be honest) and I will try to get at least 10 minutes in.  It’s so convenient for my lifestyle.  And if one room is occupied or you need a change of scenery, it takes no time at all to pick it up and move it to another room.  I actually would love to have one of these in my office so I could do 5 minutes on it every hour. The energy boost from it would definitely make me more productive.

I’ve been rebounding for the past 4 or 5 weeks, anywhere from 5-20 minutes per day.  And I am definitely feeling trimmer.  I did not take any “before” measurements, but I can tell my core has tightened and I have noticed a difference in my energy levels.  I am really loving how easy it is to jump without having to pack up a gym bag and drive somewhere, or dress for the weather outside before you go out for a walk or run.  And the easier something is, the more likely I am to stick with it.  And so far, this feels like something I will be doing for a while.

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Do you guys rebound?  If so, in what ways have you benefitted from it?  I kind of have a thing for my little trampoline : )

♦ Stephanie

BENEFITS OF DRINKING WARM WATER WITH LEMON

Lemon Water

For the past few months, I kept coming across articles about all of the benefits of drinking warm water with lemon first thing in the morning.  I am huge on drinking tons of water throughout the day.  I always have a very large and in charge cup by my side at all times.  I also regularly incorporate lemons into my diet.   So drinking this in the morning was a natural step. Not only do I love the taste of lemons, but the health benefits are worth it alone.

I start all of my mornings by chugging 2 glasses of water right when I wake up.

I’ve been doing this for years and if I ever skip this, I definitely feel it later on in the day.

After seeing these articles talking about how good warm water with lemon is for you first thing in the AM, I decided to look into it.   If I can improve my morning ritual with something so easy that also packs a healthy punch, why the hell not?  I read claims for top 5 benefits…top 10 benefits…top 20 benefits!  So I looked into it a bit and found that some of these benefits aren’t proven (mainly overhyped) but there are definitely a few benefits that make this little daily ritual totally worth it.

Here are a few of the benefits of drinking warm water with lemon in the morning:

◊  Helps with Digestion

This might have to do with drinking water in general and less about the lemon, but it can help flush the system and get everything running smoothly again.

Making sure to drink water when you wake up is super important because your body has gone without water for 8 hours and this helps to rehydrate and energize.

The fact that the water is already warm helps the body absorb it faster because it doesn’t need to use more energy to process the cold water.

◊  Immune System Boost

Lemons contain Folate, Potassium and Vitamin C, which are all amazing for you.  But “Vitamin C is vital to the function of a strong immune system” (via)

◊  Healthy Weight

This is more about drinking water and starting the day off right.  This won’t be a miracle cure for weight loss but there are reports “that water consumption increases the rate at which people burn calories.” (via)

◊  Better Skin

Lemon water can benefit the skin because of the fact that it improves digestion and flushes the body.  This is also a benefit from drinking plain water.  Also, Vitamin C is needed for collagen production, which lemons have plenty of.

So these are few of the pros of drinking warm lemon water right when you wake up.  I have been trying to drink this as often as I can, and I have been feeling more energized (even before I have my morning coffee!) and it kinda sets the tone for my day.

I like to squeeze ¼ to ½ lemon into a glass of warm water.  If the seeds bother you (because they will get in there) you can use a strainer.  I also like to drink mine through a straw because I tend to have really sensitive teeth/gums.  Also, with lemon water, you should brush your teeth before drinking it, or you should wait at least 30 minutes after drinking it to brush, so you don’t mess up your enamel.

The taste can be a little strong at first, so you might want to start with a ¼ of a lemon.

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So really, my main suggestion would be to start upping your water intake in general.  Especially drinking water in the morning.  And if you want an extra boost, add in some lemon and get all of those amazing health benefits that this citrus has to offer.  If you want any more information on all of the benefits of lemons, check out this site.

Fun Extra Tip:

I like to zest the lemons I use and add it to a container in my freezer and then use that for pasta dishes or sauces.  Love getting more than one use out of something (!!!)

Any other easy tips to add some healthy extras into your diet? If you’ve tried lemon water at the start of your day, what benefits have you noticed?

♦ Stephanie

TOP 5 TRAVEL NECESSITIES

In the middle of my trip in Europe, I compiled a list of what I thought were the top 5 most important travel necessities to have with you.

5 Travel Necessities

I wrote this list on Day 13 of our 21 day trip.  So I feel like this pretty accurately represents what I found most important at that moment.  Then I checked this list again towards the end of the trip, and not only did these all still apply, I think they became even more important.

So here we go:

1.  Eye Mask + Ear Plugs

This is number 1 for a reason.  Sleep is the MOST important thing, in my book.  We stayed in hotels, HomeAway’s, AirBNB’s, and regular B&B’s during our trip.  And the one thing I can tell you for sure, is that you never know what you’re going to get.  Especially when it comes to early morning light and loud noise.  Since we travelled during a heat wave in Europe, it was ridiculously hot.  And there is hardly any AC.  So a lot of the time, you depend on opening the windows and having the night air cool you off.  The problem with this is, the sun comes up early and the noise levels can be unexpected.  For instance, we had an early morning violinist in the apartment in Rome we stayed in (and he wasn’t even good!).  And there was construction work going on near more than one place we stayed at.  And one night in a B&B in Florence we had a very loud couple staying in the room next to us.  I thought they were fighting but J thought they were just talking passionately (It was all in Italian, so we couldn’t be sure).  Anyway,  the eye mask & ear plugs were used EVERYWHERE.

2.  Osprey Back Packs

This was a tough decision when we were planning this trip.  Back packs or rolling suitcase?  I knew that I wanted to travel light.  I had read about capsule wardrobes and thought this would be a great time to really try something like that out and practice with packing good staple pieces that could easily be mixed and matched.  Let me tell ya, this was a lifesaver.   I had previously spent 1 month in Rome in my college days, doing a summer study abroad program, and I remembered all of the brick and cobblestone roads in Europe. I also remembered Venice (one of our stops) and all of the stairs to go up and down the bridges, along with all of the narrow sidewalks (pretty much everywhere).  I decided that backpacks would be the way to go and I was happy about that decision the entire trip.  It was so easy to move in and out of crowds and use the trains, while I watched all of these people struggling with 2 huge rolling suitcases.  After some research, we found AMAZING reviews for this Osprey brand of backpack and I couldn’t be happier.  There was a smaller backpack attached to the larger one, that could be detached and used for day trips or walking around town. I even saw this brand on other travelers all over Europe.  These were durable, light weight, multi functional, and could hold a lot of stuff.  We were also able carry our bags on the plane because they could easily fit in the overhead compartments.  The bags were very squishable (for lack of a better word).

3.  Trip Advisor

I would give this app 5 stars. We used this app for our entire trip.  When we were in wifi zones (pretty much at all of the places we stayed) we would download the city we were in and check out the map and things to do.  Then, when we were out of a wifi zone, we could still access the map and get walking directions (without having to connect to wifi), while also checking out restaurant recommendations around wherever we wandered off to.  If we were unsure of what to do on certain days, we would check out TripAdvisor for daily tours or tips on what other visitors have done.  It made for a very well rounded, delicious, and fun trip.

4.  Coconut Oil + Brown Sugar

I’ve talked about coconut oil more than once (here & here).  And I knew it would be an important staple in my travels.  I mainly used it as a face wash, make up remover, and moisturizer (hell yes to knocking out 3 things with one product).  I also packed a little jar of brown sugar to use to exfoliate with the coconut oil on my lips, face, and body.  And the whole trip I kept thinking, “Good call Steph.”

5.  Melatonin

There were a few nights in Europe where Melatonin was key.  Melatonin is “a hormone that helps control your sleep and wake cycles.” and once again, sleep is where it’s at when you want to feel your best.  I will talk about melatonin more in a future post.  But I would have to say it kinda saved my ass in a few situations.  Our first stop was Rome and we were doing pretty well with adjusting from the jet lag for the first few nights.  Then, the night before we were going to leave for Florence, we were wired and could not sleep.  I think it was part, excitement for the next city, and part, we were still acclimating to the new time zone.  We took some melatonin and within 20 minutes I was out.  I tried the 10 mg a few months ago and it made me feel incredibly groggy the next day.  I started splitting the pills in half so I was only taking 5 mg, and that has been the perfect amount.

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Whew!  That was a lot.  Do you guys have any “must-have” travel items that you would never go without? Let me know if you have any questions about anything!

♦ Stephanie

Fine Dimes: Loving Lately

( Loving tulips lately )

( Loving tulips lately!  I picked these up when my in laws came into town earlier this month.  I think yellow is my jam )

I wanted to talk about a few things I have been using and loving for the past few months.  And if I’m loving it, I gotta spread the word.

So first things first…

Blaze

Balsamic-Glaze

Okay.  Let’s talk about Balsamic Glaze (Blaze in this case).  I love regular balsamic vinegar.  I will add it to my avocado toast, eggs, or tomato and mozzarella << one of my favorite after work snacks. Then, about a month ago, I heard about balsamic glaze.  I went out and found this one at my local grocery store.  It’s more concentrated, less messy, and tastes better than regular balsamic vinegar IMO.    So I have made the switch and have been using Blaze on the reg.  Oh ya, and the consistency of it let’s you make fancy designs on your food.  Double win.

Playlist

This playlist is awesome.  I found it through my favorite blogger girl that I’ve mentioned before.  I have been listening to it while I’m at work, while doing my hair, while cleaning, or putting it on when we’re cooking dinner. It’s the best playlist for any mood.  Definitely check it out.

La-Mer

I got these teeeeeeeny tiny La Mer samples at Nordstrom a few months ago.  The tub one is about the size of a quarter.  These babies are small.  Of course I grabbed one because everybody talks about how amazing they are.  I’ve seen La Mer on top ‘best moisturizer’ lists for years.  And there is a reason why.  I loved using these.  I started using the heavier moisturizer (the one in the tub).  My skin was still incredibly dry from the winter and this felt so rich and thick.  It made my skin feel silky smooth and hydrated.  My only problem was that it was so thick that I was really tugging on my skin to spread it around.  All of that tugging and pulling cannot be good for wrinkles.  The other bottle of moisturizer had a thinner consistency, perfect for the warmer months.  You can use it as an eye cream too.  It glides on super easily.  Again, I loved the smell and how it made my skin feel.  So these guys are a definite win.  HOWEVER,  I will never pay $300 for a moisturizer, so there will have to be some crazy amazing sale for me to purchase these.  Or maybe I’ll just keep my eye out for more sample giveaways.

Salad-Dressing

Another fine food dime ; ) My friend introduced me to this salad dressing a few years ago.  When she told me about it, it was the first time I had heard about it and it completely changed my salad game.  It’s pretty much the only dressing I use.  And last week we were just randomly talking about how great it was (it’s that good) and she was telling me that a lady at the grocery store saw it in her cart and was raving about it too. It was at that moment that I thought I better share this with you guys, just in case someone’s dressing world needs to be rocked.

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Those are some things I have been loving lately.   Let me know if you get to try some of them out, or have already tried any of these already.

I just got back in town from a weekend in Nashville with a group of college friends.  I will have to do a recap of that trip and let you know how much I am loving HomeAway.  This may be the only way I travel from now on.

♦ Stephanie

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