Archive Monthly Archives: December 2016

Time, make it count

Do you wish the days away? That time that you spend looking at the clock could be spent doing something that could change your life. Guard your time and use it to be the best that you can be. Where do you waste time?

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

-Muhammad Ali

Six Ways to Camouflage Dark Circles

December 5, 2016

Hydrating does wonders for your skin.

Are your sparkling eyes getting dragged down by dark under-eye circles? We all get them on occasion and some of us seem to be stuck with them long-term. There are a few things that we can all do to help take the spotlight off of the dark circles and put it back on our eyes.

Those dark circles under our eyes can be such a downer. They make us look older and they make us look tired. I hate waking up to find dark circles just jumping off of my face. What color are my eyes? I have no idea because all I see are raccoon eyes! Not an attractive look for women or men.

Related Article: Dull Skin? Learn How to Make It Radiant

Dark circles are only cute on Panda Bears

Dark circles for most of us are the result of fatigue, allergies, excessive rubbing of the eyes and even certain skin conditions, such as atopic or contact dermatitis. For others it’s due to heredity, and some ethnicities are more prone to dark circles than others. Under-eye dark circles are the result of thinning skin and loss of collagen and fat. Unfortunately this becomes more common as we start to age.

This thinning can make the reddish-blue blood vessels found under our eyes much more noticeable.

While there are many creams, serums and gels on the market to combat dark circles, it’s hard to find that perfect product. And sometimes it can take months before we start to see an improvement. But all hope is not lost. There are things we can do in the interim to help improve our overall look.

Here are some easy tips to help camouflage the area and reduce the appearance of those unsightly dark circles.

Put the focus on the eyes, not the skin around the eyes

Make your eyes stand out with my one go-to tip––an eyelash curler! Men, don’t tune out because this tip can work for you, too. You can pick up an inexpensive eyelash curler at any drug store. The curling will instantly make your eyes look larger by casting a shadow onto your brow bone. If you wear mascara, only apply to your top lashes. If you apply mascara to your bottom lashes, you run the risk of casting a shadow that will only add darkness to the skin under your eyes. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that an eyelash curler is one of my beauty must haves—once you start using one, you can never turn back!

A little tweezing goes a long way

There is nothing like the power of well-shaped eyebrows to help open up your eyes. Again, this tip is not just for women. Men should also be conscientious of their eyebrows to make sure they are well groomed. Get rid of any strays and tweeze just slightly to help accent the natural arch in your brow. Not comfortable doing this yourself? After one too many tweezing mishaps, I certainly can relate! Have your eyebrows done professionally the first time so you can see the difference, and get a better understanding of just where a few plucks will make a difference.

Just say no to lower lid lining

We tend to like the look of perfectly lined lids. However, by lining your lower lid, you risk putting emphasis on your dark circles. If eyeliner is your thing, apply a darker shade only on top. And if you must line your lower lid, choose a color that’s lighter. It’s a simple trick that really does work.

Perfect the art of eye shadow

Makeup is an amazing beauty tool. The more you practice your technique, the better you will be able to apply cosmetics. When it comes to eye shadow, try to avoid using dark colors on your upper eyelids. If you have dark circles, a smoky eye might not be the best look for you. Try using cooler pinks, light, natural mochas or plum colors. Or better yet, go for a monochromatic eye. Use one single shade of eye shadow in a lighter shade, and apply on your eyelid and brow bone. Use highlighter on your brow bone and the inner corner of your eyes to help brighten the area. By keeping your makeup fresh and neutral, it will definitely draw the attention away from the under eye area. Be sure to have fun with your look and play around with colors to see what works for you.

Cover up with concealer

A good concealer is your best line of defense against dark under-eye circles. While I know that most men don’t wear makeup, there is nothing wrong with a little concealer to help banish the dark circles! If you do it correctly, no one will even notice you’re wearing it. It’s important when using concealer to always counterbalance the most prominent under tone of your dark circles. Yellow-based concealers are perfect for most dark circles. But this is trial and error. I learned a long time ago not to try to shade match my foundations or concealers by myself. What looked good in the store always looked a bit off when I applied it at home. I have an entire drawer of only-worn-once products due to my miscalculations. Now I rely on the experts at the cosmetic counters to help me pick the right shades. They are a huge help and provide a service that ultimately can save a lot of time and money.

Make sure your concealer shade is a bit lighter than your skin tone or foundation. Look for something that’s creamy in texture so it won’t settle into any fine lines and cracks during the day. Don’t make the mistake of using too much concealer or applying it under your entire eye. Only apply the product where the actual dark circles are. Usually this is a small semi-circle that starts near your inner eye and goes downwards towards your cheek. Use your fingers, damp makeup sponge or a soft brush to apply your concealer to the dark areas only. It’s always a good idea to apply your concealer last. This way, you can be sure to clean up any makeup that may have landed in the under-eye area prior to applying. Remember, use your concealer sparingly. You don’t want to draw even more attention to the area.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

If you really want to take care of the skin around your eyes and ensure that your makeup goes on smoothly, invest in a quality hydrating eye cream or gel. Hydration always makes the skin look a bit plumper and smoother. This will only help with the application of your concealer and truly help diminish the appearance of those dark circles. And, yes, gentlemen this means you, too. Both men and women will benefit from a good skin care regimen, and a hydrating eye product is a necessity.

I really wish there was a magical product to eliminate dark circles once and for all. Until then, we can continue to look for some quick fixes through trial and error.

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Afternoon energy slump? Tips to get your zing back!

Eat healthy carb sources and lean protein
to give you sustaining energy.

Does your energy sag in the afternoon?  Here are some tips to help you avoid the afternoon energy crash.

Does your energy sag in the afternoon? Here are some tips to help you avoid the afternoon energy crash.
Afternoon crash. Siesta time. After-lunch slump. The two o’clock droop. Whatever you call it, most of us have experienced it from time to time—it’s that point at which your energy level simply takes a nosedive in the middle of the afternoon.

Related Article: How to Pack a Healthy Lunch – 13 Snack-Busting Ideas

You may feel more than just a crash in your energy level. That after-lunch slump can make you feel a little irritable, too. Maybe you’ve got a mild headache or feel as if you’re not thinking very clearly. And almost certainly that energy crash is causing some serious sugar cravings, too.

What Causes the Afternoon Crash?

Your body’s natural internal clock is partly to blame for the afternoon energy dip. Everyone’s energy level ebbs and flows during a 24-hour period, and for most of us, the strongest drive to sleep comes on a few hours after midnight. But another dip—although not usually quite as powerful—also naturally occurs in the early-to-mid afternoon. By that time of day, most people have been up and alert for 6 or 8 hours or so, and the natural need for sleep is starting to build—and you feel the crash coming on.

Since these internal rhythms can get disrupted or accentuated if you don’t get enough sleep, establishing a healthy sleep schedule is really important in helping you maintain your energy all day long.

But what you eat—and when—also factors in.

The Right Carbs Help Keep You Energized All Day Long

If your energy regularly droops in the afternoon, it’s time to take a closer look at your eating habits. That afternoon energy crash could be due—in large part—because you’re simply not providing your body with the proper fuel at the proper times.

Let’s look first at the carbohydrates that you eat. The sugar in your bloodstream (called your blood glucose or blood sugar) is what your body relies on to provide the energy you need to get you through your day. And your blood sugar comes almost entirely from the carbohydrates that you eat in your diet. But different carbohydrates have different effects on your blood sugar.

When you eat sugary foods or highly refined carbohydrates—like soda or white bread—they’re digested relatively quickly, releasing a surge of glucose into your bloodstream. And while this energy surge might sound like a good thing, it generally doesn’t last very long. That’s because your body prefers it when sugar trickles more slowly and steadily into your system.

So, when you dump a load of sugar and refined carbs into your system and your blood sugar shoots up, your body sort of “over-corrects” —which sends your blood sugar plummeting. When your blood sugar drops, that’s when you might start craving unhealthy sugary snacks to bring blood levels back up.
Many people get an energy slump in the afternoon because they’re eating the wrong carbohydrates. They’ll start the day with something like a sugary cereal—which causes the blood sugar to shoot up and, almost as quickly, to crash back down again. That might trigger a sugar craving, which they’ll satisfy with a pastry or some candy, and the cycle repeats. Since they’re not providing their body with a slow, steady fuel source, their energy levels might feel like a roller-coaster all day long.

On the other hand, when you get your carbohydrates from foods like vegetables, whole fruits and whole grains, they take longer to digest. Instead of a causing a big spike in your blood sugar, eating these foods allows glucose to more slowly enter the bloodstream and helps provide more sustained energy over a longer period of time.

How to Eat to Keep Energy Levels Up

In order to keep your energy levels up and avoid the afternoon energy slump, you need well-balanced meals and snacks, and you need to eat every few hours. People who skip meals just can’t keep going all day long. When you don’t eat at regular intervals, your blood sugar is going to drop—taking your energy level along with it.

Just as not eating enough can zap your energy, eating too much at lunch can make you feel sluggish in the afternoon, too. (Some people do both. They skip breakfast then eat an enormous lunch because they’re starving—and then wonder why they’re out of steam most of the day.) When you eat a big, heavy meal, a lot of energy is required to digest it. As blood gets diverted towards your digestive tract to help the process along, you’ll start feeling the need to take a nap.

Staying well-hydrated is important, too. When you become dehydrated, it can affect your mood and your ability to think clearly. Keep water and herbal teas handy and sip on them throughout the day. Some people rely on caffeinated beverages in order to stay perky. This isn’t necessarily a problem unless caffeine interferes with your ability to get a good night’s sleep. If you’re sensitive to it, best to stick with caffeine-free beverages.

Protein foods help to make meals more filling and satisfying, which is why one of the defenses against the afternoon slump is a good offense—in the form of a balanced lunch that includes some lean protein. Make sure your lunch includes some low-fat protein to help fight hunger, and a supply of good carbs to provide you with a steady energy source. A mixed vegetable salad with some grilled fish, a chicken-veggie stir-fry with brown rice, or a protein shake with fruit would all fill the bill at lunch time.
A mid-afternoon snack that includes protein should also be part of your overall plan. A lot of people try to get by without snacking because they feel it just adds extra calories to their day—but they usually just make up for it by eating a really big dinner.

Protein shakes work great as a mid-afternoon snack, or you can also try a protein bar, a carton of yogurt with some fruit, some raw veggies with hummus, or a can of tuna with a handful of cherry tomatoes. Again, the combination of lean protein and beneficial carbohydrates will help keep the afternoon slump away and help keep you satisfied—and energized—all afternoon long.

Written by Susan Bowerman. Susan is Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a board-certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

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Fitness motivation: 12 reasons to work out today!

Regular exercise provides a wide range
of health benefits.

Are you struggling to find some fitness motivation this week? Is the idea of squeezing into that outfit or adjusting your belt buckle to a smaller hole not giving you the motivational push you need? If you’re looking for some reasons to get in shape, then here are 12 reasons to get you motivated today!

With the holiday season upon us, we may all need a little bit of extra fitness motivation to help us stay focused with our health goals. I talk a lot about the internal health benefits associated with leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Improved health is the primary reason we need to exercise and consume a nutritious diet. We are often easily motivated by our external appearance, but it’s always changing—especially as we age. It feels like we have to work twice as hard and be twice as disciplined to get the same results that came so easily when we were younger. Change is something we all have to accept. Your body may be continually changing both internally and externally, but your desire to be healthy should never change.

Related Article: How to Find the Best Fitness Trend for You

12 reasons to work out today

1: Heart health:

Engaging in cardiovascular activity is good for your heart. Your heart is a muscle, and pushing it to work hard a few days each week may help to improve your cardiac output. If you engage in cardiovascular activity on a regular basis, you may lower your overall resting heart rate, which is good for your health long term.

2: Glowing skin:

When you exercise, you increase the blood flow around your body. Your post-workout glow may not last all day, but you may look more radiant right after your session. If you’re lucky, the healthy glow will make you look and feel great.

3: Improved posture:

Exercising on a regular basis may make you become more aware of your posture. As you gain body confidence and movement awareness, you become more conscious of what feels right for your body. Slouching may become a bad habit of the past. As an extra bonus, good posture makes you look taller.

4: Fewer aches and pains:

If you have sore and stiff joints that are caused from sitting down all day, moving more often will help to alleviate that stiffness. Joints that are immobile tend to get sore. Once you’re moving on a regular basis, you improve the range of motion, and movements of everyday living become easier to perform.

5: Improved body composition:

When you make exercise a part of your lifestyle, you will start to notice changes in how you look and feel. You may lose excess body fat and gain lean muscle mass—which is not only great for your appearance, but it also helps your body to become more efficient at burning calories. A body with a high percentage of lean muscle mass requires more calories just to sustain itself than a person of the same weight who has a higher percentage of body fat.

6: Feel happier:

Performing physical exercise can make you feel happier in your daily life. One of the reasons for this is that your body releases an increased amount of endorphins when you’re active. Endorphins are your body’s natural happy hormone. You may also feel happier because you’re taking good care of your body. This sense of accomplishment can often make you have a greater sense of well-being.

7: Control your weight:

Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain and help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.

8: More energy:

Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. When you exercise, your body must deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues to help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily tasks.

9: Boost brain power:

Working out on a regular basis may help to improve your brain function. Various studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance. Studies suggest that a tough workout may also increase levels of a brain-derived protein (known as BDNF) in the body. BDNF is believed to help with decision-making and higher learning.

10: Less stress:

Exercise may act as a temporary diversion to daily stress. When you’re exercising or having fun doing activities, you’re generally not thinking about the things in your life that are difficult. Taking time out of your busy day to focus on yourself can reduce the feeling of stress. Less stress can also help with weight loss, because many people eat unhealthy foods to combat stress.

11: Meet new people:

Exercise provides an opportunity for social interaction that may otherwise be lacking in your life. Starting a new activity can help you find a new circle of friends or provide you with a healthier opportunity to reconnect with old ones. So often we go out to eat to socialize, but doing an activity is much better for your waistline!

12: Better sleep:

Being active can help to improve your sleep habits for several reasons. Exercising raises your body’s core temperature. As it cools back down to normal, it can help you to feel relaxed and ready to sleep. Because activity can help reduce your stress levels, drifting off at night may become easier.

There you have it—my top 12 fitness motivation reasons.

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Good afternoon,Words can really hurt but you always have a choice how you react to those words. Don’t let someone’s opinion of you become your reality. Be yourself and be confident about that. How can you focus today on who you are instead of who someone says you are?

“Don’t allow something that someone said to discourage you. Instead, use it as a motivator to keep going.”
-Kristen Butler

Have a great day!