The Beauty of Oranges

Oranges are one of my favorite fruits!  They are delicious, juicy and sweet!

They are a great source of Vitamin C which is a building block for collagen that helps keep skin firm and young-looking!  They are also high in Folic acid which is important for brain function and the production of healthy red blood cells.

Oranges are another great source of antioxidants as well!  Remember how important those are??  They also boost the immune system to help keep you healthy during these upcoming winter months!

Next time you’re craving something sweet, reach for an orange!  🙂

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The Beauty of Summer Squash

Summer squash from my garden!!

Summer squash comes in several varieties including yellow, crookneck, and (my personal favorite) zucchini.  They are part of the cucumber/melon family and have been shown to have many health benefits and are a great source of carotenoids and antioxidants that are so good for your skin!  (Remember our mini bio lesson on antioxidants?)  Summer squash are also high in vitamin C, folate, beta-carotene, and fiber.  Click here for more on the health benefits of summer squash!

When I was young, my mom would make fried squash and zucchini – YUM!  Yes, I am a southern girl! 🙂

But here are two of my favorite ways to prepare these yummy veggies for a great health (and beauty) bonus!

Grill it!

I LOVE grilled squash and zucchini and it is super simple to make!  Just slice the ends off and slice it in half long ways.  Then lightly coat it with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.  Then put it on a hot grill for a few minutes on each side until it starts to brown.  Take it off the grill and let it cool for a moment, then enjoy!!

Pizza, anyone?

Zucchini pizza??!!  YES, my friends!!!  This may be my new favorite way to eat zucchini, even my kids love it! 🙂  I learned this one from my cousin!

For this recipe, I have found that it’s better to have a larger zucchini.  Again, slice off the ends, and then continue to slice it into circles about 1/4 inch thick.  Lightly coat with olive oil and grill or broil for about 3 minutes.  Then take them off the heat and add your favorite spaghetti sauce, top with mozzarella cheese and your favorite toppings and put back into the oven (or grill) until cheese it melted and bubbly.  Again, wait until they have cooled for a moment before eating so you don’t burn yourself.  Trust me, it will be hard to wait!!!!  These are so good!

Do you have any favorite squash or zucchini recipes??  I would love to hear them!!  (Who am I kidding?  I would love to TASTE them, so please share!!)  🙂

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!  Thanks for stopping by!

Cherry Picking!

I know I haven’t posted much lately, my mom came out for a visit and we have been super busy doing fun stuff and enjoying summer!

Yesterday, my kids and I had the opportunity to go cherry picking!  A dear friend has an enormous cherry tree in her backyard and was generous to let us come and pick as many as we could carry!

I have never seen a cherry tree when its ripe for harvest and I was struck with just how beautiful it is!  Everywhere we looked there were branches heavy with crimson berries just waiting to be picked!

I asked my friend how she kept the birds from eating all her cherries.  She told me they have a deal:  they are free to eat as many as they can off the top, and the bottom is hers.  And it’s worked for years!  🙂

We had a lot of fun and I can’t wait to try making some things with all these delicious cherries!  I am so grateful to my friend for sharing her bounty with us!

Did you know that cherries are a natural treatment for inflammation?

The Beauty of Green Tea

Green Tea

Green Tea is an antioxidant powerhouse!

Stick with me for a minute, we’re going to have a mini biology lesson today….

I’ve mentioned several times the importance of antioxidants, but why are antioxidants so important?  Because they are what fight the free radicals inside our bodies.  Free radicals come from everything – from the foods we eat to sun exposure, even the air we breathe!

But just what are free radicals??

In a nutshell, free radicals are molecules within the body that have become unstable.  Unstable molecules do not function properly.  Our bodies will naturally try to stabilize or combat these unstable molecules.  The trouble comes when we are generating free radicals at a faster rate than our bodies can handle.  A buildup of free radicals within the body can lead to things like inflammation, premature aging and a weakened immune system which can leave us vulnerable to sickness or disease!

Our best defense against free radicals and the damage they cause is a diet high in antioxidants.

But just what are antioxidants?

Simply put, antioxidants are molecules that stabilize free radicals.  Antioxidants are found in colorful fruits and vegetables.  They are also exceptionally high in green tea.  Every time we drink of cup of green tea, it’s like sending in a bunch of ninjas to put the smack-down on free radical damage!

Green tea is also anti-inflammatory and can help soothe skin issues like acne and eczema.  It may also help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke!  For more info on the health benefits of green tea, check out this article.

When used topically, green tea sends antioxidants straight into the skin that can help even out skin tone, fade sun spots, even heal a sunburn!  My DIY Toner recipe contains green tea for a great way to give your skin a healthy boost every day!

Drink up!

Green tea is easy to make, just grab your favorite cup and add:

Let it sit for 3-5 minutes, then remove the tea bag.  It’s now ready for drinking!

If you like, you can add a bit of honey to sweeten it.

If you want it cold, you can pour it over ice for a refreshing treat!

However you enjoy it, you can feel good knowing you are doing something that is not only great for your skin,but also for your health!

Enjoy!

The Importance of Sun Protection

The weather is warming up and that means more time outside!

But before you venture out, make sure to take a moment to do something good for your skin!

Sun damage is the leading cause of premature aging and wrinkles – not to mention skin cancer!  Yikes!

For more information on skin cancer, check out this article.

It only takes a moment to protect yourself by applying a good sunscreen to your face, neck and décolleté.

There are two types of sunscreen:  physical and chemical

Physical sunscreens create a physical barrier between your skin and the sun that block and/or deflect the harmful UV rays.

Chemical sunscreens absorb the harmful UV rays to keep them from penetrating the skin surface.

Check out this chart for a side by side comparison of physical and chemical sunscreens.

Here are the two sunscreens that I reach for most:

Badger Damascus Rose SPF 16 Sunscreen

This is a physical sunscreen that also contains antioxidants that will help nourish the skin!  It goes on a little sticky, but absorbs nicely into the skin after a few moments.

Kiss My Face Oat Protein SPF 30 Sunscreen

This product contains both physical and chemical sunscreens, and has added oat protein for extra protection!  It absorbs quickly, it’s water resistant and paraben free!

Take a moment to protect your skin before heading outside this summer, your skin will thank you!

The Beauty of Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a great addition to your beauty diet – they are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and a good source of silica.  Silica is one of the building blocks of collagen.  Collagen keeps skin looking young and fresh.  Cucumbers are also high in water, so eat up to stay beautiful and hydrated!

Cucumbers are also a well-known treatment for puffy eyes!  Place a slice of cucumber over each eye for 5-10 minutes to help de-puff!  The high water content makes them feel very cool and soothing to the sensitive under-eye area!

The Beauty of Lemons

What do you do when life hands you lemons?

Make lemon-water!

Lemons are a great source of vitamin C that helps to keep skin looking smooth and young.

I start every morning with a glass of lemon water.  No sugar, just the juice of one lemon and enough water to fill the cup.  Lemon water has some amazing health benefits that you can read more about here.  It’s one of my secrets for healthy, glowing skin!

Want to double your benefits??

Dip a lemon that has already been squeezed into a small bowl of sugar, then apply this in circular motions onto clean skin.  Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and rinse.  Your skin will feel soft and fresh!