Beauty

Staying Active

June 20, 2015

I was always a really active child. As I got older, I noticed it’s harder and harder to stay active. Whenever I am consistently active, I feel soooo much more energy & vibrancy. There are so many benefits to staying active. It gets your heart going, firms up your muscles, and makes you stronger and more energetic. Plus, it’s always given me a great big boost of happy!! As you become stronger, It gives you confidence to achieve other tasks and goals in your life. While I was pregnant, I wasn’t able to work out as much as I had hoped. I think I was a little worried about pushing myself, plus not feeling all that great those first few months. The year after having Oliver, I was just trying to get a grasp on being a new mommy, and handling my work flow. It was a challenge to find the time. After trying to commit to tapes and at home workouts, I finally broke down and joined a local gym. They offer fabulous classes, which is something I can always get to after Oliver goes to sleep at night. For me, when I invest my money into something, I always give it 110%. Plus, going to the gym is that extra hour away for me that honestly makes my life so much happier, because I feel so much better and refreshed after I’m done. Even my husband has said ‘ wow, you are getting so much stronger!’ YAY!

Byron and I decided to try out Equinox. It happened to be the most convenient gym for us to get to, plus we’ve heard amazing things about it from some of our colleagues. They also have an amazing kids club for Oliver if I need it. At first I thought It was way overpriced, but I quickly realized I’m getting my moneys worth with the excellent classes and instructors. I was looking at Yoga Works, Soul Cycle etc, and I could easily spend much more with these pay per class studios, especially if I’m really consistent. For instance, the Hip Hop class at Equinox is taught 3 times a week by Beyonce and Ushers choreographer/instructor! So I think the instructors are highly qualified, and paid accordingly. The class brings me right back to when I took dance at Millennium dance studios as a kid, and it’s SOOO AMAZING and fun!! It’s rare to find a gym that offers a dance class other than Zumba, although I do love me some Zumba!

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They also have a GREAT ballet class that I really enjoy! The instructor is also amazing and well trained. It’s a head to toe challenge! Here’s me heading out the door to Ballet. I couldn’t feel my butt after this class. haha

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They offer Pilates matt classes, and private Pilates sessions with the reformer. I’ve been a Pilates fan for years. In high school, I did Windsor Pilates tapes everyday after school.

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Yoga has become very mainstream in the states, and the classes are more about focusing on breathing and stretching your body! My goal is to conquer the crow and a solid hand stand. Yoga aids in giving your body core strength and flexibility. Very important as we age!

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When I have a gym membership, I try to go at least 4 times a week so I don’t feel like I’m wasting my money. I also see the quickest results that way. I love how they have an app that tracks all the classes I’ve taken, and helps me view the class schedule on the go.

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 You certainly don’t need a fancy gym or classes to get in shape, or to start being active. I love going on hikes and walks. There are also so many great video options! The Tone-It-Up girls on YouTube have a ton of great free content to watch and exercise with. You can sign up for at-home workout classes with a trainer online at places like CosmoBody.com. Try out the Windsor Pilates tapes or Ballet At-Home workout tapes. When we have been tight on cash in the past and couldn’t do a monthly gym membership, I’ve tried to stick with tapes and mark it on my calendar so I could be as consistent as possible. I think the key is to get moving, and make the time for it. You will feel SOOOO much better when you do!

Good Luck

Hope you enjoyed this post,

Rachel

Beauty

The Benefits of Facial Steaming

June 19, 2015

I’ve been a huge fan of Facial Steaming ever since I was a young girl. Not only is it extremely relaxing and practically free, but it’s SUPER beneficial to the health and appearance of your skin!

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DEEP CLEANSING AND MOISTURIZING

Steaming acts as a deep cleanser. By applying moist heat to the skin the body begins to perspire, or sweat. Little do many people, “sweating it out” is actually a good thing! Perspiration flushes out clogged pores, toxins, dirt, and MORE, giving you a deep cleanse where soap simply cannot.

By deeply cleansing your skin and flushing out your pores, you are clearing the passage way for natural nutrients produced by your body, like “sebum” a natural moisturizer. This makes steaming a great way to naturally cleanse AND a moisturize your face.

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CIRCULATING

Another great benefit of steaming is an increased circulation. By heating your skin with steam, your body will react by increasing the amount of blood flow in your face. A process to cool your face. As you may know, blood carries oxygen and nutrients; HENCE, better circulation=healthier skin.

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ANTI-AGING

Lastly, steam is a great contributor to young and healthy skin! The moisture from steam aids in releasing dead skin cells. The older we get, the harder it is for our bodies to shed the outmost layers of skin; hence, skin begins to dry and age faster as we get older. Steam acts as a lubricant to release the bond between NEW skin, which is plump and supple, and dead skin, which is dry and rigid.

Steaming will literally leave you “fresh-faced” and ready to take on the day!

What You Need:
2-3 Cups teaming hot water
1 bowl
A Few Drops Of Essential Oil
1 Towel.

What To Do:
1. Add a few cups of steaming hot water to a bowl.
2. Carefully set your bowl in a comfortable and stable place in front of a chair.
3. Add a few drops of essential oil to the hot water.
4. Sit with the bowl in front of your face and put a towel over your entire head and the bowl.
5. Hover your face just over the hot water. note: If it feels like its too hot, or like it’s burning, you are too close. Hover where it feels warm, but comfortable!

You can allow you skin to gently steam for up to 15 min. 

Hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new!

xo Rachel

Beauty

DIY: Refreshing “Spa” Water

June 18, 2015

One of my favorite things at the spa, is also the easiest to make at home…a refreshing pitcher of detoxifying “Spa” Drinking Water. Some may call it essence, infused, or spa water, but either way, it’s AMAZING!

Even for a smaller batch, all it takes are 3 simple steps!

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Start by slicing up a lemon or two.

Lemons are a great detoxifying agent and contain a ton of vitamins.

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Follow that up with a few cucumber slices (a soothing antioxidant)…

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…take some fresh mint (very refreshing taste, freshens breath from within, natural stimulant, reduces allergies, promotes weight loss, etc.)…

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…and add all of your ingredients to a pitcher.

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Add water and ice, and you are ready to sit back, relax, and detoxify your body with one refreshing beverage.

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The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor, so feel free to refrigerate for an hour or two if you want more of a concentrated water.

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You can also make this water to go with these great infuser water bottles. I take my infused spa water to the gym also. =)

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Hope you enjoyed this quick post.

xo Rachel

Beauty

Gel Lip Masks

June 18, 2015

I saw Lady Gaga with these crazy gel lip masks on, and I just had to get my hands on some! I found them on Amazon for about $4. I use them at night while I’m in bed, and I usually use this and a sheet mask at the same time. So basically, I look like one of those crazy characters from a halloween horror movie! ;0) It’s similar to those gel eye masks I’ve talked about before, but these are for your lips! It’s mostly for intense hydration.

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Slightly frightening! Boo!

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hope you liked this post,

xo Rachel

 

Beauty

Choosing Your Perfect Diamond

June 17, 2015

They say that diamonds are a girls best friend… right??

Well, I haven’t even thought about diamonds very much over the past few years until just recently. I’ve been thinking more about breast feeding, poop diapers, teething, house chores, and working hard for the future of my family…oh and my blog and YouTube channel, which ties into the whole working for the future of my family thing. I think diamonds are a symbol, and a beautiful one at that! Some people put more value in the diamonds that they wear than in what that diamond represents. I’ve never been a HUGE jewelry person, I’ve always liked simple jewelry, but what girl doesn’t dream of a beautiful diamond ring?

If you follow my blog and Instagram you already know we did a diamond upgrade/swap a few months ago for our 8 year wedding anniversary. I did a mini post about it already on here. We went back to Robbins Brothers, The Engagement Ring Store. It’s where my husband originally purchased my wedding band.  I learned so much about how to choose a diamond. I wanted to share with you EVERYTHING I learned. I wasn’t a part of the process the first time, and I didn’t even have a blog back then, so there was no way to share. Byron definitely did an amazing job though, because when we went back he already knew so much more than I did about choosing a diamond.

Here are a few tips that I learned to picking your perfect diamond:

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Words to know:

Brilliance- Simply put, it’s the bling in your ring! Brilliance is the brightness radiated from the heart of the ring, AKA the extent of diamond’s light-reflecting power.  It’s determined by a set of factor’s that focus around “The Four C’s,” as they call it. These are the most important factors to choosing a diamond.

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Carat- Is simply the size of your diamond. You always want to go a tad bit bigger than the carat you want. Reason being, diamonds (as strong as they are) can chip. If you chip off a piece of a 1 ct. diamond, it’s no longer considered 1ct. and the resell is drastically lower. If you buy a 1.2 ct. diamond you have more room for accidents while still keeping it above 1 ct., hence maintaining its value.

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Color- Rarely is a diamond completely colorless. Most, to all, diamonds have a slight yellow hue, often not at all obvious. Letters signify the amount of yellow in your diamond, beginning with D, the whitest, and ending at Z, the most yellow. One thing I loved about the diamond we chose, is that its super white and sparkly. I sat and compared many options before choosing the perfect color.

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Clarity- (also called inclusions) are the “flaws” or “birthmarks” of a diamond; rated by a set of letters and numbers (see below). Diamonds are a product of nature and will always come with their own characteristics. Just because a diamond may have a flaw, as the majority do, does not make it undesirable or even noticeable for that matter. That is why there are several levels of clarity to choose from. I tried looking for diamond options where flaws were closer to the bottom of the ring, and could only be seem under a microscope.

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Cut- The way in which a diamond is cut to shape. The better the cut the more diamond will direct more light through the crown, or increase the stone’s brilliance.

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Cut Types Are:

Round– Shape is self-explanatory. This is regarded as the most “brilliant” cut and the most expensive.
Princess– A brilliant diamond with sharp corners that can be cut square to rectangular. Quality-wise, it’s the square version of a round cut diamond. High brilliance, highly sought after.
Oval– An elliptical shaped diamond. Great for elongating the finger. Known for having bow ties, or areas where light to not bounce back (some really like this effect).
Cushion– A cushion cut diamond is square to rectangular with rounded corners and curved sides. Resembles a pillow shape.  Comes in many shapes and sizes.
Radiant – A square or rectangular diamond, similar to the princess cut, but without the sharp edges and with cut corners.
Emerald – Known to be rectangular and very elegant. It’s an understated, but classically beautiful cut. This cut does tend to show more flaws in the stone, so typically you would want to be a higher clarity than you would need to with a princess or round cut that conceals its flaws more effectively.
Baguette Cut– Very similar to the emerald cut, but available in less carats. Often used as side stones.
Asscher– Simply a square emerald.
Marquise– Similar to the oval cut, but with two pointed ends.
Trilliants – A triangular brilliant cut. Similar cutting style to the princess; sharp edged. Must be protected from chipping edges.
Heart –shaped like a heart. Also know for having bow ties.

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Photo Credit: EngagementRingsOnline.co.uk

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Overall, we chose a diamond that looked the most beautiful and sparkly to us. It’s important to choose something that you are personally very drawn to! Don’t worry too much about size, focus on the brilliance of the diamond itself, and which options in your price range most stick out to you. That way, you will be happy for years and years to come.

If you like my ring, and want to know where to find similar options (they don’t sell that exact model anymore)

click here

Hope you enjoyed this post,

xo, Rachel