Posts with tag "lifestyle"


Having a Blah day?

Today is just one of those blah days. I am feeling overwhelmed thinking about everything ahead of me (birthdays, thanksgiving, holidays christmas, new year's), exhausted with everything behind me (Halloween, birthdays, Diwali, school events) and generally under appreciated and over committed.

I guess sometimes that is the life of a woman!

Question is what am I going to do about it?

Well, here's my plan and I am sticking to it.

1. Book a Massage at my Favorite Spa

2. Watch Skyfall, the new James Bond movie

3. Plan Drinks with my Favorite Girlfriends

4. Shop online everyday until I feel better

5. Do a Random Act of Kindness for the next five days

I think that is a pretty good list and I am already starting to feel better thinking about it!

By then it will be thanksgiving and I will be ready to give thanks sincerely!

PS - I plan to have a good glass of wine everyday too. 


Monday Blues….

Everyone can have an off day...its only human. Well today I am having an OFF DAY, partly cause its Monday partly cause I really want to solve the issue that is causing me the heart ache but its not that easy and partly cause it was Mother's Day yesterday, which is always a tough one for me for so many reasons.

As important it is to be well dressed, have a good diet, take care of your outward experience, it is equally (if not more) important to take care of your heart and how you feel in the inside as that is what gives you the strength to forge ahead everyday.

When I tend to feel sad, here are some things that really help me and by sharing them with you, I am hoping that they might help you too if you are ever at that point in your life -

Talk about it with a girlfriend or someone you trust - This is the first step in the healing process. Some people are very personal and don't like to share what they are feeling BUT believe me talking about what's hurting you inside with someone you trust is extremely therapeutic and healing. You receive the kindness and compassion you need to start the healing process so don't alienate yourself.

Find a physical outlet - Once all the emotions are out, I find that doing something physical like taking a walk, jogging, yoga, zumba, tennis or anything that gets your endorphins going, really helps too. There is so much frustration built up that its best to take it out on a physical activity. Some people may prefer having sex....I have heard that works too ūüôā

Shop till you drop - I know this sounds COMPLETELY shallow but I do believe in retail therapy especially if the person causing you pain is your husband. There is something completely satisfying about spending HIS money on your spontaneous big purchase buys. I have done some of my best shopping on days when I am upset with my husband. That's why I LOVE online shopping, just sit in bed and shop away!

Communicate with the offender - Finally after you have vented with your girlfriend, exercised your frustrations out and shopped to your heart's content, maybe you are ready to have the heart to heart with the person who is causing you the pain. I am a big believer in COMMUNICATION. I believe it is the only way one can forge forward in any relationship. Just remember people are not mind-readers and everyone is different and they think differently hence communication is the only medium to solve the mysteries of behavior and patterns in our life. Its not easy to speak your mind but if your intentions are pure then you are doing the right thing.

Eat something indulgent - After a rough day like that make sure you eat your favorite dessert. You deserve it.

I hope this was helpful.


Wonders of Coconut Oil.

My hair and body were slathered in coconut oil as a child whether I liked it or not. My mother and grand mother used to say, its good for you! Little did I know that many years later, I will be writing a blog post about the benefits of using it ūüôā

I love finding natural and all-purpose products for everyday situations and my latest re-discovery is coconut oil! 
It is affordable, readily available and in its natural, unrefined state offers a myriad of benefits! 

As far as topical application goes, coconut oil is antibacterial, anti-fungal and antimicrobial. It’s a great all-in-one product where just a little goes a long way.

While doing research, I learnt that coconut oil has so many benefits for beauty, general health and wellness, health problems, cooking, pets and other house hold uses. It really was quite an incredible list.

Since I haven't used it in all those capacities, I will only write about it from my personal experience.

Here are just a few beauty uses for virgin/unrefined coconut oil.

Makeup Remover: Smooth on and gently massage about a quarter sized amount of coconut oil onto your face and wipe off with a warm washcloth. Not only will this get rid of even the most stubborn makeup but your face will feel clean and moisturized after.
Face Wash: Mix equal parts coconut oil with olive oil, almond oil, avocado oil and castor oil and use in place of soap when washing your face. Wet face, rub oil in and leave on for two minutes, rinse and pat dry. One teaspoon should be adequate.
Lip Balm: Keep a small amount of solid coconut oil in a sealed container for an easy and inexpensive lip balm. Rub a little bit onto your lips to keep them from being chapped. Also, keep in mind that coconut oil stays in its solid state below 76 degrees (Fahrenheit) and starts to melt at anything above that so it may not be a good choice to keep in your bag in the summer months.
Eye Cream: apply under the eyes to reduce puffiness, bags and wrinkles. Use on the lids in the evening.


Deep Conditioner: Apply coconut oil onto your hair as a deep conditioner and leave it in from anywhere between 30 minutes to overnight to minimize the look and feel of split ends and have smoother and softer hair.
Cradle Crap: Coconut oil will not only nourish your baby’s skin, but also helps eliminate cradle cap. Just rub a teaspoon onto scalp daily.
Dandruff: Coconut oil soaks into the scalp moisturizing dry skin and relieves symptoms of dandruff. It also helps to control oil secretion from the scalp, another leading cause of dandruff.
De-frizzer: Rub a little between your palms and either scrunch into hair (for curly hair) or finger comb in through from scalp to ends (for wavy/straight hair).


Body Moisturizer: Slather on some coconut oil after your shower for softer skin.
Body Scrub: Mix it with sugar or sea salt and rub all over! Rinse off and your skin will be super soft! You can add in essential oils if you would like a specific smell.
Foot Treatment: If you have cracked heals or dry feet, spread coconut oil on clean feet and cover with socks for a soothing and moisturizing treatment.
Shaving Aid: Smooth on coconut oil for an easier shave that moisturizes your skin as well. This is perfect for those that have sensitive skin and can’t use or are irritated with other shaving creams.


Make Mom feel special this Mother’s Day!

Mother's day is on May 13th and I am every excited about this day.
Why not? It's a day for being celebrated as a mom as well as celebrating your mom. It's a day of showing mom that she is loved, cherished and appreciated. It's a happy day. 
Read this post while planning for your mom and then make sure to share with your husband and kids, if you are a mom, so they can get some tips for planning your day too ūüôā

So what would an ideal mother's day be?
Well, that really depends on how old the kids are....

If your kids are under the age of 5 yrs:
A little time away from them could be a nice treat since they are at a demanding age and when mom is around, they only want her. A spa treatment or a workout away could be a nice break.

If your kids are between ages 5 to 10 yrs:
One planned activity together as a family would be great. Sunday brunch or a family activity like bowling, bike ride, tennis. 

If your kids are between ages 10 to 20 yrs:
A meal and an activity together would make a nice day. It definitely gets easier by this age but the kids might not want to spend an entire day with their parents. So an early dinner or a brunch followed by a movie or some activity could be great quality time.

If your kids are over 20 years:
You could possibly spend an entire day together! That is, if you are living in the same city.

For some families, giving a gift is definitely a sign of love so here are some thoughts on how you can make your mom feel loved and special on Mother's Day.
1. If your mom is a homebody, let her sleep in. That is a true treat. And when she wakes up, make her a special breakfast, served on a nicely laid table. Make her favorite things for breakfast. Check out my post on Sunday Brunch for some egg recipes and table setting ideas. Being at home and not having to do a single think like cleaning, laundry or picking up after everyone is an indulgence for her.

2. If your mom likes spas, give her a nice body cream (I love Jo Malone Body Cream in Grapefruit) along with a gift certificate to her favorite spa. A nice touch would be to make an appointment in advance on Mother's Day. After her treatment, the whole family can have a meal together somewhere.

3. If your mom likes to workout, give her a gift certificate to her favorite workout apparel store (I love Lululemon) and schedule a family hike or bike ride for the day. Pack a special picnic and surprise her after the hike/bike.

4. If your mom likes to shop, give her a gift certificate to her favorite store (Nordstroms, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales) and maybe arrange a personal shopper to meet her there. After her shopping spree, the whole family can get together for a meal.

5. If your mom likes to cook, give her a cool apron like the one below or buy her a cook book she has been wanting along with a gift certificate for cooking classes at a favorite place. 

Plenty Cookbook

Last but not least, end the day by telling her how much you love her.


Loving Blow Dry Bars….

Bay Area people.....we finally have what LA and NY folks have been enjoying for a while now.

Blow dry bars! A place to walk in and out in 45 minutes with an awesome blow out for a reasonable price of $35. Whether you have a girl's night out, a hot dinner date or an important business meeting, beautifully blown out hair feels amazing.
Credit: Halo 

Halo Blow Dry Bar is a great concept and in a short time has opened three locations already.
Palo Alto
Menlo Park

They offer a variety of styles of blow outs from a high volume to a sleek and straight option to a low volume with curls option so give it a try. Its fairly easy to get an appointment and costs the same amount as getting a pedicure.

As any new business, they have some issues to work out as double booking appointments or not matching the right stylist for your hair so my suggestion would be to make an appointment before you go (even though they claim to be ok with walk-ins) and if you have thick hair or anything specific in mind, mention it while making an appointment so you get matched with an appropriate stylist. Once you find a stylist you like, then stick with them for future appointments as they get familiar with your hair and can do a quick blow out.

I have found it hard to get an appointment with my regular hairdresser for a blow out as that is not their priority so I am truly happy about blow dry bars!!!!

Menlo Park Location
Photo Credit: Halo


Develop a Healthy Skin Care Routine

I am currently obsessed with taking care of my skin. Probably because I took it for granted all my life and now that I have hit my mid-thirties, I am starting to have break outs and its driving me crazy.
As women, there are so many factors that impact the condition of our skin like age, skin type (dry, oily, combination), skin color (fair, medium or dark) and our uncontrollable hormones!!!
With that said, I am writing this post as a gentle reminder about how through some easy steps we can take care of our skin and achieve that beautiful glowing complexion that all of us strive for.

Skin Care Essentials

1. Its important to have a daily ritual for taking care of your skin.
Day Time
Cleanse: Wash your face with a mild cleanser suited for your skin type. Cleansing helps remove dirt and grime and helps with the skin renewal process.
Tone: Use a toner to tighten the pores
Moisturize: Apply a moisturizer with SPF
Exfoliate/Masks: Frequency depends on your skin type. Helps remove dead skin cells

Night Time
Cleanse: Wash your face with a mild cleanser suited for your skin type
Extra Step: Apply a vitamin C serum. Helps tighten the skin.
Moisturize: Apply a night time moisturizer (without any SPF)

2. Pick a brand that you like and try and pick your cleanser, toner and moisturizer from the same brand. Scrubs, masks and serums can be from a different brand but try and keep the basics should be from the same brand.

3. Get a facial every 4-6 weeks for a deep cleansing of your skin but make sure the esthetician is experienced. Best to do some research by asking your friends and then work with them on a regular basis. 

4. To avoid breakouts, wash your  makeup brushes once a month or so. To wash your makeup brushes, just use a small amount of gentle shampoo and water, and then rub the bristles between your fingers. Do this until the water runs clean. Air dry the brushes.

5. Maintain a healthy diet as that has a huge impact on your skin. Incorporate lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and leafy greens.

6. Drink lots of water. Helps flush out all the toxins from your body.

Some of my Favorite Skin Care Products 


Daily Cleanser: CeraVe Hydrating CleanserDaily 
Light Weight Moisturizer with SPF: Lancome Bienfait Multi-Vital Moisturizer with SPF 30Moisturizer: Chantecaille Flower Harmonizing Cream
Exfoliant: Benefit Pineapple Facial Polish
Masque: Kiehl's Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque
Vitamin C Serum: Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum
Pimple Healer: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion


Time to detoxify!

An embellished life includes having a healthy lifestyle!
When you feel good, you automatically look good. And with summer around the corner and swimsuit season on the horizon, I was tempted to share some detoxifying foods compiled by reviewing multiple health websites and magazines. 
Most of us are aware of these foods but it doesn't hurt to get a quick reminder.
By incorporating these in your diet, you can increase energy, improve digestion and also lose weight!

Top 10 Detoxifying Foods

1. Lemons 

Lemon juice contains a number of alkalizing minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. It is also rich in vitamin C, a powerful anti-oxidant that supports your immune system. Lemon juice is great for a detox because it stimulates bile production in your liver, helping your body to remove toxins more efficiently. 

2. Blueberries 

Blueberries rate very highly in antioxidant activity compared to other fruit. They contain potent antioxidants, named anthocyanins, that gives them that beautiful blue color. The anthocyanins protect your body from free radicals in your bloodstream, and can help your immune system to fight off serious diseases. Blueberries also help to stabilize blood glucose levels and can reduce belly fat. 

3. Garlic

Garlic is a powerful antiviral, antiseptic and antibiotic. The vital sulphuric compounds garlic contains makes it an essential detoxifier.

4. Green Tea

Packed full of antioxidants, green tea not only washes toxins out of the system through its liquid content, but also contains a special type of antioxidant called catechins, known to increase liver function.

5. Flaxseed

Ground flaxseeds provide a wonderful source of fibre that helps to bind and flush toxins from the intestinal tract. They're also a great source of health promoting omega 3 oils. 

6. Red Beets

Beets are full of vitamins B3, B6, C and beta-carotene. They're also a valuable source of iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium -- all necessary to promote optimal detoxification and elimination.

7. Turmeric

Curcumin is the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, which gives it its yellow color. The rate at which your detox pathways function depends on your genes, your age, lifestyle and a good supply of nutrients involved in the detox process. Curcumin is used a lot in Ayurvedic Medicine to treat liver and digestive disorders.

8. Quinoa

This simple seed is a complete protein, and also boasts high calcium and lysine contents.

9. Green, Leafy Vegetables

Lightly diuretic, leafy greens, especially watercress and arugula, work with the liver to flush out toxins while their rich mineral content keeps you strong.

10. Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli contains important phytochemicals that are released when they're chopped, chewed, fermented, cooked or digested. The substances are released then break down into sulphorophanes, indole-3-carbinol and D-glucarate, which all have a specific effect on detoxification. 

And last but not least drink lots of water!!!!!! The rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water so if you weigh 140lbs, drink 70 oz of water.


Zumba – What a great workout!

In case you haven't heard of Zumba, it is an amazing dance-based workout which is high-cardio, high energy and completely exhilarating.

I have been doing Zumba for almost a year now and am totally addicted. This morning while I was in my Zumba class with women of all ages, shapes and nationalities, gyrating in harmony to the choreography of our very talented Zumba instructor, I couldn't stop smiling. What a way to start my day! For that one hour, I was transformed to a completely different world (this morning I imagined myself in a nightclub in Ibiza)  and was energized. After that, I can take on my day of tasks, responsibilities and stuff!

Having tried many different forms of exercise (yoga, pilates, aerobics, weight training) and dance (classical, ballroom, latin, swing, charleston, hip hop), I finally feel like I have found my happiness in Zumba as it combines the best of dance and exercise. Add amazing music to the mix and you get a fun, awesome workout.

If you are intimidated by the fact that you have two left feet or can't shake your hips, then my suggestion would be to buy the Zumba DVD, learn some of the basic steps at home and then take the classes as most Zumba teachers use the same basic steps in their choreography.

Oh and by the way, if you enjoy clothes (like me) then I have to mention that the Zumba apparel is super cute. I bought these cargo pants and exercise tank. They fit really well and are great for Zumba. The full selection of apparel and other products can be found at the Zumba online store.

I hope you'll try Zumba at least once and if you do, then do share!