Benefits of a Facial Massage

While you might have had a body massage, a facial massage is a little different.
It is not meant to work out kinks or soothe your sore and tired muscles, but instead provides a host of other benefits. 

Here are some reasons to consider getting a facial massage from your esthetician,  massage therapist or even by incorporating into your skincare routine at home.

 Increase Circulation
The first major benefit to getting a facial massage is the fact that it can help to increase circulation of your face. This is due to the circular motions of the massage on your cheeks, forehead, chin, and neck. When circulation is increased, blood flow and oxygen flow soon follow. This provides a lot of amazing benefits for natural beauty. 

Stimulate the Lymphatic system
Some specialty massage techniques and gemstone tools can help get the lymphatic fluid moving to prevent toxic buildup and help drain puffiness.

Products are Easily Absorbed into the Skin
If you want performance serums and moisturizers to work properly, you need to give your skin a little boost.  With a facial massage, it actually helps the products to penetrate better into your skin than just sitting on the surface.

Help Increase Collagen Production
Yet another benefit of the increased circulation that a facial massage provides you is that it can help to boost collagen production. You already have collagen in your body, which everyone has. However, as you age, the production begins to slow more and more, which is where those fine lines and wrinkles come from. If you want to improve your skin condition and have a more youthful appearance, collagen is the secret. A great way to naturally boost collagen production is by getting a facial massage.

Feels Nice and Relaxing
Yes, I saved the best for last! There aren't many people who don't enjoy getting cozy and having their face pampered. It is the perfect way to melt away your stress and calm the tension that you are holding. 

Carrot Cake Coconut Smoothie

This healthy and delicious smoothie tastes more like a decadent dessert than a nutritious way to start the day. The natural sweetness of the orange and carrots are balanced by a trio of complementary spices, while a spoonful of homemade coconut whipped cream serves as the perfect finishing touch.

Tip: For best results, use coconut milk that does not contain guar gum to make the whipped cream. 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2

Coconut Whipped Cream Ingredients:

1 13.5-oz. can coconut milk, chilled

1-2 T. maple syrup (optional)

1 t. orange zest (optional)

Smoothie Ingredients:

1 c. coconut milk

1 large banana, cut into chunks and frozen

2 large stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 large orange, peeled

4 large carrots, roughly chopped

¾ t. cinnamon

¾ t. ground allspice

½ t. ground nutmeg

4-6 ice cubes

Optional Garnish:
Ground cinnamon
Finely chopped walnuts

Directions:

1.Chill coconut milk in refrigerator for several hours or overnight. To prepare, remove can from refrigerator without shaking or turning and remove lid. Scoop out the solidified “cream” from the top of the can and transfer to a mixing bowl. Reserve remaining liquid coconut milk to use in smoothie. 


2.Add maple syrup and orange zest, if desired, to mixing bowl and blend until light and airy. Allow coconut cream to warm up slightly before blending if lumps persist. Cover and place bowl in refrigerator until ready to use. 


3.Add the coconut milk and frozen banana to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth, around 30 seconds. 


4.Add celery, orange, carrots, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ice cubes. Blend on high speed until completely combined and creamy, approximately 1-2 minutes.


5.Pour into glasses and top with a scoop of coconut whipped cream. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon or finely chopped walnuts, if desired, and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Soups On: Hearty Minestrone

This satisfying minestrone soup features a combination of fresh herbs, vegetables, white beans, and pasta. Although this recipe is delicious as written, don’t be afraid to experiment a bit with the ingredients. This dish is a great way to use up any extra fresh herbs and vegetables you have available.


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 50-55 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

3 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided

2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced

½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped

3 medium carrots, finely chopped

3 large stalks celery, finely chopped

1 28-oz. can petite-diced tomatoes, undrained

1 15.5 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

4 c. organic vegetable broth*

2 whole bay leaves
1 T. fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (or 1 t. dried)
1 T. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 t. dried)
1 T. fresh oregano leaves (or 1 t. dried)
½ T. crushed red pepper flakes
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Optional: 3” Parmesan cheese rind
2 c. Fusilli pasta
2 c. fresh green beans, cut into ½” pieces
2 c. fresh arugula

Optional Garnish:
¼ c. fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* Use additional vegetable broth to reach desired consistency, if needed

Directions:
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or just until garlic starts to turn golden brown.

Add chopped onion, carrot, and celery and cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are soft and tender.

Add diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, 4 cups vegetable broth, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes to pot and stir to combine. Add Parmesan cheese rind, if desired, and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes.

Tip: For best results, cook the pasta separately, rather than in the same pot with the rest of the ingredients. This extra step yields more consistent results by eliminating the release of excess starch into the soup. It also prevents the noodles from becoming too soft and mushy, which means more appetizing leftovers the next day and better results when freezing for future use.

While soup is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid before draining pasta. Rinse pasta and transfer to a medium bowl and toss with remaining olive oil. Cover and set aside.

Remove cover from pot or Dutch oven and add green beans and the reserved pasta cooking liquid. Stir to combine and continue cooking, uncovered, another 20-25 minutes or until green beans are crisp tender.

Add arugula and additional vegetable broth, if needed, and stir to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until arugula begins to wilt.

To serve, divide cooked pasta among individual serving bowls and top with hot soup. Top with chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve with crusty bread and/or a crisp, green side salad for a hearty meal. Enjoy!


Reasons to Love Lavender Essential Oil

With so many uses, it's pleasant scent and affordability, lavender is one of the most popular essential oils. While there are many more, here are some of the top ways to use lavender
essential oil.

lavender-bottle-quilt



Get Better Sleep

Sleep is a very important part of everyone’s daily schedule, but far too many people suffer
from insomnia. This could be from stress in your life, not planning for enough hours of
sleep, or because you don’t allow yourself time to relax before bed.  If you are looking for a natural alternative for getting a good nights rest, start by using some lavender essential oil. It has a calming effect and can promote a peaceful sleep. Diffuse some lavender in your bedroom before bed or add a couple of drops to a cotton ball or tissue near your pillow

Improve Your Mood

Another wonderful benefit to lavender essential oil is improving your mood. Not only can
it relax you and help with calming, but you can really just have a better mood overall. You can
wear it like a perfume or with diffuser type jewelry, helping you to feel balanced throughout your day.

Reduce Stress

If you are dealing with a lot of stress in your life, then lavender essential oil might be the
answer. Everyone has stress, but when you notice it is taking over your life, causing
anxiety attacks, depression, or lack of sleep, it is time to do something about it. Try
using lavender in your diffuser or diluting it and rubbing it on pressure points like behind
your ears or on your wrists, and that could help take things down a notch.

Soothe Your Skin

Lavender is not only good mentally, but physically as well. As an esthetician, I am a true believer in the power that this essential oil has in dealing with skin irritations, especially when paired with other oils that improve the appearance of the skin. It is one of the very few essential oils that most people can use neat (directly on the skin without using a carrier oil). You can calm your skin and your mind at the same time! 

My love for lavender is no secret. Check out this quilt my good friend VickiG made for me. I will treasure it forever!

lavender-quilt

What is all the fuss about Pumpkin Facials?

Pumpkin facials aren’t just for celebrating the fall season, but i'll admit, i get excited for pumpkin time! The familiar scent of pumpkin spices are so comforting and touch our emotions with the anticipation of the upcoming holidays and also trigger memories from the past.

Amazingly healthy to eat and use on your skin, pumpkins have a high content of antioxidants, and vitamins plus a wealth of minerals. Vitamin A and Vitamin C help soften the skin and boost collagen production.  Pumpkin seeds have essential fatty acids, Vitamin E and zinc which can help the acne healing process.

Pumpkin skin treatments are great for all skin types any time of the year, but are mostly marketed as a seasonal offering.  Fall is a great time of the year to give the skin the TLC it needs after summer.

Pumpkin facials benefit the skin by offering gentle exfoliation with natural fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) which help to increase cell turnover, brighten and smooth the skin. Dry skin types with sensitivity will do better with an enzyme exfoliant than with a harsh scrub which could cause irritation.

Overall, a Pumpkin Facial Treatment will improve the appearance of your skin and delight your senses!

Here is a simple DIY at home mask recipe for all skin types

¼ cup pumpkin pureed (fresh or organic canned)
1 tsp of  Raw Honey

Mix and apply to clean skin. Leave on for 15 minutes, Remove with warm water towel.


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