Tuesday, April 15, 2014

May events: craft workshop, art fair & race

May will be an exciting month! First, I'm hosting another crafting workshop at Local Goods Chicago. Sign up here! Next, my first craft fair is May 17 in Oak Park, Illinois. What's Blooming on Harrison is a juried fair - meaning a group of people decide who can particapte based on submissions of their work. I'm so happy my submission was accepted! I'm working like crazy to make some fun, new jewelry.

Then, May 22 I'm running the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Chicago. All runners must be part of a corporate team to participate in the 3.5 mile race. This is the first year my company has participated, and our entry fees are comped- score! Can't wait to experience this race!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dry brushing for sensitive skin + sweet orange body butter recipe

The thought of running brush bristles across your skin sounds a little painful, right? Yet, this perfectly describes the popular practice of dry brushing. A friend recently introduced me to the concept and from her explanation I imagined it might feel something like running a rake over my body. I was a little skeptical of the idea. She on the other hand had nothing but good things to say about the process and sent me this article which does a great job of breaking down the benefits including:

• Increasing circulation to the skin.
• Helping to shed dead skin cells, encourage new cell renewal, and prevent ingrown hairs.
• Rejuvenating the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings.

There are also claims that dry brushing reduces the appearance of cellulite by helping with fat distribution. Fingers crossed! These are the basic rules of dry brushing:

• Dry brush dry skin before your morning shower.
• Start at your ankles and gently brush in circular, upward motions, using long strokes toward your heart.
• Once you reach your neck, back and arms, brush downward toward your heart.
• Be cautious of softer and sensitive skin around the chest and never brush inflamed skin.
• After dry brushing, shower to wash away dead skin cells and impurities.
• Post shower, liberally apply a moisturizer.

I was concerned about trying dry brushing because I have sensitive skin. Because of this, I modified my routine to accommodate my skin’s tolerance. I've been dry brushing now for a little over a month. These are my added tips for dry brushing sensitive skin and my recipe for a post-shower moisturizer, sweet orange body butter:

• Use a quality, long-handle natural bristle brush. You can find these hanging around a grocery store like Whole Foods.
• Dry brush every other day. For the first few days, I dry brushed every morning and I just felt like I was being too abrasive. My skin agrees with alternating days.
• Skip the chest area. I avoid below the clavicle and above the belly button all together. My skin is much too thin there to be agitating.
• Seal in the moisture. I created my own concoction that’s yummy, inexpensive and works great:

o 1 part Shea butter
o ½ part coconut oil
o 3-4 drops sweet orange essential oil

In a container warm the Shea butter and coconut oil together in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add a few drops of sweet orange essential oil (or your favorite scent) and whip together with a spoon. That’s it!

After a month of practicing dry brushing, it has become a regular part of my morning routine. It’s a great morning wake-me-up and start to the day.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Examiner Article: Beauty for Bloggers Workshop with Maritza Buelvas

Maritza Buelvas, master stylist, instructor and designer recently launched a series of DIY hair workshops in Chicago. Learn more about her classes here.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Running with Ollie Furry Friday Feature

Each Friday, Lea over at Running with Ollie highlights runners and their furry running companions.

This week, my dog-child, Bosley and I are the Furry Friday Feature! Lea’s blog has great tips on running, nutrition, and fitness in general. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Examiner article: The C.A.K.E. Village owner - Lande Sanusi

I love all things involving creativity and learning so when I came across The C.A.K.E. Village in East Dundee, Illinois I wanted to know more about the African arts and culture center. I recently sat down with the owner, Lande Sanusi to talk about what inspired her to create C.A.K.E. Village and of course, natural hair. Read the interview here!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: Retro Fitness – Carol Stream, IL

There’s a new place to get fit in Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs. Retro Fitness opened its doors in Carol Stream earlier this month. The gym is small, but it packs a punch with many of the amenities of a larger gym and unique features not found in other chains.

Even on a busy day I don’t foresee there being a wait for the cardio machines. There are rows of treadmills and ellipticals on the first and second floor. There is also a large selection of weight machines and free weights.

There are a few unique machines I have never seen before. The ab blaster which simulates the old school medicine ball sit-up exercise and a glute kick machine that I wish I could take home with me! I also enjoyed the spin bikes with their built-in programming that guides you through a workout of flats, sprints, seated and standing climbs.

Another fun Retro Fitness feature is the Cardio Theater. A feature-length film plays to a room full of treadmills, stair climbers and other cardio machines! What better way to pass the time during a workout than watching a movie? The Retro Blends Smoothie Bar offers juice and smoothies to replenish you post workout.

The Carol Stream location also has a group class studio. They start offering classes like Tabata Boot Camp, Zumba and Retro Flex beginning the last week of February. Personal trainers are also available to help you reach your fitness goals.

Is Retro Fitness Carol Stream near you? Visit their website to learn more about Retro Fitness and sign up for a free guest pass here.

Friday, February 7, 2014

30 day Paleo challenge complete!

My 30 day Paleo challenge officially ended last Wednesday. For 30 days I totally cut out bread, grains, most dairy and refined sugar. I lost 3 pounds. That’s nothing to write home about, but I’m surprised the scaled moved at all. Outside of a handful of visits to the gym and my indoor triathlon I was very lackadaisical about working out during those weeks.

I did have a few cheat items I struggled to stay away from: cheese on my scrambled eggs, 0% plain Greek yogurt, and coffee with creamer (Coffee-Mate’s Natural Bliss). Other than that, letting go of bread, rice, and other grains has not been that difficult. Bread feels like filler. Protein makes me feel FULL. There is a difference.

This week I am allowing myself a few things I forwent, mainly candy! Then, I will continue to challenge myself to eat Paleo through the end of March. I’ll save my measurement comparisons until that time. By adding regular exercise to my routine, I’m sure the scale move even more.