Advertisements

Mint Chocolate Cookies

I can’t wait to get started on cookie baking this weekend, and this is one of the first recipes I am going to try out.

You’ll Need:

  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 bag of dark chocolate and mint morsels

How to Prepare:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda in a small bowl.
  • In a larger bowl, beat butter, both sugars, and vanilla until creamy.
  • Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Slowly add in flour mixture.
  • Add in morsels
  • Drop rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 11-13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set.
  • Put on a wire rack to cool and enjoy!
Advertisements

Take Care of Your Skin This Winter

It’s finally getting cold here in Florida, and my skin is feeling it! I usually deal with chapped lips, but my hands are getting in on it too, and they are cracked and peeling with all this dry cold weather. Luckily, there are several ways to tackle this, and take care of your skin this winter, and it’s in perfect time for Wellness Wednesday!

  • Get a good hand lotion. I don’t mean a regular lotion, I mean one specifically made for dry, cracked skin. The other stuff will help temporarily, but you really need something to moisturize for a while and specifically for this type of skin. Jergens has an option that works, as does Aveeno, and Vaseline. I used the Vaseline one this evening when my hands were absolutely bright red and cracking, and it helped so much!
  • Stay hydrated. Part of dry skin is dehydration, so it’s important to keep up your water intake even in the winter. I know this can be difficult since we aren’t as likely to feel thirsty, but trust me, your skin will thank you.
  • Try sleeping with lotion gloves at night. I got a pack of keratin gloves for my hands in a subscription box and they are specifically made to help keep your hands in great shape all winter long.
  • Use a moisturizing hand sanitizer. We are in the midst of cold and flu season, which means I am washing my hands even more than normal and using hand sanitizer, both of which dry your hands out even more, which is why I was so excited when my friend sent me a lotion that was also a hand sanitizer. Now I can keep my hands germ free, and moisturized all season long.
  • Wear gloves while doing dishes. If you find that your hands are getting even more dried out after doing chores, wear gloves while you do them! Keeping your hands dry may give them more time to heal and not get as dried out.
  • Try a hydrocortisone cream if it gets really bad. If you’ve been ignoring it for a bit, a regular lotion may not work as well, but a hydrocortisone cream should get your hands back to normal.
  • Put an antibacterial cream on any open spots. If your hands have gotten to the point where they are cracked and bleeding, make sure you take care of those spots to avoid an infection. Keep them clean and use an anti-bacterial cream.

While we certainly can’t prevent dry skin, we can fight back against it. These tips help me out during the winter months, and hopefully they’ll provide you some relief as well!

Shop Sales and Save

Cyber Monday and Black Friday may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find amazing sales and savings. Pretty much through the New Year stores will be having various sales, which means you can stock up on some necessities or wants.

One thing I never pay full price for are Christmas decorations of any kind. I always wait until closer to Christmas when everything goes on sale, and then I get those pieces I was eyeballing for my decor. I save a ton that way and can get more pieces for my house by purchasing when they’re at least half off.

Same thing goes for clothing, furniture, and even tech. More of those items will go on sale right before and right after Christmas, so if you’ve been eyeing something, hold out until the sales come out so you can save and get it for an even better deal.

Try Essential Oils

Hey y’all, so with the holidays coming up, Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and then BAM Christmas, I think it’s safe to say everyone’s feeling the stress a bit more. I know I sure am, and when I get stressed, I start looking for different ways to help me handle the stress. One way that is a great option for many people is essential oils. While I certainly don’t believe essential oils can cure everything, I do think that a pleasant scent while you are dealing with potentially unpleasant emotions or feelings can make a huge difference in stress levels.

Scientific evidence backing up the use of essential oils is slim, but I know for myself, whether it’s a placebo effect or not, breathing in certain scents helps me to calm down and relax for a bit. There are many people who will agree with this sentiment and have found using essential oils to be beneficial in several ways.

Certain scents help with certain things, so depending on what’s going on with you, you may need a different scent than one I would reach for during the holiday season. Here are the associated health claims with each one.

  • Peppermint is used to boost energy and aid in digestion (while peppermints themselves are great for eating, you don’t want to eat peppermint essential oils, just enjoy the Christmas-y scent they bring 🙂 )
  • Lavender, Bergamot, and Sandalwood are all used to relieve stress and help with relaxation
  • Rose helps with anxiety
  • Chamomile is a mood booster and helps with relaxation (a cup of chamomile tea is one of my favorites after stressful evenings)
  • Ylang-Ylang helps with headaches and nausea
  • Tea Tree helps with fighting infections and immunity (tea tree oil on your scalp can also help relieve dandruff, just make sure to use a small amount)
  • Jasmine helps with depression
  • Lemon helps digestion, mood, headaches, and more. It’s also a great scent for kitchens, very fresh and clean.

If you want to find out more information about essential oils, check out this article https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-are-essential-oils#types It’s a great resource for those who are interested in trying these out.

Prepare Everything Early for Thanksgiving

Hey y’all one of my favorite holidays is coming up this week and are you ready? Whether you are hosting a bunch of family over for the day, traveling to be with others for the week or spending it on your own, you’ll want to start preparations early. For those hosting, that’ll start with doing chores one evening, the next making pies ahead of time, then preparing the stuffing mix, etc. If you split it up into a few tasks each evening leading up to the big day, you can enjoy the actual day of a little more without feeling so stressed out. For those of you traveling, the same thing applies! Pack your bags ahead of time, make sure your arrangements for your pets are done, get that rental car confirmed, and then make sure to take time to relax beforehand. Traveling can be super stressful, so take care of yourself and try to alleviate any extra stress that you can. For those who will be spending it on your own, prepare a smaller version of the big meal for yourself, and then find some time to relax. Whether you have to work Black Friday or are studying for a big test, get some of the other things done out of the way chore-wise so you can focus on that and not feel as stressed each day.

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Recently, my household has been dealing with a shoulder injury. Nothing too serious thankfully, but enough so that a doctor visit was necessary, and so is an ice pack and rest. Inflammation can be a serious issue, especially if ignored for a while, but luckily, there are ways to help improve it. I started whipping up an anti-inflammatory smoothie to help with this issue and reduce inflammation naturally.

You’ll Need:

1 cup of coconut or almond milk

1 scoop of Tone It Up Vanilla and Greens protein

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 teaspoon honey

Frozen fruit of your choice

3 teaspoons flaxseed

Preparation:

This is the simple part, throw it all together in a blender, and then enjoy! If you want to change up the thickness, add more fruit, if you prefer a thinner smoothie, use less fruit or add more milk.

It won’t cure inflammation, but with those superfoods in there, it can certainly help your muscles to heal and start feeling better!

Upgrade Your Bed Without Buying a New Mattress

We all get a case of insomnia every now and then, and sometimes it’s because we just can’t seem to get comfortable. If that’s the case for you, and you’re considering a new mattress, but don’t want to because it’s a bit too much right now, there are ways to upgrade your bed without buying a new mattress.

A mattress pad is a great way to upgrade your bed without buying a new mattress. It’s a fraction of the cost of a new mattress, and can really add new life to your mattress, especially if you’ve been feeling uncomfortable or even waking up with aches and pains.

New sheets is another option, try a different material your treat yourself to those expensive satin sheets you’ve been eyeing. The satin is great for your hair and skin (it helps prevent breakage and wrinkles, win win) and it may be just the change you need to sleep tight each night.

Journaling

Hey y’all so for this Wellness Wednesday, let’s talk about journaling. I am actually new to journaling. I kept a diary for a bit when I was a tween (I mean, what girl didn’t), but I never really got into that, and so when journaling really started becoming popular, I was iffy about it. Well, I am here to tell you that I am ready to give it a shot!

You may be wondering, what made me change my mind about journaling. First, as a psychology major, I try to keep up with things related to mental health, so that means anything new as far as ways to help improve your mental health, ways to relax, ways to rewire your brain in a positive way, I want to hear about it and learn about it. Journaling is no different, especially since there are many journals that guide you through the process and only take a few minutes out of each day. Studies are showing that journaling has a positive impact on reducing stress, helping you to let go of anxieties, and even rewiring your brain to think in a more positive manner. I mean, with all of that going for it, I figure, a little more positivity can never hurt!

I went ahead and bought two very different journals to get started. The first is a two minute morning journal. It’s designed to help you “win every day” and one of the ways it does that is by having you write down something you’re letting go of today. You also write what you’re grateful for, every single morning when you get up. They say, the more specific the better, and here’s where the sign behind that comes into play. When we focus on things we are lacking in our lives, we become a little more down about things, especially when bad stuff happens, and we forget all the great things we have. By putting those thoughts in your head first thing in the morning, you’re making your brain think about positive things and keeping it at the forefront of your mind right at the start of your day, which will help you have a more positive and upbeat attitude about things in the future, even if your day takes a turn for the bad. The second journal is a bit different in that it has several journeys for you to go on, thus providing journaling in different areas for your life for a long time. There’s a spiritual, achievement, humanitarian, mending fences, self-discovery, and more. I figured, that is definitely something worth exploring, even if you’re pretty certain you know who you are and what you believe or what you want out of life, taking a deeper look could help clarify some things for you.

journaling

So give journaling a try, if it’s not for you, no harm done, but if you find it helps you out in any way, even if it’s just giving you some time to sit down and unwind, then it was definitely worth it.

Abs, Abs, Abs

Hey y’all! For this Wellness Wednesday, we’re going to be talking about abs. That’s right, it’s winter time, and I am still working on my abs, keeping them from disappearing even though sweater season is right around the corner. At least, in my case, I sure hope it is, Florida seems slow on the winter update.

So before you start moaning and groaning, let me first say that having a strong core can help you with so much more than just looking great at the pool or beach. While it definitely has that benefit, it’s also helpful for keeping you balanced, as well as helping you to build muscle in other areas. Not to mention, if you are a dancer or even singer, a stronger core will help you to perform better. I remember my ballet days, and despite the main focus being on my posture and form and stretching my legs, I also had to have a good core to be able to do some of those moves. So if you’ve ever wanted to pursue dance or singing, then you’ll definitely want to work on those abs.

Now, you may be thinking, ick crunches, I hate crunches. I actually don’t hate crunches, but they can get a bit boring. Not to mention, regular crunches only work one part of your abs, while you have other parts that need to be worked too. Luckily, there are some variations on crunches, which I do every single night.

  1. Froggy crunches. I’m sure there’s a better name for them, but they make me think of frogs for some reason. Basically, lay down on your back and put your feet together, with your knees on opposite sides, like the butterfly stretch, except laying down. Then do your crunches as normal.
  2. Legs up crunches. Again, a simple variation, you’ll just want to lift your legs up in the air, bent at the knees and do your crunches as normal.
  3. Planks. Oh planks, can’t say I don’t hate those, but they are fantastic for working on your abs. They aren’t necessarily a crunch variation, but they’re a great workout so they had to make the list.
  4. Standing crunches. These are better if you don’t want to get down on the floor. So you’ll stand with your feet shoulder length apart, and you’ll bring your leg up to your chest, one at a time, alternating, while also crunching your stomach inward.

I am trying to keep my health a focus and priority, and that means not taking many days off from workouts. These are some of my go-tos for every day, and so far I’m really seeing progress that I’m very happy with. I hope they help you out and that you continue to make fitness a priority in your life as well! And don’t feel that you can’t start now, New Years doesn’t have to be the starting point to getting your health where you want it.

Take On Extra Work

I know, I know, y’all were not expecting me to suggest adding even more work onto your already full plates, but that’s exactly what this weekly tip is about. Taking on extra work in all areas of your life shows not only initiative, but it also shows a desire to get ahead and to make changes in your life.

So what does this take on extra work mean exactly? It could mean anything you want it to. For some, it’s asking for more responsibility at work, for others it could mean pitching in with household chores more. Take things on slowly, and see what you reap from it. You’ll never regret working hard.

%d bloggers like this: