Thursday, May 30, 2013


Summertime! If you haven't started wearing shorts and flip-flops already, here are a few tips to get you ready for summer!

For dry, cracked feet:
Wal-Mart has what is called a callous remover. It looks like a miniature cheese grater, a bit scary, but it is incredible! I love this because it lasts longer than a pumice stone. I typically just use the black side, but if your feet are really bad, then the silver side will help get your feet back to beautiful!
You can also use a sugar and olive oil scrub. Get a teaspoon or tablespoon of olive oil, and mix with about 1/4 cup of sugar, scrub on your feet, then rinse your feet off with soap and water.
You can also do some overnight pampering by "slapping" lotion onto your feet. What I mean by "slapping" is not actually rubbing the lotion in. Just slap a bunch of lotion on your feet, I do a very thick layer of lotion, then pull some socks on and go to sleep!

Exfoliating your legs and arms:
Use the same olive oil and sugar scrub, add some lavender oil or lemon juice if you want! Scrub this all over your body in the shower, and then wash as usual. Then use some firming lotion all over (Mary Kay has some amazing firming lotion that I am in love with! Check it out here.)

Hands and nails:
You can exfoliate your hands using the same sugar scrub. For nails you can use a nail buffing block (just a couple dollars at Wal-Mart) to smooth your nails out, then paint them if you wish!

There you have it! Just a few tips to get you ready for summer! Happy Summer!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mosquito Bites

If you are anything at all like me, you can go outside to check your mail and end up with fifteen mosquito bites. Mosquitoes LOVE me, unfortunately! I am an absolute baby when it comes to mosquito bites! As soon as I get a bite, I want to itch it, and lay on the floor and throw a tantrum. I want to just yell at the mosquito bite to stop itching, and I just can't do anything. I am probably the biggest baby when it comes to mosquito bites! So with all this experience with mosquito bites, I have decided to share my best solutions for helping them not itch. 

The first thing I always do is try to wash the area where I was bit. Taking a shower, or just gently rubbing my arm or leg with a washcloth. If that does not help, then my absolute favorite thing to do is dab a TINY bit of toothpaste onto the bite. In the picture you can see how much I used. Its not a lot, just dab a little bit onto the bite, and let it dry. In the morning, or later in the day, you can clean the toothpaste off. I do not know exactly why this helps, but I think that the minty part of the toothpaste cools the bite, making it itch less. This is just my theory of course! But it definitely helps within just minutes!

The other things that are helpful are dabbing lavender oil, or tea tree oil onto the bite. Tea tree oil has about the same effect as toothpaste, its just a cooling sensation that helps the bite not itch as much. 

The last thing you can try is an anti-itch cream, or making a paste from baking soda and apple cider vinegar. There are a lot of ways to relieve itching, my favorite is simply toothpaste. I used google to see what other ways there are to relieve itching and it was surprising! Some people suggested using mud, witch hazel, calamine lotion, salt water (like ocean water, or a warm salt water mixture), ice packs (this would not work for me because I get so many bites all over my body!), rubbing a wet asprin pill over the bite, using deodorant, making a paste from water and tums, there are a lot more ways than I would ever think of to relieve itching!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sore Throat Remedies

Well I have a sore throat...again. I am thankful to say that this time, it is not strep! I am extra-prone to getting strep throat for some reason I do not understand. So I am very grateful that I do not have strep. Still though, sore throats are just icky. No one likes them, and especially with me, they seem to take forever to go away! I am going to share my best sore throat remedies with you!

While it is tempting to go to extremes with either hot teas and soups, or ice cold drinks and popsicles, that can actually irritate your throat more. So stick to warm-ish teas and soups, or cooler drinks. 

Lets pretend you have a sore throat, so the first thing you do when you wake up should be to gargle warm salt water. After you eat some breakfast (a bowl of cereal, grits, or oatmeal for some ideas), swallow a teaspoon of honey. This will coat your throat for a little while, giving you some relief. If you want even more relief, take one or two ibuprophen. ONLY if you can't rest that day. For example, if you go to work with a sore throat, you might take ibuprophen. But if you can rest up at home, wait a few days because your body does its best fighting of infections without other medicines intervening. I always try to avoid taking ibuprophen, but, sore throats are caused by inflammation. The last time I went to the doctor for my throat (which almost ended up being mono, aren't I special??) he told me this, and said to take ibuprophen because it will help with the inflammation. This ended up being a "duh" moment for me, realizing that "duh" sore throats are obviously your throat swelling up so of course an anti-inflammitory medicine would help "DUH!!" So, I recommend taking this if you have a sore throat. It actually is better than taking cough medicines in my opinion. 

So now it is lunchtime, make yourself a cup of chamomile tea, but use honey, not sugar. Honey will give you more relief than sugar, and it won't interfere with your immune system the way sugar will. Have some chicken soup, homemade if you can, but if not go for Ramen or chicken noodle soup. I try to always have at least one container of homemade soup in my freezer at all times. When I get sick, I just pull this out, and heat it up. 

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water, and other clear liquids (like apple juice). If you have strep, DO NOT drink citrus juices like lemon and orange. They are acidic, and if you can stand the pain of swallowing orange or lemon juice, it will hurt your throat more than it will help. Believe me, I know. If you just have a regular sore throat, the lemon will help, and orange juice has vitamin C that will give your immune system a boost. 

As it gets later in the day, make yourself a cup of lemon, honey and cinnamon tea. Use a half a teaspoon of lemon juice, just a sprinkle or two of cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey. Drink this to soothe your throat, and the cinnamon has natural antibiotics to help kill the infection in your throat (note to self, this also kills E. coli!)

As you are getting ready for bed, gargle again with salt water or you can use mouthwash to gargle. Take another teaspoon of honey, and pop half a cough drop in your mouth to soothe your throat as you sleep. You can set a bowl of steamy water in your room while you sleep too. Sometimes sore throats can be caused by dry air. Especially in the winter. During the winter, I have a bowl of water in my room every night. If you don't think you will be able to fall asleep or sleep well, take another ibuprophen or two. Make sure you don't take too many though!

My advice, avoid sore throats at all costs!! But if you have one, rest up, get extra sleep, and drink plenty of clear liquids, especially water!! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Iced Tea

I have heard many a college student state that they do not have a good recipe for iced tea. I am going to share my recipe for all those people who cannot find a good recipe!

3 regular size tea bags*
1 2 quart pot
1/3 cup sugar**
1/2 Gallon pitcher***

Using cold water (I have tried making tea with hot water and it doesn't taste as good, so make sure you use cold water), fill your pot as full as you can without overfilling it. Remove paper from the teabags (take the paper tag thingy off too, or your tea will taste like paper!), and place in water. Bring water to boil, and turn heat to low. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes (depending on how strong you like your tea, I usually do about 40 minutes). 

Put sugar in pitcher, remove tea bags from water and throw away. Pour tea over sugar, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. If necessary, add cold water until the pitcher is full (sometimes I have enough tea, and other times I need to add a little bit of water). 

It is a little time-consuming, considering the other ways I have heard people make tea usually just take ten or fifteen minutes, but this is the best recipe that I have ever used. Its really easy to get this boiling, then study for a little bit, or watch an episode of Pretty Little Liars ;) or some other show! 

Because I enjoy tea, I usually make several pitchers at once. I also take this with me when I go to class or work, so I found that rather than using regular ice cubes and watering my tea down, I have an ice cube tray designated for making "tea cubes". Simply fill the ice cube tray with tea rather than water, and pop into your tea when you are heading out the door, or anytime! The sugar in the tea does make the cubes slightly sticky, so if you don't want the stickiness, then use unsweet tea to make your tea cubes (if you like sweet tea, maybe add a little more sugar into your tea, and use unsweet cubes). 

Its a really simple, easy-to-change recipe! Play around with it, everyone is different!

*I prefer Lipton, I grew up drinking Lipton, so its just my preference. Use whatever you prefer though!
**I do not like my tea very sweet. If you like sweet tea, you might try 1/2 cup sugar.
***If you have a gallon pitcher, simply double the sugar and use six tea bags, there is no need to double the water.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Toasted Granola

This is my grandmother's recipe. It is time consuming, but SO worth it!

7 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey*
1/2 stick butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 teaspoon of salt (optional)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries

Oven: 325
Serving Size: 1/2 cup**

If you are using almonds, lay those on a pan and let them toast lightly while you measure out the rest of the ingredients. It only takes 2-3 minutes to toast them, so watch them carefully so they don't burn!

Put the oats in a bowl, and in a small saucepan stir and heat (do NOT boil!) the water with brown sugar and salt until they dissolve. Add oil, honey and butter. Continue heating until the butter is melted, but do not let it boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla flavoring. Pour the mixture over the oats, and mix until the liquid is absorbed.

Bake the mixture until lightly toasted, stirring every 4-5 minutes pressing out lumps as they form. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to toast the granola, stirring every 4-5 minutes. It is a pain, I will admit that! But this granola is really good, and healthy. Once the mixture is lightly toasted, turn off the oven, and make sure all the lumps are pressed out.

When the granola is dry and no longer hot, add the raisins and almonds. Store in an air-tight container. I keep my container stored in the freezer, but it will also keep in your cabinet (I am not sure how long it will stay fresh, so keep an eye on it if you don't freeze this!)

I enjoy this for breakfast with rice milk, or regular milk. My grandparents eat this almost every morning, and they eat a banana with it. Enjoy!

*measure the oil first, so the honey will just slide right out of the measuring cup!
**It doesn't look like much, but 1/2 cup is really filling!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sleeping Healthy

I just found this website this morning that tells you when you should go to sleep. Because we sleep in cycles, so for example for me, I should go to sleep at 10, or 11:30 since I get up at 7. Not getting in bed at 10 or 11:30, but actually asleep. If you wake up during a cycle, you feel groggy and tired, but if you sleep through a cycle, then you feel more rested. I am going to try this out tonight!
Here is the link, I think this is definitely something worth looking into! Especially if you are constantly tired. If you have insomnia, like me, I will post soon about how to beat insomnia!

Mary Kay

I am selling MaryKay now! Just send me an e-mail if you would be interested in buying anything! I will have more information later!