Fun Meals For Thanksgiving!

If you’re anything like me, you’re looking for scrumptious recipes that will leave you craving more.  I found this little gem on Mostly Homemade Mom!  Pumpkin french toast!!  There couldn’t be a better breakfast meal that fits both the season and the cravings of your buds.  Most of the recipes for Thanksgiving are ways of dressing a fabulous turkey, or cranberry sauce.  Don’t get me wrong, these are fantastic, but this will give your family a new idea that may be added to the books.

Pumpkin Pie French Toast

These were super yummy, I should have made them a long time ago! I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a while I just never got around to it. Silas and I usually eat breakfast for dinner on Fridays when Paul is at work (he’s a weirdo and only likes breakfast at breakfast). The past few weeks have been really busy on Fridays so I’ve been just making sandwiches or something easy. I will for sure be making these regularly, especially since I majorly stocked up on Libby’s pumpkin for $1!!

Pumpkin Pie French Toast
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
8 slices bread (I used a nice, hearty wheat bread)

Beat eggs and milk in a shallow bowl. Stir in pumpkin, brown sugar, and spices until well combined. Make sure there are no clumps of pumpkin left.

Spray griddle with non stick spray. Dip bread into egg mixture, turning to coat each side, and allowing excess to drip off back into bowl. Cook over medium-low heat, about 2 minutes for each side of bread. Serve with syrup.

 

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How Sugar Affects Your Skin

Most people, including myself, have at least heard about the effects of high levels of sugar intake.  It affects our bodies in several ways but have we ever realized how it affects our skin?  It results in covalent bonding of a sugar molecule and a protein or lipid molecule, known as glycation.  Whether, unlike so many of us, you have an incredible amount of will power to completely eliminate sugar from your diet , or you’re more human like me and  set goals to simply cut down on sugar intake… just a little, it’s important to be aware of glycation and what it does.  Using SPF is recommended for all people, but if you have glycated skin, it is a must.

This awesome article explains glycation in a clearly but simply:

The relationship between sugar and fine lines can be sticky. Find out why!

By April Long

Chris Ryan/Getty Images (model); Steven Krause (still lifes)

Rare is the woman who can indulge with abandon at dessert and not wonder where a little extra wobble might show up later. We all know that when it comes to our bodies, sugar is a sly villain—falling prey to its siren song (presumably something like an Oompa Loompa ditty) will give our taste buds a hit of pleasure before wreaking havoc everywhere else. But there probably aren’t many of us who worry that eating it might also cause wrinkles—and that’s not a sweet story either.

The science is this: When you have sugar molecules in your system, they bombard the body’s cells like a meteor ­shower—glomming onto fats and proteins in a process known as glycation. This forms advanced glycation end products (commonly shortened, appropriately, to AGEs), which cause protein fibers to become stiff and malformed. Much of what is known about glycation’s ill effects comes from diabetes research: The connective-tissue damage and chronic inflammation resulting from diabetics’ sustained high blood sugar can lead to debilitating conditions, such as cataracts, Alzheimer’s, vascular tightening, and diseases of the pancreas and liver.

The proteins in skin most prone to glycation are the same ones that make a youthful complexion so plump and springy—collagen and elastin. When those proteins hook up with renegade sugars, they become discolored, weak, and less supple; this shows up on the skin’s surface as wrinkles, sagginess, and a loss of radiance. The presence of AGEs also makes the complexion more vulnerable to bad-news assailants such as UV light and cigarette smoke. As New York–based dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD, puts it: “Number one, the glucose makes the cells abnormal; and number two, it creates free radicals. So you get a double whammy when it comes to aging.”

To an extent, glycation is a fact of life. It’s happening right now, to all of us. It can even be measured: The cross-links formed between sugars and proteins emit a fluorescence, which scientists can capture using Visia complexion-analysis cameras. “If you take a fluorescent image of children, their faces will come out very dark,” says Procter & Gamble biochemist Greg Hillebrand, PhD, “but with each decade, the AGEs, and therefore the brightness, will accumulate more and more.” This means that by the time we reach our dotage, we can expect our Visia visages to resemble those of the incandescent aliens in Cocoon. The external signs of glycation show up around the age of 30 or 35, when a perfect storm of built-up sun damage, environmental oxidative stress, hormonal changes, and the development of AGEs begins to result in, well, a-g-e. “When you’re younger, your body has more resources to ward off damage, and you’re producing more collagen,” says New York– and Miami-based dermatologist Fredric Brandt, MD, who in 2007 was one of the first to launch an anti-aging skin-care line specifically addressing glycation. “When you reach a certain age, these sugar by-products begin to build up at the same time that your threshold for damage is getting lower.”

Lest you rue the day you first tasted a Krispy Kreme, note: Refined sugar isn’t the only culprit. Health-nut staples such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables turn to glucose when digested too—albeit in less damaging fashion. And even if we could completely eliminate all types of sugar from our diets, we shouldn’t: It’s an essential fuel for cells and energy metabolism, critical to survival. “For most people with normal levels of glucose, the glycation process is something that happens gradually over the course of a lifetime, and it’s really not that big of a deal,” Hillebrand says, “but diet and lifestyle choices can affect how quickly the effects can be seen on the skin.” One of the key hallmarks of glycation, Hillebrand explains, is the yellowing of skin often seen prematurely in smokers. “Smoke reduces antioxidants in skin, and smokers’ vitamin C and E are being used up trying to take care of all this oxidation that’s caused by smoking, so they don’t have a lot of antioxidant potential to take care of normal processes like glycation,” he says. “And if you add a high-glycemic-index diet, you’re just asking for trouble.”

While glycation can’t be completely stopped, it can be slowed (though Hillebrand says there are pharmaceutical companies working on “AGE busters” that could break the cross-links once they’ve already formed—”something that would apply to a number of diseases as well as skin aging”). From a dietary standpoint, forswearing white sugar, high-fructose corn syrup—which studies have shown increases the rate of glycation by 10 times, compared with glucose—and simple carbs is a no-brainer. “Even though all carbs get converted into sugar, when you eat the good ones, like brown rice and whole-grain bread, you get less glucose, and you get it more slowly,” Karcher says. Brandt also recommends taking supplemental carnosine, an amino acid that has been shown to protect against AGE buildup.

Skin care too makes a difference. Scientists have been on the hunt for potent antiglycation agents since the ’80s, when biochemist Anthony Cerami, PhD, found that aminoguanidine molecules block glucose-collagen pairs from forming, but products containing viable AGE fighters only began to appear on the market about five years ago with the introduction of Brandt’s Lineless range. Now that glycation is widely recognized as a major cause of aging, lots of comprehensive anti-aging creams contain AGE fighters too. Superstar multitasker green tea has been proven to significantly interfere with the glycation process while stimulating collagen synthesis—so if you’re using a product containing green tea (or drinking it regularly), you’re already protecting your skin. “Anything that stimulates the fibroblasts to build new collagen is going to help eradicate damage,” Brandt says, noting that retinoids and some dermal fillers fall into this category. “Since your body has a process where old collagen is broken down by enzymes and new collagen is generated, what’s going to happen is that the old glycated collagen will eventually be eliminated and replaced by un-glycated collagen.”

(From left) Amorepacific Time Response Skin Renewal Serum harnesses the antioxidant and collagen-restoring powers of green tea stem cells; Chanel Ultra Correction Line Repair contains a complex derived from Bay Cedar trees, which boosts enzymes in the skin that restore flexibility to glycated collagen fibers; SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complextargets advanced glycation end products with blueberry extract; Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum contains green tea and niacinamide, which addresses skin yellowing caused by glycation; Chantecaille Biodynamic Lifting Serum is an 88 percent botanical formulation that incorporates carnosine.

Read more: Sugar and Aging – The Truth About Glycation – ELLE
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Getting Maximum Benefits From Your Massage

Our bodies are in constant need of maintenance! If you feel anything like I do, you feel like you just can’t catch a break.    Mindful Women Spa have professionals that can work your body over ’til kingdom come but that needs to be mingled with maintenance on your own time.  Receiving a professional massage on a regular basis is a fundamental key for your body’s well-being but even if you get a couple massages a month, that’s very little attention your body receives.  Make sure you fill your day-to-day routine with stretching, self-massaging, exercises and healthy eating.  If you do these things, you’ll find your bi-weekly massage will be less of an emergency repairing session and more internal building one. Below is one idea that will work wonders in between your professional massages.

Veteran’s Day- Inspiring Videos

Veteran’s Day is a time to thank the men and women who serve our country, many of whom leave behind their little ones to protect others. It is never easy saying goodbye to the ones you love. Of course, every tear-filled departure leads to an equally emotional return, many of which are caught on camera. Capturing everything from first steps to a wish come true, these reunions will have you reaching for the tissues.

A Son’s First Steps

Sometimes, it’s the soldiers that are surprised. Like when Michael, a boy with cerebral palsy, walked to his father.

Watch more heartwarming homecomings.

The Happiest Place on Earth

Walt Disney World just got a whole lot better for this little girl.

“Hey Dad!”

Sometimes the simplest things, like picking their kids up from school, are the ones that soldiers miss the most.

This Isn’t an Act

One teen received the best surprise when her dad showed up at her school play.

Christmas Comes Early

All Bethany wanted for Christmas was for her father to come home . . . and he did!\

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Being Pampered Is A Pleasure

The pleasures of being pampered: how spa treatments can benefit your health

Image

While massages, facials, and mud baths were once considered a luxury and treat for the wealthiest of kings and queens, time has instilled the sense that every individual deserves some catering to. Since, spas have become more affordable and sensitive to the wallet in your pocket. However, while booking a spa appointment can be done in a matter of minutes, it takes time to determine which spa is the right one for you.

Spas vary in technique, services, and atmosphere, and if you don’t take the time to research what it is you want, you may just find yourself having a Deep Tissue massage in a rainforest when you wanted a Chitosan Masque accompanied by the sounds of a waterfall.

Price doesn’t guarantee quality
Just because something has a higher price tag than another doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. This is the same with spas. Spas all vary in price, for various reasons. But a more affordable spa might just be equal to, if not better than, a high-end spa. They might offer better service, provide complimentary snacks, and simply take the time to answer any questions you have. Remember, you have booked an escape and want to be treated like royalty, not just another appointment. Look at all of your options when researching. Who knows, you may just find a hidden treasure.

Word of mouth is the best form of advertising
When you find something you truly love, you want to share that secret with friends and loved ones. When shopping for a spa, reach out to coworkers, family, and friends to see if they have any recommendations. It’s also good to ask if there any facilities you should avoid. They may not have found their perfect spa, but they might narrow down your search by helping you cross of those places you shouldn’t walk into.

Voice your needs and concerns
When looking for a spa, make sure to discuss any circumstances or issues you may have before booking the appointment. If you have sensitive skin, inquire if they have alternate products they can use. If you suffer from back pains or muscle spasms, ask if the staff is equipped to handle these situations and what alternate methods they will employ to accommodate for this. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You want to walk out of the spa feeling refreshed and at peace, not adding another symptom to your preexisting conditions. At this time you may also express if you prefer a male or female therapist and ask what the spa’s cancellation policy is.

Grasp the power of the World Wide Web
The Internet can not only help when researching for your ideal spa, but it can also save you some pennies once you decide on where you want to go. Check the spa’s Web site for any specials or packages they may be currently offering or sign up for sites like Groupon.com or LivingSocial.com. Sites such as these offer daily discounts on a variety of things, including spa treatments. If you don’t find any for your particular spa, don’t be afraid to call the spa directly. They may have hidden offers or simply offer you a special to keep you as a customer. Note: There are usually discounts offered for first-time customers so keep an eye out for those.

Quality over quantity
While you may want to take advantage of all the deals you have found or simply fell in love with your spa treatment, don’t be too quick to make another appointment. Massages, particularly treatments that are more intense, take a toll on the body, and if you continue to add pressure to specific areas of the body without allowing them to recover, you may be left with soreness or exhaustion. While it is ultimately up to how your body feels and if you can afford it, how often you attend a spa is your own choice. Most individuals go once a year, while others attend every two months to every two weeks. You are your own best judge, just be sure to base those judgments on how you feel and not the end date on a coupon.

The spa is the perfect form of retreat from strenuous every day life. Stress builds up and having even a few hours to yourself, being pampered, can make a huge difference in your attitude and overall health. According to research done by the International Spa Association, regular spa visits aid in the treatment of health concerns and act as a preventative measure. Facials can assist with acne and the development of wrinkles, massage treatments reduce stress and improve muscle flexibility, and proper pedicures can assist diabetics. The peaceful atmosphere of a spa alone allows for a calm state of mind and a vacation from your busy schedule.

So relax, unwind, and allow yourself the pleasures that come with being pampered.

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How You Know It’s a Good Spa

There’s nothing more annoying than leaving the spa and not being completely satisfied!  There are some things that are set in stone that great spas should be doing.  There are other things that vary depending on your personality.  One of the biggest tips is to be open… communicate with them.  They won’t know exactly what you want unless you tell them.  They don’t see it as being rude, you’re paying for a fantastic service and the great spas will do anything to please you, so let them know.  There are some other important guidelines that we’ll mention in this post below.

A Good Spa Experience

What To Look For In a Good Spa Experience

By 

Looking for a good spa experience? It’s not just about going someplace that has beautiful rooms or steam and sauna. The first way you can tell if you’re going to have a good spa experience is to observe how you and other customers are treated. Look around to make sure all employees are treating their clients with respect.

Things to Look For in A Good Spa Experience:

    • The therapist should be professional, courteous, pleasant and cleanly dressed.
    • The treatment should start on time. Therapists should wash their hands before they touch you.
    • Therapists should follow your lead in terms of how much talk occurs during the session. They should not discuss their personal problems with you.
    • For a good spa experience, massage therapists should be sensitive to the kind of touch you want in terms of pressure. There should never be a sexual quality to their touch.
    • You should not be left alone during body wraps, facials, or hydrotherapy baths. Some spas do this, but the best practice is for the therapist to be with the client at all times, enhancing the service and ensuring your safety.
    • Estheticians should ask about your home skin-care routine and offers suggestions, but should not make you feel pressured to buy products.
  • You should feel free to ask questions before, during and after your treatment. And before you book a treatment, you can ask to take a tour to make sure the spa is clean, pleasant and sanitary. Here’s how to tell if the spa is sanitary.

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Risks & Benefits of Laser Hair Removal

Never having to shave again!?  Laser hair removal has some common misconceptions and we want to inform you.  For 90% of people, laser hair removal is permanent…after about 5 treatments. What is to be expected when you get laser hair removal and what to do to prepare so you can increase your chances of making your laser hair removal permanent?

Laser Hair Removal

If you’re not happy with shaving, tweezing, or waxing to remove unwanted hair, laser hair removal may be an option worth considering.Laser hair removal is one of the most commonly done cosmetic procedures in the U.S. It beams highly concentrated light into hair follicles. Pigment in the follicles absorb the light. That destroys the hair.

laser epilation

Benefits of Laser Hair Removal

Lasers are useful for removing unwanted hair from the face, leg, arm, underarm, bikini line, and other areas.

Benefits of laser hair removal include:

Precision. Lasers can selectively target dark, coarse hairs while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.

Speed. Each pulse of the laser takes a fraction of a second and can treat many hairs at the same time. The laser can treat an area approximately the size of a quarter every second. Small areas such as the upper lip can be treated in less than a minute, and large areas, such as the back or legs, may take up to an hour.

Predictability. Ninety percent of patients have permanent hair loss after an average of three to five sessions.

How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is more than just ”zapping” unwanted hair. It is a medical procedure that requires training to perform and carries potential risks. Before getting  laser hair removal, you should thoroughly check the credentials of the doctor or technician performing the procedure.

If you are planning on undergoing laser hair removal, you should limit plucking, waxing, and electrolysis for six weeks before treatment. That’s because the laser targets the hairs’ roots, which are temporarily removed by waxing or plucking.

You should also avoid sun exposure for six weeks before and after treatment. Sun exposure makes laser hair removal less effective and makes complications after treatment more likely.

What to Expect During Laser Hair Removal

Just before the procedure, your hair that will be undergoing treatment will be trimmed to a few millimeters above the skin surface. The laser equipment will be adjusted according to the color, thickness, and location of your hair being treated as well as your skin color.

Depending on the laser or light source used, you and the technician will need to wear appropriate eye protection. It will also be necessary to protect the outer layers of your skin with a cold gel or special cooling device. This will help the laser light penetrate the skin.

Next, the technician will give a pulse of light to the treatment area and watch the area for several minutes to make sure the best settings were used and to check for bad reactions.

When the procedure is completed, you may be given ice packs, anti-inflammatory creams or lotions, or cold water to ease any discomfort. You may schedule your next treatment four to six weeks later. You’ll get treatments until hair stops growing.

Recovery and Risks

For a day or two afterward, the treated area of your skin will look and feel like it’s sunburned. Cool compresses and moisturizers may help. If your face was treated, you can wear makeup the next day unless your skin is blistering.

Over the next month, your treated hair will fall out. Wear sunscreen for the following month to help prevent temporary changes in the color of the treated skin.

Blisters are rare but are more likely in people with darker complexions. Other potential side effects are swelling, redness, and scarring. Permanent scarring or changes in skin color are rare.

Costs of Laser Hair Removal

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost for laser hair removal is $235 per session. The cost varies widely, depending on factors that include:

  • Size of the area being treated and time required for treatment
  • Number of treatments required
  • Whether a doctor or someone else is performing the procedure
  • The part of the country where you are having the procedure

Ask for a consultation to get a better idea of the cost for your particular case.

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