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The 2 Things I Started Doing at Night for Clearer Skin

When I was in my early 20’s I was the girl everyone used to ask, “what type of cover up do you use?” My answer was, “I’m not wearing any.” I miss those days :)

Ever since I moved from New York to the south my skin has hated me. On a very regular basis I would be breaking out and have dry patches on my nose. I was never able to leave the house without heavy coverage and when I got home, I could feel the breakouts coming. It’s been awful to deal with and I have tried so many different kinds of face washes, masks and toners. It would work for a little while and then go right back to dryness and breakouts.

So, as 2019 set in, I decided to really focus on my skincare routine by doing 2 things every single night and guess what?!? My skin has improved by leaps and bounds! The secret…. well, I guess there really isn’t one, I’ve just been neglecting the obvious. Here it is:

WASHING MY FACE

Every night! No matter how tired you are or how busy you get, don’t ever go to bed without washing your face. Get all the dirt, oil and makeup off so that your skin has a full night to breathe.

MOISTURIZING 

I had no idea how much this would change my skin and I follow the same rule. Never go to bed without moisturizing. I like moisturizer that is light and once it’s soaked in, doesn’t feel like it leaves a heavy residue. The dryness on my nose has pretty much disappeared and I have seen an improvement in the evenness of my skin tone.

Pretty simple right?!? I’ve used a couple product lines over the last year that I really like: Formula 10.0.06 and Honest Beauty. They don’t leave a residue and my skin feels clean when I’m done.

If you are like me and you’ve been neglecting your pour skin, go ahead and give this a try and be patient. It took at least a month of consistency before I started noticing any changes, but the results were definitely worth it.

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6 of My Favorite Ways to Wind Down at Night

Sleep has always been something I suck at. As a writer, I find most of my creativity comes at night. I don’t start writing until at 10 and then when I’m on a roll, the next thing I know it’s 3am and I have to be up in less than 5 hours. Switching my schedule from night owl to early bird has been something I work hard at. These are 6 things I’ve found to really help get in a nighttime routine and calm me down so I can actually get some sleep and wake up feeling rested.

Shower Bomb

Since I don’t have a bathtub, I was ecstatic that I found these shower bombs at my favorite bath and body shop in Florida! I purchased a couple lavender ones specifically for night time showers. As it lays under the running water, it releases a soothing scent that helps me relax. A few deep breaths and I am ready for bed.

Exfoliate

I try to exfoliate a couple times a week. It leaves my skin super soft and I feel like I have a natural glow that lasts me through the following day. This is one of my favorite scrubs, but truthfully you can make your own with just a few simple ingredients at home. Search it on Pinterest and I’m sure you’ll find a ton.

Honey Face Mask

About once a week I like to go all natural … with my face mask that is. Right before I’m ready to brush my teeth, I’ll wash the remnants of the day off my face and add a little life back into it with honey. I spread it across my face and leave it on for about 10-15 minutes. Don’t put too much on or you’ll turn into Mrs. Doubtfire. When I use it consistently I find that my face holds its moisture longer and doesn’t dry out as quickly. It also have natural antibacterial functions to help with acne.

Warm Cup of Tea

I love the feeling of holding a warm mug between my hands and drinking a hot cup of something. To be honest, I don’t think tea helps put me to sleep, I think it’s more of the experience of lounging on the couch in my pjs sipping a warm cup that calms me down at night. Also, because it is hot, it keeps me sitting there rather than getting up and down to do laundry, grab a snack or distract myself with other chores.

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Read a Book

I’ve always heard that an hour before bed you should turn off all electronics. There’s too much stimulation of the brain with the movement and colors and screen and all of that. Reading is a great alternative for me. It’s great studying as I work on my novels to see how other people write and what really draws me into the story. Getting immersed in a whole different world is the perfect way for me to release tension and forget about anything around me as the day comes to an end.

Sleep Stories

This has become my absolute favorite thing to do every night as I fall asleep. I use CALM right now. You can use the limited version for free if you don’t mind repeated stories, or pay a monthly fee for more options. Very very rarely do I start a story I don’t fall asleep in the middle of. It helps my mind not to wander and I sleep better on the nights I listen. If you are one of those people who’s mind cannot shut off at night, I highly recommend trying it! – P.S. I am not getting paid for this, personally it has really improved my sleep and anxiety over the last year and I love to share anything I believe can benefit others.

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4 Things I Started Doing to Reduce Stress in the Mornings

So, let’s be real. I am very high anxiety. I freak out about pretty much everything and always have to stop and remind myself that it’s not the end of the world when something goes wrong. I’m always running at a hundred miles an hour and flying out the door only minutes before I have to be at work. My normal routine was waking up, getting ready, taking the dog out, packing lunch and snacks, making coffee and then shoving food down my throat before I run out the door. This left absolutely ZERO time for me to just relax, breathe in the moment and prepare myself for the day.

That kind of lifestyle benefits nobody. It left me stressed out and it left my boyfriend stressed out for me, so I decided to sit down and reevaluate my morning routine. These 4 changes have helped immensely in reducing my anxiety and making me feel way less stressed as I start my day.

Prepare the night before

Lunch and snacks I have started putting together before I go to bed at night. They all go in a bag in the fridge so I can just grab it. I’ve also started figuring out what I am going to where and setting it on my closet shelf. That way I don’t have to try on and take off 3 or 4 different outfits before I decide on the right one. You’d be surprised (or you may already know) how much time that saves!

Hand over responsibilities

My dog is very high energy. He NEEDS to go for long walks at least once if not more every day. I was trying to fit a 30 minute walk in with him when I barely had any time to spare. So, instead of walking him every morning, I now share the responsibility with my boyfriend. He takes him out a majority of time during the day because he’s home a bit more, so I felt guilty not doing the morning walks, but the truth is, he has more time and doesn’t actually mind sharing in the morning walks with me. Now, the days I do walk him are the days I go into work a little later in the day, so I feel as if I’m on less of a time crunch.

This one was hard for me. I’m very independent and feel the need to do everything myself. The truth though is I’m not alone. Don’t feel as if everything needs to fall on your shoulders. Look around you and ask for help. Sharing daily responsibilities lightens the load. Don’t be afraid to try it!

Set an alarm for bedtime 

It’s always been a struggle for me to get up in the morning because I’m a night owl. Switching to an early bird lifestyle has been an adjustment, but I am improving! I realized that if I want to get up earlier, I need to go to bed earlier. That’s why I set an alarm to remind me one hour before bedtime. In that one hour, I prefer for the next day, get myself ready for bed and then wind down before pulling up the covers.

Let the world be still

The one thing I always find very hard is making time for myself. Spending just 5-10 minutes a day doing absolutely nothing but taking care of me. It’s so freaking hard, but recently I was reminded that if I don’t take care of myself, how am I going to be well enough to take care of anyone else. Meditation has been such and amazing insertion into my life this past year. It’s something I try to do regularly before bed, but it’s also something I try to find just a moment for each morning. Meditation can be different for everyone. For me, it’s sitting on the couch in peace and quiet with my eyes closed. I don’t think about yesterday or the day ahead, but the simple sound of my breath.

Life can be hard, sometimes seriously overwhelming, but life is also a blessing. We were given this amazing opportunity to make memories, explore and live every single day as if it was our last because we never know when that might be. It’s too short to be stressed out, so if you are feeling like me, sit down. Take a look at everything around you and try to figure out where you can incorporate changes to take a little bit of the load off. Start small, even the littlest steps in the right direction will make a huge difference.

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3 Ways to Combat Dry Skin

Apparently winter decided it wasn’t ready to leave yet as it’s April 16 and snowing in Nashville today. With the cold weather that has been creeping back in comes dry skin. So today I thought I’d talk a little bit about 3 of my favorite ways to lock in moisture until the real southern spring weather arrives.


 

Brown Sugar Lip Scrub

The wind has been no joke here in Nashville. Adding that into the cold weather and my lips are not happy. Every now and then they need a little pampering so I exfoliate and revive them with a homemade sugar scrub.

It’s fast and easy and can either be done during your morning routine or prior to bedtime. I don’t usually make a lot at a time. Just enough for a one time use, but you certainly can make more to store in a container.

Here’s what you’ll need: 
1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 TBSP Brown Sugar
1-2 Drops of Vanilla

In a small container mix all 3 ingredients together until all liquid is absorbed. Then with your finger or q-tip, scoop out a dime sized amount and brush in a circular motion across your lips for about 30 seconds. Leave on for another minute or so and then rinse off.

Do this about once a week to keep your chapped lips under control!


Coconut Oil Body Butter

My friend Devin introduced me to homemade body butter last winter. She said it was pretty easy to make and she was right. It’s just 3 ingredients!

1 Cup Shea Butter
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
30 Drops Essential Oils - I’ve used both lemon and cucumber melon

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To mix all ingredients I used my KitchenAid Mixer. Add shea butter first and mix on medium speed until fluffy. Then, add coconut oil and mix until well blended. Some blogs melt their coconut oil first. I just make sure it’s room temperature.

Once mixture is fluffy and well blended, continue to mix on low speed while adding drops of your essential oil until lightly fragrant.

That’s it! So easy! 

I store my body butter in a tightly seeled mason jar and use daily.


Honey Face Mask

The easiest moisturizing face mask you ever did see!

All you need is:
1 TBSP honey
2-3 drops of fresh lemon juice

Mix 1 TBSP of honey in a small dish with lemon juice. I usually do about 2-3 drops of lemon. Add drops of lemon in slowly because once you add too much, it’s hard to get it back to a consistency that won’t run off your face. Once mixture is well combined, smooth over face and leave on about 10-15 minutes. Rinse with luke warm water.

For sensative skin, leave out the lemon. It can sting a little.

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Read more by Courtney here!