The Happy Coconut
 
The sun is beautiful: It allows our plants to grow, gives us much needed vitamin D, and makes people happier in general; However, because of the depletion of the ozones protective layers, the rays of the sun can be quite harmful to us if we aren't cautious. Too much unprotected exposure to the sun can cause burns, skin cancer, and premature aging. In the winter, a moisturizer with sunscreen is enough for incidental sun exposure, but as summer is approaching, a much stronger shield is needed to protect from the strong rays of the sun. Doctors do reccommend you get about 15 minutes unprotected exposure to get vitamin D, but never ever on your face.
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As for me, I wear SPF 30 on my face, ears, and neck religiously, but only wear it on my body if I'm going to be outside all day, as a little sun from walking around from work to home is good for you. I used to be a crazy tanner, but as I've gotten older, I've realized skin cancer is not worth the risk! I also get a lot of people thinking I'm 10 years younger than I am, compared to girls who are younger than me looking older due to smoking, tanning, and just not taking care of themselves. I use an oil free broad spectrum sunscreen on my face every single day (I like Cliniques Sun SPF 30 Face Cream with antioxidants, which also comes in SPF 15 and 50). Sunglasses also help protect your eyes from the sun, as well as help prevent wrinkles and crows-feet around the eye area.

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click to purchase @ sephora
One thing a lot of people forget about but should always remember is their lips! Many lip balms and glosses come with a built-in SPF that you can reapply throughout the day while you're out. I like Diors Lip Glow. While it is expensive for a lip balm, it moisturizes, protects, and gives lips a subtle natural glow. It is definetely one of my summer must-haves!


For the beach and other times you will be outside for long periods of exposure, a body sunscreen that is waterproof is perfect. I like
Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion which comes in many SPF numbers, and doubles as a moisturizer as well. Since I put on lotion daily anyways, it doesn't add an extra step which makes it more likely that I'll put it on when needed. 

Don't forget to protect yourself from the inside as well. Eat a healthy diet and lots of vitamin C, which aids in skin cell repair if you do happen to burn. Lycopene, an ingredient in tomatoes, has been shown to help protect skin from the sun from the inside. Genuine Health has a multi vitamin with lycopene and other skin essential antioxidants included called Multi+ daily glow. The sun is amazing and makes us feel awesome, be responsible and the sun will treat you well.

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*Please note I am not a professional and all advice I give is from what I read and from my own general experience, and is not intended to replace professional advice. You should consult a doctor or dermatologist if you have specific suncare questions.
 
 
*Note:This is not a vegetarian recipe

I, by far, am not a chef. My idea of dinner is toast with peanut butter or instant rice; lately though, I've been trying to eat a healthier diet, so I've had to learn to cook - a little. I will never be the person who spends hours in the kitchen, so whatever I make has to be simple, healthy, and quick. I always loved my moms homemade meatballs, so I decided to try and make a healthier version of them, and came up with the idea of vegetable meatballs-hiding a serving of veggies inside meatballs. A  great idea for those moms who can't get their kids to eat vegetables: hiding them in a delicious meatball!

Now, as I said, I'm not a chef, so all amounts of ingredients can vary, just do what feels right to you. I use about a cup of finely chopped veggies per 10 kg of beef.

What you'll need:
~Extra lean ground beef (or turkey, whichever you prefer)
~Fresh broccoli, an onion, a carrot, green peppers, zucchini, dill pickles( gives it a great taste, but not neccessary), and any other vegetable you'd like to add.
~Extra virgin olive oil.
~Garlic spice or powder, sea salt, pepper, and steak spice if you wish.
~Tomatoe sauce (store bought is fine, I like the garlic kind)

Step 1
~After cleaning vegetables, chop up a small amount into very small pieces. You can even grate them if you want them to be more invisible.( If using pickles, only use about one-you don't want it to overpower the meatballs, just add nice flavour) Remember, you'll want about a cup per 10 kg. The tips of the broccolis can just be cut off so you can put just the "tree parts" in, which makes it easier to hide.
~Put lean beef in a bowl and mix in spices and then vegetables. Mix together with hands.
~Letting this mixture sit covered in the fridge over night or at least for a while allows the flavours to blend, but is not neccessary.

Step 2
~Have tomatoe sauce simmering in a pot. Add a small amount of chili flakes if you like spicy sauce. (Bonus: chili flakes boost metabolism).
~Roll beef mixture into medium sized meatballs. I usually get about 10 meatballs out of this.
~Fry meatballs in a pan with a tsp of extra virgin olive oil until not pink in the middle. Transfer them into the tomatoe sauce and let them sit and gently simmer in there for about 20 minutes to soak in the taste.
~Let cool and serve! Add parmasan cheese if you'd like. Also great to freeze to reheat on days you don't want to cook. For an extra health boost, serve on spahgetti squash, or can be eaten alone or on pasta.

This recipe is just a basis and can be modified to suit your tastes, but I thought it was an easy and delicious way to get a serving of protein, healthy fats, and vegetables all in one for people who hate cooking huge meals, don't love vegetables, or don't have a ton of time to put balanced meals together.



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Enjoy!

 
 
So, I was shopping at Winners, a great discount store, when I came across a facial moisturizer that looked really great for only $7! (this is a sale price, all beauty products at winners retail for a lot more). The ingredients list got me because it was filled with lots of good essential oils like jojoba, vitamin e and c, grape seed, and avacado, along with green tea, ginko biloba, and other great natural ingredients. There are no synthetic dyes, fragrances, or parabens which is important to me since I have sensative acne-prone skin. Usually great organic or natural products cost a ton of money, which is why I was so excited to find this.
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Once I got home, I noticed something I hadn't noticed in the store-it was for men! I didn't even realize it was a mans product because it smelled so nice and had tons of antioxidants, but since I loved the ingredients, I used it anyways, and I'm really glad I did. My skin was pretty dry from harsh retinol treatments, and this moisturized it so amazingly well. The cream claims to hydrate, protect, nourish, and smooth. Vitamin C and grape seed oil helps to brighten the complexion, while vitamin e and green tea help nourish and repair skin. My skin feels great and it wasn't greasy at all.

You get a generous amount and only need to use a little at a time to cover your whole face and neck. It is an australian company but I think it has U.S and maybe Canadian distributors as well. You can check out this and the other great looking products they sell at
http://www.urbanrituelle.com.au/ .

So, does it bother me that it's for men?  A little...but I'm not going to stop using it! I'm not really sure why they wouldn't just make it unisex, seems like a great potent product that can help keep skin hydrated and youthful for a decent price. I checked out the site and couldn't find a womans version of the balm, but I'm going to stick with this and go back to Winners to grab another one before they're all gone!

 
 
Ojon is a haircare company that uses  Ojon Oil- a very rare oil used by the Tawira Indians known as "The people of beautiful hair". Ojon products improve condition of hair with each use, and contain no silicones or preservatives.
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This shampoo and conditioner together work wonders on my long, dry hair. I basically have every problem hair can have- it's fine, thin, and dry. I can't use regular shampoo with the harsher sulfates like SLS because they just dry my hair out more and a lot of hair starts to fall out every time i wash. I needed a shampoo that could clean well but also moisturize it at the same time, AND give body to my fine, limp hair, and this does just that. If you read the ingredient list, it's filled with hydrating oils and other good stuff to pamper your delicate hair. You'd think a product that has lots of oils would weigh down fine hair, but it doesn't...it actually does make it look quite fuller and bouncier! Also very soft and incredibly shiny... If you don't have dry, parched strands I'd reccomend looking through Ojons other great products or just using the conditioner on the ends because it is extremely hydrating. When used in conjunction with the hydrating thickening spray, you will be blown away by the results.

The only downside about this product is the price, but it's not too much more than the average salon product.  The company doesn't fill their products with water, and since the oil is rare, I understand the price. Since I use triple the amount of conditioner than shampoo, it ends up costing me more because I buy the bigger conditioner bottles...so that's a huge downside...but so worth it to me to have healthy gorgeous hair. I've gotten so many compliments on how shiny and healthy my hair looks. A couple weeks ago I literally was tempted to cut off my hair because it was so dry and unmanigable and just looked gross...now I will continue growing it because it looks gorgeous, shiny, and super healthy.

 
 
We exfoliate our bodies and our faces, but what about our lips? Lips are now becoming a popular topic of womans beauty. Pouty, plump lips have become a standard of beauty, and oftentimes women will get lip injections to make theirs fuller; But what about those of us who want to skip the needle and enhance the beautiful lips nature has given us?
Often times, since the lips have no pores, they can easily get dried out and skin can flake. This is where a good lip exfoliator comes in handy, but where do you find one? There are a few companies that make them, but they are pretty expensive. That's why my do it yourself honey & sugar lip scrub is awesome! It works great and cost pennies to make.  
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Honey has natural moisturizing and antibacterial effects. It also provides a good base for your scrub, and you know you aren't swallowing any chemicals. What I do is take a shot glass and fill it about 1/4 full with honey, then I add in sugar and mix with a toothpick. Essentially, you want more sugar than honey, for better exfoliating. I then put this mixture into an old lip gloss tub that I've cleaned out. You can also buy these from the dollar store, or empty an old lip balm pot. This will last you a few weeks with daily use! I usually exfoliate before I go to bed, and follow up with a good lip oil, balm, or plumping treatment to moisturize. (I always wake up to beautiful, full, soft lips). 

 
 
Cake Beauty is a Canadian company that sells delicious smelling, natural, paraben free products. Each product feels luxurious and smells extremely good. This review is for their handcream, which comes in a few different scents and 2 sizes.
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These hand creams are delicious! I smelled them all and they are all great, but my favourite is the (limited edition) Vanilla Snow, which was their winter fragrance. It smells like a vanilla cupcake. I also love their original, Milk Made, which has notes of raspberry and vanilla-smells kind of like cream soda, yum! They make me want to lick my hands! They have tons of good, natural ingredients in them and they moisturize my hands well without being greasy at all.

The only thing I'd give a lower rating on is the price. $18 for a hand cream isn't the best price, so it's kind of a splurge if you can afford it, but worth the money because they are paraben free and natural. They moisturize really well and can easily be thrown into your purse. 
 
First Post! 03/07/2011
 
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