6

Odds and Ends

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Okay. Um, it’s proving really difficult for me to post links that aren’t about the current state of our nation, but I hope these ones prove helpful to you!

1. If you only click on one link today, please check out the website 5 Calls. This website is INCREDIBLE. All you need to do is enter your zip code, and it tells you exactly who you need to call regarding current issues AND what you need to say. (It even gives you a script to follow if need be.) It could not be easier (takes less than 5 minutes), and you guys, THIS is how you make change. Let do this! #resist

2. The simplest and most perfect explanation of privilege.

3. How to stay outraged, but NOT lose your mind.

4. Things without you really suck. This made me laugh so hard. (And kind of cry a little bit.)

5. Dan Rather just launched a newsgroup to counter “alternative facts.” Love him.

6. Powerful. So Powerful. Love is A FORCE.

7. If you care about the environment at all, follow this Twitter account.

8. We’re going to need a thesaurus for him soon, and it’s been less than a week.

9. In times like this, these types of things make me chuckle. Follow!

10. Okay. I have ONE cute link for you. Cute zoo animal tweet off!

Friends. I just returned from the Women’s March on Washington. It was something that I can’t quite describe with words, yet. If you are unhappy/worried/angry/FREAKING THE EFF OUT, please know that you can do something. Yes, you. It is going to take all of our voices to be heard. Also, take care of yourselves!

image credit: cleo wade

6

Cupping for Sciatica and/or Lower Back Pain

Recently, my sister opened the coolest Pilates and circuit training studio called Beyond Studios here in Oklahoma City. Super exciting. So exciting, actually, that I got a little too eager and slightly overdid it for the first two weeks.

And let’s be honest, I think you’ll agree that this probably didn’t help the situation.

Turns out, an old hamstring injury of mine flared up big time, and I’ve been dealing with lower back and leg pain for a few weeks now. The range of motion from my hips down has been pretty pathetic, which has made working out and my usual yoga classes too challenging for me.

Currently, I’m seeing a chiropractor with a focus on soft tissue who has been very helpful in my recovery, although making me look like a human domino.

(FYI – Cupping + Deep Tissue Work + A Girl Who Bruises Very Easily = Not So Pretty)

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I know. BUT IT FEELS SO GOOD. Um, well, kind of.

(Also, I appreciate my chiropractor placing the cup on my calf directly around that awesome bruise. So artful.)

True story, you guys. Last week, I couldn’t even bend forward at the slightest angle without shooting pain in my left leg and hamstring…literally leaning forward to wash my face was excruciating. (It’s also a good time for me to point out that I’ve never been able to bend over and touch my toes. I have some scar tissue/adhesions in my lower back muscle tissue that just will not allow me to get that range of motion.)

My chiropractor suggested cupping on my lower back to help with flexibility, so I went for it.

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Yes, that is my back being sucked into some glass cups. Hey, Michael Phelps does it.

He put the four cups on my back, and let’s be honest, it’s not the most wonderful feeling. It feels like…well, the way your back would feel being SUCKED INTO A CUP. For me, despite the pulling feeling, it was a deeper ache, because the cupping was sucking on (and helping to break up) an old adhesion in my muscle tissue.

We began some stretching movements with the cups on – first I would bend over and try to touch my toes (nope! not even close!), then raise up and do a slight back bend, then side-to-side and repeat. You guys, by the fourth round of the stretches, I could touch the floor. NO JOKE. Never in my life have I touched my toes, and my fingers were on the ground in front of me with my legs completely straight. He took the cups off and I could stretch even deeper.

I was astonished. I walked out of the clinic with no pain in my body. My leg and hamstring felt completely fine. It was bizarre. I called at least 10 people freaking out. (And you know it takes a lot for me to actually speak to someone ON THE PHONE.)

Now, the next morning? The pain came back, but not as bad as before. And could I touch my toes again? No, but my range of motion was greatly improved.

I’m seeing the chiropractor once a week and feel better with every visit. I’m not sure about cupping in terms of toxin removal, but if you are interested in flexibility and increasing range of motion from new or old injuries, I’m a believer.

(By the way, if you are in the OKC area, his name is Dr. Darren Risley. Be sure to tell him I sent you so I can convince him to give me a few free treatments until I can touch my toes at all times. #operationwhoorltoetouch)

As always, hit me up with any questions in the comments!

7

MUN Daily Essentials

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MUN Skincare has been a long-time favorite of mine (my thoughts here and here), and I’m excited that they’ve added a new product to the lineup!

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The Akwi Purifying Cleanser.

I’ve been waiting for MUN to introduce a cleanser, and I am really pleased with it. With this addition, they now have a 3-step daily essentials routine that is quick and effective…just the way I like it.

This gentle, oil-based cleanser sweeps away impurities and unclogs pores without stripping the skin. It also removes the most stubborn waterproof makeup. The pH-balanced formula is based on synergistic natural ingredients, including Castor Oil, a soothing cleanser and powerful detoxifier, nutrient-dense Argan Oil and antioxidant Camellia Seed Oil. It leaves your skin cleansed, soft and moisturized. Effective for all skin types.

I promised the Mun team that I would use the 3-step daily essentials for an entire month before posting, so here are my thoughts!

Now, I am not usually an oil cleanser kind of gal. I love oils as serums and moisturizers, but I’m more of a foaming cleanser fan. However, this cleanser really set itself apart for a few reasons. First off, it’s not just an oil, it’s creamy and opaque in texture. The smell is light and refreshing, and it rinses off with water, which is nice. Now, you can also use a washcloth with it if, say, you have waterproof mascara or something on, but I’ve found I can get everything off with a few rinses of water. (I don’t wear waterproof makeup.)

But the best part (that surprised me) was how much I enjoyed massaging the cleanser into my skin. The more I read about facial massage and facial yoga, I am learning that it is so important to stimulate blood flow to the face to combat aging and stagnation. You apply the cleanser to a dry face, and I’ve found myself spending 2-3 minutes massaging the cleanser into my face just for the benefits of stimulation.

Here’s a look at the cleanser on the left, and the Aknari Serum (the 3rd step) on the right.

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Really lovely.

So, after you cleanse the skin, you apply the Anarose Toner.

This calming toner is essential for balancing the skin’s pH after it has been cleansed. Bulgarian Rosewater instantly soothes even the most sensitive skin. Hyaluronic acid firms the skin and provides long-lasting hydration. Willow Bark Extract contains natural salicylic acid, which removes dead cells for a healthy glow and prepares the skin to receive nutrients. Goji Berry Extract helps reduce free radical damage and provides anti-aging benefits. A combination of Rose, Jasmine and Daisy Extracts recreates the velvety sensation of petals on your skin. Effective for all skin types.

I’ve been using the Anarose toner for years, and I adore it. (In fact, I spray it on my face all the time.) Now, for the purpose of the daily essentials routine, it is suggested that you spray the toner (6-8 sprays) on a cotton pad and apply to the skin for the full experience. However, I just spray it directly on my face because 1) I’m too lazy to find a cotton pad, and 2) I like to break the rules, apparently. ;)

Finally, the Aknari Youth Serum which I have loved since day one. (Thoughts are in the links at the start of the post.) Love this serum so much, as my skin is very fond of Prickly Pear Seed Oil, apparently.

The stunning results of this lightweight age-defying serum are due to the potency of Prickly Pear Seed Oil. Extremely rich in Linoleic Acid and super antioxidant Vitamin E, Prickly Pear Seed Oil combined with Argan Oil works wonders to smooth wrinkles, repair sun damage and lighten dark spots. The protective serum also soothes inflammation, brightens under eye circles and stimulates collagen production. Bulgarian Rose Essential Oil aids absorption and provides a heavenly scent. In tandem, these three oils leave your skin feeling soft and looking radiant. Effective for all skin types as a day, night and under-eye treatment.

Overall, my skin is happy. Like happy happy. It’s glowing, and I’ve had no issues with congestion or strange angry redness, which sometimes happens with other regimens.

Here’s a quick 2-minute video review I did on the products as well.

MUN has been my ride-or-die this past month, and definitely in my top 3 skincare brands. And! They are offering you all 15% off all products on their website with the code NEWESSENTIAL. The code is good through February 6, 2017. (Heads up – if you are planning on buying all three, buy the set which is cheaper. Coupled with this discount, it will be a great deal!)

As always, if you have specific questions, please leave them in the comments!