Keep It Short: Prep Your Legs for Their Best Summer Yet

Keep It Short: Prep Your Legs for Their Best Summer Yet

As hemlines rise with the temperatures, it’s time to focus on your two best summer accessories…

This post comes to you from contributor Arden Andrews.

As spring finally gives way to summer this month, it’s officially time to consider your two most important warm weather accessories — that set of stems you’ve been wrapping in denim and lycra for the majority of 2017. Swapping ankle-grazing hemlines for leg-baring looks is all about preparation, which is why we’ve put together your DIY guide to buffing, hydrating, and protecting your gams for a season in the sun. Below, the necessary steps to letting your legs live their best life this summer:

Step 1: Polish to Perfection

Dryer times leave your legs dull and ravaged of moisture, making circulation-boosting exfoliation the key to bringing the life back to your lower half. Buff away dead skin cells with a nourishing salt scrub, or pair your favorite body wash with a sisal bath brush to slough off dull spots while encouraging blood flow—a must for maintaining youthful skin long term.

Step 2: Elevate Your Routine

Toss your plastic pool toy of a razor for this glam upgrade that’s designed specifically to minimize irritation and ingrown hairs. The nourishing neroli oil acts as an equally modern alternative to notoriously drying shave foam, replenishing skin with vitamins and fatty acids as it allows the blades to safely glide across the surface.

Step 3: Build Up to It

There’s a reason chic French visionaries like Coco Chanel and Josephine Baker popularized the suntan—a bronze glow has the uncanny ability to hide imperfections and sculpt limbs, especially when it doesn’t come at the cost of aging UV rays. With a paraben-free gradual tanning lotion or organic tan extender, you can build that flattering shade of color at a believable rate — no pretend trip to Bali required.

Step 4: Protect Your Assets

It may feel as though you don’t need to block up your legs because they seem to burn at a slower rate than your face and neck, but get serious — the most common place for melanoma on women is their legs. And if that doesn’t scare you straight, the photodamage from extended bouts of unprotected sun should — no one’s trying to rush into crepe-y knees and sunspots faster than they’re fated. This organic, water-resistant SPF formula sprays on consistently sheer, so you won’t have to waste a minute rubbing it in.

Step 5: Let It Gleam

Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a turn on the dancefloor, a little luster never hurts. Shimmer products not only dazzle our senses, they also camouflage (or shall we say, enhance?) problem areas with the help of light-reflecting particles. And as if a superfine dusting of rose gold wasn’t tempting enough, this formula adds the healing powers of bentonite clay into the equation, plus leaves behind the soft scent of lavender as you march confidently toward the next heat wave.

Free People Blog

Making the Case for Minimalism, Part 3

Making the Case for Minimalism, Part 3

Sharing seven days’ worth of minimalist practices with hopes that we can all find some clarity…

“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment and freedom.” – The Minimalists

Stepping back and looking at where I am in life, and how stuff is creating a few more butterflies in my chest that I’d like, I’m going to be practicing a minimalist act each day of the week, and share them with you. If you are feeling like your life is a bit dizzying, take a look deeper and see how much stuff you are carrying on a day-to-day basis, and join me.

At the beginning of each week, I will be posting 7 days’ worth of minimalist practices with hopes of finding and maintaining some clarity.

Week Two

Monday: Practice Mindfulness. During your lunch break, take 30 minutes to practice mindfulness. Focus on your present moment, calmly accept any feelings that you are having, and allow yourself a therapeutic half-hour. This practice is so important to implement on a daily basis, as it resets your body to focus on the important things.

Tuesday: Minimal Ingredients. Consume minimal numbers of ingredients today. Try spending the day eating clean, raw, wholesome foods. If you can’t make an entire day of it, try making one tiny switch in your routine and make time to really notice the natural flavors in one of your favorite indulgences. For me, I’m a matcha girl through and through. I usually add a bit of coconut milk, collagen peptides, and a drizzle of honey each morning to sweeten it up a bit. If you’re a coffee girl, go cream- or sugar-free.

Wednesday: Declutter Your Workspace. It’s hard to be inspired if your workspace is a mess. It’s also easy to let it get out of hand when you are constantly doing your job. Take 10 minutes and do a quick sweep of your space today. Clean off surfaces, organize piles, and get rid of anything you don’t need.

Thursday: Night Ritual. Slow down your evening — develop a nighttime ritual. Gather a few things that make you happy and peaceful, and visit/use them before bed. This will allow you to refrain from over-tasking and focus on a restful night’a sleep.

Friday: Donate Box. Start a “donate box”. Put it in a corner of your home, and add something to it daily or weekly.

Saturday: Experience. Go out and try something new. Instead of spending money on a physical thing, instead consider an experience. Spending on experiences is always a yes in the world of minimalism. Need some inspiration? Here you go.

Sunday: Goodbye Plastic. Rid your kitchen of any plastic — cups, straws, bags, etc. Finding new ways to store items instead of in plastic helps reduce wasting and makes your kitchen a more minimal place.

+ Good luck this week! If you are joining in on this challenge, let me know in the comments!

Follow FP Madisyn on Instagram + take a peek at her Blog!

Free People Blog

14 Cute Stick and Poke Tattoo Ideas

This was originally posted on http://www.allure.com/story/stick-and-poke-tattoo-ideas along with the image used.

Stick and poke tattoos are an alternative to traditional tattoo guns, and can have results that are just as gorgeous.

Having trouble with losing hair or thinning hair?  Our blog takes the best around from the internet about hair care and beauty.  Reverse female hair loss with us today!

People Are DRAGGING Abercrombie and Fitch for Posting This Tweet About Pride

This was originally posted on http://www.allure.com/story/abercrombie-fitch-pride-month-tweet along with the image used.

Abercrombie and Fitch posted a tweet about pride month that offended many folks in the LGBTQ community.

Having trouble with losing hair or thinning hair?  Our blog takes the best around from the internet about hair care and beauty.  Reverse female hair loss with us today!

This City’s Pride Flag Added Two NEW Colors for a Seriously Important

This was originally posted on http://www.allure.com/story/philadelphia-pride-flag-queer-people-of-color along with the image used.

Philadelphia just added two new colors to their pride flag to honor queer people of color.

Having trouble with losing hair or thinning hair?  Our blog takes the best around from the internet about hair care and beauty.  Reverse female hair loss with us today!

This Women-Only Screening of Wonder Woman Gave Out Diet Pills and Cleaning Supplies

This was originally posted on http://www.allure.com/story/wonder-woman-screening-sexist-gift-bag along with the image used.

A women-only screening of Wonder Woman gave out gift bags with diet pills and cleaning supplies.

Having trouble with losing hair or thinning hair?  Our blog takes the best around from the internet about hair care and beauty.  Reverse female hair loss with us today!

Eddie Mitsou: A Better Self, One Step at a Time

Eddie Mitsou: A Better Self, One Step at a Time

The first post in a new series about staying sober and focused…from our always-busy friend, Eddie Mitsou Pettersson. Read on to learn more about this Swede-heart…

Birthplace…

Stockholm, Sweden
Spirit animal…
I’ve never actually known my spirit animal until now — I did a Facebook quiz to find out! It turned out that I was the Lion. “Represents courage, strength and overcoming difficulties in life,” which seems pretty accurate of myself. Other than that I feel very drawn to birds of prey. I don’t like other birds… actually have a phobia of dirty street pigeons, but the raptors I’ve somewhat always been amazed by. I think it has to do that I’m amazed by their power but also how they have the freedom to fly, and in that way escape and survive anything bad that would happen on earth.
What makes you happy?
Waking up early, having an overpriced but extremely tasty cold brew with a dash of raw almond milk at my local coffee shop, and then continue to a Pilates class.
What makes you sad?
Sleeping past 11am and realizing I’ve missed my favorite Pilates teachers classes for the day. And when my coffee shop runs out of almond milk and have only the tetra pack soy as a non-dairy milk option for my morning coffee.
Tell us in 5 sentences what your path to wellness and a better Eddie looked like…
It happened pretty naturally. I was fed up with my rollercoaster lifestyle (high healthy hills to deep destructive curves) and decided to become a hardcore gluten- and sugar-free sober vegan for one month. Thirty-one days floated by fast, and when I passed 6 months without so much as blinking, I understood that this was a way I wanted to live my life, not just as a detox fad diet.
You realized 4 1/2 years ago that you no longer wanted to drink. How has that changed your life? 
I can honestly say that I would never be where I am today if I hadn’t stopped drinking.
I need to clarify that I never had a problem with drinking. I was never an alcoholic. I decided to cut the liquor for many other reasons (which I will tell you more about in my next post/s). As a young adult, it’s common to get a little too drunk a little too often, and that’s ok! You’re having fun and enjoying your youth. What I chose to do instead was to win and not waste those years by cutting outs alcohol and staying more focused. Thanks to that, I’ve accomplished a few of my goals way faster than if I would’ve been nursing frequent hangovers, being too drunk to take that important number at the party. But oh boy — have I not had fun? I had exactly as much fun as everyone around me who had been drinking. The only difference is that I’ve also been able to make it to the one thing that makes me happiest: the 9am Pilates class!
Top 3 life goals…
* Being independent and not having to rely on anyone. I want to be able to fully live my life exactly the way I want to live it.
* Own a 70s Missoni jumpsuit!
* Empower young girls t0 understand that they’re beautiful and good enough the way they are. Help them not to suffer too much in the teenage years and hold their hand through the process of achieving their goals to then finally come out on the other side as strong, independent young women.
Favorite city to walk (as you’re a self-proclaimed lover of walking)…
Well, this was the toughest question of them all! I love walking on the secret narrow streets in Istanbul as much as I adore walking on Sunset Strip at 8am Sunday when it’s completely empty. Nostalgic moments around my childhood home in calm Stockholm is also something special. But if I were forced to choose, I’d have to say New York City. It’s incredible by day and night! Although my favorite walk is east of Lexington Ave around 25th St. late in the evening (I won’t reveal exact blocks — it’s still my hidden secret). Maybe one day I’ll hold a NYC Night Walk Tour and I’ll show you…
Tell us about your greatest reward/challenge as a successful model.
My greatest reward is, without a doubt, the traveling. The opportunities to travel the world is something I’m beyond grateful for. I’ve shot editorials on the beach in South Africa, on the colorful streets of Havana, in the jungles of Costa Rica, in a fancy penthouse in New York. I’ve collaborated on an art project in a set of weird and isolated snow-covered cottages in the north of Sweden and much, much more. My job has taken me places I wouldn’t have necessarily gone otherwise.
The most challenging aspect is staying true to yourself and keeping positive throughout all the craziness. There are downsides to every career, and I will admit that the mental strength you need as a model is difficult to maintain. There are days when you find yourself going to casting after casting, and don’t book one job, get turned down by every casting director. You just have to shake it off and move on to the next day! When you wake up bloated because of munching on too much raw cheesecake the night before and show up to set and it turns out you’re going to shoot in a tiny bikini… You just have to embrace the moment and don’t be too hard on yourself. I’m pretty good at tackling this since I’ve been a model for almost 10 years, but it was for sure challenging in the beginning.
What does free mean to you? 
I like what Jim Morrison once said:
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
+ Be sure to keep up with all things Eddie — follow her on Instagram
 
Photos by Jana Kirn.
 

Free People Blog

Vagus, Baby: Why You Should Care About Your Vagus Nerve

Vagus, Baby: Why You Should Care About Your Vagus Nerve

Keeping your vagus nerve happy might be key to vibrant mind-body balance. Learn how to keep this nerve “toned” and why it matters according to Dr. Sarah Gottfried

This post is part of an ongoing collaboration with The Chalkboard Mag.

Vagus means “wanderer.” This nerve — the longest one in your body — wanders all through your body to important organs and areas such as the brain, neck, ears, tongue, heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, kidney, spleen and reproductive organs in women. The vagus nerve contains motor and sensory fibers. It has wide distribution throughout the body as it passes through the neck and thorax to the abdomen. Think of it as the most important nerve in your parasympathetic nervous system.

So what happens when it’s whacked? An amped-up perception of stress causes lower vagal tone (or responsiveness), which means the vagus nerve is having performance issues and operating at a lower capacity. If the vagus nerve isn’t tended to, you won’t be healthy and you’re more likely to age faster.

High vagal tone is a marker of greater altruistic behavior and closeness to others. Lower vagal tone is linked to a variety of problems:

MIND: Stress; anxiety; weakened sense of connectivity

BODY: Low stomach-acid secretion; poor absorption of B12; low or slow bile acid production, so it’s harder to clear fats and toxins; poor blood flow to kidneys; higher blood pressure; poor glucose control; poor heart rate variability and greater risk of heart disease; high resting heart rate; frequent urination; limited or absent capacity for orgasms

BOTH: Poor satiety or sense of relaxation while eating; difficulty accessing mind-body connection and flow state

7 WAYS TO REHAB YOUR VAGUS NERVE

These actions may trigger your stress genes to turn off, bringing a greater sense of calmness.

One: Connect positively with others.
Two: Take a cold shower (try it, but if it stresses you out, you may have the same TH gene as me!).
Three: Schedule a reflexology (foot massage) session.
Four: Sleep on your right side.
Five: Sing!
Six: Get acupuncture, especially in the ear.
Seven: Book a craniosacral session.

 + Read more collaborations with The Chalkboard Mag here

The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program. 

 

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Tuning In with Helios + Solene: Breath Work

Tuning In with Helios + Solene: Breath Work

This is the second post in a series, by Natalie Shukur.

It took attending only one breath work session with Emily Mikaelah to know I had just experienced something transformative — stirring breath, clearing blockages and negative patterns, paving the way for what best serves our truest selves. Grounded by a beautiful sense of ceremony, I left both aware and appreciative of both my newfound inner wisdom and the effect of breath on body, mind and spirit. Without further ado, Emily is here to share more with you about this empowering practice.

How did you first discover breath work?

It was the middle of a transformative summer and I had just quit my job in the fashion industry to prepare for the birth of Helios + Solene. I had been practicing reiki, crystal healing and sound healing, but felt the call to dive deeper into my spiritual practice. I felt something was coming just around the corner but didn’t know what it was at the time. Then one day I was waiting in line for the bathroom after a meditation class and I looked over and there was this tattered, water-stained book on a shelf that was sticking out amongst dozens of others. I picked it up and flipped to a random page, read it, and I knew I had to take it home. I think I finished that book in two days! I felt such a deep connection to the words, the work, even the energy behind it felt familiar. I decided to research the author [David Elliot] and see if he was still around and teaching. That same day he posted on his website an upcoming visit at my local studio in Brooklyn. It was all so aligned. The rest is history. When I met him I knew he was going to be a major teacher for me in this lifetime. I’ve studied and mentored with him ever since.

Why do you think people often neglect their breath, and why is connecting to it so powerful?

The way you breathe is the way you live. I don’t think people necessarily neglect their breath, as much as lose sight of the awareness of it and how it can truly transform you physically, emotionally and mentally. The process of breathing is so natural that it’s easy to shove in a corner and forget about. Especially in a fast-paced world with instant gratification all around us, it tends to take a backseat to our daily routine. The simple act of reconnection to the self through awareness of the breath allows you to reclaim that power of oneness and intimacy with spirit. Then all of a sudden you have this moment of time in your day that’s only yours. It’s a gift that money can’t buy and no one can hand to you but yourself. In that moment of reconnection there is true love — self love, universal love, selfless love for all beings. What a blessing!

What’s the simplest, entry-level way to introduce breath work into our lives?

I always encourage my students to play music that makes them feel powerful or inspired and start dancing. Movement gets the chi in our body swirling and helps to stir up any stagnant energy that may have been sitting in the energetic body for a while. We’ve had some serious fun in some of my classes, dancing to our inner goddesses and letting our freak flags fly. I remember one class I had everyone start dancing like their spirit animal and I looked around and there were seven cats in the room [laughs]. After movement I have everyone lay down and connect with the breath in a way that feels comfortable for them. I like to lead students through slow extended inhales through the nose and into long vocal exhales through the mouth. We release so much through sound: moaning, screaming, laughing, crying — they’re all the most primal things a human can do and I allow my students the space to do it, free of judgment or disapproval, in a space that’s supportive and sacred to their development and healing. Once everyone has formed the connection to their breath and grounded into their body we begin a ceremony.

What immediate benefits can people feel from practicing breath work?

The reason I work with the breath so deeply is because it helps to bring clarity and healing to our physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological self. You can go into a session and feel tingles and vibrations through your body, whirling in your stomach while crying for your inner child, working through ancestral trauma, and laughing at the lessons learned once the foggy veil is lifted. There is no limit as to how deep you can go, or where you can take it. As long as your intentions are pure and the timing is aligned, spirit will guide and support your journey lovingly and unconditionally. Immediate results vary per person but overall I will say that all clients feel a deeper connection to their truth. There is a sigh of relief that comes with finding and working through the root of our energetic blockages.

Are there many kinds of breathing techniques?

Yes, so, so many. Each practitioner also brings his/her own expression to the work. I work with the method taught to me by my teacher but I compliment it with my teachings from the medicine women in my family that were passed down to me. We all add the seasoning of our own spiritual experience. We all bring our energy and spirit posse into the room with us. This is the magic of the individual journey! When I perform a ceremony, no session is ever the same because the energy shifts based on how you and I, and your guides and mine interact. They lead us down the path to your best medicine, and it’s our responsibility to just get out of the way and hold space for ourselves and for the work to unfold.

What’s the difference in doing breath work at home or in a yoga class and working with a practitioner/healer?

I would say that, if you are new to working with the breath, there is value in finding a space that is energetically cleansed and purified for this type of work. Spiritual hygiene of an environment is critical to doing good work. You don’t want to open the floodgates to residual energy lingering in an unkempt environment. Additionally, it is natural for the human mind and the ego to try to take control of the situation when we are doing the work ourselves. They try to distract us and take us away from the work because it’s not easy. It’s much more comfortable to go binge-watch that Netflix series, but we have to do the work. Plus, who doesn’t want someone lovingly supporting them on their journey and holding them when things get heavy? We all need that from time to time. That said, I do believe that we are all our own masters, we are all our own healers, so if you have the discipline for a strong personal practice, go for it!

You facilitate a particular type of breath work…

The type of breath that was passed down to me derives from pranayama. It is an active three-step breath that is deeply rooted in love. All of my teachings are rooted in love. It is not a traditional yogic breath that is soft and subtle; in fact, the breath to me has the energy of [the goddess] Gaia, which can be loving and nurturing but also quite fierce when she needs to be. A lot of people compare the breath to holotropic or shamanic breath work, and although there are many similarities, each method is slightly different. In the ceremonies I lead, I combine sound, sacred herbs, essential oils, and spoken mantras with the breath. I also do some live drumming and work with plant spirit essences. I tap into the energy of the room and I lead the student on the journey that their guides are opening up for them. Then I get out of the way, let spirit do the work and I support the journey by staying conscious of all in the room. I relay any messages I receive from their guides and usually they resonate with the blockage or energy the student or client is working through in that moment. The breath allows spirit to move through us, breaking through any energetic blockages that are holding us back from living our highest truth and potential. These blockages can be old–they can be ancestral and karmic wounds. They can be the source of fear, anxiety, trauma, self-inhibition or the inability to protect yourself from outside energy. It is powerful work and I feel blessed and grateful to spread its light.

Our session with you was physically and emotional challenging. Is this a typical response?

The breath can seem challenging especially if it’s new. It can even seem intimidating to some, but that’s when we go back to the root of love. Knowing that this method of healing was brought into your life at a divine time, knowing that there are no coincidences. And hey, no one said working through the old stuff you’ve been carrying around all these years will be easy, right? There’s a reason we shove it way down there. But the liberation of release is priceless, and quite honestly, crucial to our spiritual development. Things come up because they need to come up, their time is past due and they need to be released so we can move on. So release those emotions! Don’t hold back! You are loved and provided for and supported unconditionally by the universe.

Emily is wearing the Sky Fall Embellished Maxi.

Photos by Ash Lynn.

+ For more on Emily and her practices, visit her site. Reading recommendation: “The Reluctant Healer” by David Elliot.

 

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