Commentary #80: “You have two ages, chronological and biological. Here’s why it matters”

Aging Quote

Image Credit: BrainyQuote

This article on CNN.com, posted on November 30th, immediately caught my eye.


Your chronological age is fairly self-explanatory – It’s based on your birthday.

Your biological age is a bit more complicated – It’s called someone’s phenotypic age.

Phenotypic: Relating to the observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment.

Remember biology class?

Long story short: Your biological age determines health and lifespan.

Morgan Levine, a professor and researcher at Yale Medical School, worked with her team to identify nine biomarkers in a simple blood test. Some of these biomarkers include blood sugar, kidney and liver measures, and immune and inflammatory measures.

The bottom line: People who have a lower biological age than their chronological age have a lower mortality risk.

What’s interesting about Levine and her team’s research is that your biological age is not permanent. It can be adjusted. Meaning, changing things like lifestyle, diet, exercise, and sleep habits can lower one’s mortality risk and improve one’s biological age.

Currently, Levine is working to provide access to the algorithm online so that anyone can calculate their biological age, and take further steps to improve it.


For more information:

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #127: My Skin & Makeup Routines (Part 5)

Lush

Image Credit: LUSH UK

I’m trying some new things, so it’s time to write another Skin & Makeup Routine post!

Here are the links to my original posts:


Skin

I’m continuing my normal routine with a combo of my standard LUSH and Young Living products, but I wanted to share some new things I’ve purchased since my last post.

I took the Wolfberry Eye Cream with me on my recent trip to Blacksburg, and I love it!

Karma Kream is my new favorite body lotion. It’s perfect for right after I shave my legs!

These are three face masks that I received for free during my last trip to LUSH, which was at the end of April. If you redeem five empty and clean pots, you get a free face mask of your choice! Since I had 16 empty and clean pots, they gave me all three at once.

Since the last update, I started supporting a friend’s business with Rodan + Fields. I started with their Lash Boost. I’ve been using it for nearly two months. In just seven weeks, I’ve seen a massive difference! My eyelashes are fuller, darker, and I’ve lost less of them. I also don’t wear a lot of mascara anymore!

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Using Lash Boost is super simple! It’s the same concept as eyeliner on your lids. Once a day, swipe, swipe, and done!

I also took the quiz called “Finding Your Regimen” with their Solution Tool. Since skin cancer is very prevalent in my family, and I have the “fair skin curse,” I wanted to see what this said. After all, Rodan + Fields are two dermatologists!

My personalized recommendation was Reverse Lightening. So, I ordered it. Granted, I haven’t had a chance to start using it yet, since it’s a new regimen from what my skin has been used to. Hopefully I can start it over this weekend!

 

In addition, a while back I saw that Young Living offered something called the Bon Voyage Travel Pack. I added to my monthly order, and I’m so glad I did. This was wonderful to have during my flight to Florida – No issues with the TSA!

The travel pack includes:

  • Thieves® AromaBright Toothpaste
  • Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier
  • Thieves Dental Floss
  • Thieves Fresh Essence Plus Mouthwash
  • Young Living Toothbrush
  • Lavender Shampoo
  • Lavender Conditioner
  • Cinnamint Lip Balm
  • Morning Start™ Bath & Shower Gel
  • Genesis™ Hand & Body Lotion
  • ART® Light Moisturizer

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Here’s my updated LUSH wish list:


Makeup

I’m loving my Savvy Minerals. I don’t have any recent photos, but I recently used Essential Rewards (ER) to purchase a bigger variety of the eyeshadow offerings. More photos to come!

Here is the list of eyeshadow that I currently have:

  • Best Kept Secret
  • Diffused
  • Determined
  • Envy
  • Freedom
  • Inspired
  • Overboard
  • Spoiled
  • Unscripted
  • Jet Setter (eyeliner)
  • MultiTasker

I use either Jet Setter or MultiTasker on almost a daily basis! I’m excited to experiment with the different colors that I now have, too.

 


Hair

As much as I love Young Living’s shampoos and conditioners, it just wasn’t working out. Products with essential oils don’t mix well with hair that gets oily and greasy easily. I donated my unopened products to my church’s food pantry, which collects toiletries as well.

At the new LUSH store, I found their “Big” shampoo and solid conditioner. These were game-changers for me!

I also love their Sea Spray Hair Mist!

Everything I have reminds me of the beach!


What about you?

Do you have a certain skin routine? What about makeup?

Have you tried any homemade recipes related to skin or makeup?

Check back in a few months – I’ll likely have another update post to share!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #74: The “New Science of Psychedelics”

The New Science of Psychedelics

Image Credit: NPR

Many of you know that I enjoy listening to podcasts. One that I listen to regularly is NPR’s Fresh Air podcast.

This week, Terry Gross interviewed Michael Pollan, a world-renowned author. His books have typically focused on food and agriculture.

However, his new book, titled How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, discusses the history of psychedelics, and the “new” uses of them to help treat anxiety, depression, and helping cancer patients face their mortality.

There have been two phases of clinical trials up until now, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved Phase III, which is “testing of drug on patients to assess efficacy, effectiveness and safety.”

In researching for the book, Pollan himself became a “reluctant psychonaut” with LSD and psilocybin (magic mushroom) to see if these effects were real.

I won’t tell you Pollan’s results, but it’s a really interesting process. I recommend listening to the podcast version of the show, as it’s an extended edition, where Pollan and Gross discuss the history of psychedelics, which is so fascinating to learn. It’s amazing to learn how LSD was first synthesized, and how it has had a turbulent history. Pollan also discusses psilocybin to an extent, which is another interesting part of the story.

For me, I was definitely more than a little skeptical. I’ve never used any drugs or psychedelics in my life. I’ve seen counselors and therapists.

However, Pollan lessened my skepticism a bit during his interview with Gross. One of his interview subjects was a woman who had survived ovarian cancer. She was absolutely terrified of it recurring, and she was paralyzed with fear. She found a guide, a therapist who administered small doses of one of these psychedelics, and helped her along her trip. She discovered this “black mass” underneath her rib cage during the trip, and originally though it was her cancer. The guide helped her understand that it wasn’t cancer, but in reality it was her fear and anxiety. During the trip, she commanded the black mass to leave her body, and it did.

When Pollan’s fact-checker called to verify her account right before the book’s publication, Pollan’s original words were something to the effect of “this black mass was significantly reduced after her experiences with psychedelics.”

The woman corrected the fact-checker over the phone and said, “No, it wasn’t ‘significantly reduced.’ It was extinguished.”

Again, some of my skepticism remains, but as someone who has a diagnosed anxiety disorder (GAD), hearing the woman’s story gave me hope. I truly believe these psychedelics helped her.


For more information, check out the following links:


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #68: “Support Systems” (Reblogged)

I’ve been following Sara’s blog for quite a while. Her poetry is beautiful. She does fun Questions of the Day every now and then.

She also makes the time to reply to every comment that is posted. She’s so sweet, and incredibly supportive!

I wanted to share this post of hers about support systems. It’s a long one, but she pours her heart out. I know I’m glad I took the time to read it.

Sara, you’re an awesome person!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Sara in LaLaLand

For a large portion of my life, I have felt that I have not had a very strong support system. Growing up, I was not taught how to talk about my feelings, I was encouraged to shut them down. It was not until I was living in “the real world” that I noticed the way I expressed myself was not normal, but it was the only way I knew. I did not have the kind of parents you could talk to about anything and everything.

I first experienced death when I just turned 10 years old and I did not know how to deal with such a thing. I was not talked through loss. I was given the news and then left to my own devices. I even remember some cruel kids mocking how this person died. I was lost at that point and from here is where I started building…

View original post 1,130 more words

Getting Personal #107: My Skin & Makeup Routines (Part 4)

I’m trying some new things, so I figured it was time to write another Skin & Makeup Routine post!

Here are the links to my original posts:


Skin

As much as I love LUSH Handmade Products, the store at MacArthur Mall was closed for a bit while they moved into a bigger space. It was disappointing.

In the meantime, I capitalized on the products that Young Living Essential Oils offer. Since I’m enrolled in their Essential Rewards (ER) program, I earn points for everything that I buy.

Here are some of the Young Living products I’ve been using recently:

I’m loving these two, so far! I only need a tiny bit of each. I’m using the Scrub every few days, but I use the cream every morning after my shower. It smells like the beach!

I love the smell of Morning Start – Peppermint, lemongrass, rosemary, and juniper. Several people have hugged me at church and asked what perfume I’m wearing. When I said it’s body gel, they were all shocked! I can’t wait to try Sensation soon!

I’m looking forward to the day when I’m able to snag just one container of the Orange Blossom Facial Wash. It must be popular – It’s been out of stock for months!

Now that the bigger LUSH store is finally open, here are a few of the things on my wish list:


Makeup

I love Savvy Minerals by Young Living!

The brushes are so soft, and they’re labeled!

I think I need some different eyeshadows. I love the eyeliner, though!

These are my Before & After photos from yesterday:

Personally, I like the Jet Setter eyeliner the best! I definitely want to experiment with different eyeshadows and blushes. The brush set is AWESOME!


Deodorant

I love that I tried making my own homemade deodorant, but I had one strange side effect. My armpits would not stop itching! It felt like they were sunburned all the time. Finally, I reached out to April, my friend and Young Living independent distributor, for help. She thought it could be the baking soda – Too much of it can cause a skin reaction.

So, I ditched the homemade stuff and started trying the cake deodorant that Young Living makes. It smells amazing!

I got Al to start using it, too! I’m excited to try Meadow Mist when I finish the first cake. It’s lasted a good while!

So far, I’ve only used the Mountain Mint one. It smells awesome, and I’ve noticed that I’m sweating less. Plus, no more itching or burning!


Hair

I started with Young Living’s Lavender Mint daily shampoo and conditioner, which I liked. I plan to use more of that during the summer, since lavender is a good mosquito repellent!

Once I finished the bottles of Lavender Mint, I started using the Copaiba Vanilla shampoo and conditioner. These are definite winners for me, and I intend to keep buying them!

I also have the Lavender Volume shampoo and conditioner on deck.


What about you?

Do you have a certain skin routine? What about makeup?

Have you tried any homemade recipes related to skin or makeup?

Check back in a few months – I’ll likely have another update post to share!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #63: “Awareness vs. Understanding”

Image Credit: TOBYMAC

I started following Caralyn’s awesome blog, Beauty Beyond Bones, a while back. She is an awesome, amazing woman. I love all of her posts!

She always shares something profound, or thought-provoking, every week. This past week was no exception.

Here’s the link to her post, published on February 22nd:


Caralyn’s focus is her journey after her eating disorder (ED). She’s a beautiful woman, who is an activist for so many causes. She posts recipes, too!

This particular post shined a spotlight on Weight Watchers being in the news last week, and not for a good reason.

They announced they would be offering free memberships to teens, ages 13-17.

Naturally, this caused almost immediate backlash.

I’m with Caralyn. I don’t agree with Weight Watchers offering these free memberships. Teens, ages 13-17, have enough to deal with in their lives. Yes, obesity remains a significant issue. Caralyn cited several statistics, including some from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But, for Weight Watchers to offer these free memberships to this very vulnerable age group is not the answer.

She tied the Weight Watchers news in with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDA), which starts today, February 26th, and runs through March 3rd.

I see her point about viewing NEDA with somehow glorifying the disease, and so on. But, then she realized that the news about Weight Watchers is one reason why conversations need to be had.

And then, she hit on the Awareness vs. Understanding point, which I think is so important.

There is a difference.

Awareness is certainly important, and a good thing – Share stories, come together as a community, and so on.

However, understanding is even more paramount. With something like eating disorders, moving beyond awareness into understanding is critical.

With that said, I cannot say that I empathize with Caralyn, or say that blanket statement of “I understand” at all. I have never had an eating disorder. I know what they are, how they start, the basics. You could say that Laura Beth is aware of eating disorders.

Caralyn, however, truly understands eating disorders. She is a survivor. She is an advocate. She works hard to discuss ED, her own journey, and help others, which I find incredibly admirable. In her post, she writes that “an eating disorder is a mental illness.”

She closed her post with wanting to “foster understanding on this anorexia recovery blog” and “answering any and all questions about eating disorders, recovery, treatment, how to support. Nothing is off limits.”

I think this is wonderful! She, of all people, knows what she’s talking about. She writes beautifully and humbly, too.

So, if you’re interested in asking questions or learning more, check out her blog!


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Image Credit: BeautyBeyondBones

To me, Caralyn is a source of inspiration. Thank you for being amazing!!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #86: My Skin & Makeup Routines (Part 3)

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Image Credit: Pinterest

I’m trying some new things, so I figured it was time to write another Skin & Makeup Routine post!

Here are the links to my original posts:


Skin

I just finished my bottle of Rose Jam shower gel last week. I think it lasted roughly seven months. It smells amazing. I’m planning to buy another bottle during my next trip to the store.

Here’s a few of the new things I bought during my last trip to LUSH – My annual birthday trip!

Ultrabland is one of the best makeup removers that I’ve ever used. I bought a second, bigger pot of it during my last trip to the store!

I haven’t tried Cup O’Coffee yet – I want to try it this weekend. For best results, you’re supposed to leave it on your skin for at least 15 minutes before rinsing it off. It smells heavenly! I’m also excited to try The Olive Branch, once I finish my bottle of Dirty Springwash.

This is two parts of my daily moisturizing routine – I use the Enchanted Eye Cream right under my eyes. Less baggy and diminished purple! I doubt I will use anything else other than Enzymion – It feels so smooth, and it’s really helped me control oil, and my breakouts.

Ocean Salt (left) and Dirty Springwash.

Ocean Salt smells like the beach and limes. I need to go back to LUSH soon – I’m almost out of it! And Dirty Springwash smells so fresh and minty!

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Left to right: My bigger pot of Ultrabland, Plum Rain shower gel, and my second bottle of The Olive Branch (I accidentally bought two!)

My LUSH wish list:


Makeup

When I started getting into Young Living Essential Oils earlier this year, I began to realize that makeup is full of terrible chemicals, and a lot of toxins. Yuck!

I decided to take the plunge and look into the Savvy Minerals by Young Living makeup.

Over the last few months, I’ve been stockpiling. I bought the Essential Brush Set, as well as two shades of the eyeshadow – “Spoiled” and “Best Kept Secret.” Turns out, I accidentally ordered two sets of these eyeshadows!

Next month’s Essential Rewards order will have the eyeliner, and blush. I’m also looking forward to when they release mascara!

I like the packaging – It’s very fancy, and perfect for gifts. But, I wish they wouldn’t do the paper confetti! It gets EVERYWHERE!

I love the Brush Set!

My Savvy Minerals wish list:


Deodorant

Making this change was set in motion within the last month. I already knew many deodorants and antiperspirants have a laundry list of chemicals, but most of them are truly awful!

My Young Living consultant, April, recently posted a recipe for homemade deodorant.

She wrote:

“What’s cooking? Homemade deodorant! Did you know that many store bought deodorants contain chemicals like

⚠️ aluminum- linked to Alzheimer’s and an increased risk of breast and prostate cancer

⚠️ parabens- can disrupt hormones and has been linked to breast and prostate cancer

⚠️ triclosan- this ingredient is sketchy enough that it has to be removed from hand soap by this fall because the safety of it is in question. But it is still in many deodorants!

⚠️ propylene glycol- can cause damage to the central nervous system, heart and liver

⚠️ fragrance- a catch all term that covers hundreds of “trade secret” ingredients. May cause skin irritation, allergies, respiratory issues, etc

Guess what? My deodorant doesn’t contain any of those chemicals and it is super cheap to make. Not only that, but it really works! It took less than 5 minutes to make- so easy!

I’ll post the recipe in the comments. Do you make your own deodorant?”

Homemade Deodorant Recipe

2 Tbs baking soda
2 Tbs arrowroot powder
3 Tbs organic coconut oil
5-10 drops Purification essential oil
5-10 drops Lavender essential oil

Directions:

Combine 1 Tbs baking soda and 1 Tbs arrowroot powder. Add coconut oil and stir. Depending on how warm it is in your house, the coconut oil may be in a solid or liquid form. Coconut oil is a solid below 76 degrees. If it is in solid form, warm it slightly (just until it liquefies) for easier mixing. Add desired amount of essential oils and stir. I chose Purification because it is great at getting rid of odors and Lavender because it is good for your skin. Add 1 Tbs of baking soda and 1 Tbs of arrowroot powder, stir well and transfer to storage container. To use, dip your finger into the deodorant and then apply a dime-sized amount under each arm.

My ingredients! I had everything at home, except for the arrowroot powder (That’s the small baggie). Luckily, there’s an awesome store in Chesapeake called Sage Organics. They sell many items in bulk, and you can measure out how much you want on your own.

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My results! It took less than five minutes to make. I used a sterilized Tupperware container. The main thing was melting the coconut oil, but that only took 30 seconds in the microwave. It smells amazing!

I want to try this Deodorant Spray next!


Hair

I also just started using Young Living’s shampoo and conditioner. Traditional shampoos and conditioners have many of the same chemicals and nasty stuff! Plus, my hair was getting really greasy and gross recently. I don’t have time for that!

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I just started using the Lavender Mint this week. It smells AMAZING! Plus, the mint feels really good on my scalp.

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I have the Copaiba Vanilla waiting the wings. It also smells really good!


What about you?

Do you have a certain skin routine? What about makeup?

Have you tried any homemade recipes related to skin or makeup?

Check back in a few months – I’ll likely have another update post to share!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂