If you’re anything like me, I know the seasons based on the selection of my local farmer’s market or grocery store. In autumn we have succulent squash that warms your soul to prepare you for the cold winter months, in the spring we see blooming berries bursting with flavor representing a fresh start… Now with summer only a few weeks away,  delicate anti-oxidant packed fruits are everywhere. Nothing reminds me of summer more than a bright juicy lemon! Although they seem to be available year round, its natural yellow color is incredibly uplifting and reminds me of the summer sunshine.

Lemons are probably one of the most versatile fruits for D.I.Y. beauty. They have been used for centuries in relieving stress, health and beauty remedies. A natural astrigent, this citrus powerhouse is loaded with vitamin C, anti-oxidants and beauty minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium to name a few.

In this post, I will share 3 ways to incorporate lemon into your warm summer days!

Disclaimer: As with all natural DIY recipes, remember to do a skin test if you are not sure or you may be allergic/sensitive to any of the ingredients. Please consult your dermatologist if you have any uncertainties.

1. Skin: Lemon juice’s natural acidity is awesome for removing dead skin cells. As I have done in the above picture, halve your lemon and dip in into a plate full of raw brown sugar. Lightly rub the lemon half covered in sugar on your elbows, knees and feet. The granules of the raw sugar will give your skin a gentle exfoliation while the lemon juice helps to remove skin cells. This is best done in the shower after a warm splash of water! (My tip: I have relatively sensitive skin, so I restrict using this scrub on only rougher areas. However, it is quite common to use lemon juice as a natural astrigent to regulate oil or lighten dark spots on the face. Gently run a lemon slice over your face and let sit for 3 minutes before rinsing with warm water.)

2. Nails: It is always said that a good basecoat will prevent your nails from getting yellow due to the nail lacquer…but we all know this isn’t true! Your nails will inevitable turn yellow after a period of time, if you continue to keep perfect tens :) This is a great natural way to remove the yellowness on your nails: Using a 1:1 ratio of lemon juice and rose water (I find 1 tbsp of each is perfect) mix it together in a small container. Soak your cotton pad with it and gently brush it over your nails. Let the magic concoction sit for 10minutes and rinse off with warm water!

3. Health: There are many studies that urge people to drink lemon water to start the day. I have recently jumped on this bandwagon and I can truly say that it does detoxify your body. I find myself more energetic and fresh – also making better food choices thru out the day. It may feel a bit acidic at first, so I suggest adding a bit of honey in the warm water to balance out the flavors! I can’t say that I have the willpower to give up my cup of java in place of honey lemon water in the mornings, but its definitely worth a try for a week of detox!

I hope this post brings some zest (lemon zest) to your summer :) Enjoy!

As you all may or may not know, I am an avid yogi. I live, sleep, eat and breathe yoga when I am not cooking, eating or sleeping (amongst other things, but I would not want to bore you with my list of hobbies such as admiring my impressive stuffed penguin collection… just kidding!). Anyways, a few weekends ago, it was a beautiful day in Hong Kong, so we decided to take a lovely escapade to Stanley, Hong Kong. During our stroll, I built up the courage to climb up to a fairly steep rock at the end of a pedestrian path for a gorgeous rare view of nature in Hong Kong’s concrete jungle. Naturally, my first instinct was to strike a yoga pose…so I did just that! Sharing my happily ZEnergized moment below :)

The blissful dancer’s pose. A kind reminder to all: happiness is just one (sunny) day and one yoga pose away!

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine…and shadows will fall behind you.” – Walt Whitman 

Carpe Diem,

Kirby

Violets are blue, pamper your feet & you will be happy too!

I have a lovehate relationship with my feet. I think most of us do. They carry us around the world, yet (at least in my case) they are not the most aesthetically pleasing babies ever created. Years of dancing has given them unique form and shape, but I’ve come to accept that loving yourself, means pampering your body from head-to-toe! So give your feet a treat with this nourishing relaxing foot soak, just in time for the warm weather (read: sandals!).

Ingredients

- 2 cups of milk

- 1-2 cups of water (just enough to soak your feet, depending on your container)

- 1 tbsp almond oil (or any oil of your choice)

- a few drops of essential oils (citrus or minty ones work best. I used lemongrass but peppermint, teatree, grapefruit etc all work well)

- a handful of dried baby roses/rose petals etc (try to make sure they do not have coloring or dyes and are organic…or else you will be soaking your feet in pesticide water!)

- a large container you can soak your feet in

- a garbarge bag large enough to be put over the container

Directions

1. Start off by bringing the water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the dried roses and cover the top of the pot to let it steep and cool for 1 hour.

2. After 1 hour, in a separate pot, start warming up the milk on a low gentle flame. Once it is warm, turn off the stove.

3. Place the paper bag over the container for an easy clean up, then proceed to add the warm milk, steeping rose water, and oils. Sit back, relax and soak your feet in the warm mixture for 15-20mins.

Benefits of Key Ingredients

Milk: We all know milk is good for healthy bones, but it is also great applied topically. The lactic acid in milk makes it ideal in removing dead skin cells and exfoliation. It also has moisturizing properties which is great for summer feet!

Roses: Famous for its soothing properties, rose is used in a wide range of products from skincare for mature skin to soothing solutions for sensitive or irritated skin. It is a natural tonic with a therapeutic fragrance that helps relax and calm the mind.

The citrus or mint based essential oils should leave your toes feeling tingly and reinvigorated. Almond oil for extra nourishment, and you’ll be ready to rock your sandals with perfect feet pride :)

Enjoy!

For me, happiness & chocolate go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other…in fact, it is scientifically proven that consuming dark chocolate increases the level of endorphins in your body. Endorphins are the “happy” hormones also triggered by regular exercise, etc.

So of course as a self proclaimed chocoholic, when I discovered that cacao powder had great benefits for the skin (when applied topically) – I had to give it a try. Cacao powder is super rich in anti-oxidants as it is said to have more than anti-oxidants than green/black teas. Additionally, it has a high mineral & vitamin content (iron, sulfur, zinc, Vitamin A, B12); all responsible for your skin’s cell growth and aids in the absorption of nutrients. I mixed it with my favorite organic oil of the moment to create a yummy warming body/foot mask.

Ingredients

- 3 heaping tbsps of organic cacao powder (perhaps more if you’re tall)

- 3 tbsps of organic almond oil (I love it for its toning properties, but you can use any other type of oil)

Directions

1. Mix the ingredients slowly until it turns into a paste like consistency.

2. Apply to your body in the shower after a soft lather. Leave on for 5 mins.

3. Rinse off for sweet (no pun intended!) soft, supple skin and pat dry gently.

**If you are using this mask for your feet only, wrap plastic film around your feet and wait for 15mins before rinsing off. Works great after scrubbing!

Additional Tips

Cacao powder is also recommended in facial masks, in which jojoba oil is used in place of almond oil. This is because the skin on your face is more sensitive and jojoba oil is most similar to our skin’s natural sebum. However, as my skin has been very sensitive lately, I did not try it as a facial mask.

For those with a major sweet tooth, you can replace almond oil with virgin coconut oil. The combination of coconut & cacao powder makes you feel like a decadent delicate dessert :)

Enjoy!

I came across a really inspiring article on wholeliving.com recently on the power of appreciation and acceptance. This past week especially has made me realize the importance of your inner strength to get you where you want to be in life: whether it is balancing in a difficult yoga pose, your relationships with others or career objectives. It begins with immense appreciation of this very moment, the loving acceptance of yourself and living under the guidance of a moral, virtuous conscience. Crossing your own moral boundaries to achieve a goal creates a circle of bad energy that never stops, which deeply affects your ability to live positively. As the saying goes, love yourself before anyone else

Just some food for thought…enjoy!

Sharing below courtesy of wholeliving.com

10 Thoughts on Living in the Moment

1. Revelations: The shape of your life reveals itself to you moment by moment.

2. Forgiveness: In refusing to forgive old hurts, you live them over again. Learn to let go.

3. Value: Opt for quality over quantity. Value is revealed over the long term.

4. Awareness: Real awareness isn’t about hanging on to the moment, but simply recognizing it’s there.

5. Energy: No one knows what the future will bring. Put your energy into now.

6. Experience: Resist the urge to overanalyze every experience. Live each moment instead.

7. Opportunity: See a rut as an opportunity for change.

8. Awakening: Any moment can bring an awakening to what really matters.

9. Comfort: Take comfort in the uneventful; it prepares you for what’s to come.

10. Focus: Living well requires a focus on the present, not just a promise for tomorrow.

I definitely can’t say I am living by these 10 characteristics above…but I will try to incorporate as much of them into my daily life as possible…beauty lies in a happy soul…nothing applied to the exterior can disguise an evil, ugly, negative heart.

With love,

Kirby

Spring is in the air and I am super excited. This means its almost bikini season (translation: start preparing for that beach perfect skin). My D.I.Y Brown Sugar Body Scrub is an awesome fresh body scrub that leaves your skin feeling invigorated and supple… but sometimes I like to switch things up a bit. I use this oatmeal & flaxseed based scrub on days where I feel my skin is sensitive and needs a more mild scrub that also deeply hydrates. This scrub is a great “transition” product in that it is moisturizing enough to keep your skin hydrated thru the last of the dry winter days, yet it is still exfoliating, so your skin will equally be ready to hit the beach in that itty-bitty!

Here’s what you’ll need

(Makes enough for a 1x use – best option is to make it fresh since we are using fresh milk. I also chose organic, but it is not mandatory)

- 3 tbsps ground oatmeal

- 2 tbsps milk

- 1 tbsp organic almond oil

- 1 tbsp organic jojoba oil

- 1 tsp flaxseed meal (optional: I find it gives the scrub great texture, can be replaces by ground almonds)

- small bowl for all contents to mix

Directions

1.  Thankfully, this scrub couldn’t be simpler. Put all contents in a bowl and mix together until it is a paste like consistency. You can adjust the quantity of the contents to achieve your preferred results.

For a more moisturizing scrub: Add more almond/jojoba oil.

For a more of a grain textured scrub, add more oatmeal or less oils.

For a thicker texture, add less milk. For a thinner texture, add more.

As always, D.I.Y products are great because you can really personalize it exactly as you prefer for your unique skin type.

2. Apply liberally on your body for a gentle exfoliation. Do add a strainer to your drain before showering it off to keep the clean up process nice and simple.

Benefits of Key Ingredients

Organic Almond Oil: Almond oil is packed with Vitamin E to keep your skin soft and hydrated. It also has natural skin firming properties.

Organic Jojoba Oil: Derived from the jojoba bean, jojoba oil is very similar to the sebum our skin naturally produces. Thus, it is not only moisturizing but absorbs and penetrates our skin very quickly.

Oatmeal: The answer to irritated skin, oatmeal is traditionally used to accomodate sensitive skin. As a natural and gentle exfoliator, it also removes dead skin, leaving it supple yet soothed and hydrated.

Enjoy, and let me know how it goes…

With Love,

Kirby

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