Top 5 Eco-Friendly Dream Vacation Spots

Hey there fellow spring-breakers! It’s about time to start planning those much-awaited, and much needed, spring break trips. There are so many reasons to be excited about planning a vacation. What to see, where to stay, what to wear. The list goes on and on. Now more than ever people are willing to throw their money around for a relaxing vacation. Wouldn’t you rather pay for a relaxing vacation knowing you’re doing your part to save the planet, than spend money knowing that you’re contributing to the depletion of our Earth?

What many people don’t understand, or don’t think about, is the amount of damage tourism currently does to our environment. I challenge you to take Mother Earth into consideration while planning this year’s getaway. Many popular vacation spots increase resource use in places where those precious natural resources are already scarce, or over-industrialize the habitats of the plants and animals that already live there.

Enormous stress is put on the land, water, and air that is used for tourism. Many tourism practices can lead to soil erosion, increased pollution, natural habitat loss, and intense pressure on endangered species of the area. The tourism and hospitality industry continually overuses water resources for hotels, swimming pools, and golf courses–but it doesn’t stop there. As more money comes in, the more the area is developed, the more green space is paved, and the more trees are cut down. In general, these “getaway” areas already have a shortage of resources because of years of wear and tear by visitors. What can we do to help? The answer is simple–stop giving business to tourist locations that blatantly disregard the land that gives them business in the first place. You can get even better views, beautiful scenery, and save the planet for the same cost as your usual beach trip. Try these captivating, unique, and eco-friendly getaways for this year’s vacation spot.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

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The Blue Lagoon located in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula of Iceland, is entirely powered by geothermal energy. The resort built a unique power plant that drills deep wells up to 2,000 meters into the ground to tap into the 240 degree geothermal fluid, an alternative to fossil fuels. This is then used to create electricity and to heat water within the resort for central heating. This innovative power plant is the only one of its kind, and to go along with the eco-friendly power supply, the architecture is completely made of Icelandic moss and stones–pretty cool.

 

Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos Islands

pikaialodge.com

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Pikaia Lodge located in the Galapagos Islands offers scenic hikes, boat tours, and wildlife adventures also completely powered by alternative energy. The eco-friendly lodge, built on an extinct volcano crater, is home to its very own Tortoise Reserve, as they are critically endangered. Pikaia Lodge’s whole brand is centralized around the fact that they are 100% eco-friendly and want to share with their costumers why this area of the Galapagos Islands is important to them by offering their services.

 

Arctic Kingdom, Canada

arctickingdom.com

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A similar approach to the Pikaia Lodge, Arctic Kingdom located in Iqaluit, Canada aims to show costumers why it is so important to save the planet by offering their services. They work in some of the most fragile ecosystems in the world, and with people who depend on the land to survive, Arctic Kingdom says they are “deeply committed” to supporting sustainable practices through all of their adventures. They have almost no environmental footprint, operating in small groups and ensuring their camps operate sustainably. They truly have a passion for their environment and want to preserve it so they can share it with the world.

 

Sundance Resort, Utah

sundanceresort.com

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The beautiful Sundance Mountain Resort on Mount Timpanogos in Utah, is dedicated to sustainable living. Instead of overdeveloping, founder Robert Redford finds beauty in the surrounding areas of the resort and says, “Our commitment to Sundance has always been to develop very little and preserve a great deal.” Their lodging is completely green, and even have restoration projects around the surrounding areas. Visit their website to find out just how much they truly do for the land that they use.

 

Rancho La Puerta, Mexico

rancholapuerta.com

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Rancho La Puerta Resort is a leader within its community and provides an immaculate example of what “being green” means. Located in Tecate, Mexico the resort has an on-site garden with 22 full time gardeners, which produces vegetables for the resort kitchen. The gardens are fertilized using composted organic matter and only use natural pest management. There are 200 different plant species and migratory birds, which have made Tecate a station within their path. These species at Rancho La Puerta remain undisturbed. Not to mention, the resort is absolutely stunning.

How to Cherish the Holiday Season as a College Student

As a college student, the holidays become very different. Because Thanksgiving and Christmas are rapidly approaching, I continually find myself reminiscing of being a kid during the holiday season. On long rides, my dad and I would count the number of houses with Christmas lights up. I would watch the Thanksgiving Day parade, every single year, in the same spot on my couch all bundled up with the fireplace on. I specifically remember waking up on Christmas morning at 6 a.m. being completely overwhelmed with joy–a feeling I’m sure all of you can recall. I remember decorating cookies with my mom. I remember my brother opening up video games on Christmas morning practically in tears. I remember sitting in my basement making endless reindeer and Santa-themed crafts for my family. I remember those times with a smile, and think about how simple things were and how genuinely happy I was.

Fast forward to now–adult life is spiraling toward us all too fast. Your childhood home isn’t “home” anymore. You live in a dorm or an apartment. Your sibling moved into your room. You are on track to get a career of your own. You hardly have enough money to buy shampoo, let alone Christmas presents for your family and friends.

Although things may be much different at this point in our lives, one thing that will always stay the same is sharing the holiday season with the people that you love. We can’t slow down time, we can’t bring back our belief in Santa Clause, but we can continue to make new memories in new ways by cherishing the holiday season in a little bit of a different way.

There are only so many opportunities to spend with your friends and family at home as a college student. Wake up an extra hour earlier to eat breakfast with your dad. Meet up with your old friends for lunch. It’s the little things that culminate into fond memories in the future. Say yes when your mom asks for help making cookies. In a few years you will understand why–you may even reminisce on these times and wish you could return.

I know this article isn’t for everyone. Some people may already have obtained this mindset, some people may live at home and commute to school, but I also know plenty of students who don’t necessarily want to go home for the holidays because of the independence and confidence that they have gained while away at college. So many students feel defensive of their new college lifestyles, but there’s nothing wrong with putting your pride to the side for a second and doing a few things for your family and friends to let them know how much you appreciate them. You’ll never get these times of your life back, so please make the most of them now.

Yoga at Home

Finding time in your schedule to register for a class, remembering to bring all your yoga gear, squeezing your mat into a tiny space amid the sweaty crowd–sometimes going to a yoga class can be less than a peaceful experience. The answer: do it at home.

Yoga has been known for centuries to ease your thoughts, strengthen your body, and improve your overall health. You’ll even hear that it creates harmony between your mind and body. Everyone wants these results, but who has time to go to a studio everyday? It’s no doubt that yoga is one of the most beneficial practices to keep you feeling happy, healthy, and at peace. Doing yoga at home is not ideal, but it can be done quickly and efficiently, and ultimately saves you time, money, and energy. Don’t stress about getting to a yoga studio, or paying for monthly classes–start small (and start free). Because there are so many poses and different kinds of yoga, it’s possible for anyone to start at any time. Once you start and experiment a little, you’ll find out exactly what works for you. Grab a yoga mat, or even a blanket or towel, and try these relaxing, easy poses to get your day started off on the right foot.

  1. Child’s pose– I like this pose because you can feel your muscles at work, but it also is very relaxing. It doesn’t take much skill, but I promise, even doing this three or four times a day, you will feel a difference. Your mind is more aware, anxiety is lower, and you feel more energized. To do child’s pose: 1. Sit comfortably on your knees with your heels touching your rear end. 2. Roll your body forward, placing your arms out in front of you (palms down) and your forehead on the mat. Make sure you can feel the stretch in your lower back. 3. Lower your chest as close to your knees as you comfortably can. 4. Hold and breathe slowly, in and out through your nose.  Related image
  2. Pigeon pose– This pose can really rejuvenate your body even when feeling fatigued. Similar to child’s pose, this pose doesn’t take much skill, and if you do it often enough, can really improve your flexibility. Pigeon pose makes me feel more agile and energized when I do it in the morning. A good stretch always starts the day off on a good note. To do Pigeon Pose: 1. Begin in a planking position. Then, bring one leg up underneath you so that your heel is parallel to the opposite side hip. 2. If you are more flexible, put your body all the way down until your forehead touches the ground, like in child’s pose. If not, you can keep your body upward, like in the picture shown below. 3. Hold and breathe slowly, in and out through the nose. Image result for pigeon pose
  3. Cobra– The Cobra pose is one of my all time favorites because you can feel it working. Similarly to the poses above, this pose is very simple and perfect for beginners. A combination of these three poses before heading off to class, work, or a day of errands will put your mind at peace and leave you ready to tackle the task ahead of you. To do Cobra: 1. Begin facedown with your hands flat on either side of your belly button. 2. Push up, and arch your back with your head titled back toward your feet. Make sure you feel the stretch in your abdomen. 3. Tighten your gluten and back muscles. 4. Hold and breathe slowly, in and out through the nose. Image result for cobra pose

4 Easy Mug Recipes to Satisfy your Sweet Tooth

Who’s not a fan of a gooey, sweet, and easy dessert? The answer is no one.

The problem? How hard it is to restrain yourself when it comes to sweets most of the time.  The solution? Mug desserts! Mug desserts are a single serving treat that’s put together and heated in a coffee mug in the microwave–its that easy. These simple recipes create a serving size of some of your favorite, delectable desserts. Perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth without packing on the calories or breaking the bank. When the craving for something sweet hits, we don’t want to have to go out to the store, or make a huge batch of brownies and cookies. Mug desserts are a no brainier.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  1. Mix all ingredients together in your favorite mug
  2. Microwave for 1 minute on high.
  3. Enjoy! (Yes, it really is that simple.)

Jelly Roll Tart 

Ingredients:

  • 1 box angel food cake
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp jelly
  1. Combine cake mixes in large ziploc bag. (You’ll have plenty to use in the future!)
  2. Place 3 tbsp of mixture into your mug.
  3. Add water and whisk together to form batter.
  4. Add 1 tbsp jelly to the center of the batter.
  5. Microwave for 1 minute on high.
  6. Top with the remaining jelly and enjoy!

Rice Krispie Treat 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 4 large marshmallows
  • 1 cup puffed rice cereal
  1. Microwave butter in mug for 10 seconds until melted.
  2. Add 4 large marshmallows. Microwave for 20 more seconds. Watch to make sure marshmallows don’t overflow.
  3. Stir mixture until smooth.
  4. Mix in cereal and stir until well-blended.
  5. Enjoy the gooey goodness!

Chocolate Lava Cake 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 3 tsp milk
  • 4 tbsp chocolate hazelnut spread
  1. Whisk ingredients in mug until well-mixed.
  2. Microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. That’s it! (Again, it really is that simple.)

Rocking Fall Florals: How to Wear Florals in Autumn

Historically, florals are only a print that women would wear during the spring and summer months. As recently as Fall/Winter 2017 though, many designers and celebrities have taken that trend and pushed the boundaries. Balenciaga, Giambattista Valli, Coach—you name it. They have all recently sent floral looks down the runaway with their fall collections. Suddenly, florals have become a go-to all year round and not just went the suns out. So, what’s next? How does the average Jane Doe wear something so new and high fashion? Here are the easiest tips and tricks to incorporate the latest fall fashion, florals, into your own wardrobe. 

  1. Floral as the Focal Point 

As the weather gets chillier during fall, outfits become more layered and more elaborate. The trick to a stunning autumn outfit is to draw in the eye of your observers. What better way to do that then a floral print? A simple, but impactful piece like a floral utility coat or long jacket is the perfect way to do so. It will keep you warm, but also looking like a million bucks.

  1. Floral as a Simple Detail

If a giant coat isn’t your cup of tea, try this tip! Using floral as a simple detail is unique and can be show stopping. A floral ascot, a floral pair of shoes, or even a floral scarf will turn heads. This is an easy way to make it look like you put a lot of effort into a look when really, you just slipped on your favorite floral shoes. 

  1. Think Outside the Box 

Use floral in unconventional ways! High fashion is all about taking risks and having fun with what you are wearing. Mix and match your floral with different patterns like fur or animal prints, both of which are great autumn trends. Another thing that is really in style right now is color blocking! Grab some fun pieces that combine color blocking and floral—you will be killing it!

  1. All-over Floral Print 

If you really want to have fun with a floral print during the fall, go for a head to toe floral look! Something like this will keep you warm while also looking put together and fun. This is also an easy way to make it look like you put a lot of effort into the outfit, when really it is just a bodysuit or two piece set. Choose simple toned accessories to balance out the look and you can’t go wrong!

               

Photos from Glamour Magazine

 

DIY Tips for Flawless Skin

It doesn’t matter how smart we are as customers because too often our optimism toward new skincare products is enough to trick us into burning a hole in our pocket simply to try out the newest serums, scrubs, and lotions. Inevitably, our optimism is met with discouragement when we wake up the next morning with the same dark circles and fine lines as we had before. It seems as though nothing ever really does the trick. What’s the problem? Harsh chemicals and artificial ingredients that most beauty companies don’t plainly reveal to the naked eye. What’s the solution? Homemade, all natural, and FREE, skincare!

Something a lot of women consider, but never really follow through with is DIY skincare! Traditional, from-the-shelf products use chemicals such as Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, and Ethyl Parabens. Different combinations of these chemicals are in nearly every skin and haircare product nowadays. Seriously, check your labels! Many women report that these synthetic ingredients cause allergic reactions or irritate their skin.  Companies use these because they are extremely cheap. Not to mention using these kinds of chemicals instead of perishable ingredients extends the shelf life of their products. Eliminate the possibility of rashes or reactions by making some DIY scrubs in the comfort of your own home.

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Images from wideopeneats.com

The key to healthy, glowing skin is natural ingredients–ingredients that you can find in your own pantry! Not only can you create homemade face scrubs, but lip scrubs, feet scrubs, and body scrubs as well. The base of many of these scrubs are sugar or salt. Although salt should not be used on the face, it is an excellent exfoliator for the body, lips, or rougher parts of the skin. Sugar, because it is more finely granulated, is perfect for the face or more sensitive skin. Here are some easy beginning DIY scrubs to try out at home!

  1. Lemon Hand & Foot Scrub– Do your hands and feet ever get dry and flaky? Here is the scrub for you! Use up to three times a week to smoothen, rejuvenate, and soften your hands or feet. Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl and scrub away!
    1. Juice of one lemon
    2. 1 cup of brown sugar
    3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
    4. 3 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
  2. Grapefruit Face Scrub– Grapefruit is perfect for getting the collagen flowing and avocados contain glutamine which is a natural cleanser! This face scrub has it all! Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl and scrub away!
    1. Juice of 1/2 of one grapefruit
    2. 1/2 of an avocado
    3. Granulated white sugar
  3. Sea Salt & Coconut Lip Scrub–  Coconut oil is an amazing moisturizer and sea salt is the perfect exfoliant! Together, they leave your lips smooth, soft, and plump. Use this when your lips are dry or peeling. Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl and scrub away!
    1. 1 tablespoon sea salt
    2. 4 teaspoons coconut oil
    3. 2 tablespoons honey
    4. 3 drops lavender essential oil (optional)

The Hype About Bar Shampoo

With the recent surge in environmental awareness, many people are joining popular movements whose goals are to help out good old Mother Nature. Most everyone has heard of the #StopSucking movement that has emerged in recent months—many major companies, several American cities, and even celebrities have pledged to ditch their plastic straws because of the increasing amount of plastic in our oceans. Oakland, Seattle, Berkley, and Miami Beach all have passed local laws banning plastic drinking straws. Tom Brady, Theresa May, and Jane Goodall have stated their allegiance to stop sucking. Additionally, Alaskan Airlines and Starbucks are just a couple of the thousands of companies that have revoked plastic straw usage.

One thing that’s up and coming on the market, that is along the same lines, is bar shampoo. Beauty product hoarding affects many women, more than would like to admit it, and the plastic packaging from empty products almost always ends up in a landfill. Shampoo bars eliminate the waste
of plastic shampoo bottles that take nearly 1,000 years to decompose in an average landfill. Bar shampoo is physically similar to bar soap, like the classic Dove or Irish Spring brands, but they replace shampoo. Most companies who have taken charge in selling these bars use completely organic, natural ingredients to further exemplify what it means to live sustainably.

These bars are concentrated blocks of shampoo that can outlast two to three bottles of liquid shampoo a piece! According to lushusa.com, one shampoo bar will last up to 80 washes, which is double the average 12 ounce bottle. They’re also packed full of essential oils and fresh ingredients that don’t harm your hair, so you’ll have flawless hair every wash. Why not save the earth, save some money, and have gorgeous hair all at the same time? These mighty bars have the potential to take the world by storm these next few months with companies like Lush and Chagrin Valley taking the lead in bar shampoo research. In June 2018, Lush sold over 12,000 bars of shampoo over a span of two days simply because of a viral video on Facebook that was continually shared.

Tell your friends, family, neighbors, and anyone that will listen to jump on the bandwagon to create a cleaner, healthier, and happier Earth.

 

 

Photos from: allure.com and lushaholic.com

 

Aromatherapy 101

Although the use of essential oils for aromatherapy isn’t new by any means, it has recently taken the world by storm. People have been using aromatherapy since the 11th century for medicinal purposes and today, aromatherapy is known to relieve stress, boost energy, improve memory, along with many other health benefits. Some even have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. So many people, more specifically young women, are enjoying the therapeutic effects of essential oils in recent years. It seems as though the key component to every girls’ dorm room is an essential oil diffuser; so what’s the big deal? Here’s all you need to know about the growing art of aromatherapy.

Image from dr.axe.com

Essential oils are usually extracted from plants or fruits through steam distillation. Specifically chosen plants are held over boiling water and the steam pulls the oil out of the plant by breaking down its cells. Because water and oils don’t mix, the two separate, and the essential oil is produced—voila! When you inhale essential oils, it stimulates the olfactory system of the brain, the part that’s connected to smell. The olfactory system influences the endocrine system and the autonomic nervous system. These two systems control your mood, metabolism, heart rate, digestion, and so much more! If you want to start experimenting with some Essential oils, these are a good place to start!

Eucalyptus– Eucalyptus oil is specifically known for its respiratory health benefits. It can help with coughs, colds, and sore throats. Eucalyptus oil’s anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anti-phlegm properties work very well to open congested airways and fight the household cold.

Lemon/Citrus Fruits– Lemon Balm oil is proven to sharpen memory, increase focus, and boost one’s problem solving skills. Other citrus oils, like orange oil, increase collagen production in the skin to make you appear younger. It can also detoxify the body, increase circulation, and improve skin tone and texture.

Peppermint– Peppermint oil works on the digestive system by speeding up the rate of digestion. The oil will alleviate heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, and gas. Peppermint oil is effective because it contains menthol that relaxes the muscles in the stomach.

Lavender/Floral Scents– Lavender oil is widely known to help with sleep issues. Chamomile, another floral oil, also helps with insomnia. Inhaling these oils produce a mild sedative effect on the brain, which makes you feel sleepy. They both relieve anxiety effects for those who suffer from anxiety disorders.