Category:  body

Endless Summer: How To Extend Your Tan

By | body | 2 Comments
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Although we don’t advocate sun exposure (duh), a bit of bronze is inevitable over the summer months. Whether you achieved your glow via paddle boarding, sipping on rooftop wine spritzers (didn’t you hear that they’re a thing again?), or literal sun salutations in the sand, chances are you want to hang on to your summer glow as long as possible. Labor Day may be quickly approaching, but here are the best ways to extend your tan and keep your body all bronzy well into fall.

EXFOLIATE

Sunned skin is always vibrant looking, so exfoliating is key for maintenance. Tata Harper Smoothing Body Scrub ($68) keeps arms and gams smooth yet hydrated. For your visage, REN Glow and Go! ($22) pairs their Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask to remove dead skin with the cult classic Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial for a brightening flash of vitamin C. A power duo if we’ve ever seen one, like Brad and Angelina!

EXTEND 

If you’re having serious separation anxiety from your tan, consider a gradual self-tanning moisturizer for a light boost.  James Read BB Gradual Face Tan ($25) comes with a convenient brush to make application a breeze. If you want to avoid tights as long as possible come fall, a generous application of Vita Liberata Fabulous Self Tanning Gradual Lotion ($30) on your legs will keep pastiness at bay.

HIGHLIGHT 

You know how your skin literally glows after a day at the beach? Rely on shimmery (never sparkly!) products to fake that year-round. Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush & Illuminator Duo Stick ($35) has a creamy blush on one end and a versatile highlighter on the other. Swipe it across cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, and on your brow bone for that lit-from-within look. For your body, Becca Luminous Body Perfecting Mousse ($34) adds bronze and radiance while simultaneously covering imperfections.

REPAIR 

Even the smallest amount of sun exposure can do some major skin damage (did you wear your hat?!). While a great deal of this cannot be reversed, there are some things you can do to repair.

Malin+Goetz Vitamin b5 Body Moisturizer ($40) will restore moisture to even the scaliest of sun damaged skin without leaving behind that dreaded sticky film. On your face, try Phace Bioactive Illuminating Serum ($92). It may be on the pricier side, but its impressive ability to correct dark spots and sun damage with pH optimized vitamin C makes it worth every penny.

-Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind www.comfortablycasey.com

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Let’s Hear It For The Boys: Unisex Beauty Products To Buy Today

By | body, skin | 3 Comments

Beauty rituals are an obsession shared by most – if not all – women. However, men are becoming increasingly interested in personal maintenance… as it turns out, they’re not complete Neanderthals after all! Cosmetic companies have noticed this surge, causing brands to develop and market prestige products towards the other sex. Although the labels may say otherwise, these products are just as good, if not better, than their female-targeted counterparts. Here, the top men’s products to steal ASAP:

Although they don’t obsess about it quite as much as women, dudes aren’t too excited about aging either. LAB Series Age-Less Power V Lifting Cream ($78) is a favorite of Justina Mejia, Executive Director of Product Development for the brand. “I’m addicted to its distinct crunchy texture that melts into the skin. Your skin is moisturized instantly, and it leaves my skin with a nice, dewy glow. It also acts like a primer if you use it in the morning, creating the perfect base for foundation.”

Beards are having a moment, but nothing is worse than the irritation that their stubble can cause. That’s where Tom Ford Conditioning Beard Oil ($50) comes into play. Men, if you’re reading this, your girlfriends will thank you. Ladies, your strand’s dry ends will soak this stuff right up, and you’ll obsess over the intoxicating scent.

Guys aren’t the only ones who can work up a serious sweat; they’re just more likely to admit it! Every Man Jack Eucalyptus Mint Body Wash ($5) is perfect for a refreshing deep clean after Bikram or Soulcycle. Don’t worry, it’s play right into your natural, I-just-worked-out “glisten” effect.

No matter the part of your body, shaving can be super irritating. Molton Brown Skin-Calm Shaving Cream ($25) has calming barley extract, and the light mandarin scent keeps it from smelling too masculine.

Puffy eyes do not discriminate. Kiehl’s Since 1851 Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer ($20) has refreshing hibiscus tea as well as caffeine to fight dreaded puffiness and darkness. Go ahead, have that extra margarita on date night and still look fresh and perky the morning after. TIP: Keep this in your fridge for added de-puffing benefits.

Who doesn’t love a good multitasker? Philip B. Nordic Wood Hair & Body Shampoo ($35) is a one-step cleanser for head-to-toe to save some major time in the morning. It’s perfect for when you hit the snooze button eight or more times after a night like was described above.

Note, we recommend stealing these items from a trusted source, i.e. a brother, fiancé, or even dad. Raiding your date’s medicine cabinet the first time you visit his home isn’t exactly the impression you want to leave him with.

 

Casey Sharbaugh currently resides in New York City and works in the fashion industry. In her spare time, you can find Casey spinning, trying new beauty products, or browsing the city for the best ice cream cone. Find her on Twitter at @caseyhshar

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#TBT: Dial Hand Soap

By | body, tbt | 7 Comments

Germaphobes have embraced Dial hand soap as the must-own antibacterial wash at kitchen and bathroom counters everywhere. And, chances are, you’ve used this stuff in school, the doctor’s office, maybe even your very own home. When Dial hand soap launched, it was one of the first of its kind, and the marketing attached “Kills more germs,” a “healthier you,” was… shall we say pulling on our fear chords.

It’s impossible not to recognize its signature clean, mildly medicinal scent. While Dial hand soap certainly is powerful, the most recent debate between scholarly minds is whether or not we really need to be removing so many germs from our hands. Is this, in fact, more dangerous than having them there? Science aside, the harsh chemicals in antibacterial Dial can really dry out your hands, causing cracked cuticles and dehydrated fingers. Updated formulas are certainly milder and just as effective. So, why not make the switch to something a bit more current… After all, Dial was our parent’s soap-of-choice, not ours!

REN Citrus Limonum Hand Wash ($28) is filled with organic Sicilian lemon oil, which is known for its antibacterial properties. This soap cleans your skin, but still respects it. We all need a little respect – even our hands.

Diptyque Softening Hand Wash ($38) may be the same color as Dial, but it couldn’t be more different. It’s filled with soothing lavender honey to nourish while also cleansing. We all know that few things make a coffee table look more chic than a Diptyque candle, and luckily that same rule applies to our kitchen and bathroom countertops.

J.R. Watkins Naturals Foaming Hand Soap ($5) is not only all-natural, but it looks AND feels about triple the price than it actually is. So, basically, you get to save ca$h while your guests are envious of your good taste. The calming aloe and green tea scent is an added bonus.

We raved about their body wash here, and we’re happy to report that Molton Brown hand soap is just as rave-worthy. The Pomegranate & Ginger ($28) version not only looks pretty on your counter, but smells absolutely heavenly. Seriously, you’ll likely catch yourself sniffing your hands after using it.

Cooking certainly isn’t our forte, but sometimes we like to dabble in the culinary arts to impress a special someone. There are few things worse than successfully cooking something delicious (a girl can dream) and then having your hands reek of food. If that happens, try method Kitchen Odor-Eliminating Hand Wash ($5). It’s everything you could ask for in a kitchen soap (cute packaging, pleasant scent, awesome lather), and it’s super gentle for your super gentle hands.

 

Casey Sharbaugh currently resides in New York City and works in the fashion industry. In her spare time, you can find Casey spinning, trying new beauty products, or browsing the city for the best ice cream cone. Find her on Twitter at @caseyhshar

 

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#TBT: Bath & Body Works Cucumber Melon Body Wash

By | body, tbt | One Comment

For Millennials, the scent of teen spirit was unarguably cucumber melon and could be found in many forms at the beloved mall destination: Bath & Body Works. But the most popular iteration of this sweetly addictive scent was as a body wash. At about $11, the product was a bit more expensive than our teenage drugstore staples. Because of this, it was a frequent birthday gift amongst friends, possibly paired with the coordinating lotion and hand sanitizer. This hyper-perfumey formula isn’t exactly a star cleanser, so we rounded up the best body washes ( and easy on the fragrance!) to use instead. Here’s hoping you’ve moved on from cucumber melon!

Sometimes, coffee just isn’t enough. For days when you need an extra boost, try Mio Skincare QuickStart Exhilarating Shower Gel ($22). It has zingy spearmint as well as guarana for some serious pep.

Once you smell Kiehl’s Since 1851 ‘Grapefruit’ Bath & Shower Liquid Body Cleanser ($25), it’s easy to see why this product is constantly a best-seller for the brand. The grapefruit scent is refreshing but incredibly mild.

Winter makes everyone’s skin super sensitive and a bit painful in that chafing sort of way. If you want a wash that is gentle but still more luxe than your run-of-the-mill drugstore brand, try Ahava Dead Sea Mineral Shower Gel ($18).

Acqua Di Parma Blue Mediterraneo Ginepro di Sardegna Shower Gel ($51) will make you think, if only for a moment, that you are actually showering at a luxury resort in Sardinia instead of in your studio apartment in Brooklyn. Plus, there is literally nothing that can look more chic on the side of your bathtub. Fair warning, the scent is strong, so if you’re smell-sensitive, steer clear. Otherwise, indulge ASAP.

Let’s face it, there are times when  your skin needs a deeper cleaning. Burt’s Bees Peppermint & Rosemary Body Wash ($8) is ideal  for post spin class or other sweat-inducing activities, when you need a serious scrub down. The peppermint gives this wash a cool (as in cool feeling, not cool looking), refreshing twist.

Molton Brown Gingerlily Body Wash ($30) smells divine. It’s filled with hydrating ingredients, but the gentle aroma sets it apart from other similar washes. Plus, it lathers, like really lathers, so you feel clean… everywhere (if you know what we mean).

 

Casey Sharbaugh currently resides in New York City and works in the fashion industry. In her spare time, you can find Casey spinning, trying new beauty products, or browsing the city for the best ice cream cone. Find her on Twitter at @caseyhshar

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How To: Keep Hydrated In A Polar Vortex

By | body, hair, how to, skin | 3 Comments

Winter has been upon us for weeks on end, making the phrase “baby, it’s cold outside” seem significantly less cute than it did during the first frost. As described here, the season isn’t doing any favors for our skin, hair, or nails. Unless the weather Gods decide to grant us some divine intervention, we admit that we need hydration help… STAT. To survive these frigid temps, here are the best tips and tricks (and of course product must-haves) to get you through to spring. Eye on the prize, people; spring is just a month away!

1. Although you may be more inclined to fill your water bottle when the temperatures are scorching, hydrating is just as important (if not more so!) during the winter. If you’re having trouble downing enough fluids, try eating water-dense foods such as cucumbers, strawberries, and broccoli.

2. If your hair is feeling dry and brittle, coat it with a rich mask for extra moisture. Davines MINU Hair Mask ($32) gives hair some major TLC without weighing it down, thanks to hydrating caper blossom extract. Tip: After coating your strands in a hair mask, put on a disposable shower cap for twenty minutes before rinsing for extra hydration. This is a great time to fold laundry, vacuum,  or check Instagram.

3. During winter, there are two times your hands should always be covered: When you’re outside and when you’re in bed! Seriously. Just like you wear gloves when braving the outside forces, use socks as mittens in bed after smearing coconut oil ($10) on your hands. Not exactly a sexy bedtime look, but your hands will thank you for the extra hydration. This trick works just as well on your feet, too.

4. Oil, oil, and more oil! Your skin will soak it up faster than a french fry. If you’ve been shying away from oil for fear of grease, it is officially time to get over it. Dehydrated skin craves moisture from oil. This topic deserves sub-bullets, so bear with us.

– Regular soap can be harsh and drying on sensitive skin. Instead, try L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil ($25). It cleans while simultaneously moisturizing with a mild almond scent. Even the most super sensitive skin will adore it!

– To remove makeup without stripping your skin, Tatcha Pure Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($48) should be your go-to. It even removes waterproof mascara, which is obviously essential when there are gale force winds that causes your eyes to tear the moment you step outside.

– Before doing your makeup, try BeautyCounter Lustro Face Oil ($64) to lightly moisturize and even out skin. This gives a layer of hydration coupled with an all day glow, but without the slightest bit of slickness or grease.

– For dryness anywhere on your body – from hair, to elbows, to heels – smear on Moroccanoil Pure Argan Oil ($52). This stuff is as good as the purest Marrakech oil, but without the need to travel.

5. Winter colds are a given, which means that red Rudolph noses are in tow. Fun!… not.  For chapped, dry patches of skin, smear on First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream ($30). Redness be gone.

6. Skin can look a bit lackluster and ruddy in these dry conditions, so a good base is key. Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream ($29) is a new tinted moisturizer hybrid product that really lives up to all the hype.  It gets major props for the added SPF 30. Sunscreen is a must year round, even in the dead of winter.

7. It’s way too cold  to leave the house with wet hair in the AM, but blow drying is super drying for your locks. Instead, wash at night and let your hair dry in two loose braids while you’re sleeping. The result: Perfect beach waves when you wake. Give your strands some added shine and hydration with DryBar Gold Mine Shimmering Leave-in Conditioner ($29).

8. Healthy fats can do wonders for your skin. We’re talking flaxseed, walnuts, and avocados, not ice cream and potato chips. Load up on monosaturated fats like Omega-3 fatty acids for glowing skin and nails, and healthy, shiny locks.

Hopefully, these suggestions will help you brave this final stretch of frigid weather. And don’t fret, we’ll be here when you’re freaking out about humidity… although I’m pretty sure any of us would currently welcome that problem.

 

Casey Sharbaugh currently resides in New York City and works in the fashion industry. In her spare time, you can find Casey spinning, trying new beauty products, or browsing the city for the best ice cream cone. Find her on Twitter at @caseyhshar

 

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#TBT: Body Glitter

By | body | 7 Comments

Okay, so it’s a new year (yay!), but last night was likely spent frolicking on a dance floor and, chances are, glitter was present. Perhaps on the 2015 signage, a festive tablescape, or even on you. Which leads us to today’s throwback… body glitter!

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, to our pre-teen years. Whether it was our first concert, a a school dance, or even a New Year’s Eve party, hours were spent pulling together the perfect outfit and applying makeup and, likely, body glitter was in the mix. Regardless of if we preferred The Body Shop or Limited Too, arms and legs were coated with the goopy substance that added flecks of sparkle to our skin. Pretty gross… but come to think of, so were a lot of things we did as teenagers.

Although body glitter is on the outs, there are several products that give a similar – yet less sticky – luminous sheen to your physique. Go ahead and show off those triceps you’ve spent hours toning at hot yoga or your slim calves perfectly sculpted from Soul Cycle, these products will keep the focal point on your favorite assets.

If you want to add a temporary tan to your body, try Lorac TANtalizer Body Bronzing Luminizer ($32). It’s super sheer without a hint of streakiness so you can look like you spent the last week in Tulum when really you’ve been hiding in your cubicle at work.

You know how amazing BB cream is for your face, so why not give that same gift to your body? Jergens BB Body Cream ($10) visibly improves imperfections while illuminating  skin. It goes on sheer, but will adjust to match your skin tone.

The name alone is convincing enough: Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body ($65) is described as “shape wear lingerie for the skin.” It firms while also promoting lymphatic drainage thanks to the nifty metal rollerball. As the name suggests, it has a hefty supermodel following.

Described as “glow-shun,” Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion  ($39) is a light lotion that gives the slightest hint of sheen. The best part is its ability to smooth cellulite and hide stretch marks. Even better, it’s 100% natural.

-Casey Sharbaugh currently resides in New York City and works in the fashion industry. In her spare time, you can find Casey spinning, trying new beauty products, or browsing the city for the best ice cream cone. Find her on Twitter at @caseyhshar

 

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#TBT: Bar Soap

By | body | 5 Comments

This throwback is rather timely — a Christmas #TBT of sorts. Remember the infamous scene in the movie A Christmas Story when nine-year-old Ralphie Parker’s mother washes his mouth out with soap after he exasperatingly yells “f*ck!”? Well, that famous holiday flick is sorta responsible for the soap equals punishment scenario. While the film was released in 1938, bar soap is probably one of the oldest beauty products on record… we’re talking ancient Roman era.

Some of us are never able to get that true clean feeling with body wash, so sticking with our tried-and-trusted bar of soap seems rather reasonable. Except that original bar soaps were awful for the skin, stripping natural oils and, in some cases, cleansing with chemical ingredients. Lucky for us, bar soap has evolved quite a bit from its original formulation of animal fat (ew!) and other unhealthy ingredients. Keep reading for our favorite bar soaps of modern times, that both clean and protect the skin:

Kiehl’s Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap ($15) may be labeled for the guys, but women can appreciate the muscle invigorating and exfoliating experience just as much.

A throwback  in and of itself, Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar ($45) has been adored by women for countless years due to the magic effects of Dead Sea Mud.

Far from your average bar of Dial, Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Bath Soap ($40) has an absolutely intoxicating scent.

Fresh Sugar Bath Lemon Soap ($13) is filled with moisturizing shea butter along with anti-bacterial brown sugar.

Because few things are more refreshing than peppermint, reach for Malin+Goetz Peppermint Bar Soap ($10) for a deep clean.

Questionable name aside, Bliss Fat Girl Soap ($19) has massaging nubs and stimulating caffeine to help smooth trouble areas like arms, butt, and thighs.

If any mothers are reading this, please refrain from using these bars of soap to punish your children; they are far too luxe. Instead, we recommend sticking to the Santa’s Naughty List punishment during this time of year.

-Casey Sharbaugh currently resides in New York City and works in the fashion industry. In her spare time, you can find Casey spinning, trying new beauty products, or browsing the city for the best ice cream cone. Find her on Twitter at @caseyhshar

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Korres Body Butter Keeps Your Body Buttery

By | body | 2 Comments

Come winter, I like my heat blasting — which feels great, but doesn’t bode well for my skin. Humidifiers help keep the air humid, but I’m still constantly applying lip balm (Aquaphor is my go-to; I buy in bulk and stash in my car, purse, and bedside table) and heavy duty body moisturizers… multiple times throughout the day and night.

I’ve been a fan of Korres Body Butter since it launched. I bought my first bottle in Miami while on vacation. I had never experienced such a creamy formula without having to screw off the cap and dig my hands into the jar (which is rather unhygienic). This stuff pumped out of the bottle (yes, this was back when Korres was outfitted with a handy pump) with ease, but still had that thick consistency of a body butter. It worked wonders after a weekend spent sunning on the beach – keeping my tan in check and my body fully hydrated.

Years later, I have rekindled my love affair with Korres, only now the body butter comes in an equally convenient flip-top tube (you still don’t have to dig your hands into a jar!). It hydrates just as well as I remembered, saturating my skin with creamy relief that lasts for hours, even with my heater on blast. Torres butters have a definite scent, but the aromas are pleasing, like natural essential oils as opposed to synthetic and perfumey. They come in seven delicious fragrances like Fig, Jasmine, and Basil Lemon, but my absolute favorite is the Guava. Maybe I’m just a creature of habit (this is the scent that I purchased years ago in Miami), but Guava is the perfect combination of tropical island getaway and spicy, snowy winter wonderland. It reminds me of the beach and the ski slopes. And it moisturizes with gusto, for both extremes. How many body butters can do this?

PRICE TAG: $29

*Psst: Their silky shower gels are awesome, too, and come in complimenting scents. They lather nicely, without stripping natural oils or feeling like they’ve just sloughed off a perfectly healthy layer of skin! I highly recommend.

photo from HSN

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Best Winter Fragrances For Seducing Your Man

By | body | 4 Comments
best scents for winter

With the temperatures dropping and the sun setting earlier each evening, it is time to ensure that we all have warm, rich, and cozy cashmere for the cold months to come… and I don’t mean a sweater. The cashmere I’m referring to is the soft, sensual embrace of a partner to make those cold, dark nights an object of desire rather than despair.

Whether you are simply reigniting the proverbial fire, or beginning a fresh affair, here are five winter fragrances guaranteed to seduce your lover… and the optimal occasion to wear each!

The Early Evening Cocktail:

Margiela ‘Replica’ Jazz Club ($125) is for a sexy night on the town, whether you are on the prowl or hand-in-hand with your man. With a jazzy signature of tobacco, leather, and rum, this scent is smooth and warm just like the whiskey in your glass. he vanilla, tonka, musk and vetiver add to the sensual and addictive evening to remember…. leaving your date wanting so much more …

The Dinner Date:

Tom Ford Velvet Orchid ($112-$159) should be worn when you are preparing for a ‘real’ date – stilettos, French lingerie, perfectly manicured fingers (and toes), fresh from the hair salon… This is the night to seduce. The scent, subtly applied to the collarbone, behind the ears, at the nape of the neck, and perhaps a touch on the décolleté, is fresh and deep. Opening with an overdose of citrus, the perfume plays into a faceted floral accord of rose, jasmine, and heliotrope. The finish and real signature lies in the Succan absolute (purified rum extract), honey, balsam, labdanum, sandalwood, and creamy vanilla.

Lock It Down:

Frederic Malle’s Musc Ravageur ($180) may not be new, but it is, by far, the sexiest perfume on the market. Only for the brave and strong, Musc Ravageur screams sex and will definitely ‘seal the deal’ for the entire winter season. Opening with lavender and bergamot, continuing with cinnamon and clove, and leading into sandalwood, tonka bean, vanilla, guaiac wood, and cedar, this scent is fresh and dirty. Bon courage!

Brunch The Day After:

From the famed house of Comme des Garcons, comes Pharrell Williams’ take on a unisex fragrance, Girl ($135). The bottle may be a bit kitsch, but the scent is anything but. Glorified by the sharp, woody, deep signature of previous Comme des Garcons perfumes, Girl opens with a slightly spicy, easy, floral green top that very quickly envelopes into a dark engagement with patchouli, vetyver, sandalwood, and cedar. This scent is to be worn during the day, preferably at brunch on a Sunday, after an intimate night before.

Meeting Their Friends:

The final vote of confidence, the approving nod to confirm that you are in for the winter season — and possibly into the spring, always comes from their friends. On this occasion, your perfume should be subtle, elegant, and softly unforgettable. One of Atelier Cologne’s newest editions, Silver Iris ($175), is a fresh and beautiful whisper of a perfume. Slightly sparkling with pink pepper, easy fruit notes, and soft florals, the real beauty is with the combination of iris, patchouli, white amber, and fluffy musk.

— Fragrance expert, Dawn Goldworm of 12.29, the olfactive custom scent company.

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The 10 Minute Yoga And Meditation Workout

By | body | 3 Comments
Beauty isn’t merely about face creams and lipsticks. Inner wellness and health will do wonders for keeping you fit, fabulous, and youthful so that you can tackle any obstacle with a clear mind and a glowing complexion. I asked my friend Kyle Miller, celebrity yoga guru and founding teacher at Yoga For Bad People, to devise a 10 minute mind and body morning workout exclusively for Beauty Banter readers.
Here’s her super simple but highly effective 10 minute yoga and meditation practice for even the most inflexible of us:
“Now, I know the mornings are rushed and groggy and insane, and that is exactly why you need 10 minutes to focus your attention, purify your energy, set intention and open up the body.  Dedicating even this tiny sliver of time and space towards yourself can reap major benefits.  Increased focus, release of the stress response, efficiency in the organ systems, just to name a few.  You will feel better, more at ease, more poised and kinda like your head is screwed on straight and your body is functioning optimally.  Sound good?  Ok here’s the game plan:
1.  Find Your Seat: Get out of bed, you can have your coffee or tea, your water with lemon, whatever your little ritual is already… and then return to your bedroom, unroll your mat and sit down.  Start with whatever seat is comfortable, kneeling or cross-legged (elevating your seat on pillow is the most comfortable and helps you lengthen your spine: highly recommended!).  Close your eyes and lengthen your spine.  Spread the collar bones.  Relax the shoulders.  Once you have your seat, plug into the earth and really connect.  From that point of connection start to visualize a central energetic channel running in front of your spine straight up through the crown of your head.  Imagine energy moving up the channel from the earth and down the channel, from above.  When you can see and feel and imagine this central channel, you will be centered… you will already feel the poise, the grace of embodiment, the natural gratitude, starting to blossom.
2.  Mantra Meditation:  After finding your seat, getting centered, quiet and still, begin to move the breath through your body. Feel the lungs fill and expand away from the center on the inhales and feel them fall back to the center on the exhales.  Now attach a mantra to these conscious, expansive and beautiful breaths you are taking.  Silently saying “let” on the inhale and “go” on the exhale is one of the first techniques I learned.  You can literally feel stress and tension melt away.  You could also say “SO” on the inhales and “HAM” on the exhales or “I” and “AM.”  Feel free to think of your own two word mantra and silently repeat it to yourself with the movement of the breath.  Your mind will wander, you will lose focus and THAT’S TOTALLY FINE!  Just return your attention to the breath.  And if you’re not feeling the mantras, let them go, and simply use these first few moments in your seat to watch the breath.
3.  Move: Open the eyes, reach your arms out wide, gather some fresh, new energy, the exact type of energy you want for the day, bring your hands to meet over head and then pull them down to in front of your heart. Do this a few times. Feel that you are gathering what you want and drawing it into your center.  Come forward onto your hands and knees and start to move the spine. As you inhale arch the back and as you exhale round the spine, tucking your chin and tail. After a few rounds, start to stir it up. Make big circles with your hips and shoulders, squiggle through the spine, get your neck and jaw and the muscles of your face involved.  Breathe into the nooks and crannies. It should feel amazing. When you’re ready, tuck your toes and press back to downward facing dog.  Peddle the feet and imagine the backs of the legs flushing open, the ball of muscles at the back of calf releasing.  Roll forward to plank and back to dog a few times. Hold plank for a few breaths. Feel how sound and perfect your structure is.  Feel the muscles hug to the bone, activating you for your day. Depending on the time you have, you can take some lunges, stepping one foot forward at a time, you can add warrior poses if you want to strength and feel capable.  Forwards bends to calm the nervous system. Back bends energize, open and also nourish. Keep it simple and remember to keep the focus on integrating the movement with your breathing. Let it be organic, let the body lead you, move outside the box.
4.  Finish:  Closing your practice is a lovely way to seal the effort you put forth.  Return to your seat, lengthen your spine, and close your eyes.  Observe the subtle shifts these few moments of paying attention to yourself have created. Bring your hands in front of your heart and bow your head slightly. This is a posture of gratitude, humility, reverence and respect. Soak in it. Run through what you are grateful for or simply focus on one thing.  Ground your self in a simple and humble appreciation for the world around you. Namaste. Go get ’em, tiger!”
*Kyle Miller is a teacher at Yoga Collective in Venice and the Springs in Arts District.  Follow her on Instagram at @kylemilleryoga.
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About Beauty Banter
Beauty Banter was launched in July of 2006 as a comprehensive beauty blog covering trends, tips and tricks, insider secrets, and weekly must-haves. Beauty Banter has a reputation of being on the cutting edge of emerging trends and product launches so our readers are always the first to know what’s hot and what’s just not.