• How to Get the Perfect Shut-eye (Sans Medication)

    ZZzzzzz

    Did you know that the average person spends a third of her lifetime sleeping?

    Pretty fascinating, right? Scientists think so too! In fact, many devote their life’s research to the study and understanding of this mandatory routine. In simple terms, it puzzles them why sleep–or really, the lack of it–leads to exhaustion, irritation, and lethargy.

    There’s no arguing that a proper night’s rest is vital for a productive day ahead. But, as much as you may want to try a quick, guaranteed fix of eight hours or more by popping a sleeping pill, reaching for melatonin is not always the best first option.

    Turn off the lights!

    If you’re having a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep, try wearing a sleeping mask! Trust me, the silky ones are more than just a glamorous fashion statement. Should you stir ever so slightly in the middle of the night, these nifty light blockers will prevent you from fully waking up.

    Not a fan of wrapping cloth over your eyes? No worries! Black out blinds are another great way to ensure a full night’s rest.

    Moderate Your Caffeine Intake.

    While there are indisputable benefits to caffeine–hello, productivity–a cup of coffee or black tea before bed is not always the best idea. Try to kick your late night habit by enjoying your liquid life well in the morning or early afternoon.

    Work, work, work (at your desk).

    Many of us are guilty of answering emails and finishing work in bed, myself included. Even though it’s super comfortable use our bedrooms as a pseudo office space, doing so can often disorient our minds and bodies. For that reason, I recommend leaving your cellphones and tablets outside when preparing for bed. Scrolling through your social media feed as you drift to sleep negatively impacts your sleep more than you think!

    Exercise, just do it.

    Besides the general physical and psychological benefits of exercise, breaking a sweat can also improve your sleep! People who work out tend to fall asleep faster than those who don’t. If you do high intensity exercises in the morning finish off with yoga or a couple stretches in the evening before bedtime, I guarantee a very sound sleep.

    Quit napping!

    Even though napping might seem ideal after a busy day at work or lazy Saturday afternoon lounging on the couch, a quick shut-eye, should you choose to take one, will actually interfere with your sleep at night. Next time you find yourself dozing off, try drinking a cold glass or water or engaging in a stimulating conversation.

     

  • The Tea That Contains So Matcha Benefits

    Are you matcha-obsessed?

    Raise your plastic cups. You know, the ones dripping wet in condensation? The same ones that are cold to the touch? Clear plastic cups filled to the brim with ice cubes? Creamy caffeinated concoctions, bursting with flavor? Matcha. I’m talking matcha. So here, let’s cheers to that!

    As of late, New Yorkers have been riding a green tea latte wave. It’s super rad and super cool because your girl happens to be one of those New Yorkers. Not gonna lie, I used to think of matcha as the green, poorly stirred-powder at the bottom of my Starbucks drink. I wasn’t wrong, but I was basic.

    After doing a little more research, however, I’ve learned that matcha is processed green tea grounded into powder form. Rich in antioxidants and plenty of other health benefits, the powder also contains extended release caffeine and natural calming agents.

    Did you know that one cup of matcha tea is equivalent to 10 cups of green tea?

    Crazy, right? One cup of matcha contains 70 milligrams of caffeine as compared to the average 35 milligrams you get in a regular cup of green tea.

    Well, ANYWHOO, I discovered two must-visit matcha spots and you’re coming along for the adventure.

    MatchaBar Chelsea

    256 W 15th St, New York, NY 10011

    MatchaBar Chelsea is a cute little shop with an intimate ambiance. They serve a wide selection of drinks that range from Classic Matcha to Summer Matcha. Surprisingly the lack of seating space does not deter people from getting their caffeine fix! In fact, customers are usually in and out of here with a drink, if not two, in hand. Did I mention they give out free stickers?

    Behold, the Watermelon Basil in all of its shining glory. If you look closely, you can see the watermelon juice at the bottom. This was a particularly interesting drink. The combination wasn’t what I expected, but it definitely worked!

    I like my drinks on the sweeter side so I added a dash of simple syrup. Note: Most matcha drinks come unsweetened, but you can adjust them based on your taste buds. Not bad, not bad. I would definitely come back to try their Mint Lemonade before the summer ends.

    Cha Cha Matcha

    373 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

    Cha Cha Matcha is all things Cali in the heart of Chinatown. Their pink-and-green themed store goes hand-in-hand with their staff’s bubbly personalities. Customers usually come here for matcha drinks and soft serve.

    Don’t let my picture fool you! There’s actually more seating at the back of the café. Best of all, it’s totally insta-worthy. They’ve got a ton of natural lighting.

    I decided to try something completely different from my usual matcha latte so I went with their Matcha Lemonade. Best decision ever. It honestly was so good that I trekked back, a Queens girl and all, two days in a row, for their summer elixir. Made with the perfect amount of citrus and garnished with a lime and mint leaves, this virgin matcha mojito is truly godsend.

    Let me know if you’d like me to try creating a matcha drink of my own or if you ever visit one of these sweet spots!

  • Everything You Should Know About Dark Under-Eye Circles

    Panda, Panda

    Panda, Panda, Panda, Panda, Panda?

    Hello there, Beautiful!

    Are you plagued by a severe case of panda eyes? Do your dark under-eye circles give you the blues? Is it safe to assume that you’re like me, at wits’ end with concealer, confused about how to remedy the situation and frustrated by your general confusion?

    Fear not. I did some much needed research.

    Medically speaking, the skin around our eyelids is called the periorbital skin. Significantly thinner than the skin that covers the rest of our bodies, the periorbital skin only measures 0.5 millimeters in thickness.

    Believe it or not, there are actually two types of dark under-eye circles. The best way to diagnose your ailment is to look straight into a mirror under natural light, lower your chin slightly, and study the shadow under your eyes. If your under-eye circles have a bluer tint, you have “Blue Circles.” If your under-eye circles have a browner tint, you have “Brown Circles.”

    Okay, cool, but what does this all mean?

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    It’s a general misconception that all under-eye circles are the result of sleep deprivation. While exhaustion may be the culprit behind most panda-eye cases, it’s not always the only one.

    Other common causes include:

    • Allergies
    • Atopic dermatitis (A condition that makes your skin red and itchy)
    • Contact dermatitis (A rash caused by a substance that comes in contact with your skin)
    • DNA (Yes, under-eye circles can be hereditary)
    • Pigmentation irregularities
    • Excessive rubbing or scratching
    • Sun exposure
    • Loss of fat or collagen

    Blue Circles

    Blue circles are most noticeable when you wake up in the morning. Because your body has been resting horizontally for an extended amount of time, oxygenated blood pools beneath your periorbital skin. When this happens, your veins expand to make room for the fluid accumulation.  The periorbital skin, thin and translucent in nature, is often unable to mask your pump veins. They, in turn, look blue because your skin only allows blue and violet wavelengths to pass through it. Depending on your skin color, your blue circles may even look greener or browner in respect to the light that is reflected back.

    If you’ve ever wondered why elderly people have prominent periorbital dark circles regardless how much they sleep, keep in mind that as we grow older, we lose the subcutaneous fat that masks the blueness below the surface of our skin. Simply put, our blue circles may get worse with age because our skin loses its elasticity and ability to regenerate.

    What you should do: There are a few over-the-counter medical options you can pursue. Topical creams with stimulating ingredients like caffeine, for example, can constrict blood vessels and temporarily boost circulation. Potent hydrators like those with hyaluronic acid, for example, pump the periorbital skin, pushing it away from the pooled blood. If you’re more into homeopathic remedies, however, placing sliced avocados, cucumber rounds, cooled black or green tea bags, or crushed mint leaves under the eye area will do just the trick.

    Brown Circles

    Brown circles or periorbital hyperpigmentation, on the other hand, is caused when more melanin is produced directly by the skin below the eyes. Triggered by chronic eye-rubbing, sun exposure, or genetics, brown circles are usually more prevalent among Asian and African American skin tones.

    What you should do: You can use a daily cream or serum with skin brightening elements like soy or citrus that will lighten the circles over time. Be sure, however, to avoid hydroquinone—lighteners for sun spots and scars. Dermatologists agree that they’re too heavy-duty for the delicate eye area. Otherwise, a natural remedy like sliced raw potatoes or a paste made from turmeric and pineapple juice left on the eye area fro 10-15 minutes and wiped off with a damp cloth will work equally well.

     

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