Dry Brushing with Coconut Oil

Ojio Coconut OilWhen I was first introduced to the concept of “Dry Brushing”, I thought it sounded nothing short of torture. Dry Brushing is a technique that has been around for centuries but recently has been receiving more attention because of its claimed benefits. The Dry Brush Detox involves using a natural bristle brush to massage your dry skin before you take a bath or shower. You start with your feet and ankles (yes that includes the soles of your feet), and then using long upward strokes, brush your way up your body. It is important to only dry brush skin and always in movements toward your heart. I don’t dry brush my face because my Clarisonic does the job. If you want to though, make sure you get a softer bristle brush specifically for your face. I got my Dry Brush (with a long handle) at Whole Foods.

The Benefits:
The Benefits of Dry Brushing goes beyond the obvious skin benefits by naturally detoxing and purifying the body. There are also claims that it aids the kidneys and liver, increases lymphatic flow, improves the functioning of the nervous system, and stimulates the sweat glands. According to Mothernature.com, dry brush massages can help reduce the appearance of cellulite. BONUS!

Hippy Magic:
Even though Dry Brushing sounded like time consuming hippy nonsense, for some reason, I had to try it. Best decision ever! Standing in my empty bathtub, with my exfoliating device in hand, I commenced. Being the over-dramatic person that I am, I cringed at first, expecting my skin to be in pain from the abrasive surface. I was pleasantly surprised though and by the time I completed my first Dry Brush massage, which took me way less time than expected, I was hooked. As I washed off the exfoliated cells in the shower, I enjoyed the tingly sensation on my skin and felt energized. The only thing I wasn’t prepared for was how my skin became red and felt really dry. I have pretty sensitive skin, so I added an extra step to what has become my dry brushing regiment.

The Results:
To soothe the irritated feeling, I grabbed one of my many jars filled with coconut oil and massaged my skin with it. The relief was instant from the taunt, dry tingles. My skin also appeared to have a nice glow as a result of the instant hydration miracle. I was so impressed with the results from my dry brushing that I started making it part of my morning routine 2-3 times a week. I love the way it makes my skin look bright and how the coconut oil is a perfect moisturizer. Plus I smell yummy for the rest of the day (or until I workout). I recommend trying it, just don’t forget to moisturize! I recommend using coconut oil because it is all natural and I’m obsessed with the smell. Coconut oil also works great as a hair mask, leaving my strands silky smooth. My favorite is Ojio’s Raw Organic Coconut Oil. Just be sure to wash out all the extra oils so your hair looks luxurious and not greasy when it dries.

See the article on myojio.com

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The Perfect Alternate to “Ragecoach”

My fiancé, Michael, bought me a ticket to Stagecoach since we have an unsung bond over country music. I’m a born and raised Indiana farm girl and he learned how to line dance for the ladies. I can’t complain!! It is hard to resist a well mannered man (in wranglers) who knows how to spin you around a dance floor.

Stagecoach, if you aren’t familiar, is a redneck’s “hog heaven.” It’s a three day country musiOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAc festival that earned the nickname “Ragecoach” in recent years. Things get wild under the hot California sun especially with a bunch of half-nakey cowgirls and cowboys flirting till their alcohol accumulates to levels appropriate for blaming their bad decisions on … Or as my totally wasted born again Christian camping neighbor put it, “I’m soooo DRUNK! Let’s RAGE!”

Michael and I rented an RV since they no longer offer tent camping on the venue grounds. My college girlfriends usually stay in a hotel, so they pitched in for the RV in order to allow them access to the RV park which is party real-estate gold.

Before entering the RV campgrounds, we were asked to exit our recreational vehicle by two rather surly employees wearing neon yellow security jackets that suggested off the clock drinking and wear and tear. Michael was given a quick pat down while I was cupped, held, and stroked in ways that generally require some form of courtship. Shortly after, our vehicle was searched with the intensity of a hyped prison guard inspecting an inmate’s’ cell. Apparently, after almost an hour of probing, they deemed us harmless, and waved us into the venue.

What we packed:

Since I changed up my diet recently (pretty much went vegan), I’ve been feeling a lot healthier, so I was not about to partake in a gluten and GMO drenched weekend of guilt. Stagecoach was not going to derail my healthful progress, so I packed a cooler full of goodies that would nourish my body and keep me bikini ready (especially since my lover, “gym,” and I were on a 4–day break.)

I packed:

photoVitamin Water (GLOW), White Mulberries, Chocolate Protein Bites, Rawnola Bars, Bliss Bars, Rawkin Raw Bars, Pro Bars, Spirulina/Chlorella tablets (water pressed so there are no additives), Cacao Nibs, Trader Joe’s Organic Pops, Turbana Plantain chips, Goji Berries, Golden Berries, Rice Cakes, Almond Butter (hazelnut mix), Bare Mixers, Tequila (cause it makes clothes fall off), and Beer (domestic, light, and cold). Michael is a firm believer in using alcohol as a bargaining tool, and I was rather impressed with how well it worked. We gave a parking attendant a beer, and he hooked us up with a great spot. It is amazing how far carbonated hops will get you on a hot day.

Unfortunately, since I was the only other passenger in the RV, I got deemed co-pilot by default and had to help direct Michael as he navigated our 28 foot beat-to-hell motorhome onto a 40 by 10 foot plot. SIDENOTE: I’ve accepted that my ability to give directions is almost as poor as my fiancé’s ability to apply them, so we congenially joked as campers passed. Once our beast was parked, we unpacked our shade structure, two camping chairs, threw out a rug, and agreed to unpack the rest in the morning. Michael cracked a beer and I grabbed water. As the sun was setting, we took a stroll around the RV Park introducing our usually introverted selves to anyone and everyone who made eye contact with us.

On Friday morning, we stumbled out of the RV and the scene that greeted us pretty much set the bar for the rest of the weekend. People were throwing up, passed out halfway in their RV, debris floating in kiddie pools, and people, in general, wandering like the walking dead, clearly succumbing to their alcohol induced stupors. I was immediately happy with my decision not to drink after observing the scene unfolding in front of me. By 8 am on Friday, “Round 2” had already commenced. Soldiering on with puke and rally battle cries sporadically echoing throughout the grounds, beers were being cracked with hopes of rekindling their buzz before painful sobriety overcame them entirely.

Since Michael and I enjoyed our college days together, we didn’t feel compelled to reminisce, and revisit attempting to be functional while fighting a hangover. Instead, we declared Friday a people watching day. Little did we know that we would declare Saturday and Sunday people watching days as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe kicked back under the shade of our pop-up and began to chit-chat with anyone who stopped by our humble plot of land. Our neighbors also provided plenty of entertainment: Five beer pong tables, constant flip cup, a homemade bull-ridding device (that should have been confiscated or at the least held as evidence at the end of the weekend), corn hole, and barefoot dart games. I watched like a hawk (with my camera already set to record) because the combo of booze and sharp objects is always a favorite on Tosh.o.

Once inside the venue, we showed the side stages some love. We rocked out to the Wild Feathers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Don McLean, Jonny Fritz, and the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys. Easton Corbin, Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Chris Cagle, Florida Georgia Line, and Luke Bryan were the cherry on top. I loved being surrounded by binge drinkers during Luke Bryan’s set because I danced and belted out the lyrics with such exuberance they believed me to be on their level of intoxication.

bare from the top of the worldI loved how my fiancé and I turned one of the biggest party weekends into a relaxing kickback weekend we enjoyed and actually remembered. Saturday, at sunset, we rode the Ferris wheel. Super romantic. The view from the top was the most breathtaking picturesque and tranquil view of Stagecoach and was the perfect backdrop for taking promo pictures of my friend’s new mixer line, “Bare Mixers.” Add professional photographer to my resume! My friends know me as the photographer of the group, and I don’t mind because the memories made are harder to be forgotten once I’ve captured them in my viewfinder.

At the end of Stagecoach I realized how unique my experience really was. I did feel pressure to have a drink in my hand, so I relied on Bare Mixers to make me look socially acceptable in this setting. Bare Mixers are low calorie, Organic, GMO-free, and Gluten Free cocktail mixers. Unlike any other cocktail mixer I’ve tried, they also happen to fresh tasting and delicious, so while they are primarily meant for mixing with alcohol , they taste great on their own too. I drank my favorite flavor, Pomegranate Cranberry Cosmo over ice and on some occasions, mixed with Pellegrino. It was a great way to rehydrate in a tastier fashion that water offers, and it was also a great way to look like I was still enjoying some cocktails without actually drinking liquor. My friends, however, kept it traditional mixing all 3 flavors—Margarita, Lemon Drop and Pomegranate Cranberry Cosmo with liquor, champagne, and I think even beer on some occasion (probably a far from sober one). All in all, for both the drunk and sober ones of the bunch, Bare Mixers ended up being a welcomed little guest at our Ragecoach party.

I didn’t drink, I didn’t do drugs, and I didn’t make bad choices I had to explain later. Instead, I drank lots of water, people watched, and enjoyed the music that brought my fiancé and I together. I didn’t need to rage to enjoy Stagecoach.

SIDENOTE: By no means am I trying to discourage those of you who helped Ragecoach earn its name and reputation. Without ya’ll the people watching would be rather dull, and I’d have been called out on my poor karaoke skills. Without you party hard weekend warriors, I wouldn’t have been able to slow dance to “Free Bird” amongst Coachella rejects attempting to mosh. I also would never have experienced such an incredible ab workout as I laughed at some dude who managed to not only lock himself into a port-o-potty, but also somehow fall in. It was pleasant and refreshing to break the social norms though and enjoy a relaxing and dare I say romantic weekend at Ragecoach.

So for now, I raise my solo cup (filled with Bare Mixers) high and say, “This is my kinda party and I can’t wait to see ya’ll next year!”