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Put chocolate on your face--chocolate skin facial! (w/ pics)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nom nom nom!

I started making homemade skin care products a few months ago, after years of battling my sensitive/dry/oily, acne-prone skin with conventional products. A lot of my skin care utilizes the nutritional value of pure cocoa powder. Today I did a facial at home; this is the second time I've used this facial. My skin feels renewed, refreshed...and chocolatey! This facial also uses the exfoliating power of fruit acids. This facial gives me the best of both worlds--anti-aging and anti-breakout!

Any of these recipes can be used as stand-alone treatments as well (I do the "Morning Mocha" Mask about once a week). Most of the ingredients can be purchased at the grocery store (especially Whole Foods or other natural food stores), otherwise there are great online sources. I order most of my stuff from Mountain Rose Herbs:

The "Morning Mocha" Mask is pictured above. Good enough to eat, but made to put on skin!

Here are the steps and a few of the recipes:

1)Exfoliate with baking soda--wet face, mix about 1 Tbsp. baking soda with water to make a paste, and gently massage face for about 1 minute. Rinse well.

2) "Apple Pie" Mask

2 Tbsp. applesauce (made without added sugar)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
scant 1 tsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Mix well and massage onto face. Leave on 5 minutes and rinse well.

3) Massage with cleansing cream (I made my own, but could use a store-bought cleansing cream or lotion suitable to skin type).

4) Steam for 5 minutes.

5) Oil cleanse--no, really!

I was shocked to find how great oil works as a cleanser. I use a 50%-50% min of extra virgin olive oil (good moisturizer) and castor oil (good cleanser, especially for acne). A lot of people just use extra virgin olive oil, and that works well, too. I also add essential oils, including carrot seed, patchouli, geranium, rosemary, orange, and eucalyptus essential oils. Anyone can customize a blend according to skin's needs.

After steaming, massage oil on face for 5-15 minutes. To remove, put very warm water on a washcloth, put on face until washcloth cools, then wipe gently (don't scrub). Repeat rinsing process 4-5 times.

6) Blackhead extractions (yep, have a squeeze fest!), then rinse thoroughly with cool water.

7) Lemon-geranium toner

Lemon and geranium essential oil renew skin and fight acne, and witch hazel extract acts as an astringent. In the future, I plan on making this with witch hazel hydrosol, which is alcohol-free. Any astringent toner would do if you don't feel like mixing this.

4 ounces witch hazel extract or witch hazel hydrosol
12 drops lemon essential oil
8 drops geranium essential oil

Mix ingredients in a brown or blue glass bottle and shake for 2-5 minutes. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 year. Wipe a generous amount onto face with a cotton ball.

8) "Blueberry Brownie" Mask

This mask uses blueberries to provide fruit acids, cocoa powder and cinnamon for antioxidants, and Fullers Earth and Epsom salt to purify and mineralize skin. If you don't have Fullers Earth and/or Epsom salt, then simply eliminate. Fullers Earth is also known as cosmetic clay, and is good for acne-prone skin.

1 Tbsp. blueberries (mashed and strained)
1 Tbsp. Fullers Earth
1 tsp. cocoa powder
dash of cinnamon
1 tsp. raw honey
brewed coffee or water

Mix dry ingredients and blueberries well. Mix in honey. Drizzle in coffee or water to make a thick paste. Massage onto skin, leave on 20-30 minutes. Remove by gently wiping with a washcloth and rinse well.

9) "Morning Mocha" Mask

This mask will moisturize and provide more antioxidants. Caffeine helps brighten the skin.

2 tsp. finely-ground coffee
2 tsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. finely-ground oatmeal
1 tsp. honey
brewed coffee or water

Mix dry ingredients with brewed coffee to form a paste, apply to face. Leave on 20-30 minutes. Remove by gently wiping with a washcloth and rinse well. *NOTE: Make sure the ingredients are ground into powder consistency, otherwise the skin could be damaged; a coffee grinder works well.

10) Spritz skin with plain, but strong, green tea (I use 2 teabags per 1/4 cup water and let steep for several hours. Green tea helps with sun damage and provides antioxidants.

11) Apply face serum--I use aloe vera gel.

12) Pour 4-5 drops of jojoba oil onto palm. Rub hands together, then pat onto face.

13) Moisturize with a rich cream. I made my own ("Chocolate Body Frosting"--I will provide recipe later), but any high-quality anti-aging cream would do.

And there you have it! You get a home spa treatment and an awesome chocolate fix!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHICAPICA 6/14/2011 2:27AM

    That looks like so much fun! Ive never done anything like those... Sounds like a fun experiment for a girls day :)

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RUE_19 6/13/2011 6:16PM

    sounds amazing but how does it taste?? (j/k)

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GEMINIAN1 6/13/2011 1:23PM

    This is so emoticon!
Thanks for sharing.
I think it is great that you do this.
I'm totally into "this kind of stuff" ... lol.
I don't do facials; but, if I did, this is right up my ally. Maybe I should start ... :-)
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ANDREA409 6/13/2011 10:36AM

    Oh, nom, nom, indeed. They look Thanks for posting the recipes for the masks. I'll give them a whirl sometime.

I live near Hershey, PA (you know, the chocolate capital of the country), and they have a spa that features their chocolate in an array of things. I've never been, but a few of my friends have. How cool!

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BRDGT262 6/13/2011 7:51AM

    yep def alot of work :) thanks for posting, I might have to give this a try sometime!!

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SYZYGY922 6/12/2011 11:30PM

    Also, I'm afraid that I would eat half of this stuff :D

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SYZYGY922 6/12/2011 11:29PM

    Oooh, I've heard of using olive oil, but I've never tried it.

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The Fat Girl in Gym Class--Revisited...

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

*WARNING--Some strong language*

I was the fattest kid in my elementary school. I weighed more than even the largest boy. My job was to play The Fat Girl. I was supposed to waddle around and move awkwardly. I chuckled halfheartedly at jabs about my weight. I was shy and demure Erin. Despite being fat, I ran the fastest (5:01 mile in the fifth grade), was stronger than everyone else at sports like shot-put, and enjoyed playing almost every game. I was still simply known as the fattest girl, not the fastest. I stood as teams were picked, wondering who would get stuck with me. I waited until everyone else was picked, standing alone, the team that was one short groaning as I walked towards them. Then, invariably, my team would often win because of me. My classmates always seemed surprised at my decent performance, almost like they had some sort of "fat chick" amnesia where they forgot that a fat person may actually be okay at sports.

Well, I ate shy and demure Erin for breakfast a few years ago. Strong-headed and slightly bitchy Erin was born.

I have been doing kickboxing, boxing, and some mixed martial arts for more than seven years. My skill level is at a competitive level. I haven't been able to kick for more than a year because of a knee problem, but I knew I wanted to return to boxing. I was finally able to return to boxing in February, when my knee was a bit more mobile. I committed to attend the morning classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. There were some familiar faces, but no one acknowledged me (despite the fact that I have been a member at the gym for over 2 years). There were some new faces, too, and I just happened to partner with someone who is a newer member. I realized over the months that I dreaded going to boxing. I love boxing, so I chalked it up to getting back into the routine. But every day--and I mean every day--I have been the last to get a partner. I stand there, waiting to see which unfortunate soul gets stuck with me. Eying me from across the room, I see the sunken look of, "Oh great, I'm stuck with HER." Funny how they're so sure they hate someone to whom they've barely ever said two words. Then, during the workout, they try to coach me, there are even eye rolls sometimes, and they throw down the pads and walk away without a word at the end of class.

In martial arts, it is considered exceptionally disrespectful to coach someone who is more advanced than you. I often slip in there that I have been a mixed martial artist, kickboxer, and boxer for seven years; they're supposed to get the hint. Nonetheless, my partner constantly barrages me with, "C'mon, twist those hips!" and "C'mon, reach for those punches!" And then, the day, she moved backwards, and as I was winding up for my punch, she blurted, "C'mon, burn those calories!" This resulted in an exceptionally hard punch to the pad, but I otherwise ignored the comment. This is not someone with whom I have never discussed my weight loss (nor would I). I wanted to say, "Right, because the ONLY reason a fat chick would come to boxing is to lose weight. Why else would a fat person ever set foot in a gym?" It was then that I realized that the people in the classes are rude. It has been distracting and, well, no fun to go to boxing. It's not's them. They are the elementary schoolgirls in gym class (maybe physically larger, but just about as mature). I am stubborn as hell, though, so I have still been showing up regularly.

About two weeks ago, I showed up for the morning class as usual. There were only four of us. The other three people were guys from the gym's fight team. One of the guys nodded to me and asked, "You got a partner?" My reaction was to feel bad that he got stuck with me. Instead, he did what the pad holder is supposed to do--just held the pads. No coaching, no eye-rolling, no dumb comments, just the occasional, "You can do it!" It was a flawless workout and the best workout I've had since returning to boxing a few months ago. I was working out with a real boxer, not a girl on the playground. It was then that it dawned on me that I was The Fat Girl in gym class all over again. I love my boxing coach and the other trainers at the gym, so I am going to try to go to more of the evening classes when the fight team is training. I belong with the advanced people, despite the treatment from the recreational people who typically come to the morning classes. I am also going to try some classes at a new boxing gym and see how that goes. Unlike shy and demure Erin, strong-headed and slightly bitchy Erin doesn't cave so easily.

Although I am DONE with being the Fat Girl, I have learned that being fat is not the problem. If other people have a problem with my body size, then that is on them. I own my athleticism now. I am a pretty good boxer, a helluva strong chick, and a decent dancer. I enjoy almost any form of being active. I have nothing to prove to anyone else. Yes, I'm fat, and I also genuinely like to exercise (and not just for weight loss). I wish that shy and demure Erin could have learned that 20 years ago.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get ready to go whoop some butt at the boxing gym.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DENNISPARKER1 6/30/2014 5:06AM

  A good informative post that you have shared and thankful your work for sharing the information. Got some appealing information and would like to give it a try. Applaud your work and keep sharing your information. emoticon

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CHICAPICA 6/14/2011 2:33AM

    That is so awesome! i can relate to the dread of partnered activities, though unlike you, i have not always been much help to my teams... hence I am the stereotype and reason you get those reactions LOL. I also did kickboxing a year ago. I absolutely loved it. I wish they had it where I moved to :(
ANyway keep up the awesome work. forget the haters and just enjoy doing what you love :)

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ANDREA409 6/13/2011 10:40AM

    Right on, Erin. Lay it all out there. I've often realized that I like most guys more than women. A lot of women haven't really changed since they were evil little bullies wrapped in demure packages as children. I can't stand it, and I distance myself from it as much as possible. Keep kicking ass, girl.

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ALISHAB3 6/10/2011 2:15PM

    Yeah!!!!!! Dang, a 5 minute mile? Aye Carumba! I wish I was fast like that!

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GEMINIAN1 6/10/2011 10:19AM

    I had issues with the other kids in school picking on me too. More of a dork thing though.
I heard some kid, say on TV, the other week, "High School isn't forever." Whoooo-Wheeee; I'm so glad that's the truth ... lol.
I remember you going back in February.
If you're finding your class rude and no fun you definitely need to fix that.
It's your dime and your time girlfriend.
(I'd rather work out with a guy myself.)
I love the last paragraph you wrote.
One piece of advice I'd give you is to stop calling yourself fat; go with strong, beautiful, athletic, in charge.
I hope you're having a kick ass day ... :-)
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GAILRUU 6/9/2011 9:48AM

    I wasn't the fat girl in school, but due to frequent moves from one school to another, I was always the new girl and also dreaded those team choices since I was the last one chosen. Being horribly shy didn't help either.
I spent 30 years working as a nurse and learned to be nice and to carry on a conversation with almost anyone. My tactic is to be kind to everyone and I find it works well for me since it is difficult to be rude to somebody who treats you well! Good luck to you in finding a compatible class to attend.

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JLONG4 6/8/2011 6:02PM

    Your blog has inspired me. You have taught me that you have to do it for yourself, nobody else. I think that is something I keep forgetting. Thank you so much for all the encouragement!


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    Yea, they only wanted me on the Red Rover teams because I could bust my way through anything.

Good for you. You are doing what you love and people's opinions of you and your weight are not standing in your way. Very inspiring! emoticon

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GSWINNIE 6/8/2011 5:51PM

    OMG YOU ROCK!! emoticon emoticon You kick some booty girl! I've been wanting to try boxing but I've always been a little shy about it. Maybe I'll have to give it a try.

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ZUGASAURUS 6/8/2011 5:47PM

    Ugh, I got so angry reading about your experiences that I wanted to box someone too! I love your attitude though; being able to realize that it's THEIR problem and not yours (or your sport's) is something I hope to be able to do in the future. That "I'm doing what I want to do and to hell with everyone who disagrees" mentality is super-inspiring to me and I hope to figure out how to do it for myself!

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RUE_19 6/8/2011 5:46PM

    Go get 'em, girl!

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100-Points-a-Day Challenge

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I had been slacking on my Sparktime a little bit during May, so I have been trying to earn at least 100 Sparkpoints per day. Yesterday I reached 93 points, and I realized the only way I would get to 100 would be to do at least 35 minutes of activity when I got home from work. I did do 20 minutes of Pilates and 15 minutes of yoga and made it.

I am going to challenge myself to get at least 100 Sparkpoints per day throughout the whole summer (at least through September). This will help ensure that I track everything and, whatever I fall short for the day, I need to make up with activity. This may mean an extra 20 minute walk, or some extra dancing, or Pilates or yoga. Maybe this will help me go from this emoticon to this emoticon by the end of the summer!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GEMINIAN1 5/25/2011 7:17PM

    Well isn't that a nifty idea?
I love it.
Thanks for sharing ... :-)
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MARVEEME 5/25/2011 1:25PM



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Respiratory illness resolved--time to get back to work!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ahhhhhh...I can breathe again without coughing, and talk without losing my voice...and I can return to my normal exercise routine!

I have missed boxing over the past 2 weeks, but it was truly best to avoid such intense activity. Over the past week, I did some gardening and Pilates, but really haven't done any cardio (I could barely talk without getting breathless, so it was wise to back off). I look forward to going to boxing tomorrow and returning to upper-body weight work.

I'm glad I had the good sense to back off the exercise when my body needed it, but that exercise is enough of a habit that I simply return to it as soon as I can. The balance is finally "clicking;" I didn't feel side-lined by not being able to exercise, although I did have 2 weeks of less-than-stellar eating. Thanks to my inspiring Sparkfriends, I'm ready to get back to it!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GEMINIAN1 5/23/2011 7:56AM

    Way to get back in the game!
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AMZY68 5/23/2011 5:59AM

    Glad to hear you're feeling better.


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    Congrats!!! Be kind to yourself, and give yourself a chance to ease back in slowly so you don't relapse. You're doing great! emoticon

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MARVEEME 5/22/2011 7:29PM

    emoticon BACK!


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Sidetracked, but not derailed

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ugh, so I have not had the most stellar eating over the past 2 weeks. I've been bad about tracking, too. I've also had some respiratory illness and because it's in my chest, I have been avoiding intense exercise. I was looking through my old blogs (with pics!), and I now remember why being healthier is important to me. So, enough playing around, today I will track and eat within my calorie range. I'm still sick, but I am going to go out and do some gardening. Maybe working with my fruits and veggies directly will kick my butt into gear!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GEMINIAN1 5/19/2011 7:00AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AMZY68 5/19/2011 4:22AM

    We all have set backs sometimes. Well done for getting back on trck!

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AMM12076 5/18/2011 11:47PM

    I have had a small set back the last two days after injuring my shoulder. You have reminded me that I need to just keep moving, even if it is something small, just keep moving! Start that upward spiral...

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EMRANA 5/18/2011 9:08PM

  Don't feel guilty or like kicking yourself in the butt ~ respiratory illnesses are very draining. You're sick. I understand that you wish you'd made healthier choices, but illness challenges all of us. The important thing is that you're getting back to the track you want to be on. No kicking required.

Hope you feel better soon!

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MARVEEME 5/18/2011 6:58PM

    You have just made the decision necessary to kick start the cycle. The exercise will give you more energy in the long run, even though you may feel ill right now. This is what you'll need to push past it, and push this illness out of your system.

If not intense exercise, KEEP MOVING!

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