How to Boost Your Immune System & Recover from Colds

Earlier this year I battled a sinus infection, and through the sniffles and fatigue, I dreamed of brighter and healthier days. Thanks to a tried and true antibiotic and lots of hydration and rest, I made a full recovery and was back to chasing the boys and our regular routine. And thanks to having my tonsils removed last fall, it didn’t manifest into strep or tonsillitis like the many times before. Most recently spring allergies and a cold have had the best of me, and it’s had me thinking about how grateful I am for my health. We tend to take our health for granted as we go about our action packed days, but truly it’s so very important. Eating well, exercising regularly, and sleeping at least eight hours a night all contribute to our vitality, however there are a few other things we can do to boost our immune systems and recover from illness.

And so, here are my tips and I hope they help you next time you’re feeling under the weather!


 

Drink hot water with lemon and ginger!: Hot water with lemon and ginger is my go-to anytime I feel like I’m getting sick. Soothing and delicious, the vitamin c in the lemon and antioxidants in the ginger will help to fight off any illness and kill bacteria. This drink also helps to alleviate congestion so you can breathe easy.

Up your vitamin C:  To stay healthy, try to regularly eat foods packed with Vitamin C – think crisp red pepper, sweet strawberries or juicy orange segments. And if you feel a cold coming on, up your Vitamin C intake with a supplement. It won’t always prevent the cold, but it can help lessen the duration.

Take a hot Shower: If you have congestion (nose or chest) take a hot shower. The steam will open up your nasal passages and chest and help you to breathe a bit better. If you have a fever though, stick with lukewarm showers until the fever breaks.

Eat super foods: Superfoods are nutrient dense foods filled with vitamins, minerals, friendly bacteria and antioxidants that nourish our bodies and help strengthen our immune system. Some delicious and nutritious superfoods to add to your diet include spinach, oats, citrus, yogurt, sweet potatoes, and berries.

Rest: You know that feeling when you are a bit rundown and on the verge of getting sick? That is your body telling you need rest! Whether you’re getting sick or are sick and trying to recover, get in bed (if you can!) or relax on the sofa and nap, watch a great movie, or read a book. Try to go to sleep early too!

Gargle with saltwater: If you have a sore throat, try gargling with a warm glass of saltwater. The saltwater draws out fluids from the infected throat, and can provide relief. To make the rinse, dissolve a teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz cup of warm water. Gargle at 3 to 4 times a day.

Use a humidifier: A humidifier can soothe your sinuses and airways and help you to breather easier if you have a congestion or an upper respiratory infection. We use a cool mist humidifier in the boy’s rooms anytime they have a cold, and it really helps. Just be sure to clean it often!

Hydrate: Sick or not, it’s vital to stay hydrated and drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

Clear/moisturize your sinuses: I love Simply Saline and often use it year round, especially when I’m sick or if my allergies are bothersome. If you have a cold and congestion or even dryness in your nose, try a little simply saline spray to moisturize your nasal passages and flush out any allergens.

Take probiotics: I’m a big believer in probiotics, and taking them to prevent illness as well as when you are sick to recover faster. Probiotics help to balance the friendly bacteria in your gut, and can even help with digestive issues and allergies. You can find them in fermented foods such as yogurt, or take them in capsule form.

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Valentine’s Day Cards, Baking Goodies & Decor

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I’m partial to the month of February because my birthday is in February, as well as the beloved Hallmark holiday, Valentine’s Day. How fun to have a holiday all about love! Whether celebrating this heart filled day with your sweetheart, children, family or friends, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show a little love. I adore Valentine’s Day for so many reasons – all of the pink, glitter, hearts, and endless excuses to bake, craft and decorate.

This year I’m going to surprise my husband with a special treat (sorry, I have to keep it a secret in case he’s reading!), and the boys with cards and matching Pjs, as well as a celebratory breakfast. I love to make heart shaped pancakes with berries and maple syrup, and I know that will be a meal all three of my boys will be over the moon for. A festive dinner will be in order for our family too, and of course a chocolate dessert, perhaps I’ll bake Ina’s indulgent brownie pudding.

We are also celebrating Valentine’s Day with C’s sweet preschool class, and so I ordered Paw Patrol themed Valentine’s  from our favorite Shop Love Lucy for all the kiddos – C loves those pups!

And so, whether you’re looking for Valentine’s Day cards to send to family and friends or for your kids classmates, decor or baking treats, I’ve rounded up some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy these goodies and wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day!

How to Wash Your Makeup Brushes

 

For the past few weeks, every night when I’ve washed my face at bedtime, I’ve glanced over at my makeup brushes and made a mental footnote to wash them. Oh and treat myself to a new makeup bag. Except (cringe), I still haven’t washed them nor have I purchased a new bag. Life is busy with two little ones and often small tasks – like washing makeup brushes – seem to fall to the wayside. Good intentions always remain, and yet I can’t seem to remember to give those beautiful brushes the bath they deserve. We shower and wash our faces, so why do we procrastinate cleaning the tools that help to enhance our natural beauty?

As I applied my evening skin care routine last night, it occurred to me that, gasp, unclean brushes could be filled with bacteria and contribute to pesky breakouts. Despite dustings of pink blush, creamy foundation and graphite colored eyeshadow, the brushes look clean and still do their jobs, and yet I know what is lurking under those bristles. I’m a bit of a germaphobe and so this concept alone served as motivation to change my ways!

I did a bit of research, and learned that (no surprise!) brushes collect leftover makeup, bacteria, dead skin, oil and dust and if they haven’t been washed, you are applying this right back on to your face – yuck! Also, great quality brushes can be pricey, and so by regularly washing them you can extend the life of the brush. And so, I set out to get smart on the ins and outs of washing make up brushes and of course share my findings with you. Enjoy and cheers to the week ahead!

 

WHEN TO WASH

Ideally, wash your brushes once a week, to help remove build-up, and think of it as another step to your beauty ritual. Sunday is a nice day to give your brushes a good cleansing, as it will ensure everything is fresh for the week ahead. Not to mention it’s so easy peasy and takes a matter of minutes!

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO WASH

Set up a little station by your sink, and make sure you have the following supplies:

 

HOW TO WASH

  1. First, rinse the brush tip under some warm running water. Be sure to only wash the actual brush bristles and not the handle or neck of brush, as water can break down the glue that holds the bristles and brush together.
  2. Next, place a generous drop of shampoo into the palm of your hand (and a drop of tea tree oil if you choose), and gently twirl the brush tip to create a nice bubbly lather.
  3. Rinse the brush under clean running water until the water runs clear. You might need to do two applications of shampoo for very dirty brushes, and again, rinse the soapy brushes until the water is clear.
  4. Using the cloth, gently dry the brushes.
  5. Reshape the bristles.
  6. Lay the brushes flat to dry on the counter.