How To: Mermaid Braid

IMG_3542

One of my favorite hairstyles has to be the easier-than-it-looks Mermaid Braid. It’s actually really simple to do, and it looks super cool. It’s a great style for keeping your hair out of the way and tied back, but it’s a little more interesting than your typical braid. It’s great for a day of hiking, a day at the beach, or a day in the office. Follow this quick tutorial and you’ll be Mermaid-braiding in no time!

IMG_3545

Step 1: Using a hair tie, loosely tie your hair into a low, side pony-tail.

IMG_3546

Step 2: Separate the pony-tail into two equal sections.

IMG_3551

Step 3: Take a small section of hair from one side, and wrap it over, adding it to the opposite side.

IMG_3553

Step 4: Repeat this by taking a new small section of hair from the side that you just added the first small section to, and wrapping that over to add it to the side that you took the first small section from.

IMG_3554IMG_3555IMG_3426

Step 5: Continue taking a small section of hair from one side, wrapping it over the top of the section that you took it from and adding it to the other section. Do this all the way down the split pony-tail.

IMG_3559IMG_3558IMG_3560

IMG_3561IMG_3562IMG_3564

Step 6: Once you’ve gotten to the end of your pony-tail, gently slide the hair tie down the braid to the bottom, and secure it tightly.

IMG_3565IMG_3567

And there you have it! Easy-peasy, and just like that you look like a mermaid! *wink* This style is meant to look a little loose and undone, so don’t worry about keeping the braid super tight or neat looking! Just go with the messy vibe! You are heading out for an adventure, after-all!

IMG_3568

I’d love to see pictures of your Mermaid Braid! Tag me in your Mermaid Braid pictures on Instagram: @annamcohen

Advertisements

Wild Eats: Healthy Shamrock Smoothie

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, here is a tasty, HEALTHY,  dose of green goodness for you to whip up!

FullSizeRender

Ingredients:

1 banana

1 avacadoFullSizeRender copy

2/3cup Strawberry Greek Yogurt

2/3cup Vanilla Almond Milk

1 bowl full of spinach

A few drops of mint extract

A couple leaves of fresh mint

A handful of ice cubes

Here’s what you do:

Mix all ingredients into a blender and blend until creamy. Garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy!

IMG_3110

Once you’ve made this, leave me a comment below and let me know how it turned out!

 

 

 

 

How To Relax This Evening

1604786_10203431155011360_4965213623060468996_n

Let yourself be quiet and thankful.

As a society, we tend to run on high speed, fueled by packed schedules and deadlines. Stress is a norm in many of our lives. But it is well known that stress is really really bad for you. Stress can have many serious consequences such as stomach aches, headaches, acne, and even life threatening heart issues. It’s important to give your body a break from all of the stress and give it time to decompress and relax. So, tonight, I encourage you to take some time for yourself. Here are few ways to relax this evening:

1. Go for a walk. Exercise is a great stress reducer. Going for a nice walk will expose you to fresh air and a little dose of the great outdoors. It will calm your nerves and ease your mind and give you time to think and enjoy the sights.

2. Do something easy and tasty for dinner. Tonight is about relaxing and being happy. Order a pizza, get Chinese takeout, or make something quick and fun that you love. Don’t get caught up with carbs or diets – tonight is your night to enjoy yourself, so have at it!

3. Watch the sunset. Sit out on your porch and watch the sunset. Just let your mind be quiet as you take in the sounds, smells, and sights. Allow yourself to just be. Be still. Be quiet. And most of all, be peaceful. Try to think about everything you are thankful for. Try to appreciate the moment and be present.

4. Soak your worries away. Take a hot bath with Epsom salts and essential oils. Light a candle, turn off the lights, and just relax. Breathe in the hot vapors and let go of the stress and bustle of daily life. Take this time to just be quiet and to listen to your breath and to enjoy the moment. Soak for about twenty minutes to let the Epsom salts and oils do their thing.

5. Give yourself a facial. Find a face mask in the store. St. Ives has a nice oatmeal one, and Freeman has an avocado oatmeal one as well. Or you can make one yourself. There are lots of recipes for home-made facials. I have used one made up of bananas, olive oil, and coconut oil. It sounds weird, but feels nice. Play around with different recipes and find one that works for your skin. The process of making a face mask can be fun and relaxing in and of itself!

6. Read a good book. Let yourself get swept away. Reading is an excellent way to relax and to get your mind off of the million and four things that you have to do. Plus, reading before bed is a much healthier option than scrolling through your Instagram and Twitter feeds. The artificial light from your screen stimulates your brain making it harder for you to fall asleep, whereas reading a book is calming and great for making you sleepy at bed time.

7. Sleep. Sleep is one of the best things you can do for stress. Making sure your mind and body have the right amount of time to heal themselves and rejuvenate is extremely important. Try to go to sleep early tonight. Being well rested helps you to cope with stress better, it makes you look better [bye bye under-eye bags!], and it will help you to feel bright and ready to take on the next day.

What do you do to relax? Please share in the comments below!

 

Summer Time Beauty Hacks

972134_10200936723692136_965079205_n

Summer time is all about effortless, carefree, easy, light beauty. It’s about sun-drenched days, and heat that permeates all through the night. It’s about going barefoot, living in a bikini [or whatever type of swimsuit floats your boat], and being easy-breezy.

But summer time can do a number on different parts of your body. Here are some ways to keep yourself looking fresh, low-maintenance, and beautiful all summer long.

1. Skin: In the summer time, the heat and the constant cycle of being wet, then dry, wet, then dry can do a real number on your skin. Not only can your skin become dried out, but constantly being wet from swimming can wipe off important good bacterias that live on your skin.

Try this: Since none of us are going to even consider giving up long dunks in the lake or mermaid time in the sea, instead, try shortening your showers a bit. Try to keep the water temperature as cool as you can handle it. Also, find a moisturizer that works for you! My favorites are St. Ives and Ponds. I also have an amazing home made balm that mixes coconut oil, beeswax, vanilla, and a few other natural things to create a creamy, moisturizing dream.

2. Face: Tend to break out more in the summer? That can happen. No worries, there are some things you can try.

Try this: Try eliminating your moisturizer a night or two a week. Or, if you’re like me and you can’t even imagine not moisturizing every night, then try just limiting your moisturizer to areas of your face that feel particularly dry. Also, try to only wash your face in the evenings. Instead of giving it a good scrub in the mornings, just lightly rinse it with warm water to freshen up before starting your morning beauty routine. Also, make sure you are drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water every day to stay hydrated! There is no better way to make your skin glow!

3. Makeup: Summer time makeup should be easy, natural, effortless, glowy… basically you want to look like you just rolled off of the beach – but still put together. Leave the heavy eyeliner and cakey foundation for the office. As soon as you get home from the office, wipe your face clean with a cleansing wipe, [I like Yes to Cucumbers wipes, available in drug stores], and get your summer face on.

Try this: Start with a clean slate. Then apply a moisturizer with SPF [at least SPF 20, if you ask me]. Next, rub on a thin, moisturizing BB cream. The BB cream offers additional sunscreen benefits, as well as giving you additional moisture, AND acting as a bit of a concealer. It smooths out your complexion and hides any blemishes. Next, add a bid of cream blush to your cheeks and the bridge of your nose. Brush on a bit of bronzer if that’s your thing. Swipe on some waterproof mascara, a bit of lip balm, and you’re good to go. This should only take about two minutes to do, and you’ll look natural, dewy, glowing, and like you’re having one heck of a summer. Which you are.

4. Feet: Living barefoot and in sandals all summer can make your feet a bit… less than pretty. Your heels can get cracked and dry, which isn’t cute. Keep your tootsies nice a smooth with these tips…

Try this: Whenever possible, try to wear socks and sneakers. Hey, wearing them with cut-off shorts is cute and summery. Or you can rock the “just got back from the gym” look and wear running shoes and yoga clothes. Comfy, cool, AND your feet are safely sheathed in soft socky-barriers. Moisturize your feet at night and try soaking them in Epsom salts or another kind of foot soak that works well for you. Use a foot scraper to remove dead, dry skin every once in awhile. Or get a pedicure.

5. Hair: Hair is exposed to so much sunshine [UV rays], salt, heat, and water during the summer. This can be harsh on your strands.

Try this: Wear a hat whenever possible when you are in the sun. This will protect your hair from harmful UV rays. Also, if you have highlights, guarding your hair from the sun will help to make the highlights last longer. Try washing your hair less – every other day will do. Just use a dry shampoo if your hair starts looking a little greasy. Use a deep conditioning treatment every now and then on your hair to help it stay hydrated and soft. A nice Moroccan oil is my favorite. It keeps the ends of my hair glossy. Also, try to avoid using a hair dryer [because who needs one in the summer time, right?], straightener, or curling iron [rock the touseled, natural mermaid waves], or any other tools that may expose your hair to additional heat.

6. Body: Most importantly, protect your WHOLE body from harmful UV rays and cover up with sunblock any time you will be outside. No one wants wrinkles. Or skin cancer.

Review: Frank Coffee Scrub

Image

Let’s be frank about Frank: it’s even better than you’d think.

If you are on Instagram, chances are you have heard about Frank Coffee Scrub – pretty much the hottest skin-care product out there right now. Guys and gals alike are absolutely raving about Frank. Instagram is plastered with pictures of customers, covered in coffee scrub, lovingly clutching their pouches of Frank and professing their undying love for the product. Not to mention, Frank’s marketing is brilliant, [ just visit frankbody.com to see what I mean.] It got to the point that I couldn’t temper my curiosity any longer. I ordered a pouch of the Coconut & Grapeseed coffee scrub and anxiously awaited Frank’s arrival.

First of all, the packaging is beautiful and cool. Frank comes in a resealable paper pouch. Frank comes in three scents, original, cacao, and coconut & grapeseed, which is the one that I got. I’m a coconut fan, what can I say? The coconut & grapeseed coffee scrub smells a lot like coconut and a lot like coffee. Put simply, it smells pretty darn amazing. True to the warning on Frank’s label, the whole process is super messy. But, it’s easy to clean up, and totally worth it.

Here’s how it works: Hop in to your empty bath tub or shower, get yourself damp, then scrub your little heart out and  let the scrub sit for about 5-10 minutes before rinsing. Trust me, your skin will have never felt so smooth. It’s kind of amazing. Plus, Frank claims to help reduce cellulite, psoriasis, and stretch marks, so there’s that too.

My recommendation: Get your Frank on. As soon as possible. 100% worth it.

Best part? The original costs only $14.95, the cacao costs $16.95, and the coconut & grapeseed costs $17.95, so you wont break the bank and you can keep coming back for more. Get yours at frankbody.com

 

Love What You’ve Got: A Reminder About Social Media

Do what you love.

Do what you love.

With the rise of social media, we are constantly being bombarded with images and stories of people doing cool stuff, and of new things to lust after. When you spend time scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, you will see the parts of peoples’ lives that they choose to share with the world. What does this mean? It means that those happy pictures and epic adventures that you see on social media are not the whole story. Rarely do people share their not-so-fine moments, their hardships, or their failures. You will probably not see too many pictures of things that are not brand new and exciting and impressive. People tend to share the most interesting, ground-breaking, and envy-inspiring parts of their lives, and it is important to keep this in mind when you feel yourself starting to feel inadequate or jealous.

We, as a part of today’s society, tend to want more. We want more money, more vacations, more adventures, more peace, more clothes, more house, more cars, more hours in each day, more friends, more love, more admiration… We are constantly stressing over changing and improving ourselves – over our perceived inadequacy in comparison to the parts of peoples’ lives to which we are privy through social media. We yearn to be thinner, more fit, taller, better-looking… to go on more adventures and climb bigger mountains and hike further and surf bigger waves. After awhile, it becomes difficult to just stop all of the “wanting” and think, for a moment, about all of the amazing aspects of your life; about the impressive things that you have accomplished and about all of the beautiful things for which you have to be thankful.

Social Media can be a wonderful thing in so many ways. It is great for businesses to promote their services. It can be a source of inspiration with which to look at people doing things that make them happy and that encourage you to do what makes you happy. It can be a catalyst that makes you want to try something new. It can be a platform for news, and a means of keeping in touch with people. It can be a way to learn about new gear, new products, and new trends. It can show you ways to pursue and live a healthier lifestyle. Social Media has such positive potential.

Just keep in mind what parts of peoples’ lives you are seeing and realize that it is not the whole picture. Take inspiration from what you can and allow yourself to be motivated and to strive to better yourself. But also, remember who you are and remember all of the amazing things that you have done and that you will do. Keep in mind the wonderful things that you have and be thankful for them. That is a sure-fire way to a satisfied life. Don’t stress about the cool new things that your friend just bought and wrote about on facebook that you can’t afford, or the incredible, awe-inspiring climb another friend did in Glacier National Park. Appreciate the motivation that such posts can give you and work on achieving your own sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Be proud of the life you live, and love what you’ve got.

 

Review: Honey Girl Organics

Did you know that it only takes 26 seconds for cosmetics and other products that are put onto your skin to be absorbed into your bloodstream? Scary. And gross. Especially when you consider the types of chemicals and “mystery” ingredients that are in most skin care products. The most startling part of that statistic, however, is that everything you put on your skin gets absorbed iImagen. When I heard that, I started paying more attention to the types of ingredients and chemicals that are in my makeup and lotions. It was terrifying. Such a large number of the ingredients are unnatural and man-made.

When I was in Haleiwa earlier this year, I discovered a skin care line based out of the North Shore of Oahu. The company is called Honey Girl Organics and their products are all natural, organic, and oh-so-good for your skin. Plus they smell amazing. Ingredients include honey, beeswax, and royal jelly, all from the company’s own Hawaiian grown bees. Since I’ve started using Honey Girl Organics products, my skin has never felt better.

Bottom line: I highly recommend giving this skin care line a try.

My favorite Honey Girl Organic product is the Face & Eye Cream [$30.99]. Check it out at www.honeygirlorganics.com.

 

Jump Start Your Spring

Spring has sprung and it’s about time! It was a long winter and it is easy to start feeling a bit stir crazy when your outdoor activities are limited. With the warming of the weather, it’s time to start planning those backpacking trips and getting ready for those wilderness climbs.

Image

The mountains are calling and I must go. – John Muir

During the winter months it is normal for us to slack on exercise in favor of snuggling up with a blanket by the fire. Nothing wrong with snuggling or blankets or fires, however when spring  rolls around, it can be quite the rude awakening to realize that all of that winter snoozing left you feeling weak, out of breath, and totally unprepared for a long trek. When it’s time to load up your pack and head out into the backcountry, you want to be ready.

Here are a few ways to jump-start your spring and get back into the swing of things, physically:

1. Make a list. Write down your goals [i.e. hikes you want to do, backpacking trips you have planned, climbs you want to try, a beachy vacation that you want to get in shape for…]. That way you can see everything laid out before you. If that isn’t motivation to whip your butt into gear, I don’t know what is.

2. Create a routine. Make a plan of when and where and how often you are going to exercise. If it’s before work five times a week, then set your alarm a little earlier and go to bed a little sooner than you normally would the night before. Then, [and this is easier said than done,] stick to it. Routines take anywhere from 21 to 66 days to form, depending on who you ask. So when your alarm goes off at 5:30am or you get home from work at 7:00pm, don’t give into the urge to “take the day off”. Just do it.

3. Mix up your workout regimen. It’s easy to get bored if you do the same work out every day. So, try picking a few different ways to exercise and rotate through them on various days of the week. When prepping for a backcountry adventure, it is important to not only get good cardiovascular exercise in, but also to build up strength and endurance. Try alternating between running, going on hikes, and yoga.

4. Find workouts that you love. If you enjoy what you are doing, you will be more likely to actually do it. All the good intentions in the world wont make you go out for a run if you absolutely hate running. If a spin class is more your thing, do it! If jump roping floats your boat, do that.

I love taking barre3 classes. They are fun and they really build up your strength and endurance – plus you get a great cardio work out, mixed with toning and stretching. Perfection!

And if hiking is the only form of “working out” that you can stand, go hiking more. 

If crowded trails aren’t your style, check out my post on “Why It’s Good to Get Off the Trail” for some tips on how to find more remote places to hike.

5. Start now! It is not too early to start training for your backpacking trip this June. Start your new exercise routine, and make sure you strap on your loaded pack at every chance you get. Even just walking around your house with it on will build up your strength. You don’t want the first time you put on your pack this year to be when you’re heading out into the wild for three nights.

This is going to be a great year of outdoor exploration!

Let me know your favorite ways to get physically ready for adventure in the comments below!

Salty. Sandy. Happy.

1016485_10202782585077517_1232275104_n

Salty. Sandy. Happy.

I’ve come to the realization that life is best when one is covered in sand, and one’s hair is salty and sun bleached. Where can one get said sand, salt, and sun? A tropical island, of course. I’ve spent the last week on the North Shore of Oahu. When most people hear Oahu, they think Waikiki and Honolulu – tourist hell holes. However, take a drive up to the northern tip of the island, and you will find a completely different setting.

523592_10202790882004935_932488100_n

North Shore sunset.

The North Shore is famed for world class surfing and the fabled Pipe Masters, a surfing competition that takes place in the winter in which the best surfers on the planet can compete for the ultimate bragging rights. The quaint little beach town of Haleiwa is at the heart of the North Shore, and it feels a lot like a second home to me.

1964855_10202789629933634_393708155_n

New little friend at the road-side fruit stand – now I need a piglet.

I have been going there for years now with my family and every time we get back into town, I can feel myself beginning to relax. Haleiwa and the North Shore have a much more laid back vibe than the busy cities down south. The locals are super friendly and make you feel like one of them. It’s a sleepy, sunny little place with some incredible restaurants and fun activities. Some of my favorite things to do are find new hikes around the northern end of the island, swim with sharks [www.hawaiisharkencounters.com], visit Waimea Valley, get a massage from North Shore Mobile Massage [they will come right to your beach house and set up their massage tables in your own back yard if you want!], and pick up some lumpias and fresh coconut from the local road-side fruit stands.

But honestly, my favorite way to spend the day on the island is holed up at our beach house, soaking up the rays and body surfing with the sea turtles. Nothing beats being a beach bum for a week and a half. I don’t know if it is the balmy air, the vitamin D, or the salt water, but I always notice my skin clearing up after just a few days of being here, and my attitude clears up too. So, first chance you get, book your flight, pack your bags, and head to a tropical island – any one will do. Submerge yourself in the turquoise waters, lay in the sun, let your hair get bleached and let your body get sandy and just…let go.

10215_10202782587077567_1607915738_n

Beach treasures.

1236695_10202772326341055_1870009560_n

Home sweet beach house.

1487387_10202788749751630_1273012609_n

Life’s a beach.