Vie de Camille

These Are A Few of Our Favorite Things, For Her

by Style Spy Girl 

The holidays are approaching, which means it’s time to start shopping! This season, we have compiled a list of our favorite, unique things that you can not only give, but many of which also give back. At Camille Beckman our mission is to be kind this holiday season, and think beyond our families to those in need around the community, and our world.

Thankful Good Hyouman

Good Fashion Sense: Express your gratitude in style this holiday season in the “THANKFUL” Stephanie cropped sweater from good hYOUman ($65). This cozy, soft, long-sleeved sweater is made in the USA, and part of a beautiful line of clothing launched in 2011 by David Novek, in memory of his beloved son Brett. Throw it on with the line’s matching “Passion is Everything” leggings for a jog around the neighborhood, or pair it with jeans and a trendy jacket for a fun fashion statement!

Bella Modi Handbag

Handbag Perfection: Have you ever been on a mission to find the perfect handbag, and ended up settling for something you didn’t love? Bella Modi is here to change all that! This woman-owned and invented handbag company promises to end your purse woes forever, through a personalized design processes you can at the studio in Boise, or through an easy web form online. Whatever color, shape, metal trimming, or accessories you can dream up, Bella Modi can put it all together and ship it to you! Each bag is crafted and sewn by hand, and prices start at $150 and go up based on design and additions. Learn more at http://bellamodihandbags.com/!

Punjammies Sundara

Sleep Happy: Cozy up in a pair of delightfully colorful “Punjammies,” by Sudara. Crafted and hand sewn by women who have escaped the horrors of sexual slavery in brothels around India, these pajamas are the most comfortable way in the world to help women maintain their freedom, and rebuild their lives!  Besides crafting beautiful, handmade pajamas for men, women, and children the site has expanded to include beautiful leather wallets, handbags, freedom bracelets, and more. Prices range from $29-59. 

Coach Handbag

Put a Heart On It: Nothing beats adding a little personal touch to something you love and treasure. All-American luxury handbag line COACH has begun offering monogramming services on a variety of their handbags and accessories, and the results couldn’t be prettier! From symbols and initials on bags, to crafting a special-occasion massage on the inside patch, the unique possibilities are endless. Prices vary. Go to http://www.coach.com/shop/personalize to learn more!

Be The Light Optimist Bracelet

Be the Light: Purchase an OPTIMIST bracelet from Neiman Marcus, and brighten the future for a woman in need. These beautifully-crafted jewelry pieces make excellent gifts, with hand-rolled paper beads, a recycled glass bead, and two accent discs plated in 18-carat gold. With every $25 bracelet sold, Neiman Marcus donates $25 to the Akola Project, which helps marginalized women across the globe!

ASSAM Tea Press

Tea For the Minimalist: Bodum’s best-selling ASSAM Tea Press uses the same brewing system as a French press, so you can control how mild or strong you want your tea. Easy to use with loose leaf or tea bags, this beautifully-elegant pot comes in 17oz., 34 oz., or 51oz., and ranges in price from $35-60 at Bodum.com. 

Sorapot Joey Roth Tea Pot

Tea For the Maximizer: The Sorapot, by Joey Roth, wins the award for best practical conversation starter on this list. With its striking appearance and futuristic appeal, the Sorapot was designed using an ancient metal casting process, and every pot is hand-polished to a brushed satin finish. It’s easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and gives even the simplest teas an air of grandeur. $285.

 

And Don’t Forget the Tea… To either pot above, add this special Christmas release from world-renowned tea-makers Kusmi Tea, the Tsarevna 7oz. metal tin. This beautiful black tin with gold star accents, inspired by Russian princesses in the time of the Tsars, is filled with a holiday blend of black tea, spices, orange, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, amiseed, and licorice. $29.90. 

Luna Play Silicone Cleansing Brush

Best Face Forward: Give the gift of fresh, clean skin with the Luna Play Silicone Cleansing Brush by Foreo. This mini-version of the wildly popular Foreo vibrating facial cleanser is now available in a macaroon-sized version! It’s easy to pack and travel with, less expensive than the larger version, comes in eight colors, and is a great size for tweens or young ladies just beginning to experiment with their regular skin care routine. Added bonus: after cleansing, put a dab of your daily moisturizer on the Luna Play for a soothing and deeply-penetrating facial massage! $39

Camille Beckman French Vanilla Gift Duet

Posh Pampering: For many of us, Winter brings more than just cold weather and shorter days; it’s also the season of dry skin. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! It’s not hard to see why the French Vanilla Duo gift set by Camille Beckman is one of our biggest sellers. While the scent of these scrumptious lotions is delightfully reminiscent of fresh-baked cookies topped with hand-churned vanilla ice cream, it’s the feel of massaging them into your skin that has customers coming back again and again. The French Vanilla Holiday Duo also makes an excellent gift, not just during the holidays, but for any occasion! $32.95

Tangem Smart Rope

Jump to the Future: Amp up the cool factor in your workouts with the new Smart Rope from Tangram Factory. While you jump, LED-embedded lights display your fitness progress in mid-air, right in front of your eyes like a futuristic personal billboard. The Smart Rope comes in chrome, gold, or black, and makes an incredibly unique gift and beautiful for the fitness fan in your life! $90,  http://tangramfactory.com/home/htm/pc_eng.htm

Glitter Celebration Gift Pack One Wine

Cheers for a Better World: This holiday season, give hope with a Glitter Celebration Gift Pack from One Wine. This super fun set includes a silver glitter bottle of Brut Sparkling Wine, two champagne flutes, and a confetti tube to ring in the New Year! Every gift box sold provides 25 meals to a child in need, through One Hope Wine’s End Hunger campaign. Other wines and gift packages are also available, and every bottle sold provides a donation to one of ten worthy causes across the globe. Cheers to making this world a better place! $18.99 - $134.

A Peaceful Bomb Vase

Flowers Power: Taiwanese design duo Owen and Cloud designed this beautiful and minimalistic flower vase as a statement against war. The A Peaceful Bomb Vase is not only a beautiful gift, but also a brilliant conversation-starter in any home! Proceeds from sales of the vase are donated to “Act Now to Stop War & End Racism" (A.N.S.W.E.R.). $49.

A22 Carryon Luggage RADEN

Globetrot in Style: The new A22 Carryon from RADEN is technology’s latest foray into travel products, and it couldn’t be prettier! This airline-regulation carry on is little enough for plane hopping in ease, but carries a wallop of special perks like location services, weight scale, and a charger for your phone or other electronic device! Available in white, pink, black, hunter green, navy, light blue, or light purple. $295

LuMee LED iPhone Case

Light up Your Life: Get the best selfies possible, check your makeup, Skype with a friend, or light a path in the dark with the durable and fun LuMee iPhone Case. Developed by a professional photographer, the LuMee protects your phone and has LED on the right and left sides of the case, which give you soft and beautiful lighting for every occasion. Comes in rose gold, hot pink, navy, silver, black, rose, white, and gold, for both iPhones and Samsung Galaxies.  $59.95.

 

Love this list? For more shopping, fashion, travel, and lifestyle tips visit Tanya’s blog at www.stylespygirl.com.

The Compelling Characteristics of Coconut Oil & How it Can Heal You

By: Sherika Tenaya

In examining the relationship of food with bodily health and wellness, perhaps there is no greater food heralded for its healing properties than coconut oil.

Camille Beckman Compelling Characteristics of Coconut Oil

Widely touted for its anti-aging properties, undoubtedly due to its fatty acid content as well as its potent antioxidant vitamin E content, coconut oil is the perfect moisturizer, both for skin and scalp. Our All Natural Lip Balms are the perfect blend for moisturizing your lips. Not only does this nourishing oil block 20% of UV rays making it an effective light sunscreen, but it has been shown to slow down the aging process, reduce sagging skin, gives shine and suppleness to hair, and even relieves chronic dandruff. 

 

Coconut oil has even been shown to help treat more serious skin conditions. According to this well articulated article, “[Coconut oil] helps in preventing degenerative diseases and premature aging due to its well-known antioxidant properties. It also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. For that exact reason, coconut oil forms the base ingredient of various body care products like soaps, lotions, and creams that are used for skin care.” Using products such as bath soaks that use coconut oil and coconut milk can help in rejuvenating dry, flaky skin.

Camille Beckman Compelling Characteristics of Coconut Oil

Aside from its beauty applications for skin and hair, coconut oil has also been shown to boost dental health when used in the same manner as mouthwash in a process referred to as oil pulling. Long used as a traditional Indian folk remedy and in Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling was demonstrated in a study done by the Journal of Indian Society Pedodontics and Preventative Dentistry to be “an effective preventive adjunct in maintaining and improving oral health” as it reduced the presence of Streptococcus Mutans in the saliva and plaque of children.

 

Once ingested, the health benefits of coconut oil only begin to compound upon themselves. Full of healthy saturated fats and energy boosting medium chain triglycerides, coconut oil has been demonstrated to improve everything from heart health to weight loss to immune system optimization.

Camille Beckman Compelling Characteristics of Coconut Oil

While it was once thought that saturated fats were bad for the body, recent science has totally debunked this myth. Not all fats are created equal and the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil provide an easily accessed source of alternative energy, called ketones, that breaks down quickly and efficiently in the body and provides longer, more sustainable energy.  One study found that MCTs found in coconut oil can actually increase the amount of calories you burn more than the same amount of other fats, resulting in improved weight loss. If you’d like to read more about the weight loss benefits of coconut oil, check out this highly informative article.

 

If better teeth and weight loss aren’t convincing enough, coconut oil is a formidable opponent to harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi. About half of the fatty acids found in coconut oil are lauric acid. When ingested, lauric acid turns into monolaurin and this, in turn, has been found in studies to kill harmful pathogens including Staphylococcus Aureus, a persistent and dangerous pathogen, and Candida Albicans, most commonly associated with yeast infections.

Camille Beckman Compelling Characteristics of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has even been implicated in boosting brain health in a landmark 2004 study that showed that ingesting MCTs such as those that are found in coconut oil actually resulted in a pretty immediate cognitive boost in people with milder forms of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

While more studies need to be done, it appears that Alzheimer's, to some degree, is a result of the brain’s increasingly reduced ability to use glucose, or sugar, as energy. Since the brain is easily one of the most energy-hungry organs in the body, an inability to synthesize energy from our most commonly used source of it - sugar - equates to major cognitive problems.

Camille Beckman Compelling Characteristics of Coconut Oil

However, as mentioned previously, MCTs break down into energy molecules called ketones that come from fats, not sugars. It is because of this highly efficient alternative energy source derived from fats that MCTs have been studied for not only Alzheimer’s patients, but also children with epilepsy.

 

Whether used as a sensual massage oil, a hair mask, a cooking oil or weight loss agent, coconut oil has rightly earned its status as highly revered superfood. However, as with all other food items, the quality of the coconut oil is paramount. Not just any kind will do. Always look for organic, extra virgin, cold expeller pressed coconut oil. The less processed, the better. You will thank yourself for taking the steps toward greater health and wholeness.

 

The Surprising Benefits of Exercise

by: Sherika Tenaya

 

Everybody knows the benefits of regular exercise on the muscles and body tissues are innumerable, yet when grimly setting our New Year's resolutions or resolving in quiet despair to exercise more, we are generally considering the benefits to our waistlines and our looks, rather than to our brains.

Camille Beckman Surprising Benefits of Exercise

Yet new science is coming out with more and more compelling reasons to exercise for brain health and longevity, beyond the siren call of smaller pant sizes and a toned physique. Here I will enumerate the latest findings on how exercise impacts your health in surprising ways and what kind of exercise is most ideal for these benefits.

 

Exercise to Entice Optimal Gene Expression

 

I have mentioned on more than one occasion the exciting new science of epigenetics, which is basically the understanding that, while we do indeed have genes that we are born with, those genes get turned on and off throughout the course of our life based on lifestyle choices we make and our environment.

 

Exercise has been shown to be somewhat of an elixir of youth and benefits the brain and body regardless of how old an individual is when they start exercising. Dr. David Perlmutter, a leading expert on brain health, explains, “Aerobic exercise not only turns on genes linked to longevity, but also targets the gene that codes for B.D.N.F, the brain’s ‘growth hormone’.”

Camille Beckman Surprising Benefits of Exercise

I’ll be talking a little bit more about BDNF later in this blog, but suffice to say that the impacts on gene expression are profoundly far-reaching and we still aren’t aware of just how MUCH benefit there truly is.

 

Gretchen Reynolds, science writer for the New York Times, describes in her article the exciting implications for the elderly as well as what more there is to learn, “A recent study of the brains of elderly mice found 117 genes that were expressed differently in the brains of animals that began a running program - and the scientists were only looking at a small portion of the many genes that might be expressed differently in the brain.”

 

So while we don’t yet know the full extent of how exercise affects gene expression, what we do know certainly aids the resolve of the workout woebegone.

 

Exercise Literally Makes Your Brain Grow

 

BDNF, the acronym mentioned earlier that Dr. Perlmutter referred to as a “growth hormone” for the brain stands for brain derived neurotropic factor and is indeed something like fertilizer for the garden that is the brain. It strengthens cells and axons (the part of the cell that sends signals to other cells), it fortifies connections among neurons, and instigates neurogenesis.

Camille Beckman Surprising Benefits of Exercise

Neurogenesis, I am pleased to tell you, was once thought by science to be impossible but now is known to be not only possible, but our natural birthright. It is defined as the creation of new brain cells in an already mature brain. Meaning that no matter how old we are, our brains can continue to form new cells - rending the expectation that we get senile with age obsolete.

 

Reynolds tells us that BDNF levels are markedly higher in the bloodstream of most people post-workout and that we are literally growing our brains and halting its decay. “Studies in animals and people have shown that physical activity generally increases brain volume and can reduce the number and size of age related holes in the brain’s grey and white matter. Exercise also augments adult neurogenesis.”

 

What Type of Exercise and How Much to do to Boost Brain Health

 

You may be imagining that these kinds of benefits require running ultra marathons or back breaking weight lifting regimens. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As it happens, simple, consistent aerobic exercise show greater brain benefits than weight lifting, stretching or high intensity interval workouts.

Camille Beckman Surprising Benefits of Exercise

“In studies with animals, exercise in the form of running wheels or treadmills has been found to double and triple the number of new neurons that appear afterward in the animal’s hippocampus, the key area in the brain for learning and memory.” Reynolds writes.

 

If you would like to know more about the research behind the various types of workouts and how they affect brain health, check out this intriguing study published in the Journal of Physiology.

 

As for how much exercise will suffice, Professor Nicola Lautenschlager of the University of Western Australia conducted a compelling study that was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association where she had elderly individuals engage in regular physical exercise for a 24 week period, averaging 20 minutes of physical activity a day, that showed an 1800% improvement on measures of memory, language ability, attention and other important cognitive functions in comparison to a control group.

 

Just 20 minutes a day creates better blood flow, catalyzes the growth of new blood vessels as well as new brain cells and can even improve brain plasticity.

 

Finding motivation to workout can be exceedingly difficult for the working person, with so many distractions and contesting aspirations vying for one’s attention. Yet making small choices each and every day to work towards a healthier version of oneself in the form of 20 minutes of aerobic exercise isn’t such a difficult thing when the payoff is a more nimble brain as well as body.

 

 

 

Hydration for Health

by: Sherika Tenaya

When traveling this last summer in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the scarcity of water was a serious issue. Both countries were experiencing record breaking drought conditions. In Costa Rica, from 5pm in the evening until 8am the following morning the entire town we were staying in was without water, save for the commercial restaurants and hotels who paid handsomely to fill private water tanks.

Camille Beckman Hydration for Health

It only takes one such experience to understand the value of water and how easy it is to take it for granted. Our bodies are comprised of primarily water, about 70 percent in fact. Water is instrumental in all of our major bodily functions. Larry Kenney, PhD, a professor of physiology and kinesiology at Penn State, puts it succinctly when he says on WebMD, “Hydration is important because the body is comprised mostly of water, and the proper balance between water and electrolytes in our bodies really determines how most of our systems function, including nerves and muscles.”

More specifically, maintaining proper hydration is key for a number of seriously important bodily functions such as removing waste through urine, controlling body temperature, maintaining heart rate and blood pressure as well as playing a pretty pivotal role in metabolism.

 

Water Loss

We lose water throughout our day due to the carryout of these cycles: urination, sweating, even breathing causes us to lose water. Not to mention certain environmental factors such as hot weather, if we’re exercising or fighting a fever. And, of course, vomiting and diarrhea are one of the fastest acting dehydrators out there.

Camille Beckman Hydration for Health

Exercise is a key time to ensure proper hydration, as the margin for error is actually quite small. Kenny elaborates, “Very slight changes in body water may create some performance issues in sports; as little as a 2% decrease in body water can lead to dehydration and performance detriments in sports. When your water levels decrease by higher levels like 3% or 4%, there are physiological changes that occur that may have health consequences, such as increased heart rate and body temperature."

One of my old soccer coaches used to admonish me that if I started hydrating when I felt thirsty, I was already too late. Prevention is the best way to avoid injury or compromised health when it comes to dehydration.

Camille Beckman Hydration for Health

 

Signs of Dehydration

One of the clearest ways to determine whether you are walking the line of dehydration is if your urine is dark colored or pungent smelling. Dry mouth, headache, fatigue, and in later stages, confusion and dizziness are all signs that water levels are dropping.

 

How Much Water is Enough?

As with all things, different individuals have different needs. The old adage of “8 glasses a day” has actually been completely debunked. Especially as we get about 20 percent our water intake from our food alone.

As a general rule, drink when you feel thirsty, and in so doing, you should be urinating every three to four hours, expelling urine that is colorless or pale yellow. Athletes, of course, will need to be considerably more vigilant as exercising can actually depress the thirst mechanism, meaning people who exercise should be drinking even when they don’t necessarily feel thirsty.

Camille Beckman Hydration for Health

How to Hydrate Effectively

As previously mentioned, we get a good deal of our water intake from our food. Foods that have the highest water content include soups, yogurt, fruits like watermelon and oranges, vegetables such as cucumbers and celery and also salads.

If drinking water feels a bit tedious to you, you can always add in a slice of organic meyer lemon or some muddled berries for taste. Oftentimes, I will add essential oil of sweet orange to my water bottle. Fizzy water is also a great solution, flavored with essential oils or mixed with orange juice for a refreshing bubbly drink without all the sugar of sodas.

If exercising, hydrating before, during and after the workout is wise. It is important to note that there is such a thing as drinking too much water. Most common amongst ultra marathon runners, hyponatremia is a condition in which runners drink too much water while sweating out a good deal of the salt in their system, leading to decreased sodium in the blood. For a balanced view on what to be aware of in regards to hyponatremia and how to manage it, refer to this well articulated article.

Camille Beckman Hydration for Health

Caring about the quality of your water is key. Tap water has all manner of chemicals in it used in the purification process, including chlorine bleach and fluoride. Buying a home water filtration system goes a long way in the longevity of your health as well as the health of your pipes and porcelain.

In honoring the water needs of our bodies by maintaining hydration, we also find reason to honor the water needs of the world as we transition into a time of climate change. This means being more aware and appreciative of the water we have by being mindful about water waste: turning off the water as we lather our hands with soap during handwashing, turning off the shower water while lathering the body, ensuring hoses or sprinklers aren’t running frivolously - all are suggestions for appreciating the simple pleasures and boundless health benefits pure, clean water can afford us.

What You Perceive Predicts What You Achieve

By: Sherika Tenaya


To be a human in this world is to bear a heavy burden indeed: will my life be a success or a failure? Inherent in the so-called “American Dream” itself is the knowledge that some people make it and some people don’t. In constant competition with each other, we all strive to gain our idea of success; be it money, beauty, fine possessions, fame, early retirement, vacations, children who are themselves successful, or all these things.

Camille Beckman What You Perceive You Achieve

From the first day we spend in school, having tasks put before us that we either pass or fail, gold stars earned or detracted, detention or honor roll - we are trained to see our successes and failures in a linear, absolute way.

We all have ways of responding to and interpreting these messages we receive and develop beliefs, perceptions and mindsets that do a great deal in determining the way we make choices and lead our lives.

In her seminal book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck, Ph.D., calls upon 20 years of research to describe two mindsets that she says greatly impact each individual’s ability to meet success or flounder in failure.

She calls these two mindsets the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The fixed mindset is characterized by the belief that our qualities are inherent, carved in stone, immutable - the notion of natural born talent or gifts that simply are. You are born with the hand you are dealt: a certain amount of intelligence, artistic ability, a certain personality. Therefore, you must strive to prove yourself over and over - asserting to others that you were born with an impressive quantity of each.

The growth mindset, on the other hand, is the belief that our qualities are things we can cultivate through our efforts. “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it,” she imparts. “even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset.”

Camille Beckman What You Perceive You Achieve

Both mindsets have a distinct relationship with success and failure. For the fixed mindset, in which natural ability is the cornerstone of one’s success, a sense of superiority or entitlement abounds when things are going well. If you are born with it and others are not, you are inherently better. Unfortunately, this concept has a paralyzing flip side: when the fixed mindset experiences failure, it becomes entwined in the person’s identity. That person’s entire sense of self is thrown into chaos - they move from being something special to being just like everyone else. Those who are accustomed to being extraordinary in some way, cannot handle the identity crisis that ensues when they find themselves in the realm of the ordinary.

Dweck says that when someone in the fixed mindset experiences failure, they generally respond in one of three ways. In order to preserve their self-esteem, they will often go look for people who are worse off than themselves. They may also blame others or make excuses. They are also known to completely quit trying when something goes awry or not engage in activities they aren’t immediately good at.

For a person in the growth mindset, success is not so much relished as the journey or process of getting there. Failure, rather than being an identity crushing catastrophe to be denied and avoided, serves as a motivation to try harder. Acknowledgment and careful evaluation of mistakes as well as a continued curiosity in how to overcome the obstacles is the hallmark of the growth mindset.

Camille Beckman What You Perceive You Achieve

Dweck elaborates, “When people believe their basic qualities can be developed, failures may still hurt, but failures don’t define them. And if abilities can be expanded - if change and growth are possible - then there are still many paths to success.”

Dweck clarifies that a person may not be wholly in one mindset or the other all the time, that in some avenues of their life, they may exhibit the fixed mindset - say in their perception of their artistic ability - but in their intellectual skills they may exhibit the growth mindset. We are all of us complex creatures and there are simple things we can do, or be aware of, to better determine which mindset we are acting out of and move into the mindset that serves our needs.


Know Your Mind(set)

“Just by knowing about the two mindsets, you can start thinking and reacting in new ways.” Dweck explains. “People tell me they start to catch themselves when they are in the throes of the fixed mindset - passing up a chance for learning, feeling labeled by a failure, or getting discouraged when something requires a lot of effort. And then they switch themselves into the growth mindset - making sure they take the challenge, learn from the failure, or continue their effort.”

Just being aware of which mindset is predominating, you can alter your actions to reflect which mindset you feel will better serve you. Saying yes to challenging things that require effort, things you aren’t sure you can do, will encourage and kindle your growth in ways you never thought possible.


Accept Imperfections while Learning and Reject Critical Self-Talk

Pay attention to your inner dialogue in times of challenge when you feel inept, out of your element, ungraceful or hopelessly inadequate. Is your self-talk judgmental and cuttingly critical? Is it discouraging you from asking multiple questions so as not to be seen as stupid? Is it constantly comparing your performance to those around you?  Learn to recognize that voice and give it a name, perhaps it’s the voice of a hard-to-please parent or cruel teacher from your past. Simply noticing when this aspect of your mind is bombarding you with unhelpful judgments and sneering condemnations in the fledgling stages of learning allows you to distance yourself from its growth-killing dialogue.

Camille Beckman What You Perceive You Achieve

Seek out Constructive Criticism

Notice the people who surround you. Do they only ever flatter and praise you? Seek out those who challenge your growth in positive, healthy ways; who are honest in their assessment of your abilities and can articulate useful reflections. Ensure you are receptive to honest, constructive feedback by distancing your ego from your ability.


Make Effort your Friend

The next time you are doing something that is difficult for you, notice if your immediate reaction is to let it go. Do you suddenly find yourself feeling tired, dizzy, bored or hungry? Rather than succumbing to the desire to stick with only those things that come easy, stay with the challenge and picture your brain forming new connections as you effort and learn.


Make a Point to do Things that Scare You or Intimidate You

We get so accustomed to the security our lives afford, thoughtlessly pursuing that which is comfortable and avoiding the things that scare us. It is easier to never try a thing then to do something intimidating and potentially fail. And yet, it is only when we try and fail and then try again, that we learn the true innermost content of our character. It is then that we come to understand the vast resourcefulness we never knew we possessed. Think of something you have always wanted to do but have been too scared to try. Make a plan and do it.

Success and failure, it turns out, aren’t such polar opposites. One tends to bleed into the other. Only when we can be distanced from both can we meet our true potential and find a deeper well of true contentment in our lives. When we forgive ourselves for our deficiencies and flaws, accept our shortcomings, and face our imperfections during the learning process, then can we grow to our fullest potential.

How-To: Take Charge of Your Sleep Patterns



by: Sherika Tenaya


Last week I discussed the importance of prioritizing sleep in relation to bodily health and wellness. This week I have comprised a list of specific to-do items to recalibrate your sleep cycle and alter or interrupt unhelpful sleep habits.


Find the Magic Number


Just as our optimal eating habits are individual to us, so also is the amount of sleep we need. There is no one-number-suits-all when it comes to a set number of hours needed to maximize health.

Camille Beckman Sleep Overhaul

The way to determine what YOUR body needs is to decide on an optimal time that you wish to wake up. For one week straight, go to bed 8 - 9 hours before your chosen time until you wake up before your alarm goes off. Be consistent and devoted to going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time, 365 days a year.


Unwind with Deliberate Awareness


One of my teachers once said to me that the way you wake up and the way you go to sleep each day is sacred and should be treated as such. Wake up without the need to rush anywhere, she admonished gently, and go to bed with intention. Make a ritual of it. That advice has always stuck with me. Take 30 minutes before your bedtime to do the following suggestions:

Camille Beckman Poetry in Bed


Prioritize a Pre-Midnight Bedtime


Research has shown that slow wave sleep, the most restorative phase of the sleep cycle, predominates in the early part of the night, before midnight. Aim to be in bed ideally by 10pm.


Block Out the Light


There has been a discovery that all light, whether originating from the sun or from an artificial source such as light bulbs, TV screens, computers and cell phone screens contains a blue wavelength that is most commonly invisible to the eye. However, this light nevertheless interferes with melatonin production and stimulates the alert centers of the brain, disrupting sleep.

Camille Beckman Sleep Eye Mask

  • Turn off your Wifi and sleep with your cellphone at least 6 feet from your bed.
  • Use a face mask or blackout shades.

Be Aware of Sleep Depriving Substances


Anything from prescription drugs to caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. It goes without saying that caffeine and nicotine are stimulating drugs, do your best to avoid caffeine after 2pm and be aware that some headache OTC drugs have caffeine as a main ingredient.


Alcohol, while creating a sedative effect initially upon consumption, can actually disrupt sleep while it’s being processed by the body. Apparently, one of the enzymes used to break down alcohol has stimulating effects. Alcohol also causes the release of adrenaline and disrupts production of serotonin, an important brain chemical that helps initiate sleep.  


On that same vein, be aware of consuming food too close or too far from your bedtime. Leave approximately 3 hours between dinner and bedtime.


See to the Environment


Not only should the time before bed be sacred, but also consider the bedroom itself to be a sacred space and prepare it as such.

  • Keep the bedroom dark and cool.
  • Try to reserve the bedroom space solely for sleep and sex.
  • Invest in good quality bedding and pillows.
Camille Beckman Comfortable Bedding

Life is a process of taking steps and making choices each day that actively cultivates our greatest potential and growth. While this checklist may take some time to enact in one’s life, as well as a goodly amount of determination and boundary setting, the rewards of cherishing and honoring one’s sleep time as something sacred will ripple positive effect throughout a lifetime.


Why We Must Wake Up to the Fact that We Need to Sleep

by: Sherika Tenaya

Far from being an inactive, passive period of system shutdown where all functions of the body wane into stagnation, the time that we spend sleeping is a pivotal and essential phase of profound regeneration.

And yet, despite science enumerating in illicit detail the dire consequences of sleep deprivation, we simply do not prioritize proper sleep in lieu of late night shenanigans, pressing work to-do’s and weekend flights of fancy.

Camille Beckman Need to Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation’s findings, forty five percent of Americans report poor or insufficient sleep to the point that it affects their daily activities.

Dr. Michael Breus, acclaimed sleep expert, corroborates these findings in his fascinating blog when he says, “More than a third of adults in the U.S. are regularly logging less than 7-8 hours of sleep.”

Clearly we have a problem.

Especially considering that the consequences of de-prioritizing sleep are far-reaching, “Sleeping longer or shorter than 7 - 8 hours in a 24 hour period has been shown to be associated with a spectrum of health challenges,” writes Dr. Kelly Brogan in her book A Mind of Your Own. “from cardiovascular disease and diabetes to automobile and workplace accidents, learning and memory problems, weight gain, and yes, depression and excess mortality.”

A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology states that logging 6 or less hours of sleep for just one night reduces alertness during the daytime in most people by about one third and can even impair one’s ability to operate machinery and perform basic bodily functions in the same manner as alcohol.

Camille Beckman Need To Sleep

The reason why is that sleep is anything but a time of empty stillness in the body, commonly thought to be characterized by a “powering down” of all our functions.

Since time immemorial, men and women both have danced to the beat of our circadian rhythms, defined by the pattern of recurring activity associated with the environmental cycles of day and night; usually of 24 hour duration, including the sleep/wake cycle, characterized by cascading shifts in hormones and the rise and fall of body temperature.

It is the shift in hormones that I will focus on here.

Less Sleep Means More Weight Gain

Two of the primary hormones affected are ghrelin, the hormone that tells us we need to eat, and leptin, which tells us when we have had enough to eat. According to some research performed by the University of Chicago Medical Center, “When people sleep just 4 hours a night for 2 consecutive nights, they experienced a 24 percent increase in hunger and gravitated toward high calorie treats, salty snacks and starchy foods.”

Deep Sleep Encourages Healthy Hormones

There is a silent hormonal dance that happens throughout the circadian cycle involving both cortisol and melatonin. Cortisol, known as the “stress hormone”, peaks in the morning and wanes throughout the day. It should be lowest around 11pm, when melatonin levels rise.

Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland and is referred to as a “potent antioxidant hormone that signals sleep” in my readings. Once released, it slows the body down, lowering blood pressure and cooling core body temperature to prep you for sleep. Increasing levels of this hormone facilitates nourishing deep sleep, which in turn facilitates healthy levels of other important hormones like growth hormone, thyroid hormone and sex hormones.

Quality of Sleep Determines Immune Function

Cortisol also plays an essential role in your body’s ability to fight pathogens and allergens. Dr. Brogan explains, “Nocturnal shifts in cortisol result in increased immune cell activity at night. Sleep, particularly slow wave sleep, supports adaptive immunity, the memory defense that works in concert with the frontline innate immune system.”

Camille Beckman Need to Sleep

She goes on to say that women are more susceptible to impaired immune function with those “sleeping fewer than 8 hours measuring higher levels of inflammatory markers in their blood work.” And if sleep deprivation goes on for several days in a row, inflammation becomes dysregulated, although she mentions that daytime napping can compensate for that effect.   

Lack of Sleep can Adversely Alter Gene Expression

In a previous blog, I described a burgeoning new science called epigenetics, which describes how there is more to our genetic outcome than the genes we are born with. It posits that genes can actually be turned on or off throughout our lifetime based on our lifestyle.

Widely esteemed neurologist, Dr. David Perlmutter, describes the impact of de-prioritizing sleep on gene expression, “In early 2013, scientists in England found that a week of sleep deprivation altered the function of 711 genes, including some involved in stress, inflammation, immunity & metabolism.”

When it comes to sleep, there is always a price to be paid for relegating it to a lower position on the priority list. There is so much more to “beauty sleep” than what you see on the outside. Sleep is a time of system regeneration, of growth and healing that every woman would do well to hold sacred.

For the Love of Roses

Rosewater, Facial Mask, and Rose Tea Recipes

By: Sherika Tenaya


Long renowned for its sensual decadence in our myths and legends and lushly evocative as both a gift among lovers and a useful addition to the beauty toilette of people across all cultures and centuries, the rose captures our hearts and minds in its simple, seductive elegance.


From Cleopatra purportedly languishing in baths of milk and rose petals, to newly married Roman couples being crowned with them at their nuptials, roses have had many intriguing uses and their history has been closely interwoven with ours since as long as we have been cultivating plants for pleasure.  

Camille Beckman Rose Petals

Interestingly, roses have something to offer to the more pragmatic among us, who, rather than appreciating a thing for its beauty, would instead fall in love for its use or function. Roses contain vitamin C, citric acid and pectin. One can make use of not only the petals, but also its essential oil as well as the deep scarlet fruit of the rose, often referred to as the rose hips. Even the young rosebuds can be made into a tea, petals still tightly entwined within itself before it first blooms.


The health benefits of roses can be attributed largely to the anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant. In tea form, such benefits are said to include fighting infection in the digestive tract as well as the bladder, relieving sore throats, diarrhea and irregular periods.


Rose water, on the other hand, is soothing for the skin: it is said to balance the skin’s pH, reduces redness and irritation, tightens pores and has a cooling aspect that, when mixed with equal parts apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle, relieves the persistent heat of a sunburn. Rose water can even be used as an eyewash for sore or inflamed eyes. It is for these skin-nurturing qualities that our Glycerine Rosewater line of skin care products is our most distinctive and revered. Coming early next year, you will be able to get all of the amazing properties of rosewater, in a face mist from Camille Beckman. Stay tuned!


The following are a series of simple recipes using the healing and comforting aspects of roses. Always remember that the roses you use should be free of toxic pesticides, preferably grown in your own or a loved one’s garden. Never use commercial flowers as they are some of the most heavily sprayed. When harvesting, choose roses that have fully expressed blooms but whose petals have not yet browned. It’s best to pick them just after the morning dew has evaporated, a few hours after sunrise.


Rose Tea

From petals:

Steep rose petals in freshly boiled, but not boiling, water for 3 - 5 minutes.


From rose hips:

Chop rose hips and boil them in water for half an hour. Strain out the pulp and enjoy.

Camille Beckman Rose Tea

Rose Face Mask

  1. Soak 8 petals in 3 - 4 tablespoons water for 2 - 3 hours.
  2. Mash the petals into the water and add 3 tablespoons raw honey.
  3. Mix well and apply the mixture to the face. Leave on for 15 - 30 minutes
  4. Put a clean washcloth under hot water, ring out the excess water and quickly hold it up to your face, steaming the face mask as well as your skin before dabbing (or blotting) the mask off your skin.
  5. Use the other side of the washcloth to steam your face a second time and remove any remaining mask.  

Homemade Rose Water (recipe courtesy of wellnessmama.com)

Camille Beckman Rose Water

Distillation Method

Supplies:

- dried rose petals (or fresh from an organic, pesticide-free source)
- water
- ice
- large stock pot with lid
- clean brick (a real brick, from a house)
- metal bowl or heat-safe glass bowl
- dark bottle for storage (spray nozzle optional)

Directions:

1. Place a clean brick down in the center of your large stock pot. I used an 8 quart stock pot and an average sized brick.

  1. Put the metal bowl or heat-safe glass bowl on top of the brick.

  2. Measure about 1 1/2 cups of dried rose petals into the stock pot. Put them down around the brick making sure not to get any into the bowl. Use 3-5 cups if you are using fresh petals and gently press them down so they are around the brick and under the metal bowl.

  3. Pour water into the pot over the petals until it comes almost to the top of the brick.

  4. Invert the lid and cover the stock pot. This will allow the steam to collect and drip down to the center of the lid and eventually drip into the bowl.

  5. Put ice on the top of the lid to encourage the steam to condense and subsequently drop into the bowl. You can put it directly on the lid and suck the water off with a turkey baster as the ice melts or you can put the ice in a ziplock bag so it is easy to pull off and replace. You want to keep in as much steam as possible because the steam is actually your rosewater.

  6. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to the lowest heat possible that still allows the water to simmer.

  7. Replace the ice as it melts and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

  8. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

  9. Very carefully lift the lid so that none of your melted ice water falls into the pot.

  10. Carefully pour the rosewater that has collected in the bowl into your dark bottle.

This will last up to 6 months at room temperature, or you can keep it in the refrigerator.



Beautiful Skin from the Inside Out

A Simple Supplement Guide

by: Sherika Tenaya


I am not above admitting that I oftentimes feel a certain amount of fearful trepidation and even annoyed bafflement at the seemingly endless array of shelves upon shelves of dietary supplements that adorn the wellness section of my local health food store.

With so many supplement options out there making all manner of claims, both factual and fictional, it is so much easier to simply avert my eyes and refrain from buying anything at all, in what can only be described as the silently contrite retreat of the decisively-challenged.   


However, in this day and age, when environmental toxins are paramount and soil mineral content is being degraded to an astonishing degree, we must sometimes rely on a few extra supplemental additions to a healthy lifestyle and whole foods diet. In the interest of avoiding your own dubious day in the supplement section, I offer you three simple dietary supplements that will help you nourish your skin from the inside out.


Fermented Cod Liver Oil


First and foremost is fermented cod liver oil which is rich in two wildly healthful omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapenaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Unlike plain ol’ fish oil, fermented cod liver oil also contains the health boosting combination of fat soluble vitamins A and D.


These fatty acids are key for the 100 trillion cells in the human body, as they comprise the supremely important lipid membrane around each individual cell. Cell membranes not only hold the shape of the cell, they also handle the input of nutrients and output of waste products and even play a pivotal role in the cell’s production of energy - making possible all the vital chemical reactions the cell partakes in.

Camille Beckman Supplement Guide

Fatty acids have also been shown to reduce inflammation, which is the underlying cause of skin degradation. One of the ways they do this is by maintaining and nourishing the skin’s natural oil barrier. According to WebMD, “Without an adequate supply of EFAs [essential fatty acids], the skin produces a more irritating form of sebum, or oil, which can result in problems.”


As a happy side note, fatty acids have also been shown to bear major health benefits that are not skin related, including boosting brain regeneration and helping with depression and anxiety.


The combo of Vitamins A & D are also something to be excited about because these two fat soluble vitamins need each other in order to kick butt on disease and wreak enormous health benefits that go much further than skin deep.


The Weston A. Price Foundation gives the deets, “At least 2,000 genes, or nearly 10 percent of your genes, have been identified that are directly influenced by vitamin D, which in turn impact a wide variety of health issues, from preventing the common cold and flu to inhibiting at least sixteen different types of cancer. There’s even evidence linking vitamin D to the process of brain detoxification of heavy metals such as mercury.

Widespread vitamin D deficiency has also been strongly linked to the childhood epidemics of autism, asthma, and diabetes, both type 1 and 2. Vitamin A, which is essential for your immune system just like vitamin D, is also a precursor to active hormones that regulate the expression of your genes, and they work in tandem. For example, there is evidence that without vitamin D, vitamin A can be ineffective or even toxic. But if you’re deficient in vitamin A, vitamin D cannot function properly either.”


And so you see, the widespread holistic benefits of fermented cod liver oil is staggering - with reports of this miracle supplement helping everything from arthritis to wound healing to increasing birthweight and even remineralizing teeth!

Camille Beckman Fermented Cod Liver Oil

If you find yourself thrilled by the stunning non-skincare-related health benefits of fermented cod liver oil, know that I am just scratching the surface. Feel free to visit this well articulated blog that goes into much more depth on overall health benefits of this super supplement to fully titillate your fancy.


One thing to keep in mind is that not just any fermented cod liver oil will do. For one, don’t disregard the key first word: fermented. Fermented cod liver oil is a cool temperature, natural process that retains the fat soluble vitamins and beneficial oils that are oftentimes destroyed in the heat processing methods otherwise used.   


Also, due to sketchy environmental stewardship of our oceans, fish can be highly contaminated with mercury and other metals, dioxins, PCBs and more. Purchase only from a reputable company that uses a process of filtration known as molecular distillation, which prevents rancidity and ensures the oil is contaminant free. I buy mine from here, where discounts abound for bulk purchases.  


Gelatin


With the pronounced resurgence in popularity of bone broth, you have undoubtedly heard the word gelatin being discussed with dewy-eyed awe amongst the foodies of your community. Take heed, for it earns the rep.


Gelatin is great for the skin because it provides glycine and proline, two amino acids that are the essential building blocks for all-important collagen. Collagen is essentially the glue that holds our body together.


Sally Morell poetically describes the abundant benefits of collagen in her book Nourishing Broths, “In the form of twisted cables, collagen strengthens the tendons that connect muscle to the bone and the ligaments that connect bones together. As vast, resilient sheets, collagen supports the skin and internal organs, helps skin retain its youthful firmness, suppleness, and elasticity, and builds a barrier that prevents the absorption and spread of pathogenic substances, environmental toxins, microorganisms, and cancerous cells. As found in cartilage, collagen is the secret to well lubed and well cushioned joints.”


Interestingly enough, glycine, one of the aforementioned potent amino acid components of gelatin, has been shown to provide measurable improvements to sleep quality, which, as we all know, is imperative to looking AND feeling good. It’s not called “beauty sleep” for nothing! In this study, 3 grams of glycine given to volunteers before bed helped improve sleep quality and sleep efficacy, and had the additional benefits of “lessened daytime sleepiness and improved performance of memory recognition tasks.”


Natural dietary sources of gelatin come from skin and, most notably, bone broths. You can also buy a gelatin powder that comes in hydrolyzed form, which means that the protein is broken down into individual amino acids rendering them easier to absorb. It is a tasteless, easily dissolved powder that stirs seamlessly into any beverage.


I really like this brand as they have a high quality product and top notch standards for their grass fed animals, while also being economical. Again, buy in bulk from their website and save.


Evening Primrose Oil


Grown through the months of June through September, this lovely botanical blooms it’s lovely, eye-catching yellow flowers during the evening hours, giving this final skin supplement its name. Rendered from dark colored seeds that have been cold press extracted to maintain nutrient density, this oil should be refrigerated after opening to ensure it maintains its maximum shelf life of six to twelve months.

Camille Beckman Evening Primrose

Full of essential fatty acids that are paramount to skin health and a proper composition of sebum (which is the skin’s natural and necessary oil barrier), as well as vitamins A, D, E and K,this soothing botanical nourishes the skin without stripping it. It is also said to boost blood circulation which helps augment new cell growth and is powerfully anti-inflammatory. It can be used both topically and internally. Topically, use it as a carrier oil or as an individual component to a skin healing face serum blend. For this reason, we have included it in our Urban Bloom Hand Cream. It blends especially well with essential oils of lavender and geranium as well as carrot seed.


Internally, it is said to give the body several vital constituents its needs to balance hormones in women, helping soothe painful or disruptive menstrual cycles as well as breast tenderness. For dosage, this guide by the Mayo Clinic makes a good reference point.


As always, cultivate self-accountability for your health, listen to your body and check with your doctor before taking any of the supplements mentioned to ensure that they will not interact with any medications you may be currently taking.


When it comes to supplementing, getting your nutrients from a whole foods diet is always the best way to go, but to get that extra boost and preserve optimal health and beauty, keep it simple. Your skin and your pocketbook will thank you for it.   




Spa Hack: Dry Brushing

Spa Hack: Daily Dry Brushing for a Beautiful Body Glow

By: Sherika Tenaya


If you have ever been to a spa, you may have noted with some curiosity “Dry Brushing” listed as a service on the spa’s menu. Effortless to incorporate into your daily routine, and much more effective when done on the daily, this is an easily accomplished, at-home skin therapy treatment for everything from cellulite reduction to full body exfoliation and it comes with a host of unexpected health and beauty benefits!


What?


Dry brushing is a technique best done before entering the shower, in which one uses a somewhat stiff body brush and brushes the limbs, appendages and torso in long sweeping motions towards the heart. This is a technique used primarily for the body and not the more delicate skin of the face.

Camille Beckman Dry Brushing

Why?


The most obvious benefit of this unlikely beauty routine is the exfoliation that happens when dead skin cells are dislodged and sloughed away by the stiff bristles of the brush, revealing new cells beneath.


Pores no longer have layers of detritus covering them as your shower routine is now prefaced with a cursory cleaning that removes not only dead skin, but also dirt. This means that any skin soothing treatments you use in the shower, such as your own homemade sugar scrubs, will penetrate far more fully into the deeper layers of the skin as the warm cascade of water and curling steam encourages pores to open. Moisturizing post-shower with any of our delectable body creams will also engender greater emolliency in skin cells that are now more porous and open to receive their silkening qualities.


Dry brushing also encourages the flow of several vital fluids in the body, namely the blood and lymph. I spoke briefly on the lymphatic system of the body in a previous blog, describing it as a passively pumped system of fluid-filled vessels that delivers nutrients to cells, removes cellular waste and destroys pathogens. The vessels of the lymph system lie just below the skin, and as you brush towards the heart, which is where the lymph drains, you speed along the all-important tasks of this bodily system so imperative for proper immune function.


Not only does dry brushing detoxify the lymph, but it also oxygenates the blood and organs, increasing circulation of the veins and arteries in just the same manner as it eases along the flow of lymphatic fluid.

Camille Beckman Dry Brushing

According to Ronel Corbin, a self-proclaimed spa expert and Senior VP of a natural skin care line, “naturopathic doctors use dry brushing to help with bloating because massaging the lymph nodes helps the body shed excess water and toxins….it can also help to improve digestion, kidney function and more.”


Another possible benefit of dry brushing is the diminishing of cellulite over time, although reports on this vary. Krista DeMaio spells it out in her article on dry brushing when she explains, “Because dry brushing helps eliminate toxins, many pros claim it can smooth those unsightly lumps and bumps for good. Annet King, director of global education for Dermalogica and the International Dermal Institute, says the procedure helps remove ‘stagnant toxins’ that break down connective tissue, leading to cellulite. But there’s no conclusive scientific evidence that dry brushing can permanently reduce cottage cheese thighs, which are caused by a combination of fat and connective tissue.”


There is a good deal of anecdotal evidence on the internet that it certainly helps with the appearance of cellulite, if only temporarily. Can’t hurt to try it for yourself and see. And remember, consistency is key.


How?


As stated before, dry brushing should be done before the shower and it is best to aim for doing it twice a day.


It is imperative to use a natural bristle brush that is NOT made from synthetic fibers and has a long handle; generally these can be found at health food stores. Katy of WellnessMama.com offers several options for buying a suitable dry brush online as well as a brush that can be used on the face. Camille Beckman also offers a long natural bristle brush, exfoliating body gloves for on the go, and other similar body tools you can browse by clicking here.  

Camille Beckman Dry Brushing

Remember to keep the brush dry and, starting at the bottoms of your feet, use long sweeping upward strokes of the brush along the length of your legs, both front and back, towards your hips and buttocks respectively. Avoid back and forth, scrubbing, and circular motions.


After the legs, move to the hands and stroke up along the length of the arms towards your shoulder sockets and chest. Move the brush to your abdomen and use a counterclockwise motion here. Move to the backbody, continually brushing towards the heart.


Skin may be slightly pinkened, but should not be an angry red, nor should it sting. If it does, use a lighter pressure.


Notice any changes that occur as you continue to dry brush daily for a week or more to see if it is something you would like to keep as part of your beauty ritual, and if it is, do your best to hide your smirk the next time you go to a spa and see how much they charge for this simple, yet effective, skin therapy.

 

  • Page 1 of 2
  • Page 1 of 2

Want $50?

Sign up and be entered into our monthly drawing for a $50 gift card!

X
Thanks for subscribing!

No Thanks

Sale

Unavailable

Sold Out