Freak-Out Friday…

I turned 38 on Sunday (yay). Almost 40. Awesome. For the past couple of years I have noticed that things are changing, physically.

The Hair…

I have five to six gray hairs now, which is fine. Seriously. I only had one gray hair about three years ago, and now I have six. That rate of growth is nothing to be alarmed about. I have so much hair that you’d really have to take a mini flashlight and a tongue depressor (thinking back to those crazy elementary school lice check-ups!) and search my hair to find them. I take fenugreek and I use it topically, which is supposed to help darken hair/keep it dark. Also, whatever. I’ll dye it if it starts to become “too much” for me, but not a moment sooner than that (I like my natural hair color – plus only SIX HAIRS!).

Hair Care
Pre-Poo: Coconut oil and aloe vera for moisture ~ Fenugreek for growth and darkening…

So, I’m sorta “at peace” with my grays…

The “Puff”…

I now get bloated and put on visible, obvious water weight about a week before and during my period. My face gets super puffy and everything (incl. hands, feet, tummy) gets so flippin’ bloated!

This has never happened to me before! In fact, in the past, when I would see commercials for PMS medications I used to think “…Bloated? Water retention? Does that really even happen? Heh, heh…” – YES! It happens, young fool! This is a fairly recent phenomenon for me too – I just started noticing this last fall! I can’t even weigh myself until I am in the clear also, because that water puts on at least FIVE POUNDS. Seriously, at least…

So, what do I do about it? I don’t take a pill for it (even though I was seriously tempted one time because I had a date the next day). I like to make detox/debloat drinks. I’ve tried a couple of different recipes, and I’ve found that anything with green tea and ginger and/or turmeric works pretty well. I just make different combinations of those three ingredients and it seems to help. Iced green tea with lemon and ginger is my favorite.

They say that drinking and eating these foods/drinks/spices help:

  • Cucumber
  • Parsley
  • Green Tea
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric (the BEST anti-inflammatory spice!)
  • Lemon
  • Watermelon
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Dandelion Tea (I haven’t had this, but I know it’s a big part of Jillian Michaels’ detox, so it might be worth a try…)
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Water – Lots of water, of course!

Here are a few of the combinations I’ve tried:

Detox Drinks
Detox~De-Bloat! l to r: Black Lemonade (activated charcoal), Lemon-Ginger Green Tea, Cucumber-Parsley Green Tea and a shot of ACV with Ginger and Turmeric!

At least I get to try different home remedies and recipes, which is lots of fun for me. Especially if I get to buy a new gadget. I’ll have to think of some…

The Eyes…

Probably the most superficial thing, the thing that really irks me: the changes to my under-eye area.

Now, I’ve always had a hollow under-eye area. I have high cheekbones with chubby cheeks, so that just naturally occurs.

Young Erika Hollows
2nd Grade Under-Eye Area!

It didn’t bother me until a couple of years ago, when I noticed that on top of being “hollow” they were also getting darker (sounds familiar – “Erika and the Deathly Dark Undereye Hollows”…).

So, when I’m tired (which is every-single-morning now), I look like this:

Older Erika Hollows
ZERO MAKEUP! You can see the darkness, even with the old-timey filter…

Eventually, during the course of the day and with the help of concealer, the darkness is less obvious. But it’s jarring to me – because I’m not used to it!

I’m also not used to: Undereye dryness.

I must’ve been such a jerky youngster. I used to see commercials for eye cream and think “C’mon! These women are being so dramatic. Do you really need that?” YES! Skin changes over the years, especially around the eyes!

I used to have an oily under-eye area. I remember when I worked in a department store, at age 20, I would use the tissue paper from the bagging area to blot my face. I’d have to blot my forehead, nose AND under my eyes. NOW, I’d kill for some excess under-eye oil! The dryness is what emphasizes fine lines, so I’m learning that I have to keep that area SUPER HYDRATED. I told my mom about my issue and she bought me this:

Josie Oil
Josie Maran Argan Oil – Light – because I’m sensitive…

She said that it’s not enough to use my regular moisturizer (even though it’s a cream), I have to add an oil or serum beforehand. She’s right! My skin looks and feels so much better when I use the oil! I don’t use this only around the eyes. I use it on the dry patches around my nose, around my lips and to condition my eyebrows. It’s great! I highly recommend it. My mom got me the “Light” formula because she knows how sensitive my skin is, and I haven’t had any reactions to it. I combine it with my First Aid Beauty and it’s great!

I’m sure I’ll notice more as time goes on, but for now…

Thirsty Thursday – Summertime!

I have made some awesome beverages since the summer started. They hardly get any love on Instagram, even though the photos are gorge and they taste delish (yes, so good I have to use the shortened words)! So here they are, in their beautiful, refreshing glory…

We’ll start with Beet-Ginger Lemonade

Beet Ginger Lemonade
This is not a petri dish…

This screenshot was taken from a short video demonstrating how awesome my frother is (I LOVE MY FROTHER!)!

I make the beet ginger lemonade in 16 oz mason jars. The ingredients below are for one mason jar:

  • 1 teaspoon of ginger (I like lots of ginger! You can use less, more…)
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice (a scant 1/4 cup, not over & I’ll show what I use below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of beet powder
  • Enough water so the jar is almost full
  • Several drops of liquid stevia (to taste, you have to find your perfect dropper amount) AND…the secret ingredient…
  • The juice from half an orange!

Just blend this all up until it looks pink and lovely! The orange adds more sweetness and goes so well with the beet flavor. I might have Beet Orangeade coming up soon!

Now, on to the trendy recipe – Mermaid Lemonade!

Mermaid Lemonade
Okay, don’t let the sea monkey-looking stuff on top scare you. It’s just algae…whoops…

See, remember how I said that I don’t really keep up with food trends? Well, here is another exception to that rule. Spirulina. I actually like it. Not only is it good for detoxing your body (or making it feel detoxed), loaded with vitamins – it makes things pretty. And that’s the most important thing.

Again, 16 oz mason jar servings:

  • 1/4 cup of the lemon juice I’ll show you below
  • Several drops of liquid stevia
  • 1/3 teaspoon of spirulina powder
  • Water until jar is almost full

Mix with your frother(!) or you can put the top on and shake for more fun!

Okay, now for something exotic…

Prickly Pear Lemonade

Prickly Pear Lemonade


You know how you have that sense memory, and if you smell or taste something it just takes you back? That’s what happened when I made this. It reminds me of a brunch I had at Citrus in NYC several years ago. I had Crab Cakes Benedict (eggs, hard poached. Yes, I’m that dweeb) and Prickly Pear Lemonade. It was my first time tasting prickly pear and I was a little nervous. Why? Because I have so many odd allergies, duh (dweeb). But it was delicious! And I wasn’t allergic! So, I had the brunch and then I saw Shel’s Shorts – 14 Short Plays by Shel Silverstein – it was a nice Sunday!

Anyway…I was at my local fruit stand and I saw a tiny basket of these magenta fruits and I had to buy one and try to make that lemonade I had all those years ago (well, only like 9 years ago, but whatever)…

First, break down the pear:

  • 1 prickly pear
  • 16 oz water

Blend in your blender (Nutribullet, Ninja, Vitamix, whatever) until smoothish. Use a fine mesh strainer to add the mix to:

  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice (it’s coming, I swear!)
  • Several drops of liquid stevia
  • Water to fill the jar

Put on the lid and shake, or mix with your frother!

I can’t really describe the flavor. Okay, maybe like a deeper watermelon. Like a watermelon with depth. You know what I mean. Heartier! Yes! A heartier watermelon. Phew!

So, now that I’ve finished up the lemonade section I can finally show the juice I use…

Lemon Base
The “secret” lemon juice…

Ta-da! That’s it! Santa Cruz Organic Pure Lemon Juice! I’m sure you have some already, I was just being dramatic. I use this in everything! I’ll buy bottles of unsweetened tea, add this and stevia and bam! It tastes like something I’d actually want to drink!

Speaking of iced tea…

Here’s some Goji Berry Green Tea for ya!

Goji Green Tea
Goji Green Tea! That’s all I got…

So, to me, goji berries taste similar to craisins (that was easy), and they have some great health benefits, such as antioxidants, which make it known as a superfood. I added it to another superfood, green tea, and it tastes great! I am a fan of this one…

For 3, 16 oz mason jar servings:

  • 3 mason jarfuls of water
  • 9 green tea bags (they don’t have to be special, unless you want them to be…)
  • The juice of three limes
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of goji berries
  • Liquid stevia drops, to taste

I like to put a heaping tablespoon of the goji berries in each of the jars first. Then juice each of the limes in each jar. While the juice and the berries sit in the jar, I bring water to near boil in a saucepan (I’m fancy) and add the tea bags. Let them steep, but not for too long because green tea gets bitter quickly. I remove the tea bags and pour the green tea over the goji-lime mix. After all of that I add the stevia drops…

Then, into the fridge and a few hours later…beautiful, tasty tea!

Speaking of beautiful tea…I’ll end this post with my favorite tea and favorite beverage picture…

Grapefruit Green Tea

Grapefruit Green Tea

This is my favorite! I love grapefruit! I am a fan of tartness and this is just so perfectly tart and sweet! Yum!

For 3, 16 oz mason jar servings:

  • 3 mason jarfuls of water
  • 9 green tea bags (whatever brand…)
  • The juice of three ruby red grapefruits
  • Liquid stevia drops, to taste

It’s so simple, too. I mean, just juice and strain the grapefruits right into each jar and make the tea, like I painstakingly explained in the last recipe, and combine! Add your stevia in the end and, yay! Delicious…

Actually, with all of these recipes, you might think you added enough stevia but once you taste them a day or two later, you will want to add a few more drops. That’s just what I’ve found.

Yay! So, make these drinks before summer ends! I can’t believe it’s August already! Next week, where I in the Hudson Valley, it’s supposed to be rainy and in the mid-70s! Wow! Actually, if it wasn’t raining I’d be really happy about the temperature drop (I hate the heat)…