California Hikes : Codfish Falls

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**This hike was done in support of #HikeForGrayson. Grayson is a 3 year old boy with Tay-Sachs Disease- which is incurable. To read more about Grayson, visit familytrailtime.wordpress.com/hike-for-grayson/

For more information on Tay Sachs, please visit curetay-sachs.org

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With my husband joining the Army, I found that living alone was kinda the worst. I was alright throughout his Basic Training; but now that he is in Advanced Training for the next few months, I decided to move back in with my parents in Northern California. They have been so nice and I was even able to get a job out here so it is a blessing!

I love Northern California and there are so many amazing hikes right around where I live. The first one I did (since moving up here) was actually my first weekend living here several weeks ago.

It is called Codfish Falls. The trail starts down by the North Fork of the American River, follows the river for just over a mile, and then cuts back towards the canyon wall where you hike back to some some beautiful falls.

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Here is some info about Codfish Falls so you can have the best experience during your adventure!

  • The trail is out and back, about 3 miles round trip. The elevation gain is really nothing and you can bring your children and dogs on the trail! I always recommend wearing sunscreen and most of the trail is covered so you will be pretty safe from sun exposure!
  • The hardest part of the trail is the 2 miles of off-roading you need to do to get to the canyon floor. The county stops maintaining the road before you get to the trail so you do need to drive over a dirt road to get to the trailhead. But, if me and my mom can do it in a Prius, anyone can do it!
  • Since California has had so much rain and snow this past Winter, the rivers and waterfalls are all looking really great! If you want to do a waterfall hike, I recommend doing one earlier in the season, while the snow melt is still pushing a lot of water into the Falls. That being said, always remember to be safe- water current can be really strong!

Go have some fun on a hike now!

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A Year Of Color : De-Stressing With Lavender

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We all experience stress. Whether you have Chronic Stress, stress out over that big meeting coming up, or stressing over the next blog post you are going to do- it happens. I have always felt stressed but I never really studying stress itself until I was in Esthetics school. We were learning all about stress and the effects it can have on the body (and on your skin) and I realized one of the reasons I got into Skin Care was so I could help people relax and help ease some of the stress they are experiencing.

Stress can cause headaches, upset stomach, changes in sex drive, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, irritability, overeating, and drug use. The list goes on and on. Seriously. Stress affects our bodies more ways than we even realize. If you deal with stress often (like me), you start learning what your body does when you are stressed. For me, my body has lots of fun ways of letting me know I need to chill: The cartilage in my rib cage gets inflamed causing horrible pains. I also get bad sore throats and ulcers on tongue. Yeah, it’s sexy I know. Then, I get more stressed out because my body is in so much pain. It’s a vicious cycle.

Today, I want to share some of the ways you can help de-stress yourself. Lavender is one of the most calming aromas on the planet (check out my aromatherapy post to learn more about how smell works) so I thought I would share some of the best ways to use Lavender to help relax!

Diffusing is a great way to help get a certain aroma all around your house. If you are busy and can’t take the time to just relax, diffusing is a great option for you. Drop a few drops of Lavender into a Diffuser and then you can keep on doing whatever it is you need to be doing. Since the diffuser does the work for you- and they are small enough you can have one at home or work- you can enjoy the aroma where ever you are!

If you have some more time to take to yourself, you could always take a nice bubble bath or do a little self massage. You can find products with Lavender in them pretty much everywhere (watch out for anything synthetic!). My favorite lavender products are from Aveda’s Stress-Fix line. This line includes, lotions, oils, bath salts, and a body cleanser.

These are just some of my favorite ways to de-stress with one of my favorite, most calming oils. Of course, everyone has their own ways to relax. Maybe you like to go see a movie or go fishing or take a hike. Whatever way you love to relax- do it! Please do not forget to love and take care of yourself.

Aromatherapy 101

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I love aromatherapy. Yes, I am one of those people that have tons of essential oils in my house- it has just been a big part of my life for the past several years and I enjoy learning about them as well as educating others. Not a lot of people understand aromatherapy and how it could possibly help anything so I thought I would write a quick little intro post to aromas and why they are such a big deal.

It all starts with the Olfactory System. The system includes parts of the body involved with smell such as your nose and your brain. When you smell anything, sensory neurons send signals directly to your brain where aromas can be decoded. That’s why smell can affect emotion, memory, behavior, and thought. What we smell literally triggers different parts of our brain!

For example- Lavender can help people feel relaxed. That’s because when we smell it, the certain molecular compounds in the plant trigger the parts of our brain that tell us to chill out. It’s Science (not just hippie voodoo I promise!)

Now that we have the basic science out of the way, let me share with you a couple basic aromas that can help you get more warmed up to this idea.

Lemon and Orange- pretty much any citrus aroma is very uplifting. They can help you to feel motivated, encouraged, and just put you in a better mood.

Lavender- a very calming aroma. Usually people use it to help feel more peaceful and restful. It is also very commonly used and can be pretty easily obtained.

Frankincense- really grounding. This aroma can help you feel more balanced and provides some benefits for your skin!

Tea Tree- a purifying aroma. Tea Tree is really versatile. It not only helps cleanse the air- but can help with your skin and nails. This is one of my favorites to help with skin break outs on guests.

If you have any questions about aromatherapy or essential oils, please feel free to ask away! Like I said before, I love helping people out- it’s what I do!

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and I love this holiday! It is tied with Halloween for my favorite. Sometimes, you get to spend the entire day with your loved one for Valentine’s Day- other times, you may only get a couple hours to grab some breakfast or a drink before needing to do other things.
So, I wanted to give a few different ideas for the whole day that you can use together or just one idea for whatever you may have time for!

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8:30 AM – Treat yourself to donuts. Chances are your local donut places also has milk, chocolate milk, or coffee. Start your day with a yummy, sugary treat. If all you have is the morning together on Valentine’s Day, then this is a fun thing to do because you get some time to yourself while eating a delicious (although fattening) breakfast.

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1:00 PM – If you get to leave work early and you and your honey love relaxing together, why not get a couple’s massage? These tend to book out quickly for Valentine’s Day (I know this firsthand because I work in a spa). But, if you book your appointment in advance and try a few different places, you should be just fine! Couple’s massages are so intimate and relaxing and several places offer lots of specials to make this special date even more special.

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5:30 PM – Watch the sunset. Whether you have a picnic in the last light of the day, or catch the last bit of light and then go stargazing- watching the sunset is very romantic. This date idea also doesn’t cost anything! So go find a tall building or a mountain top this Valentine’s Day.

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8:00 PM – Now you have had a long day of either needing to be at work, taking care of kids, or spending a lovely day with your sweetheart. No matter how your day has been, you’re probably ready for a drink. I am not sure what this may mean to you- to me, it means soda or hot chocolate. There is this adorable place by where we live called Pop N’ Sweets. They have candy, chocolate, and soda from all over the world! They even have a cute little hot chocolate bar. When Wesley and I went, I got dark hot chocolate and he got… ButterBeer! I know… I know… way cool.

Whether you have an early breakfast, a nightcap, or all of the above with your love- I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!