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Elysiann’s Beauty Vault

Fall’s Favorite Recipe: Pumpkin & Dark Chocolate are a GREAT Pair!

Posted on: October 24th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Pumpkin and Dark Chocolate ChipPumpkin bread. Pumpkin ravioli. Even pumpkin beer. This time of year, it’s easier to list the things that don’t include this healthy fall vegetable. While many of us enjoy pumpkin for its traditional autumn flavor, it’s packed with amazing nutrition benefits, too. A serving of cooked pumpkin offers more than 200 percent of your RDA for anti-aging Vitamin A, and pumpkin is also a good source of Beta Carotene, which may have cancer prevention benefits. That’s good news for your skin!

With a fall chill in the air, why not bake something to commemorate the season? Cookies may not be the epitome of health food, but when you add in dark chocolate and pumpkin, you up the antioxidant factor – so you can happily indulge in moderation.

Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 c. canned pumpkin

1 c. sugar

½ c. olive oil

1 egg

2 c. flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. milk

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

2 c. dark chocolate chips

  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, oil, and egg in a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Dissolve baking soda in milk and stir into flour mixture.
  4. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and combine.
  5. Stir in vanilla and chocolate chips.
  6. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Enjoy this fall treat and savor the flavors of the season!

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Pumpkin Seeds for a Healthy Fall: 3 Rejuvenating Nutrients for Your Skin

Posted on: October 17th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Pumpkin SeedIt’s October, which means the official kickoff of pumpkin season. From a myriad of pumpkin-spiked baked goods to the always anticipated Pumpkin Spice Latte, pumpkin is everywhere this time of year.

Today, I’d like to put the spotlight on pumpkin seeds. Nutty, delicious pumpkin seeds are a skin super-food, packed with health benefits. Take a look at some of the skin boosting nutrition packed into these little fall gems:

 Zinc –  Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc. This essential mineral protects cell membranes, helps maintain collagen, and promotes skin rejuvenation. Just four ounces of pumpkin seeds pack more than 8 mg of zinc – which also happens to be the US RDA for adult women.

 Omega 3 Fatty Acids –  Pumpkin seeds, like many nuts and seeds, are a great source of Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), one of the plant-derived Omega 3s. Omega 3s can help fight inflammation and dryness in the skin, making pumpkin seeds a great skincare ally.

Vitamin E  -  Pumpkin seeds provide Vitamin E in a variety of its forms – including alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, alpha-tocomonoenol, and gamma-tocomonoenol. All offer powerful antioxidant and anti-aging benefits to the skin.

Pumpkin seeds are so versatile, there are countless ways to incorporate them into your diet. Sprinkle them on salads, stir them into your favorite muffins, or eat them by the handful as a snack – use them however you would your favorite nuts.

Next to maintaining a healthy skincare regimen (such as one from Actifirm), a nutritious diet is one of the best things you can do to take care of your skin. Enjoy fall, and all things pumpkin, in good health!

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Fall Fitness: 3 Great Reasons Start the Exercise Habit Now

Posted on: October 10th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

FallFitness-10/2014Instead of waiting until the New Year, what if you established some simple fitness habits now that helped you get through the more sedentary winter months and prevent holiday weight gain? A change in seasons is the perfect time to make small changes that will make a big difference in your health. Here are three reasons fall is a great time to take up exercise and fitness. Some may surprise you!

Great Weather

Cooling temperatures, crisp air, and falling leaves – what’s not to love about fall weather? Get out and enjoy it with a walk or run around your neighborhood. Or, find an outdoor fitness group or class in your area – boot camps, stroller strength classes, tai chi, and yoga are all common offerings.

New Fall Television

In the fall we tend to tune in for a new season of our favorite shows, and television may seem like your waistline’s worst enemy. But with the right attitude, watching television can become an opportunity for fitness. Use some small hand weights to tone your arms in front of the tube, or do some push-ups, crunches, or jumping jacks. Instead of heading to the kitchen for a snack during commercials, run up and down the stairs a few times. Or, head to the gym and watch your favorite show on the stair machine.

 A New School Year

This one may not apply to everyone, but for parents of school age kids, fall is a new beginning. If your kids walk to school, strolling with them to and from school each day can add up to a lot of extra steps. If you don’t have kids, enjoy the great weather by walking on some of your errands. Those with kids may also have a bit more free time when the kids are away. Take advantage by starting a new exercise routine.

When exercising outdoors, don’t forget to dress in layers so you’re prepared for fluctuating fall temperatures. Because we receive less and less daylight as fall progresses and daylight savings time ends, practice safety – if you’re out in the dark, wear reflective clothing and consider a flashing light. Make fall a time to focus on health and fitness, and start the New Year in great shape without those extra holiday pounds.

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Massage & Your Skin: 4 Anti-Aging Benefits

Posted on: October 3rd, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Massage and You-10/2014Who doesn’t love a rejuvenating, stress releasing massage? Now, you have the perfect reason to book an appointment this fall! It turns out that the benefits of massage extend to my favorite topic – beautiful, more youthful skin. While facial massage is a specialized field of practice, even general body massage can offer powerful anti-aging skincare benefits. Here are 4 benefits of massage that can have a positive effect on your skin:

Reduces Cortisol Production
Cortisol is the hormone that your body produces when under stress, and studies have shown a direct correlation between elevated cortisol levels and collagen loss in the skin. Collagen is what gives youthful skin its smooth, taut appearance. Because massage has been clinically shown to reduce the body’s production of cortisol, it has the potential to delay the signs of skin aging from collagen breakdown.

Increases Blood Flow
The circulatory system uses blood to deliver oxygen and nutrients all over the body – and that includes the body’s largest organ, the skin. Massage helps improve blood flow all over the body, and in so doing helps nourish the skin.

Boosts Lymphatic System and Toxin Removal
Among other things, the lymphatic system is responsible for toxin removal in the body and also offers anti-inflammatory benefits. It is considered part of the circulatory system, but unlike blood, lymph fluid does not use the heart as a pump. The lymphatic system relies on physical movement to circulate. Exercise and massage can both be beneficial in helping this system work optimally to remove toxins and reduce swelling – benefits that translate to the skin.

Eases Muscle Tension
Some of our fine lines and wrinkles are largely caused repetitive use of muscles – smile lines at the sides of the mouth, frown lines between the eyebrows, and crow’s feet from squinting. Dissipating muscle tension with regular massage may help minimize some of these effects. In addition to general body massage, facial massage is a specialty practice in which facial muscles are targeted.

It’s good to know that an hour on the massage table can not only leave you feeling great, but looking great too. Always remember that what’s good for your overall health usually reaps skincare benefits, too.

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Sleep and Skincare: The Connection Between Rest and Skin Health

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Sleep and SkincareGetting an optimal amount of sleep each night does more than make you feel refreshed – it turns out that it makes you look more refreshed, too. While you sleep, your body is hard at work repairing the skin, which means a healthier, more youthful complexion. It’s no wonder we call it “beauty rest”!

Sleep deprivation can cause myriad skin challenges. Lack of sleep increases production of the stress hormone cortisol, creating an inflammatory response in the body. This stresses the skin and worsens skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis. Inflammation also contributes to the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, which give skin its radiance, firmness, and translucency.

Not all hormones are bad, however. During sleep, the body also produces high levels of human growth hormone and melatonin, which aid in repairing and protecting the skin, respectively.

Sleep is also a time for the body to rebalance hydration. Not enough rest can mean dull, dry skin; more visible wrinkles; and puffy eyes. Seven to nine hours of sleep each night is ideal for healthy skin maintenance. Here’s a breakdown of what happens to your skin while you sleep:

Early Sleep: The first one to three hours of sleep are the deepest rest you’ll get all night. During this phase, your body produces the most human growth hormone, critical to skin repair.

Middle Sleep: During the middle two hours of sleep, deep sleep diminishes and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep begins. Production of melatonin, a hormone that serves as a skin-protecting antioxidant, is at its maximum.

End Sleep: The last three hours of rest are when you get the most REM sleep. Your skin’s temperature reaches its lowest point, muscles relax, and skin is able to optimally recover.

Always cleanse skin before hitting the sheets – choose an Actifirm cleanser that works for your skin type – and always apply a moisturizer. Actifirm 40 Winks Rest-N-Firm is ideal for overnight repair and rejuvenation.

As with most lifestyle choices, what’s good for your overall health is also good for your skin. Proper rest is a habit that will not only help you feel your best, but look your best as well.

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Autumn Beauty: 3 Top Makeup Trends for Fall

Posted on: September 19th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Makeup Trends for FallThis fall’s makeup trends are all about contrasts. The 2014 runways spotlighted many models looking nearly barefaced, while others showed off eyes and lips highlighted in brilliant hues. Such a broad range of looks gives us all creative license in staying on-trend while being true to our own personal style. Here, let’s take a look at 3 top makeup trends for fall:

Natural Skin

Many supermodels strutted the catwalk this fall looking like they’d just scrubbed their faces clean. Of course, this bare faced look is often achieved with carefully applied, natural looking makeup. The easiest way to achieve beautiful, natural looking skin? Proper skincare, of course!

First, cleanse to remove impurities (choose the best one for you). Next, exfoliate. Lifting dull, dry skin cells through exfoliation is key to achieving smooth, flawless makeup application (try Actifirm Z-Peel). Third, nourish and hydrate with a serum. Serum is another secret weapon in achieving optimum smoothness and suppleness. Last, choose a moisturizer that fits your skincare needs. 40 Winks Rest-N-Firm is an amazing formula that hydrates, smoothes, and firms skin while you sleep.

With a simple skincare regimen in place, your skin will be poised to rock the natural look. Whether you choose to go truly barefaced (excepting sunscreen, of course), or fake natural perfection with a sheer sweep of foundation, your skin will steal the show.

 Bright Eyes

Excepting those aforementioned natural faces, fall runways were all about bold use of color.

Brilliant blues, gorgeous greens, sparkly silver and beyond – it would be easier to list the color palettes not represented on the fall runways. This autumn is the perfect time to have fun with colorful makeup and show off your eyes. Complementing these bold colors and geometric patterns were fuller brows and longer, fuller (think artificial) lashes.

Bold Lips

Fall lips fell into two categories – au natural or berry patch bright. Either way, both looks make a statement. From crushed raspberry to ripe strawberry, if you’re going to wear lip color this fall, go bold. Or, if you prefer the nude look, a quick swipe of lip protectant will suffice.

The take away: Fall 2014 is all about creating a look that reflect both your personal style and current makeup trends. Mix and match natural and bold elements to come up with a fresh face that reflects your personality!

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Autumn Skincare: Moisture, Exfoliation Key for Fall

Posted on: September 12th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Autumn SkincareWith autumn in the air, wardrobe changes come to mind – time to trade in those sandals and sundresses for boots and more cozy attire. You should think of your skincare in the same way. Each season brings a new set of challenges to your skincare regimen. Cooler temperatures, lower humidity, and increased winds can all mark autumn – all of which point to drier skin. Let’s take a look at some of the common skincare changes recommended for fall.

Cleanse: In the summertime, skin may be oilier, making you want to cleanse more often. For fall, try to limit cleansing to twice a day. All Actifirm cleansers are formulated to enhance skin architecture with natural botanicals without stripping. If skin is extremely dry, consider a gentle, moisturizing, non-foaming cleanser such as Actifirm Serenity Cleanser.

 Moisturize: For fall, it’s all about preserving and adding moisture to skin that is adjusting and adapting to the changing elements. Those of us with normal to oily skin may find that in summer, an SPF moisturizer along with a serum like Actifirm Renovation Serum are sufficient for hydration. In the fall, it may be necessary to add a true moisturizer to the mix. It’s important to consider your individual skin needs to develop a skincare regimen that’s perfect for you. Actifirm offers a balanced line of natural moisturizers that not only effectively hydrate and moisturize, but help fight the signs of aging with powerful antioxidants and other botanicals. For average skin, Actimoist Booster is a great go-to moisturizer for daily use. I like to call it a “smart” moisturizer for its ability to target areas that need moisture most. For nighttime moisture and hydration, try 40 Winks Rest-N-Firm. With powerful anti-aging properties, non pore-clogging moisture, and soothing lavender aromatherapy, it has long been an Actifirm favorite. Layering either of these moisturizers with Actifirm Renovation Serum will give your skin a perfect blend of nourishment, moisture, and hydration.

 Exfoliate: Exfoliation is a great way to refresh dry, flaky skin and put a fresh face forward – just what parched fall skin needs. Actifirm Z-Peel is top in many estheticians’ arsenals for its natural ability to gently lift dry, dead skin cells and reveal new skin. The Actifirm Z-Peel secret? Our signature Japanese Mucor Miehei mushroom extract, which mimics skin’s natural exfoliation process without harming living tissue. It’s gentle yet effective, and for that reason is sometimes called a “lunchtime” or “no downtime” peel. Actifirm Z-Peel is available in a 10% or 15% formulation for home use, so you can choose the one that best fits your unique skincare needs.

With just a bit of fine-tuning, you can enjoy healthy, beautiful skin year-round. Gentle cleansing, a boost in moisture, and natural exfoliation are all key to your fall skincare routine.

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Good Offense and Defense: Applying Football Talk to Skincare

Posted on: September 4th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

FootballNothing says fall like the football. Love it or hate it, chances are you’ve caught a game or two since the season’s kickoff, whether at home, among friends, or live on the sidelines. Just for fun, let’s think about skincare in terms of football. There are more similarities than you might think!

Offense: In football, good offense means being prepared with solid plays that will take you to the end zone for a score. In skincare, it’s much the same – you have to be proactive to reach the goal of healthy, beautiful skin. Good offensive skincare means daily cleansing, moisturizing, and exfoliation. For example, your routine should include a cleanser like Actifirm Evening Cleanser and a moisturizer like Actifirm 40 Winks Rest N Firm. An enzyme exfoliator like the Actifirm Z-Peel lifts away dull skin cells, for a fresh game face every day.

Defense: A solid football defense holds back the other team from scoring. In the context of skincare, both environmental factors and time are the opponents. A quality, broad spectrum sunscreen should always be your first line of defense in combating the sun’s damaging rays. Beyond that, nourishing skin with natural antioxidants can protect from free radical damage. While you’ll find antioxidants across the Actifirm line, Actifirm Renovation Serum delivers a concentrated dose of antioxidants along with hyaluronic acid and squalane, which help preserve skin’s moisture.

Now all that’s left to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the game! If you’re watching from home with family, consider cleansing the skin and allowing skin to breathe and rest. And don’t forget that game time snacks can impact skin’s health. Swap out the ranch dip for guacamole, rich in skin-healthy fats, and the chips for fresh veggies. Trade those fried chicken wings for marinated, grilled chicken breast skewers. It’s not just for the sake of skincare – it’s about improving overall health and wellness!

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Actifirm Skincare 101: 4 Steps to Optimum Skin

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Actifirm Skincare 101

It’s that time of year: With new backpacks full of fresh pencils and notebooks, kids are headed back to school. Whether headed to preschool or graduate school, learning and growth is the goal. Why not take this opportunity for a little personal growth with Actifirm Skincare 101?

Rather than the 3 Rs of reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic, I want to share 4 simple skincare steps that offer beautiful results. Your supply list is simple: the Actifirm Natural Basics Kit gives you everything you need to cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate, and moisturize.

Take note:

1.    CLEANSE: Actifirm Antioxidant Cleanser gently whisks away cosmetics, excess oil, and environmental debris without stripping the skin. Pomegranate and grapefruit antioxidants protect against free radical damage, anti-inflammatory Aloe Vera conditions, Japanese green tea soothes, and Mucor Miehei mushroom extract aids cell renewal. Antioxidant Cleanser balances pH levels, preparing skin to accept further treatment.

 2.    EXFOLIATE: Enhancing skin’s cell renewal is key to optimizing skin’s appearance, and Actifirm 15% Z Peel mimics skin’s natural exfoliation process with Mucor Miehei mushroom extract, with other natural botanics. By lifting only dead skin cells and leaving living tissue unharmed, the Z-Peel evens skin tone and texture, increases firmness and elasticity, and reduces the appearance of fine lines. It is nature’s own exfoliator.

 3.    HYDRATE: Hydrating and moisturizing offer two distinct benefits in skincare. When you hydrate your skin, you nourish and bind water to the skin without adding oil. Actifirm Renovation Serum contains natural hyaluronic acid and squalane to attract and bind moisture to skin, as well as botanicals shown to target free radicals, calm, promote collagen synthesis, and increase skin firmness.

 4.    MOISTURIZE: After hydrating the skin, an emollient moisturizer with natural oils will create a protective barrier to lock in skin’s moisture, while smoothing, softening, and lending other cosmetic benefits to the skin. Actifirm Actimoist Booster works in synergy with the skin to hydrate only as needed. With regular use, botanicals improve the appearance of fine lines and sagging, and help increase firmness.

 There’s no exam for Actifirm Skincare 101, but I hope you’ll put the knowledge to good use. Remember, by devoting just a few minutes each day to skincare, you can enjoy years of healthy, vibrant skin.

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Women’s Equality Day 8/26/14: 94th anniversary of 19th amendment

Posted on: August 22nd, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Womens EqualityWhen the 19th Amendment was certified on August 26, 1920, it granted women the right to vote. It was a triumph that was a long time coming. Most historians cite the first women’s rights conference at Seneca Falls in 1848 as the official start of the fight for women’s suffrage – where visionaries including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott set the tone.

In the 72 years between Seneca Falls and certification of the 19th amendment the battle continued – demonstrations were held, marches executed, speeches given, editorials written, and pamphlets distributed. In fact, the first picket lines ever at The White House were comprised of women’s suffrage sympathizers.

On the 50th anniversary of the 19th Amendment Certification, August 26, 1970, The National Organization for Women (NOW) organized a nationwide Women’s Strike for Equality. On this day, women came out in droves to support equal opportunity in employment, education, and child care. It was the largest gender equality protest in US history – in New York City alone, 50,000 women marched down Fifth Avenue. One year later in 1971, US Representative Bella Azbug of New York successfully introduced a bill designating August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.

It’s easy to take for granted the tireless efforts of generations who came before us, and hard to face the frontiers that have yet to be conquered. A worthy point to remember is the sheer amount of time, patience, and determination it has taken over the decades to gain rights for women. That dedication is necessary for any lasting change – be it a change in your own personal health and wellness, or change on a more global level.

As we honor and celebrate achievements in equality for women, consider how these activists have helped shape your life today – and take inspiration from their perseverance to bring about good.

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