30 Ιουλ 2014

THINK GREEN: Call it all Natural Magic!

There is nothing more annoying than a huge, nasty bump popping out of the blue on my forehead, nose or chin right before an important work presentation or a night out. Dealing with breakouts has been an integral part of my adulthood, involving proactive measures, as well as strategic cocktails of every lotion and potion in the book. A recent natural remedy that has been part of my strategic plan for attacking acne before things turn a mess in this warm and humid, almost tropical Greek summer weather is organic Tea Tree Oil. Its unique antimicrobial properties can destroy acne-causing bacteria and keep pores clean.

Proactive Measures:
All I need is purified water and a few drops of pure leaf tea tree oil (I use the one by THE BODY SHOP) to be mixed in a sprayer bottle.

I use this DIY antibacterial spray for my pillowcases and my make-up brushes to keep them bacteria free, as well as to refresh my face throughout the day keeping my pores clean.

When the nasty bump makes an appearance, there is a need for more drastic, targeted measures.

So, I pour a few drops of tea tree oil onto the end of a cotton bud and gently dab directly on the blemish to do its magic. Tada! the next day the pimple has not disappeared but the redness, swelling and size of the enemy have been drastically diminished.

When I am naughty, frantically spot squeezing the night before, applying tea tree oil on the wounded  area speeds up dramatically the healing process.

If you have oily, acne-prone skin get your hands on this natural stuff to win the blemish battle!

18 Ιουλ 2014

THINK YUMMY: Super-creamy Strawberry & Banana Smoothie

Lately, I am on the hunt for healthier but quick and tasty breakfast / afternoon pick-me-ups, that will bring a fresh boost to my morning or keep me full all the way to dinner. So, I decided to jump on the smoothie wagon and start sipping on the perfect combo: orange juice for vitamin C and hydrating zestiness, strawberries for delicious sweetness and pink colour, a banana for flavour , potassium and an extra smooth, creamy texture coupled with calcium packed greek yogurt or yogurt ice cream. If you ask me, there’s no better way to incorporate fresh ingredients, vitamins and natural sweetness to a number with chill attitude that screams summer!

Ingredients (serves 1):
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup fresh strawberries (4-5 large berries diced)
  • 1 medium ripe banana (quartered and frozen)
  • 1 ball/scoop yogurt ice-cream or 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 4-5 large ice cubes
  • 1 strawberry and mint leaf or basil leaf for garnish

  1. Wash thoroughly the fresh strawberries, remove stems and dice them.
  2. Peel the banana and cut it into slices. 
  3. Place the orange juice, strawberries and banana into a blender.
  4. Blend the ingredients on medium speed for a few minutes, until well blend.
  5. Stop the blender and stir the mixture away from the sides and near the blade, add the ice-cream or yogurt and keep blending on high speed for 1 more minute.
  6. Stop the blender, add the ice cubes, turn blender to highest setting and mix until all ingredients are thoroughly blended.
  7. Pour in a glass or mason jar.
  8. Garnish with a strawberry and a mint or basil leaf and serve immediately.
  • Prefer fresh-pressed or squeezed orange juice for a nutrient boost.
  • Freeze ripe bananas ahead.
  • A little Greek yogurt fills out texture beautifully, in just about all smoothies.
  • Always add the ice cubes in the end for a frosty smoothie. 
  • Could add a little honey for extra sweetness . 
  • Garnish with a basil or mint leaf to give some savory flavor. 
  • Keep one strawberry for styling. 
  • Let the smoothie sit for a minute and it will get creamier.
  • Love to serve smoothies in mason jars, instead of the conventional tall glasses, while they are still frosty.
  • Enjoy the smoothie with cookies, cupcakes or sandwiches.

Enjoy a delicious sip! 

* Collage of photos from Pinterest

Βελούδινο Φράουλα & Μπανάνα Smoothie

Υλικά (1 μερίδα): 
  • ½ φλ. χυμός πορτοκάλι
  • ½ φλ. φρέσκιες φράουλες  (4-5 μεσαίου μεγέθους)
  • 1 μεσαίου μεγέθους ώριμη μπανάνα (κατεψυγμένη και κομμένη σε ροδέλες)
  • 1 μπάλα παγωτό γιαούρτι ή 1 φλ. γιαούρτι
  • 4-5 μεγάλα παγάκια
  • 1 επιπλέον φράουλα και φύλλα μέντας ή βασιλικού για το γαρνίρισμα

  1. Πλένουμε σχολαστικά τις φράουλες, αφαιρούμε τα κοτσάνια και τις τεμαχίζουμε.
  2. Ξεφλουδίζουμε την μπανάνα και την κόβουμε σε ροδέλες.
  3. Βάζουμε το χυμό πορτοκάλι, τις φράουλες και την μπανάνα στην κανάτα του μπλέντερ.
  4. Χτυπάμε τα υλικά στη μεσαία ταχύτητα για λίγα λεπτά, μέχρι να ομογενοποιηθούν.
  5. Σταματάμε το μπλέντερ και απομακρύνουμε τυχόν μείγμα από τα πλαϊνά της κανάτας και τη λεπίδα του μπλέντερ, προσθέτουμε την μπάλα παγωτού ή το γιαούρτι και χτυπάμε στη δυνατή ταχύτητα για ακόμα 1 λεπτό.
  6. Σταματάμε το μπλέντερ, προσθέτουμε στο μείγμα τα παγάκια και ξαναχτυπάμε όλα τα υλικά στη δυνατή  ταχύτητα έως ότου δέσουν και γίνουν ένα παχύρρευστο μείγμα.
  7. Αδειάζουμε το smoothie σε ένα ποτήρι ή mason βάζο.
  8. Γαρνίρουμε με μία φράουλα και ένα φύλλο μέντας ή βασιλικού και σερβίρουμε αμέσως.

  • Προτιμούμε φρεσκοστυμμένο χυμό πορτοκάλι.
  • Φροντίζουμε να έχουμε καταψύξει μία ώριμη μπανάνα.
  • Λίγη ποσότητα γιαουρτιού προσδίδει βελούδινη, πλούσια υφή, σε όλα σχεδόν τα smoothies.
  • Προσθέτουμε τα παγάκια πάντα τελευταία, για να δροσίσουν αποτελεσματικά χωρίς να αποδυναμώσουν τη γεύση και την υφή του μείγματος νερώνοντας το.
  • Μπορούμε να προσθέσουμε λίγο μέλι για ενισχυμένη γλυκιά γεύση.
  • Γαρνίρουμε με φύλλα βασιλικού ή μέντας για πιπεράτη αρωματική γευστική σπιρτάδα.
  • Κρατάμε στην άκρη μια φράουλα για το γαρνίρισμα.
  • Αφήνουμε το smoothie να "ξεκουραστεί" για 1 λεπτό και αμέσως αποκτάει μια βελούδινη, κρεμώδη υφή.
  • Αγαπημένος μου τρόπος σερβιρίσματος είναι σε mason βάζα, αντί για τα συμβατικά ψηλά ποτήρια, ενώ το smoothie είναι ακόμα παγωμένο.
  • Απολαμβάνουμε το φρουτοποτό μας με cookies, cupcakes ή σάντουιτς.

Στην υγειά σας! 

16 Ιουλ 2014

THINK BIG: Books on my Nightstand

The Fault in our Stars: A young adult novel everyone was talking about, that I avoided to read until I heard its movie adaptation was about to hit the big screens in Greece. I thought that it would be another heart-breaking, chick flick full of sweet teenage romance - cancer drama, as the heroes fall in love while they give their battles against cancer, which might not appeal to my age or taste.


And then I said hey, it’s summer and I enjoy relaxing with chick flick movies, but as always I HAD TO READ THE BOOK FIRST. So, I did and I was so WRONG! It’s a book packed with tragic realism and bluntness that sometimes made it so painful to read, but I kept reading non-stop until I reached the last page. The harsh realities of life as a teenage cancer patient, including fears, physical flaws and humiliations, emotional ordeals, the relationships with family, friends, doctors are exposed very honestly through the voice of a very mature, sarcastic, slightly rebellious teenage girl.

I kept stopping to underline phrases and then re-read paragraphs, as Hazel, Augustus and Isaac were wrestling with the big issues of cancer and life"Cancer kids are essentially side effects of the relentless mutation that made the diversity of life on earth possible." p.49, death: "Nostalgia is a side effect of dying, he answered" p.235, loss and grief : "Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you" p.285 and lasting love:  "Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it  for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I am grateful" p. 259 

The Fault in Our Stars is a hip, smartly crafted page turner with an unexpected story twist and razor-sharp characters, but it is NOT another cancer book. It’s a painfully beautiful story about life, illness, loss and true love in between and you should expect to laugh, cry, think deep and ask to re-read.

* Τhe above photo was taken for personal use. Please just make sure to link back to my blog, if you use the above image.