Category Archives: Health

7 Uses for Coconut Oil

This post may contain affiliate links that provides this blog with a small commission if you purchase through them, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!

I’ve only just recently been getting more interested in using natural oils for cooking, cleaning and beauty products. One of the most versatile oils on the market seems to be coconut oil.

It’s actually pretty wild to me just how many uses coconuts offer. The coconut itself provides a drink, and something to eat, but the oil – wowza!

There’s just so many things you can do with it!

With more and more people discovering the wondrous benefits of coconut oil, it’s no wonder it seems to be all the rage nowadays.

From skin and hair care to dental care and improving immunity, coconut oil is proving to be a must-have item in anyone’s home.

Although the number of benefits you can expect from using coconut oil is far greater, below you’ll find just 7 amazing benefits you can count on:

  1. It can make your skin smooth, and younger-looking
  2. It promotes hair growth and makes your hair shiny and soft
  3. It can help you lose weight
  4. It prevents cavities and gum disease
  5. It’s a decent sunscreen in a pinch
  6. It prevents heart disease
  7. It will help you feel energized

Now that you know some of my favorite uses for coconut oil, let’s break them down a little further so you’ll see why it’s so amazing!

7 Uses for Coconut Oil

1. Coconut oil can make your skin smooth, and help you look younger.

Many people hesitate putting anything oily or greasy on their face, but coconut oil will make your skin look absolutely fabulous.

It can be used as a cleanser and makeup remover, or in place of a moisturizing cream.

The high level of fatty acids also makes it perfect for treating eczema or flaky skin, making it smooth and soft.

Coconut oil is well known for its antimicrobial qualities too, so don’t hesitate to apply it on burns, or to use it for treating psoriasis and dermatitis- coconut oil will help your skin heal faster and help with almost any skin condition caused by bacterial or yeast infection.

Related: Eat Healthy and Get Clear Skin? Maybe 

2. It promotes hair growth, and makes your hair more shiny and soft.

Coconut oil is often one of the ingredients in the most high-end conditioners and shampoos.

However, it’s most effective when applied directly, without other chemicals preventing it from doing its magic.

Use it in place of conditioner, or as a mask for faster hair growth. It’s also great for repairing damaged hair.

It’s incredibly effective and your hair will look healthy and glossy in no time. And, if you have problems with dandruff, massage some coconut oil on your scalp before washing it, and it will restore the moisture needed for a healthy, dandruff-free scalp.

3. Believe it or not, coconut oil can help your weight loss efforts.

Studies have shown that coconut oil can reduce your appetite, and increase your body’s ability to burn fat. Therefore, making it a dietary staple will help you lose weight more easily.

The unique combination of fatty acids in coconut oil fastens the metabolism, and even without a fitness regime or a restrictive diet to boot, it will help you shed a few extra pounds without a problem.

It’s especially effective for that persistent belly fat, so grab a spoon and enjoy the effects.

Related: Is Your Skin Winter Ready? 

4. It prevents cavities and gum disease.

The latest trend in all-natural dental care is oil pulling (or oil swishing), and coconut oil proved to be the most effective oil for the practice.

The reason for this is that coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are extremely efficient in fighting off the bacteria.

Oral bacteria are the culprit behind everything from cavities to bad breath, and including coconut oil pulling in your daily dental hygiene routine will have a great impact on your oral health.

Swishing coconut oil can prevent cavities and help heal your gums, as well as reduce plaque formation.

The reason why coconut oil is popular beyond its use in the beauty industry is that it has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties.

Coconut oil is packed with antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid, all of which are known to destroy bacteria and fungus.

This makes the consumption of coconut oil an efficient way to fight off viruses and infections.

5. Need some protection for your skin from the sun? Enter coconut oil!

Is it any wonder why coconut oil is in so many sunscreen products? Studies have shown that coconut oil may protect your skin from UV rays by as much as 20%!

Now, this isn’t nearly as much protection as most sunscreen you can buy, but in a pinch, it’s better than nothing!

Related: Epic Guide to Sun Safety 

6. It prevents heart disease.

Unlike some other oils, coconut oil has high levels of natural saturated fats or “healthy fats”.

That’s why coconut oil increases the level of healthy cholesterol in your body and converts the bad cholesterol to good, lowering the risk of heart disease.

The high content of lauric acid in coconut oil also keeps your blood pressure in check, which, combined with antioxidants coconut oil also contains, promotes a healthy cardiovascular system and prevents a number of heart conditions.

7. Coconut oil can even help you feel energized.

The reason why athletes adore coconut oil is that it contains high levels of medium chain triglycerides, which, after they’re metabolized in the liver, immediately convert to energy.

The fast absorption of healthy saturated fats serves as an instant energy boost, fueling your body without storing the fat in your body’s reserves.

This makes coconut oil a perfect energy-boosting food- it will keep you up and running for a long time, without sneaking in any additional calories to your meal plan.

Coconut oil is quite the diverse oil. It's great for cooking, and for your health. This post includes 7 fabulous uses for coconut oil.

J. Joseph Salon – Grand Opening Details and More

I partnered with J. Joseph Salon to write this post and give them love on social media in exchange for a hair makeover. Though the hair makeover was free, it did not impact my write up. All opinions are my own.

Have you heard?!? J. Joseph Salon is opening its third location, this one in Citrus Park. Come to their grand opening on 6/20/18 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Address is 8616 Citrus Park Drive

Enjoy complimentary drinks, giveaways, raffles for Redken and other hair products, instant savings on a future appointment, plus enter to win a hair makeover valued at $300.

Enter to win HERE:
Please type “Ashley Grant” into the field that says “How did you hear about us?”

Can’t make it to the grand opening? The salon is scheduling hair appointments for new guests. Call (813) 235-6848 to schedule your appointment.

I’m getting my hair cut there Saturday 6/16/18! I’ll be back to share before and after images. So stay tuned for the update!

About J. Joseph Salon

J. Joseph Salon – Who they are:

J. Joseph Salon is a group of upscale hair salons located in Pasco and Hillsborough County, Florida. They offer European decor, creative roots, and an ambiance of hospitality and elegance.

When you arrive you’ll be met with complimentary beverages and a chic environment, as they believe in catering to their clientele, and making them feel like the VIPs they are.

J. Joseph Salon offers top tier products such as Redken and Pureology hair care, coloring and styling products. They also feature expertly trained and well-versed stylists that  will assist you in creating and managing your look.

They believe consistency is the key to beauty, and as a result they will make professional recommendations best suited for the integrity of your hair.

Along with Redken and Pureology, J. Joseph also uses Pravana and Joico to maintain longevity between scheduled appointments. Olaplex and Heatcure are available for in-salon and take-home hair treatments.

Their Specialty Treatments Include:

  • GKhair Juvexin Keratin Treatments at both Pasco County locations.
  • DreamCatchers and Great Lengths Hair Extensions are available upon request/consultation by certified stylists.
  • Brow and facial waxing
  • Makeup applications with jane iredale skin care cosmetics.
  • Classic OPI or shellac manicure (Land O’ Lakes only)

The Mission of J. Joseph (directly from their site):

“J. Joseph Salon believes in commitment and creativity. Not only do we strive to give each guest our undivided attention but also encouragement and support as they venture into new looks, styles and color. Your satisfaction is our number one priority and we want our professional skill set to meet the needs and desires of your heart. We understand that beauty is personal; we understand that beauty is intimate and we thank you, for your trust.”

Have a place or product you want me to review? 
Contact me HERE! I’m PR friendly 😉

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Also check out my review of my day at Grand Beauty Spa in Tampa

Eat Healthy and Get Clear Skin? Maybe

If you’re looking for one more reason to add “eat healthier” to your New Year’s resolutions, you’ve come to the right place. Your diet has a significant effect on the health of your skin, as what you put in your body shows up on your skin.

In today’s post I want to tell you about the foods you should be eating to prevent yourself from getting acne, and what you should be avoiding if you have acne. Now, don’t misunderstand – what you eat is actually only one of the causes of acne, but it’s still important to factor in to your skin care. 

Healthy Diet for Healthy Skin

Possible Acne Fighting Foods

Salmon, carrots, spinach and broccoli: These foods are rich in vitamin A which helps regulate the skin cycle. Salmon and other cold-water fish also boost your body’s omega-3 fatty acids which inhibit inflammation and helps with healthy skin cell growth.

Turkey and almonds: These are rich in zinc which makes for a non-acne friendly environment on your skin.

Avocados, sweet potatoes, leafy greens: Foods like this are rich in vitamin E which calms the skin. Vitamin C also does a great job of calming the skin and you can find it in foods like grapefruit and oranges.

– Tuna, eggs and brown rice: These foods produce selenium which helps protect skin from damage. As a side benefit, selenium also helps prevent dandruff. This vitamin is best ingested along with vitamin E for the best defense against acne.

Wash all that healthy food down with a big glass of water: Although there are no vitamins in water, this thirst-quenching beverage is crucial for fighting acne because it helps flush out any toxins that may cause it. You should already be consuming eight glasses of water a day for health and hydration, and this is just one more benefit of drinking it.

Food to Avoid When You Have Acne

It is true, that there is no concrete, scientific guarantee that avoiding certain foods when you have a breakout will help you get rid of it. However, with all of the evidence that studies have given us that certain foods can make your skin worse, perhaps not eating them is a good idea. With that in mind, here are some of the foods you might want to steer clear of if you find yourself faced with a breakout:

All grains and simple sugars (i.e. sodas, doughnuts, candy): Grains and simple sugars cause an influx of insulin which can increase the production of testosterone in your body. The testosterone causes a substance called sebum to be secreted in your pores which is a breeding ground for acne. Grains and simple sugars can also increase inflammation, which can potentially cause acne as well.

Dairy, specifically cow’s milk that has been treated with growth hormones: Consumption of this type of dairy can cause increased levels of androgens in the body which also leads to the production of sebum. Androgens and testosterone are both male hormones.

Typical” junk food: Stay away from pretzels, chips, cookies and cakes as these are high glycemic foods that are just as detrimental to your body as the grains and simple sugars mentioned above. Avoid fast food too because the greases in these fried meals can cause massive inflammation leading to even more breakouts.

Sushi made with white rice: White rice is a high glycemic food that can cause increased levels of insulin. If you must have sushi while enduring a breakout, either get it with brown rice, or no rice at all.

Alcohol: Okay, so this isn’t a food, but alcohol is laden with sugar especially when mixed with additives for cocktail recipes. Again, insulin increase equals acne breeding ground. Essentially your goal should be to avoid foods that will cause dramatic increases in male hormones, insulin levels and inflammation as all three can wreak havoc on your skin.

Today is a Gift – That’s Why it’s Called The Present

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.

His bed was next to the room’s only window

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.

Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats.. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.’


There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.

Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.

If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.

‘Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present .’

I don’t know the origin of this story, but I felt compelled to share it with you. If you too were moved by this, share it too! May your days be filled with an abundance of love, joy, hope, wealth, good health and happiness.

Is Your Skin Winter Ready?

Is it truly the most wonderful time of the year? Perhaps for young ones and teachers eagerly awaiting winter break, and children aged one to 100 that are excited about the holidays, yes. However, for our skin, it may not be the most wonderful time of the year. Dry and flaky skin, itchiness from all those clothes we have to pile on, the bite of that winter air – old Jack Frost can leave our skin craving those warmer months. If this sounds familiar, below are some things that may help your skin to feel better all winter long.

Winter Ready Skin

Your Four Steps to Winter Ready Skin

1. Give Yourself a Hand (Moisturizer)

Dare I say, during those cold winter months, the hands take the brunt of the damage. Most people wear long sleeves, pants and jackets, but the hands are another story. Unless you’re frequently donning gloves or mittens, which most people don’t until it gets “really cold,” your hands are being constantly exposed to the frigid temps. This dries them out, and can lead to cracking and bleeding. It’s critical you use a good moisturizer, and many experts think it should be one that is glycerin-based. You should at least be putting it on when you get up in the morning and before bed. And, put on some more when your hands feel dry. Moisturizing gloves while you sleep my also be beneficial.

2. Remedy Your Chapped Lips

First, one thing that can actually help you a ton is drinking more water. Staying hydrated may not be at the top of your mind because you’re not as thirsty when it’s so cold, but you need to be drinking plenty of water all year long.

Second, wear a quality lip balm or chapstick that has sunscreen in it. Not only will this help moisturize and mend your chapped kisser, it will protect as well.

Third, and this is the hardest one for most people, don’t lick your lips. Believe it or not, licking your lips can make the chapped factor worse! 

Finally, the winter weather wreaks havoc on the lips, but you shouldn’t exfoliate them. Instead, make sure you are using a good quality lip balm to avoid chapped lips. Learn why exfoliation is bad for your lips here.

3. Exfoliate and Moisturize All Over

Perhaps even more so than the rest of the year, you’ll have dead skin that needs to be exfoliated away. When you exfoliate, you’re replenishing your skin by removing the dead layer of skin cells. Twice a week you should be gently buffing away these cells making way to the new cells to develop without anything in their way. While bathing, use a nonabrasive exfoliant, and after you’ve dried off, moisturize from head to toe. Don’t overdo it with exfoliation, twice a week should be fine, but don’t neglect doing it either. Exfoliating helps replenish skin and improve your moisturizer’s effectiveness.

Exfoliation allows moisturizers to penetrate the skin more easily, and during the winter you really want to maintain some moisture. Moisturizers will help prevent your skin from becoming too dry in the harsh winter weather. You may also want to consider moisturizing more than once a day.

Exfoliation and moisturizing alone will make a massive difference in repairing your skin. However, there are also products you can use at home to heal some of the damaging effects from the sun you may have endured over the summer.

4. Protect The Skin You’re in

It’s easy to forget that the sun is still shining during the winter, especially when you’re so cold you’re wearing three or four layers of clothing. But, believe it or not, you can still experience sun damage that could lead to skin cancer if you’re not protecting your skin from the sun in the winter. Sunscreen is a must all year long.

Additional Things to Consider When Prepping For Winter

– You don’t need to replace all of your products, but some experts do recommend using a heavier cream or an ointment as your moisturizer.

– Although you definitely should exfoliate twice a week, it’s imperative that you use a gentle exfoliation product. It’s also important not to do it too frequently. If you’re experiencing too much redness and irritation, you may be exfoliating too often.

– Cracked heel skin is pretty common, and it only gets worse in the winter months. All the dry air can exacerbate the cracking making walking painful, and putting you at more risk of infection. One thing that can help in a big way is to moisturize your feet with something like Vaseline. Before bed, don your feet with petroleum jelly, wrap them in plastic wrap, and cover with socks. You should wake up with your heels much more moisturized, and hopefully your heels will begin to heal.

The winter months may be frigid and drying, but your skin doesn’t have to suffer. May your skin be merry and bright. And, may you be protected from winter’s cold bite!

winter ready skin skiing

5 Ways You’re Destroying Your Skin

It may be hard to believe, but even with all the advancements in skin care, people are still destroying their skin daily. Some people don’t even realize they’re doing it, and what’s worse is some people think things they are doing are helping their skin when in fact they couldn’t be more wrong. Check out the 5 common ways people are damaging their skin and see if you’re guilty of it too and how you can stop it.

Destroying Your Skin

1. Despite your best efforts you are killing your skin with UV rays. Just because you put on sunscreen in the morning, does NOT mean you’re protected all day. Just 15 minutes can cause a burn that leads to premature wrinkles.

A re-application of sunscreen midday might be a good idea even if you’re just going to be in the sun from your office to your home during your commute.

Oh and by the way, don’t think for a moment that there is anything such as a “safer” ray. Many folks make the mistake of believe that the rays of a tanning salon are better for you.

2. You’re exfoliating too much/ too often

Yes, exfoliating is great for your skin, but you can do too much. For most people exfoliation shouldn’t be done more than 2-3 times per week and for others it should be done even less! Over-exfoliation can cut, break, tear and wear down your skin leading to rashes, breakouts and more

3. You use soap to wash your face, and worse you do it with a wash cloth.

The soap you use on your body is not okay for your face. Why? Because not matter how gentle you think it is, it’s likely too abrasive for your more sensitive skin on your face.

As for the wash cloths, use those on your body, not your face. A washcloth can be too rough and breakdown your skin and could have more bacteria than you realize on it.

4. You don’t take off your makeup before bed.

Sleeping is one of those wonderful times that your skin’s cells can renew and heal, but if your face is covered in makeup at bed time you’re blocking the pores and asking for breakouts.

5. You don’t get enough facials.

Not only does it feel much better to have someone else care for your skin, having a professional give you a facial can give you additional insight as to what your skin is missing and help you learn the proper way to do facials to yourself at home.

Now, we want to hear from you. Are you guilty of any of the above bad skin acts? If so, now is the time to change! Stay tuned to our blog for more great ideas to help take better care of your skin.

PSA! Throw Away That Old Makeup


Think about this, even though it may gross you out when you do – how long has your makeup been sitting in your makeup bag or box? If you’re like most women, you probably have no clue.

Well, that makeup might be older than it should be, and it could be time to throw that crap out. How long can you keep your makeup?

  • Mascara only lasts about three months
  • Pencil eyeliner lasts for roughly two years, but liquid/gel eyeliner only lasts three months
  • Lip gloss should really be tossed after about 18 months
  • Lipstick and lip liner is only good about a year
  • Blush, eye shadow and bronzers that are powder can last up to two years, but creamed stuff? That should go after a year
  • Oil-free foundation and concealers – toss after a year

Another way to know it’s time to get rid of your makeup is if you have recently had any kind of infections, if it smells funny or looks different, or if it suddenly feels weird on your skin.

Is it time for you to toss some of your makeup? Not doing so could lead your skin to become irritated, or worse infected. It could also just look cakey or not cover your face very well.

Going forward you may want to add a label to your new makeup to know how old it is. You can add a little piece of painters tape or a sticker to the bottom of your make up containers, and mark with a Sharpie the date you opened them. This can help you determine whether or not it’s time to let it go.

Source for image above