Link Love Weekend Sendoff, December 19th

It’s finally, Friday! Wind down from a hectic work week with the latest health, beauty and wellness stories from around the web. 

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5 Hacks For a Healthier Week via Refinery29.com

The Beauty Product That Prevents Scaly Winter Skin via WomensHealthMag.com

Could Weighing Yourself More Often Help You Lose Weight? via Cosmopolitan.com

How To Avoid Getting Sick While Traveling via Shape.com

Your Diet Doesn’t Matter If You Don’t Consider These 5 Things via MindBodyGreen.com

Best Products of 2014 via TruthinAging

Friday Favorites: Bronze Beauty Products & More

A shimmery bronzer and a musky cedar soap are a few of our Friday Favorites this week! See what else we’re loving, below:

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Clockwise From Left: Christophe Robin Shade Variation Care Mask available at net-a-porter.com, Ambience Unscented Candle available at hm.com, Nars Bronzing Powder in ‘Laguna’ available at sephora.com, Benefit Cosmetics ‘They’re Real’ Push-Up Liner available at ulta.com, Cedar Wood Soap available at cb2.com, Maracuja Blush & Glow Brightening Luminizer and Cheek Tint available at tartecosmetics.com, Nina Ricci ‘Mies’ Genuine Kangaroo Fur and Leather Clutch available at intermixonline.com

Leah Gay is the Editorial Intern of Spa Week Daily. 

The Best Scents of the Season

It’s starting to smell a lot like Christmas! Inhale the spirit of the season with our five favorite holiday scents.

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There’s no better comfort on cold winter nights than the flickering light of a cozy candle. Whether it’s the warm glow, or the candle’s ability to conjure up memories of happy holidays gone by, we’re not sure. One thing is certain, however—we dig seasonal scents so much that we’ll happily forego holiday décor in favor of a few festive candles. And since we’re so crazy about them, this year, we thought we’d share our favorites with you. Here are five scents that have brightened our lives and our living rooms this December.

($25.15, hillhousenaturals.com)

($25.15, hillhousenaturals.com)

Hillhouse Naturals Christmas Candle – With a name like “Christmas,” you know this candle is all about capturing the quintessential scents of the season. Indeed, ripe oranges, cinnamon sticks, frosted cones and evergreen needles blend together to create the best aroma Christmas has to offer.

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($44, daynadecker.com)

Estancia Chardonnay by DayNa Decker Candle – Created to complement your wine experience, DayNa Decker’s Estancia Chardonnay candle seeks to capture the beautiful scent of a balanced glass of wine. Containing notes of lemon zest, Anjou pear, tropical pineapple and creamy vanilla, the Estancia Chardonnay is a slightly less traditional holiday fragrance, but warm and wonderful all the same.

($16, anthropologie.com)

($16, anthropologie.com)

Illume Boulangerie Vanilla Fig Candle – Leave it to Anthropologie to sell a candle that smells as good as it looks. The Boulangerie Vanilla Fig by Minnesota-based fragrance label Illume comes in an adorable jar that on its own conjures up the feeling of Christmas. This clean-burning candle made from all-natural, food-grade ingredients exudes an aroma of  lush vanilla, orchid petals, figwood and black mission figs.

($48, olavie.com)

($48, olavie.com)

Olavie Cassis & French Oak Scented Candle – If you enjoy a nice glass of Bordeaux in the evenings, Olavie’s wine-inspired Cassis & French Oak Candle is the one for you. Hand poured using a soy wax blend, this luxurious fragrance is bold and full-bodied, making it the perfect companion for pre-bedtime reads in front of the fire.

($38, voluspa.com)

($38, voluspa.com)

Voluspa Spruce Cuttings Classic Maison Candle – If cutting your own Christmas tree is a holiday tradition, Voluspa’s Spruce Cuttings Candle will take you on a trip down memory lane. This woodsy scent is quite literally the essence of freshly snapped Royal Colorado Blue Spruce trimmings. Packaged in a gorgeous green-tinted jar, the candle’s elegant container lends itself to reuse once the holiday season is over.

Elle Fure is the Editorial Director of Spa Week Daily.

Foods That Help Digestion: Expert Tips from Organic Avenue

Organic Avenue is now serving up a healthy array of fresh menu items. We talked to their culinary experts about how to improve digestion, just in time for the holidays!

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If you haven’t yet heard, Organic Avenue, one of the city’s favorite green juice destinations, is now serving up a menu of seriously delicious and nutritious alternatives to your typical grab-and-gos. Soups, salads, sandwiches and even desserts have now made their way into the health-conscious establishments across NYC, and when we learned about the impressive healing properties some of the new recipes have to offer, we had to learn more.

At Organic Avenue, every item on the menu is carefully crafted to maximize both flavor and nutritional benefits for the body. Since the holidays are in full-swing, we were particularly impressed to learn that many of the meals actually aid in digestion – something we could all benefit from this time of the year.

Below, Organic Avenue’s Director of Culinary Development, Michele Di Pietro and Assistant Training Manager/Digestive Health Extraordinaire, Ryan Neller, reveal exactly what you should (and shouldn’t) be eating this holiday season; and shell out some expert advice to get your body functioning in peak condition just in time for the new year.

On the ultimate ingredient that helps digestion…

“Our shot of pure ginger juice is the perfect boost to any fruit or green juice for optimal digestion and nutrient assimilation. You can even down a Ginger Shot on its own 20 minutes before a meal to ensure digestive success. Ginger is a powerful digestive aid due to its active compounds, gingerol and shogaol, which stimulate the flow of saliva, bile and gastric secretions through the digestive tract.”

On what foods are the most common poor digestion culprits…

“Carbonated beverages (aside from fresh kombucha) hinder digestion big time. Soda, champagne, beer, tonic water, etc. create excess gas pressure in the body—leading to bloat and discomfort. Dairy products are extremely mucous-forming and clog the digestive tract—avoid whenever possible. If you’re a milk and cheese lover, there are many nutrient-dense nut and seed alternatives that the body can easily process.”

On pairing ingredients to improve absorption…

“One of our favorite pairings is a leafy green, such as kale or spinach, with a vitamin C-rich fruit or veggie, like lemon or red bell pepper. Leafy greens are rich in non-heme iron, which aids in the production of red bloods cells that circulate oxygen throughout the body. This form of iron is best absorbed into the system when consumed in tandem with vitamin C. Easy ways to create this synergy at home are to add lemon juice to your salad dressing, or to blend spinach into your fruit smoothie. When you pop into an Organic Avenue store, make sure to try our best-selling Lite Weight Smoothie, which does just that.”

On healthy holiday swaps…

“If you’re going to indulge in alcoholic beverages, definitely swap the champagne and beer for organic, sulfate-free wine or triple-distilled vodka. Carbonation equals gas and bloating. When you’re surveying the spread of appetizers, skip the chips—and dip with crudité instead. Bonus points for the hosts who serve guacamole or hummus instead of dairy-based dips.”

On the one ingredient to AVOID this holiday season…

“It may be difficult to avoid completely, but it is possible to limit consumption of refined, white sugar during holiday festivities. Steer clear of those dinner rolls and layer cakes. Instead, load up the majority of your plate with salad and cooked veggie sides, and allow yourself to enjoy the one or two indulgences you truly love.

We believe that dessert is essential during the holidays, so bring your own healthy treat for everyone to enjoy. Some of our favorites are brownies made with whole grain flour and coconut sugar, or gluten-free cookies made with coconut flour and dark chocolate chips. There are many simple and delicious healthy recipes in the blogosphere to experiment with, or you could always bring a bundle of OA Chocolate Mousse for all to share, and possibly get hooked on!”

What are your favorite foods to eat that promote proper digestion? To check out the delicious-ness that Organic Avenue is serving up, click here.

Noelle Chehab is the Senior Writer of Spa Week Daily.

Wishlist Wednesday: Best Skincare Products

Happy Wishlist Wednesday! Browse the stunning skincare products that made our list of must-haves, and share on social for your chance to bring them home!

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If you follow Spa Week on Instagram, you already know that today marked our annual White Elephant gift exchange. And while there were tons of pretty presents up for grabs, it really got us into the spirit of giving. Luckily, the Spa Week tradition just so happened to fall on a Wednesday, and thanks to our weekly wishlist, we get to treat you to some seriously gorgeous goods.

This time around we tested the very best skincare products on the market, and let’s just say some true stand-outs made our list. Plus, because we’re in the mood to spread some holiday cheer, we’re giving you a chance win a set of these irresistible goodies, valued at almost $600!

Check out the amazing skincare products up for grabs, and be sure to share our wishlist on social media for your chance to take them home:

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Clarisonic Mia 2 ‘Pure Glow’ Holiday Gift Set – Celebrated the world over for its skin-smoothening effects, Clarisonic’s brushes are the be-all-end-all  for every beauty junkie. The Mia 2 brush set includes Ole Henriksen’s  Truth Serum Collagen Booster, Kate Somerville’s Somerville360° Face Self Tanning Pads and Bliss’ Triple Oxygen Ex-‘Glow’-Sion! Vitabead-Infused Moisture Cream. 
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Tula Skincare Set – Boasting a patented Probiotic Technology and nutritious ingredients to revitalize and nourish the skin, TULA’s skincare products are designed to defend your skin against harmful external bacteria. This skincare set contains the complete TULA regimen: Purifying Face Cleanser, Illuminating Face Serum, Hydrating Day and Night Cream and Revitalizing Eye Cream.

 

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Pure MD Skincare Set – Whether you’re battling acne or aging skin, Pure MD’s skincare solutions can help. Coupling organic extracts like plant stem cells with beneficial chemical compounds, Pure MD’s products strike the perfect balance between nature and science. Try their trio of Balancing Cleanser, Hydrating Toner and Anti-Aging Stem Cell Moisturizer for optimal effect.

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MDSolarSciences MD Beauty Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 50 – Available in two shades (Light/Medium and Medium/Dark), this SPF 50 beauty balm doesn’t just protect against the sun’s harmful rays, it also doubles as a tinted makeup primer. Whipped and impossibly lightweight, MDSolarSciences’ beauty balm prevents photo-aging and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. eve lom

Eve Lom ‘Perfect Partners’ Set (Limited Edition) – Give your skin a fresh glow this holiday season with this luxurious at-home spa kit from EVE LOM. Equipped with a muslin cloth and EVE LOM’s multi-award-winning cleansers, The Perfect Partners skincare set will put you on the fast track to flawless skin. hawaiian moisturizer

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Ultra Light Moisturizer – If oily skin is the bane of your existence, the Hawaiian Pore-fecting Kiwi Ultra Light Moisturizer will become your new best friend. This oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer is made with 100% vegetarian ingredients. Free of artificial colors, synthetic fragrances and dangerous parabens, Alba Botanica’s feather-light facial moisturizer is a true find.

Don’t forget to share this wishlist on social media for your chance to win a prize pack as our gift to you! 

Noelle Chehab is the Senior Writer of Spa Week Daily.

Workout Wednesday: Core Yoga

Heavy holiday meals don’t have to cause a bloated belly! NYHRC’s Core Yoga class will leave you looking svelte all season.

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Just in time for those hearty holiday meals, a fat burning Core Yoga class at New York Health & Racquet Club was the perfect way to kick off the impending celebrations. Taught by yogi, Michael McArdle, the 45-minute class blends yoga, Pilates and strength training techniques that target typical trouble areas like the tummy, waist and glutes.

While different techniques are incorporated throughout, the class takes a more traditional approach, integrating classic yoga poses like warrior and upward dog. The class is ideal for devout yogis and beginners alike, because each move is carefully explained and executed before they are integrated into a vinyassa flow.

Core Yoga is particularly effective if you’re in need of deep, penetrating stretches. Countless hours spent sitting at a desk are erased as lower back and shoulder tension melts away. And coupled with stomach-flattening results, ‘tis the season to try out this workout!

Noelle Chehab is the Senior Writer of Spa Week Daily.

8 Cute and Creative Hanukkah Gifts

Happy Hanukkah! Celebrate the holiday with eight meaningful gifts for your loved ones.

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Tonight marks the first day of Hanukkah, and we want to wish everybody who’s celebrating a very happy holiday from Spa Week. While you were busy planning an unforgettable Shabbat dinner, you may not have had time to search for the perfect Hanukkah presents, but luckily we’ve got you covered!

This year, we’re taking the pressure out of finding the perfect Hanukkah presents with our list of fool-proof gift ideas. These unique and thoughtful presents will make everyone feel extra-special this year, and keep the holiday spirit in the air long after the dreidel stops spinning. Browse our eight favorite Hanukkah gifts below, and tell us which ones made your must-have list in the comments below!

chai bracelets

Chai Bracelets available for $48 at uncommongoods.com

star of david

Star of David Necklace available for $28 at etsy.com

oy vey

Oy Vey Sticky available for 3.99 at knockknockstuff.com

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Festive Kosher Gift Tower available for $39.95 at harryanddavid.com

jewish world

The Jewish World: 100 Treasures of Art and Culture available for $55 at metmuseum.org

shalom

Jewish Hebrew Peace Letters Print available for $85 at society6.com

dreidel

Blue Macabee Dreidel available for $4.95 at crateandbarrel.com

menorah

Michael Aram Rock Menorah available for $179 at neimanmarcus.com

PS – In need of a last-minute Hanukkah gift? Give the gift of wellness in an instant! At spaweek.com you can PRINT customizable eGift cards with Hanukkah themes! Click here to grab yours now.

Noelle Chehab is the Senior Writer of Spa Week Daily.

5 Best Pinterest Boards for Holiday Hair

To help you plan for a plethora of holiday parties, we bring you five awesome Pinterest boards to up your hair game.

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With Hanukkah kicking off at sundown and Christmas only eight days away, we bet your calendar is jam-packed with holiday parties. And with so many festivities crammed into a few short weeks, it’s hard to know how to change up the hair and makeup routine. If you’re anything like us, you’ve come to rely on the same semi-bouncy blowout style to carry you from one company party to the next.

This year, however, we’ve had enough of blowout boredom. It’s time to switch it up. So we turned to Pinterest. After a few hours of devouring every holiday hair album the platform has to offer, we finally settled on five favorites. Check them out.

1. Holiday Hair by Rahua Beauty

2. Hair Inspiration by Makeup Tips Blog

3. Party Hair & Updos! by Oliver Finley Academy

4. Holiday Hair by Eric Fisher Salon

5. Party Hairstyles by Rachel Vickers Makeup Artist

Elle Fure is the Editorial Director of Spa Week Daily.

 

6 Gifts to Pimp Your Pad

Turn your home into a haven of happiness with a little stylish self-gifting.

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When it comes to holiday shopping, you know how it goes: One gift for your girlfriends from college, two for you. And why should you resist the temptation to treat yourself? You’ve been good this year!

Here at Spa Week, we’re not opposed to pampering ourselves with presents—especially during dark winter days and the overwhelming whirlwind of the holiday season. So what are we checking off our own Christmas list? Gifts for the home, of course! For us, there’s no better reprieve from the bitter cold than a warm home filled with wonderful things. So, in the spirit of self-gifting, here are six unique items to elevate your abode.

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Philippi Butler Mirror Finish Pitcher

This awesome architectural pitcher is the perfect piece for impressing dinner guests. Sporting a polished mirror finish and striking spout, a floral centerpiece would look positively pedestrian in comparison.

($150, fancy.com)

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Violife Personal Misting Humidifier

A slightly more pragmatic piece than Philippi Butler’s art deco-inspired pitcher, Violife’s Personal Humidifier is certainly no less stylish. Available in three rich hues and one pretty gold pattern, we love this petite alternative to the basic and bulky drugstore brand.

($34.95, violight.com)

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ModCloth Cents You Been Gone Bank

With a witty name like the above, there was no way we could resist this precious piggy bank.

($11.99, modcloth.com)

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Pier One Elephant Teapot

Giving “the elephant in the room” idiom a whole new meaning, this cutie-petutie teapot is a true interior treasure. But don’t be fooled—Pier1’s adorable accent piece is more than just decorative. Made with microwavable stoneware and dish-washer safe, the elephant teapot is definitely designed for daily use.

($15.95, pier1.com)

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Uncommon Goods Driftwood iPhone Charging Dock

Modern technology goes back to basics with this nature-inspired iPhone stand. Handcrafted in Maine from natural driftwood, this minimalistic accessory is the ultimate juxtaposition of artificial and organic.

($72-$88, uncommongoods.com)

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Urban Outfitters NYC Glass Candle

This New York-themed candle requires no caption. Adorned with sweet landmark sketches, the reusable glass jar is black, white and chic all over.

($18, urbanoutfitters.com)

 

Elle Fure is the Editorial Director of Spa Week Daily.

Immune Boosting Orange Smoothie Recipe

Boost your immune system with this super-satisfying orange smoothie recipe from the Minimalist Baker.

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As the holidays fast approach, there’s tinsel to be hung, presents to be wrapped and parties to be planned. So it’s no wonder why so many of us find ourselves feeling run-down, stressed out and far from our usually energized selves during this time of the year.

You probably already know that Vitamin C is one of the body’s best defenses against cold and flu germs, and it’s especially important to get a hearty helping during the bitter winter months when our systems are struggling to keep us warm. So when our friends at the Minimalist Baker concocted an Immune Booster Orange Smoothie recipe, we couldn’t get to our blenders fast enough.

There’s another key player in this tart and tasty winter smoothie – sweet potato. Packed with beta carotene, Vitamin A and Vitamin C, sweet potatoes are somewhat of a superfood when it comes to protecting your health. Plus, with 4 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per potato, this ingredient is crucial in making you feel full and nourished longer.

To get the satisfying Immune Booster Orange Smoothie recipe, head over to minimalistbaker.com. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

What ingredients do  you eat to keep your immune system strong? Let us know in the comments below, and your recipe may be featured next!

Noelle Chehab is the Senior Writer of Spa Week Daily.