Wanna know what’s beautiful? Love.

Thursday February 14, 2013 | Musings

Happy Valentine’s Day my dear Ziba readers!!!

Does anyone know the history of how Valentine’s Day began?

Neither do I.

You know, I’ve always wondered about Saint Valentine. Who was he? Was he a he? Or a she? Why did he get this romantic day named after him? Did he die from true love? What makes today February 14 so special? And why is February spelled like that? I am always asking pointless questions.

But nevermind.

If you ask me whether or not I celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’ll respond with an affirmative “I Celebrate Love!”

And I do! I think Love is Beautiful. It gives a profound depth to our lives.

And I’m not just talking about the sugarcoated fantasy kind of love that is overdone in so many books and hollywood movies.

I’m talking about the truest kind of true love.

The kind that causes us to step outside of ourselves and realize that we are a part of something so much more. The kind of love that is unselfish. That compels us to forgive. The kind of love that a mother has for her child. The love that friends have for each other. Or even the simple kind love that fills our hearts, when in a moment of quiet, we see all the beauty that surrounds us. All of that.

I am pro-that kind of love.

So, when I say Happy Valentine’s day, you can take that to mean that I wish for your day to be filled with Love, Beauty and Harmony!!!

But hey, anyway. If it happens to be in your life, that “cheesy kind of love” can also feel quite alright =)

Love Animation

** p.s. this is a still from a little stop-motion video made by Oliver. If he ever gets around to finishing it, I am going to put it up here because it’s very cute and sweet!

 

 

The Perfect Gift Idea For Valentine’s Day

Tuesday February 12, 2013 | Health Wellness

If you’re still looking for a Valentine’s Day gift idea, then this is a really great idea.

There’s no need to spend any money. It’s something that will bring you closer together. AND it will feel really good.

But this is a gift that requires real work of love.

I’m talking about giving each other a nice, long, relaxing massage!

The art of massage has been around for millenia and played an important role in therapeutic medicine. Unfortunately, it fell out of popularity during the Dark Ages when religious authorities began to frown upon it. They didn’t like the idea that massages can also be quite pleasurable! But nevermind the negative and sexual connotation that continues to surround it.

The fact is, giving and receiving massages is simply a wonderful way to connect with your loved one.

While this article is geared more towards Valentine’s Day couples, massages do not have to be practiced only within the context of romantic relationships. Massages can be practiced by anyone on a regular basis throughout the year. Parents, children, and friends should also practice massages in order to achieve and maintain overall health and wellness.

Consider the numerous benefits of massage:

  • Relieves Stress & Tension. Massages work wonderfully for relieving stress and for preventing the accumulation of tension in the body. There are studies that suggest massages can also reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Feels AH-Mazing! Massages release endorphins, which act as a pain reliever and are also responsible for our feelings of pleasure. People often feel more relaxed and refreshed after receiving a massage.
  • Promotes Healthy Circulation. Massage is an effective way to increase blood flow and decrease lymphatic buildup. This means more oxygen and nutrients can reach your tissues and organs.
  • Strengthens the Immune System. The benefits from increased blood flow and lowered stress gives a boost to the immune-system. But also, massages reinforce the immune system by stimulating the lymphatic system which removes toxins from the body.
  • Improves Skin Tone & Texture. Stimulated blood flow improves the skin’s tone and texture. Massages can help remove dead skin cells and prevent cellulite. Also, depending on the oil used during massage, the skin can enjoy moisturizing benefits.
  • Promotes Better Sleep. Relaxing from massage can improve the quality of your sleep, which is crucial for health and beauty.
  • Creates Closeness. When you help someone to relax and relieve them of tension, a feeling of closeness can be cultivated. Massages can also help develop communication and trust within a relationship.

Some tips on making the most out of your massages:

  1. There are many helpful books on massaging techniques.
  2. You can take a couples massage training class together.
  3. Remember the oil. It makes a world of a difference. Even olive oil from the kitchen will do.
  4. Talk with each other and listen to what your partner does or does not like.
  5. The goal is to relax. The goal of the person giving the massage is to guide their partner into relaxation. The goal of the person receiving the massage is to relax. This can actually be more difficult than it sounds.
  6. Be patient with each other.

When practiced in the context of a romantic relationship, it’s important to point out that the massage should be about the massage. And not a precursor to sex.

Relaxation can be more easily achieved if the person receiving the massage is able to focus on the massage without the anticipation of amorous activities.

But you know, keep it flexible and fun.

And to enhance the delight…

Try presenting your Valentine’s Day gift in the form of a Coupon hand-made with LOVE! 

Massage Coupon Valentine's Day Gift Idea

Nothing To Be Embarrassed About: A Closer Look At Dandruff & Dry Flaky Scalp

Sunday February 10, 2013 | Hair Care

Look up there! It’s a bird. It’s a snowflake. No, it’s your dandruff!

Kidding aside, have you seen those anti-dandruff shampoo commercials where the person gets embarrassed about the white flakes on their shoulders? Well, that’s not actually dandruff.

In fact, a lot of people who think they have dandruff actually have a case of dry scalp. And it’s important to know the difference so you can appropriately treat the correct problem.

Dandruff Vintage Ad

Dry Flaky Scalp 

Symptoms

Dry scalp is characterized by those white, scaly flakes that you often see in anti-dandruff shampoo commercials. This condition is sometimes accompanied by an itchy and irritated scalp.

Causes

The possible causes are numerous. It could be caused by hereditary traits, stress, hormonal changes, lack of sebum, insufficient rinsing of shampoo, using too harsh a shampoo, over-washing the hair, using excessively hot water, vitamin imbalance, pollution, change in seasons, air-conditioning and central heating, and sometimes it can be a side-effect of medication.

Possible Solutions

  • Gently brushing your scalp before washing your hair can help loosen dead skin cells.
  • Use cooler water since hot water can strip the scalp of its natural oils and cause it to feel tight and dry.
  • Choose gentle shampoos that will not excessively strip the scalp of its natural oils.
  • Reduce the number of times you wash your hair in order to give your scalp the chance to produce enough sebum and to re-balance its own natural pH.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly. Drinking too little water can cause the skin on the scalp to become dehydrated.
  • Eat foods rich in vitamins A, B, zinc, iron and essential fats, which can help to alleviate the problem of a dry scalp.
  • Avoid using anti-dandruff shampoos for treating dry scalp. Alcohol in anti-dandruff shampoos can dry out sebaceous glands even more.
  • Look for calming serums and lotions that are designed to soothe and re-moisturize the scalp.
  • Hair care products that contain tea tree oil can help soothe itchiness.
  • Treatments with gentle exfoliating beads (like Kiehl’s micro-exfoliating scalp treatment) can help to exfoliate dead skin cells and product buildup.
  • Make sure to rinse out hair care products thoroughly.

Dandruff 

Dandruff should not be a cause for embarrassment as it has nothing to do with poor hygiene. It is a shockingly common scalp disorder, one that affects almost half of the adult population regardless of gender or ethnicity.

Symptoms

Dandruff is usually characterized by larger, greasy or waxy flakes or clusters of yellowish grey skin cells. It is a condition usually accompanied by itching.

Cause

There are three main factors that (when combined together) can contribute to dandruff:

  1. Overproduction of sebum by the sebaceous glands in the scalp.
  2. Metabolic by-products of a type of fungus called Malassezia. 
  3. Individual susceptibility. 

Having oily scalp does not necessarily mean you will get dandruff. Dandruff is the result of very rapid skin cell turnover. For people with dandruff, skin cells may mature and be shed in 2-7 days, as opposed to around a month in people without dandruff. Doctors are still uncertain as to why this happens.

One theory is that the fungus called Malassezia, which is normally present in most people, feed on sebum. Its byproducts then produces an inflammatory response in susceptible people. In other words, the flaky, itchy symptoms associated with dandruff may be the result of the immune system’s overreaction to the fungus.

Dandruff is tricky to diagnose because its symptoms easily blur with those of seborrhoeic dermatitis and other skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. If you are suffering from severe irritation or if the symptoms extend beyond the scalp, it’s very important to seek medical professional help to diagnose the root cause (ahem) of your problems.

Possible Treatments and Solutions

Although there doesn’t seem to be a solution that can make dandruff go away FOREVER, there are some treatments that can help to control it.

  • Look for shampoos that contain Zinc Pyrithione (like Kiehl’s Anti-Dandruff Zinc Pyrithione Shampoo) which is an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent that can help control the yeast population responsible for dandruff.
  • Other ingredients that might also be of help are ketoconazole and selenium sulfide.
  • If using dandruff shampoos, wash your hair between 3-5 times per week to help get the anti-fungal activity to the right level.
  • If using natural remedies, look for oils that possess anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Examples are tea tree oil, neem and sandalwood.
  • Avoid using natural oils that feed the fungus Malassezia responsible for dandruff. This oil, oleic acid is present in the popular four natural oils –  coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil and castor oil.
  • Don’t scratch! It might provide temporary relief, but in the long-run scratching can make matters much worse by leading to pain and inflammation.
  • Rinse shampoo and hair care products thoroughly.
  • Cut down on styling products. The buildup of greasy or waxy hair care products like balms, gels and jellies can make dandruff worse.
  • Look at your diet and lifestyle. Diets high in saturated and trans fats can cause sebaceous glands to produce more oil, which feeds the fungus responsible for dandruff.
  • Incorporate varied fruits and veggies that contain zinc and B vitamins, which may help to alleviate the problem.

So there you have it!

A concise summary of all the information that I gathered about the problems of dandruff.

Personally, I am still on the lookout for more lifestyle-based solutions that will make the problem of dandruff go away. FOREVER.

My hunch is that our scalp problems are linked with what we eat being somehow responsible for feeding and multiplying the yeast that contributes to dandruff. There may also be other factors in our diet and lifestyle which can trigger the inflammatory response of our immune system to this fungus. But that’s just my hunch.

I’ll keep you posted when I find more information on longer-lasting solutions for dandruff.

Hope this was helpful!

Sources:
Haircare & Hairstyle by Nicky Pope
Dandruff vs Dry Scalp, What’s the Difference?Brighter Sides
Scalp Matters: Treating Dandruff and Scalp Eczema – The Natural Haven Bloom
Dandruff: The most commercially exploited skin disease – Indian Journal of Dermatology