"Beauty from the Inside Out"



It happens every year; summer seems to suddenly disappear and the cool weather makes its way in.  (My first sign that my “new routine” is going to need to be implemented is the cinnamon wafting from my favorite grocery store.) Don’t forget though, just the warmer clothes cover your skin doesn’t mean you can take a break on your skin care regimen. Proper care can mean the difference between radiant skin and skin that belongs on a reptile. 🙂

Here are 5 easy and effective skin care tips sure to keep you glowing through the fall season:

1. I’m a huge advocate for exfoliating year round, but as the weather cools consider using an oil based scrub. In the summer, we sweat much more, so skin is hydrated without a lot of effort. In the dryer months, simply switching to a product that contains a natural oil such as coconut or almond oil is ideal. I make my own by mixing a few tablespoons of raw sugar with whatever natural oil I have on hand.  Massage into dry skin and rinse thoroughly. A dry brush is another great and easy method to remove dead skin cells. I do this every day before showering.

2. Moisturize every day, without fail. The best time to moisturize is immediately after you wash your face or shower, to really lock in moisture. Shea butter’s are very rich and wonderful, but you can use whatever you like.  Just be sure to use one!

3. Choose *seasonal* natural beautifiers. In the warmer months, I love to use fresh fruits to exfoliate and tone my skin. Try a delicious pumpkin mask for smooth, soft skin. Simply mix together either canned or freshly cooked pumpkin (about a half cup) then add some plain yogurt and mix. Massage into skin and let sit for up to 30 minutes. Rinse with cool water and apply moisturizer. Pumpkin in chock full of vitamin A and beta-carotene, both important for healthy, gorgeous skin.

4. Sweat it out! Because we aren’t sweating as easily in the cooler months, our skin’s ability to detoxify itself is diminished. Strive to exercise every day, enough to really break a sweat and boost skin circulation. You will have a beautiful glow no expensive product can give you!

5. Don’t forget your feet and hands. 🙂 While we often cover extremities in the winter, it’s important not to neglect them. Scrub tooties daily while in the shower or bath, and moisturize daily before bed. Hands need extra TLC in the dryer air, so be sure to switch to a heavier moisturizer and do not over wash.

With these easy tips, you will be sure to have beautiful skin, no matter the weather!


Find Happiness With Four Little Known Mood Boosters

(NaturalNews) Happiness is the state in which we were all meant to live. When this state of being eludes you, there are several mood boosting activities you can take part in to ensure low moods are few and far between. Many can even produce identifiable changes in brain chemistry almost instantly.

Get close to the ocean, a waterfall or any moving water

Moving water creates an atmosphere in which it is nearly impossible to feel hopeless and deflated. The 5 great freshwater lakes of the US and the ocean all are bodies of water that are in constant motion. There are two reasons these large bodies of water have a positive impact on our mood.

  1. The first is the power of negative ions that are generated from the movement of the water. Negative ions are very cleansing to the human body. They create a feeling of invigoration by refreshing and oxygenating the cells of the body. They are also antioxidants since they help to counter balance positive ions.
  2. Positive ions are also known as free radicals. In today’s world of “dead air” in which we are subjected to buildings with recycled heat and air conditioning, positive ions are much more abundant. Positive ions damage our healthy cells and create the perfect environment for sickness and disease.
Mow the lawn

Studies have recently shown that the simple act of mowing the lawn lifts the spirits. It helps create a feeling of well being and accomplishment. You are also reaping the benefit of aerobicmood-boosters-mow-lawn activity, which in itself elevates mood.

The aroma of cut grass has been shown to lower stress levels and calm the mind. The chemical released by the freshly mown grass directly affects two areas of the brain related to emotions and memory. They are the amygdala and the hippocampus.

These findings may also explain why getting outdoors in general helps to elevate mood and release stress. Studies have also shown that simply inhaling the scent of pine trees and other vegetation has relaxing effects on the brain.

Get a pet if you don’t already have one

Whether you fancy dogs or cats there are several studies that have shown the physical and emotional benefits of having a pet. Research has revealed that stress levels and feelings of contentment in the elderly dramatically improved by owning a pet. Dogs and cats are frequently taken [quote_left]“Happiness is the state in which we were all meant to live.”[/quote_left]to nursing homes as visiting guests due to their therapeutic value.

Studies have also shown that simply petting an animal lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body as well as blood pressure. Stronger human and pet relationships show greater benefit in mood boosting and stress reduction. The more bonded you are to your animal the greater the benefit.

Eat a banana

Bananas are not just a convenient snack to carry around. They are also one of the top foods that will instantly boost your mood. Their banana-boost-mood-foodcombination of tryptophan, vitamin B6 and complex carbohydrates actually converts to serotonin.

Serotonin is one of the primary neurotransmitters that helps sustain an elevated mood and sense of well being. Deficiencies in this important hormone result in depression, insomnia and mood fluctuations.

Bananas also contain filling fiber, which helps stabilize the blood sugar levels. Dips in blood sugar cause mood swings and can lead to over eating. The iron in bananas also plays an important role in energy production which helps enhance mood and create a sense of well being and empowerment.


Sources for this article include:……

About the author:
Danna Norek founded Aura Sensory Natural Body, Skin and Hair Care and promotes beauty and personal care products with an Aura Sensory Product line that includes Sulfate Free Natural Shine Enhancing Shampoo, a very effective natural deodorant, natural soaps and cleansers and facial skin care.

5 Easy and Effective End of Summer Beauty Tips

Summer is wonderful, but the intense sun, chlorine, and sand leaves our bodies in desperate need of rejuvenation! Here are some simple ways to restore your glow and prepare for fall.

1. Make your own “clarifying” rinse to remove all product buildup that leaves locks less that lustrous. Simply mix 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar with a quart of pure water. Wash hair with a gentle shampoo, then use this mixture as a final rinse.

2.  Begin deep conditioning hair at least once a week. My favorite new concoction is to mix one ripe avocado with a few tablespoons of coconut oil. Massage into clean, damp hair, and sit in the sun (wearing sunblock) for a good 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with cool distilled water for incredibly shiny, soft hair.

3. Exfoliate! This is my favorite beauty “trick”, by far. Before showering, use a body brush (found at any health food store) and dry brush, starting at feet and working towards your heart. (Pay extra attention to areas like knees and elbows.) You can use a dry wash cloth on your face before cleansing, or damp for sensitive skin. I also like to use 1/4 cup or so of sugar in the shower. The sugar contains natural AHA’s as well, which leaves skin radiantly beautiful!

4. Try adding a little honey to your evening moisturizer. Honey is a fantastic natural moisturizer that also contains natural antibacterial properties. I often mix a bit with pure coconut or almond oil, but it’s just as effective when added to your product of choice. Just be careful not to overdue to prevent stickiness. 🙂

5. As Within, So Without.  Try beginning your morning with some warm lemon water. This really gives your digestion a boost and clears your mind. I drink this every morning, following by a green drink made in my Vitamix. (Any green drink is detoxifying and energizing.) Cucumber is another potent detoxifier. Simply slice up some cucumbers and place in a pitcher with water. Let sit overnight in the fridge. Drink throughout the day for best results!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the summer, Dear Readers!  It always seems to go by so quickly! Please feel free to share your ideas with me as transition into the season of Fall. 🙂



Doing Everything “Right”, And Still Don’t Feel Well? Check Your Thyroid

As someone who has dealt with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis for over a decade, I’m all too familiar with the unpleasant symptoms that can come with a thyroid imbalance. I’ve always been extremely health conscious, so the diagnosis that was presented to me years back came as quite a shock!

While it’s long been commonly known that thyroid issues can affect weight and metabolism, did you know that depression, heart disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menopausal symptoms, muscle and joint pains, irritable bowel syndrome, or autoimmune disease could actually indicate a problem with your thyroid?

I didn’t. I also did not have any of the other “classic” signs, such as weight gain or lackluster skin and nails. I simply didn’t feel quite “right”. (I did, however, have frequently cold hands, but had this as long as I could remember.) Normally very energetic, I was able to continue my exercise routine and healthy diet. It was more a feeling of really having to “push” through it all, and feeling a little big of “brain fog.”

Working as a model for many years, I assumed  that vegetarianism was the best option for maintaining my weight easily and with the least effort. It’s also how we were raised. Additionally, I engaged in regular fasts, in which I drank nothing but juice and broth for 2-3 days every month. Looking back, I believe it’s quite possible my rigorous workouts, combined with lack of certain nutrients in my vegetarian diet, may have contributed to this now-epidemic auto immune disease.

Upon diagnosis, I immediately began working with a skilled naturopath, incorporating grass fed meats and wild salmon back into my diet. Previously a fan of abundant amounts of tofu, eliminating that also seemed to help. (Some studies have found soy inhibits thyroid function.) I began low dose Armour Thyroid, which contains all of the thyroid hormones, instead of the commonly prescribed Synthroid, which only provides T4.

I now thrive on a diet consisting largely of vegetables, some fruit, nuts, and lean protein, as well as several high quality supplements.  I eliminated gluten entirely several months ago, as many studies point to a strong correlation between gluten and poor thyroid function. I’m pleased to say that I feel better than ever!  I will continue posting recipes that I use and swear by, and look forward to hearing your feedback regarding on this topic, Dear Readers!

For more detailed information on thyroid health and how it could be affecting YOU, please see Dr. Mercola’s article at

Benefits Of A Scheduled “Time Out”

I recently returned from a wonderful vacation up in the high mountains of Northern Arizona. Joining me were my daughters, sister, and nephews, all in celebration of my mother’s birthday.  Before “take off”, I was lamenting the timing was awkward, as I had a million things going on in my life and taking off for an extended time seemed frivolous. My sister, a renowned chef in San Francisco, was also facing tremendous deadlines and “life” pressures. (Of course we didn’t dare express these concerns to our mother. Yikes!)

photoWe met up in our home town of Scottsdale, and proceeded to all pack into a suburban, quickly leaving behind the deserts scorching heat. Watching the desert landscape change from cacti to the mighty ponderosa pine was breathtaking. I’d forgotten how beautifully diverse and outstanding the state I’ve spent the majority of my life in IS. The troubles I’d been focusing on just days prior slipped away as the elevation increased and the temperatures dropped. Arizona CHILLY in August? Spectacular!

We golfed, rode horses, hiked, explored the Native land and took in the pure, almost unbelievably clean air. AND ATE. My sister, Amanda, is truly a world class chef. I vowed ahead of time not to ask her to cook for us, as she’s been coming off of a most grueling schedule. Of course my kids didn’t let that happen, immediately chiming in with “Aunt Amanda, you HAVE to make the roasted cinnamon sweet potatoes! The organic steak! The secret veggies only you know how do!” The fun part was showing her all my latest concoctions and working together to create new things that everyone in the family loved. (I will be posting new recipes shortly, so stay tuned!)

My daughter Maddie, who is now 12, continued her running training on the trip. I didn’t tell her about the altitude making a difference. I’d get up and exercise in the cool, crisp air every morning, then follow her in the car as she ran her three miles. (Before your jaws drop at the sound of my extreme laziness, understand she runs a 7 minute mile and is greatly embarrassed when I do try to keep up with her. I can do it for a very short time, but then my 12 yr old impersonation wears as thin as the air.) While I DID notice the altitude during my runs, she did not. The power of the mind, perhaps!

My mom’s birthday was a wonderful event, with her tearing up the golf course in a setting she describes as, “Where my soul is always happiest.” It was a fantastic time for all, with the greatest fun being simply being together.  The kids running around, engaging in the kind of joy that money really cannot buy. Watching my young nephew Connor tee off daily, or kindly instructing his cousins on the driving range. Hide and seek in the deep woods…It’s these moments I will treasure forever, and use as a note to always MAKE TIME for those we love and cherish.

I hope you have all had an enjoyable summer, participating in activities that make YOUR souls happy. (Do please continue to wear sunscreen! :))



Supporting Evidence for Aspartame-Alzheimer’s Link Emerges

Whether we are aware of it or not, Aspartame is a dangerous chemical that has been linked to everything from brain damage to cancer. Shockingly, many nutritionists in the United States still support its use. (It’s even hidden in seemingly harmless foods like frozen yogurt.) I personally recommend avoiding all processed food when possible, and reading labels for these hidden chemicals VERY carefully.

Here’s Dr. Mercola’s latest article on the hazards of Aspartame. It’s high time we really took a look at the ill effects of all artificial sweeteners. Natural options such as Stevia and agave make much better, safer options. 🙂


Double Duty Beauty

I regularly try to use the foods in my refrigerator as beautifying agents for both the Inside AND the Outside. So, before you purchase your next fancy miracle cream or spa treatment, try some of these easy-to-do favorites.

1. Mangoes. Mangoes are chock full of vitamin A and Beta Carotene, which restore, revive, rejuvenate skin, leaving a magnificent glow. (These properties also make it the perfect addition to your morning smoothie.) This power fruit also contains powerful natural acids, which help to exfoliate and prevent breakouts.

SImply scoop out some fresh mango pulp and massage in to clean, damp skin “as is”. Let sit for 20 minutes or so, then remove with cool water. OR, mix in a tablespoon or two of raw sugar for an exfoliating scrub, or add a little olive or coconut oil for an amazingly moisturizing mask! Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

2. Cucumbers. I eat cucumbers constantly in the summer, as they are very hydrating and effective at helping the body to maintain alkaline levels. SImply cut into slices and add to a pitcher of cool water, drinking throughout the day.

They are also phenomenal as a topical treatment. Long known to soothe swollen eyes, the mighty cukes anti-inflammatory agents also work beautifully to brighten, hydrate, and tone skin. For a simple yet effective mask for all skin types, simply peel a cucumber and mix in a blender with about a half cup of raw oats. Massage into clean skin, let dry slightly for about 15-30 minutes. Rinse with cool water, follow with moisturizer. Mixture will keep up to 3-5 days in the fridge.

3. Epson salt.

While I don’t normally store Epson salts in my fridge, it’s something I use frequently and for many uses. Of course, nothing beats a soak in and Epson salt tub after a long day of sports activity. The salts contain magnesium, which many of us are deficient in. Soaking in Epson salts is one of the easiest ways to get a “boost” of this essential mineral. This helps flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, reduces inflammation, and relieves stress.

I also like to use it as an exfoliante. (I will try almost anything to exfoliate! :)) Epson salts are very gentle, but do be careful not to get into eyes or any open skin wounds. Just pour a little in your hand and add a few drops of cool water, massaging wherever needed. I use on face and entire body, as it rinses easily.

(Summer is the perfect time for the freshest and healthiest concoctions. Experiment away!)

REAL Fast Food

Fresh Vegetables and Fruits



Recently Dr. Norm Shealy shared this with me. I’m re-posting (and adding my own additions) here because I think it’s a perfect snack or quick meal in the summer!

C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.

I was sitting at my computer, as usual, when my stomach said “Lunch Time” so I opened a 15.5 oz can of chick peas, drained them, put into the food processor and added 6 oz of old fashioned peanut butter and 6 tablespoons of chia seeds. Processed the mixture 2 minutes, got out several stalks of celery and ate about one-third of the mixture. Delicious, inexpensive, high protein and fiber. Two meals ready for another time! A maximum 5 minutes for 3 meals for not more than $1.50 each. Less expensive than my usual real fast food of nuts and fruit!

Wendy’s comments: You can leave out the chia seeds entirely if desired, or substitute ground flax if you have on hand. Additionally, you can use any nut butter: almond, cashew, hazelnut, whatever you like! For a delicious treat, you may want to substitute dark chocolate almond butter. My kids absolutely love this! 🙂

Perfect Pesto, Pronto!

I’m always looking to create recipes that are not only healthy, but incredibly delicious. I came up with this nutrient packed “pesto” while trying to think of a way to use a variety of summer fresh veggies in an easy fashion. You can switch up the ingredients according to taste or what you happen to have on hand, or growing in the garden. (Works beautifully with lightly steamed broccoli and asparagus.) The basic recipe is as follows:

2 cups fresh basil

1 cup kale or baby spinach

1/2 cup cilantro (optional)

1 large carrot

1/3 cup raw walnuts

1-2 cloves peeled garlic

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan

1/2 cup cold pressed olive oil

Mix all ingredients in a high speed blender of food processor, gradually pouring in olive oil. This is wonderful over your favorite pasta, but I also use it as a topping for everything, from steamed veggies to fish!  Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Beauty&Soul News


May/June 2014

Welcome, Beauty&Soul Readers!

I’m thrilled to announce the launch of our new website. It’s been a long time coming, and I thank you all so much for your patience. I believe it will be more than worth it when all is done. You may now browse through the site to see the wonderful menu of options that will be available. These new offerings will be coming as rapidly as possible, so please check back frequently! 🙂

We will still have the old “Ask Wendy” option, as I do try to answer as many questions (briefly) as time permits. However, one of my favorite new additions will be the interactive version. You will now be able to work with me in the privacy of your own home, via Facetime or Skype. I will be available and eager to help you with any of your health, wellness or beauty concerns and look forward to meeting many of you “in person!”

I have strived to learn as much as possible about living a truly healthy, enlightened lifestyle from the time I can remember. As a child, I would read my grandfather’s medical journals along with spiritual treasures my dad had in his library. I soaked it all up, always interested in blending the traditional and the more eclectic forms of health and healing. The idea and science behind our THOUGHTS actually being able to create our state of health, even the way we looked, fascinated me.

Working as a model allowed me to take my interest in natural health and beauty to another level. It was at this time I realized that many of the foods we put in our bodies for optimal health were also exceedingly effective when used externally. Since the beginning of our website in 1997, I have felt an obligation to share my years of experience to help others create a healthy, natural, joyful and beautiful life, from the inside out! 🙂 My vision for this new site will allow us to all continue learning and growing together in this same fashion. I hope when you visit, you will feel as if you are.

The site will be much more interactive in general, allowing us to have a more personal feel and share as a community. My daughter, Maddie, will be hosting “Maddie’s corner”, a section devoted to the health and radiant well being of children. Like her mother, your’s truly, she’s deeply committed to all things health-full. It’s my hope her input will reach an audience that is close to my heart…Young people!

As I so enjoy sharing my latest concoctions and ideas with you, I just as much appreciate the reciprocity of learning from you, Dear Readers. Please feel free to share your thoughts about the new site. Your comments will serve to inspire and enrich myself and others.