30 May 2013

Seasons in Scandinavia: May in Norway

May in Norway brought generous sun at last. Out of the rain and the dark clouds suddenly new clouds were born, spring ones. The first rainbow of the year stretched across the vibrant blue sky and underneath all living beings, shedding their winter coats smiled joyfully.

I'm exhilarated by the sun and the longer days. I cannot believe there is no more snow and the ice in the fjord is gone. I am thankful that it is now possible to sit quietly outside under the sun and not freeze. And I do, I sit for hours and I listen to the birds. I wish I could identify them by their songs but even my ignorance cannot stop my utter joy at the coming spring.Or is it summer already?

The National day of Norway brought colors and high spirits to the streets of sleepy Oslo.

For the first time in May we were able to enjoy the sun. The grass is almost green.

The fjord, the same one we used to walk on in the winter is now alive. And we all greet the sun on the banks.

28 May 2013

A Letter to my Traveling Self

This is the letter to my traveling self. I am writing it before I hit the road, while my head is still cool and I am not yet taken by the sights and sounds of distant lands.

I am on my way to my mother's home, a few-hours journey will take me back to relatives, friends and the streets of my childhood. The differences in weather, culture and relationships tend to blur my mind and distract me from my simple outlook on life.

That is why I am caringly preparing these words of advice, like a mother to her young daughter.

1. Talk less
There are so many people who want to meet you and talk to you but don't be fooled into talking too much. They all have their own worries and joys they cannot wait to share with so, so give them a chance and let them talk. You will learn more.

2. Don't compare
Comparison is the killer of all joys. When you're on vacation you view the world through your pink glasses and it is way too easy to judge wrongly. Be calm and open minded. Enjoy everything that comes to you and leave dreaming for later.

3. Be mindful
Be actively present at all times. Make sure you are not foregoing anything and invest your whole being into being the perfect vacationer. Put your non-vacation life on hold and immerse in the new place.

4. Be yourself
Don't be afraid to revert to your old self or new one, for that matter. Be who you want to be. People will always have expectations but you cannot make all of them happy all the time. So be who your conscience tells you and make sure YOU like yourself in the end.

5. Relax
Whatever you do, make sure you are relaxing. This is the time to refresh your mind and nourish your creativity. Don't let yourself be lured by petty problems, rise above them, open your heart and enjoy the change in scenery.

And that's it. A simple list of advice for a simplifier on the road.

Let me know what advices you give yourself before hitting the road.

25 May 2013

Simplify Your Online Routine

I like to keep it simple.

The apps I use to get through my day came with my phone: a calendar and a checklist.
I rely on my calendar completely, utilizing it frees up my mind for better things. I enjoy deleting the completed tasks from my checklist – rather than just ticking the box – because it makes me feel like I have obliterated a foe. 

I have tried a few productivity and time management apps: Pomodoro, Evernote… Some people swear by them, but to Sonya's point – I only felt I was giving these apps unnecessary time and attention, dealing with one more interface, one new set of alerts.

I am no Luddite. I'm not against trying a new, promising app. It's just that I often get the suspicion that many of them are trying to sell something back to me that I already possess: concentration and willpower.

Illustration by Anabel Bouza

Simplicity is at the root of carving free time for the things that are important. To us, living in a hyper-connected world, this means we must find new ways to streamline not only our physical routines, but our digital habits as well.

These are my four basic magic tricks. They make for a quieter day, I promise:

Postpone checking your email.
Remember how it was before the Internet, when you would have time to wake up before carrying on with your life? You were not expected to compose and send out letters immediately. Some things came first: getting ready for your day, or having breakfast. 

Checking your email first thing in the morning will immediately change how you approach your day. It presents you with chains of tasks that push back your original plans.
Worse still, if you do your best work in the mornings. I believe those with this particular superpower are called morning people. 

You should be using your peak performance time getting the important work done – creating, not wading through your inbox.

Unsubscribe from pesky marketing emails.
Reevaluate which promotions you want to hear about. Discovering that one of your favorite stores is having a sale will probably send you down the rabbit hole of virtual window-shopping. Don't give up your precious morning energy so easily! I bet you don't even need what's on sale. 

Not ready to unsubscribe completely? Modify your subscription preferences to hear from marketers less often. 

Streamline your online reading.
If you are like me, the list of blogs and sites you follow is pretty extensive. At some point my list became so monumental that reading through the feeds felt like a chore. Feelings of guilt ensued: all that lovingly crafted content, shared with an open heart by fellow bloggers, and no time – or the disposition – to read it...!

Make sure you're keeping your blogs, news, style and inspiration sites all in one place.
If you use Google Reader, you probably know by now that it is scheduled to be discontinued. People are flocking to other feed aggregators (Bloglovin, Feedly, Flipboard, Google Currents for instance) and you should too: Google Reader is going away on July 1st!

I have already migrated my feed subscriptions over to Feedly, and I'm in love with it. Its minimalist look and crystal clear navigation have turned my daily reading into a relaxing experience once more. 

Minimize alerts and notifications. 
Do you really need to be informed whenever an email lands on your inbox, or every time something happens on Facebook? Modify your notifications so that you're not being jolted by them all day long. Your focus suffers every time you react to a chiming desktop or buzzing phone.

Worried about time sensitive emails? Create priority levels and be alerted about incoming messages from specific senders.

Hope these tricks help you reclaim some quiet and free time. Give them a go, and share some tricks of your own!

Anabel Bouza insists there's powerful magic in the action of creating something out of a vague vision, a chill of inspiration. She is an illustrator with a passion for nature, paper manipulation, and pointing her camera at things.

Her appreciation for simplicity dates back to a former life in Cuba - her strange homeland - where she refined the ability to see the alternative uses of common objects, and the enchanting side of things. She's often found blogging as
Weird Amiga, hard at work in her sunny studio, or staring at things as if looking at them for the first time. Her tiny family is comprised of husband & a turtle. Connect to Anabel via facebook and twitter.

23 May 2013

How to Pack Your Bags in 30 Minutes

Summer is almost here and there is at least one exciting journey ahead each of us.

I know how daunting packing luggage may seem to some of you and that is why I decided to share my way of doing this.

Efficient packing is the result of only one thing -- good organization.

Here is what I mean by good organization.
  • Consider the weather at your destination, so that you can take the right clothes.
  • How many days are you staying and will you need to switch outfits during the course of a single day?
  • What is your agenda? Is it just a trip for fun? Will you need formal clothes?
After answering these questions it gets even easier.
  • Pick a pair or two of pants (and probably a skirt) and several tops that fit the pants as well as the skirt, so you can always come up with fresh combinations without bringing too much clothes.
  • Remember to get a cardigan or jacket if you need one. Rain jacket is always a good idea.
  • Maybe a formal dress?
  • Decide on the number and types of shoes you need and don't forget fliplops. You will rarely need more than 3 pairs.
  • Of course you need underwear, towels, and toiletries.
Now think of your intellectual well-being.
  • Are you taking your computer? The tablet? Or just the phone? Don't forget the chargers for each.
  • A book and pen and paper.
  • Another good thing to always have is a small first aid kit.
Now pack all these and you are all set!

I think that was just under 30 minutes or at least that's how much it took me to pack my bags. Easy, isn't it! A big plus of this method is that you don't even need to make a list because you are packing so fast!

Another good thing to do is pack a few days ahead of your journey, so you have time to rethink.

What approach do you use to pack your bags? Do you love or dread it?

20 May 2013

The Best App to Help You Simplify Your Life

It has been a little over 2 months since I entered the smart world. I am still using my simple mobile phone, a Nokia that has a good 10 days battery life but I bought a Google Nexus 7 - exactly the size of a book.

It is a good replacement of my trusty Lenovo L520 on creative outings when I need to read or write. I have my audio- and e-books uploaded and the whole digital world of simplifying and green information.

I have made a commitment to stick to as little apps as possible, because I know how distracting and time-consuming they can become.

Today, while cleaning one of my RSS readers I realized that the best app for simplifying your life cannot be downloaded. It is YOU.

Want simple life?
Stop looking for apps that only clutter your screens and drain your creativity. Go out there and live a simple life. No device will help you organize, declutter and clean your home or your thoughts.

Leave that smartphone/tablet/computer on the table and go do something. Be it just a slow solitary stroll. Talk to a friend, help a relative, make your loved ones happy.

The best simplifying app is you.

16 May 2013

Appreciating Daily Routines

When I was younger I wasn't a big fan of daily routines. I found them boring, monotonous and disconnecting.   I couldn't feel more different now. I welcome their disruptions and the lovely feeling that comes from simple accomplishments. I get way too excited by checking off easy everyday tasks from my to do list.

There are definitely ways to help you enjoy what seems like boring, meaningless tasks.

First, we need to remind ourselves the benefits of completing them. I personally still really dislike doing dishes. I blame it on my small kitchen, single sink and constantly leaky faucet. I could come up with a million excuses but the fact is I cannot focus well when I know the sink is full. I find myself spending way too much time thinking about having to do the dishes instead of just doing them. It's so silly when I really think about it! I also love love love a clean space so this habit of making excuses doesn't serve me one bit.

The next step is to create solutions that will make doing the dishes easier and more enjoyable. I think a little music break in the kitchen is in order.

Creating ways to make any cleaning project easier is key. Buy beautiful smelling cleaners or get crafty and make your own. I love my homemade orange infused vinegar solution. Fill a small handled storage container with everything you need to clean the bathroom under the sink so time isn't wasted looking for everything you need. Also instead of leaving one day a month for all day cleaning fests, do a little everyday. Several times a day I clean the bathroom sink. It takes less than 20 seconds and more thorough cleanings only have to happen every so often.

Currently, I live alone but I can imagine using everyday tasks as a great time to spend alone. Ahhh.... that sounds quite lovely. I use my errand time as a reprieve from emails, writing and social media. I add an element of exercise too. I stop by the store, mailbox or make a phone call on the way to the gym. If I need to go to a out of the way store, I walk there instead of taking an exercise or yoga class that day. Combining things that you don't want to do with things that make you happy can make the boring tasks less daunting.

If you love lists like I do, don't forget to add your simple everyday tasks too. Most people love checking things off of to do lists. Create a habit of reflecting on how awesome you feel after the check off. Attaching good feelings to things you don't always want to do instead of focusing on the negative is half of the battle.

Shelly is the founder of the program Creating Space, Mindful Living – motivating and inspiring people to run their businesses more efficiently. She helps others look at their personal and professional lives and explore what is and isn’t working. As a jewelry designer she has spent many years testing and honing the skills and discipline needed to run your own creative business while still having time for friends, family and fun. She puts her wealth of experience to use in the Creating Space service – healthy living advice to help keep you motivated and make the most out of your already busy schedule. She will help you find both the physical and emotional space so you can pursue your dreams and she’ll always insist there’s time for yourself. You can also find Creating Space on Facebook or contact shelly@creatingspacemindfulliving.com

15 May 2013

What I Could Have Bought (But I Didn't)

I am not a shopping kind of person. My mother never instilled in me the craving for shopping (thanks, Mom) and I often find myself one topic short when I converse with ladies.

Nevertheless, I too have my moments of wanting, contemplating, considering and deliberating between needs and wants.

I try not to buy the thing I like straight away. I prefer thinking about it first and the simpler my lifestyle becomes, the more I deliberate. I am aiming for a moment when there will be less thinking of buying. Then I will know in my heart that I have truly simplified my life.

Until then, I have decided to show you objects that have been tickling  my fancy but yet I have decided I could live without them.

Living in the forest was easy. I didn't have many shops around and so deciding whether I needed those red flats was absolutely off the list.

But the challenge of simple living cannot be confronted while  hiding in the wilds where there is no temptation.

True simplification can be achieved right in the midst of the shopping center, in front of the sixty-first pair of shoes you crave, next to the lady who just bought that ridiculously expensive clutch...

So, back to civilized life.

From the forest I found myself in a walking distance to the largest shopping center in Scandinavia. I don't like its 190 shops. But it's there. I avoid it because I hate the artificial air along its almost 1 mile of corridors and 8 floors. The amount of people is unbearable and yet, simply because of its proximity I happen to walk in it from time to time.

And so today, here is what I could have bought but I didn't.

NB. This is not a shopping fast. I am not even challenging you to buy nothing for a month or a year. I am simply sharing with you the way I live and my thoughts, hoping that I might encourage you to think twice before you spend your money next time on something that will never be used.

extra travel bag from Lucky Duck
The first thing I saw today is that extra travel bag from Lucky Duck I can easily slide on the handle of my suitcase. It looks so lovely and it's orange (my favorite color), plus I am traveling in less than 10 days. Why not travel in style!

Do I really need it? Actually no. I have enough bags and rucksacks to fit all my hand luggage for the flight.

women shoes from ECCO
Well, the shoes. Touchy topic. ECCO is an outstanding Scandinavian company that produces some of the most comfortable shoes ever. They are also actively reducing their environmental impact and are employing the principles of reducing, reusing and recycling in their production process.

I've had an eye on exactly 3 pairs on this table for a very. long. time. I look at them every time I pass by the shop, just like today. But I still haven't bought a pair. The price confirms my belief that the shoes I have on my feet are good enough. At least for now.

healthy fiber rich bread
Healthy bread rich in fibers. It is on offer but the plastic bag spoils the health effect for me. Blatant juxtaposition. Plus, all the E additives and colorings listed on the back destroy the effect of the spelt sourdough, rye flour, flax seed, oat bran, sunflower seeds. Not really healthy, if you ask me.

California cherries in Norway
Finally, cherries! My favorite fruit. I can eat nothing but pounds of cherries the whole summer. These particular ones come all the way from Fresno, California. The number on the front of the plastic bag tells me that at least they are not GMO. Numbers on fruits starting with 4 means they are conventionally grown, i.e. sprayed with weed killers and chemical pesticides.

The amount of cherries in this plastic baggie would cost me about  $10. I'd rather wait for the season of Norwegian fjord cherries. They will be cheaper and I will know for sure where they come from and how they were raised.

Did I just save $191.60? You could certainly say so. But I don't view it from that perspective. I don't beat myself for wanting things either. I try to be objective and weigh my opportunities and decide how to spend my money so that it makes me feel best. Sometimes it takes a lot of deliberating.

How about you? What are your shopping habits? How often do you stop yourself from buying on a fling?

13 May 2013

Natural Remedies Against Burping

Burping is also referred to as belching, or dyspepsia. When your body breaks down food into energy it naturally produces gas. When you burp, you release the gas that has built up in your stomach through your mouth. The sound that is associated with burping is embarrassing and often considered rude in some cultures while in others it shows appreciation for the meal.

Although burping is normal and even the most polite of us happen to burp from time to time, excessive burping and belching might be a signal that you suffer from a more serious medical condition.

Some of the causes for burping include:

Here are 13 natural remedies that will help you eliminate harmless burping.

Natural remedies against burping
1. Baking soda
A very effective way to deal with harmless belching is drinking a glass of water mixed with two teaspoons of baking soda.

2. Caraway seeds
You can eat them straight or sprinkled on a salad. Caraway seeds are known to calm the digestive tract.

3. Cumin
Use powdered cumin to spice any type of meat or soups. You can also roast equal amounts of cumin, fennel, and celery seed. Chew well about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the mixture, then chase it down with 1 cup of warm water.

4. Cardamom
Excessive muscle spasms are a common cause of belching and cardamom can help to tame your overactive stomach. Cardamom may also treat inadequate digestive fluid production. Use it in baked goods or in exotic meals.

5. Mint
You can use dry or fresh mint in different soups or bean meals. Or you can add a couple drops of mint essence into a glass of cold water and drink the mixture each day for two weeks to significantly reduce the belching.

6. Peppermint tea
Peppermint tea can produce the same results as mint because it soothes your stomach and reduces the spasmodic movements of your bowel. Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoon dried peppermint. Steep for five minutes and drink.

7. Ginger
You can take it in different forms - in meals, as a seasoning and marinade, or as a warm tea.

8. Garlic
Garlic is one of nature's antibiotics. It is very effective in reducing burping. Eat at least 1 fresh clove with each meal or boil 10 to 15 cloves of garlic together with cumin seeds in water and then add milk and sugar to makes a drink, which can reduce burping.

9. Clove leaves
Fresh clove leaves can soothe your digestive system and suppress excessive gas production. Chew a clove leaf after a meal to prevent burping and to increase digestion.

10. Papaya
The enzyme papain that can be found in papaya is known to break down tough meat fibers, so it is very effective in reducing burping. It is also a home remedy treatment for bee, wasp stings and mosquito bites.

11. Lime juice
Drink a glass of water with a teaspoon of lime juice combined with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar after every meal to prevent excessive gas production and indigestion.

12. Yogurt
Yogurt with live cultures, preferably with Lactobacillus bulgaricus is extremely good for the flora in your digestive tract. It can help soothe irritable bowels, and reduces the amount of burping. Eat some yogurt with live cultures every day.

Increase the amount of water you drink and avoid carbonated drinks and alcoholic beverages.

Large meals can also cause burping, so you might benefit from eating six smaller meals instead of three larger ones. Healthy changes in your eating habits can help you take burping to normal. For example, a high-fat diet poor on fresh vegetables and fruits can be a major reason for burping problems.

NB. If your condition doesn’t improve despite all efforts, you should see a doctor immediately as it can be a symptom of the more serious diseases listed above. 

Did I miss something? Do you know of  a great natural remedy against burping that I haven't listed? Share it in the comments!

09 May 2013

The Simple Joy of Song

Music has always been a significant part of my life. I began playing flute in fourth grade and played all the way through college. I sang in chorus just as long, and even though I was never a lead singer, I was a solid ensemble leader and held my own. So when my daughter was born, I knew that music would play a big role in what my definition of motherhood meant. What I didn’t anticipate was what a large part of our everyday routine would include music, or how well my daughter would respond to it.

Singing is one of the first things we do in the morning and one of the last things we do at night. There is no better way to guarantee a smile on my daughter’s face than a song. She dances and even now at seven months old “sings” (yes, it’s a monotone “ah” but it is a distinct and different sound than anything else she does). It has helped me entertain her in a screen-free environment. It’s also in my arsenal to survive all those meltdown moments we all have in the car or otherwise.

Psychologists, neuroscientists and early childhood experts agree benefits to music in early childhood are numerous. Reading and math skills can improve with the use of reasoning and comprehension skills. Music helps with phonological processing and language, as well as social skills. Moving to the music and using simple instruments help with gross and fine motor skills. Music also encourages creativity. These early years are very critical to lifetime learning, as this is when brains make connections and essentially learn how to learn. This is why early childhood education is so important, in school and at home.

When I talk to people about singing many say, “Well, my voice isn’t very good.” Let me tell you, you will never have a better or more captive audience. Your child or grandchild doesn’t care what you sound like, to them your voice alone is music to their ears. The second excuse I get is “I don’t know any songs.” We all have songs we like. There is no rule out there that says that we need to sing kids songs to our children. I would shy away from hard metal and rap (which have shown to do more harm than good) but other than that the sky’s the limit. Cora enjoys the Beatles, Frank Sinatra and The Drifters, just as much as Raffi and other classic preschool tunes.

I’ll give you a sample of our daily song routine to get you started:
  • Wake Up Songs – Mr. Sun and an edited version of Good Mornin’ from the show Singin’ in the Rain 
  • Lunchtime Songs – Apples and Bananas 
  • Good Night Songs/Lullabies – Hush Little Baby, Baby Mine from Dumbo, and Lullaby from the show Pajanimals.

During the day we cycle through any number of tunes. Some of her favorites include: Do Re Mi, My Favorite Things, Chim Chim Cher-ee, White Coral Bells, Bare Necessities, She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, Five Little Speckled Frogs, Six Little Ducks, Zip A Dee Do Dah.

If you need even more ideas follow my Kids Songs Pinterest Board.

I think the most surprising thing to me is how much I missed music and singing in my everyday life. Even if I’m just singing for my daughter and myself, it brings a smile to my face and joy to my life not to mention my daughter’s.

So sing a song.

Vanessa Williams is the author of A simply good life where she explores how lower standard of living doesn’t mean lower quality of life. After her decision to  get off the beaten track and forge new paths she has found that living with less actually means living with more. Vanessa explores the luring and dangerous grounds of the consumerism trap and offers a solemn and wise account of her real life experiences on the quest to finding what truly matters in life. Connect to Vanessa via twitter and facebook.

08 May 2013

Letters From the Forest: The Beginning

I have gone to the forest.

Not because I am disillusioned by people or the city with its fast speed and high noise levels. It was a pure accident that brought me here, and to a life I have never allowed myself to dream of. 

I have left the world of civilized delights without realizing there was nothing to lose. Circumstances, fate, destiny, God... something brought my little family of three to a little pine forest at the shore of the North Sea, surrounded by sandy beaches of different length, color, smell and view to the sea.

letters from the forest by kanelstrand
You can buy this photo as a print here.
I didn't pick the forest, neither did it pick me. I didn't know about the beaches, or the birds, or the deers I would meet. I wasn't prepared for the sea in winter and the fog in spring. I simply went to the forest in October and stayed.

You must not think that nothing ever happens here. The snowflakes fall gently just like they do in the city, and the wind beats equally as mercilessly on the trees as it does on the high-rises of concrete.

I could write lyrical letters from this place. And I will. I will write them to you.

This is the beginning of a series of recollections of my life in the forest. I hope you will enjoy my stories and will accompany me in this journey back in time.

The series is inspired by Knut Hamsun's book Look Back On Happiness.

06 May 2013

Simple Living Tip: Forget the Money

Simple living is a process involving all aspects of life. Once I felt the need to simplify I was able to take a step back and re-evaluate my actions, needs and wants and I saw clearly how many things I could change to become a better person.

Then, after months of shedding burdens off my shoulders, I felt relieved and more focused on creativity. I made room for spending more time with my family and with myself; I de-cluttered to an extent that was acceptable and freeing enough; I was able to walk quietly through the forest and not hurry.

But simplifying continues. In the beginning of the 20th Century, Antoine de Saint-Exupery said:
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Simplifying has not only increased my appreciation to the small but has also re-installed my ability to listen to my heart, and to hear my thoughts. This is something we all can do as children before the rules of civilized life banish it.

Forget the money, a phrase I read today took me years back, to a childhood of utopias. It was a time when kids asked one another "What do you want to become when you grow up?", instead of "What do you want to work?", as it is now.

We grew up with ideals, morals and motivation well beyond the visible and the obvious. The material world interested us only to the extent of being the arena of our adventures. All else was in our heads. Money was a word that did not concern us because all we needed was around us – friends, books, imagination, the great outdoors.

We were not focused on the money. Instead we developed our creativity and we were happy.

Our parents knew how to make do with what they had because they were taught to live according to their means. Loans, mortgages and credits were just terms.

But let's face it, all is lost today and we need to learn once more the hard way.

Don't focus on the money.

The greatest risk of all is to spend your life not doing what you love hoping that some day you can buy the freedom to do it.

You always have the chance to start doing what you really love. And if you love what you do you will eventually become a master of it. And then you will be able to get a good fee for whatever it is.

Focus on what your heart desires, and you will be self-sufficient and ready to meet any challenge.
Forget the money and do what your heart desires (infographic by Zen Pencils)So, what do you desire? What have you been postponing to start because you "know" there is no money in it?

02 May 2013

How to Get Rid of Face Blemishes Caused by Acne and Blackheads

Face Blemishes are dark spots on the face, which appear as an aftermath of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads or other conditions that clog the pores of the skin. Extensive use of cosmetic products, unhealthy diet and lack of vitamins may add to the reasons of face blemishes.

The good news is that your blemishes can be reduced and even eradicated naturally and painlessly with the help of a number of common fruits, vegetables and other home remedies.

How to get rid of face blemishes naturally
Photo: Audiovisual junkie

Here are 6 natural methods I have found useful in the fight against blemishes.

1. Sugar exfoliating mask
How often: 1 - 2 times a week
Why: Sugar exfoliates the skin and reduces the appearance of skin blemishes. When you wash it off your skin, a small amount remains in the pores and attracts water from the air, which keeps your skin hydrated -- very important for any skin blemish treatment. USe in combination with any of the following treatments.
Recipe: Homemade Sugar Face Scrub

2. Carrots
How often: 3 times a day
Why: Carrots are high in beta-carotene (converted to vitamin A in your body), and vitamin E – the vitamin that helps soften skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Also, carrots are very efficient in skin clarifying.
Recipe: Boil a carrot and mash it well. Apply the paste to your face with gentle circular motions. Wash your face after 20 minutes with milk.

Alternatively, you can massage your face with carrot juice. The vitamin A in the carrot helps lighten the skin blemishes and also revives your skin.

3. Carrots and bananas
How often: Once a day
Why: For carrots, see #2. Bananas are rich in potassium, which when applied directly to the skin, will suffocate the bacteria in cells, forcing blemishes to heal and disappear more quickly. Bananas have many anti-bacterial properties which can reduce swelling and infections from other skin issues, including Psoriasis, Eczema, and even painful bug bites. You can even rub the peel of the banana on your skin to get rid of acne.
Recipe: Detailed instructions via Crunchy Betty: Farmers Market Facials: Carrots!

4. Thyme
How often: 1-2 times a day
Why: Thyme has been proven to be more effective than prescription creams at treating blemishes caused by an acne bacterium. Research proves that the thyme tincture kills said bacteria within 5 minutes of application.
Recipe: Thyme/Witch Hazel Infusion.

5. Honey
How often: 1-2 times a day
Why: Honey has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial enzymes that kill the bacteria present in and on the skin and makes the acne scars disappear.
Recipe: Rub a drop of honey well onto the blemish. Let stay for as long as possible (a few hours). Wash the skin and re-apply.

6. Lemon juice
How often: 3 times a day
Why: The acidity of the lemon juice will break the upper layer of acne scars tissue and will reduce redness and blemishes.
Recipe: Apply organic lemon juice with cotton on the scars and rinse it off with warm water after 5 minutes.

All the acne remedies mentioned above help in removing acne scars from the skin effectively. You can choose which one to use or you can combine them all. It won't hurt.I strongly recommend using the sugar exfoliating mask as a part of any anti-blemish treatment.

Don't forget that the only way to prevent acne scars is by treating acne as soon as it develops and by avoiding squeezing, popping, and picking at pimples.

Important: Be careful when trying new skin treatments on your face. Stop immediately if you have any reactions such as a rash or an increase in acne. When in doubt seek advice from a dermatologist.