Friday, February 5, 2016

Grapefruit Bodywash roundup

I've posted before about some of my favorite grapefruit scented products from lotion, to body wash, to a toner. Well, I found three more grapefruit scented body washes that I really love! It wakes me up in the morning  and makes me feel energized! I'm really in natural cleaners, so you won't catch using a bath set from Bath & Body Works or Victoria Secret. All three of these products are natural so if you love citrus scents you should give these a try!

Burt's Bees Extra Energizing Citrus & Ginger Body Wash $8 for 12 oz
This doesn't foam as much as a regular body was because it has no sulfates, but it does have some foam. It's described as a sweet orange scent with ginger root extract.

Yes to Grapefruit Rejuvenating Body Wash $9 for 16.9oz
This formula does have sulfates but is petroleum and paraben free (no mineral oil). It uses organic grapefruit peel extract.

Kiehl's Bath and Shower Liquid Body Cleanser $25 for 16.9oz
This is a bit of a splurge, but it's formulated with humectants such as aloe vera, peptides and castor oil to help skin maintain its moisture. The ingredients do list sulfates so I'm surprised it has a low lather.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sports Bra Review

The experts say that sports bras have a limited run and that you need to replace them after extended wear because they stretch out. I've switched out my old sports bras  for these two. On the left is the Nike Pro Rival that I use for running. As I was making my Vision Board and flipping through all my old issues of Women's Running Magazine, I saw this bra in two issues. What's so unique about it is unlike the typical sports bra that gives you a flat uni-boob, this one keeps you perky and separated. I almost feel like Laverne and Shirley in their sweater sets. lol  It's made of dry fit fabric so it stays dry after a tough workout. For my yoga class, I bought the Lululemon Energy Bra because the design looks so pretty with my backless shirts. If you're well endowed and looking for a high and medium support sports bra, check these out.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Supermodel Beauty Secrets!

I know everyone has different skin types and concerns, but here are some women who have tried virtually every beauty remedy out there. For a product junkie like me, they listed all the things you need to look pretty so you know what to splurge on. They also reminded me to book more appts with my dermatologist and aesthetician as they play a big role in keeping skin healthy and youthful.

The Everyday Supermodel by Molly Sims, 2014, 336 pages.
I waited a year for my local library to get this book which it never did, so when I saw the kindle version on sale for $2 I bought it. After reading it I realized I should have bought this book when it first came out, it's that good! Molly is 42 years old and had her first child at 39 and looks stunning! You might remember her from the TV show Vegas or her numerous issues in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. She has an awesome lifestyle blog. She's serious about her supplements and recommends biotin and silica. Molly recommends light peels to bright your skin. Like me, she's a fan of natural products and recommends some lines I hadn't heard of. She shares all the procedures she's had done at the dermatologist and her favorite workouts in NYC. For hair, she recommends It's A 10 leave in conditioner which I had also read was a must have product by Gabrielle Union in a magazine. Both Molly and Christie swore by Terax. Since I color my hair I'm always looking for new products to strengthen it. Molly proudly said she'll color her hair until the day she dies! lol Me too! And her mother wore earrings and lipstick while in the hospital. lol Molly admits to regular botox injections and coolsculpt on her abs. She gives a lot of pregnancy advice. She juices daily and does a liquid cleanse a couple times a year. Molly is working on her second book! 

Timeless Beauty by Christie Brinkley, 2015, 208 pages
Christie is 61 years old and looks amazing at her age! I had mixed feelings about this book because it seemed like it was done to promote her beauty line so it didn't feel it as genuine as Molly's book. Christie said smiling was her beauty secret and talks about being positive and happy, yet she's been divorced 4 times so all that smiling must not be working out for her. She starts off saying she just recently stopped eating fish, then describes her diet as "mostly vegan" and eats probiotics with her yogurt every morning. I don't understand why she doesn't call herself a vegetarian since she eats dairy??? She lists all the supplements she takes including BioSil for her hair, skin and nails (which I found at Whole Foods). She says she never skips wearing mascara because "it's the single most important thing you can do to change your face." I completely agree as I've been wearing mascara almost daily since middle school. She swears by sugar water as an old-fashioned trick to hold hair and how it works better than any other product out there. I smiled when I read that because my mother has been using this technique her whole life.  She shares her favorite hair products and recommends the best lasers at the dermatologist. 

Becoming by Cindy Crawford, 2015, 256 pages

Cindy is turning 50 this month, can you believe it! She has her own beauty line and furniture collection. Her book doesn't share any of her beauty secrets, but I'm including it here because she is a supermodel. The book is more a coffee table book collection of her photographs and her relationships with all her photographers, including one who told he he'd never work with her again. She talked briefly about her childhood and start into modeling. Then she discusses her iconic photos - the cover of George magazine, the Pepsi commercial, George Michael's "Freedom!" music video. Her decision to pose for Playboy twice and includes those photos in the book. There's only a brief mention of her ex-husband Richard Gere, but a sweet chapter on her husband now. She reminisces on her exercise videos - remember those? Don't expect much juice out of this book, just a small snippet into her life and it's a quick read since it's mostly pictures.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Winter Reading List

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini, 2015, 256 pages

She starts off her book giving you a bullet point list of all her sins - adultery, sending hateful emails/texts, and being on occasion a horrible person. Just to get that out of the way so the Church of Scientology won't have anything to discredit her with. Before marrying, she said she treated men badly and didn't have much respect for them and talks about her promiscuous period in her early twenties. She says it came from her father because her heart had been broken. The church always made her guilt-ridden for her behavior and she was always beating herself up. Leah has given over $1 million to the church. She explains how the church makes ordinary people call their credit card up and up their limit to $10-25K and use that credit limit increase to make a donation to the church.

Leah is a funny lady so expect a lot of humor throughout the book. She shares stories of her first trip to Italy (for Tom Cruise's wedding) where no one knew who she was. How Tom Cruise's celeb-filled wedding was just a PR ploy. She tells stories of Tom behind the scenes and what an immature ass he is. Jennifer Lopez' stylist helped style her outfits for Italy because "I'm half Italian, so they could be planning a homecoming parade for me." She asked Tom's kids why they don't talk to Nicole Kidman and they said she was a 'Suppressed Person'. Katie Holmes wrote a knowledge report about Leah which said her behavior during her wedding weekend was "very upsetting" and "disturbed me greatly."

She was kicked off The Talk after one season which she honestly admits she was angry over for a long time. Her co-star Sharon Osborne once said, "The only reason you care (about this show) is because you're a loser, and you have nothing else going on in your life." She still struggles to fit in in Hollywood.

Leah said "There is no "right" way to be. I am flawed and imperfect but am uniquely me. I don't fit in and probably never will. And I don't have to try to anymore. That other person was a lie. And let's face it, normal is boring. We all have something to offer the world in some way, but by not being our authentic selves, we are robbing the world of something different, something special."

She thanks her husband for being with someone as annoying and trying as her. To the people she pissed off, personally and professionally, she asks for forgiveness because she's not sure much will change.

                                                                                              You Deserve a Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart, 2015, 274 pages
Comedian with her own youtube channel shares her hilarious drunken stories. It was rated one of the top humor books of 2015 by amazon and goodreads. We both stayed at the most random (now closed) motel in Key West, a clothing optional gay motel. I think I went off season because the pool was closed, but she shares some hilarious stories from her stay there. lol My college experience clearly was not as fun as hers! She's funny and crazy, watch out for a ballsy memoir that will have you laughing as you read!

The Piano Teacher by Janice Lee, 2009, 328 pages
I enjoy reading a lot of historical fiction but that typically involves World War II stories focused on the Holocaust. It's harder to find books that explore the non-Western experience. The Piano Teacher alternates between two different periods of time in Hong Kong and explores how lives in Hong Kong were affected by the Japanese invasion during World War II and life after the war. It's an interesting peak of life among the British ex-pats and their society which was a topic I knew nothing about.

The characters include Will's experience in an internment camp with other Westerners, and Trudy's attempts to make nice with the Japanese and provide for her own survival. Claire, the piano teacher, was much less interesting, and despite her title billing never seemed like a true protagonist. A young wife new to Hong Kong, Claire finds herself unexpectedly entangled in Will's secrets after they begin their own affair. I'd like to learn more about Hong Kong in this time period as a result of the 1940s sections of the book, but the 1950s chapters were just not very interesting, and some character traits (for example Claire's thefts that open the book) are not carried convincingly throughout the book.

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende, 2015, 336 pages
From an internationally bestselling author, here's an epic love story. It starts with Alma who fled Poland as a child to avoid the Nazis was sent to live with relatives in San Francisco in 1939. She befriends their Japanese gardener who later is sent to
internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When I went to Los Angeles a couple years ago I visited the Japanese American Museum I learned so much about this period in American history that I think is not well known. The book touches on some very historical events with great detail and touches on aging and friendship.

The Happy Vegan by Russell Simmons, 2015, 230 pages

As a vegetarian who loves cheese I thought I'd read this book, honestly not really expecting too much a celebrity book but I was really surprised as it gives a convincing argument for a vegan lifestyle. It's a tiny delightful book and an inspiring read. He dispels common misconceptions, explains the health benefits of a plant-based diet, the destruction of the environment, the horrors animals endure to feed us and even provides a helpful how-to guide to changing your lifestyle. I learned  that all the glass/plastic recycling I do does nothing compared to the impact of  environmental destruction by the meat industry and the large amount water it uses. He says you better check that your eggs are really "free-range" because the definition is very fluid.  Russell explains that once you transition to a plant-based diet your taste buds will change. He juices every day to make sure he's always getting enough leafy greens. Vegans can easily consume enough protein without eating animal products as there's enough protein in plants (beans, lentils, nuts, soy), as the average American eats too much protein. A few pages are dedicated to Bill Clinton and how he improved his health and heart disease through a vegan diet. Ellen DeGeneres says "she became a vegan because she loves animals and cares about the planet and her health. The way we are creating our food now is hurting both." I highly recommend you watch the documentary Forks Over Knives which connects how an animal based diet leads to health problems.

After You (Me Before You #2) by Jojo Moyes, 2015, 384 pages
This book is a sequel to the book Me Before You which is coming out as a movie in March. If you loved the first book like I did, you wanted to know what happened to the main character Lou afterward. Unfortunately, I have to say I didn't like it as much as the first book, isn't that what usually happens with sequels? But definitely check out the movie Me Before You.

Monday, January 25, 2016

2016 New Years Resolutions

I’ve decided that 2016 is the year that I'm motivated to make my healthiest and happiest! I want to focus on spending money on experiences/travel, not things/clothes. I’ve been blessed to have traveled to some really amazing places already so my goal is to continue that journey. My closet is so full I've run out of hangers and I'm not buying any more. I want to purge and declutter. I'm continuing my daily green smoothies (recipe 1 and recipe 2). I’m maintaining a food planner & journal (pic above) and scheduling all my workouts.  Here are a couple free workout planners you can use:  One and Two  Sunday is meal prep day and I make my lunch for the week at work. Keeping a food journal also helps me plan what I’ll eat for dinner in advance. I also set a reading goal of 60 books for the year, I’ve read 6 books already this month! I’d rather read than mindlessly surf social media. Reading in bed also helps me to unwind. Here's my vision board I created for this year, you can view my past ones here and here.

I looked at my calendar for fall last year and I worked out 5x a week without fail but my weight only climbed due to mindless snacking, liquid calories on the weekends and late night pizza. (And a special shout out to Rye Triscuits and Snap Pea Crisps - my weaknesses!) Exercise has always been my healthy addiction, it was just the food aspect I struggled with. Since I’ve starting maintaining healthy eating choices this year I’ve already lost 5 lbs. My goal is to lose 30 lbs by May 1. It’s important to have measurable goals with a date attached to it. 

I joined Orangetheory Fitness and am going twice a week. Like the name, the dark studio is lit up with orange lightbulbs. You wear a heart monitor (pic above) and everyone’s heart rate is displayed on a screen during class. Your heart rate will be in a blue, green, orange or red zone based on intensity. The goal is to be in the "orange zone" for 12 to 20 minutes of the class, which is helpful for knowing when you need to push yourself harder. The workout switches between interval training on the treadmill, a water rowing machine, TRX, free weights and abs. On the treadmill whether you are power walking or running you always have to be on an incline which I had never done before and is a bit difficult for me. I've learned that being on an incline not only tones your butt and legs, but it also gets my heart rate up and burns significantly more calories. I’ve slacked off on running last year so I’m glad to have a weekly appointment to do it. The class makes me push harder when I see my classmates on the screen (pic below) are burning more calories than me. 

I went to my first CorePower Yoga class and plan to go once a week. CPY is an invigorating flow yoga done in a hot room set to music. Five years ago I was a Bikram regular, going 2x a week for 6 months straight. So transitioning back into hot yoga is a bit hard for me. I love the way my ab muscles are always sore the next day!

The other three days of the week I rotate between spin class and workout DVDs. I recently went to a ladies of the 80s themed spin class and I sang out loud to all the songs! lol As you can tell exercise makes me happy and I'm dedicating myself to getting fit. I’m scheduling all my workouts in a very strict way on my calendar for the month as I need that structure to stay committed. If you want success at anything, you have to take it seriously and that's what scheduling does for me. 

I’m dedicated to making weight loss and myself a priority. I’m not happy where I am and am not going to settle for it. But I'm not wallowing in the negative, I'm grateful that I have a strong body capable of exercising. The adjectives I want to describe this year are success, confident, happy, gratitude, and adventure. I keep reminding myself that exercise keeps me healthy and happy. It's been scientifically proven that exercise has a huge effect on your mood and energy levels. It helps me to stop obsesses over the littlest problems as I can be very passionate about some things. 

Speaking of which another goal of mine is to steer clear of negative people. The toxic person who is chronically whining, unreliable when I need them,  always late, and then affecting me with their negative energy with craziness. Yolanda Foster had a birthday this month and said this about it which describes how I feel. "Your birthday is a chance for friends and family to express their love and gratitude. My birthday lunch was special for so many reasons. It made me so happy to look around the table and see my die-hard inner circle: the ones that stood by me through the good and the bad times, especially these past four years. I have learned that friendship isn't about who you've known the longest, it's about who came and never left your side. I used to think I had and needed so many friends to feel loved. I know now that if you have one or two, you are good. More than that, you are great."

I checked back on my resolutions for 2015 to make sure I'm still keeping up with those and yes I'm still keeping a gratitude journal and surpassed my reading goal by 200%! In 2016 I'm making being healthy a part of my daily routine, being mindful about eating as I'm truly motivated to reach my goal. Here's to a year filled with crushing my goals!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Glowing Green Smoothie

I've been drinking this smoothie for months now. It's delicious, gives me a lot of energy and glowing skin. And the high fiber content keeps me full. I make a large batch and put it in separate mason jars in the fridge for the next two days. I also add bee pollen to it to get more beauty minerals and a shot of energy. I buy all of the ingredients organic at Trader Joe's and $11 yields 6 servings, so it's a lot cheaper than buying from a juice bar.


  • cups filtered water
  • 7 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 small head of romaine lettuce
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 apple
  • 1 ripe pear
  • 1 banana
  • 2 TB fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ts bee pollen (optional) per serving

  • Directions: 

    Mix the water and greens first on low speed. Then add the fruit and increase the speed. It's best to blend the greens first to ensure they have the most time to break down. If your pear isn't ripe it won't be able to sweeten the drink. 

    Makes 3 - 16oz servings

    Recipe source: The Beauty Detox Foods by Kimberly Snyder

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016

    Winter Skin Care

    If you want your skin to glow and look flawless, you have to up your skincare routine. Here's my update to my winter skin care post from last year. Growing up my skin was far from flawless, I had acne for a really long time, and frequently went to the dermatologist to try new products. Now other than a few hormonal outbreaks on my jawline, I am almost acne free, but still a little oily. My new issue is hyper pigmentation or melasma. I've tried the Fraxel laser, LED facials, hydra facial, peels and look for products that brighten skin.

    I recently read Molly Sims beauty book which discussed 5 superpower ingredients everyone needs to have in their skincare products. I went through my beauty stash to make sure my daily routine includes them. I also shop on etsy to find products that are natural and have the same ingredients that expensive brands have such as Squalane and Camellia facial oils. Those are the little bottles in the back of the picture. Don't be afraid of facial oil, they're not heavy on your face. Instead of buying cotton balls I use a set of reusable, organic, unbleached cotton rounds that I throw in the washing machine every week. Read up on what cotton farming does to the environment.

    1.      Peptides  – prevent wrinkles (Pur-lisse serum)
    2.      Retinol – Vitamin A to exfoliate skin (Dermadoctor Poetry in Lotion, every other night)
    3.      Antioxidants – Vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid, alpha-lipoic acid/ ALA - all brighten (I use a kojic acid     & Vitamin C serum)
    4.      Hydroxy Acid – AHA  BHA, glycolic, salicylic acid - reveal cell turnover (Ole Henriksen         Invigorating Night Treatment, every other night)
    5.      Hyaluronic Acid – hydration (Pur-lisse Moist)

    I also exfoliate my skin twice a week to remove dead skin cells and brighten my skin. I use a completely natural product by SW Basics that only contains three ingredients: organic oat and almond flours and sea salt. Did you know there's a bill in Congress now to ban microbeads in beauty products since it's threatens the environment?

    My cleanser and toner are from Algenist Genius White Brightening line. Then I do a mask every Sunday. I still run my humidifier in the winter time to keep moisture in the air, preventing my skin from dying out more. I take BioSil vitamins which you can find at Whole Foods and Vitamin D in the winter time.

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