Sunday, September 24, 2017

5 Reasons to Be Excited For Fall


It's officially fall, I can't believe summer went by so fast! Every year I pull out my Fall Bucket List and look forward to all the fun activities this season brings!  Last year I joined a Fall Fashion Challenge which made fall a fun season to get dressed in for me! Here are my top 5 reasons when you should be excited for fall!
  1. Fall Fashion : I'm layering with cozy cardigans, wearing plaid, infinity scarves, riding boots, puffer vests, corduroys, military jackets, leggings and booties. Here are some of my looks from last fall:
2. Pumpkin Flavored Everything
Check out my recipes for Pumpkin SoupPumpkin CurrySugar Free Pumpkin BreadPumpkin Baked Oatmeal, and Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal. My favorite pumpkin products from Trader Joe's. My favorite pumpkin yogurt. And a DIY Pumpkin Mask.

3. Changing color of the leaves - crisp fall air and chilly weather = making s'mores. See pictures from my trip to the Arboretum last fall when the leaves had turned pretty colors!
4. Fall Activities - corn mazes, apple picking, pumpkin carving, haunted houses, hay rides, and bonfires with friends.

5. Halloween - my favorite holiday! What should I be this year??? Got a few ideas up my sleeve!

originally published September 24, 2015

Monday, September 18, 2017

Favorite Skincare Products

I like to change skincare brands when I finish a bottle of product so every year I'm trying something new out on my skin. I'm really lucky that right now my skin is pretty normal. The only issues I have is a few milia on my forehead and blackheads on my nose. Milia are tiny skin colored bumps that no amount of physical exfoliation will get rid of and they don't go away on their own. To remove it you have to make an incision into the skin, not like popping a zit where you can just squeeze the skin with your nails, you have to use a tiny needle.  Best to go to an esthetician and ask for extractions. But you do have a few options at home with chemical exfoliation in the form of light peels, BHA and retinols.

Right now I'm using Paula's Choice products which is an affordable skincare line that does not test on animals. I used her products 10 years ago, but then got caught up in all the pricey things at Sephora, but have now decided to go back to her. Her line is only sold on her website but she has free shipping.

I use this product twice a day which helps to exfoliate my dead skin and smooth the bumps. BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid, also known as salicylic acid which helps skin prone to blemishes and clogged pores. It also helps to diminish the look of fine lines, improve uneven skin tone, and smooth out rough texture. As we age our skin sheds dead skin slower so a chemical exfoliant helps the renewal process. I apply this immediately after my toner, without waiting for my toner to dry first and then immediately apply my other products without having to wait for the BHA gel to dry. You can use a BHA in conjunction with a retinol as a retinol does not exfoliate the skin. The BHA removes the dead skin on the surface layers which help retinol absorb better.

RESIST Brightening Essence
This product is made of licorice extract, arbutin, vitamin C, and niacinamide, along with peptides to help brighten uneven skin tone.

RESIST C15 Super Booster
A Vitamin C serum has been a key part of my skincare routine for a long time, everyone should be using one. It helps with collagen production and reduces the appearance of skin discolorations. When choosing a vitamin C serum you want to make sure it's in an opaque bottle to protect it from light, has a dropper to protect it from air, and the ingredients list "ascorbic acid". I've used many different brands and they are all priced at $100 for 1 oz and make your face sticky. Paula's Choice serum also has hyaluronic acid in it which helps hydrate skin.  Vitamin C helps retinol work better by making it more effective longer.

I use a Clarisonic brush to cleanse my skin a few times a week for extra exfoliation, but I've also started using the PMD tool which is a once a week microdermabrasion treatment that exfoliates and removes the top layer of dead skin. The tool uses suction and a disposal spinning disc that is embedded with aluminum oxide crystals that exfoliate away dead and dull cells from the surface of your skin. This helps skincare products penetrate your skin deeper to maximize their results.

Occasionally I also use Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel Packettes. As their most popular product, it has a combination of BHA and AHA (glycolic and lactic acids).  I think it is a holy grail product that I always hear that everyone loves.

Related Posts:
Do You Want to Transform Your Skin
Fall Beauty Favorites
Winter Skin Care

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Dip Powder Nails: Alternative to Gel Manicures

I used to love gel manicures, and thought it was the best thing ever since it didn’t chip as fast as normal nail polish and was just perfect for my 2 week summer vacations. Then I tried keeping them for 6 months and after wearing them for that continuous stretch my nails were so weak. After I removed the gel my nails wouldn't hold regular nail polish for more than a couple days so I had to quit nail polish for awhile to nurse my nails back to health, it was horrible let me tell you. lol Once they were back to normal, my nails used to break all the time and I never got any length. I very quickly got sick of how often I was thinking about them as they were always splitting and peeling. Then I heard about dip nails.

What is that you ask? Well it's not a new trend, it's been around a long time but wasn't talked about much. The dip nail polish is actually a powder that is sealed in between coats of wet sealant that dries instantly without a UV light. The one thing I hated about gel nails was that LED light on my hands and worried about the exposure to my skin since not all salons offer gloves for the process. Like gel, dip nails lasts chip free for 3 weeks! I could probably even stretch it out longer if I wanted to.  The removal process is easier on your nails than gel. You soak your nails in a bowl of acetone  for 15 minutes and it easily dissolves. The most popular brands of dip powder are SNS and Nexgen and thus it's often called one of those names instead of just "dip". The powder has vitamin E and calcium in it to help strengthen your nails and has no smell. I pay $40 to have this done and have been really happy with the results. The nails are thin to the touch but don't quite feel like naked nails when you scratch yourself. The whole process takes about one hour to do. I've done it 3 times now and am addicted!

The last time I had my polish removed, I couldn't believe how long my nails had grown! And they felt strong naked without the dip powder on them. Unlike when I'd remove gel and my nails would feel weak. The only downside of the dip nails is that the salon uses an electric file to buff my nails. Not sure if that damages them or not? The other issue is all the customers are dipping their fingers into the same jar of powder. I'm not asked to wash my hands  first, but maybe having soaked my fingertips in acetone sterilizes them?

I have a friend who does these at home and she recommends  this starter kit  to see if you like the process of doing it yourself. And she soaks off her nail polish in this bowl. I've been toying with the idea of doing it myself but don't want to commit to the start up costs of buying all the colors when I already have so many regular colors. But the idea of having dip nails without the filing done at salons by the dremel tool does appeal to me.

I am now totally obsessed with dip nails! My nails never chip and I'm finally able to grow long nails, it basically makes your nails bulletproof. And there's a huge range of colors to choose from including sparkle. With dip nails you only have to deal with your nails every 3 weeks and don't have to think about them because your nails are indestructible.  I have been doing dip nails for a couple months now and now my nails never break and seem to be very strong so I'm hooked!

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