Friday, March 27, 2015:

New Sauna Routine

So after my awkward, yet enlightening, sauna experience, I've come up with my own routine.  I only had an opportunity to try it out twice this week, but follow along and maybe we will see sauna beauty benefits together!!

At the gym, I generally run for 20 minutes followed by stretching, lunges, arms...and then it is on to the pampering!

  1. Rinse and cleanse
  2. Exfoliate face 
  3. Dry bristle brush body
  4. Wash hair
  5. Intense Hydrating Mask treatment- wrap head in towel and leave on while in sauna

  1. Stay in for 15 minutes at the very least
  2. Lay on the upper level and raise my legs up against a wall (sort of like this, but with a bit more of a bend in my knee)
  3. Drink water periodically

  1. Rinse out conditioning treatment with warm (not hot) water
  2. Rinse and wash body

  1. Apply skin cream or oil while in the heat of the sauna

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015:

Asbestos Awareness Week April 1-7

Heather Von St. James- a fellow social media buddy- recently reached out to ask if I could help spread the word about Asbestos Awareness Week (April 1-7).  Little did she know that this is a pretty important topic for me.

While I focus primarily on beauty and mom-com, I care so much about the topic of Asbestos and the consequences of exposure that I am willing to take a pause to focus on the scary real-life dangers of this toxic mineral- specifically Mesothelioma.  Nothing beautiful or family-friendly about asbestos and the serious diseases associated with it!

Did you know that more than 107k people die EACH YEAR of asbestos-related diseases?

My experience with asbestos is a personal one.  As the due date for my youngest son rapidly approached, we were in a frantic search to find a new home in the suburbs- acknowledging that two dogs and two kids in a two bedroom urban condo was not ideal.

We fell in love with a charming 1920s home so with an immediate and above asking offer, we snagged our suburban dream house!

Eager to get in and underway before the baby came, we immediately went ahead and scheduled necessary appointments and inspections.  As with most older homes I expected a few red flags, but I was completely caught off-guard when our thorough inspector, Bret Kaufmann of Kaufmann Consultants, LLC, detected what appeared to be asbestos in a crawl space and around interior piping (Brett was SO thorough and looked through holes in the wall to find this dangerous mineral!).

Imagine the shock when I heard those words!?  "That looks like asbestos."

The realtor, the inspector, and my husband tried to talk me down, but in the height of my maternal nesting stage, I couldn't get out of the basement fast enough!

The truth is, in our area, nearly every home has asbestos located within the walls and around old piping.  Before closing on our home, we requested a few updates- the most important of which was the encapsulation of the asbestos identified areas.  Fortunately the previous owners agreed.  After reassurance from the asbestos remediation team and fellow home owners who have experienced the same challenge, I know our home is safe for our kids.

But this spring my anxiety over possible asbestos exposure is starting to stir.  We are prepping to undergo a minor home renovation.  There are a lot of scenarios that keep me up at night?  What will they find in the walls?  What if construction stirs up the dangerous Asbestos fibers I've finally come to grips with?

The best way to cope with the challenges of living in an old home that has asbestos in it, is to learn more about asbestos exposure and how best to protect my family.  I'm working with a superior team that has been made aware of the areas in our home that may have asbestos and I am reassured by their confidence to identify, remediate, and protect my family from this dangerous mineral.

So as April approaches, please take a moment to read this infographic and learn more about asbestos and Mesothelioma here.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015:

Summer Beauty Regimen!

So what's on your summer skincare agenda??  Here's what I'm thinking...

Starting the day after Mother's Day (which is Sunday, May 10 if you don't already have that noted on the calendar), I am going to start a regular paramedical quality skincare routine.  Ok, so THAT sounds pretty extreme, but really, all I am doing is committing to quarterly med spa facials (skin peels, dermabrasion, etc).  Mother's day is an opportunity to make the commitment to myself and a good time to hit up the family for some medspa gift certificates :)

Nourish & Maintain
I am still obsessed with Obagi's Hydrate and Regenica.  I love the consistency of the creams and I can really see overall skin quality improvement after using this duo regularly since mid-winter.   I want to get better about my twice weekly retinol routine at bedtime, too.  And finally, I REALLY REALLY need an eye cream.  I like my Elastiderm Roller Pen, but I'm struggling with some thin skin crepe issues.  I'm thinking a fraxel treatment might be my best option, but holding out to see if I can find anything topical first!

Prevent & Protect
I scream, YOU scream, we all scream for Sunscreen!  And a hat, too.

Any tips I might have missed?  
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015:

Could Sauna Slathering be the Secret to Great Skin?

Today is Wednesday- one of my most peaceful days!  I'm not rushing off to drop anyone at pre-k or shuttling to morning activities while trying to stay on schedule.

The best part about Wednesdays is that we can take our time packing up and preparing to head out to the gym- where mom takes advantage of two FULL HOURS of FREE CHILDCARE so that she can work out, balance her brain, sit in a sauna and shower.  I will use this sentence right here to exude my IMMENSE gratitude for having the opportunity to live this life.  Wednesdays really allow me to put my sahm/life challenges into perspective!!

But before I turn this into a "I'm so blessed" post (ok, but really I acknowledge that I am TOTALLY blessed), let me tell you about today's sauna experience.

I am typically the only person in the sauna.  I usually take advantage of the space, lay down on my back, wrapped in a towel, and put my feet up against a wall (I am sure there is a sauna etiquette 101 class I should take, but while in Europe, this is what all of those uninhibited, totally sophisticated women used to do).

Well, today, while I assumed my usual sauna position and settled in, another woman entered the room.  I offered a smile and went back to my high-temperature resting pose.

Seconds later I was distracted by the sound of skin being slathered.  At first it was sort of gross.  Ok, actually, it was just gross.  I didn't want to be rude and to sit up to see what the noise was (the woman was sitting by the wall behind me), but I also was so confused as to why there was rapid rubbing going on in a sweaty sauna.

As the minutes passed and the rubbing continued, I finally sat up, acting as though my time was up.  I was shocked at what I saw- a completely nude woman (fair enough, some people do the nude sauna thing) who had the BEST skin I have ever seen!  This woman was easily in her 60s* and her skin. was. glowing!

So then I was stuck in this awkward situation of staring but not wanting to stare but being totally impressed at her flawless skin but then being totally weirded out by the fact that she was slathering herself in oil.

Always a beauty aficionado, I had to ask.

"Is that lotion?"

That simple question unleashed an entire summary as to why applying lotion while in the sauna is the secret to glowing skin.

Her ritual...  swim, shower, sauna, lotion.  Her theory... the warmth of the sauna opens up the pores allowing the lotion to have a more lasting effect on the skin.

I care NOT as to whether this is backed by science.  Her skin was amazing- I'll stop there before I start to sound creepy.

In an effort to learn more about sauna skincare, I did a quick search and found this article.  Looks like I will be dry brushing and sauna slathering on my next visit!!

Oh, and PS, to my husband- Sweetheart, someplace in our itty bitty house can we please carve out space for a sauna!?

*I didn't ask this woman her age but based on our brief conversation and the details she offered, I imagine that this woman was in her 60s.  Of course now I will make it my sole duty to determine exactly how well this woman has aged by finding out exactly how many revolutions around the sun she has made :)
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015:

Happy Tuesday!

That right there is a rose...made out of toilet cleaning Angels sent from the heavens (or, perhaps more seasonally appropriate, cleaning leprechauns sent from the rainbows!).

I love Tuesdays :)
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Sunday, March 15, 2015:

Personal Monday Motivation

I'm waiting to hear from Quirky to learn whether my Magnetic Mesh Laundry Bag will make it to the next round.  I am waiting to hear from two (wonderful, amazing, brilliant, and really intelligent) casting directors to see whether I'll have the opportunity to audition for dream jobs.  I'm waiting to hear back on blog post submissions and content sharing opportunities.  I'm waiting.

And it is so hard for me to submit materials, ideas, and content  Feedback that might never come.

So tonight, while unwinding from frenzied weekend family time and preparing for the week ahead, I took a minute to search for some Monday morning "hustle" inspiration and this image COULD NOT be more perfect.

I am a high energy, GO GO GO kind of person (seriously, there are days when even I find myself to be EXHAUSTING).  

I don't do well when I'm not busy and I really only enjoy relaxing when I feel like I've set goals in motion or reached a personal milestone.  The best term I've heard to define this sort of "madness" is "terminally ambitious".  I'll take it.

I had an opportunity to have brunch yesterday with a great friend.  We hadn't seen each other in a very long time, but, as with all great friendships, we picked right up where we had left off.  

The conversation evolved from relationships and families, to careers and personal goals.  As I tried to convince my friend to run a half marathon with me, she paused and finally said, ""If I say I am going to do something, I have no doubt I'm going to do it...except running".  

Ok, so everything after the "except" part is obsolete.  But that attitude; that die hard, come hell or high water, blind ambition....  THAT!  

Perhaps this shared attitude is the reason we became friends in the first place.

I have no doubt that I will achieve my personal and career goals and I won't give up on attempts to achieve them unless they are surpassed by loftier ambitions.  

So tonight, while I wait, I remind myself to HUSTLE, to keep plugging along, to keep creating opportunities and to remind myself that I committed to doing something and, therefore, it. will. get. done!

Does this apply to you and the goals you have set for yourself??  Share if you know someone who needs some Monday motivation!

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Saturday, March 14, 2015:

New Favorite Blog Alert

How cute is this site?  "It's So Very Cheri"- I LOVE the outdoor shower idea!!

Check out this blog for fun, charming, and whimsical lifestyle ideas!!

Outdoor Shower traditional showers

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Thursday, March 12, 2015:

All is NOT so Well & Good- Mean Girl Workout Shaming

Did you guys catch this article on Well & Good?

If not, here is the snapshot- W&G judges fitness motivations. Period. End of sentence.

Since WHEN have we become such a competitive culture that we criticize the motivation behind someone's decision to take care of their bodies*?!  So many thoughts about this article and since it is late (by my standards) and it was a long day (by any standards), let me just list them below.

  1. Call me sensitive but does that first paragraph reek of sarcasm and judgmental stereotyping?  Why yes...yes it does.  Maybe it's because I live in a very dense Lulu Lemon population with an Athleta store smack-dab in the middle of town, but I can't help but think this article started out by insulting my friends.
  2. Ok, personal question....How exactly are we defining "work-out obsessed"- seriously curious on this one because sometimes (like during weeks with consecutive snow days) I have A LOT of running away to do and I tend to stick with the tread mill (since my kids are in gym childcare and I can't actually, you know, run away).
  3. I thought the author was going to offer something redeeming with this line, but no, they just continued to undermine the personal measurements of success for these women.  And I have a huge, HUGE problem with people comparing challenges:  A finish line, of any kind, is a motivating thing. It’s like the shiny, spray-tanned version of the marathon running boom. Except, of course, for the fact that success in a marathon is dependent on personal ability and preparedness, whereas success in a bikini competition is subject to a stranger’s judgment of a body’s aesthetic value.
  4. Ok, and then the real human in me thinks...LET'S BE REAL!  Whether we are standing in front of official judges or if we, ourselves are judging our own bodies, society, humanity judges.  And while I personally work out for mental balance, I'd be lying if I said I didn't benefit from the aesthetic value of a good run!  
  5. Ok, and since WHEN is aesthetic value a bad thing.  We go so far to tell women to accept themselves as they are that we ALMOST criticize primal beauty and go against our own biology (not glammy photo shopped beauty, but strong, natural, healthy beauty).  
  6. And if I may, my personal opinion is that we shouldn't just love our bodies, we should love our bodies enough to take care of them.  And if strutting your stuff in a bikini is your motivation to work hard and feel good, then so be it! 
  7. And furthermore, how in the heck did the reporter approach this interview?  It seems sort of, oh, I don't know...mean.  "Hi, I'm here to learn about your new 'Bikini' work out, but really I'm going to leverage your quotes and insights against you and your passions so that my little 'Well & Good' clique can get a good pretensions snicker."  That's a shame.  And just downright mean, really.

Some folks mentioned that this new trend might just offer up another platform for women to compete against one another and to be based solely on physique.  Sure.  Fair point.  But if we look at it through the lens of athletic competition, is it any different then competing on the field?

Listen, it's not my cup of tea (did you happen to catch my post on the mono-kinis), but sometimes I get just a little frustrated when people criticize people.  We all preach empowerment and I can't go a single day without reading some inspirational quote about strong women supporting strong women.  And maybe that's what really turned me off about this article- the smuggary (it's a word, trust me).  And finally- why on earth take up valuable "W&G" real estate to bully a group of women- seems a tad hypocritical, me thinks!

This whole thing sort of reminds me of the complex mommy wars.  We all want healthy and happy children but we criticize each other by our means at achieving that goal.

*Just so we are clear, I don't know all of the means that these women go to in order to get their bikini bodies.  But if it really is just healthy diets, hard work and dedication, then high fives.

UPDATE:  I have to admit that I don't normally read Well & Good so before I promoted this post, I thought I should take a few minutes to click through the site.  In the three seconds that I sat to watch the dynamic leads promoting other stories, I read these headlines:

  • Your Healthy Tool Kit for Dealing with Haters (Bikini workout goers, take note!)
  • Why Your Sex Life is Going to Keep Getting Better (Go on...)
  • Three Skin-Firming Techniques That Actually Work (not the least bit superficial)

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Sunscreen Season!

Maybe it's because the weather is FINALLY getting warmer or maybe it's because I am wishing that it was FINALLY spring, but the good ol' sunscreen is getting a seasonal dusting.  Ok, ok, wait....let me clarify.  We all have been wearing our sunscreen the entire year, right?  Because we know that sunscreen is an essential key to anti aging, right?  Even in the winter...RIGHT?!

What I mean is that I'm starting to look at the 30 spf and, I admit, I am starting to fully integrate this into my morning skincare routine (yes, even I miss a day of winter sun protection).

So happy spring, my friends, and happy everyday sunscreening :)

Here's my pick!  

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015:

Another Steal! Perfectly Pure Moroccan Argan Oil Beauty Products

Do you watch the TODAY Show?  If I have an opportunity to watch a few minutes without a "PAW PATROL" demand, I'm always most thrilled when a Steals & Deals segment is on!

Jill Martin has some serious finds and I can always justify a purchase- great gifts and discounted luxuries that I wouldn't normally buy for myself!

Well the other week she featured beautiful earrings (that were sold out in milliseconds) and a set of Perfectly Pure Moroccan Argan Oil products- Shampoo, conditioner, oils, Shea butter cream, toner....never one to walk away from a beauty steal, I purchased the package and was pleasantly surprised when it arrived by the end of the week!

Here is my take on the products that I've tried so far...

Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo
For the most part this shampoo is entirely odorless.  It doesn't lather much but when I added a little more water, it foamed up.  My hair definitely felt clean afterwards but it was a bit frizzy.  The shampoo had a clarifying effect so I might be adding this into a weekly clarifying and deep conditioning routine!

Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner
The consistency is very smooth and light- not too heavy or thick.  It was easily applied and washed through and served to moisturized my hair without leaving behind any residue.

Overall, I think these haircare products are a good way to break up a regular haircare routine.  I feel like the purity of these products left my hair feeling clean and natural without any heaviness or residue left behind to weigh it down.  

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Monday, March 9, 2015:

Running into the Week!

My week is always better when I start with a workout!!

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Thursday, March 5, 2015:

Would You Go Make Up Free for Better Skin

Since becoming a parent, I've done a lot of involuntary "make up free" days.  Sometimes you just got to get out of the house and go!  And truthfully, when I don't wear makeup, it makes my bedtime routine a LOT easier (I have a love/hate relationship with mascara).

According to the TODAY Show, 90% of women say they'd go make up free if it meant better skin. The new recommendation is to go 5 days on and 2 days off (wearing make up five days a week and allowing your skin two days to breath).  NOTE: this does not mean going skincare free (cleansing, toning, hydrating, sun screening).

Some benefits of going make up free include:

  • Increase in Collagen 
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Increase in skin clarity

I'm a big proponent of taking care of our skin from the inside out so we don't feel the need to wear heavy make up.  This includes maintaining a healthy diet, practicing good skincare routines, regular trips to an aesthetician for thorough cleansing and resurfacing, and, down the road, I certainly won't turn down any safe anti-aging procedures.

Here's my take on going make up free

So would you go make up free if it meant better skin?  Cast your Vote at TODAY

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015:

The Power of a Toilet Paper Bow

That right there is a toilet paper bow!  I LOVE toilet paper bows!  Why?!  Because it means someone has provided my home with the hygienic attention that it truly deserves!

It should come as no surprise that this Type A blogger loves a good cleaning day.  But as I quickly learned in parenting 101, you don't always (read never) have the time to get your home as clean as you want.  Hiring help in this arena proves time and again to be a significant value- both financially and mentally.

Financially- if I were to clean my house as thoroughly as I wanted, it would require the kids to be out!  Which would mean paying for a sitter while I scrubbed away. If I try to clean with kids in the house, it always requires that I surrender one room to the chaos of kids while I clean the rest of our home- which really takes away from the clean home effect.

Mentally- speaking of the "clean home effect", there is something so freeing from the sometimes (often) oppressive passion of parenting when you come into your home and someone has taken the (uninterrupted) time to do the deep cleaning that you never seem to have enough time for.

So to all those moms who can relate, happy toilet paper bow day to you! 
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My Lenten Sacrifice for My Skin

Ok, so I acknowledge that I am about two weeks late on the whole "giving up for Lent" activity.  BUT, it just dawned on me that my inadvertent sacrifice might actually be worth a more decisive surrender!

We ran out of milk the other week.  Long the "milk-aholic" over here, I opted for more water with only the occasional siphoning of my children's whole milk.  On top of a milk drought, I also was out of cheese sticks- my "go to" grab and go snack option when running errands with the kids.

I've heard a lot about the negative effects of dairy as it relates to skin clarity and I kid you not, I noticed a difference the other week.  The wrinkles didn't go away but, something about my skin tone changed.

While I rarely ever believe in a "quick fix" I am curious to give myself a few weeks of dairy free* to see if I notice anymore changes.

Adding a before pick so I can compare after Easter!  Stay tuned!

(Photo from January 2015)

*Ok, let's be real here, I need my coffee in the morning and that involves a drop of half & half and a spoonful of sugar.  For the safety of my family, I will allow myself that!
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