Thursday, December 6, 2018

Toners in Rotation

I'm so excited about this post... For the longest time I thought toner was a waste of time and money, but I have found a few that I LOVE and they make SUCH a difference!
Toner is one of those things that you can get away with not using if you are trying to be minimal with your routine and/or on a strict budget, but if you want to take your skincare routine to the next level and make sure your face is free of dirt, oil, and leftover makeup then I would try one of these out!
I almost always double cleanse (especially when I have makeup on). I oil cleanse first with hemp seed oil to get the bulk of my makeup off and then follow with my ZO exfoliating cleanser. Toner gives me that extra squeaky clean, get all the excess makeup off feeling. Now, I always follow with a good moisturizer so I never feel dried out.

Lately I've been using one of these fantastic toners (never all 3)...

1. PCA Skin Smoothing Toner- This one is great for oily/acne prone skin. I'm still pretty oily because my super oily skin is hereditary... thanks dad. This one has lactic acid as well as aloe... to keep the skin exfoliated yet hydrated and soothed. I have honestly been loving this one lately and I feel like I've seen a major difference since using this product. I mostly use this one every other night if I'm not wanting to use more salicylic acid. I find I can use this with a salicylic spot treatment if I have a blemish and it's not too harsh for my skin. 

2. ZO Skin Heath Complexion Renewal Pads or Oil Control Pads-OK STOP. If you have acne prone skin you 100% need these in your life. I am totally obsessed with these and they are my absolute favorite. These are presoaked pads with 2% salicylic acid as well as glycolic acid which is fantastic for acne prone skin. My favorites are the Oil Control pads because those are the ones with 2% salicylic, I just happen to have the complexion renewal open and currently in rotation. The complexion renewal also have salicylic but not as much as the oil control pads.These give you a clean feeling without being TOO drying. If you use these do NOT use them twice a day. I would suggest once a day if you are SUPER oily otherwise every other day. I am so in love with these and I even use them on other parts of my body if I'm having a breakout (my back, shoulders, chest, etc.) These are so good and I cannot recommend them enough.

3. Obagi CLENZIderm MD Pore Therapy- This one is so similar to the formula of the renewal pads. They were both created by doctor Obagi this is just the first formula. I will rotate these two (you don't need both, just giving options) and I apply this with a cotton pad. I will say I don't like that this one has the purple coloring to it, so if you're not about that, then stick to the ZO pads. Honestly, I don't mind it and it doesn't irritate me or bother me in any way. The ingredients are very similar and pretty much work the same. This one also has 2% sal acid. It also has glycerin which is a soothing ingredient and will help to reduce irritation. I find the only differences between the two are that this one is just the liquid, no pads included, and the fact that this has menthol in it. I believe this is for that cooling as well as "pore tightening" effect. This one has a nostalgic scent for me and I don't know why. I feel some deja vu when using this and I LOVE this scent. It tingles a bit when applying (menthol), but I don't mind it. Again, it's not too drying for my skin especially when I follow this with my PCA clearskin moisturizer. Loving this one as well.
There is a pretty hefty price difference between the two, the ZO pads will run you about $51 and the Obagi clenziderm about $30. Either of these are a fantastic option for oily skin and I highly recommend both.

These are my favorites lately! You can find these through a local skin professional in your area (always support local estheticians and there is almost always a special going on in office!)
If you're in the Austin area, let me know if you want the hook up!
If you''re in the BR area, my lovely ladies at LWCA offer both the Obagi line as well as ZO Skin Health. 

I honestly use and love each of these. 
If you don't have oily skin I still would recommend using a toner. I love the PCA Nutrient Toner for ALL skin types (this one is SO good, let me know if you want more details) as well as the Thayers witch hazel toners.

Hope this helps!


Sunday, December 2, 2018

November Empties (2018)

I've gone through some great things lately, some newish and some regulars!

Biolage Smooth Proof Conditioner- This was ok, nothing fantastic. I feel like I had to use a lot of product to smooth and condition my hair and I ran out too quickly. I normally don't need a lot of conditioner especially because my hair is naturally oily, but I felt like a lot more of this product was necessary to get all of the tangles out. I won't repurchase this, but I do love the shampoo!

ZO Oilacleanse- This cleanser has unfortunately been discontinued. This was a part of the ZO medical line which they merged with their skin health line. They discontinued this cleanser because the formula was too similar to the ZO exfoliating cleanser. There are very few differences between the cleansers and I love the exfoliating cleanser as well which will be the one that I pop open next. I will say that I liked this cleanser better than the exfoliating cleanser. For some reason I felt like this one packed a bit more punch. This cleanser has exfoliating beads in it as well as red colored beads that contained vitamin E. Those are meant to be rubbed into the skin until the color disappears. This also has salicylic acid in it which again is great for oily skin like mine. Loved this so much and I'm sad it's discontinued BUT I will be using the exfoliating cleanser next!

ZO Skin Health Daily Power Defense- I ran out of this two days after I took these pictures, so it didn't make it in, but still an empty and I've definitely shown in before. Still obsessed. All time favorite product, cannot live without. Of course I have a back up. I won't type anything else about this because I swear it's been mentioned in a million posts of mine.

EltaMD UV Physical- I used this SPF constantly on our honeymoon in Costa Rica. This is my favorite facial SPF when I know I will be sweating/outside and I need a full physical block. I usually rotate between this and the Elta Clear SPF for my daily wear, but if I'm outdoors I always choose this one. I did repurchase this!

PCA Skin Clearskin Moisturizer- My favorite night time moisturizer. For my oily skin it isn't too thick, but gives me enough moisture to keep me from being too dry when using acne spot treatments and retinols. I have definitely repurchased this and it is one of my holy grail products for sure.

Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 gel (mini)- I believe I've reviewed this in full before, but I absolutely love this stuff. I haven't repurchased the full size yet, but it is on my list. This is so great especially in the winter because it gives you the extra hydration your skin may be lacking in the colder months.

Well People Biocorrect concealer (mini)- This was a very good concealer that was full coverage and did not crease! Some reviews on this say it's not for dryer skin so dry skin beware, but speaking for an oily skin gal this was great. The only thing I didn't love about this was the color. It was a bit dark to use under the eyes so it wasn't brightening enough for me, but I did have the shade "light" and could have gone one down. If you are into more clean makeup this is a great option and would definitely recommend! I am not repurchasing this simply because I have others I like better and need to use up.

What have you gone through lately and repurchased?

Monday, October 8, 2018

Post workout recovery snacks

After you finish a workout it is important to refuel your body of the nutrients that have been depleted. It is best to refuel within 30 minutes of completing your workout. When it comes to recovery snacks, you need to eat something with a good amount of protein and carbs to replenish your energy stores and repair your muscles. Here are some of my favorite recovery snacks...

1. Protein Shake: This is the quickest and easiest way to refuel. You can either make your own as soon as you get home, or stop and pick one up on your way home. Our gym and I know many others offer shakes in house so I will make one right after I finish up. I will usually mix the chocolate whey protein with a little peanut butter and half of a banana. YUM. If I'm mixing it up I will use vanilla protein with blueberries and banana. Equally as delicious!

2. Peanut butter & banana toast or rice cake: I recently discovered that I actually like rice cakes... They are so easy to top with whatever you want! Post workout (or even quick breakfast) I've been doing peanut butter, banana, and a sprinkle of cinnamon! SO good and great for refueling your body. If you're not a fan of the rice cakes you can use toast instead!
I have also topped my rice cakes with a HIGH PROTEIN cream cheese and blueberries with a little drizzle of honey!

3. Greek Yogurt with fruit and granola: You can play around with this and choose whatever fruit you like on top! I love greek yogurt with honey (my favorite is from Trader Joe's) to give it a little more flavor. I like to top with fresh berries, granola, and some sliced almonds!

4. Hummus and Pita bread: This will give you a good mix of protein and carbs to refuel your muscles, and if you want some extra protein grab some sliced turkey!

5. Turkey and cheese roll ups: Easy enough and delicious. Grab an apple too to add some extra carbs!

It's so important to eat after you finish a workout to replenish your body of what you just burned, but it's also important to be mindful of WHAT you eat after. You definitely want to have a good amount of protein as well as carbs, (about 1:2 ratio) but make sure what you're putting in nourishes your body rather than putting in empty calories that do nothing for you. Happy snacking!


Monday, October 1, 2018

Wear Test: Stila Stay All Day

I got a sample of this from Sephora and it was described (obviously) as a long wearing foundation so I figured I would do a wear test of this one! The color that matched me best was Light 3 and it blended in well.
This foundation is supposed to be a concealer and foundation in one so that makes me think full coverage and long lasting. It says that it is lightweight, high-definition, buildable coverage, oil-free, matte foundation. So lets get into it...

7:30 am upon application:
This looked great upon application and it is definitely a matte foundation. Pretty full coverage and everything layered on top well.

(tired eyes)

9:30 am update:
It still looks good, but I find it has seeped into the pores a little more than I would like...

2:00 pm
This has definitely broken up around my nose and around my jawline. It doesn't look too bad, but those spots are really falling apart...

6:00 pm
I am looking really oily here and my nose, chin, and jawline have not held up well. It still doesn't look terrible and I wouldn't say it's a BAD foundation, but not my favorite so far. There are definitely others that are more long wearing. I liked the finish of this and it went on nicely, but to me it's not worth purchasing.


Thursday, September 13, 2018

He is Faithful

Exciting things have happened since my last update... Dainon and I have moved into a new bigger and beautiful place! We are finally starting to get settled in and loving our new home together. Shoutout to his awesome family for all of their help moving us in, they were amazing! It wasn't all easy... we had some leaks, and an air conditioning problem where we had to go without a/c for 3 nights. If you know me and my dramatic self that was hell in itself. Thank God it has been overcast because otherwise I don't know what I would have done in full on Texas heat with no air. Anyway, that's finally fixed and hopefully we don't run into any other major issues.
Other good news, I got a full time job at a laser spa, which seems like it's going to be a great job for me! I will be working mostly afternoons/evenings which should work out well traffic wise, and Dainon has late classes anyway. I will have some time to sleep in and run errands if need be in the mornings. The Lord always provides and this situation was no different. He put us in a great area and gave me a job doing something that I love with room to grow and be successful. I am very thankful!
So far I am loving it here and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us!

Philippians 4:19
 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Psalms 36:5  
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

Lamentations 3:22-23
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;  his mercies never come to an end; they are new  every morning; great is your faithfulness

Thanking God for supplying for all of our needs, for being faithful, and for always keeping His promises!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Empties Lately

PCA Clearskin moisturizer- I go through this about every 4 months or so and it still amazes me that I'm sticking to the products I love and see results with! This is definitely a favorite of mine and I've already repurchased!

ZO exfoliating polish- I love using this stuff 2x a week for a quick physical exfoliation. I already have 2 back ups!

Lulu Organics hair powder- I really liked using this in place of a dry shampoo. I like the ingredients in this product and it definitely soaked up any excess oil! I would definitely purchase the full size of this although it is pretty pricey!

ZO daily power defense (full size)- Obsessed and will continue to break the bank for this product! I honestly can't go without it. It is a very lightweight moisturizer with plenty of actives (little bit of retinol, antioxidants, little bit of hydration) and my skin loves it.

Marc Jacobs Twinklepop in Volver- If you know me at all, you know it is so hard for me to fully go through a makeup product! I am always wanting to try new products especially when it comes to eye shadow. This is SO easy to do in the mornings before work and I still look put together. I love how neutral but pretty this color is and I already bought another in this color and one in hunny bunny! Absolutely love these!

Mychelle liquid tint SPF (not pictured)- I love the coverage that this tinted SPF gives, and it doesn't feel heavy. It has a matte finish and somedays I will skip foundation and use this with a wee bit of concealer under the eyes instead! Does the job beautifully!

EltaMD UV Clear- This is my every single darn day facial SPF and I just love it! It has niacinamide in it to help keep the skin clear, it's so light weight, and sits well underneath my makeup! I already have two back ups of this as well! Forever love this sunscreen.

EltaMD UV Pure- This SPF is purely a physical block and does NOT budge. This can be used on the face and body. This formula is 90 minutes water resistant. I wear this when I go for a run a and I don't sweat if off. I also use it on vacation (used it on our honeymoon the whole time) and it works really well! This has a slight white cast, but I don't mind that. Definitely have repurchased.

Urban Decay Deslick setting spray- I did like this, but I didn't repurchase this one, I went for the original setting spray when it was on sale and feel that they work the same way. My makeup definitely lasts longer when I use this and I'm not near as oily!

What products have you gone through lately that you love??

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A new level of trust

As most of you know, I recently got married and we are LOVING the married life. We had nothing short of an amazing honeymoon in Costa Rica and are now living in Austin. Dainon started school this week and I'd be lying if I said I enjoy hanging out at the apartment with nothing to do. For those of you who don't know, I'm a planner. I've been planning for this move for months now. I've been applying for jobs since April and doing interviews (all seeming to go really well) hoping to have a job laid out for me once I got here. It's now almost September, I've been here for 2 weeks and still don't have a job. For me this process is SO stressful and frustrating. I am very confident in myself in what I do. I KNOW I am good at what I do, not because I'm cocky, but because I'm so passionate about it. I love every aspect of esthetics (as well as personal training) and just making others feel better about themselves. The industry here is a little crazy to me. When they hire, they want someone IMMEDIATELY to start. Until I moved here, that was impossible, but now that I'm here I can't seem to find anyone who is hiring. Also, I am the only one making money for us for a little while since he is still in school and how am I supposed to do that with no job?

This truly takes me to another level of trust with God. I have to CONSTANTLY remind myself that HE is in control and that He will take care of me like he's done so many times before. Stressing and worrying NEVER helps, it only causes confusion and more frustration. Trusting in the situation is hard because I want to control this and I can't. There's absolutely nothing I can do, but trust in Him. I can send and hand out resumes, do interviews, send follow ups, but past that the DECISION is out of my hands. It is so important to trust The Lord in this situation or I would 100% go crazy.
I know He keeps His promises, I know he has the perfect job hand picked just for me, and it will come at the right time.
I guess it's fitting that my last two devotionals were about Him keeping promises, and not worrying so I guess He was reminding me again...

Proverbs 3:5-6   Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Matthew 6:25-27  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Philippians 4:6-7  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I am holding on to these verses tightly and trusting Him with the moments I have. He has a perfect plan and all I can do is TRUST it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Shedding my winter coat

I did a VI peel! This is a blended medium depth medical grade chemical peel that is safe for all skin types and skin tones. I'm going to be honest, I haven't done a chemical peel since high school! Yes, I promise I am an aesthetician... I worked outside in a pool for years so I could never safely do a peel and be inside for the amount of time necessary, so it just was never a practical option for me. Since I am getting married in August I wanted to see how my skin does with one and get that fresh baby skin ready for the wedding! My skin has actually been looking good lately and I've been happy with it. I started out with a little pigmentation around my jawline from past breakouts and a little bit of scarring and texture in that area. Normally, I am an oily gal but this winter/spring had me all messed up. I was also using my retinol, sal acid to spot treat, and a 10% glycolic treatment 1-2 times a week. All that to say I was a little dry before starting this peel and I was LITTTTT. My coworker said I turned a shade of red she had never seen before so of course I told her GOOD KEEP GOING. Here are my results...

Day 1 immediately post peel:
This lighting hides it, but I was VERY red, but did just fine.

Day 2:
I woke up red and swollen with my skin feeling very tight.

 I washed my face and used a little hydrocortisone cream and slathered in SPF.  

Day 3:
Let the peeling begin!

The peeling started around the mouth and nose and went out from there. You CANNOT pick at the skin so I kept trimming it all day so I wouldn't get skin everywhere (lol gross).

Day 4: More Peeling

The peeling was the worst this day. I had to trim constantly so that I wasn't tempted to pick at my face. I was shedding EVERYWHERE. I could see the parts that had already peeled and they were looking brand new! At one point on my jaw line where I have the most acne scarring, a small part of scarring literally peeled off and it was amazing to see the immediate difference.

Day 5:

Still a lot of peeling going on. I was still really really red and raw, but nothing too crazy. I went to brunch and ran errands all day just pretending like my face wasn't falling off. Oh well. And yes if you get cold sores TAKE VALTREX. I forgot and did not take it in time. You will get a cold sore if you don't prep!

Day 6:

Very few spots left to peel. I was still red and there were about 4 small spots that were pretty raw. I kept some epidermal repair on those spots to promote healing. 

Day 7:

You can still see the spots that are a little raw and still healing. I pretty much peeled twice with this thing. I had a big peeling as you could see and then I had a lot of flaking in the same areas afterwards especially around my chin and mouth area. Besides those few spots you can see my skin looks fresh and glowing.

Day 8:

After this I continued to let those few areas heal and my skin looks really really good. I did have a couple of areas that purged but not bad. Overall I am very impressed with the VI peel. I can tell a difference with the scarring I had on my jaw line. I also noticed a difference with some of the dark spots on my face. The freckle type spots lightened up a good bit and my baby skin is so pretty!

I would definitely recommend this peel for all skin types as long as you don't have anything special going on for a week or so.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Excuses we use to get out of the gym

The most widely used in all forms of excuses is TIME. I don't have enough, I can't fit it in, doesn't work with my family's schedule, there's too much going on... the list goes on and on. The simple truth is that if it's important to you, you can make and find time. Now it may not be the best scenario, you may have to wake up extra early or stay up a little later to fit it in, but I promise you can find 30-60 minutes to give to yourself. This is all about priority... If you make yourself and your health a priority in your life then you CAN find time. I say that because I've done it and continue to do it every day. One stage in my life I was waking up at 5:00 am every morning to get up and workout before school because there was NO other possible time for me. If you know me even a little then you know I am in no way, shape, or form a morning gal. BUT it's important to me, so I found time. Even now after working 8-8 I stay after work at the gym to get my workouts in. No, I don't want to. I'm not the most motivated at this time. I'm exhausted and it's late and WAY past time to eat dinner, but again it's important to me so I do it... I promise you, you can make time.

No motivation can be another thing that keeps us from the gym. A lot of us get bursts of motivation and show up for a while but once that wears off, what keeps us going in? What and who keeps us accountable to our goals? Once we get out of routine and out of the gym it's SO hard to get back in. I see this so often of people getting out of routine and then one week becomes two and two becomes a month and eventually they find another daily excuse of why they couldn't come. Find a fitness family and make fitness fun. If you want to show up to the gym and do your same daily/weekly routine that's fine as long as you're staying active and doing something. But if you need more than that and someone who is there for you and keeping you accountable, find a fitness family. Fitness classes can be a great way of doing this... meet people, make friends, and have a reason to get back in the groove of things when you find your motivation is wearing thin. Working out doesn't have to be a chore, so make friends and make it fun!

It's too expensive. Once again this is a priority thing. If it's important to you, you can pay for it. How about that $5 coffee you pay for every morning? It's important to you, so you pay for it. What we spend our money on is a reflection of what matters to us, and you and your health should be one of those things.  A lot of people's reasoning for leaving a gym is "I'm going to do it on my own at home because a gym membership is too much money." And what happens? They don't. Do you think at home between chores, kids, spouse, and everything else that you will actually focus on working out at home? Now I'm not saying it's not possible, but there's a much higher chance that you're going to get distracted and your focus is going to easily be shifted elsewhere. When you're plugged into a gym whether you're doing your own thing, or working out in a class that is going to be your sole focus. Keeping your focus and not having any distractions at the gym is worth it.

Other miscellaneous excuses...It's hard or "I'll be too sore" or "I don't know what I'm doing"... Yes it may be hard at the beginning, but hard work pays off. You will feel better, more energetic, and soreness is temporary. I promise it will go away.
Many newcomers of the gym get intimidated by people who have been there for YEARS working towards their goals. Don't let that discourage you and don't think you have to do what they're doing right away... Don't be afraid to just do what you can, start out slow, and work your way up. EVERYONE starts somewhere, you're not alone.

Stop thinking of excuses and just START. Doing SOMETHING is always better than nothing!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Your mistakes don't define you

I can hear the devil lying to me, telling me that these mistakes are part of who I am and that I can't let go of it. When I act in a way that doesn't point to Christ he tells me that I am not good enough, that I'm not pleasing to God, and that I am a disappointment to him. "That's not Christlike."
Now none of this should be an excuse for me to continue making the same mistakes again and again, but I easily fall into the trap of believing that I am less than, that I screwed up and am not forgiven, and that people can't see Jesus in me.This absolutely breaks my heart. I want my life to point to Him, and when it doesn't I quickly realize, but by this point and am beating myself up on the inside.
Theres a difference between conviction and condemnation and I confuse that line too often. Conviction says to repent and turn from your ways... ask forgiveness and DO BETTER! Condemnation says you're not good enough, you're guilty, full of shame, and you're not worthy. I tend to beat myself up when I don't act in a way that shines light, but that's not who I am and that's not where I'll stay.
God reminds me that my identity is found in Him and just because I made a mistake doesn't change the fact that I am His, that I am loved, that I am forgiven, that I am higher than the mistakes I make because of Him.
He doesn't love me any less, He doesn't love me any different, and mistakes don't change WHO I AM.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
Romans 8:1

Just some Monday night thoughts!


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Eye products in rotation

Before I got into eye creams I have to say sorry I've been MIA! I am SO busy now a days and working A LOT so I don't have as much time to put into my blogging as I would like. I did get a new camera that I've been playing and experimenting with so I will have better quality pictures YAY! Bear with me in the process of figuring it out and the best way to use it!

Anyway here's the eye products in my rotation...Sometimes I wonder if eye products are necessary or if they even work... From my experience so far, eye creams are best for preventative measures and hydration rather than corrective. I have a few products in rotation right now that I use for different reasons.

1. ZO Hydrafirm- This one I use for preventing wrinkles around the eye area and for relief from dark circles. I like the texture of this product, it's not sticky or TOO moisturizing. It's got retinol in it, so it's good for turning over those skin cells and keeping the eye area looking youthful. I've been using this about twice a week and really liking it! There is kojic acid in here which targets that dark pigmentation from dark circles, along with shea butter for moisture, caffeine for puffiness, and antioxidants to fight free radicals.

2. VII Code T2 eye cream- I surprisingly have been liking this eye cream a lot. This is very moisturizing and it has been getting a lot of use this winter! My skin has been drier than normal with our crazy weather lately so something moisturizing has been necessary. I was hesitant to try something new because I find a lot of moisturizing eye creams will irritate my eye area and cause tiny little red bumps. I am happy to report this one has not done that. This has ingredients like chamomile, avocado, jojoba oil, apricot oil, hyaluronic acid, and aloe. It gives me just enough moisture around the eye area to keep my makeup going on smooth and it feels so nice on! I can't comment on the anti-aging benefits of the product because I haven't been using it for long enough. When using this product you are supposed to apply it with the crescent shaped applicator that it comes with, which is fine, but I don't see a huge difference between using the applicator and not using it. I like the texture and I'm so far impressed with it, I've been using this religiously!

3. EltaMD renew eye gel- I love that this one is a gel formula. This is the product I use during the summer when my skin is more normal and not needing a whole lot of moisture, but just a little something to keep some hydration in that area. The texture of this is perfect for spring/summer weather. It's not heavy at all and it doesn't irritate my eyes, which is exactly what I need. This one has ingredients like peptides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and niacinamide. Another tip when using this is to pop it in the fridge and it's SO cooling on the eye area in the morning!