Category Archives: Guest Blogs

She Says: Out With the Old, In With the New

Ever heard the expression “Living in the monkey house”? When you walk into the monkey exhibit at the zoo you think, OMG! It smells horrible in here! But if you stay in the monkey house for long enough, you don’t really smell it anymore, right? Everyone else who enters the monkey house has to plug their nose, but those who have gotten used to the smell don’t seem to notice it at all anymore. How does this relate to beauty? Getting used to your look, your style, and your makeup techniques can all be detrimental to your outward image!

You know that girl that always has the orange base line around her jaw? Do you think she realizes that she looks like an oompa loompa? Of course not. She thinks she is hot stuff with her “tan” face! Other people that she meets recognize that she could use a lighter color foundation and maybe a lesson in blending, but again, she has been living in the monkey house with this orange face for far too long and can no longer recognize how ridiculous she looks.

What about the lady with the poufy bangs? She loved how they looked in the early 90’s so she decided to keep them. Now she has become accustomed to how they look on her, and she thinks she would look weird without them. She and her bangs are happily shacked up in the monkey house.

And then there’s the woman who has had a couple of kids and has let herself go a bit. She started off by omitting blush and eyeliner to shave some time off of her morning routine. Nowadays the morning routine has been whittled down to the use of a hair brush and maybe some powder and Chapstick. She slowly cut out one beauty product after the next until she had completely crossed over to the homely side without even knowing it. She certainly doesn’t think she looks her very best, but has an “it’ll do” attitude about her appearance. This situation is a slow fade, but in the end, she and her housewife appearance have definitely taken up residence in the monkey house.

What these hypothetical women need to realize is that sometimes you need to look somewhere other than the mirror to see how you really look. Check out what’s current by grabbing the newest People, turning on E!, or just noticing what other women are doing. This is not to conform, but simply to stay relevant to what is happening today.

Think about who stands out as beautiful in your eyes. Whose style would you like to emulate? Who has the look and the class that makes you say, “She always looks great!”? I say Jennifer Aniston is a great example. Well, do you see Jennifer Aniston wearing 3 inch acrylic nails? Nope. Maybe it’s time to lose those. Is she wearing Crocs? Well, maybe those aren’t the most fashionable style of shoe on the market. Is her lip liner 4 shades darker than her lipstick? No? Perhaps that’s because that look does not work for anyone! It’s a harsh fact of life, but if it doesn’t look good on anyone else, it probably doesn’t look good on you either.

A good rule of thumb is to never go longer than 3 years without reevaluating your look and making some updates. Whether it be changing where you shop, your hair style, or your makeup shades, if you want to look your best, change is necessary!

Pardon the cheese factor in this quote, but “If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” – Mary Kay Ash

Image Credit:   © Lester Cohen/WireImage.com

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Burn, Baby, Burn!


As you may recall, last month’s focus was all about healthy eating and counting calories. As important as nutrition is, it’s only half of the equation when it comes to a healthy and fit body. The other half, of course, is exercise. Weight loss only occurs when you are burning more calories than you are taking in, therefore you can cut calories, do the Special K diet, drink Slim Fast and order $1,000 worth of that vile Nutrisystem food (if you can really call it “food”), but if you aren’t incorporating fitness, you are only reaching half of your weight loss potential.

Tone Up to Trim Up

Dieting alone will shed some pounds, but the result will be the dreaded “skinnyfat”. Ya know, the chick who might look small, but is all mush? Without exercise, there is no muscle being built. No muscle means no tone, no flat tummy and no tight booty. So not only does exercise dramatically increase your weight loss potential, it firms up the flab. Just the existence of muscle burns up the fat around it and speeds up your metabolism. If you are considerably overweight, obviously focus on cardio to burn the optimal amount of calories, but also incorporate weight lifting to firm up even more as you go.

No gym? No Problem.

Unfortunately, a gym membership is a luxury that not everyone can afford or has time for. On the other hand, we live in the day of technology where any information that we want is at our fingertips, which makes working out at home easier than ever. Want to know how to shed those bat wings? Google  tricep workouts! Want to reshape that mombutt? Look up some glute workouts! Many at-home workouts require no equipment at all, although a couple of inexpensive dumbbells or some resistance tubes are necessary to tone the upper body. A set of 5 and 10 pound dumbells should suffice. Now, what to do with those dumbbells? The best site that I have come across for at-home workouts is www.exercisetv.tv They have hundreds of free, full-length workout videos that you can follow along with on your computer. From weight training, to yoga, to aerobics, to abs, to Bootylicious Buns (my personal fav!), the site has a workout that is right for everyone.

Innovate!

In addition to utilizing the World Wide Web to whip you into shape, get outside! Push your kids in the stroller (the added resistance is an amazing workout), do some lunges in your backyard, do calf raises while you water the lawn, wog around the block (“wog” = a combo of walking and jogging). Do something! If the weather is bad, be creative and find ways to get moving inside your house! Jumping jacks, crunches, push-ups, run your stairs, etc. Sometimes the most basic moves are the most beneficial. Your body will tell you if you are doing enough. If you are sore the next day, you are doing something right and a better you is just around the corner!

The Challenge

Try this simple leg/butt workout today and see if your lower body isn’t feeling the burn! Do it three times a week to start seeing quick results. Add weights and more reps as you get stronger.

Walking lunges – 6 sets of 10

Calf raises – 3 sets of 50

Kick Backs – 3 sets of 20, per leg

Squats – 3 sets of 15

Remember, the old saying “No pain, no gain” still rings true, but I prefer the newer and sassier “What doesn’t kill me, makes me hotter!”

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She Says: Thin Girls Eat Healthy, Right?

With so much talk of beauty being centered on skincare, hair, makeup and fashion, it can be easy to forget that the main ingredient in the beauty recipe is actually your health. Fitness and nutrition play a key role in having a beautiful body and healthy skin, nails and hair.

Fitness, nutrition and overall health are such broad subjects that there are thousands of books available on each individual subject. That being said, this would be a pretty long blog if I were to attempt to cover every point. Besides, I don’t know much about cholesterol lowering foods or how to keep arthritis at bay by eating organic, but what I do know is how to stay thin the healthy way. And let’s face it that is all most of us are interested in any way!

In a woman’s quest to be/stay thin, diet and exercise are equally important. Let’s first tackle diet and then move onto exercise next time around.

All the Trimmings?

Everyone knows that pizza, candy bars, cokes and ice cream will make you fat. Unfortunately, there are many other culprits that are just as fattening but appear much more innocent.  For instance, let’s look at Subway. “Eat Fresh!”  Many people think that by going to Subway for lunch instead of Taco Bell, they are being healthy and skipping out on all the fat. Not so. A 6-inch turkey breast sandwich, plain and dry, is 280 calories. But does anyone really order their sandwich without cheese or some kind of sauce? Add cheese and mayo, and your sandwich skyrockets to 450 calories and 20 grams of fat. Surprisingly, a Burrito Supreme from Taco Bell weighs in at only 420 calories and 15 grams of fat.  So is Subway really healthier than other fast food restaurants? Well, it just depends on what you order.

Reusable Sandwhich Wrapper

The same goes for dine-in restaurants. A lot of people trying to lose weight will go into a Chili’s and say, “Oh, I’ll just have a salad.” Little do they know that several of those salads actually contain more fat and calories than a Chili’s burger! The dressing, cheese, bacon bits, croutons, boiled eggs and “crispy” (a pretty word for “fried”) chicken strips on top all add up to be a very fattening meal.

Luckily, most restaurants and fast food joints have online nutrition information. Log on before you dine out or drive-through and plan out what you are going to have before you get there.  If you simply must order your favorite restaurant meal regardless of the calorie/fat content, ask for a to-go box before you even start eating and pack half of it away for tomorrow. Most of those portions are much more than any one person needs to be consuming at one sitting anyway.

Light Therapy

Contrary to popular belief, eating at home can actually be just as damaging to your waistline as eating out, but some simple changes to the cupboard is all it takes to cut out calories that you’ll never even miss.

Many items such as mayo, ranch, cheese, milk, sour cream and potato chips are available in lighter versions that taste exactly the same or close enough. If you are currently eating full fat items, try the light first, and once you are accustomed to it, go for the fat-free.  Once on a sandwich, you really cannot tell that the cheese and mayo are fat free. The same goes for sour cream or cheese in a recipe. Once it is all mixed together, you cannot taste a difference.

Fill ‘er Up

Fiber-rich foods are excellent to have around because not only do they keep your digestive track in order; they bulk up in the stomach and make you feel fuller longer. Also eat lots of juicy fruits such as watermelon, oranges and grapes. The water they contain also fills up your stomach, leaving you more satisfied.

Sew Your Own Healthy Options

Sneaky Like a Snack

Hands-down, the best way to stay on track with your diet is to journal your food intake. It can be a pain at first to look up every single food item that you eat to see the calorie/fat content, but once you start, you’ll quickly memorize your usual items, and it becomes much easier. Counting calories also forces you to look at the serving size on the nutrition label and measure out your food. You look at a box of cereal and see 100 calories. Not bad, right? Well, take another look at the serving size. Those 100 calories is for a ¾ cup of cereal. Most cereal bowls will easily hold double that amount. Watch out for potato chips as well. Grabbing a handful or two of chips to go along with your lunch may not seem too awful, but look at the serving size. Most potato chips provide nutritional information based off of a measly 10 chips! If you count out 10 chips and put them on your plate, you’ll likely realize that you normally eat more than that amount.

There are many helpful online tools these days to help you on your weight loss journey. Counting calories can be simplified by going on to a restaurant’s website and finding the nutrition info link. For items in your house, simply look at the nutrition label on the back of the container. For items without labels such as fruits and veggies, or restaurants without websites, such as the local donut bakery, there are sites like calorieking.com that help you figure out how many calories are in your banana.  To calculate calories in the dinner you are cooking, simply add up the calories/fat from each ingredient and then divide that number by how many portions are in your dish. For an easier alternative, get recipes off of sites like eatbetteramerica.com. Not only are the recipes delicious, but the calorie and fat content is included right there in the recipe.

It gets easier after the first week. You start to remember how many calories are in what, and you can eyeball your portions instead of precisely measuring everything. Once you get into the habit of writing down what you ate all day long and how many calories/fat grams you took in, you’ll be much less likely to want that cookie. After all, you will have to write it down and face the facts when you look up how many calories it was. It makes mindless eating (which gets us all) much less likely to occur. Try it for 3 weeks. If you aren’t hooked and aren’t beginning to lose weight and feel better about yourself, then quit. But I’m certain that it truly is the key to staying within the range of calories that you want to be in on a daily basis.

Check back next month for fitness tips and some awesome at-home workouts!

~ Courtney ~

With so much talk of beauty being centered on skincare, hair, makeup and fashion, it can be easy to forget that the main ingredient in the beauty recipe is actually your health. Fitness and nutrition play a key role in having a beautiful body and healthy skin, nails and hair.

Fitness, nutrition and overall health are such broad subjects that there are thousands of books available on each individual subject. That being said, this would be a pretty long blog if I were to attempt to cover every point. Besides, I don’t know much about cholesterol lowering foods or how to keep arthritis at bay by eating organic, but what I do know is how to stay thin the healthy way. And let’s face it that is all most of us are interested in any way!

In a woman’s quest to be/stay thin, diet and exercise are equally important. Let’s first tackle diet and then move onto exercise next time around.

All the Trimmings?

Everyone knows that pizza, candy bars, cokes and ice cream will make you fat. Unfortunately, there are many other culprits that are just as fattening but appear much more innocent.  For instance, let’s look at Subway. “Eat Fresh!”  Many people think that by going to Subway for lunch instead of Taco Bell, they are being healthy and skipping out on all the fat. Not so. A 6-inch turkey breast sandwich, plain and dry, is 280 calories. But does anyone really order their sandwich without cheese or some kind of sauce? Add cheese and mayo, and your sandwich skyrockets to 450 calories and 20 grams of fat. Surprisingly, a Burrito Supreme from Taco Bell weighs in at only 420 calories and 15 grams of fat.  So is Subway really healthier than other fast food restaurants? Well, it just depends on what you order.

The same goes for dine-in restaurants. A lot of people trying to lose weight will go into a Chili’s and say, “Oh, I’ll just have a salad.” Little do they know that several of those salads actually contain more fat and calories than a Chili’s burger! The dressing, cheese, bacon bits, croutons, boiled eggs and “crispy” (a pretty word for “fried”) chicken strips on top all add up to be a very fattening meal.

Luckily, most restaurants and fast food joints have online nutrition information. Log on before you dine out or drive-through and plan out what you are going to have before you get there.  If you simply must order your favorite restaurant meal regardless of the calorie/fat content, ask for a to-go box before you even start eating and pack half of it away for tomorrow. Most of those portions are much more than any one person needs to be consuming at one sitting anyway.

Light Therapy

Contrary to popular belief, eating at home can actually be just as damaging to your waistline as eating out, but some simple changes to the cupboard is all it takes to cut out calories that you’ll never even miss.

Many items such as mayo, ranch, cheese, milk, sour cream and potato chips are available in lighter versions that taste exactly the same or close enough. If you are currently eating full fat items, try the light first, and once you are accustomed to it, go for the fat-free.  Once on a sandwich, you really cannot tell that the cheese and mayo are fat free. The same goes for sour cream or cheese in a recipe. Once it is all mixed together, you cannot taste a difference.

Fill ‘er Up

Fiber-rich foods are excellent to have around because not only do they keep your digestive track in order; they bulk up in the stomach and make you feel fuller longer. Also eat lots of juicy fruits such as watermelon, oranges and grapes. The water they contain also fills up your stomach, leaving you more satisfied.

Sneaky Like a Snack

Hands-down, the best way to stay on track with your diet is to journal your food intake. It can be a pain at first to look up every single food item that you eat to see the calorie/fat content, but once you start, you’ll quickly memorize your usual items, and it becomes much easier. Counting calories also forces you to look at the serving size on the nutrition label and measure out your food. You look at a box of cereal and see 100 calories. Not bad, right? Well, take another look at the serving size. Those 100 calories is for a ¾ cup of cereal. Most cereal bowls will easily hold double that amount. Watch out for potato chips as well. Grabbing a handful or two of chips to go along with your lunch may not seem too awful, but look at the serving size. Most potato chips provide nutritional information based off of a measly 10 chips! If you count out 10 chips and put them on your plate, you’ll likely realize that you normally eat more than that amount.

There are many helpful online tools these days to help you on your weight loss journey. Counting calories can be simplified by going on to a restaurant’s website and finding the nutrition info link. For items in your house, simply look at the nutrition label on the back of the container. For items without labels such as fruits and veggies, or restaurants without websites, such as the local donut bakery, there are sites like calorieking.com that help you figure out how many calories are in your banana.  To calculate calories in the dinner you are cooking, simply add up the calories/fat from each ingredient and then divide that number by how many portions are in your dish. For an easier alternative, get recipes off of sites like eatbetteramerica.com. Not only are the recipes delicious, but the calorie and fat content is included right there in the recipe.

It gets easier after the first week. You start to remember how many calories are in what, and you can eyeball your portions instead of precisely measuring everything. Once you get into the habit of writing down what you ate all day long and how many calories/fat grams you took in, you’ll be much less likely to want that cookie. After all, you will have to write it down and face the facts when you look up how many calories it was. It makes mindless eating (which gets us all) much less likely to occur. Try it for 3 weeks. If you aren’t hooked and aren’t beginning to lose weight and feel better about yourself, then quit. But I’m certain that it truly is the key to staying within the range of calories that you want to be in on a daily basis.

Check back next month for fitness tips and some awesome at-home workouts!

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Onward and Upward: The Bra Bulge


Last week, we discussed the finer points of finding the right pair of jeans. Today, we’re moving on up!

The dreaded bra bulge is another common problem caused by wearing a certain article of clothing that simply doesn’t fit. The bra bulge, back fat, and double-boob are all unflattering consequences of wearing a bra that is just too small. Most women cannot fathom that they don’t really know their own bra size, but if you look in the mirror and you are sagging, you have back fat or armpit fat, or you are popping out of the top – guess what – you are either wearing the wrong size or style of bra. A girl wearing a B cup does not need a full-coverage bra just as a DD girl doesn’t need an unlined, wireless, demi bra.

Fortunately there’s a quick and easy solution to finding your perfect fit. Victoria’s Secret offers free bra fittings that pinpoint your exact size and can also help you find which style works best for you.

In most cases, with any article of clothing, you get what you pay for. A $9 Wal-Mart bra is just not going to give you what a $48 Victoria’s Secret bra can. It’s always a good idea to look for sales, but do not fall into the Sale Trap! Never buy anything just because it’s cheap. If it doesn’t fit, you don’t need it even if they give it to you.

Above all, just remember that so many body flaws can be perfectly camouflaged by simply wearing clothes that fit. Look in the 3 way mirror, check for rolls or any other unflattering bulges, and if all else fails, buy some Spanx!

http://www.theretroknittingcompany.co.uk/images/20oct/knittingbook1-101a.gif

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The Skinny: On Jeans

 When you’re shopping for new clothes, there are a few deciding factors that lead you to finding that perfect outfit, right? Brand, style, color, fabric, price tag, etc. are all very important in their own right, but none of them hold the make-it-or-break-it power of the FIT!

Jeans are the most common culprit when it comes to ill-fitting clothing. A lot of times the problem is that women want to wear what’s in style or keep with the current trends, without any thought of how that particular style looks on her body type. It’s a sad thing when a pair of $300 True Religion jeans create a muffin-top that catches more attention than the jeans themselves.  Is it a crime to have a couple extra lb’s stored in the ol’ midsection? Of course not. Is it a crime for those extra lb’s to be allowed to hang freely over a pair of too-small, super-low-rise jeans? Yes.Yes it is.

Luckily there are so many styles of jeans on the market that any woman of any shape or size should be able to find a flattering pair. It just takes a little work. The key is trying on different brands, styles and sizes to figure out what looks best on you. It’s all about hiding the flaws and accentuating your best parts.

Aside from ensuring that the clothes themselves are actually the right size, there are a few tricks to creating an illusion of a more proportioned body.

Large Hips: Wide-leg or slightly flared jeans will balance out the lower half and will draw some attention away from the hip area. Skinny jeans are definitely a no-no for a hippy girl!

Tummy Pooch: If you have to worry about tucking your roll back into your jeans every time you sit down, you are in need of a higher-waisted pair of jeans. Yes, low-rise is the most popular style today, but luckily many of the shirts on the rack right now are long enough that the top of your jeans shouldn’t show anyway.

Big Booty: A slightly higher waist is also best for large derrière. Not only will a higher waist help play down the too-much-junk in your trunk; it also protects onlookers from getting an eyeful of plumbers crack. (P.S. It doesn’t matter how bootylicious your booty may be, crack is always bad.)

Tiny Hiney: Obviously the polar opposite of the above body issue, Tiny Hiney is a condition that is best treated with low rise, snug fitting jeans. Anything high-waisted will leave you looking like you have mom-butt and anything “boyfriend” style or loose fitting will leave you with no hiney to speak of.

Once you are dedicated to finding the perfect pair of jeans, it will become easier to know where to shop and what to look for. For instance, a thin, straight bodied girl will have no luck shopping at New York & Co. Their clothes run big and are made for more of a shapely, womanly body. On the same note, a curvy girl will have a hard time trying to squeeze into Hollister jeans. They are the epitome of a “juniors” fit.

Above all, just remember that so many body flaws can be perfectly camouflaged by simply wearing clothes that fit. Look in the 3 way mirror, check for rolls or any other unflattering bulges, and if all else fails, buy some Spanx!

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She Says: Favorite Things, Part Deux

  

First things first- don’t panic! If you happened to miss the first part of my Favorite Things, you can still check it out at ReDeemed, where I was a guest blogger recently! 

My ReDeemed blog covered must-haves regarding makeup and hair care. Although those are two very important pieces of the glamour puzzle, they can’t do much for you when you are rolling out of bed at 6am. Luckily there are products out there that can reduce the horrifying effects of looking in the mirror at the crack of dawn. For instance, a clear complexion, white teeth and a tanned body are aspects of beauty that do not disappear when the makeup comes off and the hair is brushed out. If you wake up late for work and do not have time to do the 2 hour beauty routine, at least you still have good skin and a great smile. For this reason, I am actually dubbing skin care as more important than makeup. Yes, I said it! Now, don’t get me wrong, buying a new eye cream is certainly not as exhilarating as picking out a new eye shadow, but it is certainly more beneficial.

At the ripe old age of 27, I cannot say that my expertise in this area is as great as it will be someday, but I am definitely starting to see the effects of all my tanning-bed years and I have tried enough products to know what works!

So, let’s get to it!

Skin Care:

  • Face washPhilosophy Purity
    I love a face wash that takes it all off!  Purity removes mascara without burning your eyes or harshly drying your skin.
  • Eye creamBliss The Youth As We Know It
    Let me start off by saying that I am not one to spend $75 on an eye cream, but I managed to get my hands on this one as a “deluxe sample” through Sephora (they throw one of those your way every once in a while as a “Thanks for spending ½ your paychecks in our store.”) and let me tell you, it’s fabulous! Everyone has their own eye issues, be it dark circles, lines or puffiness. Unfortunately I’ve been cursed with the Santa Claus bags. Not many products reduce my puffiness, but this one does the job better than anything else I’ve tried.
  • Night creamOlay Regenerist
    I have always had problems finding a night cream that was moisturizing enough to ward off wrinkles, but also wouldn’t break me out. I have relatively oily skin and most night creams tend to do more damage than good to my skin, but this one is a nice balance for me.
  • Day moisturizerClinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
    The key word here is gel! I am not a fan of the original Clinique moisturizer, but the gel is perfect for my aforementioned oily skin! It gives just enough moisture to my slightly dry cheeks but doesn’t leave a greasy residue.
  • TonerClinique Clarifying Lotion
    Not really sure why exactly Clinique calls this product a lotion. It’s a toner in my book. Regardless, it really smoothes out skin and gets off any leftover makeup. My face is just not the same when I am out of this stuff (which is rarely)!
  • Exfoliant  - Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Exfoliating Cream
    This is another product that I came across via Sephora’s deluxe sample offers. Luckily I have been able to make it last a very long time and have not had to shell out the $75 myself…yet! It takes a very tiny amount to leave your skin feeling incredibly soft and renewed! Yes, it can be uncomfortable to grind all those tiny little particles into your skin, but no pain, no gain!
  • MaskBeautiControl Fango Seaweed Mask
    It’s green, it’s grainy, it’s silkening, and it’s fabulous. I alternate the seaweed mask and the microderm cream (above) every week and they last forever!

 

Random Products:

  • Teeth whitenerCrest White Strips Premium
    I have used Crest White Strips for about 8 years now and they amaze me every time! I much prefer the premium over the classic. At about $15 more, the premium work much faster and only have to be worn for one week instead of two. I have purchased the classic a couple of times and I always call it quits before I make it through the whole box. The strips make your teeth very sensitive and they just aren’t very fun, so I would much rather spend a little more and only endure the inconvenience for a week.  Use every 6 months for a blinding smile!
  • Self tannerSun Laboratories Self Tanning Lotion
    I honestly do not even remember how I came across this obscure brand of self tanner, all I know is that I have been loyal to it for 5 years! It is more expensive than popular drugstore brands, but I will pay extra to avoid looking like an oompa loompa. This is going to sound weird, but the lotion has a bit of a greenish tint which counteracts the typical orange glow and leaves skin a beautiful bronze. The lotion itself is extremely dark so you can see where it has been applied and helps you blend it in perfectly to avoid streaks. I personally like the Very Dark shade, but they also offer Dark and Medium.
  • Lash enhancerPeter Thomas Roth Lashes To Die For
    Let me start off by saying that I have not yet tried Latisse, the popular new prescription lash grower. I am going to assume that it is really the best, but at about $120 for a one month supply (not counting the charge for the dermatologist appointment to obtain the prescription), I don’t think I’ll be giving it a go anytime soon. But, I have tried a couple other lash enhancers and so far my favorite is definitely Lashes To Die For. It is $125 for a three month supply and it really works! I didn’t notice an incredible thickening, but it did make my lashes considerably longer!
  • Dry shampooOscar Blandi Pronto
    Have you ever overslept a little bit and ended up going to work with yucky hair? You needed Pronto. I cannot rave enough about this stuff!  It is incredible!  I wash my hair every other day, otherwise it dries out. Unfortunately it’s not looking all that great at the end of day two.  That’s when Pronto comes in. It certainly should not take the place of regular hair washing (gag!), but it is perfect for a quick fix! Just sprinkle a little on your scalp and rub in or brush through. Just don’t put too much or you’ll look like you dumped baby powder on your head. The right amount absorbs oil and gives your roots awesome volume! (And yes, this should have gone in my last blog about hair care favs. I am ashamed to say that it somehow slipped my mind!)
  • Nail polish top coatN.Y.C. Super Shiny
    Several years ago when I was in cosmetology school, the girls in my class somehow discovered that this $.99 cheapola top coat is amazing! I’ve compared it to OPI, China Glaze and others and nothing that I’ve tried keeps nail polish from chipping like N.Y.C.
  • Hair removal – uuuummmm…
    I am actually still on the hunt for the best hair removal product or procedure. Right now I stick to shaving with a regular razor and regular soap. Riveting info, I know. So since I don’t have any breaking news in hair removal, let me go ahead and clue you in on what doesn’t work.
    The NoNo – This is a device that Sephora sells for $99 ($250 when I bought it last year). I returned it after about three months of use with zero results.
    Nair – Smells horrible, burns and doesn’t even get skin near as smooth as shaving.
    Waxing – At home waxing is not a good idea if you are a Chewbacca like me. It just doesn’t work and it’s painful. Professional waxing definitely works, but it is expensive, painful and the grow-back time is very inconvenient. Who wants to wear hair pants for 3-4 weeks until you can go get waxed again? Personally, 1-2 weeks of hairlessness is not worth 3-4 weeks of nastiness.
    Professional Laser Hair Removal – A few years ago I managed a spa that offered this service, so I was fortunate enough to receive the treatments (worth thousands) for free. I had about 5 separate sessions on my lower legs, bikini line and underarms. At the time I thought it was a godsend.  It was a little painful, but the hair would “fry” and fall out within a couple days, not to return until the next cycle of hair grew in a couple weeks later, when I would get another treatment! Well, long story short, the results had completely dissipated about a year after the treatments stopped. I now shave every single day, once again. Oh, and it can be dangerous. I ended up in the ER with second degree burns after my last treatment, but that is another story for another day.

I hope my trial and error help you find which beauty products/services are right for you! In the mean time, fake it ‘til you make it! A confident smile is always a great beautifier!

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