Here are some of my new favorite beauty products I’m using right now.

CLINIQUE Pep-Start Hydroblur Moisturizer

I love a good moisturizer. This is currently my new favorite day/under my makeup moisturizer because you all know how obsessed I am with my Nivea one, but it can be really heavy so I prefer to only where that one at night. This moisturizer is perfect to combat any dryness due to the upcoming cold weather and also great for ladies with oily complexions such as myself. The hydroblurness (is that a word?😆) leaves my oily skin nice and matte while still giving me the hydration I need. This doesn’t have spf so I put it on after my favorite sunscreen  and before I put on my primer.

YES TO Miracle Oil Calm and Soothe PrimRose Oil Mud Mask

Here’s another oil-based mask that I added to my obsession with facial oils. Yes To makes great masks and their argan oil one is the first mask that got me hooked on putting oil on my face. This is one of their newest masks and I love to put it on after I’ve gone crazy and picked at my face and it’s lit up like a Christmas tree 😳 The primrose oil calms my skin and reduces the redness and leaves it super soft.

SALLY HANSEN Airbrush Sun

A good self tanner is SO hard to find. I’m always trying new ones and this one is pretty good. It dries really fast and has a really nice, non-orange tan color. It comes out kind of thick so just make sure you rub it in well. I also don’t get the sticky feeling I get afterwards with many so I don’t mind putting this on during the day and throwing on some clothes over it and running some errands. As with any other self tanner make sure you wash your hands really well afterwards. I always just use facial wipes to clean my hands because anytime I wash my hands under the sink I splash water on me and mess up my tan. It comes in two color options, light to medium and medium to tan. I use the latter.

YLLO Turmeric Face Scrub

Turmeric is that yellow spice you can find at the grocery store or in one of your favorite Indian dishes. It combined with other ingredients such as chickpea flour, cold pressed coconut oil, cane sugar etc. makes this scrub natural, vegan, and paraben-free. This mask has some great immediate benefits such as soft glowing skin, even skin tone, and oil control. After longer use it will fade scars, reduce facial hair, and clear up acne. So here’s the deal. It’s going to be REALLY yellow on your face. It can even leave a yellow tint after washing your face, but just make sure to wash it again and it will go away. I did have a french manicure on at the time and well that was not a good idea. Make sure you use the mask right before you need to get your nails redone or wear some gloves.

DERMALOGICA Precleanse

My version of double cleanse has always been to use a cleanser with my Clarisonic and then rubbing a cotton ball with micellar water over my face to pick up any makeup I missed. Well I first got this Precleanse in a travel set at Ulta and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since and recently bough the big bottle. I massage this with dry hands first to break up my makeup then get my hands wet and massage it more and it turns white and milky. You can see all your makeup REALLY washing off then I rinse it with warm water and use my cleanser and Clarisonic. It’s great for making your face look and feel squeaky clean without overdrying it. The big bottle is kind of pricey, but it’s really big and you really only need one big pump each time you wash your face so it’ll last you awhile.

-V-

 

Color correcting is a great and easy way to hide some common skin issues such as dark circles and redness. Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty is having Urban Decay’s Color Correcting Fluid which I personally use for 50% off today only. Color correcting is all about understanding which color does what and which is best for your skin tone so here’s the scoop:

Green- Covers redness due to blemishes or broken blood vessels.

Yellow- Hides purple-hued dark circles and good for medium skin tones. Can also be used to brighten skin as a highlighter.

Peach- Hides blue-hued dark circles and deep discoloration. Good for dark skin tones.

Lavender- Reduces dullness by brightening and balancing skin with a yellow undertone. Put this on your cheeks, forehead, and chin to get a subtle glow without any shimmer.

Pink- Hides dark circles for fair skin tones.

Deep Peach- This is their newest shade and it is obviously just a more intense peach so it covers the darkest of discoloration and is best for deeper skin tones.

 

This is my personal makeup routine order:

  1. Moisturizer
  2. Primer
  3. Color Correcting
    • Green- I use to cover my red post-acne marks.
    • Yellow- I use under my eyes to cover my dark purple circles.
    • For the green I just dot the cream onto any red marks I have and with the yellow I cover the entire area under my eye. I use a sponge or beauty blender to blend the color.
  4. Foundation
  5. Concealer (Some people do concealer before foundation)
  6. Powder

Right now I only use the green and yellow, but I recently saw a  video of someone with a similar skin tone use the lavender and it brightened their skin so much so I think i’m gonna try it out. If you’ve been wanting to try color correcting I’d highly recommend the Urban Decay ones because the formula is so creamy and doesn’t look cakey and lasts a long time. Buy one here at Ulta for 50% off at $14.50!

-V-

 

 

I’m so not over Summer! I mean I know it’s officially over, but with the weather the way it is in Dallas I’m still going to be rocking this cute tube top dress til at least the end of the month. Maybe even October! This dress is under $25 and can only be found in stores. Check here for availability.

Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty started Sunday and they have tons of great deals going on, but today in my personal opinion is the BEST deal. I’ve posted before how important it is to take care of both your neck and hands in order to keep looking young (read it here if you missed it). Well this is the best of the best when it comes to neck creams and I’ve NEVER seen it on sale. It’s pretty expensive so the fact that it’s a whopping 50% off and now $67.50 means you need to pick this up asap! Buy it here!

 

-V-

I’ve been meaning to slowly switch all of my makeup over to organic after I started my new eating lifestyle change at the beginning of the year. The more I read about what healthy foods I should be eating and unhealthy foods I should be getting rid of, the more I learned about other ways to improve my health. I learned that not only are cosmetic products loaded with toxic ingredients, but that our skin is our body’s largest organ and we’re absorbing all of these toxins😳

At first, I kinda dragged my feet because honestly I always thought that organic makeup was either really expensive and/or didn’t have very good results (how it looks on your face).  I finally ordered some foundation on Amazon that I read rave reviews on and not only is it cheaper, but it also looks better on!

EVXO COSMETICS Natural/Organic Liquid Mineral Foundation

This foundation is not only 90% organic, but it’s also gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty-free. It’s made with ingredients such as chamomile, aloe vera, thyme, vitamin E, shea butter etc. My normal foundation is Urban Decay Naked Skin Liquid Makeup. It’s a buildable medium coverage foundation and it retails for $40. The EVXO foundation is also a buildable medium coverage, but it only cost $24.99! Surprisingly I actually prefer the organic formula because it goes on more natural. I was also able to touch it up after wearing it for 8 hours and  wear it for an additional 8 hours. With my Urban Decay after a certain amount of hours I can’t just touch it up because it ends up looking cakey so I have to redo my whole makeup. So keep in mind that I’m slowly transitioning to organic so i’m still using some products that aren’t organic. For instance, some of the reviews claimed it could leave you a little oily so I used my CoverFX mattifying powder to keep it matte just as I did with the Urban Decay. I’m hoping to find some organic powder soon.  The only downside to this foundation is the number of available shades. There’s only 6 so I had to buy Nude (light with pink undertones) and Cork (medium with yellow undertones) and mix them together. Since the foundation is buildable the colors look darker in the bottle, but they come out much lighter. I bought this makeup palette to help me mix my foundations. One pump of Nude plus a couple of pea-sized drops of Cork comes out to my perfect color. Unfortunately, you have to do a full pump. I’ve tried so hard to just pump a tiny bit of Cork out, but the pump is kinda hard to control and it won’t let you do less than a full pump. I end up just mixing both full pumps of foundations together and adding bronzer to my body to match. I’m a little paler than normal right now so if I was my usual tan self I wouldn’t have this problem. So if this happens to you and you don’t want to add bronzer to your body than I’d suggest pouring the extra in an empty bottle and saving it. I’ll probably start doing this so the foundation will last longer. The company is also known for working with their customers and will gladly send you another bottle if you ordered the wrong color. I heard they even let you keep the first bottle if you promise to give it to someone who will use it! Try it out for yourself here.

 

EVXO Cosmetics Duo Concealer/Highlighter Pencil

While I was buying the organic foundation I looked at their other products and decided to try out this concealer/highlighter duo as well. It’s 95% organic as well as gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty-free. This product is $11.88 as opposed to my $29 Urban Decay Naked Concealer alone. Not even sure how much I spend on my highlighter. I was hesitant at first because there’s only one color to choose from, but it worked! I like to blend it in with a beauty blender then with my finger. The highlighter is a more natural/daytime look so if you like that extra glow you’d have to add something else. Get it here.

 

As I slowly start using more organic products I’ll update you guys with my finds. For those of you not sold on the organic makeup route, I receive plenty of non-organic beauty product samples and who knows how long it will take me to find the organic version of every beauty product I use so I will still test every new product and let you know what I like 😊

-V-

There’s one drugstore product that I’ve been using for probably 15 years. I buy it in bulk and throw it in every single purse I own. My favorite thing about it other than the low price is that it solves not one, but two of my beauty dilemmas.

COVERGIRL Professional Natural Lash Mascara

Clear mascara! I literally can’t leave home without it for two reasons.

  1. Eyebrow gel- The hairs in my eyebrows for some reason grow down not up. No matter how much I wipe them up with my fingers they just go back down. I started using clear mascara to keep my eyebrows in place before any other eyebrow gel existed. Not only is it cheaper, but it works way better. I got a sample of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel ($22) and it just didn’t hold my eyebrows in place at all. Covergirl’s formula is so much stronger and keeps them in perfect place. Sometimes I’ll put too much and it can look shiny or get a little crunchy, but all you have to do is use a spoolie brush to spread it out. It’s a game changer for my brows. My brows can get disheveled if I’m sweating which is easy to do in this Texas heat so I throw it in my purse for a quick fix.
  2. Flyaways- THIS IS HANDS DOWN MY BEST KEPT BEAUTY SECRET. I told a friend to use clear mascara to tame her flyaways and she said it literally changed her life 😂 I actually discovered this trick by accident. One day years ago I was using my clear mascara for my brows and I had these terrible flyaways as I usually do and I just subconsciously took the wand and brushed the flyaways with it. I was shocked to see not only did it work, but it was the best product to get rid of flyaways I’d ever tried. Every hair product I’ve ever used has either not fixed the problem at all or it did temporarily, but then turned my roots into a greasy mess. Like with my eyebrows it can look shiny if I use too much so I’ll just rub it in with my fingers. Since it doesn’t make my hair greasy, I keep it in my purse for touch-ups. Buy it here and change your life 😉

-V-

I went total Martha Stewart this week and I can’t wait to share. I’m sure some of you have heard of or even have already turned dead flowers into potpourri, but it was my first time and I’m super excited about it! I’ve been telling myself since high school that I was going to turn dead flowers into potpourri with my old corsage’s, but I always thought it was probably too time consuming and would just throw them away. I received this beautiful arrangement of flowers a couple of weeks ago and finally decided to try it out. Surprisingly, it was super easy! Here’s what you need to buy:

  • Flowers
  • Sheet pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Scissors
  • Essential Oils- I bought these
  • Spray bottle- Look through your beauty products before you go buy one. I found several spray bottle products that were almost empty that I could easily use afterwards. I ended up using an empty waterless makeup brush cleaner I was about to throw out (just fill it with water and soap and let it sit while you prep your flowers to clean out whatever was in there previously).

The following is optional. I was having a “just want to use whatever I have around the house so I don’t have to go anywhere” moment so I didn’t use any of these 😂, but definitely will next time.

  • Citrus fruits- lemons, oranges etc.
  • Fresh herbs- thyme, lavender, rosemary etc.
  • Whole spices- cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice etc.

 

  1. Gather any flowers you have. They don’t have to be dead so you can even pick some from your garden. Strong smelling flowers work the best. Here is a list of some. Set your oven at 200 degrees. This is the arrangement I used. They were too beautiful to throw away. Obviously I used them when they were dead.

 2. Use the parchment paper to cover the sheet pan. Cut the flowers either right below the heads or you can pull individual petals and use those. I did both especially since the flowers were dead the petals just fell right off. Lay the flowers and any citrus or other herbs in a single layer on the sheet pan. I ended up using two sheet pans since I had such a large arrangement.

3. Decide which essential oil you want to use. I bought this set cuz it contains 6 different scents.

Lavender- calm and relaxation

Sweet orange- positive attitudes

Lemongrass- relieves muscle pain and aches, boost energy

Tea tree- heals wounds and prevent infection

Eucalyptus- natural anti-inflammatory, clears out cough and heavy congestion

Peppermint- relieves anxiety, medicinal and calms gastrointestinal issues

I ended up going with the lemongrass scent. Combine 10-15 drops of the essential oil with one tablespoon of water (I did 15) in the spray bottle. Spray the flowers before you put them in the oven.

4. Leave the flowers in the oven for at least two hours or until the flowers have become brittle, but before they burn. When the flowers are ready to be taken out of the oven spray them again with some essential oil.

5. Once the flowers have cooled, gently mix the potpourri and place it in a vase, bowel, or a mesh bag. When it’s time to refresh the scent just spray it again with the essential oil. That’s it! Super easy right!

 

-V-

 

I am a huge fan of Botox! I started getting it done when I was 28 (don’t judge) and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m such a proponent of it that I’m on my 5th friend that I’ve gotten to try it out and they all equally love it. I know some people are curious about it, but still have some unanswered questions in order to decide whether they’re gonna take the Botox plunge or not. I’m here to help you with some knowledge I’ve learned and with my own personal experience. Let’s get started.

WHAT EXACTLY IS BOTOX?

Botox is actually a particular brand name for botulinum toxin which temporarily restricts muscles from contracting causing wrinkles. It’s actually said to be preventative because if you get it early enough than your face will never get used to making those facial expressions that cause the wrinkles to begin with! The most common places it is used is to get rid of crow’s feet, frown lines (which are the two lines that show up in between your eyebrows called “11’s”), and forehead creases (the horizontal lines that can show on your forehead when you raise your eyebrows). It’s also been know to be used in armpits to decrease sweating, temple area to reduce headaches/migraines, soften thick jaw muscles, gummy smiles, lip lines, near lips to make them look bigger by preventing the top lip from disappearing when smiling, approve dimpling in chin, and thick neck bands. I’m sure there’s even more that I’m leaving out.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BOTULINUM TOXIN?

Botox- The first to be introduced in 2002 and why everyone just calls all botulinum toxin Botox even if they really mean another product. For the rest of the post I’ll be referring to botulinum toxin as BT and only use Botox if I’m referring to that specific type of toxin.

Dysport (pronounced “diss-port”)- Introduced 7 years later and claims to spread the toxin farther than Botox and to take into affect quicker and last longer (Botox usually takes about a week to see the full results).

Xeomin (pronounced “zee-oh-min”)- This toxin was first launched in 2012, but there was some drama with them stealing some consumer stuff from Allergan (the company that manufactures Botox) so they had to re-launch in 2013. Very similar to Botox except it lacks carrier proteins which claims to produce fewer allergic reactions or resistance to the toxin. Also the only one that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

WHICH BT IS THE BEST?

This is from my personal experience and from opinions from friends. First, I’ve never tried Xeomin. I’ve never even been offered it before. I read that it might be cheaper than the other two because it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and shipped in dry ice like the others so some offices pass on the savings to you. Botox is my personal favorite. It’s what I’ve used 99% of the time. It takes a week for me to see the final results, but I just plan accordingly and make sure I get it done a week before an event. It can last anywhere from 3-6 months. I’ve read that with continued use of Botox you can slowly spread out how often you need it because of long term weakening of the muscle and your face being “re-trained” on the use of your facial expressions. I honestly believe that because when I first got it done it would only last me about 3 months, but now it usually lasts me up to 6 months. My “11’s” are the worst and I noticed that my face was “re-trained” and I don’t make that frown face hardly as much as I used to. I know it sounds weird, but trust me. The only other place I’ve used Botox on is my crow’s feet, but luckily I don’t have them very bad to begin with. FYI you can only treat your crow’s feet with BT and not the wrinkles directly under your eyes. Those wrinkles are actually REALLY hard to get rid of, but can be improved with filler (that’ll be another post soon) or retinol which I’ve posted about before. I recently tried Dysport and I wasn’t a fan. It seemed to only last me two months, but my friend uses it and she loves it. Dysport is supposed to spread farther after injection so it’s better for larger areas cuz you’ll need less injections. Some doctors mix and match toxins. My friend gets Dysport for the larger forehand area and Botox for her smaller crow’s feet area. I was recommended Dysport by a new doctor that I’ve been seeing. Usually when you go to a new doctor they’re not sure how many units of toxin you’ll need because we’re all different and some of us have stronger facial muscles than others. They often go conservative and check on you in a week and if you’re not satisfied they offer you to come back for a touch-up. My advice. ALWAYS GO BACK. I made the mistake of not going back once because at the time my face looked perfect, but soon after the muscles started contracting. The doctors will touch you up for FREE if you go back soon, but after that you have to pay again so trust me just go and get more. I went back to get a touch-up of the Dysport and it STILL only lasted two months which is why I’m going back to Botox.

DO THE INJECTIONS HURT?

It depends. While it’s definitely not a walk in the park, I have a high pain threshold so sometimes I tell them to skip the  numbing cream and just get on with it. Beauty is pain though so I don’t mind at all. Sometimes you can hear the muscle crunching when they inject the toxin which creeped me out at first, but not a big deal anymore.

WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?

There are all sorts of side effects that are possible as expected with a toxin. Too many to list, but I’ll tell you the most common ones. The first is a headache. I’ve only gotten a headache once and honestly I think because this other new doctor (I’m currently trying to find the best doctor in Dallas right now) was I think insulted that I called him out in front of a resident and told him that my Botox faded quickly from the previous visit so he aggressively injected my forehead. Jerk. FYI he shall remain nameless, but he’s supposed to be one of the top plastic surgeons in Dallas. Anyways, it was just a headache and my face looked fabulous afterwards so whatever (I never went back though). Second, is a droopy or uneven eyelid. I never experienced this with Botox, but I finally did when I tried Dysport. Not sure if it was the Dysport or the doctor’s fault. Mine honestly wasn’t that bad I just realized that when I was coloring in my eyebrows that one of them needed to be colored in slightly higher. For two of my friends though, it was rather noticeable. One of them had one eyebrow arched a lot high than the other. The other friend had one of her eyebrows droop to where she had one arched eyebrow and one straight one. I honestly believe that this side effect is caused by the doctor so make sure you do your research. The last common side effect is bruising. I typically don’t bruise, but if I do it’s usually a small dot where the injection was and can be easily covered up with makeup.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

I say it ranges about $10-$15/unit with $12 being average. 1 unit of Botox = 2.5 units of Dysport. 1 unit of Botox = 1 unit of Xeomin. Some places even do it by area. One doctor I went to would charge $300 for the first area  ( i.e. “11’s”) and $250 for the second ( i.e. crow’s feet). It depends how many units and how many areas you get done. I always just get two areas done so mine is usually anywhere from $450-$550 depending on units. I would say if you’re really lucky and don’t need that many units and only get one area done then at minimum you’ll spend $250. Keep in mind that except that one doctor who charged per area, most doctors won’t give you a total price. They’ll just tell you how much each unit costs ( usually you have to ask) and then they just start injecting away. The doctor won’t stop injecting until they get it perfect which could be $300 or $500 later and you won’t know until you get to the checkout desk. If you’re budget conscious then your best bet is to let your doctor know you want to start off with your area that bothers you the most and ask them how many units they used when they’re done to figure out the cost and whether you want to move on to another area. Some manufactures’ or offices will run specials too. I had one doctor who if you paid $1,000 for an entire bottle you would pay only $10/unit instead of $12 or $13. They would keep the product for me and keep track of how many units I had left, but I made note of how many units I had left too just in case.  Yes I know it’s expensive and you may want to bargain shop, but please don’t. This is your face for god’s sake! I’ve only ever been injected by medical doctors. Two dermatologists and two plastic surgeons. There are some med spa’s where some nurse’s do the injections and though that personally still makes me nervous, I’ve heard some wonderful things about nurse’s. JUST DO YOUR RESEARCH.

HOW TO FIND THE BEST DOCTOR?

Ask around. If you see someone who’s face looks fabulous ask them who they go to (if they admit to it). I’ve seen some really horrible frozen faces around town so I wouldn’t just trust reviews. I’d make sure you see a patient in person. My favorite doctor ever was a dermatologist in Los Angeles (supposedly she’s Jennifer Lopez’s doc) and I was referred to her by a friend who looked amazing. She really was a big difference. Mainly with filler (I promise that post will come), but I also never had any side effects with my Botox  and just looked fantastic. I was so bummed when I moved to Dallas and had to find a new doctor. My LA doc actually recommended someone, but it ended up being that doctor who aggressively injected my forehead 😳 He really may not be a bad doctor, but I just didn’t like his bedside manner. Who knew doctors could be so sensitive?  Anyways, ask around, look at pics or a patient in person and DON’T  be cheap about it unless a possible droopy eye is worth saving several hundreds of dollars to you.

CONCLUSION

So should you do it? Well first, can you afford it? It’s actually kinda addictive because once you get it and you see how young and amazing you look then you’ll want to just keep doing it. On the other hand, nothing happens if you just stop doing it or take a break from it. If you don’t have the funds to do it consistently then you can just do it around special occasions as long as you don’t get addicted to it. I personally think that BT and fillers mixed with great skincare products (retinol!) are the key to looking young forever! 😍 Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments or any doctor recommendations (especially in Dallas)!

-V-

Today is Amazon Prime Day (well it actually started last night) and there are tons of great deals that you don’t want to miss. I didn’t participate in prime day last year, but from what I’ve read the best way to get what you want before it sells out is to download the Amazon app and start a watchlist for all the items you’re interested in so you can be notified as soon as the deal starts. I also discovered Camelcamelcamel and Fakespot which are two websites you have to check out if you’re shopping on prime day. They both require you to copy and paste the link of the product you’re looking at and to check all the prices it’s been at to make sure you really are getting the best deal (Camelcamelcamel) or to see if the reviews are actually from real people and not bots (Fakespot).  There are wayyyy too many deals to go through and post so I personally looked through the beauty category and found the best products (some I’ve written about before in other posts).  You won’t know the sale price until the deal starts so keep in mind that the price will be lower. I’ll also link other websites that breakdown the best products in other categories. Click on any of the red print to purchase the product or read my prior post about it.

 

Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment

I wrote about this once prescription and now OTC retinoid that will help with not just acne, but also wrinkles. This was on sale when I initially wrote this, but has since been recently claimed. Join the waitlist and if someone doesn’t purchase it in 15 minutes they’ll notify you to buy it.

Radha Beauty Retinol Moisturizer Cream for Face and Eye Area 1.7 Oz

Another retinol product I’ve written about that is less potent than Differin so would cause less irritation. The sale starts at 12:35pm.

Best Blow Dry Round Hair Brush with Natural Boar Bristles for Blowout

This brush is similar to the one I used in my volumizing post. I have a 2 inch brush. The sale starts at 1pm.

Paula’s Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant for Blackheads and Enlarged Pores

I mentioned this salicylic acid exfoliant in my pores post to help unclog them. Sale starts at 4:20pm.

Jerrybox Trifold LED Lighted Makeup Mirror

I have a similar LED mirror and I’m obsessed with it! It makes sure that my makeup always looks even. It’s so convenient for travel and I never leave home without it. I wrote about this mirror and how important lighting is in this previous post.  Goes on sale at 4:25pm.

L’Oreal Paris Root Cover Up Temporary Gray Concealer Spray

I don’t get grays yet (knock on wood), but a friend of mine does so I bought her this to try out. She said she really liked it in between her trips to the salon and it washes out after one wash. It looks like the prime deal may only be for the 2 pack. The dark brown color goes on sale at 5:05pm and the black at 7pm. I couldn’t find any info. on any of the other colors so not sure if they’ll be on sale too.

Peter Thomas Roth CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Complexion Corrector 

I love Peter Thomas Roth products! I own almost every single face mask they make. I haven’t tried this particular product, but I love that it’s a sunscreen, moisturizer, complexion corrector, and anti-aging cream in one. Sale starts at 5:35pm.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme

I always get post-acne marks that linger for what seems like forever. My favorite products to use to get rid of them are anything with glycolic acid. I’ve written about acids before and love how quickly they work. Look for this sale to start at 6:25pm.

StriVectin TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream

I wrote a post about taking care of your neck and hands because most women forget about those two areas and they’re very important. This neck cream is a great alternative to the pricey Perricone MD Cold Plasma Sub-D and has great reviews. At Ulta it’s priced at $95 and $79 currently on Amazon. The sale is supposed to begin at 7pm, BUT right now it says it’ll take off 30% off at checkout making it around $55! Not sure if there’s an error and the prime deal on it has already started or if it’s going to be even cheaper at 7pm. Either way it’s already a great deal at $55 because that’s $40 less than retail.

Here are some websites I’ve found that have the best deals on other categories:

Business Insider– Updated frequently and has different categories to go directly to.

CNET– Tech deals that are updated often.

Gamespot– Gaming deals for any of you ladies who have boys or husbands who act like boys 😜

The Wirecutter– Lots of home and tech stuff. Claim to scan thousands of items and find only the best deals. Updated frequently.

 

My white suitcase that I love and took to the derby is on major sale too! Right now it’s $116 with 30% off at checkout making it $81. It’s been as high as $320 and I bought it for $98 so it’s a great deal right now. Buy it here before it sells out!

 

Happy shopping!

-V-

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to be in great shape. By now I’ve finally learned how to workout and eat healthy so that being fit isn’t very difficult for me. I get asked all the time how I stay fit so I’d love to share how I got to where I am now. First, let me give you a little background about my weight.

 

I was always naturally thin (115 lbs.) when I was in high school. In college, I gained the good old freshman 15. My weight would yo-yo a lot, but I was still only a size 6 so didn’t do much to lose the weight. In my mid 20’s I started dating my now ex-husband and got all the way up to 160 which was a size 12 for me (i’m 5’3). It finally hit me that I was unhappy in my own skin so I started working out. I lost 20lbs on my own then hired a personal trainer who taught me how to lift weights and helped me lose the last 25 lbs and get back to 115. I’ve always had issues with food because I didn’t really know how to eat right. My trainer helped me get started on how to eat healthy, but it was still an ongoing struggle for me to stay thin. I would eat somewhat healthy during the week then I’d gorge on the most unhealthy food on the weekends. I’d gain about 5 lbs on the weekends then spend the whole week trying to lose it. It was a vicious cycle. At one point I was so determined to be even thinner that I got down to 108 lbs by eating lots of smoothies and working out sometimes 11 times in a week. Yes 11. I looked great, but I was starving and it just wasn’t something I could obviously keep up so I went back to my typical vicious cycle.

 

Fast forward to last year. I was going through some personal issues and started skipping the gym and eating unhealthy. Before I knew it, I was up to 140. I was determined to lose the weight at the beginning of this year, but I refused to go back to my usual “workout like crazy during the week and eat like crap on the weekends” cycle so I started to look at alternatives and I discovered the book that changed my life. Natalie Jill’s 7 Day Jump Start

I actually discovered Natalie Jill on Instagram. There are tons of women in great shape with books and advice on how to lose weight on Instagram, but I chose to buy Natalie Jill’s book for one simple reason. She’s in her 40s. I believe 45 to be exact. All the other girls were in their 20s and I thought “Well shit, who ISN’T thin in their 20s?!” 😂 I knew I needed someone who’s metabolism had slowed down like mine. This book is all about teaching you how to truly eat healthy so that being fit isn’t a struggle anymore. It’s the best money I’ve ever spent because it’s been the easiest way to not only lose weight, but maintain it. In her book she talks about eating gluten-free (it’s not that hard I swear), organic, and unprocessed foods (anything that ISN’T in a box/bag). She also shows you some workouts you can do at home. I lost 15 lbs in a little more than two months plus more! Here are some useful tips on how I personally lost the weight:

  1. The first 7 days are the hardest of this book. After that the recipes in the back are a lot more delicious and easy to stick with. I followed the 7 day eating plan about 99% of the time for the first week.
  2. The workouts in this book are great if you’re not a gym person, but I am. I go to the gym and lift weights 5 days a week and do cardio for 3 days out of those 5 for 20 min after I get done lifting weights. Sometimes I go in to the gym once on the weekend and just do 45 min of cardio. I swear by the stairmaster because I have bad knees so it’s the only cardio machine I use. Remember earlier how I said I got up to 160 and lost the first 20 lbs by myself? Well that was by doing the stairmaster for a month and that was before I even started eating healthy. Start slow with the stairmaster if you need to, but make sure you build yourself up. Currently I warm up for 3 min at level 5 then I alternate every minute between level 14 and level 5. When I go up to level 14 I hold on for 15 sec then I let go for 30 sec and then hold on again for the last 15 sec. I do this for a total of 20 min if I lifted weights right before or 45 min if I didn’t. I know not everyone knows how to lift weights. I learned a lot from my trainer so I can lift weights by myself now. If you can afford a trainer then I highly suggest it. Even if you just hire one for a few sessions and pay close attention and remember what he/she shows you so you can do it later on your own. If you can’t afford a trainer, there are tons of different exercises you can learn how to do online or even on Instagram. A great app to download is JEFIT. It shows you tons of workouts and has a log so you can keep track of how much you’re lifting. Also get a gym buddy so you have someone else to hold you accountable.
  3. I didn’t drink for the first 30 days. I actually think it was 33 days. I know this is going to be a tough one for some of you, but drinking adds so many unnecessary calories that will either prevent you from losing weight at all or make it VERY slow. Just suck it up for at least a month, longer would be even better. If and when you go back to drinking try vodka soda with a crap load of limes or splash some grapefruit in there.
  4. CONSISTENCY IS KEY. I was sticking to this for a good 4-6 weeks and got down to 120 lbs and a size zero again! I actually wanted to post about this for awhile, but wanted to wait til I got some abs and attach an amazing photo of myself 😂 At the rate I was going I was 100% sure I’d have abs by summer. Unfortunately, that never happened. Why? Well I started dating someone and the consistency went out the window. I started going out more and drinking and eating out too often. I don’t blame him. I blame myself for not making better decisions. I’m not saying you need to be a hermit and never go anywhere or see anyone, but try as best as you can to stick to this new way of eating because that’s what this is.
  5. This isn’t a diet, but a new way of eating and a different way I think about food. As long as I eat gluten-free, organic (try your best), unprocessed food then I don’t yo-yo on the scale anymore and it’s just easier to be and stay thin. The recipes in this book really are delicious and filling and if you get tired of them then discover new ones on Pinterest. Just make sure that they meet the general guidelines.
  6. Make losing weight your priority. Earlier I said this book is the easiest way to lose weight, but that’s only if you make it a priority and are dedicated. A lot of people say the same thing about losing weight. “I just don’t have time”. Whether they say they don’t have time to workout before work or don’t have time after work to go grocery shopping and cook. Well if you’re one of those people I hate to break it to you, but we ALL have time. Some people just don’t prioritize losing weight like others do. When I first started this eating plan, it was at the very top of my priority list. Instead of going out for drinks with my friends on the weekends I would go grocery shopping and cook for hours to have meals ready for the week. Having meals already prepared for the week is perfect for you guys out there that say you’re too tired after work. You may think you don’t have time, but I bet there are a lot of things you could skip or put on the back burner to focus on losing weight. Skip the baseball game or concert that your friend invited you to and go grocery shopping and cook something healthy. Pass on happy hour and go to the gym.
  7. Don’t rely so much on the scale. There were times that I’d weigh myself and I was shocked that I’d only lost a couple of pounds considering how healthy I’d been eating and how hard I was working at the gym. When I first started this plan, I tried on an old pair of shorts that used to fit me. I struggled so much to get them over my thighs that I was sweating and they definitely wouldn’t button. Every 3-4 weeks I’d try on the shorts to see my progress and soon enough those shorts fit me perfectly despite what the scale said!
  8. Don’t be discouraged. Have I fallen off sometimes? Of course. No one is perfect, especially around holidays 😬 In fact I’m currently a few pounds heavier than I’d like to be because I’ve been veering off what I should be eating, but I’m getting back to it and after a about a week of being consistent I should be back to where I was. So don’t get down on yourself if you fall off the wagon. Just make sure you get back on it.

 

Remember that you didn’t gain weight overnight so you won’t lose it that quickly either. The time is going to pass no matter what so just stick with it and before you know it you’ll be at your goal weight that you can easily maintain! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments. Good luck!

Natalie Jill’s 7-Day Jump Start: Amazon

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