Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blog Lovin' - 12 Months of Lent

Everyone throughout their life has had problems really keeping their New Years Resolutions. We might  tell ourselves we'll eat healthier, we'll exercise more, we'll get better at saving money, etc. - but more often than not, we fizzle out shortly after. 

A few weeks ago I was perusing the Lululemon blog, a favorite of mine for some fitness motivation, and stumbled across their post on an amazing blog called 12 Months of Lent, and was immediately intrigued by the concept. Started in 2008 by Danne Dzenawagis, the blog revolves around setting month-long goals and changing them each month, to try and form better habits. Though I'm not Catholic, the idea of Lent has always been an interesting one - personal sacrifice for a designated period of time as a sign of respect and spiritual awakening. 

Suddenly, the thought of exercising consistently three days a week for a month doesn't freak me out. And giving up carbs entirely for 30 days doesn't seem impossible. The cool thing about this concept is, if you hate it after a month, you never have to do it again - but there's a great chance you'll love it and begin to form much better habits! My favorite post from Dzenawagis was her detox month, where she cut out alcohol, dairy, artificial flavors, etc. for the whole month. 

I'll be giving this a shot starting July 1, though I've yet to decide what exactly my first project will be. Anyone going to try this with me? What will your first month be?


UPDATE: Okay, I've decided that for the month of July I am going to focus solely on cutting out all bread and all other simple carbohydrates. I'll stick with wheat pasta (if at all) and grains like quinoa, tempeh, etc. This is a tough one for me, because all I want to eat ever is pizza and grilled cheese, so wish me luck guys!

How the Brazilian Blowout Changed My Life

Because it totally did. Change my life, I mean. Not in any deep, emotional way - I never had an epiphany or anything - it just totally changed my life.

Any girl with frizzy, curly hair (and no, I'm not talking about small waves, or thin curly hair, I mean massive amounts of tangly frizzy ringlets that look haggard and won't straighten out for anything) needs to have one of these done immediately. I've written a blog post about this in the past, but since I purged that blog I thought it appropriate to do an update on here. It's been a little over two years since I've been regularly getting the Brazilian Blowout (BB) and my hair has never been better (or longer). The BB allows me to essentially wash-and-go, meaning less heat damage and less to chop off come trim time.

Pre-BB, my life revolved completely around my hair. On a trip to Europe in 2009, I couldn't white water raft in Austria with my group because if our boat capsized (which everyone's did), I wouldn't be near an outlet to re-straighten my hair. If that's not sad, I don't know what is. On average, my shoulder length, thick hair would take about 2.5 hours to straighten. If date night fell on a hair straighten night, I skipped the date and stayed in with a blow dryer and flat iron. If it rained at school I would go to any length to stay out of the rain and avoid the inevitable frizz, even if it meant missing a class altogether. This seems silly, but when you're spending 2.5 hours on your hair three times a week (I'm not an every day washer and you shouldn't be either), you too go to any length to avoid messing it up. Trust me.

Since the BB, I've been able to completely enjoy things. I can walk in the mist or the rain without a care - I can go to the beach without my hair becoming an afro. Not that I'd ever do that, because I hate the beach, but you get the idea.

There's zillions of identical treatments out there these days, each catering to a different clientele. I've stuck with the BB for the last few years and have had nothing but wonderful results.

Before (Here's my hair air dried pre-BB):

And here's after (also air-dried):

Note: Some people are genuinely freaked out by the thought of formaldehyde. Sure, it's a carcinogen in excess amounts. As is too much sun exposure, not enough sun exposure (look it up), cigarette smoke, normal city pollution, and infinite amount of other things. There are plenty of products out there sans formaldehyde that will give you a similar result, so if it's something that really bothers you, you have other options. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Manicure Monday: Love Letter Nails

For those of you who follow me in Instagram, my blog posts may not be particularly exciting because many of the photos I've already posted on one medium or another. That being said, here's my manicure today viz Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail stickers in the Love Letter print.

People have been complimenting them left and right - this pair has definitely generated more fuss than past pairs (the leopoard and the floral). Upon application, I instantly remember why I don't love these all that much. Sure, the prints are cute and they last for a while (two weeks without much peeling), but they are kind of a pain to put on and even worse to remove.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Skincare Secrets

I like to think I've lived through it all. Skin-wise, that is. I've had awful, cystic acne, semi-bad acne, oily skin, dry skin, combination skin, etc throughout my life and have only in the last few years gotten it under control.

I've been seeing dermatologists and estheticians for years and here's a few tips I picked up from them!

  • You're never too young to start using an under eye cream. 

  • When shopping for a body moisturizer, avoid anything labeled lotion as it has a higher alcohol content which essentially just dries out your skin. Instead, look for products labeled "Moisturizer" or "hydrating cream". Some of the best ones are the Vaseline brand and Eucerin.

  • Wear sunscreen, or, if you're like me, skip the sunscreen and stay indoors 24/7. Either way works.

  • A skin lightener is a great way to even out skin tone and get rid of freckles on the face. 

  • Put lotion (I know I just said to avoid lotion, but I'll use it as a general term in this post) on within three minutes of getting out of the shower - this allows the product to properly absorb into your skin and do it's job.

  • Never rub your eyes! The eye skin is so delicate - any tugging or rubbing or harsh activity with it is bad for it.

  • Sunblock on the back of your hands will help them stop looking old - the two areas of a woman's body that show age the quickest are the hands and the neck. Protect them!

  • Olive oil is a great natural moisturizer - only use if you have well-balanced or dry skin though. Not recommended for sensitive skin. I use it when I've run out of my other moisturizers.

  • Exfoliation is key if you want your body and face to glow. St. Ives apricot scrub is inexpensive and easy to find!

  • You don't need expensive skin care products to keep your face looking lovely. Cetaphil cleanser is a gentle, yet completely effective cleanser for about $6 and Olay makes some wonderful anti-aging products that do the same as any $600 treatment would. I know this because I've tried both.

In the end, we only have one body and one set of skin (technically not since we're constantly producing new layers, but anatomy aside...) so why not take care of it?