Winter to summer palette

I’m still one of those people who thinks the best accessory is a suntan! There is nothing like a healthy glow and unless forced to, I don’t plan to avoid the sun entirely. Having said this, the aftermath of a tan is age spots so to even out my skin tone, even when tan, I have to wear foundation.

The other day, I made a little discovery…

unnamed

My Bobbi Brown foundation looks great on my non-tanned skin, but is too light when I’m tan. By adding a darker, loose powder foundation, like BareMinerals in Medium Tan, I can now create the perfect shade of whatever colour my skin happens to be. I am so hooked on Clarin’s Blue Orchid Oil that I now add it to loose or pressed mineral foundation.

unnamed-1

Anyway, there you have it! The easiest way to keep up with your winter to summer skin tones!

Winter Skin Saviour

Unknown

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything and I do apologise, but I’ve waited until I can highly recommend some new stuff that I find works for me!

At 47, my skin is like any other middle aged woman’s. It’s not too dry. It’s not oily anymore. It does surprise me though with occasional breakouts. While the surface of my skin doesn’t feel dehydrated, it probably is. But in general, it looks pretty good, most especially in makeup!

Anyway, I recently discovered Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil for dehydrated skin and I have become addicted! It’s only been a few weeks since I started using the oil, but so far I used the oil several times during a long plane ride, I’ve worn it alone as a post-sun moisturiser, I now combine it with Dermalogica’s Multivitamin Power Serum  as a night treatment, and I use it on my hands as well. You’ll find this oil is multipurpose and really does quench your skin’s thirst for moisture.

Don’t think of a face oil as spreading a layer of olive oil on your face! While the oil feels ‘greasy’ at first, it doesn’t remain that way on your skin. All you need is a pea sized glob (glob??) of the oil to rub between your hands, then apply by blotting the oil on your skin and neck. As with any treatment oils, creams, witches’ potions, whatever you put on your skin, don’t rub it in thereby tugging your skin all over the place. Gently pat products on to your skin and never pull downward. Gravity will do that for you!

Finally, I love using oil on wet skin. I am a Palmer’s Moisturizing Body Oil addict, which I use before getting out of the shower, and now I apply Blue Orchid on my damp face so that I can go about my regimen without the increasing sensation of dry, tight skin. Once the oil has absorbed into your skin, you can apply another moisturiser, sunscreen, etc.

I can’t recommend this facial oil highly enough, but test it on your hand first before committing to putting it on your face. I can also tell you that it shouldn’t make you break out so don’t hesitate applying it all over your face and neck. Please do let me know if I’m spreading rumours about breaking out, but it hasn’t been my experience yet.

Ultralift does seem to lift

The other day (Thursday, October 30th, to be exact!) I had a treatment called Ultralift at Dr. Sebagh’s office here in London. The concept behind the treatment is to tighten saggy skin, especially around the neck and jawline, with ultrasound energy, but this doesn’t feel like the ultrasound you have when you’re pregnant! The effects of the treatment aren’t immediately noticed, but will improve over time as your skin begins producing more collagen. Using ultrasound energy to tighten skin is FDA approved, by the way, but I don’t think this particular machine is available in the US.

Collagen is a protein found in our cells, which is then distributed throughout our body in various tissue fibres and in turn makes our skin more elastic and dewy-looking, our hair shiny, our eyes moist, our skin less wrinkled, but as we age, we naturally produce less collagen, so we get wrinkly, our skin less elastic, our hair brittle. In a nutshell, this is why there are various treatments targeted at those areas more prone to showing the effects of low collagen levels; your skin, your hair, even your nails.

Ultralift itself isn’t a painful procedure, but there are areas that will tingle for a few seconds and you might feel something like a very dull electric shock (don’t let that scare you!). Neither lasts long and the doctor who was in charge of doing the ultrasound (the wand itself is like the one used on your belly- I actually had an ultrasound on my foot once) asked me repeatedly if I was okay, was I uncomfortable, did anything hurt, since she could lessen the strength of the ultrasound; you will have a thick layer of cold gel on your face as well as cold air blowing on your skin.

As with any treatment, be true to yourself and only grin and bear it if you’re not seriously struggling with the pain! While ‘beauty hurts’, you never need to put yourself in a situation where it’s painful beyond words and so much so that you decide not to continue with the recommended course of treatments to get results! In other words, verbalise your pain threshold to whomever it is doing your treatment!

Do I see any difference? I actually do, especially on my face near the jowl area where I did fillers a year and a half ago. As far as my ‘turkey waddle’ goes, I haven’t seen much improvement there, which is why I chose to do Ultralift in the first place. The doctor I saw- not Dr. Sebagh- is a firm believer that doing this type of anti-aging treatment is incredibly beneficial to the skin and that every woman should do it. Given the look of her skin and my assumption of her age, I didn’t feel as if she were trying to get me to spend money for no reason!

Thankfully, my skin does look better and I think the expense was worth it. Two sessions within two months of each other are required with no further maintenance suggested. I don’t want to quote the cost of one session as I think it’s more appropriate if you contact Dr. Sebagh’s office directly or find another doctor’s office that does this particular treatment.

If I can avoid a facelift, I plan to by seeking out treatments that target my areas of concern. The trick, without a doubt, is to start taking advantage of aesthetic beauty treatments now vs. waiting until you’re truly showing signs of ageing…

WherezIT helps you keep track of where ‘it’ is!

Yesterday, WherezIT, an App idea that I had developed by a local App developer here in London, will be submitted to Apple! OMG! I can’t believe the moment has arrived!!! Think good thoughts and I’ll let you know when the app is available (UK and US markets for sure!)- fingers crossed!

Description in App Store:

Do you often feel like you have the memory of a goldfish or maybe you hide things so that no one will find them- important things like chequebooks or your kids’ iPads- then later realise you have no idea where you squirrelled them away?! Now you can keep a list of everything you don’t want to lose in one very intuitive, great looking app!
WherezIT keeps track of everything important; just take a snapshot of the item, add only the most important details, hit ‘save’, and you’re good to go! It’s not a chore to use WherezIT and you’re never inundated with a bunch of unnecessary details to add.

Keep track of where you put important documents, what’s in your safety deposit box, where you hid your valuable jewellery or what clothing you left at your holiday/weekend home. You can create your own categories so the list of uses is truly endless!

Thanks to the geo-tag option, you can take WherezIT even further and use it to keep track of where you parked on an unfamiliar street in an unfamiliar country, especially handy when street signs aren’t in English! WherezIT is the ultimate way to jog your memory and always know where ‘it’ is!

Feature set:

• Built-in camera plus access to camera roll to add item later
• Easily add the name of item, location, geo-tag, category, mark as important
• Set reminders for when you need something
• Items are alphabetised for quick searches
• Passcode protected and syncs with iCloud
• First ten items are free then in-app purchase allows endless entries

Please follow WherezIT on Facebook by clicking the link in the first sentence! THANK YOU!!

Nutribullet recipes at your fingertips

Raspberry-Banana-and-Coconut-Smoothiewith-Mint-231x212

Raspberry banana coconut with mint from a Nutribullet recipes site

Not too long ago, I mentioned that I use a Nutribullet to make green smoothies. Click here to view the post. Well, I was lucky enough to be contacted by a woman who has a site that provides delicious and healthy recipes for a Nutribullet and she asked me to add a link to her site on my blog. She even offered to pay me! I simply wanted to be mentioned on her blog in exchange since any publicity is good publicity, right?

A little about the Nutribullet, which is a ‘superfood extractor’ vs. a traditional juicer. While juicers are great- I used to juice all the time when I was younger and had so much beta carotene in my system from carrots that I literally started turning orange…My hairdresser at the time asked where I had recently vacationed, because I was apparently tan, but I had really been stuck in a darkroom printing photographs for one of my grad school classes and in the middle of winter!

Anyway, pulverising fruits and vegetables into a juice means removing their skin if they have one, and essentially removing all the vitamins and rich nutrients found in the skin itself. An extractor is different. It emulsifies fruits and vegetables into a smoothie, leaving the healthiest part of your chosen fruits and vegetables, the skin, in the smoothie. It’s also great because you can add further things to your smoothie like flaxseeds, almonds, cashews, almond milk, cashew milk, coconut butter, coconut milk, and the list is endless. You feel full after your smoothie and you get the benefits of something that’s really good for you!

There are two types of well-known extractors on the market; the Vitamix and the Nutribullet. They are slightly different beasts, but in the same family and essentially do the same thing, though the Vitamix has more features and is much more expensive. Bear in mind that a blender, even a high-end one, cannot- I’ve tried it- emulsify a vegetable like kale, for example. Because kale has a very thick leaf, it’s hard to turn into smoothie form unless you don’t mind chewy bits in your smoothie, which to me are like biting into bits of eggshell when you’re eating a hardboiled egg. Yuck!

For more about healthy Nutribullet recipes, please click here and enjoy your Nutribullet- if you decide to buy one (I can’t recommend this one highly enough!), which are easily ordered online both in the US and UK.

your own personal gym and what to buy for starters

I’ve found that my favourite gym is the tiny one that I created at home in various corners of our house and I finally decided at 47 years of age to do this! I love the equipment and that it’s always clean and available, the membership fee is cheap if you amortise the total cost of the equipment on a monthly basis, there’s always an episode of some Bravo show I haven’t seen on TV there, water is free, and there are never any lines for anything! Seriously, after spending last summer working out with a trainer, I  realised that I could replicate most of the routines he taught me by buying my own minimal amount of equipment and working out at home, but taking his advice and following it ‘to the dot’!

If you’re interested in doing the same, I highly recommend you consult a trainer first about the right routine for your own body, especially if you’re working out with an injury or you’re a beginner with little knowledge of how to use weights properly. I was having a lot of problems with my shoulder and thanks to DL (my trainer’s initials), they’ve essentially gone away. But, I had constant supervision while training with him and he designed routines both for the gym and home that are catered strictly to my needs.

I wanted to share with you what equipment I have, but only if you’re advanced enough in your workouts to know exactly what to do and most importantly, HOW to do the exercises properly.

Here goes:

three sets of neoprene hexagonal dumbbells weighing 2.5kg, 4kg, and 5kg (I need to work up to using 5kg and really favour the 2.5kg for now). DL had suggested 5lb, 7.5lb, and 10lb weights, but the ones I have were the closest I could find. You can go with various brands- mine are Neo Hex- and most sporting goods stores should have them and of course, you can search online (Amazon!).

Unknown-1

Another important must-have to add to your ‘gym’ is resistance bands. Mine are from Reebok since Slastix, but my trainer had recommended Slastix, which I thought I couldn’t find in the UK because I had looked for Stastix! The point is that you want the kind of band that has thick fabric covering the elastic band itself. The bands will last longer and if it grazes your skin, not take your arm or leg hair with it! You should get three bands in three different resistances.

This video (click here), and more, are available on YouTube and could help you figure out:

images

Stastix resistance band

images-1

And last, but not least, my absolute favourite piece of equipment is my Bosu (get the original Bosu trainer that comes with an air pump and DVD)! It’s great for balance training as when you stand on top of it, knees slightly bent, and do bicep curls, for example, you’re contracting tiny muscles in your legs, and even your abs, just to keep yourself balanced, while you try to avoid favouring one leg or the other. I also bought a book from Amazon that has Bosu exercise routines.

Unknown-1

This is the book I bought on Amazon

tumblr_loou3fUt9k1qzp1hc

images-2

Push-ups on the Bosu

Like I said, please please please head to your local gym and consult a professional trainer before setting yourself up at home. If you have a good friend who’s very experienced, work out with them a few times since you need to know how to protect your joints properly, how especially to avoid injuring your back or your neck, and what exercises work out which parts of your body. You may think you know, but unless you have a lot of experience, the chances that you could injure yourself from simple routines are pretty high.

By the way, I bought everything I have from amazon.co.uk since I live in London.

An App that truly helps you lose weight (or it least it has for me)

Unknown

I know I write a lot about weight loss from not worrying about it and focusing on the rewards of being physically fit to stressing out about how I’ve recently gained a good amount of weight, which means that my own self-esteem vacillates and is definitely higher when I’m working out (endorphins maybe??).

This story begins during summer (2014) on one particular day when I was driving around and listening to an Oprah show on Sirius radio (FYI!). This particular episode was about weight gain and loss, the causes of having gained so much- usually from emotional overeating- and how people successfully fought and won their own battle of the bulge. But one woman’s story really peaked my interest when she talked about losing 25 lbs thanks to keeping a daily food journal. So I’m trying it and you know what? It works!

Thanks to My Fitness Pal, I’ve managed to lose 2 lbs this past week. Most was probably water weight, but when I stood on the scale this morning, I was nearly 6 lbs less than the weight I had been hitting all summer and 2 lbs less (feels more like fat loss) than my most recent ‘low’ weight. When you record and then see in black and white what you consume on a daily basis, you’re so much more mindful of what you put in your body.

Because this App counts calories (sometimes only roughly as not every dish you eat is represented in the App’s existing database- you can though add your own dishes provided you have all the labelled information), you get an idea of how much you’re exceeding, limiting (not a good idea), or sticking to your daily limit, which is based on current weight, your target weight, and the amount of weight per week that you’d like to lose. I chose 1.5 lbs per week so as not to starve myself so I’m right on target. According to the App, I should lose the 8 lbs that have been haunting me by October 10th and if I can keep the weight off, I’m happy to be patient.

I haven’t been able to exercise as much lately (long story!) so the good news is that the food journal is truly keeping me in check. And I feel so much better, especially in the muffin-top, gut-hanging-over-jeans area! Click on ‘My Fitness Pal’ above and check out the App for yourself.