Archive | January, 2013

Basic Five-Product Skincare System

25 Jan


click photo for close up!

As an Esthetician I always have a hard time convincing people just how important it is to take great care of your skin at HOME.  A skincare regime will help to prolong your facial results, and just plain keep your skin in good shape! It’s the same advice I give to all my girlfriends; I’m ALWAYS insisting to them that it’s imperative to take care of your face!  Our faces just aren’t a great place to skimp since we don’t live in a society where covered faces are the norm… 

Now, I’m not suggesting that you need to spend hundreds of dollars on your skincare regime, I’m not even insisting that you need 15 different products to care for your skin; but what you do need to do is make some thoughtful choices about AT-HOME skincare if you want to keep your skin looking and feeling nicer, for longer.

After 12 years in the skincare industry, I feel that I have a fairly good grasp when it comes to what the most important products EVERYONE should own are.  Below is my tried and true basic system that I feel even the lowest maintenance, busiest person can do.

 In my opinion you should spend a little more on certain products, although even a cheaper version of those mentioned is so much better than nothing!  This is not what I would call a “comprehensive” skincare regime, but it’s a great start for those who don’t currently have one, and a good foundation to build on for those beauty mavens, like me.

The Basics:

 1.     A DEEP CLEANSER: Your deep cleanser should be appropriate for YOUR skin type.  If it’s on the oily side, get a gel cleanser, if it’s dry choose a creamier version. The point is, you want something that will deep clean for YOU and help take off the daily grime without stripping! Expensive cleansers are not that important (in my opinion), cleansers just aren’t on your skin long enough to REALLY make a huge difference, but picking the right one for your skin IS very important.

2.     A GOOD HYDRATER: This is a moisturizer that you can use both day and night if needed.  Some of you will prefer a thinner oil-free version and some need something richer.  You might have to change this depending on the season but you DO NOT want this to contain SPF because you may need to use it at night.  I don’t care what type of skin you have, whether it’s acne-prone or sensitive and beyond, moisture has gotten a raw deal when it come to skin problems and it is a step that should not be avoided!

3.     A GOOD SPF: For everyday, my personal opinion is that for MOST of us SPF15 is just fine, and it’s usually found in most of our foundations.  However, it is important to have a great SPF30 in your skincare arsenal.  I personally don’t believe in SPF’s that are higher (I know, there’s a gasp heard round the world).  There are a lot of people who disagree with me here, but I believe higher SPF provides both a false sense of security when you’re in the sun (you need to reapply or get the heck out of it!), and opens you up to irritation and/or breakouts. There are tons of options out there, from powders to creams; I’ve tried both and think they both work well, but I generally spend a little more for something that won’t cause problems for my skin, even if it’s at the drugstore.

4.     A GOOD EXFOLIATOR: Exfoliants are often found in 2 different forms, either a manual scrub (one with beads present), or acids (such as AHA’s or BHA’s).  I exfoliate every single day, which is fine for some but not for everyone! Most people find their exfoliation-sweet-spot somewhere between 1-3 times weekly. Exfoliation is my big secret in combination with hydration, so do not skip this! Exfoliants are what make your skin look bright and clear!

5.     A CORRECTING PRODUCT AKA TREATMENT: This is generally some sort of serum, which you might want to change fairly regularly, or seasonally depending on what’s going on with your skin. Correcting products generally contain retinols, glycolics, anti-agers, or other high-powered ingredients aimed at targeting whatever might be going on with your skin at any given moment.  This one is gonna be the most expensive because you need it to do the most work, and that often costs money!


There it is!  Again, this is very basic; you don’t want to even know what I have in my skincare cabinet!  I’m happy to help anyone with more specific questions or concerns in the comment section as time permits.  What I want my readers to take away from this article is that facials are important, regularly, or seasonally to help get your skin in great shape.  Think of facials as maintenance for your face; however, at-home-skincare is even more important because it’s something you do every single day! (And that’s from me, an Esthetician, who wants you to come in for facials telling you that what you do at home is even more important!)

 Products: Most can be found at


1. Purity by Philosophy, great at deep cleaning but not too drying!

2. Yonka Lait Nettoyant Cleansing Milk ( Perfectly gentle for dryer sensitive types, and on of my favorite Estheticians favorite cleansers!

3. Josie Maran: Argan Cleansing Oil: I LOVE cleansing OILS! These are good for everyone if you pick the right brands, but really great for dryer types! Do be scared of OIL!


4. Hope in a Jar by Philosophy: I love this cream, it’s great for normal and combo types, and they have one called “When Hope is Not Enough’ for even dryer types.

5.Peter Thomas Roth: Ultra Lite Oil Free Moisturizer: This is great for skin that is prone to breakouts or gets very oil, it can always be boosted with a serum if you need a touch more hydration!


6.Dermalogica Super Sensitive Sunblock SPF 30: This travels well, soaks in, and is great for men!

7.Jan Marini Anti-Oxidant SPF 30: This is my go to EXTRA sunscreen; I take it with me to the pool, to the beach, or on a day in my convertible, and REAPPLY people!

8. Kiss My Face: SPF 30: Great for sensitive skin, water RESISITANT, and a lot cheaper than the other ones… this goes traveling with me too!


9. Jurlique Enzyme Exfoliator: Smells great, feels great, good for just about anyone!

10. Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Face Polish: This is the one I use every single day.  I’m not recommending you do it that often, but this one is just lovely!


11. Clear Skin Ultra Gel (Bloom Skincare, Los Altos): Around here we call this liquid gold.  I have just about all my favorite people in the world using this to help curb breakouts (clears you up without drying you out!).  It’s not crazy expensive and it lasts a LONG time.  Perfect for adult breakouts… I wear mine daily under my moisturizer.

12. Cell Youth Actif (Bloom Skincare, Los Altos): Ok peeps, I begged my boss to get this.  We all tried it and loved it!  It’s got all sorts for new anti-agers, plumpers, and brighteners in it and it’s a great time to start using it for a wonderful glow.  This is a PERFECT example of what a treatment product should look like! But it will cost you!

Happiness Tip: If it FEELS Unhealthy, it Probably IS!

22 Jan




One of the best pieces of advice I’ve EVER received was given to me while I was going through one of the most difficult times in my life.  It was simple and yet MIND-BLOWING:  IF IT FEELS TOXIC, IT PROBABLY IS. This was an epiphany to me! Of course! How could I have not seen it before, I just kept trying to fix things that just were not fixable; and people, these thing DO exist in the world.  It IS ok to let some people and things go.

I had spent so much time thinking and beating myself up… ‘what am I doing wrong’ ‘how could I have saved this friendship, moment, day, etc… (fill in the blank)’; sometimes relationships are just plan UNHEALTHY.  It’s not your fault souly or theirs, but if it can’t be fixed (and I mean by a good dose of communication and work from both ends), it IS ok to let it go.

This piece of advice is guiding me through the next phase of my life, both in my relationships AND in life choices.  When I am making a decision, I find myself really checking in with ME and asking ‘Does this feel like a HEALTHY choice?’ Whether it’s with food or if I’m pushing myself towards one more social event that might take me right over the deep end, I’m trying to make better decisions which really does lead to less stress and MORE HAPPINESS!  Life has been so much better since I let the unhealthy parts go and have begun to apply this simple philosophy to my life.

Thanks Dani for this gem, you probably had no idea you changed my life.


Happiness is a CHOICE

18 Jan


I’m pretty certain, on most days that happiness is a choice. Today is Friday, so for most of us that’s reason to be enough to be happy… But what if you work on Saturday? How can you achieve the same level of happiness all day that the rest of the weekend lovers have?

I say, really, CHOOSE happiness today. No matter what!

For me, it’s the knowledge that I am having dinner after work with a dear friend AND get to see so many people AT work that I adore AND actually, my co-workers make me laugh!!

Find your happiness today no matter how small it is!
Happy weekend Y’all!

Flu BE~GONE: Ginger/Lemongrass Soup

17 Jan


Get-Better-Soon ~or~ Never-Get-Sick

Lemongrass/Ginger Soup Recipe

So, I am seeing so many of you are sick L. This makes me sad, especially since AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!  I am going to give you my go to recipe for getting over that flu quick, or trying to ward it away from your homestead.  I will say that I got the idea for this recipe from a dear friend and client, but hers is probably much better and involves a lot more time as she makes her stock from scratch, but I say again, when you’re sick AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT! 

This is so simple to make, that I have literally dragged my near-lifeless zombie-fied body to the kitchen and created a bubbling cauldron of healing goodness.  I ALWAYS have the ingredients on hand in the winter and I believe you should too! It’s even delicious with a  BLT or Grilled Cheese!

Here’s what you need!

  • Ginger, peeled and smashed, cut into 2ish inch cubes (I use a lot or a little depending on how serious I am, more is better! Sometimes you can even use the immersion blender at the end if you want it in the soup… but the soup isn’t as yummy then, ginger is NO JOKE!)
  • Lemongrass (2 sticks, I rinse them, take off the outermost layer after cutting into 2.5 inch pieces)
  • ½ White Onion, chopped
  • 1-3 Cloves of smashed or chopped Garlic (depending on what you can take!)
  • 2-4Tblsp of white vinegar
  • Juice of one Lime
  • 1 Carton of Chicken Stock 32 OZ
  • 2Tblsp of one of my FAVORITE ingredients, Better Than Bouillon (BTB) CHICKEN *
  • 1 Can of White Meat Chicken, rinsed (I know, canned chicken, but actually it’s not bad and when you are sick it’s perfect. Just rinse it first… or throw last nights chicken breast in)
  • 1 Serrano Pepper (Optional, I literally just cut the tips off and float it in the broth for the tiniest bit of heat)
  • Oil for pan
  • Cut Spaghetti Noodles, as few or as much as you want, I caution not to use too much.


  1. Prep your ingredients, you’re sick! Just rough chop all that crap up! Put those bad boys on the cutting board and put your pot on the stove at Medium with just a little twist of olive oil to coat.
  2. Drop the white onion in and let it cook, about 1 minute, coating in the fat, add garlic and cook one more minute.  I like to keep everything in this fresh and white.
  3. Add chicken stock and 2Tblsp of BTB, sir until dissolved.
  4. Drop in Lemongrass and Ginger, bring to a boil; then, reduce to simmer.
    1. (Drop in option pepper here too if you want a little heat)
    2. Add rinsed chicken as well as salt if needed and pepper if you want, and desired amount of vinegar and a hand full of noodles.
    3. Let simmer for 10 minutes to an hour, remove ginger and lemongrass or if you’re too exhausted eat around it… Sometimes I need the soup right then and there, and it’s perfect! You don’t have to let it simmer forever!

This seems involved, but once I developed it, I can make it in a snap and my hubby swears it’s a cure-all!

*Note: Better Than Bouillon is something I have in all three flavors at all times in my kitchen: beef, chicken, and veggie. They make it in a variety of styles including gluten free and organic.  I can’t tell you how often I add it to a soup or sauce, or even as a little something salty and warm in the evening if I’m craving it! Enjoy!



Chapped Lip Fix!

17 Jan

Chapped Lip Fix!

Favorite Chapped Lip Remedies

I was just talking to a client today about the fact that I don’t think I have gone more than 5 times since junior high without some form of lip balm on. Because of this, I rarely suffer from chapped lips, and I know that I am a very lucky girl!

Day in and day out clients and friends ask how best to combat their dry lips! Wintertime is an especially difficult time for those little guys. I have a couple of tricks and a few solutions for getting, and keeping those kissers soft hydrated!

1. You MUST, ALWAYS wear something on your lips! I mean it people! That balm won’t work if you don’t keep it on your lips. Coat those bad boys till they look like a pair of rubber kissers!
2. Choose a balm WITHOUT medication. I have never seen a pair of lips that does well with medication. If your doctor prescribes it, fine, I’ll let it slide, but try to avoid mentholated, even peppermint or anything with the word MEDICATED.
3. Choose petroleum based (I know some people don’t like this, but it really works and doesn’t irritate the majority of the public) or shea butter based balms instead, and buy a few of them so there is no excuse not to have it on… I have mine in my car, my handbag, next to where I sit on the couch and next to my bed. There is NO defense for not to follow #1… Oh yeah, and get one for your travel bag too! There’s nothing worse than being in paradise with chapped lips but get one with sunscreen for the beach!
4. Exfoliate. If you are already experiencing dryness, there are lots of things you can do to GENTLY (notice I capitalized this, it’s important) exfoliate. I have OVER EXFOLIATED my lips into a very strange and painful state. You can use one of the cute and effective lip scrubs on the market, a disposable mascara wand (everyone should have a package of these), a baby toothbrush, or even a washcloth.
a. How to: When lips are clean and dry, gently employ one of these methods; sometimes I like to use the mascara wand WITH a scrub since the scrub alone can be messy. Use a moist washcloth to remove said scrub then go right back to step #1!

I’m including some links, and pictures of my favorites. These, for me, are tried and true but I would love for you to comment on what some of your favorite basic hydrators are for the lips. When I tell you I have just about used everything, trust me, I have. Inexpensive and expensive, I’ve tried it!

1. Sugar Lip Polish by Fresh
2. By TERRY: OR DE ROSE ~Just like the balm but with really fine shimmer, this was given as a gift for my birthday, and it is by far one of the best gifts I’ve received, one of my handbag musts!
3. By TERRY: BAUME DE ROSE ~If I had to choose one this is it. I have kept mine in the car and it’s lasted a year, just the LOVLIEST! High price tag, but I only need the one for an entire year!
4. VASELINE lip therapy ~ This is the one I used for years and the only one I’ll let my hubby use.
5. LaNatura Shea Butter Lip Balm ~My personal all-over-the-house favorite is Cocovanilla but they have about a billion incredible flavors. I buy at least 4 at a time and stash them in all the places mentioned. This is what I put on before bed at night! It’s super hydrating and luxurious!
6. The lip scrub: by Sara Happ: This little set packs a big punch! The scrub is awesome, I’ve used it for years and the lip-slip is a second runner up to my much beloved Baume De Rose. This is a great set to meet all your parched lips needs!,default,pd.html


Happiness Tip: Do One Thing Everyday for YOU!

14 Jan

Source: via Paige on Pinterest


Happiness Tip ☺

Many of you may already do this, but don’t take the time to actually think about it…

Do one thing for you and only you every single day. Let it be a moment that makes you smile to yourself and feel gratitude for the moment. You don’t have to tell anyone about it and it can be your secret; or, how about you brag about it! I think our society lends itself much easier to the negativities of the day rather than the small happiness’s that are so abundant! Doing things for yourself can often feel selfish or look selfish to others, so says our society, but I say you’ll be much happier if you do!

Now, a story…
Once, I was a Starbucks JUNKIE! Sometimes my hubby and I would lay tired in bed and dream of the next mornings Starbucks run (Who am I kidding, we still do). Literally, we talk about our excitement for the next morning’s coffee before drifting off to bed!!

After much thought and consideration, and one really nice espresso machine given to us for our wedding, I decided to do a little research into how to make the perfect morning iced espresso for myself. I started with cheaper Safeway roasts but after speaking to many coffee enthusiasts, mainly from Europe (my supreme belief is that Europe contains all my foodie lusts)… I decided to invest, once every 3 weeks, in the coffee of my dreams… To some, it’s not the most expensive, but to me $15 is a lot to spend on a can of coffee… But my Starbucks drinks were quickly becoming much more expensive at around $4 a pop! I made a quirky little coffee nook with the sugar carefully placed in the cutest little bowl and I even have a special jug for my creamer with the fanciest little cups to pour my espresso in… Frivolous, yes, but oh so marvelous for ME!

Each dawning, no matter how painful getting out of bed might seem, my first thought of the morning is not what I have to do, but that moment… My moment. Alone with something special I have given myself… slightly extravagant and all mine.

This week, you should try this. Think of something that can be yours, your moment and gift to yourself every single day that you can enjoy. Maybe yours is a trip to Starbucks or reading 10 minutes of Perez Hilton in the morning. Allow yourself that and while you’re doing it, smile!! Cheesy, yes, but I’m telling you it works!!!!!


Winter Skincare Tip

12 Jan

Winter Skincare

Here’s a quick and inexpensive (if you already own one, cheap ones work too if you don’t J) way to keep your skin hydrated or give it a hydration boost!

Winter is a tough time for almost EVERY skin type. From oily to dry with all the excessive hot showers, blazing heaters, and temp changes (not to mention the wonderful festive beverages that generally contain de-hydrating ingredients) you might suddenly be finding your skin parched!

There are so many ways to combat this, and I’ll blog about those in a separate post, but this is something easy that you can do today and add into your regime whether you’re a woman on the go or have 3 children climbing up your ankles… Are you ready?


Whenever I feel parched in the winter, I whip that bad boy out (please check that scraggy filter!) and sleep my way to glowing hydration. Let me know what you think!



Be Thankful Be Happy.

11 Jan

Be Thankful Be Happy.

Hi Guys! Here I am finally in the BLOG-O-SPHERE! I just wanted to get my first little intro blog out to let you know the ‘whys’ and ‘what’s’ of my newest little venture and 2 year resolution come true. So here goes…

Why should I write a blog, and why should you read it?

Well…simply put, I LOVE LIFE! I am in constant awe in almost equal measure of both the people and things (art, nature, music, literature, let’s be honest here fashion and beauty too), simple or grand that miraculously find their little ‘ole ways smack dab into the middle of my charmed little life!

Now, I’m not old-and-wise like I hope to be at the end, and I’m not charmed for any other reason except I’ve deemed my own-self so, but I do think I have some pretty good insight gained through a myriad of experience, readings, and the incredible one-on-one discussions with my extraordinary friends, family, clients and co-workers that occur in my life just about every single day (hmmm… that felt like a really long sentence). You know exactly who you are and don’t be surprised if something we talked about ends up in this blog, identities changed of course and with tasteful recounting (don’t worry though, your secrets are off limits!) ☺.

Life can be monotonous. It really can be. Life. Can. Be. MONOTONOUS! When I was little I remember my high school counselor asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up… Back then I answered very dramatically “I want to be an actress, I know you’ve heard it before, but I’m really going to be one.” Many years later with the recognition that I have horrible stage fright and generally come across as humorous in almost any rendition I undertake, I have realized that what I want to be when I grow up, what I want to be NOW, is HAPPY…

Happy you say? Oh so easy!!!! Ha! No way Jose! It really isn’t! Happiness, like most great things in life takes work. I’ll say that again, IT TAKES WORK TO BE HAPPY! Sure the Average Joe has good days and bad days (or maybe you’re the fabled happiness unicorn who is always happy, even on a rainy Monday), but what I am talking about is living happily the majority of the time regardless of circumstance; income, job, relationships, or TIME… And this type of happiness takes work!! Although I am not a black belt in this arena, I’ve come pretty far and would like to share, on a fairly regular basis, my ideas about being happy! I hope that sounds marvelous to you! (Disclaimer: If you’re already happy, this might make you even happier!!!)

What types of things will you find here?

The answer to this is both simple and a bit complex, in a word: EVERYTHING!

I’ve already said I am going to share my pit stops on the road to happiness, some of them you may like and some you might find pretty outlandish… But, I think most of you will find a little inspiration here. I think a secret back road to happiness is inspiration! For the most part, I don’t have tons of time to execute major projects so most of what I will be sharing here will quick and simple thoughts, adventures, stories, projects, recipes, and findings… because nothing makes me happier than beginning a new book or ending one, growing something from a seed, learning a new beauty trick, finding a quote that speaks to exactly how I am feeling today, or just adding a little glitter to something☺.

Blog’s coming soon:
-Masks Every Woman Must Own
-Window Sprouts
-Book Recommendations
-World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
-How To Make Your Own Butter
-Winter Skin Remedies
-Chapped Lip Cures

Thanks for being part of it all!

Welcome! Happy New Year!

9 Jan
More to come soon!

Welcome to my Blog!

%d bloggers like this: