Michelle Pino offered to write a guest post for you, Lipgloss+Spandex readers! Since we're a third of the way through the year, it's a good time to check in on our goals and resolutions and make adjustments as needed so we can be healthier and happier.
A healthy and balanced life can be very simple to attain. All you need are a few guidelines; you can fill in the details with your own preferences. It's easy to start a program, but hard to make lifestyle changes stick over time, and the key to persisting with any healthy lifestyle is balance. Whether you want to eat more organic food, start exercising daily or just master a new hobby, an inspiration board can help you figure out those goals and fine tune what makes you tick so that you stay focused on getting your health together.
Dangers of Dieting
The world of diets can be confusing and misleading. Everyone is trying to sell a different scheme, all for the purpose of separating you from your hard-earned money. The worst thing about diets is that they can be unhealthy, especially because everyone’s body is different. The answer is to simply go back to the basics. Opt for healthy options that give your body more energy.
The human body was designed to move, so move it. This doesn't suggest that a person needs to run for 10 miles every day or lift weights for hours on end. Just get outside and do the things you like to do. Whether it’s gardening or biking, if it makes you happy: go for it! Take a walk in the park with a friend. Plant a garden in the backyard. Play some tennis a couple of times a week. Find an active hobby that you love to do and stick with it. Excessive exercise has not been shown to improve longevity; it only increases the odds of getting injured.
Friends and Family
Stress is one of the most contributory factors to aging and poor health. Assuming your family is a source of enjoyment and comfort, spend more time with them! Play games, take trips, and engage in any other activities that are enjoyable for everyone involved. Friends can be even better; after all, we didn't choose our parents, siblings, cousins, etc. Spend time with friends that really add happiness to your life.
Don't Ignore Your Mind
We've already covered friends, family, and hobbies, but consider doing something specific for your sense of well-being on a regular basis. This might be attending church on a regular basis. For others, it might be a yoga class or time spent in meditation. Don't ignore this aspect of a healthy and balanced life.
Having a healthy and balanced mind and body does not require an extreme diet or an extreme exercise program. Take care of the basics and fill in the details with your own preferences. You already know what foods are healthy. You already know what people and activities contribute to your sense of well-being. Take a few steps today and build on them.
An inspiration board that focuses on your goals can help keep you on track! Here's my example board, which highlights my goals of 1) enjoying exercise outdoors, 2) protecting myself from UV rays, 3) stretch, and 4) healthy eating.
The warm weather and plants in bloom has me inspired to start enjoy the outdoors. Green is everywhere this time of year, and it’s a great color to be inspired by. Personally, I am not trying to run a marathon; I just want to live a healthy balanced life. It is important to do what makes you feel good. So if walking and bike riding is your thing, go for it! Golf is a great example. I’ve been taking lessons at Kaluhyat a Syracuse golf course
near my work, as a way to stay active outside. Doing the same old boring routine, is an easy way to lose motivation and “fall off the wagon”. Enjoy the outdoors and go for a walk. To me, there’s no better feeling than enjoying the outdoors and the reason for being the focus of my inspiration board.
Part of my own initiative to live a healthier lifestyle is to take better care of my body. As I get older I’m learning better ways to protect myself from harmful UV rays, unlike when I was younger and would sunbathe with baby oil. Yikes! Problem is, I love the sun: to compromise, I bought a pair of sunglasses that protects against UVA & UVB rays (similar to the one pictured from Style Bop
) to help shield my eyes. Wearing sunglasses can help prevent sun damage to your eyes that could cause cataracts.
From my work experience, I’ve learned that anytime you’re increasing your physical activity, it’s important to stretch your muscles to lengthen and strengthen them. Simple yoga poses
are simple stretches that can be done in the comfort of your own home. There are a lot of great resources on the internet for beginner yoga (www.DoYogaWithMe.com has great free yoga videos, searchable by yoga type, length of video, and difficulty! ~Marilyn
The biggest change in creating a healthy balance is improving what we eat. Smoothies
make for an easy on-the-go breakfast for those hectic mornings trying to get the family out the door. Smoothies are great because of their versatility: customize the ingredients you use to meet your taste buds or whatever supplies are in the refrigerator. It’s important to remember that your body needs nutritious foods as fuel for when you exercise.
Let your creativity flow! The visual boards can also assist in planning baby showers, birthday parties, and maybe even your next vacation. What would your Fitspiration board look like?photo credit: Protein Smoothie| Fruit Skewers | Sunglasses| Golf Course | Beach Yoga
NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in New Lover
$24.00 for 0.09 oz
This innovative lip pencil coats lips in stunning, glossy color with moisturizing ingredients vitamin E, hyaluronic spheres, and phytosterol esthers. Ultra rich color in a creamy formula that perfectly defines the lips while preventing lipstick from bleeding and feathering. Available in color-coordinated shades that correspond with NARS lipstick hues. Richly pigmented. Smooth application.
A few months ago, I received a deluxe sized sample of NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in New Lover as a 100 point Sephora Beauty Insider perk. Although I dislike the scent and texture of NARS lipglosses, I have been interested in trying other NARS lip products, especially when it's a freebie!
NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils come in ten shades. New Lover is described as a "gold infused strawberry pink." It's a gorgeous semi-sheer color with medium pigmentation, shimmer, and a nice shine to it. It's the next step up from my lips but better--it's an easy to wear shade that isn't too subtle, but not too tween-sparkle-overly glossy either. The texture is nice and smooth, even with the sparkles. The Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil felt nice on my lips--not too heavy, not too slick, not sticky. If I were Goldilocks, I would say that it's JUUUUST RIIIIGHT. I found it to be decently moisturizing and it wore for about 3 hours on me, which is good. Unlike NARS lipglosses, there wasn't any plasticky scent or taste (thank goodness). I didn't notice any scent or flavor at all, which I liked.
I'm a huge fan of this product, and I like everything about it...except the price and packaging. While the black matte pencil looks really nice and sharpens easily, I would prefer an automatic/twist up crayon. Compared to other NARS lip products, you're getting much less product for the same price, especially since you'll lose some product during sharpening (a lipstick is 0.12 oz, a lipgloss is 0.19-0.28 oz, and a lip lacquer is 0.14 oz). While I know that those are different product types, the Velvet Gloss lip pencils could have kept the same fabulous formula, but shaped into twist up crayons (like Tarte's Lip Tints and Lip Lustres, $24 for 0.1 oz, or Clinique's Chubby Sticks, only $16.00 for 0.1 oz!!). Or, they could have packaged it in a lipstick or lip balm tube. Still, I'm really fond of this product and might actually see myself shelling out the money to replace it when my deluxe sample is gone.
New Lover, taken with flash
iPhone photo taken outside.
Vitality Cheek Flush is a cheek stain infused into a powder! Developed with plastic surgeons, this hydrating, brightening, and antiaging blush gives the perfect naturally pretty flush of color to the cheeks and lasts. This truly innovative formula contains It Cosmetics' Hydra-Luxe technology, including ingredients such as plum oil, cherry oil, hyaluronic acid, pomegranate, seaweed extract, grape seed, aloe, and jojoba that all work together to treat, hydrate, condition, and nourish your skin. Plus, Vitality Cheek Flush is packed with antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and E, acai, green tea, and white tea. This made-in-the-USA formula is also paraben-free.
Product description (color/dupes): This matte blush gives the prettiest, natural flush of color. I love how Matte Sweet Apple looks on my NC25 skin! It's kind of like the shade of warm reddish pink on a Pink Lady apple.
Pigmentation: The pigmentation of this blush is AMAZING! It's one of the most pigmented blushes I've used to date. There's a bit of trial and error figuring out how much blush to use. Lighter skintones may find this too pigmented and difficult to use.
Texture: It's finely milled and smooth. Really lovely.
Application: A little really goes a long way! Gently press the brush onto the pan of blush, then brush on to skin. I usually do this between 1-3 times per cheek, depending on how flushed I want my cheeks to look. And the French Boutique Blush Brush makes it so easy to apply blush! I have several blush brushes, but this brush is almost foolproof to use. The brush is very comfortable to hold. I'm obsessed with it. These two products are great individually, but together, they make applying blush a really neat experience.
Length of Wear: This wears all day! I only noticed a slight stain effect when swatched on my hand.
Packaging: The packaging is simple and compact, with a nice mirror inside. It's a rubberized compact, which can tend to get a bit dirty.
Value: The blush is pretty average in terms of price per ounce. It contains the same amount of products as your average NARS blush ($29.00 for 0.16 oz), but less than your average MAC blush ($21.00 for 0.21 oz). However, this blush by It Cosmetics is one of the most pigmented I've used--meaning that I'll get more applications per ounce of blush. I like that.
Love it or leave it? I adore these two products--the blush brush is the best blush brush I've ever used, hands down. And the blush is one of my favorite shades of blush. At $35 for the set, I'm encouraging you to go over to QVC immediately and snatch it up before it's gone. I kind of want to buy all four... and have four blush brushes. ;)
Running can be a very solitary activity. Even in a crowd of thousands of runners competing in the same race, I'm still just one runner. I never have any dreams of winning a race--just trying to beat my PR's. I'm competing against myself. My friends and I go to races together, but we all run at very different paces, so we just meet up at the finish line.
And yet runners have this unique sort of solidarity that I haven't found in other sports. The encouragement that runners offer each other, and the encouragement that runners' friends and family give to complete strangers always kind of amazes me. Sometimes it's words, sometimes it's just a smile or a thumbs up or a high-five. Those things can make a world of difference, especially when a race is going badly.
So while I have never run Boston, nor do I know anyone who ran it this year, I still felt the need to write this post. I couldn't just ignore it like it didn't happen. I don't know if this post will make a difference to anyone, but that's not the point. As runners, we support each other.
I will keep the families and friends of the victims in my thoughts, and I want to thank all of the law enforcement, firefighters, and ordinary people who selflessly acted during this tragedy.
Madd Style Cosmetics is a cruelty-free line of hand-made, richly pigmented vegan cosmetics for animal lovers, glitter junkies, and everyone in between. From "Classic Chic" to "Bold and Unique", we strive to give you "Madd Style".
Madd Style Cosmetics loose shadow
$5.00 for approximately 1.2 g (sifter jars are filled by volume, not weight)
- xRay Spex: semi-sheer off white tone with a heavy pink duo-chrome shift.
- Seedless: bubble gum pink with green glitter and a green duo chrome.
- Sugar High: shimmery white with a slight pink shift filled with pink and violet sparkle.
As with all of Madd Style Cosmetics' loose eyeshadows, the textures of these are smooth and the length of wear is good. The packaging is a small cute sifter jar.
These are a very particular sort of color. They're a bit sci-fi feeling on my browbone, but can be subtle if a little bit is used on the lid. A really great show-case of how complex indie loose shadows can be!Lipgloss+Spandex rating:
had particularly sensitive skin. Acne-prone, yes; sensitive, no
. So I've never really given Aveeno more than a passing glance, because it didn't seem like something I needed. I always kind of stereotyped it as being a brand for people who get hives just thinking about fragranced products. Well, I have to admit, everyone's skin can get a little sensitive and particular at times, including mine, and I'm thanking my lucky stars for Aveeno
This is the second time in my life I've had a bout of eczema
. The first time was inexplicably in my armpits, and it eventually went away (TMI, anyone?). It is super annoying to have eczema in your armpits, and to be all scratching your armpits like a monkey. The second time started about six weeks ago, on my left eyelid. This is also a terrible spot for eczema. I thought it was just seasonal allergies irritating my eye until it got bad and itchy and red and scaly looking. Super not
cute. I tried Aquaphor
and some super mild but hydrating lotions and creams but only had minor improvement. I went to the doctor, who told me it was eczema. Yay. I didn't want to put steroid cream on my eye, so I decided to try Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream
. I had a friend in college who had had lifelong eczema and he said this helped a lot, even more than the steroid creams he'd been prescribed. And, most importantly for me, it's safe to use on my face and eyelid
(disclaimer: it does warn not to get it IN your eye).
$12.69 for 7.3 oz
Only AVEENO® has harnessed the soothing power of ACTIVE NATURALS®oatmeal to help you care for your skin with eczema. Developed with leading dermatologists, this breakthrough cream helps relieve irritated skin and intensely moisturizes to help strengthen the skin’s natural barrier function and helps prevent the recurrence of extra dry skin. And, it’s enriched with ceramides, essential lipids naturally found within the skin, which plays a key role in enhancing and restoring the skin’s protective function. Clinically shown to help reduce the itching and irritation of eczema, while helping to improve the overall quality of life. It’s even dermatologist tested and gentle enough for use on babies and children with Eczema.
- Dermatologist approved
- National Eczema Association approved
Eczema on your eyelid is no fun, especially if you like wearing eye makeup. I went without makeup for a few weeks, and have felt super awkward about having my blotchy scaly red eyelid on display. I'm also really bad at not
scratching things that are itchy, so my poor eyelid wasn't looking too good. Because I'm impatient and want results IMMEDIATELY, I applied Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream constantly
for a few days (the doc said keeping my skin moisturized is key) and my skin feels and looks so much better. Fortunately, Aveeno helped clear it up enough that I could start wearing eye makeup again! The texture of this product is thinner than I would have expected for an eczema product (regular-light lotion consistency), but it is so good at moisturizing. It has a very faint oatmeal scent to it, it doesn't feel greasy, and it helps soothe my skin quickly (as soon as I even think I'm itchy, I throw some of this stuff on, and it feels better). As I said before, I was an Aveeno-skeptic, but I'm a total convert. I can't stress enough how relieved and happy I am to have my eczema start improving! It's a total life-saver and one of my Holy Grail products. It does seem a little expensive, but in terms of efficacy, speed of healing, and amount of product needed, it's definitely worth it.Lipgloss+Spandex rating:
Do you have acne? Sucks, huh? I really like this infographic from Beauty Bridge that talks about acne treatments.
Right now, my skin is looking better than it has in a long time (knock on wood!). I've been using:
--Neutrogena Makeup Removing Wipes
at night. These take off my long wearing foundation and layers upon layers of mascara with ease!
--E.L.F. Zit Zapper
(1% salicylic acid rollerball). It's working just as well as the Relogy Acne Targeted Spot Treatment
that I love so much, but for a fraction of the price (it's only $1), and I can buy it at Target! Seriously, this thing is a small miracle.
--Clean & Clear Advantage Oil Absorbing Cream Cleanser
. I tested it for We Heart This and was really surprised by how far this brand has come! While it seems like it's leaving a residue, and I do have to use a good amount of product, it gets my skin clean and does a decent job of keeping my acne under control without over-drying. What are your tried-and-true methods for getting your skin under control?
Hello Kitty Head of the Class makeup palette
$36.00 for 4 x 0.07 oz eyeshadow and 0.34 oz blush
I love Hello Kitty. I love houndstooth. I love nerdy glasses. So when I saw this on clearance for $17 at my local Sephora inside JC Penney, AND I had the Beauty Insider coupon, I decided that I had to have it.
None of the colors have names, but here are my descriptions:Blush:
- Warm coral with iridescent pink overspray. This is REALLY pigmented, so use a light hand. I just press my brush lightly onto the surface of the blush, then tap to remove the excess product before applying.
- Matte black with purple glitter. This color is very chalky.
- Gunmetal grey shimmer. Smooth and pigmented, this color is the best in the palette, by far.
- Matte fuschia. Really chalky, and not very flattering.
- Iridescent white. Fairly sheer, not much pigmentation.
Fine, limp hair longs to be bigger, thicker and stronger. AG’s Volume Category delivers with our light, airy and uplifting products that provide healthy volume and fullness to otherwise flat hair. And, our ideal mix of weightless ingredients provides the nutrients delicate hair often needs.
WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT
We are inspired by street style
We actually manufacture our own products
We don’t use salt to thicken our shampoos
We don’t use paba, parabens, DEA or test on animals
We build a school a year in Africa
use. love. repeat.
AG Hair Cosmetics volumizing shampoo, conditioner and styling foam are PABA- and paraben-free, and are not tested on animals.
AG Hair Cosmetics Thikk Wash Volumizing Shampoo
$15.00 for 6 oz.
$40.00 for 33.8 oz.
I'm obsessed with this shampoo. It smells like an orange creamsicle, but not in an overpowering way. It's on the more liquid-y side for shampoos (a slightly thinner consistency than your average shampoo), and I find that I do need to use a bit more of this shampoo than I do other shampoos. However, the price isn't bad, and adds volume to my hair. It feels clean, but not stripped.
AG Hair Cosmetics Thikk Rinse Volumizing Conditioner
$15.00 for 6 oz.
$40.00 for 33.8 oz.
This smells slightly more citrusy and a touch more tart than the shampoo, but it still smells great. Like the shampoo, I use more of this particular product than I typically use. It's just conditioning enough that it works, but not so rich that it weighs down my hair or makes it greasy the next day.
AG Hair Cosmetics Foam Weightless Volumizer
$20.00 for 5 oz.
This isn't a bad product, but it just didn't do much for me. It is light, and it adds volume. The end. :)
AG Hair Cosmetics claims that all three of the products I tested to be "safe for color treated hair" and "sulfate-free." But a quick look at the ingredient list on the shampoo reveals that all three contain sulfates
. Sodium Laureth Sulfate is the second ingredient in the shampoo, and Behentrimonium Methosulfate as the second ingredient in the conditioner. Additionally, the styling foam lists Cocotrimonium Methosulfate as the fifth ingredient and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate as the ninth ingredient. That's really disappointing to me.However, overall, I would say this brand is reasonably priced and good quality. I really like how my hair looks and feels.
You can these and other AG Hair Cosmetics products at Ulta, or click here to find AG Hair Cosmetics at a salon near you.
SensatioNail manicure after a week and a half--only one chip, and some nail growth
SensatioNail Starter Kit in Raspberry Wine
$49.98 for Gel Cleanser, Gel Primer, Gel Top/Base Coat, Gel Nail Color, LED light, cuticle stick, lint free wipes
Your SensatioNail™ Starter Kit includes everything you need for 10 perfect applications! Kit includes the exclusive Pro 3060 LED Lamp - designed to safely and quickly flash- cure your favorite Gel Polish, sealing in the color to a glossy, damage-proof, mirror-like finish. After 10 manicures simply purchase the Essentials Kit and the color of your choice and you're good to go again.
I had been curious about gel polish systems for awhile, but wasn't ready to shell out the money to try one. I've already spent too much money trying to do at home acrylic nails (disaster)! But I had heard good things about the SensatioNail set in terms of quality for the price, and I had some Walgreens gift cards from transferring my prescriptions, so I decided to take the plunge since only ended up paying $20 out of pocket for this set. I figured if I botched this like I botched DIY acrylic nails, at least I didn't spend a ton of money on it.
It's definitely a longer process than a regular mani and it requires more products. But once you get it down, it's no big deal.
- Buff, cleanse, prime, base coat, 30 sec LED, color coat, 60 sec LED, another color coat, 60 sec LED, top coat, 30 sec LED, cleanse. See the official instructions here.
My SensatioNail mani really was hard right after I finished with it! Not hard to the touch like a quick dry nail polish, but actually hard. I applied my layers a little too thick, so the finish wasn't perfectly level, but it wasn't noticeable. The shiny topcoat looked fantastic even after 1.5 weeks, when I removed them. I had only one chip, and a teensy bit of tip wear, which is really impressive (I consider the tip wear is my fault for not capping my nails as per the directions!). With regular polish, I get one week of wear MAXIMUM, and by then the tips are pretty worn looking. I probably could have stretched my mani out to two full weeks, except the gap at the cuticles from new nail growth was driving me crazy. My SensatioNail manicure looked better and lasted way longer than any manicure with regular polish.
This part sucks. First, you buff off the surface of your mani. Then you can either soak cotton in 100% acetone and then wrap it around your nail with aluminum foil for 15 minutes, or you can soak your fingertips in a bowl of 100% acetone for 15 minutes. After that, you scrape the remaining polish off with the SensatioNail tool (some may have already flaked off). I tried following the directions but the polish was REALLY stuck on there. Removal is definitely more time consuming and more annoying than with regular polish, by FAR. It sucks. I've heard other brands of gel color are easier to remove, and you can supposedly use different colors with the SensatioNail system, but I haven't tried that yet.
Tips and Tricks
- DO NOT FILE YOUR NAILS when you have a gel manicure! It will break the seal on your nails and ruin your manicure. I didn't realize this, and after 1.5 weeks of amazing wear, I was testing out some glass nail files, washed some dishes and then saw that my nails looked like THIS:
- Use thin layers of product for a more even finish.
- You can use rubbing alcohol instead of cleanser. (Use the highest % you can find).
- You can use nail dehydrant instead of primer.
- You can use regular polish but with modifications. You can either just do regular polish and then a gel topcoat, or gel base coat + regular polish + gel top coat. In either case, the regular polish needs to be ABSOLUTELY dry before you put on gel top coat. It's been hit or miss for me on the wear time--still longer than regular polish, but not as long as a true gel mani.
- If you're having trouble removing the polish, try using a bowl of acetone placed in a hot water bath.
Further reading: This
article and this
article provide some useful information about gel manicure issues and how to fix them. These articles are short but really helped me!
Overall, I'm really really happy with my SensatioNail manicure and how long it lasted, I felt that the application process was easy enough, but I found it to be a little time consuming, and the removal process is annoying. If you like changing your polish frequently, this is not the system for you. But it sure beats the price of salon gel nails!Lipgloss+Spandex rating: