Skin Care

Hi everyone! I hope your new year is starting off with lots of happiness and motivation toward all of your goals! I know mine is going well so far. I wanted to bring up something that I’ve been a little obsessed about for the last few months: skin care. Before I got married back in October, I decided I wanted to try a new makeup. I had heard great things about Bare Minerals, so while I was at the South Hills mall in Pittsburgh, I stopped in their store. One of the employees immediately got to work on choosing the right combination of products for my skin. After she walked me through how to apply each product, I felt confident with my new face. I am now a HUGE Bare Minerals advocate.

Within a few weeks, I noticed my skin had really started to clear up. I had fewer bumps and my breakouts had reduced greatly. However, because of the nature of the powder makeup, I had started noticing a few other things about my skin that I just didn’t like. For example, from years of raising my eyebrows, I spotted two fairly deep lines on my forehead. Now, most people wouldn’t have noticed them, but every time I looked in the mirror, it was all I could see. If I had been in my 30s, I would have called this natural aging, but considering I’m only 26, this alarmed me. I also noticed that my pores had only started getting bigger. Again, something that I know is from aging, but shouldn’t be happening so rapidly. So, instead of rushing out to purchase a ton of products, I waited until my regularly scheduled dermatologist appointment to bring all of these issues up.

After meeting with my doctor, she and I both determined that an anti-aging skin care routine would be the best thing for someone of my age. The first thing she pointed out was the importance of moisturizing. Being someone with fairly oily skin, I had avoided lotions like the plague. She told me that this was actually counterintuitive, because a dry face would actually trigger my body to produce more oils to compensate. The second thing she recommended was a glycolic acid cream. This is the same stuff that is used for chemical peels; however, she provided me with a very low dose. She said as I age, I can gradually start moving up in strength. Glycolic acid is used to improve the skin’s appearance and texture, by reducing wrinkles, acne scarring, hyper-pigmentation and can help improve many other skin conditions. Basically, it works to exfoliate the skin, stripping away the dead, damaged layer to expose the new, young layer below. The third thing she provided me was a prescription for a retinoid cream. The retinoid cream works to clean out and shrink my pores, as well as clears acne. All of these things together create a more smooth, line-free, acne-free face. Honestly, my face has never been softer!

The bad news is that it takes about 10-12 weeks to really see improvements, but the good news is that it is so worth it to see new and beautiful skin! The glycolic acid does cause peeling, but a good moisturizer will help battle the flakes. My derm actually told me that if peeling and dryness doesn’t occur, the cream strength is too weak. By coupling all of these creams with a great SPF, I not only have baby skin back, but I am protecting myself for years to come. Below you’ll find my total skin care routine. It may seem like a lot, but your skin will thank you down the road. Deep forehead lines are usually hard to correct without the aid of Botox or surgery, so start protecting yourself now and avoid the frustration later in life. IMG_7657

If you can’t already tell, I’m a HUGE Neutrogena fan. I just find their products work best on my skin. So, when I wake up, I like to wash my face with the Ultra Gentle foaming formula. This just makes my skin feel refreshed and helps with the oil my face produces throughout the night. After that, I apply a thin layer of the glycolic acid cream. This cream does sting a little, so I usually like to apply it on and then go make a cup of coffee or something to allow time for it to settle in. After that, I apply Pond’s moisturizer to my neck and face. Never forget your neck! Finally, before I start my makeup routine, I put on my Elta MD sunscreen. I’ve also used Neutrogena’s sunscreen products and highly recommend them.

After the day is done, it’s time to strip all of that makeup off my face. I’ll start with removing my eye makeup with my Neutrogena Naturals wipes. I’ll usually try to remove as much makeup as possible with one wipe before I gently wash my face with the Ulra Gentle foaming formula again. Sometimes I notice that my pores are just looking large, so I’ll opt to swipe on some of the Pore Refining solution. Finally, I finish the night with the Adalapene Gel .3%, using only a pea-sized amount. Honestly, once I got into the habit of using these products, I realized it didn’t take up much of my routine as I initially thought it would. My final skin care habit is staying out of the sun as much as possible.

Well, there you have it. I hope you find some of these products as useful and effective as I did. Did I mention those two lines on my forehead are now gone? That’s right. GONE. 🙂

Good luck with your skin care routine and have a fabulous weekend!

List of the Bare Minerals products I use.

Guest Post: Six Skincare Tips for Girls Before Going to Bed

Today’s guest post was written by AJ. AJ specializes with skin care products and runs her own small salon. She loves to advise people with beauty and health care tips via her articles.

In today’s world everyone is on the run for studies, new jobs, shopping, marketing and various other kinds of work. This does not exclude girls. At the end of the day when you return home, your skin can be bashed and battered with pollution, ultra violet rays of the sun and dust. The skin pores can get clogged and this is the initiation of pimples and skin allergies. Thus, it is very important for a girl to treat her skin before going to bed every night. The everyday routine before going to bed includes, brushing your teeth, flossing, and brushing your hair. However this is not enough. To get good glowing skin, one has to follow few skin care tips to look good. One can also use non surgical facelift for improving the texture of the skin

Sleep is the best time to give your skin he adequate rest that it requires. Thus it is very necessary to get a good night’s sleep before anything else. Along with that let us see the other ways in which one can take care of the skin.


It is very important to clean your skin before going to bed. For that you can just use some cold ice water along with some gentle soap free face wash. This helps the clogged skin pores to open up and also helps the skin to breathe properly.


Purification of skin is very important. If you are a lover of makeup, and you wear it every day, do not forget to remove it before going to sleep. Make up blocks the skin pores, making breathing of the skin impossible. This gives rise to skin break outs and rashes. There are a number of cleansing and purifying gels available in the market. However the best way is the natural way out. Dab clean cotton with some cold water and rub it all over your face after cleaning the face.

For better results you can sue an alcohol free skin tone. The makeup under the eye should be removed slowly as the skin is very gentle beneath the eye. A good way to get rid of dark circles and puffy eyes is using either tea water, cold water of products like tomato and curd.


Girls should use a nice night cream before going to bed. Night cream helps the skin to become moisturized and also protects the epidermal layer of the skin from  damage. It helps the skin retain its elasticity.


Toning of the skin is also very important because it helps the skin to remain firm and fresh and pure. Toning can be done with the help of either a good alcohol free toner or rose water made at home. The best facial packs that can be used at home are honey, tomatoes, papayas and curd. They protect your skin and also remove the dark patches formed all through the day.


Relaxing is the best thing that one can do in order to give the skin rest. Close your eyes and listen to some soothing music with a cold napkin over your face. You will feel the difference. You can also use aroma therapy like sandalwood, geranium plant, rose and Jasmine in napkins for a better effect.


The best way to give your skin complete rest is by a good nights sleep.

Protect your skin from the pollution, dust and ultraviolet rays by these six skin care tips and see yourself glowing every day!Natural treatment is the best treatment other than non-surgical face lifts.

Thanks so much, AJ!

My New Obsession

Many of you may remember how obsessed I was with PBFingers blog when I first discovered it. I tore through her archives like I was some sort of mad Twilight fanatic and spent many evenings glued to my iPad. Though I still love her blog dearly, I’ve recently stumbled on to a new one: The Small Things Blog. I found this blog on Pinterest after seeing this picture pop up more than a dozen times on my friends’ boards.

The Small Things Blog: How to Style your Bangs (and apply Aquage Uplifting Foam!)    It would help if I looked this great! And was 100 years younger. This is a good blog.

I got curious and decided to follow the source. This led me to Kate! I read her “About” section first and really liked her story.

1. Where are you from?
I’m originally from Illinois, but I’ve lived in North Carolina for the past 5 years.

2. What made you decide to start this blog?
I love blogs. I’ve been reading blogs for months and months. I started mine in 2011. It is a place for me to share things I love and hopefully inspire some creativity with my readers.

3. When did you go to cosmetology (beauty) school?
The high school I went to offered a Trade School program for students who wanted to pursue a certain trade. The school offered a variety of other programs, from culinary arts to intro to nursing. The cosmetology program lasted 2 years. We graduated, and took the state board exam, at the same time we graduated high school.

4. How did you know you wanted to do hair?
It was one of those things that always made sense. I remember in middle school my friends would ask me to do their hair for the school dances. That was the first moment where I thought, “I could do this forever!”

5. Did you go to college?
I did. My dad really encouraged me to go. Of course I didn’t want to because I wanted to start working at a salon. I mean, everyone knows what’s best for their own life at 17, right?!
I went to a small Christian college in Michigan for 2 years. It took me forever to find a major since I didn’t care about anything else. I randomly took a philosophy class titled “The Good Life”, which looked at personal opinions from Philosophers about what makes life “good”. It was really interesting to me, so I decided to keep taking classes in that subject. Eventually, I transfered to a university in North Carolina. It was very much a time in my life that I could really see God’s direction. For example, there is no real explanation I have as to why I chose North Carolina. It just looked good and I was anxious to start a new chapter. I met my husband about 5 days after I arrived.

6. How and when did you meet your husband?
Since I didn’t know a soul in NC, I went online and looked into my schools’ Campus Crusade ministry. I emailed a girl named Dorothy and asked her if she could meet me at a meeting and introduce me to some people. She responded and said she wasn’t attending Cru at the moment but she was going to this ministry called TwentySomething at a local church.
She picked me up on a Thursday and brought me to TwentySomething. Don’t ask me why, but I decided we needed to sit in the front row. Normally I was the shy girl that sat in the back, but this time I just felt like sitting up front!
Justin, my husband, plays guitar and sings so he was on stage leading worship. As soon as my eyes fell upon him I thought, “uh oh. He’s really cute”.
He came up to me afterwards and introduced himself. Through some small talk we realized we were taking the same philosophy class, and in fact, we were in the same section!
We flirted relentlessly for a few months and then began dating in October 2006. We were married in May 2009 and settled in Raleigh a few months later.

7. When did your sister move to Raleigh?
Oh my sister! Where do I begin? She’s my best friend and I’m absolutely cherishing the time we have while we live in the same city! She moved here in January 2011. She has come to stay for a month in the summer of 2010 while my husband was away on a school internship. And we loved living near each other. So that is what sort of inspired the move. She was looking for a new major, and a new chapter in her life, so the move to Raleigh was perfect.

8. When did you start making jewelry?
My sister and I started our jewelry line in the summer of 2010 when she lived with me. It was kind of a random start up, but we have enjoyed it ever since! Our Etsy shop opened in July 2010.

9. When did you start cooking?
I started cooking after I got married. I attempted some meals before my wedding and I made some pretty scary food. I gave up and ate Lean Cuisines and cereal. After I was married, though, I wanted to impress my new hubby and make him some good meals. I would often complain about how I just can’t cook and what is wrong with me, and I just am not good at it. He said all I needed was to “put a little Love in it”. (it’s funny the things we remember, isn’t it?) From then on, I’ve developed a love for cooking and actually cared if it turned out well! So I have him, my mom, and Ree from The Pioneer Woman to thank!!

10. Where do you get your craftiness from?
My mom! She’s incredibly creative. Her specialty is room design and hosting. Her parties are the best! Every detail is carefully considered to make sure it all comes together. All of my confidence in doing crafts comes from knowing I have a talented mom.

So right off the bat I realize she has a very similar story to Julie from PBfingers. They both originate from Illinois and migrated to warmer weather. Very cool! Anyway, her site is full of amazing hair tutorials, fashion tips and some cool, crafty ideas.

Ok, I’m done gushing over my new blogger. Check out her blog right now. Seriously, go straight there. How else can you learn how to do these gorgeous hairstyles?

The Small Things BlogThe Small Things Blog: Not Just a PonytailThe Small Things Blog: Casual Half Up Hair Tutorial (+ polka dots!)


The Two Percent

The best avenue is to start to appreciate the functionality of our bodies,” is Rachel Begun, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says. “It is just amazing I have legs that can carry me from one place to another … that we have mouths that allow many of us to be able to speak. There is so much we can just appreciate and marvel at in our bodies.

The above quote is from an article I read today on about the fewer than two percent of adults in the U.S. that are underweight. It’s an issue that most don’t realize even constitutes as a health problem. Let’s face it; with America’s attention currently focused on obesity, it’s hard for most of us to sympathize with someone whose body is a certain size. It’s hard for most of us who count calories, monitor their intake, and spend hours a week trying to ‘work off that slice of pizza’, but we all need to be aware that this two percent exist and it can be a real struggle for them.

“Fewer than 2% of adults in the United States are underweight, according to 2007 to 2010 data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics. To be considered underweight, individuals must have a body mass index of less than 18.5. A woman who is five-foot-six, for example, would weigh 114 pounds or less.”

The sad reality for most of the 2 percent is that if they’ll most likely be accused of an eating disorder before any other reason, thanks to our culture’s beauty standards. “She must have an eating disorder if she’s that thin, right?” I know I’ll be the first to admit that I usually jump to quick judgment whenever I see a woman of a certain size. In fact, not too long ago I had repinned the photo below on my Pinterest account.

A very good question...

I was really proud of myself for sharing this and really felt like it conveyed the right message. Not too long after this, an old high school acquaintance posed the question: While I admit that our beauty standards are skewing towards the unhealthily thin range, isn’t it just as bad to say that very thin women are not as attractive as curvier women? As soon as I read it, I knew she was right. I myself have friends and know women who have naturally thin builds and who probably wouldn’t appreciate being told they aren’t as attractive as a fuller woman.  (Especially if they work hard just to keep their current weight on.)

Anyway, check out the article and if you are in this two percent category, check with your doctor to ensure your low weight isn’t linked to a serious medical condition.

My Healthy Tip of the Day: If you are trying to gain weight, remember it’s about quality, not quantity. Your body is going to respond much more if you consume foods that are higher in nutrients, rather than calories.

The Good Skin Diet

Recently I’ve been noticing little subtle changes in my body that I can only attribute to “getting older”. For instance, I never used to have dry skin in the winter, but this year, for some reason, I’ve been looking like someone dipped me in Parmesan cheese. Another change I’ve noticed is that my skin isn’t as “glowy” as it used to be. I’ve always been pale, but I still managed to keep a little shimmer year round. This year, however, my skin has felt dull and lifeless.

Now, I’m not exactly collecting social security yet, but I am starting to enter a new phase in my body’s life called “the mid-20s”. (Those of you who are older, please keep the eye rolling to yourself. You know you thought about this sort of stuff when you were my age.) In fact, oxygen levels in our skin start to go down around this time. It’s subtle, but does result in a loss of a healthy glow. So besides lotions and creams, what can I do? Eat!

The Good-Skin Diet: 10 Foods for Healthier Skin

Get Glowing with Chocolate. Cocoa hydrates your skin, making it firmer and more supple, Dr. Bank says. “And dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonols, a potent type of antioxidant,” adds Nicholas Perricone, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. For maximum flavonol content, eat chocolate that’s at least 70 percent cacao. A couple of squares a day should be enough to improve luminosity. “When applied topically, the caffeine in chocolate may temporarily reduce skin puffiness,” says Jessica Wu, MD, a dermatologist in Los Angeles and the author of Feed Your Face.

Prevent Wrinkles with Yogurt. The protein you get from eating dairy helps skin become firmer, so it’s more resistant to lines, Dr. Wu says. Greek yogurt is especiallybeneficial. “The protein content is often double that of regular yogurt,” Dr. Perricone adds. Eat a single serving daily to make your complexion smoother, and apply Korres Yoghurt Instant Soothing Gel ($38, to calm irritated, dry, or sensitive skin.

I still recommend eating it!

Protect with Pomegranates. They’re packed with polyphenol antioxidants, Dr. Perricone says. Polyphenols fight free radicals and regulate skin’s blood flow, giving it rosiness. One pomegranate or a few glasses of juice daily should do the trick. When applied to skin, the fruits’ antioxidants help smooth lines and moisturize, Dr. Bank says.

Soften Skin with Walnuts. “Walnuts contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which can improve skin’s elasticity,” Dr. Bank says. The nuts are also loaded with copper, a mineral that boosts collagen production. Snack on a handful of walnuts each day to improve your complexion’s texture.

Fight Crow’s Feet with Peppers. “Women who eat green and yellow vegetables regularly tend to have fewer wrinkles, especially around the eyes,” Dr. Wu says. Also, studies found that carotenoids – the antioxidants in yellow and orange veggies – can decrease skin’s sensitivity to sun, Dr. Banks says. Aim for about two cups of pepper daily.

For the complete list, click here or visit

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Remember, to prevent premature aging you need to use UV protection every day. Studies show that 80% of skin’s aging happens due to UV damage. The right anti aging skin care can help you to avoid this damage.