The Ugly Truth – graphic

Hello friends…and new friends – happy June, happy summer weather! It’s finally here, and the big question is, is your beach body here as well? If you’re nodding your head – a big round of applause for you! As for the rest of us, well, we’ve got a lifetime of work to do then right?! Brace yourselves, this may be a long one J

Since January, I’ve had very little if not zero progress on the fit life journey post new year’s resolution. I was unexcusably consumed with other priorities in my life that left very little room for exercise and self-care. I ate horribly and when I had any leisure time, I was emotionally and psychologically drained to worry about macros and kilos. So my weight steadily climbed and declined randomly in the last couple of months – what was actually going on was a huge retirement party for my parents, so between heading that project and trying to look on-point for the big day was a continuous battle. At 2.5 weeks prior to the event I went on a mad crash diet. My routine consisted of a high abundance of caffeine for energy, gallons of water for fulfillment and hydration, no carbs, salads and veggie sandwiches, and fruits to keep my glycemic index in check (I did binge eat a couple bites of protein here and there – hey, just trying to keep it true).

I had lost about 8-9 lbs (of water weight J ) by the time the party rolled around. My custom made dress fit rather comfortably, but not as beautifully as it was meant to. It no longer hugged my body in all of the right places – thank god for accent belts! Anyway, I was proud, I felt good – and hungry (lol), and it was kind of a success if you ask me. But then, the party was over and the pictures emerged!  It was pretty bad – pretty ugly. Made me sick to my stomach actually. And although I’ve known for a long time now that I’m quite over weight, seeing pictures really brought the issues to light.

It is now almost 3 wks post party, I’m happy to say I didn’t gain back the weight, perhaps a lb here and there on a bad day, but for the most part, the scale has stayed consistent. I figure this is the best opportunity to really fine tune my goals and reflect on how I got here and where I want to go.

Back story – If you’ve read my previous blogs before, you know that I have a thyroid condition. Originally I was diagnosed with hyperthyroid (@ 15), but as I aged, it quickly transformed into hypo. So throughout my teenage and adulthood, my weight fluctuated ginormously. But I was young, my metabolism was still easily manipulated and I was able to lose weight whenever I wanted, however I wanted. When I met my husband, I was wavering between a size 3-5. Well, as you can imagine, self-control went out the door once we got married. At my heaviest, I was almost 5x the size that I was before – after 1 triplet pregnancy, 1 singleton, and 1 twin pregnancy. All within a 6 year time frame.

So why did I let myself go that far? I really don’t know. Comfort, laziness, will power? Don’t get me wrong, I struggled, I was depressed, and I faced insult after insult. I hated looking myself in the mirror every morning. I hated taking off my clothes and seeing what was beneath. I was ALWAYS crabby because I could never find anything to wear, or rather, anything to fit into. I never went out – I hated social gatherings, never because I disliked people or was snotty, but no one knew I was fighting my own demons. Lacking self-esteem for the body that I neglected. If people didn’t see me, I wouldn’t have to worry about being judged –  by other wives, cousins, aunts and uncles, friends – old and new. The only people that ever really got to see me were very close friends and relatives that I couldn’t cut off, few were beyond my control, and the others, well, I knew they wouldn’t judge me.  You’d think that all the insults would motivate me, but it did and it didn’t. I learned the hard way that it never works when you’re fighting for all the wrong reasons.

Recognizing – I was an overeater. Even if I was full to the rim, I wanted to keep eating, because it was either my favorite food, there was only a small amount left, I’m at a social gathering, or I paid a lot for it. My problem was/is not with sweets, but rather savory and high caloric content; pork belly, red meat, sticky rice, chinese, noodles, and the list goes on.

What do I want – I want to be able to wake up in the morning and feel great and energized, not only psychologically, but physically. I have a young son that I want to watch grow up for a very very long time, and to add to that even, I want more children so I need to be in the best shape possible to do so. Quite honestly, I also want my husband to be proud, and not just proud of my accomplishments, but in truth, proud to have a beautiful wife. I know that weight and size do not signify beauty – and I’m not advocating that at all, but I think as a woman, it is a standard that we personally hold in the back of our mind to have our significant other not just emotionally attracted to us, but also physically – at least that’s something that’s important to me. I don’t ever want that to change.

Refocus and present mentality – failure is not an option. I now know that fast results will not and has never gotten me anywhere. Fasting and starvation is not a strategy nor a goal. Everyday I’m continue to  learn what it means to make a “lifestyle” change. Numbers (of any sort) do not matter to me nor do fit expert rules and guidelines. I’ve come to accept that I’m going to need to start with baby steps and slow progression, to really learn and understand how my body responds and what works best for me. I do not believe in depriving myself, because I want to be as realistic as possible. I want to get healthy, not stop living – so I also know that I’m going to need to practice “moderation,” after all, food is life.  I will no longer make it a necessity to sweat for hours on the treadmill, because this very rule has been the #1 factor that’s lead to failure in the past. I’m also factoring in that I am first a mother, a wife, and a daughter, things will come up, my routine and plans won’t always work out, but it’s OKAY. 1 day off track here and there is not going to put a dent in a life time goal. If 15 minutes is all I can fit in, I will count it as a successful effort and move on! So often we forget to actually “live” and maintain our other priorities when we set our mind to a particular project or movement in our life.

Up close and personal – The section that most people will probably only pay attention to 🙂

Today’s measurements (I am 5ft)

Bust – 43 1/2

Arm – 11 3/4

Waist – 38 7/8

Belly (aka the tire) – 41 1/2

Thighs – 20 1/4

Okay – you gotta give me some props here. I thought very long and hard about posting these pictures, knowing how cruel people can be, lurking friends from afar  J . However, at the end of the day, I know that I can’t escape from the ugly truth, it is what it is, bad or good. This is not for them. This is for me and for anyone and everyone rocking the same boat, sharing these same struggles.

Me at a moderately healthier weight

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At my thinnest, right before I met my husband

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In 2007 newly weds

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2009 2nd pregnancy pregnant with my son (I believe)

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Celebrating my 30th birthday a couple years ago 🙂

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The ugly truth – last month at my parent’s retirement party

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I’m not here to lecture or teach anyone or anything. I’m simply reflecting, and holding myself accountable while sharing this little piece of my journey with anyone who’s willing to listen. Thank you so much for reading. Until next time – Stay strong!

– Cyndie –

 

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Avant Decor Review

 

We recently worked with Elizabeth Partyka who claims that she is the owner of Avant Décor out of Minneapolis, MN – it was one of the most awful and unprofessional experiences we’ve ever had with a vendor, especially towards the end where she bailed out on our event in very bad terms. I STRONGLY advise that everyone steer clear from this woman/company, especially BRIDES, she will not hesitate to screw you over and ruin your special day. When we started to plan my parent’s retirement party a year ago we did very thorough research on all of our potential vendors and the only reason why we went with Elizabeth/Avant Decor was because our first choice was booked. We were ultimately mislead into booking with her. We specifically chose her versus another runner up because she openly said she was able to provide the services and replicate the “design(s)” we wanted, I’ll even include proof

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No where in her email did she ever question the style I sent her, nor did she mention that she doesn’t do that style of draping nor did she bother to double check and see if the pictures were the exact thing we wanted. (I don’t know, usually when people give people a sample of something, it’s usually what they want unless otherwise stated!) She never took the time to talk about our vision, I initiated all the conversations and asked all the questions, so I was basically going to pay her for all the detail gathering, designing, problem solving, and follow-up that I did or had to do all by myself. And please remember that this was almost a whole year of planning, at least six months worth of communication with this woman (she didn’t even respond sometimes). I wish I can smother the internet with all of her emails so the world can see her incompetence and lack of attention to detail. I made attempts and repeated myself in emails over and over about design, location and placement.

The fact that she never initiated or seemed interested in doing any detailed consulting definitely concerned me. She claims that she offered to do phone consultations “if” that was something I’d like. Well is it something you like? Or that you even do? So yeah I’m not going to reach out to you to do a consultation when you act like you don’t want to communicate and when you act like you already have your ducks in a row à you already had my sample pictures, I already told you where things ought to be and what color, and most importantly your mentioning of working numerous times at our venue before. So – I trusted that piece of our event in her hands as I did any other piece to our other vendors who all followed through. All of our vendors called me with questions, concerns, and confirmations, she was the only one who did not. After all, I’m busy too, that’s why I’m hiring YOU.

Out of the blue, almost 2wks before our event, I get a final invoice from her and nothing more, puzzled, I asked her to basically recap what she was actually going to do (what we were going to get), thank god because she had the design completely wrong, she had no idea where the backdrop was supposed to go (when I told her numerous times it would go on the stage!), she still had no idea where to hang the chandelier (in the beginning I told her it would go in the center of the room like my pictures!) and now she finally tells me she doesn’t do flat horizontal ceiling drapes/swags and that even if she did, it would cost a lot more. On top of the fact that she finalized the schedule without my knowledge or input and was now installing the drapes on the Friday prior to our event, which states on her contract that if she sets up on the Friday prior to events, it’s an additional $200.00. Tell me what kind of company allows this kind of a miscommunication to occur 2 wks before an event?

So at this point I tell Elizabeth how unhappy I am about overlooking our entire vision. And then she starts to get defensive and snippy, instead of trying to resolve the conflict professionally. If you read the email, she gives me an attitude, and turns around to point the finger at me, the CLIENT. Again, reiterating that she didn’t pay attention to anything I’ve ever requested or wanted.

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Is this how someone with years in the industry talks to a client? I’ll let the email speak for itself. She mocks “if the drapes were so important”, well of course it is, that’s your entire line of work, that’s what we hired you for, so indeed it WAS VERY IMPORTANT to us! Of course I could have dotted every I and crossed every T and laid the entire ground work for her from bottom up, but then why would I hire her if I was going to do everything myself! Her job is to take away the stress of CEILING DRAPING and to make sure she has all the correct details of her JOB. Correct me if I’m wrong!

She also makes a strong claim that it was my fault communication was missed, that she was always available and I once again, DID NOT DO MY PART TO INITIATE CONVERSATION. But take a look at her email about finalization. She always tried to push off any sort of communication and detail planning and if you’ve kept up, she is very SELECTIVE in how she wants to answer emails.

proof 2wks

proof communication

She was very offended that I called her unprofessional, and INDEED I did, I could have called her a lot worse for attempting to ruin my parents special day but I held my composure. I wanted to make her aware that her services were not meeting expectation and the level of professionalism that any business should have. So rather than stepping back and reevaluating the situation, she attacks me and then bails out on the entire event. Compassion? Morals? Once again, brides, steer clear! Had she once admitted to or apologize about over looking the details I would have looked passed it and proceeded with the relationship, but her first response was to point the finger at me in DEFENSE. It is evident that she bailed out so quickly because my emails were well kept and it clearly paints a picture of her quality of work, ethic and standard of conduct. If you check her website, it even states that she is an “event planner”, I don’t know how you can claim to plan events with such a lack of attention to detail and no compassion for CLIENTS.

So to anyone planning a special event, especially a wedding, please don’t let her reviews fool you for a minute. I’ve wondered about that and have been very confused. Which is why it always struck me as surprising the way she engaged with us, I kept waiting for that “above and beyond customer service” – never came. Few reviews that I read stated she was so detailed oriented and listened to the client’s vision so perfectly. Just as she was always selective in her emails and communication, she must also be selective with her clients and services? She claims to have NEVER had any problems or complaints before, but none of the vendors that I’ve ever worked with was this nonchalant about details, if anything, most people are ANAL about every little detail. When they were ready to send me an invoice they laid out everything to the T about what they were draping, where they’re draping, how much, how long, what colors, everything! All I got from her was a couple of subtotals and a total to be paid. That is the difference between 0 customer service and up to par customer service!

Elizabeth Partyka of Avant Décor may have left us high and dry and most definitely in distress and thought that she hit us where it hurt, but little does she know, happiness is not HER or her shady work, our party was beautiful, and moved on swiftly without her. Our local vendor squeezed us into her schedule and we even got the design we wanted! She was not going to ruin us or the amazing day that we so diligently put together for our wonderful parents. She must not know what it means to do something for someone out of your own good heart as we’ve done for our parents and them us, that’s why our work went to waste and she threw us under the bus without hesitation. She doesn’t care about how her actions impact others especially in her line of work. It is an embarrassment that she so confidently expressed that she is the OWNER of Avant Decor. A receptionist with a bad attitude I probably wouldn’t think much of, at least you can hope that there’s still room for improvement and growth, but the owner? If the owner acts in such a disgusting manner, who would have any faith in the rest of the team, I feel bad for them. So thanks for not continuing to subject US to you. Most owners I know of try to make things RIGHT. They problem solve and commit to their clients and customers, but she may not be in it for the customer service, clearly. Elizabeth, I hope you know that even millionaires go broke and rivers run dry. your “many” years of experience and “thousands” of events mean nothing to me with your heart of coal and less than acceptable way of engaging with clients. There is something called KARMA.  Perhaps this will be a constant reminder for you to stay afloat and up your customer service. Neither our family, or friends, or even our large community will ever be taking a second look at your company for services in the future.

 

Heart to Heart

Happy Sunday afternoon friends, families and viewers! It’s been awhile, it always is. I seem to regularly take myself in and out of action but I don’t ever go too far, nonetheless, I do apologize for the lack of posts but I assure you I’ve been VERY BUSY.

Today is a very special day however- I don’t talk about this too often on my blog but if you didn’t know, today is National Autism Awareness day. So in light of that, I thought it would be important to briefly go over some of my every day struggles, milestones, and ongoing education about this condition as some or all of you may already know, my little human being, my baby, my son, has autism spectrum disorder.

On most days he is a bouncing, happy go lucky, cheerful little six year old. He laughs, cries, walks, eats, and plays just like you and me or any other growing child for that matter. And yes, he looks just like any other very capable “normal” child, as some people have mentioned before that “he doesn’t look autistic”…we’ll get to that in a minute. We climb lots of peaks, and tumble plenty of lows in this household. It may get stormy from time to time, and we sometimes feel beat and defeated, but we always remind ourselves to take it one day, and one step at a time for love is patient and love is kind.

We have come a LONG ways though, since Rowyn’s diagnosis 4.5 years ago. It’s definitely been life changing in more ways than one. He is in kindergarten now and loves school. He attends a regular classroom part-time and works one-on-one part time with his special-Ed teacher whom we absolutely adore and have done wonderful work. And here’s also where our story unfolds. With my heart worn up my sleeve, I know that on any given day, my son cannot share with me how his day went. If I find a bruise or a cut on him, he can’t tell me how it happened, not unless it was witnessed by an adult and then relayed to me. He can’t share with me his happiest moments and his saddest moments – although we work effortlessly to build onto and improve his communication skills, I know deep in my heart that I would have missed years of him being able to tell me all the little things that mattered most. What’s even more sad? It’s not that he can’t feel, or that he doesn’t experience these moments of hurt and happiness, he just can’t express it or put it into words, so he just shrugs it off and disregards it. We often talk about the simple things, anything and everything I can squeeze out of him, all the things I can make affirmation to, like “What did you EAT for lunch today?” “Did you go on a FIELD TRIP trip today? WHERE did you go?” “What BOOK did you guys read for STORY TIME today?” “What should we do AFTER DINNER?”

Our Monday-Friday struggles – Kindergarteners have HOMEWORK?! Must be the thing these days (something I absolutely 100% disapprove of, a soapbox on it’s own). Each week Rowyn comes home with a math pamphlet – I can’t even begin to tell you the STRUGGLES. I cry EVERY SINGLE NIGHT when I work on it with him. Perhaps I’m weak? Perhaps I’m just an overworked and dramatic mom who doesn’t have enough patience? But I tell you what- if you think you have it hard helping your average child plug through grade-school homework, you have no idea. What frustrates me most is that no matter how frustrated I get after countless re-direction and repetition, I can’t even be upset because I know it’s not his fault, he can’t help not understanding the material and grasping the concept. The more I try and the harder I push, his autism steps out from the shadows and takes over faster and faster until he breaks. Now his concentrations gone, he’s emotionally distraught, he starts to fiddle, he stares into space, he cries, and 3/5 times he’ll throw a tantrum. I routinely remove everything from within his reach and quietly step away for a breather outside hoping not to break completely but to regain my composure. That time usually allows him to settle down as well, and sometimes that’s all he needs. Other times – we just have to throw in the towel.

ROUTINE has also been a very big part of our lives. It’s sometimes the KEY, and he drives which way the wheels will turn. Because we understand how important consistency and routine is for his behavior and development, we try our best to follow what has been set in place. For example, one time I was home sick from work and he couldn’t cope with that because the routine is, Mommy gets up early and goes to work just as he’s getting up and DADDY is the one that helps him do his morning cares and puts him on the bus. So, to avoid a serious meltdown right before school, I observed from afar and only interfered when he allowed. Now that he’s getting older, with consistent reminders, he’s able to tolerate change a little better.

Speaking of life changes – what kind of strength do you think it takes a mother to remind herself day after day, for Y E A R S that your own child loves you.  For a part of his life, Rowyn seldomly showed affection towards me. He was cold and withdrawn, and for the longest time, repulsed by hugs and kisses. He would take his toy and walk away from me when I would try to bond with him, he would try to wiggle his way out of my arms and lap for a chance of solitude. He would go to strangers (friends/family) and not feel the need to want to come back to me. I would be nonexistent and he wouldn’t look or long for me. As a toddler, he would often times crawl to the opposite corner of the bed from me and curl up to sleep by himself. Yes…I had many sleepless nights, and cried my eyes dry. This little human being of mine, this beautiful sitting, crawling, trotting, smiling creation that I’ve made and almost traded my life for had no ounce of affection for me – quite heartbreaking when you imagined life as a Mother in a completely different way. So you can only imagine what kind of a day it was when things finally clicked and that little light-bulb in his intelligent little mind came on and he willingly embraced me for the first time.  Love doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling. That seemed like many moons ago, and we’ve thankfully had so many hugs and kisses since then. He began to understand what it meant to be comforted and loved and embraced in both happy times and in sad times. It was the beginning to his interaction and social development skills.

This is just a small glimpse into our lives. Its so much more complicated and involved. One would really have to spend a day with a child special as him to understand the impact of everything and everyone that surrounds him. I share this not to inappropriately expose my own child, but to educate those who aren’t aware. The more people know the more they can understand, the more they can help and intervene, and if nothing else, the more they can learn to appreciate whatever it is that “normal” means in their own lives. Autism has many faces, not just one. And the spectrum piece says a lot. The condition is never the same in everyone, every special child sits on a spectrum and has a different level of functions and abilities. One of Rowyn’s strong suites is his memory, the ability to (when he chooses to) focus on and memorize the smallest of details and the most mundane of things, something that exceeds almost 100% of his peers.

Autism is nothing more than trivial issues and headlines when it’s about someone else and it doesn’t affect you. Once it does, it takes on a whole new meaning. Having a special needs child has changed my life, my perception, my take and stand on so many things in my life. God bless those who take in special needs children, god bless those who has the heart and patience to aid and educate these children, and god please sincerely bless each and every single parent of a special needs child. It takes so much strength and devotion to stay grounded and sane and to continue fighting to not give up. It takes so much testament and trials to hit the smallest breakthroughs, but in the end it is so worth it. At the end of the day, he is mine, he is beautiful, and I know that someday he’ll understand all that I have done and sacrificed for him.

The next time that you see a special needs family, whether it’s at a quiet sit down dinner in a restaurant, or in line at the store during rush hour, or at a beautiful serene nature park, before you make a judgment, before you allow their world to inconveniently interrupt yours, give yourself a couple of seconds to think about what that family goes through. I’ve seen the looks, I’ve heard the comments and judgments. Please be sincere, please be kind; Autism is not a choice.

 

 

 

 

Cosrx Review – AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid

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Credits: Ohmybrush.com

Seldom am I ever wowed by a product, but this little guy here is PHENOMENAL. There are good products and then there are super products, and this one here is no exception. So if you don’t know, Cosrx (Coz-r-x) is of course a Korean based brand. They are definitely hitting the market hard and all the gurus have been talking about it but I just have never been too interested. Not quite sure why, perhaps it’s the packaging. To be quite honest, I like eye candy so I tend to gear towards more elegantly packaged goods. However, I’ve been breaking out along the edges of my face with my last 2 flows. My skin couldn’t handle all of the new adjustments and no matter what I did, the breakouts kept coming back.

This product is very much a friend for all of your problematic acne needs. It’s an AHA which in a nutshell is basically a chemical peel/exfoliant. Unlike physical scrubs and exfoliants, AHA’s do a better(?) job at deep cleaning bacteria and clogged pores, pretty much from the inside out. So if you are familiar with treating acne with salicylic acid (BHA), this is it’s counter-part.

I believe the bottle is 100ml and sells around $14, so it’s on the lower end of the spectrum especially if you compare it to some of the other brands I normally gear towards (tonymoly, missha, innisfree, Hera). The packaging as you can tell from above is very basic. It’s not eye catching by any means but it at least has a pump (hygienic) and surprisingly the bottle itself doesn’t feel like cheap plastic..if you know what I mean. It’s not glass either I don’t believe.

Results – I kid you not when I say I saw immediate results. I was still having some active breakouts on the first night that I used the product. I pumped a bit onto a cotton pad and swiped it all over my face focusing specifically on the problem areas. Now, I did this right after showering and applying toner, my face was still red, and so were all of the acne patches. Within a couple of minutes if even, the redness went away especially from the problem areas and all the inflamed pimples were reduced dramatically! I know, I just kind of gazed at myself in awe!

I definitely don’t recommend using this product every night, you gotta remember that it’s a chemical peel. I know there are a few people out there who claim they use it every night just fine but you honestly don’t want to strip the barrier of your skin. I honestly get why they want to use it every night (esp if you’re acne prone), I’m telling you, it’s like an addiction, because the results are so nice. However, everything in moderation! And as always, test out products first only on a small portion of your skin to check for reactions.

Again – I’m not here to sell a product. This is my true and honest review and I only share what works for me and do not claim that it will work wonders for you. A lot of times, unless people share what works for them, you don’t really know where to start, especially with the massive array of products that are available on the market. With that being said, you should definitely give this product a try. And it’s not really about the brand, ladies, you really need AHA and BHA’s in your lives (skin lives), getting that extra layer of dead cells and dirt and bacteria off certainly helps to bring out your inner glow and newer, better skin!

As always, thank you for reading

– Cyndie –

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(Credits: Mrs. James Recommends)

So I’ve been using this product for a month now and really feel that it deserves a much needed review. A lot of the beauty gurus that I follow pretty much swears by this product, and well, if it was so hyped up on Soko Glam it must indeed be good right?!

I ordered this off of Sephora for around $30, but I think you can pretty much get it off of many beauty websites. Sephora had a good shipping deal and I was able to rack up some ebates cash so that was the sole purpose of my purchase…well, I also needed other misc makeup items as well…LOL.

The product itself is very “thin”. I still don’t understand if this is a toner, or an essence or both…but if you’ve used the SKII or Missha essence, the consistency is much thinner than that I feel. I just pour a small amount onto my palms and pat/massage it into my skin after cleansing. The smell is very “natural” if that makes any sense. It’s not perfum-e by any means.

3.5/5 *

Overall I would give this product a 3.5 out of 5 stars. It didn’t do much to my skin, if anything at all. But, it didn’t break me out either so that was definitely a plus. In addition, for $30 I think you do get your bang for your buck, it’s a pretty big bottle with plenty of product. However, I’ve scored this product lower than most beauties would because not only did it not make a difference in my skin, there was SO MUCH HYPE about it. I mean, you’ve seen the reviews, the commercials, and the articles right? I don’t get it. It’s been a month and I’m still waiting for that wow factor. Maybe it’s too soon…but I also haven’t heard anyone say they saw/felt results beyond the first month. I don’t know – just didn’t cut it for me given the price, the hype, the time, and the overall results.

With that said, everyone has very different skin and perhaps yours may respond better. I’m definitely not saying don’t try it, after all, a lot of beauty gurus do recommend it. And if not, it’s just $30. I’ve spent way more money on products that have done less! 🙂

Hope that helps, and as always, thank you for reading!

– Cyndie –

January Lifestyle and Beauty Favorites

I know I am a bit late, but better late than never. Here are just a couple of random life style, every day goodies that I’ve been loving/loved in January.

 

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Need I say more?! Coffee hasn’t been the same. I cannot work another shift without having a dose of coffee with a little bit of fatty loving! It’s sooo good – and so bad, yes I know, but I justify it with my 4am work hours! 🙂

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This is actually not that bad! It’s not a lot of calories and it really does hit the spot. I’m not really a sweet tooth (pretend you didn’t see that creamer up above). I portion them out into 2 cup baggies and have 1 bag a day if I choose to. Definitely give it a try! I’ve already stocked up for this week

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I recently discovered this brand strolling through Wal-Mart. I ran out of my regular candles and bought a couple of these on a whim and they boy do they deliver! Rustic Lakehouse is a must if you enjoy cologne like smells, it’s sooo good. I would say they’re definitely a dupe for bath and body work candles. I think the longevity is about the same as well, however, it doesn’t burn quite as evenly as my other candles, or bath and body candles for that matter. Overall, still can’t beat that price – $4.95 I believe!300

I also bought this lovely little thing on a whim this month. I typically purchase the Tree Hut brand but my local Walmart didn’t have the scent I wanted in stock so being that this one was cheaper I decided to give it a try. The scent is amazing when it hits the skin and lingers into the shower steam, but of course, you would have to like that deeper, musky scent – cologne-y? It’s not a sweet scent by any means, I’m just not that girl 🙂 . Overall, works just as well as the Tree Hut brand, or any other brand that I’ve tried and again, can’t beat the price. ~ $3

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Let me just say — luxe! I really don’t like the thought of spending a lot of money on quick disposables like cotton pads but OMG, if you’ve never tried these, you have to! It’s so soft, and holds up so well. It’s definitely hard to go back to my cheap Wal-mart ones. Love3

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Lately – I’ve been picking this guy up again. I hated it when I first purchased it. To be quite honest it broke me out, and it still kind of does, but now that my skin has gotten so much clearer and smooth, the added touch of this powder is almost perfection on some days LOL. Still debating if I want to repurchase another one, it is rather expensive and does break me out on 3/5 occasions. 😦  . On another note, I’m pretty sure my skin care routine has been working it’s magic because the shade I currently have is all of a sudden way too dark on me now..another 😦 face

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Lately, I’ve been gravitating towards this little number, Nars matte lip pencil in Roman Holiday. I hardly ever put anything on my lips but I’ve been feeling saucy…lately, just a little bit fancy! LOL – It’s not dramatic at all, and I use a very light hand, it just gives me enough sheen and glisten in the morning 🙂

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And last but not least, I somehow found my way back to this guy. I wore this maybe back in college, but with the enormous mascara market I sort of forgot about this. I picked it up again this month and am falling in love again. I go from having no lashes to about 4 or 5 little whisker flicks. Makes me feel so pretty! 🙂

Well – that’s pretty much it. I don’t try a lot of new things, hence my very small list. But every now and then I throw in something new or bring back and oldy. As always, thanks for reading, and stay warm!

– Cyndie –

 

Skincare habits you should be doing now!

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As a skincare fanatic whose done so much reading and researching, the best advice I can give to my fellow lady friends is prevention, prevention, prevention. The earlier the better, even if you think you have perfect skin, or non-problematic skin. I get it – it’s a huge investment and commitment, but just like everything else in life, not EVERYTHING has to come from money, or, lots of money $$$$ 😉 . And today, I’ll share a couple of tips to help you kick start your dermatology habits!

1). Water – hydration3. I know, if I had a dollar for every time a skin expert have ever said that to me. But it’s so true – the simple things in life. Try it, especially if you know you don’t drink enough water daily. I am an avid believer in taking care of your skin from the inside out, although I don’t always practice that and have quite a long ways to go. I drink water in spurts. Some months I drink a ton of water and other months no so much. When I do, I definitely notice a beautiful glow to my skin, especially right when I wake up in the morning

2). If you sleep on your tummy – STOP right now! There’s really no other way but to squish your face into the pillow in this position. And I’m going to guess that 95% of us do not sleep on silk/satin pillow cases either. The reason is quite obvious, the more pressure and strain you put on your face/skin, the more its going to permanently stay. Not only are premature wrinkles a problem in this position, you’re also introducing more bacteria on to your face, imagine how much bacteria and everything else that’s harboring in that pillow..no no no. So, if you’re like me and can’t sleep on your back, transition to your side. Although a part of your face may still touch the pillow, it’s a lot better than your entire face all night long

3). Enjoy your nice and hot showers at night? Especially this time of year for my midwesterners, well STOP! Although it may feel good and you may have heard at some point that warm/steaming water helps open up pores, hot, steaming water is a NO NO for your skin. It absolutely dries it out, and if you already have inflamed, sensitive skin like mine, well, it’s just going to create more irritation and redness. When washing/cleansing your face, I recommend starting with luke warm water and finishing off with cold/cool water

4). This one is definitely a given but STOP touching your face! I used to do this all the time growing up, whether it was me checking for oil, acne, irritation, boredom, you name it! It’s definitely a habit to stop, we always forget how dirty our hands and fingers are and that’s something I don’t have to go into detail right?

5). Last but not least, I recommend you stop drying your face with a towel. Especially the same one you bath with!!!! There’s so much bacteria harboring there, especially if you don’t get around to washing it frequently! For the last couple of years, I’ve been drying my face with clean, soft paper towel, and as of late, I’ve just been patting my face dry with clean hands. If you don’t like the thought of using paper towel or using your hands, I would suggest using a new clean towel each time

So there you have it, my top 5 expense free tips for healthier skin! I hope that helps, and if you’ve already taken these measures, kudos to you!

Thanks for reading, until next time loves!

– Cyndie –