Fall In Love With Your Skin

Thanks to Walgreens for underwriting this post. I was paid as a member of the Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all mine. Visit http://moms.dailybuzz.com/channel/style.

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I’ve written in the past about my love/hate relationship with my skin. I’m 27 years old, but sometimes my skin still acts like it’s 13. That’s not entirely true, because when my skin was 13, I never had issues! It wasn’t until I hit my 20s that my skin started being moody. Months-long breakouts, oil, and all sorts of other issues began plaguing me and keeping my skin looking red, blotchy, and pimply. I’ve tried so many different things before, from salicylic acid acne treatments to benzoyl peroxide (ProActiv) ones. I’ve tried natural, I’ve tried cheap, and I’ve tried expensive. It always seemed like nothing was going to work and that I was doomed to live with awful skin.

Until autumn of last year, when I decided to give Mary Kay a second try.

When I was first married (2005… whoa. That was a while ago.) I was a Mary Kay consultant for about two seconds. I wasn’t crazy about their Timewise line, as even the oily/combo line seemed too “heavy” for my 21-year-old skin (21…… whoa. I’m old.). This time last year I was desperate, and began thinking that perhaps scrubbing and treating my skin as if it were an oil spill (mattifying cleansers, lotions, powders) was actually hurting my skin. I was older now, and having a baby made my skin change a lot.. So I decided to try a different approach. I purchased a Mary Kay Timewise cleaning system for dry skin. Within weeks, my skin cleared up and looked better than ever. The face wash works as a cleanser & a toner and the moisturizer.. Well, moisturizes. I’ve finally found what works for me! Here is a look into my daily beauty routine nowadays:

  • Wash my face 2x a day with Mary Kay Timewise.
  • Put on Timewise night serum (at night only).
  • Apply Mary Kay Timewise moisturizer (day and night).

Now, since it’s autumn and the weather is getting colder I will be switching my moisturizer out. All summer I use the oily/combo moisturizer, but in the autumn and winter I use the normal/dry to give my skin the extra moisture it needs from the cold, dry autumn air. I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but when I do, my routine generally looks like this:

  • Concealer for the Samsonite baggage under my eyes.
  • Mineral foundation (usually L’Oreal) and blush.
  • Mascara.

Sometimes in the fall, I like to play with earthy tones on my eyes. Greens, browns, golds. Something about the changing leaves, crisp air, and addition of snuggly attire makes me want to look more.. I don’t know. Nature-y? Summer is for bright and fun, and autumn is more for muted and subtle I guess. Maybe I’m nuts. Who knows?

Photo: gettyimages

If you’re struggling with your skin like I have for so many years, don’t lose hope. It took me a long time to fall in love with my skin and there are still times when it doesn’t look as good as it could…. But keep trying, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Your skin is always changing, just like you are always changing!

What does your beauty routine look like? Do you change it with the seasons, or does it stay the same all year?

Thank you to Walgreens for sponsoring this blog post. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own.

Surviving the First Clean Eating Temptation.

Tonight my daughter’s daycare had an open house. It was the first one they’ve held since she started this summer and I was excited. An open house! At my daughter’s “school”! This was another one of those “holy fuck I’m actually a parent” type moments. I have a kid. I go to open houses. I bring home her artwork. Oh, and I also pushed her out of my vagina. But whatevs.

This post isn’t about my kid’s artwork OR my vagina (too bad for you). This post is about how I survived my first temptation since really beginning my clean eating journey. At the open house, there was food. Not anything fancy or extravagant but they had grapes and strawberries (with yogurt dip), broccoli, carrots, cherry tomatoes and celery… And they also had chicken salad sandwiches, spinach-artichoke dip, brownies, cake… All sort of foods that I would normally be all over. Let me tell you, I wanted that spinach-artichoke dip. But instead of loading my plate with preservatives, carbs, saturated fats and gods-know-what-else, I piled it with the fresh fruit and veggies…. And no yogurt dip or Ranch dressing.

I felt very proud of myself as I ate my selections! I love parties, and I love to snack on party food so this was a big hurdle for me to overcome. Now don’t get me wrong, I plan on having cheat days… I happen to be saving up for a big one coming up next week. My best friend’s getting married and her bachelorette party is coming up, and I plan on having fun and not worrying about what I’m eating/drinking that night. But in order to do it in good conscience, I have to save up and be good until then.

It actually wasn’t terribly difficult. All I could think about when I looked at the food on the table was how I had no idea what was in everything that was there.. And that made me not want to eat it and stick to the items that I knew I could count on being whole and clean.

Natalie: 1, Junk Food: 0. Booyah.

Adventures in Eating Clean

About two weeks ago, I posted about how I wanted to start eating clean. I went to Chicago pretty soon after that, and needless to say clean eating was shot in the butt for those five days I was up North. There was a lot of food, wine, and beer and I enjoyed all of it. When I got back and went to the grocery store, I was ready. I collected a few recipes, made a menu plan and off I went.

I’ve tried five clean eating recipes so far, all from The Gracious Pantry.

  • Clean Eating Stir Fry: O.M.G. Amazing. AMAZING. This clean stir fry is loaded with flavor. Brown rice, bok choy, cabbage, onion & garlic powder and eggs make this delicious and packed with goodies.
  • Clean Eating Chicken & Rice Soup: This turned out…… Okay. But it was all my fault, not the recipe’s. I put WAY too much brown rice and not enough chicken. It was very bland, but with a little salt it ended up being okay. Also, this recipe calls for parsnips and I’d never had a parsnip before. I’m not sure that I’m a huge fan. I can’t really decide if I like the flavor again. I will try this recipe a 2nd time, keeping in mind to put more chicken and less rice. Because mine came out kind of mushy.
  • Clean Eating Breakfast Pita: Yum. Yum. Yum! Eggs (the recipe calls for whites; I used whole eggs), spinach, and red pepper plus garlic & onion powder make this delicious. I felt full after just one! This was super easy to make and very tasty.
  • Clean Eating Quick Pizza: This was good! The recipe calls for cottage cheese.. But cottage cheese makes me wanna yarf, so at the suggestion of my clean-eating friend Michelle I tried ricotta cheese instead. I made this at my office and almost everyone was craning their necks to see what my yummy-smelling lunch concoction was!
  • Clean Eating Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal: More yuminess. I didn’t stay 100% true to the recipe, mostly because I couldn’t find any damn pumpkin pie spice. I found it at my local organic grocery (for almost $5!! OMG) so I just kind of winged it. I put in the pumpkin puree and sweetened it with Stevia and it was really good and filling! I didn’t put walnuts on top of it either, because walnuts are expensive like whoa.

I’m really enjoying clean eating so far. I do not feel deprived; not even a little bit! I’m looking at ingredients in a whole new way. When I see a pre-packaged cereal bar or dessert cake now, I cringe thinking about the artificial junk in it. I have run into some roadblocks, mainly the availability of whole food at a reasonable price. We are on a budget, and I’ve had to settle for some less than clean items. I have actually been shocked at how even some “organic” brands are packed with sodium, and have added sugar (something I’m trying to stay away from).

I bought low sodium chicken broth that was about the cleanest I could find at my normal grocery store. I stopped by a local organic grocery store today and bought some from them. When I got home, my jaw dropped at the comparison: what I thought was a pretty clean chicken broth ended up having 540mg of sodium where my organic chicken broth had 140mg. That’s a huge difference. Pita bread has been another hard-to-come-by item. I managed to find some whole wheat pita bread but again: added sugar. Yeast. Gluten. Blech. I peeked at the whole wheat pitas at the organic grocery, and they were really clean! I picked up some clean peanut butter (finally) and browsed around the organic grocery store to do some pricing to see what items were within my budget. I cannot shop there exclusively, but I was surprised to see that there were many comparable prices to my normal grocery store.

On next week’s menu I’ll be trying two new recipes: butternut squash lasagna and pumpkin chili! Stay tuned for more adventures in eating clean :)

 

Old MacDonald Had a Geek

According to Nellie, Old MacDonald didn’t have cows, or horses, or goats on his farm. No, he had….

 

Weirdest farm ever.

The Duck Pond

Here in town, there is a local spot that’s been dubbed “the Duck Pond”. It’s named “the Duck Pond” because there are lots of ducks. And also geese. Creative name, no?

The Duck Pond is located at a cemetery, which is appropriate, because I pretty much wanted to die when we went there the other day. We drove by it a few weeks ago and said to each other, “Hey! Let’s take Nellie and let her feed the ducks. Fun times for everyone. Yay!”

It seemed like such a good idea. I was looking forward to seeing my sweet little one experience feeding ducks for the first time! The other day, we grabbed an old loaf of bread, loaded her into the car and drove to the Duck Pond. We approached the parking area and I looked out the window to see at least fifteen geese and ducks waddling toward the car, eager to partake in our blood bread and it was around that time that I remembered that I am terrified of geese. We parked the car, Josh got Nellie out and I opened my car door and stepped out to find this motherfucker waddling toward me, eyes glinting with bloodlust, and it only made matters worse that he had face cancer, or the plague, or some shit:

NO BREAD? THAT'S OKAY. YOUR SOUL WILL DO.

Josh and Nellie had already walked through the sea of fowl to sit at a picnic table near the pond. Meanwhile, I screamed and jumped back into the car and slammed the door. Bravest. Ever. I watched my husband and daughter begin tossing bread to the swarm and felt myself hyperventilating. Why did I think this was a good idea? They could just go ahead and bury me in the cemetery just a few yards away, because these geese and cancer ducks were going to be the end of me right then and there. I saw Josh gesturing at me and I cracked the door open.

“Come on!” he shouted. “You’re missing it.” I pushed the car door open and tentatively slid out of the seat. The duck was still staring at me, inching his way forward with his mouth open. I shuffled away from him and he moved a few inches, still staring at me hungrily. Not wanting to miss the photos from Nellie’s first experience with ducks but also not wanting to run headfirst into the swarm I snapped a few pictures from a distance.

Eventually, with some encouragement from Josh, I made my way over to my husband and daughter. I sat down gingerly and kept alert for any geese or ducks that were trying to ambush me. I managed to take a few more pictures of Nellie feeding them, and blowing bubbles.

 

Despite my terror, Nellie had a good time. She didn’t really want down, and was content sitting in daddy’s lap and blowing bubbles while watching the ducks and geese waddle around and plot my demise.

I know, Nellie. I don’t trust them either.