5 Ways to Get Fresher Brighter Skin

spa day

Many women think that a tan is the key to glowing skin, spending time under the damaging rays of the sun or tanning bed, but the truth is tanning isn’t the key to glowing skin.  The average person has 1.6 trillion skin cells, and of this skin cells 30,000 to 40,000 of those cells shed each hour.  That’s a lot of dead skin you’re carrying around.  Dead and dry skin causes ashy dull looking skin, but there are quick and simple things you can do to keep your skin looking fresh, bright, and glowing.

Here are five things you can start doing to improve the look of your skin:

Dry-Skin-Brushing1) Dry Brushing

It’s called dry brushing for a reason, yet many people use their dry brush in the shower.  Getting your dry brush wet will cause molding, and using this brush in the shower is not effective.  It is harder to shed dead skin cells when they are wet.  Instead, use your dry brush before getting into the shower.  Start at the feet moving upward.  The idea is that you’re moving toxins towards your digestive system for removal.  Continue to brush in a circular motion over your entire body.  The process shouldn’t take longer than 5 to 10 minutes, you don’t want to damage the healthy skin.  Once completed, get in the shower and rinse the dead skin off. You can find dry brushes at many local stores including pharmacies, Target stores, or Walmart.

mango-body-scrub_l2) Body Srubs

There are hundreds if not thousands of “scrubs” for you to choose from.  The idea of a shower scrub is that it will exfoliate your skin, and in some cases help get rid of toxins.  To me the most important factor in choosing a body scrub is the scent.  While the sent doesn’t add to the exfoliation process, the benefit is in its relaxation powers.  A good smelling body scrub can fill your shower with calming scents, helping you wash away those toxic worries.  My favorite body scrubs are found at the Body Shop.  Check them out here.

unicorngirl_shower_light3) Hot & Cold

Switching the water from hot to cold periodically throughout your shower will help shock the skin, bringing life back to dead skin.  Hot water is typically not great for the skin, and can even age your skin faster.  However, most of us can’t stand an entire shower of cold water.  Hot water relaxes us, and a hot shower can be therapeutic.  Enjoy your hot shower, but when it comes to washing your face switch to cold water.  It will help with circulation, and brighten your skin.

4) Good Lotion

spray lotion For some of us the “lotioning” process is a pain in the a$$.  I have so many bottles of lotion, I can’t count them.  Yet I only get to putting lotion on my legs when I look down and their ashy white.  Hydrating your skin is very important, so making time for lotion is key to getting glowing skin.  Choose a lotion that provides the benefits you seek.  Choose a scent you enjoy, so that the process is enjoyable for you.  If you’re like me and hate lathering up, there are spray lotions available at your local pharmacy.

h20 body gloss4) Body Gloss

I have mentioned this product in a previous blog post, but the H20 Plus Hydrating Body Gloss is a great product.  If you’re looking for skin that shines, this product is a must.  The gloss is easy to apply! Just a few spritzes of the body gloss and you’re legs will look hydrated and shiny.  Say goodbye to white ashy legs and elbows.  To purchase this product or to get more information visit the product page here.  At just $15 it’s a steal.

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From Option to Priority

priority

If you have ever felt like you were just “an option” you know how amazing it feels to become someone’s priority.  It is the difference between feeling liked and being loved.  When you are afraid of being without someone, sometimes it’s easier to settle for being an option instead of waiting to become a priority.  You feel like if you fight hard enough you’ll outlast or beat out the other “options”. More often than not this isn’t the case, and why would you want it to be? If someone is truly in love with you, they will commit and be faithful to you. They won’t even consider other options.  It’s only when someone isn’t ready to commit that they consider other options.

Why do people engage in relationships with people unwilling or not ready to commit?  While there are “plenty of fish in the sea” dating is often intimidating.  People work longer hours these days, and social networking kills any sense of mystery revealing too much and ruining chances of relationship development.  It’s hard for many people to make time for dating, let alone find someone they are compatible with.  While the “search” often takes work, wasting your time with someone who isn’t ready to commit, or not capable of it, is pointless and tragic.  When you consider that we only have one life, and that life passes by in the blink of an eye, why would you want to spend it with someone who doesn’t value you enough to be committed to you?

I was once caught in the trap of committing to someone who was unwilling to make me a priority. After so many years I learned from him how to make people options, never making any man a priority.  It wasn’t until I found love that I was able to learn to commit again, and to make someone a priority.  Once upon a time I fought hard for commitment only to fail.  Now I wake up each morning as a priority. It takes time to find the one, but it’s always worth the wait.

D23: Wouldn’t You Think My Collection’s Complete?

Little Mermaid Collection

Ariel said it best when she said, “I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty!” Ever since my boyfriend discovered my love for Disney every gift has been Disney related. As a result I have acquired quite a collection of Disney artwork, figurines, and dolls. One look at my childhood bedroom, and I think you’ll agree that my collection is complete. That was until we heard that D23 was coming to town once again.

D23 is held at the Anaheim Convention Center every two years. At this year’s Disney Expo we viewed upcoming trailers for movies like “Maleficent” & “Thor: The Dark World“. We saw sneak peaks of movies currently filming like “Cinderella” & “Tomorrowland“, and had access to some limited edition items at the Disney Store. All I can say is that I’m incredibly excited for the new Disney film line up. Actors like Angelina Jolie, Tom Hiddleston, Kristen Bell, and Indina Menzel were in attendance to promote their new films. Yes, Angelina Jolie is incredibly gorgeous in person, and very kind.

Disney Infinity Display

Infinity, the new Disney interactive game was one of the exciting products introduced at the Expo. After playing this game I can attest to it’s one of a kind experience. Your kids will love playing this game, and you can get in on the fun playing as one of your favorite Disney characters. View clips from this exciting new game here or purchase your very own game here.

054At the D23 pop up Disney store we were able to view upcoming product lines. I think you’ll be excited about some of the products hitting stores this fall. The Disney Fairytale Designer Collection features some of your favorite princesses in dresses designed with stunning detail. The unique thing about this collection is that it includes both prince and princess. The collection includes Rapunzel & Flynn Rider, Jazmine & Aladdin, Snow White & Prince Charming, Bell & the Beast, and Ariel & Prince Eric. The dolls are being released one at a time. The time to purchase Snow White & Charming has already passed, but you can purchase Rapunzel & Flynn now. To view future release dates visit the Disney info page here. All doll sets are priced at $129.95. There are only 6,000 of each doll made world round, so supplies are very limited. In addition to the dolls, the Disney Fairytale Designer Collection features journals, tea cups, jewelry, make up, clothing & more. To view the Fairytale Designer Collection page click here.

In addition to the Fairytale Designer Collection, Disney also unveiled their new line of “It’s a Small World” dolls. I know I’m not the only one who growing up wondered why the iconic ride’s dolls were not for sale. The new dolls feature the iconic song sung in each doll’s respective language. View the dolls in action here before they go on sale.  The dolls will be released just in time for this year’s holiday season. Guess what you’re little girl will want for Christmas?

Some items I picked up at D23 included limited edition Little Mermaid artwork, 1 of only 500 Fairytale Designer Collection makeup bag, and one of a kind paintings of Tinkerbell. The next D23 Expo will take place in Anaheim,CA in 2015. Until then don’t forget to visit your local Disney Store or Disneystore.com for the latest one of a kind items. I hope my collection is finally complete, then again there’s always something new I just have to have!

Bye Bye Summer?

bye bye summer

The media is saying good bye to summer with tons of articles, blogs, and TV specials, but I say hold on! It’s still over 85 degrees in many parts of the US.  It’s 88 degrees here in Glendale, and 85 by the beaches.  In fact we typically don’t see a cool down in Los Angeles until closer to Halloween.  Meanwhile department and online stores have cleared out mini skirts and tank tops to make room for wool sweaters and jeans.

Dear Department Store,

We can’t wear wool in California. Just stop it!

While finding summer clothing in September can prove to be challenging, the good news is that many summer items are already on sale.  If you’re in need of items to stay cool in, visit the sale section of your favorite online retailer.  It’s also a great time to buy a swim suit for the rest of this season, or for next season. Can’t find what you’re looking for online? Visit the nearest outlet mall.  Many stores send last season’s items off to the outlet locations, and mark them down sometimes up to 70%.

Don’t know where to start? These online retailers are offering great deals on summer fashions now:

Express: 40% off Clearance

J Crew: Extra 25% off Sale Items

Victoria’s Secret: Swim Suit Sale & Clearance Items

Forever 21: Tons of trendy styles on sale now

Zumiez: 60% off Labor Day Sale

LuLu’s: Plenty of summer dresses under $30

You can save on more than just clothing in September.  There is still plenty of time to have that summer BBQ you never got around to throwing.  Target and Walmart are both offering great deals on patio furniture, and plastic dishware, everything you need to have a great outdoor party with friends.

Target: Up to 50% off Patio Clearance Items

Walmart: Patio Clearance

Don’t be fooled by the media.  There is still plenty of time to enjoy your backyard, take a dip in the pool, and rock a mini dress.  Take advantage of these great deals, and enjoy the heat while you can.

DIY: Simple Floral Art Piece

 

Flower arrangement

As I say over drinks with my best friend, it’s been too long!  I apologize for my lack of blogging the past few weeks.  I have been battling health issues along with increased work responsibilities.  Over the weekend I thought I’d battle something other than my migraines, and focus on my kitchen walls.  I love decorating, and have spent a good amount of time filling my space with unique pieces, but my kitchen walls have been left blank for long enough.

I took a trip to Joann Fabrics for some creative inspiration.  I found my inspiration at the very first aisle of the store.  There in front of me were tons of beautiful fake flowers.  I have never been a fan of synthetic flowers personally, but these faux flowers were incredibly realistic.  I chose my favorite stems and made a quick bouquet there in aisle one.  With my flowers in hand I thought, “Now what?” I knew I needed to figure out a way to hang this arrangement on my kitchen wall.  I walked up and down the aisles looking for something circular.  I wanted something in the shape of a reef so that I could hang it up on a wall. There were a lot of materials to choose from, but I found a medium sized wooden ring which I knew would work just fine.  It turns out this wooden ring was a wood quilt hoop.  Next, I found some green stem wire, and chose the green closest to the color of the stems I had chosen earlier.  The stem wire would be used to hold the bouquet together.  To purchase green wire stems online visit here.  All of these materials were reasonably priced, and I got everything for just $22.  Once I had everything I needed a headed home to make my creation.

To create this wall arrangement you will need:

  • Your selected synthetic flowers
  • Green stem wire
  • 1 medium sized wood quilt hoop
  • A nail and hammer for hanging

DIY Flower Arrangement

Floral Wall Arrangement Steps:

  • Create your arrangement
  • Use your green wire stems to bind the arrangement together.
  • To do this take your green wire stem and wrap it around all fake stems.  I used four wire stems to complete this.
  • Take your wood quilt hoop and place it behind your arrangement.
  • Take a wire stem and wrap it through the quilt ring and around the stems binding the stems to the wooden ring
  • Place the nail on the desired place on your wall
  • Hang your floral bouquet

This DIY project was much easier than most, and now my kitchen is a happier place.  If you have any questions about how I made this arrangement feel free to contact me here.  Thanks for being patient with me as I battle my migraines.  Hope you enjoyed this post, and have a great week!

Love: Is it Blind?

ChubbyBaby

Every man or woman who wasn’t born with perfect genetics has wondered at least once whether or not someone can love them regardless of how they look on the outside.  Living in LA not a week goes by that I don’t have a friend ask me why men only treat hot women right.  They wonder if someone will ever love them for who they are, not despite lacking big breasts, a flat stomach, thick hair or a perfect smile.  We all want to be loved, but we all think we have to achieve some sort of visual perfection to achieve it.

Why do we think that way?

From an early age we’re teased for being overweight or awkward looking.  Young boys learn to taunt overweight girls practically from the time they come out of the womb.  How can a growing boy expect to enter into a relationship with a chubby girl when all of his friends are making fun of her?  For heavy women the formative years are the most difficult.  While others are entering into relationships, going to dances, having crushes, many overweight girls are doing their best to conceal their true feelings.  The overweight girl is either hiding from sight or being everyone’s best friend, but she’s not the object of affection.

Then college comes, and all those tiny cheerleader sized women start to gain the Freshmen 15.  The playing field starts to even out as the football stars start to gain their weight in beer, and the calories that were once burned on the field are now carried in the gut.  The once “chubby” girls are starting to get dates, and attention they never had before.  However, is this love the same kind of love they had always hoped for?  Are they being seen as sexy, hot, alluring?  Or are they being taken out on dates, simply because they are more accessible?

I have always wondered if someone can truly love someone regardless of appearances.  I know that you can “learn” to love someone despite them being overweight or not as pretty, but that isn’t the same thing is being head over heels “in love” with someone.  My ex put it best when he said to me, “I will always love you, but I’m not in love with you.”  He couldn’t see past my weight, because for him love was reserved for women with perfect petite bodies, big breasts, and perfect faces.

I work in a male dominant industry, I grew up with many male friends, and so I have heard all about the hatred many men have for heavy women.  To hear these men speak it’s as if a woman’s choice to not be fit is a personal attack against each and every one of them.  Where does this hatred come from? Why can’t we leave people alone to make their own choices for their own lives.  Why do we act disgusted when we see them simply living the way they like?  I personally am very disappointed by people who find it necessary to make comments about others’ weight.  There’s just no reason for it.  Unless your loved one is obese, and experiencing health issues, it isn’t your place to judge.  Spend more time judging your own choices, regretting your own life mistakes, and changing things about yourself which are undesirable.

happy couple

As for the question of whether or not someone can love someone, truly love them regardless of how they look I do think it is possible.  I don’t think it’s possible for many people, but it is possible.  I read a great article today of one such story.  Reading it gave me hope that there are people out there who can be kind and loving and genuinely happily IN LOVE with someone despite their body fat percentage.  Read this great story here.

Travel: Little Desert Getaways

Hotel Miramonte

As a California native, Palm Desert is a common vacation destination for my family and myself.  Taking little trips throughout the year is vital for many reasons.  Hitting the road and spending time away from the day to day grind can refresh your mind and prep you for a whole new week.

Miramonte Villas

I tend to stay at the same hotels when I vacation, but this last trip I decided to shop around.  I found a great offer on Expedia for the hotel Miramonte in Palm Desert, California.  I checked out the customer reviews and photos, and was impressed enough to give the hotel a try.  I had some vacation time saved up, and so did my best friend Marta.  Before we knew it the trip was here, and we were headed for a couple of days in the sun.

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While many travel sites may photoshop images to help sell you on an experience, the hotel Miramonte was actually much more impressive in person.  We exited the car excitedly and headed towards the large wooden gate doors.  As we walked through the big heavy doors we could see the gardens peaking through.  The grounds of the hotel are very lush, and vibrant.  Many of the plants and flowers are the same types found in Tuscany.

051The architecture of the hotel is unique.  The buildings were designed to replicate Tuscan Villas.  Each “villa” is named after a town in Italia.  The lobby of the hotel had high ceilings, chandeliers, and stone worked flooring.  The customer service at the front desk was excellent.  In addition to the beauty of the hotel, the space boasts convenience due in part to the boutique size of the resort.  We were able to walk to our room in under 3 minutes.  We requested a room on the bottom floor, so that we could walk straight out from our patio area to the pool area.

The hotel was vacant on a Wednesday afternoon, which was fine by us.  We had the pool area to ourselves, and a friendly waitress who checked in on us often.  I had yet to open up my birthday bottle of champagne, so we popped that open and started in on our mimosas. The pool is a good size, and the jacuzzi was large.  The pool temperature was great, because it was 106 degrees outside that day.  The lobby shop at pool mats, and the waitress offered to have them blown up for us.  We enjoyed a day of laying out pool side.

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If you are looking for pure relaxation you must make a reservation at the Well Spa, the hotel spa.  Often times, hotels will hike up the cost of spa services charging around $150 to $200 for a massage.  I was pleasantly surprised by the prices and services offered at the Well Spa.  There are three massages priced at under $150, and the purify facial is just $99.  To view the full list of spa services visit here.

Also located at the Hotel Miramonte is a fine dining restaurant and full service bar.  The Grove Artisan Kitchen serves “farm to table” fresh foods.  The website boasts, “The menu features organic produce, fresh herbs, local ranch raised meats and poultry, fresh Pacific seafood, house-made pastas, prime dry-aged meats and innovative vegetarian dishes.”  To view the menu or make reservations visit here.  Unfortunately my bff and I were too sun bathed and relaxed to get dressed up for dinner, but fortunately for us the hotel does provide in service dining.  Marta ordered the Greek salad, and I ordered a turkey club.  We shared vanilla bean ice cream and fresh berries for desert.

We had an amazing stay at the hotel Miramonte.  The views of the desert landscape and dark mountain ranges simply adds to the architectural and arboricultural beauty of this resort.  I would definitely recommend it.

Advise Me: Love Thy Neighbor

neighborhood

I know that we’re supposed to be kind to our neighbors, but some neighbors make it difficult.  I never had a problem with neighbors until moving into my most recent apartment.  The walls and floors of the apartment are very thin.  Luckily, we live on the top floor so it’s not a major issue for us.  Unfortunately, the people below us are very sensitive to the noise.  If we walk on our floor with shoes, watch TV, or listen to music at a normal volume they angrily knock on the ceiling with a broom.  We’re very sensitive to what the noise must be like for them, so we comply by keeping the volume very low, speaking at lower volumes, not wearing shoes at all inside, etc.

We have a beautiful and big patio, but can’t have people over because of them.  We try to comply and be thoughtful to our neighbors, but everyone has a limit.

Last week I decided it was finally time to get cable for the apartment.  I did what any law abiding citizen would do, and called up my cable provider, ordered the service, and had it installed.  A week later I received a call from the landlord claiming that the neighbors complained that ever since “our” cable guy came they have been without cable.  The landlord midway through speaking with us must have realized that this wasn’t an issue of our causing, because he told us he needed to call the neighbors back.  Sure enough I received a call back from my landlord saying that the neighbors had been stealing their cable.

Dear Neighbors,

If you are stealing cable, and do not inform your neighbors that you are stealing cable, and they call a cable guy it is not their fault.  Do not proceed by calling a landlord to complain, as you were doing something illegal.

Difficult neighbors can make living at even the best apartment unbearable.  When neighbors are making life hard, what do you do?

Friendship: My Best Friend’s Wedding

 

me and Vlad

One of my best friends Vladimir Paniouchkine got married this past weekend in a beautiful ceremony to his girl friend of six years Victoria Sutherlen.  Whenever a close friend or family member gets married it stirs up emotions, and makes you think about your relationship with that person.  I was no exception to that.

Vlad and I met way back in 2002 at Glendale High School.  I was the chubby girl back then, and he was the big football star.  Vlad never cared about being popular or about high school politics.  He was a good student, and great athlete, but didn’t care which click he was a part of or who he hung out with at lunch.  I on the other hand spent a lot of time caring what others thought, planning big parties, and being everyone’s biggest cheerleader.

We met for the first time in my Biology classroom.  He stayed late to talk with my teacher, and I came in to ask her a few questions.  He followed my friend and I out to the quad afterwards.  I thought to myself, “What a random guy.” We were close friends for two years, until he graduated and went off to college.  We lost touch, when his new girl friend sent me an IM calling me a few choice words and asking me never to message him again, but in the summer of 2006 we reconnected.

It’s difficult to keep guy friends.  When I was in high school I had two best female friends, the rest were guys.  Growing up spending a lot of time with my dad, I played sports, watched sports, camped, and enjoyed the outdoors.  Basically, I knew how to speak guy.  When I graduated, and lost a lot of weight, a lot of my friendships with men changed.  Boys grow up, and get girl friends, and those girl friends don’t always want another girl hanging around their man.  I’m not the type to stir up drama, so I gave them space and made new friends.

But when it came to Vlad nothing changed.  We always remained friends, and always made time for one another.  We were supportive of each other, and never jealous.  When we hung out it was always fun.  When he found Victoria I was happy for him.  When he announced they were getting engaged over dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, I was excited.  When I heard the proposal story, I was proud, and when I saw him kiss the bride I was emotional.

When a friend gets married you think, “I wonder if things will change,” but if your good enough friends they won’t.  If you respect their relationship, things won’t change.  If their successes are yours, you’ll always be a part of them.  If their happiness is yours, you’ll always be happy for them.  Vlad and I will always be friends, and I’m thankful for that.

Weekend Getaway: Palm Desert

pool view

Every now and then it’s good to get away, and take a mini vacation.  This weekend my boyfriend and I decided to pack our bags and take a last minute vacation to Palm Dessert.  The drive is two hours or less, and we knew that a pool and a tan were awaiting us.

Twenty years ago my mother booked a vacation in Palm Desert.  We always took little trips growing up, but when I walked through the lobby doors I realized where I was.  I was staying at the Saved by the Bell hotel!! Let me explain, I was a huge Saved by the Bell fan growing up.  I watched every episode more than once, so I recognized the beautiful hotel at first sight.  In the episode where Jessie’s father gets married, the cast traveled to Palm Desert for the wedding.  They stayed at the JW Marriott and highlighted it’s romantic appeal.

As a child I had a lot of fun at the hotel, but I knew some day when I grew up I would have a boyfriend and we would ride the boats and have a romantic dinner.  Fast forward twenty years later and my boyfriend and I escape to the hotel whenever we need a quick escape.

The JW Marriott is appealing to singles and younger couples, with attractions like a lively pool and nightclub located in the resort.  The hotel has changed over the years, and now features a more modern look.  The lobby bar is also a great place to mix and mingle.  For couples or families the Marriott Desert Springs Villas offer a more relaxing setting.  The villa rooms are larger, and include either a full or half kitchen.  Rooms also offer balconies with views overlooking the beautifully landscaped golf course.  Each cluster of villas has it’s own pool and hot tub, but there are two main pools as well.  To view pictures or get more information on the villas visit here.  The Water’s Edge pool plays music, and offers activities for children.  The pool bar serves drinks and lunch.

My boyfriend and I enjoyed our little getaway, and I hope you take some time to getaway and relax soon.