I Love A Good BJ!

Posted: 1811 days ago in Mirror Mirror

Do you have a special event coming up? An interview you really could use to knock out of the ballpark?

Well, have you ever considered having your hair professionally blown out? It really takes your appearance to the next level, and it’s not really that expensive.

At $30-$60 on average, sure it’s a splurge; we all splurge from time to time, after all. But, it’s good for a woman to treat herself for mind, body, and soul purposes. A professional blowout is in my top 10 beauty secrets/splurges – aka, an awesome nearby stylist in my repertoire.

Cue Ann Ellis.

Ann owns her own hair studio in Arnold Maryland called AE Hair Color Studio, which is where I go for my infamous BJs. I would like to offer a HUGE thanks to Ann for not only giving me a beautiful blowout (as always), but also for letting drtania.com come along for the ride.

Enjoy!

Go for the Glow: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

Posted: 1817 days ago in Mirror Mirror

gofortheglow


I’m going to call some of you out.

How many of you layer on the make-up year round? I’m even talking the hot summer months; you do your usual concealer, foundation, and powder trifecta – the whole shabang. Well, now that it’s past Memorial Day, I feel justified in what I’m about to tell you: I insist you put down the make-up. I am gifting you with the BEST beauty tip I’ve come across IN YEARS!!!

Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer

I was listening to one of my favorite radio personalities – Steph Ramos on Cosmo Radio – as she raved about this tinted moisturizer. So much so, that I felt I had to check it out. I typically only wear foundation makeup when the last vestiges of my summer tan are gone. Even then, I prefer very light coverage, such that a tinted moisturizer can offer. So, given that she was speaking my language, I jumped on the bandwagon.

Let me tell you: the stuff is so good it should be illegal!

It adds just a tiny smidgen of shimmer to your skin so it looks like you have that youthful, dewy glow; even if you are, ahem, not youthful. The tint evens out your skin tone and covers mild blemishes, even when I cut it with a little traditional moisturizer to make it even more sheer.

Though I picked it up in the late winter, I find that I already wear this year-round now because the glow that makes me look less like a hag in the winter makes the little summer tan I allow myself just POP!

At just $43 dollars a pop — which may seem expensive, but this stuff lasts — I think it’s worth the investment regardless of your current skin regimen. It comes in nearly two dozen different shades, so you’re bound to find your match. Not to mention, it’s got SPF built-in, so your face gets some daily defense out of the deal.

All in all, Laura Mercier, if I could, I would kiss you for creating your tinted moisturizer. I guess I’ll have to settle for simply looking more kissable when I wear it, and that ain’t too shabby either.

You can pick it up at your local Sephora.

Cheers my beauties!

Dirty Hair

Posted: 1840 days ago in Mirror Mirror

dirtyhair

It took me a few decades to figure out that dirty hair looks better than clean. I don’t mean greasy, nappy-looking hair. I mean hair that has a day or two under its belt since the last shampoo.

Don’t you agree?

Of course we all want every part of our bodies, including our head, to feel fresh and clean before a big night out. But, if you wash and condition your hair that same day, it won’t be inclined to hold a style for very long. Therein lies the fine balance of this whole song and dance – so, here’s what I suggest: 

  • Dry shampoos can help you fake it if your timing is off. They do a great job of adding a little texture at the roots, which can help with volume and lift. They also absorb some of the oil to keep your dirty hair from looking too greasy if someone gets close.
  • bakingsodashampooIf you absolutely have to wash it – wash your roots with baking soda, not shampoo! The baking soda has a cleaning effect, but leaves a rough texture to the hair that will allow you do to virtually anything to it, and it will stay. I also suggest you don’t condition this area, as the pliability I just mentioned will vanish – so only condition your ends. (See directions on the right for this method – – – >)
  • Another alternative is to try wetting it or using a conditioning cleanser to give you an opportunity for a re-do without over-doing it like you would with shampoo AND conditioner.
  • Lastly, if your hair is still clean “enough” but your style is just not salvageable, throw it up! Up-do’s can be a simple way to pull dirty hair into a coiffed look, and no one will know the difference. With a chic little chignon, or curled/pinned bun, they’ll think you’ve come straight from the hairstylist.

The bonus to not washing every day or even every other is that your hair will be healthier for it. If you’ve read my post, Juicy to Jerky, then you would know that overdoing it on a regular basis will only dry up your natural juices and oils, faster, since washing strips the hair of the natural oils that help it to look shiny and stay strong. I find that mine can withstand even a moderately hard workout without needing a wash, though if it’s a hot yoga or swimming day, I’m definitely sudsing up.

Try it. Give your hair some ‘off-day’ consideration, and tell me you don’t see a little more life slipping into those locks.

XO.

The Cost of Being Frugal

Posted: 1867 days ago in Mirror Mirror

Activists Protest H&M Clothing Production Labor Conditions

This is tough one for me to swallow, as there are fewer things I love more than a good bargain. Tougher still, since I have two teenaged girls who love to shop at stores like Forever 21 and the like.

The cost to purchase a shirt at one of these stores is far less than what the cost to make it should be. Figure in zippers and buttons and freight from a far-off land, and you can guess who is getting the very short end of this high-fashion stick: the laborers.

I’m sorry, but there is just something morally wrong with us prancing around in new outfits all the time, when the very hands that created them can’t feed themselves or their families.

It’s true.  

There are so many causes that we could argue have a greater and more direct impact on our lives – like genetically modified food or water pollution – that deserve our attention. But the fact is, that these workers, for a slight twist of fate, could be any of us, and perhaps have been at some point in time.

April 23, 2013 marks the one year anniversary of a devastating day in fashion production; it’s when the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. Over 140 labor workers were killed in the collapse of the building that was a major clothing producer for American and European brands. The largest of which, we recognize fondly; H&M, Walmart, Calvin Klein. According to the article above, H&M wasn’t producing clothes at the factory during the collapse, but pressure was put on them to lead tougher regulation regarding conditions at the factory.

Here’s the part that blows my mind, though: “The Bangladeshi news media reported that inspection teams had discovered cracks in the structure of Rana Plaza on Tuesday. Shops and a bank branch on the lower floors immediately closed. But the owners of the garment factories on the upper floors ordered employees to work on Wednesday, despite the safety risks.”

Is fashion worth THAT much?

We all have to choose our battles and perhaps this one is not yours. I do, however, ask that you be mindful in your choices, and if you can, just do a little better. For instance, shop at stores that you are certain pay a living-wage, or write letters to those manufactures that you know are not. Then YOU are participating in the solution instead of just sticking your head in the sand. Here is the Avaaz petition started after the building collapsed last year. It influenced H&M to sign the Bangladesh safety agreement – the same one GAP refused to sign.

Be informed, stay informed, and as always – try to make the best decision possible out of the available options. I suggest that all of you at the very least follow Avaaz.org – they are an extremely influential platform for change. In this case, many Bangladeshian workers now have them to thank for safer worker environments.

Thanks for reading.

Feeling Chubby? Dress Skinny!

Posted: 1873 days ago in Mirror Mirror

feelingchubby

Step away from the stretch pants! And don’t you dare put on that mumu!

Trust me, we ALL have those days.

You know, you wake up feeling bloated. Your wobbly bits take a few more moments to stop moving after you do. Even your fingers look chubby.

Damn it.

Do not surrender to the chub, girlfriends! What I’m about to tell you, you probably aren’t going to like, but hear me out. Put on your skinny jeans and fitted shirt, pronto stat! Chances are, if you overdid it on the soy sauce or Ben and Jerry’s the night before, you’ll be feeling just a leetle-bit pinched and squeezed, so you are quite likely not to overindulge again. The simple act of putting on your skinny clothes will have you looking slimmer and acting slimmer, too.

Plus, dressing to flatter your body just looks better.

If you do take the pants – I mean path – of least resistance and reach for your yoga pants and tunic, you will e-x-p-a-n-d to fill the space. Those garments are nice and comfy, aren’t they? And no one likes to feel like a ten-pound baloney in a five-pound bag, but if you keep wearing stretch pants, you’ll soon be a TWENTY pound baloney that won’t be able to get that bag over her thighs.

Please don’t hate me.

I am a girl who loves her yoga pants, and practically lives in them because I do yoga nearly every day. But most every day at some point I put on grown-up clothes. Those clothes include some ‘barometer’ jeans. I truly don’t weigh myself, nor do I care what number the scale says or what the tag in those jeans might say (I cut it out long ago). I do know, though, that if they fit, that I’m doing something right. If they slip right up with nary a wiggle, I might indulge in a few fries at lunch. If they require a bunch of shimmy-shimmies and result in a larger-than-usual muffin-top, I’ll stick to a cleaner diet and up my workouts a bit.

These ‘barometer’ jeans keep me honest, whereas my yoga pants could probably accommodate an extra 10 or twenty pounds before I realize what hit me. I speak from experience – ‘hello, freshman fifteen twenty’ – a time I most definitely do not want to revisit.

Take my word for it. You’d much rather learn your lesson by being miserable in the short-term, than overweight in the long.

XO, lovely ladies!

The Face of Laser Skin Resurfacing

Posted: 1888 days ago in Mirror Mirror

laser-skin-resurfacing

In an effort to try to one-up those brave women who allow their “pre-makeover” pictures to be published in magazines, I’ve decided to share post-laser skin resurfacing photographs of myself.

I hope it didn’t make you throw up in your mouth.

It all started a few months ago when I chatted up my nurse-friend who works at the doctor’s office that I frequent. I asked her, “So what’s next?” Mind you, I have not the desire nor the intention to end up looking like Joan Rivers. I was curious, however, to see if there were any non-surgical procedures that could improve the appearance of my skin.

Together we decided that Profractional treatment with a Scion laser (Fraxel) would be a good choice for me.

What is Fraxel, exactly?

“Fraxel is the name of a particular brand of laser that uses fractionated laser therapy. So why it’s called fractionated is the way that it delivers the energy, so it delivers lots of microscopic laser energy into the skin and creates a column of injury and as the body goes through its natural healing process that column is shed. So with that goes excess pigmentation and abnormal cells and because it’s also creating an injury to the skin, it also stimulates the body to lay out new collagen which is one of the main support structures, so you get the filling and smoothing effect with it as well.”

I had the 20 minute procedure on a Friday morning. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience in the world, but I was the one who signed up for this, right? The laser feels like so many tiny rubber bands snapping at your skin, and it also feels like you are getting a pretty decent sunburn. A fan provided a lot of relief during and immediately after the procedure, and within an hour, I felt like I had a moderate sun and wind burn.

Not so bad.

What was a little worse was that fact that I couldn’t wash my face for 24 hours. This particular laser made hundreds of micro-punctures in my skin that bled (but just a little bit). Chris put a thick layer of post-surgical ointment on my face to control the bleeding and soothe my skin, but advised that it couldn’t be washed off until the next day.

It was pretty nasty. But truly, it looks worse than it felt.

I kept my hair pulled back and slept with my torso elevated on pillows to minimize the swelling.

By morning, I couldn’t get into the bath quickly enough. Though my skin was definitely very sensitive and I had some mild swelling, there was no pain, and I looked almost presentable. I lubed up with the cream I was given, threw on a hat and glasses ‘a la Kardashian’, and went out on a lunch date with my husband.

The worst part of the next two days was a very tight, dry feeling, but that was well-managed with the cream I was given. By Monday, I was back at the gym, not much worse for the wear – in fact – no one noticed.

Over the next week or so, the majority of my sunspots peeled right off. Yup, adios, freckles and age spots. Also, my crows feet softened and became much less visible, I’d say by about 50%.fraxel

Not bad, huh?

And the best part? Over the next few months, those micro-punctures will continue to heal and fill with collagen, which should give me a tighter, plumper look all over.

Would I do it again? I would, but not anytime soon. For now, I’ll just relish in the fact that my husband – who is not a fan of me messing with my face, btw – looked across the dinner table and said, “you know, your skin does look really, really good”.

Thanks honey, and thanks to the team at Chesapeake Plastic Surgery for taking such good care of me! I highly recommend Fraxel for anyone desiring a little pick-me-up on the ‘natural’ side of things!

Yoga Toes

Posted: 1918 days ago in Mirror Mirror

yogatoes

You know how I love yoga, but my toes do not.

All that Vinyasa-flowing from Up Dog to Downward Dog wreaks havoc on my pedicure. Truly, it looks like a rat has been gnawing on my toes just a few days after I’ve gotten them polished.

Houston, we have a problem.

It’s just a teeny, tiny problem, but for someone whose toes are often on display, it’s a big problem for me.

Enter the shellac pedicure. Who knew? This stuff is like, well, shellac!

Shallac (for those of you who don’t know) is a special nail polish that dries, or cures with a UV light. It dries instantly, which means I don’t curse because I smudged my nails getting in the car like I usually do. The best part? It’s been over FIVE weeks, and my tootsies STILL look salon-fresh. I mean it – my nails are super shiny with nary a nick on them.

Eventually they’ll need to be redone as the polish grows out, but I’m a huge fan.

I’m not quite sure how this stuff comes off, and I may be poisoning my body in the process, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Does This Purse Make My Ass Look Fat?

Posted: 1928 days ago in Mirror Mirror Wellness

That must be what y’all are thinking when you buy your purses, because there are some big freaking bags out there!

Does having a bigger bag make your butt look smaller by comparison?

I might occasionally be guilty of carrying a purse ‘suitcase,’ but truly ladies – they kill my back and shoulders. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, trust me, you will.

Anything you continually hold on one side of your body (like a bag or a baby) will eventually cause imbalances that lead to pain and dysfunction. I’m not suggesting you ditch the cool bag or cute baby – how could you?! – but I am suggesting you put some thought into being kinder to your body.

Here are some suggestions that I’d encourage you to consider:

First the purse: I’m a big fan of messenger bags and backpacks because they carry the weight closer to your body, allowing for less chance of injury. If you just can’t go there, try to carry a moderately-sized purse in one hand and a tote bag in the other, to balance the load. Not that you’ll want to do that all day, every day, but do you really need all that crap with you all the time? I didn’t think so.

This will keep you (and that ass) in tip-top shape! Watch the video and you’ll know what I mean…

– XO –

It Works! (Crazy Wrap Thing)

Posted: 1932 days ago in Mirror Mirror

crazywrapthingHave you seen the newest body-sculpting fad, That Crazy Wrap Thing? 

It’s an herb-infused patch of sorts, that when place over a part of your body, proclaims to tighten and tone the skin and underlying tissues. I’ve never been one to buy into network marketing, nor believe that there is a shortcut to losing weight. However, when a respected colleague of mine kept raving about this product on Facebook, I decided I should give it a little test run.

Which of my bumpy-bulgy areas should I try it on? Hmmm… so many options. If you’ve read my piece called My Life as a Shar-pei, then you know that I’m not really thrilled about the current state of my face and neck. I ultimately decided to give the patch a whirl on the rapidly sagging skin under my chin.

After reading the directions, I found out that I would need to wear 3 patches in total. Each one for 45 minutes, spread out over the course of a week. “That shouldn’t be too bad,” I thought – “let’s give the first one a go”.

The biggest – and only –downside I experienced was trying to keep the patch on for the required 45 minutes. After struggling for a bit, I found that one of my daughter’s wide headbands kept it in place nicely, even if it was reminiscent of the post-wisdom-tooth extraction headgear of days-gone-by. 

I have to say, I remained skeptical over the course of the next week or so that it took for me to fit in the 3, 45-minute sessions I had to wear the patch to obtain optimum results.

But then – BOOM! 

Just like their advertisements say, I caught a glimpse of myself in an awkward position – one that would usually result in a turkey neck of grand proportions – and saw that my neck and chin actually remained where they belonged! Hmmmm. I even challenged it a little bit, and confirmed that yes; my neck and chin actually do look tighter and leaner! And this is a couple of weeks after my last patch!

crazywrapthing-fd

I stand by my belief that there is no shortcut to great health, but if you have a trouble spot (or two) despite making good lifestyle choices – particularly in the diet and exercise arena – then you might want to give the “It Works!” patches a whirl. I don’t know that I’m inclined to use these patches regularly, but I think they’ll be a go-to before a big photo shoot or night out in a close-fitting dress. And unlike those salon wraps that dehydrate you and last only until you drink a glass of water, they say these results last for months.

Update: At press time, which is 2 months post-wrap, my results are still, literally, holding firm!

I got my crazy wrap thing from Dr. Amy at skinnywrapdoc.com, and I’m sure she’d be happy to hook you up, too!

Give it a go – what have you got to lose?

Wrinkles or Pimples?

Posted: 1950 days ago in Mirror Mirror

wrinklesorpimplesDid you sail through puberty with nary a blemish? Are you a woman of a certain age with dewy skin that makes you look a good decade younger? Well phooey on you. The rest of us are giving you the metaphorical finger.

thebird

Most of us have about 5 minutes of transition time between our last blemish and our next wrinkle. Then again, some of us won’t even get that! We’ll battle both simultaneously; a real exercise in frustration!

Having been born with pores that one could park a Hummer in, I can sympathize, sister. No facial, peel, or product can give me the skin I long for, but I continue to try. Just ask my dermatologist (whom you may have to catch at her vacation home that I helped fund).

Bottom line is that you need to embrace the genetics you were blessed with. Yes, as with all aspects of health, being kinder in your lifestyle choices will help tip the scales in your favor. Please don’t smoke – there is really nothing that ages you more quickly. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Eat cleanly. Sleep well. Move more. Any questions?SLEEPHYDRATEMOVE

I am not really a product girl, though many of them are just so delicious. Whether you have a full-on regime twice a day or just wash in the shower, I suggest using products free of chemicals and colors. Our skin, being our largest organ, absorbs all that we put on it, which is why I use a mild liquid cleanser and non-petroleum moisturizer. When I’m feeling extra-indulgent, I used a retinoid eye cream to help manage my crow’s feet.

For those pimples? Please, please don’t pick! Fingers are dirty and the constant fussing will leave you with scars. There are some good spot treatments out there that can nip blemishes in the bud. An ice pack can go a long way to cool those suckers down if they look really red and angry and if they do come to a head, I’ve been know to take a (sterile) needle and gently relieve the pressure. Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen!!

As the years tick on, I’ve brought in some bigger guns… glycolic acid peels, botox (which you’ll hear more about soon), and most recently – a laser treatment (there’s a whole piece coming on this, too… just wait for the pictures! WARNING: You may need a barf bag).

Though the jury may always be out on whether or not I’ve gotten the desired bang for my buck, I’m okay with that. After all, despite all the attention and angst we give our skin, happiness and self confidence will shine through… just as misery and judgement can make the girl with even the most flawless skin, just… well… ugly.