Spanx It Up, Baby!

Posted: 1656 days ago in Mirror Mirror

SPANXBABY

I heart you, Sara Blakely! 

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No offense to all my lovely, curvier ladies out there but I originally thought Spanx were for women on the plus side of the spectrum.

That was, until I tried them on — and in that moment, the angels sang!

Well Hell-oOo, mama!! Who knew I could look so smooth?  

If you have an outfit like that – that makes you like how you look, but not love – Spanx are your new BFF. If you’ve been following my blog, then you know my back fat woes – and that’s just the beginning. Even at my thinnest, I’ve always been a bumpy-bulgy kind of girl, but I’ve learned how to dress to complement my body. Every once in a while, I put on an outfit that looks good but not great because of a little muffin-top or tummy bulge – so I Spanx it! And even the back fat that I loathe so entirely, goes undercover.

There are so many variations for pretty much any kind of outfit – pants or dress, short or long. My favorite piece is a long tank, as it hits all of my least favorite areas without needing to deal with the peekaboo crotch.  I’m glad they have that little peephole too, because lord knows once you peel those things down, you may never get them back up… especially after a cocktail or two… in a bathroom stall… balancing on your Manolos. Not a pretty sight. 

I digress!

Spanx can’t transform a size 16 into a six; the woman who comes up with that idea will be the first self-made trillionaire, I’m sure. They can, however, give the illusion that you’ve shed those last few stubborn pounds or took up pilates. Truly glorious.

Invest in some smoothing undergarments like Spanx and you will be very happy you did.

Spanx for reading!

Unkempt Fingernails Gross Me Out

Posted: 1757 days ago in Mirror Mirror

unkempt-fingernailsdivider2

Here I go with another rant because I just can’t take it anymore.  

Funky fingernails. Dirty fingernails. And nail polish that has been chipped or even gnawed off.

The above three? Gross. Me. Out.nailclippers

I’ve had my share of days where I roll out of the house with bedhead or sheet marks gracing my face. I may even be sporting some gnarly toenails in the dead of winter inside of my boots. But never, ever, will you see me with funky fingernails.

Maybe it’s because I’m a chiropractor and have worked with my hands my entire life. Or perhaps my mom drilled this basic hygiene item into me (over and over again!). However I got here – I stand here proudly.

It just makes me want to gag when a waiter plunks down my soup with remnants of who-knows-what jammed under his nails. And the girl at the check out counter who taps away with her ragged nails? Please, please, just clip them nicely.

removerFinally, to all the teenage girls – including my own! – who tire of the latest Essie or OPI color – please, just swipe it off with some remover and a cotton ball, instead of gnawing and picking at it until only bits and pieces remain.

cottonballsTrust me when I say, unkempt fingernails cheapen your whole look, even if you are sporting a great outfit, smile and hair.

Wash. Clip. Remove. It’s pretty easy. Got it?

Quench Your Summer Hair

Posted: 1768 days ago in Parenting

quenchdivider2I spend a lot of time at the beach in the summer, and my hair can easily suffer the consequences if I don’t watch out.

Chlorinated pool water, salty ocean waves, and the sun’s rays will suck the life right out of even the healthiest of hair. If you’ve colored, straightened or otherwise processed your hair, yours is even more vulnerable.

Thankfully, over the years I’ve picked up a few tricks that have saved my locks, and I thought I’d share them with you.

divider2So, here you go…36390

  1. I enjoy swimming laps all summer, but pool chemicals dry and discolor my hair. To pre-empt that, I wet and condition my hair before I put my swim cap on, and rinse immediately after. As an added bonus, the conditioner helps the cap to slide on easily so the dry rubber doesn’t pull on my sensitive scalp.
  2. The sun will fade your hair color faster than you can say “brassy highlights”. So, before I hit the beach I comb a rich, UV protecting conditioner in (like this one from Alterna) and slick it back into a bun or braid. Wearing a hat over your slicked-back concoction will also help, but I love how the sun’s heat really makes the conditioner soak in – so I go sans hat. After a day on the beach like this, my hair actually looks better than before!
  3. I appreciate how salt water can give hair its glorious beach waves but it can also make hair so brittle that it breaks off like a dry twig. Even the smallest amount of salt can wreak havoc. So, when you get out of the ocean, either stand under the shower or dump a water bottle over your head, and run some conditioner-laden hands through your hair to moisten it up. This will keep the waves from looking frizzy, and help to lock them in.

divider2The moral of my story?

To quench your summer hair, keep some conditioner, a wide-toothed comb and some ponytail holders in your swim and beach bags at all times. If you’re diligent about it, you might just find that your hair comes out the other end of summer looking even more shiny and lustrous than before.

XO!

Graying Gracefully

Posted: 1777 days ago in Mirror Mirror

graying-gracefully

divider2Graying Gracefully – I can’t do it. Can you?

Several of my friends have the most gorgeous white-gray hair. It looks like they were born with it, and I can’t imagine them any other way since they wear it so very well.

And then there’s me. 

Hair color never intimidated me. I’ve been blond, brunette, and a few shades of magenta and orange that have never before occured in nature. It’s been a very long time since my natural hair color has made an appearance. Which is why I shouldn’t have been surprised when my hairdresser made the offhanded remark that I was growing in at about 50% gray; alas, I was.

Fi-fi-fifty percent? Gray? ME???

At the time I was barely forty. I quite literally, almost had a stroke.

I’d been playing with hair color for most of my life because I wanted to; now that it seemed I had to, I was freaked out. Like, majorly freaked out.  

Suddenly, I started inspecting my hairline for any sign of growth. My colorist had to [figuratively speaking] talk me off the ledge, suggesting I really only need touch-ups every 5-6 weeks, not the 2-3 weeks I was tempted to get. It never fails though – a few times a year, I swear to myself, “f*ck all this time and money I’m spending on coloring my hair. I’m going au natural!”.

Yeah, that lasts for all of about 5 minutes.

My mom was totally gray at about age 18, thanks to the stress of escaping Nazi Germany as a young teen. She still sports her trademark ginger curls, though, courtesy of Clairol’s Blazing Sunset, which earned her the nickname, ‘The Red Baron’.

It would be weird, wouldn’t it, if I were gray before my mom? So, I guess I will follow in her footsteps, and though I hope to age gracefully, I will probably never, ever age grays-fully.

Will you?

Bushwhacked

Posted: 1784 days ago in Mirror Mirror

BUSHWACKED

divider2If you’ve read The Hair Down There, then you know I take a middle-of-the-road approach to personal grooming.

However, in preparation for a week-long beach vacation with my hot husband, I decided to cash in a salon gift card I had for a bikini wax. When I made the appointment, I asked how long I should forgo shaving before my appointment, and was told not to shave or wax for 2-4 weeks.

%^&(#!@^*???! — Translation: Wait. What???!

I rarely go 2-4 days without shaving! Now in order to get a smooth, hairless muff, I had to go rogue?

This was totally and utterly against my better judgement, but I did it anyway. By week two, I couldn’t stand ‘the jungle down there’ so I tried moving my appointment earlier. The aesthetician sent me home, saying, “my hair wasn’t long enough”. I waited another two weeks (making my wait a total of four weeks – hence the bush in bushwhacked) as per her instructions, then endured the most painful 30 minutes of my life after having had two natural childbirths.

Are you kidding me? The deal is, I have to look like a hippie for a month to look like a 10-year-old for a week, and be tortured in the process? Sure waxing has its long-term benefits like slower, finer and sparser regrowth. But the cons? It’s pricey, messy, and extremely painful. Not to mention, your waxer gets an up-close and personal view of your hoo-ha, over and over again. So, if I do some simple math… carry the two… yep, definitely not worth it in my opinion, so I’ll pass.

My razor and I have a standing date in the shower, and that’s juuuuuust fine by me.

At Some Point You Must Choose (Your A$$ or Your Face)

Posted: 1809 days ago in Mirror Mirror

atsomepoint


I’ve certainly chosen my face.

Let me explain:

As we age, the supporting structures – mainly collagen – of our skin break down more quickly than our bodies can build them up. Nowhere is this more apparent than on our faces, with all of the contours that make up our eye sockets, cheekbones and jawlines.

For a brief moment, this thinning of our faces results in beautiful, model-like angles. You have cheekbones! And a jawline that even Maria Shriver would envy!

And then it all goes to hell.

We’ve spent 3 or 4 decades trying to get our backsides small enough to fit into our favorite jeans, and now, being lean makes us look like a hag. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true.

If your ass is tiny, your face is likely haggard looking. And if the skin of your face is filled out with just the right amount of adipose tissue (read: fat), your ass is likely too big to fit in into those jeans.

So decide if you’d rather look better coming into a room or leaving it, and act accordingly.

Which one have you chosen?

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.

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!