Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Your Holiday Party To-Do List

  1. Take coat, shawl, wrap to dry cleaners. Have them replace any buttons if necessary.
  2. Try on your dresses and look them over to make sure they are in good repair. Have your dresses taken in (yay!) or out (boo!) and mended if need be.
  3. Get your hair trimmed and color retouched. Ask if you salon offers hair glazing, which will add tons of shine and boost your color. If not then...
  4. Do a deep conditioning treatment at the salon or at home.
  5. Get an eyebrow and upper lip wax.
  6. Use a home teeth whitener.
  7. Wipe the inside and outside of your clutches and purses.
  8. Practice your party makeup looks and purchase new makeup if necessary.
  9. Get a mani and pedi. Purchase a new nail color to repair any chips in between services.
  10. Stock up on emergency mini's : hairspray, hand sanitizer/wet wipes, deodorant, hand lotion, gum, lip balm and a pen.
  11. Clean your jewelery. Make sure you have both pairs of earrings and latches from necklaces and bracelets are in working order.
  12. Polish shoes.
  13. Buy a body lotion with a touch of shimmer for that extra Christmas glow.
  14. Make a list of all your holiday parties and don't forget to include items you must take like food items or a hostess gift.

* Album cover- Vintage Christmas: Best songs form the 20's,30's & 40's available from Past Perfect.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Must Confess...

...my schedule shows that I wake up @ 5:30a, but I really wake up closer to 7:30a

...I often feel overwhelmed by my 3 boys

...I secretly want a 4th son

...my feet have grown since my last pregnancy but I refuse to buy bigger shoes

...I had to buy a bigger pair of "fat jeans" because I still couldn't fit into my regular "fat jeans" 3 months after having baby

...I really miss smoking

...I gained 45lbs with my first son and lost none of it after he was born.

...2 1/2 years ago I lost 55lbs and have since "found" 45 lbs of it again

...I eat way too much yogurt

...I love to write, though I rarely make time to do it

...I've been reading the same 4 books for 5 months

...I refuse to buy cute clothes for the weight I'm currently at

...I have way too much skincare goodies

...I want to buy more skincare goodies

...I think the best way to learn is to teach others

...I have big aspirations for my blog, but little time to devote to it

...my kids are better dressed than I am most of the time

...if I were a cartoon character I'd be Minnie Mouse

...I have a crush on Det. Stabler from Law & Order SVU

...I make the best country ham, seriously

...I often have so many idea's racing through my head that I can't sleep at night

...my dream vacation would look like this: sleep 'til noon, eat a bowl of Pop's while I watch Lifetime movies, scrapbook, nap then shower for dinner and dancing with my Hunny

Saturday, November 21, 2009

See Spot Go.

* photo courtesy of pixdaus

If only we looked so cute with spots on our faces. Freckles, age spots, sun spots, scars from blemishes, whatever you call them, they're all the same thing...hyper-pigmentation. Are you doomed to seeing spots on your skin forever? Although hyper-pigmentation is a stubborn foe, it can be treated and the cooler months,when the sun is mild, is the best time to start. Here are some effective over the counter treatments as well as suggestions for professional treatments.

Lactic Acid Hydrating Serum (1 fl oz.)

Brighteners- These products work by exfoliating the skin with hydroxy acids or citrus acids and may have light diffusing minerals to further enhance the "brightening". These products also have the added benefit of smoothing the skin and minimizing fine lines. Although these natural acids, especially lactic acid, help with pigmentation, these products are best suited for maintaining results.

Skin Lightening Kojic Cream (1 fl oz.)

Lighteners- These products work by stopping further production of pigment as well as diffusing the discoloration so that it blends into the surrounding skin. These products will often contain hydroxy acids as well. Skin lighteners use (mostly) natural ingredients which make them very gentle to the skin, however it can take quite a while to see results, usually about 2 months of continuous use. Ingredients to look for are kojic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, bearberry extract, licorice extract, mulberry root extract, azelaic acid, and L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

Fade Gel 4 (0.5 fl oz.)

Whiteners - Also known as skin bleachers, work pretty much the same way that bleach works on clothes, it completely take out the color. The active ingredient in skin whiteners is hydroquinone. Over the counter products with hydroquinone will usually contain 2% hydroquinone but can contain as much as 6%. Be aware that hydroquinone is toxic. Any product containing hydroquinone should only be used for 3 months max (with a 2 month break before you resume) and only on 20% of your body at a time. This is serious stuff ladies, which is why it is not my preferred way of treating hyper-pigmentation.

Vinoperfect Radiance Set (4 piece)

Au Natural (said that with my best american french accent)- This is the closest you can get to natural while it still being effective.They contain the sap of the grape vine to even out skin color as well as give a healthy dose of antioxidents. It's gentle enough for the super sensitive and can even be used during pregnancy!

Professional treatments are extremely effective for treating hyper-pigmentation. 1 professional treatment (depending on the treatment of course) can be as effective as 2 months of using skin lighteners at home.

Facials - use professional-use-only masks, serums and exfoliants to lighten skin. Skin lightening facials can take a while (maybe 5-6 treatments) before you get your desired results, however the luxurious massages make it worth the wait!

Skin Peels - these work by exfoliating and diffusing pigmentation. This is my preferred method since peels can be totally customized for your skin type and well as treating other skin condition simultaneously (like blemishes and fine lines). Results are immediate and continue with further treatments, which is usually a course of 3-4 treatments.

Lasers - can only be done by a doctor or nurse practitioner. Although very effective, they can very uncomfortable, scary and can cause scarring if done by an untrained hand. I'm a bit of a nervous nelly when it comes to treating the skin with lasers. I prefer a more hands on approach.

So what treatment is best? Well I say both home treatments and professional skin peels. But if you can't afford the skin peels, stick with the gentle skin lighteners. But no matter which treatment you choose be patient, be consistent, and most importantly, wear your sunscreen. Even just one day, one day, without it can undo months of hard work, so don't leave home without it!

* photo courtesy of flikr

One last note, there are many suggestions for home remedies to help lighten skin. Lemon juice, sour buttermilk, potato juice, cucumber juice and hydrogen peroxide are examples of such suggestions. Yes the idea is very alluring, however the problem with some of these is that they are not as effective because the active lightening ingredient just isn't concentrated enough. Others, like hydrogen peroxide, can be very damaging to skin. Although homemade skincare can be deliciously great for the skin, better leave skin lightening alchemy to the professionals.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hooray For Free Vintage Goodies!

Jessica @ Chronically Vintage is giving away these darling prints, values at $48 (wow)! Head on over there and sign up for your chance to win!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

8 Questions To Ask Before Commiting To A Salon

Choosing a great a salon and hair dresser can be tough, especially if you don't know what to look for. Use this handy-dandy checklist to see if your salon "makes the cut". (corny joke, I know. My sister and I call that "a mom joke". Sorry mom, love ya!)

Is it located in a nice/safe area of town? ~ Chances are you're going to be visiting the salon alone, and perhaps in the evening hours so it's best to choose a place with plenty of outdoor lighting, close parking and in an area with a lower crime rate. And speaking of parking...

Is there sufficient parking? ~ You don't want to to ruin your precious salon day by fighting over parking spaces or driving around endlessly looking for parking. I once visited a salon that had a parking lot for only 5 cars. 5 cars! I didn't see any parking on the street so I tried my luck in the "so-called" parking lot. I managed to find an itty bitty spot in the parking lot. Boy howdy! I was sweatin' bullets when it was time to come out! It was by the sheer grace of God that I managed to get out of there without hitting any cars. Needles to say I never went back there.

How does the salon look from the inside? If there's dust collecting on the product shelves, the look books are from 1986, there's hair all over the floor and mixing bowls with hair dye still in them, run...fast.

Is the front desk attendant friendly/knowledgeable/efficient? This is truly the best judge of how your going to be treated at the salon. You should be greeted with a smile, she should know exactly who you are seeing and for what service, her work space should neat and appearance tidy. If there's a bunch of hair dressers hanging around the front desk gossiping about how drunk they got at the concert last night and you wait until someone notices you, save yourself the heartache and just walk out the door.

How does the hair dresser look? How's his/her hair? ~ Hair dressers are known for being more "flamboyant", if you will, with their hair and fashion. No matter what style they choose, they should look well put together. Their hair should look amazing. Not nice, not good, but amazing. They are the professionals after all, shouldn't their hair look amazing?

How does the hair dresser treat you? They should also greet with a smile, perhaps offer you something to drink (if the front desk didn't already offer), ask in detail what you want from your style/cut/color, and generally be warm, friendly and perhaps even a little excited about the service. Your hair dresser should not be chit-chatting with other hair dressers during your service. That's just wrong.

Did your hair dresser explain how to style or up-keep your hair? Sometimes hair dressers think they're "pushing" products on you so they may not mention that shampoo that prevents color fading or the texturing spray you need for romantic, messy curls. Ask your hair dresser what you need and they should be comfortable showing and explaining how to use the products.

How do you feel after your service? Like a new woman. Like a weight has been lifted from your head. Relieved. Glamorous. Pampered. Pretty. Gitty like a school boy. If not, it's time for a new salon.

There are some women that will put up with the gossiping atmosphere, dirty towels everywhere, and long waits because the love their hair dresser and "only she knows how to cut my hair". Likewise some women will put up with mediocre hair dressers because the salon looks so pretty, fancy, trendy, ____(fill in the blank). Give them the boot. Trust me, there are many talented hair dressers in fantastic salons that are ready and willing to treat you like a princess.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Homespun Beauty: Pumpkin Mask

My Hunny and my boys pumpkin hunting at the Tanaka Farm in Irvine, Ca.

So here I am at my computer slathering my luscious pumpkin spice hand lotion, glancing over at my french country calender with vintage pumpkins pictures, and thinking about the giant pumpkin sitting on my kitchen table that my boys and I will bake into pies and muffins tomorrow. Hmmm...what shall I write about...

Pumpkin is a wonderful and gentle exfoliant that works by eating up all the dead skin cells that are sitting on the surface of the skin. It's also loaded with yummy vitamins for luminous skin. For maximum benefits, wear this mask as you indulge on pumpkin pie and a warm cup of cider!

Luminous Pumpkin & Milk Mask
1 T canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp pumpkin seed oil
1 T finely ground oatmeal
coconut milk (enough to moisten to desired consistency)
Mix all the ingredients together and spread evenly over face and neck, avoiding the eye and nostril area. Leave on for 10-15 minuets and rinse thoroughly. Follow with toner, serum and moisturizer.
**This make may tingle a bit. That's okay and simply means that the pumpkin is exfoliating and stimulating skin renewal. If it burns though (which I highly doubt it will) rinse it off immediately and apply a cold compress. If you don't feel any tingling, that's okay too. You just may not be as sensitive.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dee Dee: A Makeover Story

Every high school year ended with the same tune in my head...next year is gonna be different. I'll have a cute haircut (which of course is going to be perfectly styled everyday); I'll muster up the courage to wear my vintage clothes; I'll stay on top of my skincare so that I never have a break out; I'll learn how to do different makeup looks; I'll lose a few pounds; I'll write every assignment down so that I can stay organized. Oh yeah, next year is gonna be perfect!

But alas, next year came and everything was the same. Money was tight so haircuts, skincare and makeup were few and far between; I was the typical self-conscience teenager too shy to wear anything out of the norm; I had poor eating habits that prevented any weight-loss (which in hindsight was really not necessary); I got distracted (or lazy) and forgot to write down assignments which started to pile up. When will I stop singing this tune in my head and start singing my makeover song loud and proud?

Well I know of at least one person that did. In high school I distinctly remember chatting it up with my classmate Aphrodite, Dee Dee for short.

"Next year I'm gonna be super girly and just wear cute dresses all the time. My hair's gonna be done, my nails manicured all the time. It's gonna be great!"

Oh yeah, I know that song...never gonna happen.

And I really didn't think she would. I mean she looked kinda' homely, never wore a stitch of makeup, never wore any dresses or skirts...she just looked regular....well maybe just a touch nerdy.

Next year came and lo' and behold there was Dee Dee in a cute dress, hair all smooth and styled, nails manicured with freshly applied makeup. She actually did it. She was the ultimate girly-girl just like how she planned. While her style wasn't of my particular taste, she did look very nice, and I was a little jealous.

The biggest difference though was the huge smile that was plastered on her face whenever I saw her. She was proud of what she had achieved...a makeover.

Do you sing that tune in your head? Ya know, the one that says one day, next year, someday, once the kids are grown...Well if you do then this blog is for you. So pour yourself a glass of the good bubbly stuff 'cuz today is the first day of your makeover!

Got an inspiring makeover story? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Most Glorious Bath Ever Part 2

photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

Hello again sweeties! Last week we chatted about how we can create the most awesome, delicious, glorious bath ever. This past week was so busy here in the Poblano home that I was just itching...er, not literally...to relax and take a nice long soak. But I need to be patient and plan this to perfection.

I hope the pictures I posted last week of the lovely bathrooms inspired you to add a special touch to your bathroom (oh how I wish I had my own house so that I could finally create my dream bathroom!). So now on to the good stuff...what to add to the bath! My mouth is just watering over the possibilities!

  • Bath Salts- this is probably one of the oldest bathtime goodies used in "water cures". There are many different salts, and because of their different mineral content, each have special properties. Bath salts can improve circulation, ease muscle and joint soreness, help heal wounds, relieve edema, draw out toxins, and bring relief to skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

  • Bath Tea- I absolutely love bath tea! I know it's silly, but the thought of soaking my whole body in a magical herbal concoction sends me to 7th heaven! Aaaaahhh! Soaking in tea can help reduce swelling, promote skin healing, and can neutralize free radical (those are those nasty atoms that age our skin). The scent is usually divinely subtle leaving your skin softly fragranced.

Bath Tea by earthbody

  • Milk- Bathing in milk is truly a lavish ritual fit for a queen! Milk moisturizes and softens (thanks to the lactic acid) skin to perfection. There are many lovely milk baths available, like the one pictured below, but why not try somethings fresh such as organic buttermilk, coconut milk, goat milk or heavy cream. If you can, get it from your local farmers market for an even fresher heavenly treat!

  • Bubble- To be honest, I'm not a bath bubbly type of gal. I feel like I slip into a tub of bubbly clouds only to see then quickly disappear a few minutes later. Perhaps I haven't found the right bubbly? Or perhaps whats missing is a tall glass of bubbly with my bubble bath!

  • Bath Bombs- These beauties are a little newer to the bath scene. They come in a variety for whimsical shapes from ice cream scoops to cupcakes. They can fizz, foam or release luscious oils to moisturise. Definitely a tempting treat for tired souls!

Mini Bath Bomb Gift Pack by CandiedBeauty

Okay ladies, the list can go on and on. Bath oils, bath beads, essential oils, bath melts, powdered oatmeal, fresh flower petals, mineral-rich clay...

For my bath, I'm going to try this heavenly Creamy Milk Chocolate Bath Powder with fresh pink rose petals from my farmers market.

What's in your bath?

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