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Break Up with Your Makeup, 2015!

Disclosure: I’m participating in the Break Up with Your Makeup Campaign sponsored by Galderma Laboratories, L.P.

Last year I was pleased to be able to participate in Galderma’s Break Up With Your Makeup Campaign to raise awareness about rosacea and the newest treatment options.

This year’s Break Up Your Makeup Campaign aims to empower women to feel confident in their own skin. According to the results of a new national survey*, the impacts of rosacea go more than skin deep, with half of sufferers saying they feel unattractive, as well as embarrassed (42%) and less confident (30%).

Although I do not have rosacea, I have friends who struggle to manage their outbreaks. Sufferers often try to hide their symptoms with heavy make-up or avoid going out in public altogether. I have stress-induced eczema. When those red, scaly patches take over my chin and cheeks, I feel like wearing a bag on my head. Confidence goes right out the window.

How I feel when my skin breaks out.

How I feel when my skin breaks out.

According to Wikipedia , “It [rosacea] primarily affects people of northwestern European descent and has been nicknamed the “curse of the Celts” by some in Britain and Ireland…. Rosacea affects both sexes, but is almost three times more common in women. Rosacea is commonly found in people between the ages of 30 and 50.”

Rosacea is a common, chronic skin condition that causes redness of the face, tiny red bumps and fine spidery red lines (telangiectasias), redness of the nose… and may also affect the eyes. Although there is no know cause for the condition, there are common triggers, which include: sun exposure, exercise, hot or spicy foods, alcohol consumption and stress. Who doesn’t have at least ONE of those triggers every day?!

Rosacea is estimated to affect 16 million Americans. If you suspect you have rosacea, contact your doctor or dermatologist. There are a variety of treatment options to manage and control the redness and outbreaks.

This year, Galaderma is inviting consumers with rosacea– or those who think they might have the condition– to share a #nomakeup selfie of themselves and tell others how they stay confident even on “tough skin days.” Consumers simply upload their image and story via a digital hub for the chance to win an all-expense paid trip for two to NYC for the New York Film Festival this fall. Submissions must be done by June 24, which will be voted on during a sweepstakes from July 27 – Aug. 14. People who vote on the submissions, during the sweepstakes, will also have the chance to win additional prizes.  Winners will be contacted in August.

#Nomakeup.  In solidarity with my sisters with rosacea, I am posting this no makeup photo.

#Nomakeup. In solidarity with my sisters with rosacea, I am posting this photo of myself sans makeup.

 *This survey, fielded among 500+ U.S. rosacea patients and 300 U.S. dermatologists, was developed by the National Rosacea Society (NRS) and Galderma Laboratories, L.P.

In addition!  Galderma Laboratories, L.P. has generously provided a gift basket of goodies to soothe sensitive skin!  One lucky winner will get the motherlode of Cetaphil products!

Included in the basket:

  • Daily Facial Moisturizer, SPF 15


  • Eczema Moisturizing Body Wash



  • Eczema Moisturizing Body Lotion



  • Cetaphil Cleanser and a sample of Cleansing wipes



I actually use these products!  While they are not sexy like products that contain gold dust and snail slime, they are super gentle and soothing.  When I have an eczema outbreak, these are the products I use to help calm my skin again.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bee-utiful! Portland Bee Balm

I do love a good lip balm.

And I care about honeybees. The global epidemic of declining honeybee populations has serious consequences for the entire food chain, not just the supply of honey and beeswax.

And one way to support the honeybee cause AND protect your lips from chapping at the same time is to try Portland Bee Balm.

The balm comes in Oregon mint and unscented.

The balm comes in Oregon mint and unscented.

The good folks at Portland Bee Balm sent me a couple of samples to try and also 2 sets to share.

The ingredient list is super simple: Certified organic coconut and olive oil, Oregon beeswax, and Oregon organic peppermint oil. The unscented variety leaves out the peppermint oil.

The label is made from unpulped wood.  That’s right, it’s a very thin slice of wood instead of a paper label and the ink is sustainable soy ink. According to the website, their labels use fewer resources to create than conventional labels.  And they are also beautiful — the texture of the label begs to be touched.

The balm itself is basic and does a great job!  I use the Oregon Mint variety and it not only protects my lips, it’s a nice cuticle conditioner as well.

Hubby commandeered the unscented because it is the perfect balm for bearded gentlemen to use with snorkel masks — and we do hope to go snorkelling again, soon!

I have 2 sets of Portland Bee Balm (Oregon Mint and Unscented) to give away!

This is very quick giveaway since I leave for NY next Wednesday for a week of family wedding celebrations (sister-in-law is tying the knot!).

Have fun and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


A few of my favorite sunscreens

It’s been a long summer and since I work outdoors most of the time, sunscreens play a vital role in my daily routine.

My "office" at Seaport Village in San Diego

My “office” at Seaport Village in San Diego

Here are a few sunscreens that I have used all summer:

Some of the sunscreens I have used most often this summer.

Some of the sunscreens I have used most often this summer.

Banana Boat Baby Tear-Free, Sting-Free Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 50



The active ingredients are: Titanium Dioxide, 3.1% and Zinc Oxide, 4.0%

This lotion is cheap, cheap, cheap at Walmart.  It’s goopy, very water and sweat resistant, and seems to last forever.  This is my go-to body sunscreen when I work outdoors.

Sunology SPF 50 for Face
Sunology sunscreen

Sunology sunscreen

Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide 10.0%, Titanium Dioxide 7.5% Inactive Ingredients: Aluminum Hydroxide, BIS-PEG-12 Dimethicone Candelillate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, C18-38 Alkyl Hydroxystearoyl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Feruloyl Soy Glycerides, Glyceryl Isostearate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Hydrated Silica, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Propylene Carbonate, Quaternium-18 Hectorite, Tocopherol.

When it’s hot and humid, this is what I wear.  Yes, it looks greasy and goes on greasy, but that oil absorbs quickly and protection lasts and lasts.  It’s also non-irritating and reef-safe if you happen to be snorkeling or diving. Just a little goes a long way — if you try to glob it one, you will get white streaks.

Another perk of this sunscreen, my skin has not been as dry and irritated at the end of a long day at the park as it was last year when I used a different daily sunscreen. I like to think of it as a sun shield.  Our local drugstores no longer carry this product, so I found it on Amazon.

Mineral Fusion untinted mineral beauty balm, spf 30 all-in-one BB
Mineral Fusion Untinted BB Cream

Mineral Fusion Untinted BB Cream

Yes, it’s called a BB cream, but since it’s untinted, it’s really a glorified sunscreen.

Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20% Inactive Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Sorbitan Stearate, Castor Oil, Polyglycerol-10 Laurate, Mineral-Peptide Blend (Magnesium Asparate, Zinc Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, and Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5), Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunower) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Rosa Canina (Rose) Flower Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

It is supposed to leave a matte finish, but I find that I get a more dewey look.  The tinted formulas only have an SPF of 9! And both shades are too dark for me.  I use this to lighten other BB creams that are too dark or I just use it on its own as a daily use sunscreen for non-outdoor days.  I am not sure how it stands up to sweating, so I don’t use it when I exercise or work outdoors.

Supergoop Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum, SPF 30
photo from

photo from

Active Ingredients:
Homosalate (Sunscreen) 8%, Octisalate (Sunscreen) 4%, Avobenzone 3%, Octocrylene 2%

Inactive Ingredients:
Purified Water (Aqua), Cyclomethicone, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Glycerin, Ceteareth-20, Polypropylene, Cetostearyl Alcohol, Xantham Gum, d-panthenol, Octanohydroxamic acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Silica, Triacontanyl PVP, Cetyl Dimethicone, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, PEG-40 Stearate, Tocopherol, Disodium EDTA , Pentylene Glycol, Panthenyl Triacetate, Sodium Lactate, Lactic Acid, Serine, Urea, Sorbitol, Sodium Chloride, Allantoin, Oleyl Alcohol, Ethyl Linoleate

This was included in Sephora’s Summertime Crushes collection. It goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly.  I like to use it as a first layer of sunscreen underneath a physical sunscreen like Sunology or Mineral Fusion.  It is packed with moisturizers (glycerin, urea, sorbitol) as well as vitamin B5 and vitamin E. It is like a skin treatment with the added bonus of sun protection.

Murad Essential-C Sun Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 35


from Murad's website

from Murad’s website

This is another gem from the Sephora Summer Crushes collection.  It’s a cute little stick that is non-greasy and very easy to carry anywhere.  Although it’s a completely chemical sunscreen, it’s still a useful tool to have in your purse or workout bag.

Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46


Active Ingredients: 9.0% Zinc oxide, 7.5% Octinoxate Inactive Ingredients: Purified Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Niacinamide, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polyisobutene, PEG-7 Trimethylolpropane Coconut Ether, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lactic Acid, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane

I discovered this product last year and still am in love.  It’s broad-spectrum, has a physical sunscreen, and actually calms my skin when it’s feeling red and stressed. It is not water or sweat resistant, so it’s definitely not something I wear when I’m exercising or working outdoors. But for those days when I’m just running errands or doing a lot of indoor gigs, this is the sunscreen I reach for.

These are a few of my favorite sunscreens this summer.

Have you tried any of them?  What are your favorites?

Beauty Bonanza at Whole Foods

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post at the invitation of Whole Foods and their Summer Fun promotion. All views and opinions, however, are my own.

Last week, Whole Foods in La Jolla, CA held a beauty blogger’s dream event — an open house that showcased product lines carried in their stores — and also a goodie bag of delights!  The sparkling sodas and salad mixer with other bloggers was an added bonus!

There were four product line stations.  I started at Evan Healy‘s station.

Evan Healy discusses her philosophy of skincare.

Evan Healy discusses her philosophy of skincare.

Evan Healy, the founder of her eponyous skincare line was actually right there to explain her products, how to use them, why they work, and her philosophy of treating the skin and body gently to encourage balance. All of her products use the highest quality plant and mineral materials, many of them organic.

Each blogger got a quick assessment of primary skin issues and was given a skincare kit with 2 weeks worth of products. As a mature person dealing with hormonal breakouts (two of which I have since learned are actually pre-cancerous objects of interest and NOT breakouts — more on that in another post…), I was given the Rose Treatment Kit since its key ingredient, Rose Geranium essential oil encourages hormonal balance and is also good for aging skin.

The Rose Treatment Kit contents: Cleansing Milk, Rose Hydrosol,

The Rose Treatment Kit contents: Cleansing Milk, Rose Geranium Facial Tonic Hydrosol, Roship Treatment Facial Serum, Rose Vetiver Day Moisturizer, French Rose Clay for weekly treatment masks.

All of the kits feature a treatment serum which consists of a special blend of oils and essential oils.  The key is to put a few drops of the serum oil into your palm, then spritz a few sprays of the hydrosol on top, mix quickly and massage onto your cleansed face.  The combination absorbs almost instantly, leaving the skin super-refreshed.

I am currently testing this group of products and so far I love it!  My breakouts have calmed down significantly and I no longer get dry patches by the end of the day.

The next station featured Aura Cacia Products.  I was already familiar with this line since I use their lavender and eucalyptus essential oils in my henna paste.  They have a high standard of quality at very affordable prices. Their environmentally friendly farming and packaging policies are also a plus.

Aura Cacia Bath Salts

Aura Cacia Bath Salts

The Aura Cacia representative gave out full-sized sample packets of aromatherapy Mineral Bath salts.  He also demonstrated that you can make your own therapeutic bath salt mix by adding several drops of essential oils to either Kosher Salt (shown in the tin above) or epsom salts.  He also recommended massaging a drop or two of peppermint oil on the soles of your feet before going for a run to increase circulation.  And a drop of peppermint oil rubbed in the palm and then inhaled gives a quick caffeine-free boost.

Next up, Dr. Bronner’s station.

One of the Bronner clan discusses the many benefits of the classic liquid soap.

One of the Bronner clan discusses the many benefits of the classic liquid soap.

Dr. Bronner’s All-One Magic Soap is practically a hippie institution.  I remember buying the classic peppermint soap at our local health foods store in Nashville (run by the good hippies from The Farm, a utopian community). The scent was a blast of peppermint and it made everything tingle when I used it in the shower.  But it wasn’t just for showers… it was (and still is) the jack-of-all-soaps — dish soap, floor wash, window wash, hand-wash soap, shampoo (albeit a bit harsh), flea-repellent dog wash, eco-friendly bug spray for garden plants… the list goes on and on.

Now the company makes much more than just liquid castille soaps — there are lotions, hard soaps, baby products, hand sanitizers (made from natural coconut alcohol), lip products, and natural cooking oils.

The 4th and 5th generation descendents of the original German soapmaker immigrants have taken the All-One transcendental philosophy and applied it in their practices of partnering with Fair Trade farmers and promoting organic integrity, the reintroduction of industrial hemp production in the U.S. and fair trade practices.

I still love the liquid jack-of-all-soaps — and make sure I have a bottle on hand both at home and when we go camping.

The final station was the Mineral Fusion Booth.

I am already a big fan of Mineral Fusion — but had not tried their nail colors. They are Formaldehyde, toulene, camphor and dibutyl pthalate free — and come in 61 gorgeous colors!  Whole Foods in La Jolla had the full range of nail products as well as their acetone-free nail polish remover and treatment products.

a small selection of Mineral Fusion Nail Products

a small selection of Mineral Fusion Nail Products

The representative had 2 gifts for us:

Mineral Fusion Mini Polish Trio

Mineral Fusion Mini Polish Trio


Mineral Fusion Lip Sheer Pencil

Mineral Fusion Lip Sheer Pencil

The nail polish colors are perfectly yummy — the sea green is now my favorite summer shade…. and the Sheer Moisture Lip Tint is exactly what it says it is: a sheer wash of super-moisturizing color.  It is totally goof-proof and not only makes your lips feel amazing, it smells good, too.

If that weren’t enough fun for one evening, Whole Foods gave each of us bloggers a reusable shopping bag filled with full-sized body care items for us to try.

The goodie bag...

The goodie bag…

My husband immediately took the Desert Essence Coconut body lotion… reminds him of Hawaii… and it takes care of the chapping he gets from working in the garden.

Some of the items in the gift bag.

Some of the items in the gift bag. Reviews are in the works.

Squee!!! I suppose not many people get a thrill out of cotton balls… but as someone who uses them all day long to prepare skin for henna, I truly appreciate a quality cotton ball… these are made from organic cotton — so you know there’s no nasty pesticides used in growing the cotton (better for the planet, and the birds, bees and other beneficial insects).

Organic cotton balls are just a small item that shows the company’s commitment to lessening harmful environmental impacts from unnecessary (and toxic) chemicals — and its investment in the future of the planet.

Another way Whole Foods shows its commitment to a healthier planet is its stance on not allowing microbeads in any of the products they sell.  Microbeads are very small plastic beads used as exfoliants in soaps, body washes, body scrubs, facial scrubs, and some toothpastes.  These beads are plastic which means they never biodegrade, but just accumulate in our fresh and saltwater environments. Illinois has already banned products with microbeads; Hawaii and  New York are currently debating the issue. Microbeads are a serious problem in the Great Lakes, causing malnutrition in fish who see them as food and cannot digest or get rid of them. In addition, the beads absorb toxic chemicals and are a haven for bacterial blooms. According to NPR, “Lake Ontario’s levels are highest, with counts of up to 1.1 million plastic particles per square kilometer.” Pretty scary stuff.

In addition to being committed to caring for the planet on a large scale, Whole Foods also has stringent quality standards for its beauty and body care products.

  • They only sell personal care products that have not been tested on animals
  • They are committed to high-quality products with a proven track record.
  • They promote products with naturally-derived and plant-based ingredients, pure essential oil fragrances, gentle preservatives and non-petroleum ingredients.
  • They carefully evaluate each product they sell.
  • They aim for products with minimal environmental impact in both manufacturing and packaging.
  • They make sure their personal care products are accurately labelled, have established safety data and are less likely to cause skin irritation or allergies.

I had sort of known about the standards but was very impressed when I checked out the website to see the full measure of their policies and the practical ways these are implemented. It makes me even more impressed with their own store brand, 365 — to know that their own products are also made with strict standards of quality. (Which I knew empirically through use, but it’s nice to see it in print.)

Whew!  That was a lot to cover in one post!  Thanks for hanging in for the duration!

As a special gift for my San Diego readers, Whole Foods has given me a coupon good for Friday, June 27, 2014 only — at any of the San Diego Whole Foods locations: Del Mar, Encinitas, Hillcrest, and La Jolla….

(I love you, Whole Foods, but can you please open a store in East County? Thanks!)





VoxBox from Influenster Review

I received the VoxBox full of goodies for the “active” woman last month… and although I have been using all of the products, I have been so swamped with work and waiting for car repairs that I didn’t get the reviews written… so… today I am giving a BIG review of the whole box.

What's in the VoxBox!

What’s in the VoxBox!

This was an interesting mix of products.  I tried them all, except for the Mueller yogurt — because that was an item I had to get at the grocery store with the enclosed coupon — and I am very coupon-challenged.

The review for the Vitamin Shoppe’s Next Step weight management drink mixes is here.

Next, I decided to give myself a spa treatment as a reward for walking a 10k around the neighborhood. I actually used three of the review items:

Before I went on my 10k stroll, I decided to put the orthotics to the test.

VoxBox_ProfootOrthoticsBack They did fit nicely into my lower-profile walking shoes.


And even though they are slim and lightweight, they did provide good support and cushion.  I am very impressed with the ProFoot Orthotics.

Post 10k, I decided on a good soak.

AquaSpa Lavender and Chamomile Bath Soak with Marine Youth Complex

AquaSpa Lavender and Chamomile Bath Soak with Marine Youth Complex

The Aqua Spa Bath Soak claims to “revitalize tired muscles with this gently foaming, restorative soak and bath salt treatment that diminishes the signs of aging with Marine Youth Complex. Relax body and mind with an aromatic blend of lavender and chamomile for calming relief.

Ingredients: Magnesium Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Silica Silylate, Fragrance (Parfum), Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Red 33 Lake, Red 27 Lake, Blue 1 Lake

I am not sure whether I emerged from my bath with “diminished” signs of aging, but I can attest that it was a very relaxing and aromatic bath.  The scent was fresh and not chemically and my feet felt much better after a good soak.

According to the website, the Pedi-Rock:

With 3x the surface area of leading brands, Pedi-Rock provides softer feet in just 60 seconds. The ergonomic stone shape is easy to grip and the flex-soft material conforms to the curve of your heel. The outside is composed of silicon-carbide crystals that gently and completely eliminate calluses.

  • Use wet or dry
  • Soft, easy to grip shape
  • Easy to use, tough on calluses

I found the Pedi-Rock very easy to hold.  I used it in the bath and now it has a permanent home in my shower.  It really is much easier to use than traditional pumice stones because it’s big, it’s lightweight and it’s somewhat squishable.  Yes, the Pedi-Rock is not a rock at all but a firm foam egg covered with a lightly abrasive coating.  Genius!

The next item in my box to try was the Playtex tampons.

A tampon is not exactly an exciting thing to test-drive… and as someone in peri-menopause, I never know when my next period will arrive — sometimes I skip 3 months and then sometimes I have a period for 3 weeks straight… it’s like being a teenager again.  More pause, please and a little less meno….

Anyways, after a 3 month period holiday, I ended up with a doozy — and thank goodness I had this box of tampons in my bathroom.  I’m not so thrilled with the idea of  “odor shield technology and light scent.” I tend to shy away from anything that might be potentially irritating.  But what I did like was that the tampons open up like a cup, much like beloved tampons of my youth (the only ones that did the job in my opinion) that were pulled from the market because of toxic shock syndrome. Playtex has managed to revive that brilliant cup-shape — and in a comparison test with other tampons, this one really did work better.

I’m not so thrilled with the plastic applicator — which, although very effective, is just extra plastic going into the landfill, but I’m willing to accept its non-environmentally friendly nature because I like the tampons. In the future, I will replace this box with the unscented regular sport variety.  Kudos to Playtex!

The final item in my box was a package of almonds:


Blue Diamond Blueberry Almonds

These nommy almonds are supposed to be even better for you with the addition of Vitamin E.  Each 1 oz. serving of the almonds contain 160 calories, 5 g of protein, 3 g of dietary fiber,  and 6 g of sugar. The almonds also have 25 mg of sodium, 1 g of saturated fat, and zero g of trans fat. Other than the sodium levels, these are pretty healthy snacks. The blueberry flavor was very tasty.

All in all, this was a very useful group of items. I am the most impressed with the ProFoot orthotics  (and have already purchased a second set of orthotics for my other pair of walking shoes). I also really like the Pedi-Rock.  The tampons were also a surprise hit.

I hope I get chosen to do more VoxBox reviews!


Trying out the Vitamin Shop Next Step

Among the goodies for review in the VoxBox I received from Influenster, was a Next Step Jaxx shaker and 3 shake mixes.

The Vitamin Shop Jaxx Shaker bottle and 3 Next Step Fit N' Full Shake mixes.

The Vitamin Shop Jaxx Shaker bottle and 3 Next Step Fit N’ Full Shake mixes.


The shakes are 140 calories and supposed to replace a meal.  The package touts that two of the key ingredients in the shake are fiber and Tonalin CLA, a dietary supplement that is supposed to reduce body fat.

Supplement Facts
Serving Size  1 PACKET
Servings Per Container   1
Amount Per
% Daily
Calories From Fat
Total Fat
5 Gm
Saturated Fat
1 Gm
0 Gm
35 Mg
260 Mg
260 Mg
Total Carbohydrate
13 Gm
Dietary Fiber
6 Gm
Soluble Fiber
5 Gm
Insoluble Fiber
1 Gm
1 Gm
Other Carbohydrate
5 Gm
14 Gm
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12
Pantothenic Acid

* Daily value not established

Other Ingredients:
Protein blend (whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, sodium caseinate), cocoa powder, gum arabic, sunflower oil, inulin (from chicory), maltodextrin, non fat milk, natural & artificial flavors, conjugated linoleic acid, vitamin mineral blend (sodium chloride, potassium citrate, calcium carbonate, sodium citrate, magnesium oxide,ascorbic acid, ferrous fumarate, sodium selenate, biotin, vitamin a palmitate, zinc oxide, coppe gluconate, d-calcium pantothenate, folic acid, pyridoxine hcl, riboflavin, thiaminehcl, sodium molybdate, cyanocobalamin, chromium chloride), xantham gum, cellulose fiber, stevia extract.

I tried all three of the shakes in my kit: Swiss Chocolate, French Vanilla and Fresh Berries. I mixed with cold water as directed.  The Jaxx shaker worked like a charm!  There were no lumpies in my shake. And I love the giant jack that does the magic — I will use the Jaxx shaker again and again!
The shakes were delicious and I am sure that if I had been able to stick to a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch and then a sensible dinner, I would lose weight.  However, I am a hungry girl and 140 calories (no matter how yummy) just did not do it for me… I was STARVING within 2 hours… and that bag of tortilla chips beckoned like never before… all the good effects of the extra fiber and tonalin CLA were nullified in just a few salty moments…
Perhaps these would be a good to use as a snack… they definitely did not work as meal replacements for me.

New VoxBox from Influenster

I got a package in the mail!  Squee!  From VoxBox!  All kinds of goodies to try!  All kinds of goodies to review!

What's in the VoxBox!

What’s in the VoxBox!

This box is geared towards an active lifestyle — and I’m already looking forward to trying the bath soak! (YES!), orthotics and meal replacement shakes!

Good times ahead!

Honey do… Honey Girl!

We went to Kailua Beach on Saturday and it wasn’t really a swim in the ocean kind of day…

Overcast, windy and cool -- not the best day for the beach

Overcast, windy and cool — not the best day for the beach

So we headed into town to see what was there… and found a Whole Foods.  Whole Foods is one of those stores that is my nemesis.  I can never spend less than $100 there.  But, there we were and so we shopped.

I looked for local beauty products and found several.

Native Hawaiian products scored at Whole Foods

Native Hawaiian products scored at Whole Foods

I am usually a fairly minimal fragrance person and like things clean and green.  Pikake has become my scent of passion over the past week. It just makes my nose happy.

Our neighbor's pikake bush

Our neighbor’s pikake bush

Our neighbors have a pikake bush and they are as fragrant as they are elegant.  The shower gel by Hawaiian Bath and Body captures that scent without being overly sweet.  And the Bungalow Glow lotion (in Seaside Pikake) by Bubble Shack Hawaii also has gotten that fragrance just right.  The shower gel cleans without being drying and the lotion makes my skin super soft and silky with no stickiness.

5starsFive stars for both products.  They were not cheap — but nothing here is.  However, they smell fabulous and work very well.

The next find was Honey Girl Organics.

The sampler kit, the facial wash and a few extra freebies from the skin care associate at Whole Foods.

The sampler kit, the facial wash and a few extra freebies from the skin care associate at Whole Foods.

This was the only line of Hawaiian-made skin care they carried.  The sales associate said she liked the toner, but the creams were too rich for her 20-year old skin.  However, she said her mother back in Oregon couldn’t get enough of the Night Cream.

Mom likes it.  That’s good enough for me.  Sold!

My skin has been breaking out around my chin for the past month or so.  I thought it was due to the super dry conditions in San Diego.  But it has gotten worse since we moved to the super humid and hot weather in Hawaii. The shift  has been a challenge for both my skin and my husbands… both of us have had increased numbers of break-outs.

Enter Honey Girl Organics.

Concentrated skin nutrition made with: raw honey, beeswax, propolis, bee pollen, royal jelly, blended with organic extra virgin olive oil and essential oils

CRUELTY FREE ABSOLUTELY NO: parabens, glycerin, fragrance, hormones, silicones, petroleum products, artificial preservatives, fillers, multisyllabic additives, unnatural additives

This line claims its products not only moisturize and condition the skin, but  that the honey, bee pollen and propolis are anti-inflammatory and help heal skin irritations and acne.

Their ingredients are simple: Hawaiian grown honey, beeswax, extra-virgin olive oil, bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis.  You could practically eat their products.

I got the Facial Cleanser and the Skincare Kit (body cream, face and eye cream, lip balm) and two free samples from the Sales Associate: Night Cream and Extra Sensitive Night Cream.

I am not usually one who spends money on cleansers since they just need to clean your skin and are rinsed off too fast to do anything else. But the ingredient list intrigued me and it’s the early part of the trip so I still have some cash, so I got it.

Ingredients: Purified water, organic extra virgin olive oil, Beeswax with pollen & propolis, Raw Pupukea Honey, and essential oils. Hive ingredients are harvested from our holistically managed beehives.

You need to shake the bottle before using because the ingredients tend to separate.  Just one pump gives the perfect amount to massage all over the face.  Then you take a wet washcloth and wipe away the cleanser and all your make-up and dirt.  I tried it, and it worked!  I usually remove my make-up first with a cleansing cloth (love the Up & Up ones from Target), and then cleanse my skin — and given that I am now wearing a ton of waterproof sunscreen under my bb cream and sunscreen powder, that will not change.  But I did try the single cleanse with this product and it DID remove all my make-up and leave my skin feeling soft and fabulous.

The night cream (and the extra sensitive night cream) is a fairly thick golden cream. I can see how the young salesgirl with oily skin might shy away from it.

Ingredients: Organic extra virgin olive oil, purified water, Beeswax with pollen & propolis, Raw Pupukea Honey, Royal Jelly, rose oil, other essential oils.

During the day, I use the Face and Eye Cream which absorbs quickly.  It’s not as effective an eye cream as other products, but it works very well as a facial moisturizer.

Ingredients: Organic extra virgin olive oil, purified water, Beeswax with pollen & propolis, Raw Pupukea Honey, oil of rose, Royal Jelly, Vitamin E, other essential oils.

I was a little skeptical of slathering such thick products on my breakouts, but I tried it.  The next morning, the inflammation had gone down significantly and by the end of the next day, the pimples were gone.  After 3 days of using Honey Girl products, I am happily without any breakouts! And my skin is soft, moisturized and glowing.


The prices are comparable to other mid-range products such as The Face Shop or Vichy.  Not cheap, but not ridiculously expensive either.  I know that when my trial sizes run out, I am heading back to Whole Foods to find the full sizes!


Friday Fitness… kicked in the patoot!


This was a great week for exercise!

I started walking 3 times a week with my neighbor on the next block over and we chat and do about 3 miles — and then I do another half mile before heading in to get ready for work.  It really makes the time go faster to have a walking friend!

And yesterday, I did another virtual race — this time for Full Medal Runs — the Giving Hands 10k to benefit victims in the Philippines of Tyfoon Haiyan and Tyfoon Yolanda.  I went to Lake Murray Park which has a nicely paved 10k route (with porta-pots for each mile marker!) and did the race in 1:53 — which considering I had 2 pitstops and a quick chat with a neighbor, is not a bad pace at all!

Warming up for the Giving Hands Virtual 10k

Warming up for the Giving Hands Virtual 10k

And normally, that would have been good enough for the day.  But no, I had also scheduled to meet with my new trainer, Preza Ford of 180 Fitness in Spring Valley (just over the hill from Lemon Grove). My challenge to him was to create a strength training routine that I can take with me that doesn’t involve extraneous or heavy equipment.  And his challenge to me:
resistance band exercises, push-ups and modified calisthenics!

WOW!  I was never pushed beyond my capabilities, but I definitely did more than I thought I was capable of!  But a few muscle groups are currently complaining … Preza’s coaching style is relaxed and friendly, but definitely not one to let me slide. And I appreciate that. My butt does not (right now)…

Happy New Year! Welcome 2014!

Happy New Year 2014 replace 2013 concept on the sea beachWishing you a fantastic New Year filled with light and joy!

2013 was a great year and I am so grateful that you were a part of it! I didn’t accomplish all of my goals, but I also achieved many things that I didn’t anticipate in January.  In the end, the balance is tipped in favor of the positive. The goals that I didn’t accomplish will be re-evaluated and if valid, tweaked to make them more easy to reach.

I am looking forward to an exciting 2014. I am leaving my day job to go on sabbatical with my husband for 3 months — which means I am leaving my financial security blanket behind.  It also means leaving behind time constraints that prevented me from taking a few excellent gigs. And I am gaining time to focus on honing old skills and learning new ones — which will make me a better artist and blogger.

You can bet that I will share my adventures and discoveries with you!

So there they are:


1. Stop sweating the small stuff.
It doesn’t matter if the in-laws have a different feeding schedule for the cats or don’t scoop the box as often as I do; as long as they are fed and happy, I will be happy.  It doesn’t matter if the housing issue doesn’t resolve itself on my schedule; as long as I continue to look and make inquiries, we will find our good-enough sabbatical home. It doesn’t matter if I can only do 10 minutes of strength training, some is better than none and the results accumulate.

2. Take at least 3 continuing education courses outside of sabbatical this year.
I think one key to avoiding burnout is to keep learning new things. Last year I got over-busy and neglected to fill the pot with new ideas until I was good and exhausted.

3. Stay hydrated.
Water helps maintain a stable body temperature, remove wastes and lubricate joints. Hydration is essential for good health. But it’s really easy for me to forget drinking enough when I’m in the midst of working.  I tend to zone out and focus entirely on what I am drawing… and when the clients are back-to-back for hours on end, I am a very thirsty puppy when the line ends!  This year I aim to get a little timer to remind me during gigs to take a sip or two.  I always have a water bottle with me, but remembering to drink is another story.

4. Eat more vegetables.
Last year my goal was to eat more salads and when that didn’t happen, I was a failure.  This year, I don’t care how I get more vegetables into my diet, I’m just going to go for at least 4 servings a day (2 at lunch and 2 at dinner).  I allow myself to put them into smoothies, mix them in casseroles and stir-fries and sneak them in any way I can. They can be fresh, frozen, freeze-dried or cooked. I have a sweet tooth so eating fruit is no problem… and last year I discovered that I liked eating frozen cherries just as much I liked eating cherry ice cream, so I ditched the ice cream and just ate cherries — a positive outcome that wasn’t on my goal list…

5. Get consistent with strength training.
Last year I got consistent with walking.  And I tried to introduce strength training by going to a gym with a trainer… but as soon as the holidays and bad weather arrived, my best intentions dissolved.  This year I will get onto a regular strength training schedule early in the year so it becomes a habit — and I’ll work with a trainer as well to make sure I learn how to do the exercises properly.  The last thing I want is to injure myself by doing something with sloppy form… that fear of injury may have contributed to my reluctance  to practice on my own.  The other constraining thought in my head that stopped me was ALL or NOTHING… if I couldn’t do the entire routine, it wasn’t worth it.  But in reality, even 5 minutes is useful.

6. Walk at least 1 half marathon.
This one will be fairly easy since I have already registered for one in April.  I plan to train sensibly and continue walking long distances — which I discovered I really enjoyed last year.  A mix of real and virtual runs will keep me motivated to keep pushing.

7. Carry lotion in my purse and apply it after washing my hands.Last year I wanted to take care of my hands, but the goal was sufficiently vague that I ended up forgetting about it. By simplifying the goal to a concrete action, I think I will be more likely to follow through consistently.

8. Use clothing as sunscreen for times of long sun exposure.Last year I continued my good habit of daily sunscreen, but I could step things up a notch by making use of sun protective clothing — light long-sleeved shirts, jackets, hats, etc. This will be especially important while snorkelling because 1) it’s difficult to cover all exposed areas with sunscreen and 2) many sunscreens wash off in the water and harm the reef.

9. Be gentle with my skin.
I need to stop man-handling breakouts with benzoyl peroxide, over-cleansing and extractions.  Although I have experienced how treating my skin gently with hypo-allergenic products during times of irritation has calmed things down, my impulse is still to pile on the harsh products to beat the breakout into submission. This year will unlearn that habit and replace it with kinder, softer treatments.

10. Lose 25 more pounds.
I lost 25 lbs in 2013 (OK, I’ve gained back a few at this moment).  25 more will bring me to my goal weight of 140lbs.  I will continue using MyFitnessPal and my Fitbit One as motivators.  My diet and exercise routine have gone on vacation right now (I’m visiting in-laws and eating is what we do… pizza deliveries, eating out at least once a day with a different relative, and all the holiday feasting.  Having Tennessee praline pecans on the living room table doesn’t help, either…)… but the rest of the year will be healthier. More exercise, more vegetables, less fast food.  I am looking forward to being stronger, leaner, and more energetic than I was in my 40s… I know it can be done.

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?  What are some of your goals for 2014?