Products I'm Loving :: Skin Care

I've been sick the last few days and while I feel absolutely mis.er.a.ble. I must say, my skin has been looking surprisingly clear since I've been sans makeup for about 4 days.  So while I sat on the couch constantly blowing my nose and trying to breathe, I decided to share some of the products I'm currently loving in the skin care department.  

I don't know how you go about buying your skin care products but before I go out spending any kind money on something new, I always scour the web for reviews. Surely I'm not the only one.  There's nothing worse than buying a new tube of mascara only to try it out and find that it is absolutely terrible. Right? Then you are either stuck with crazy looking eye lashes until the tube is empty, or you have to convince yourself it's OK to just throw it away (bye bye $10).

So if any of you have been pondering buying new skin care products, here a few that I have been using lately and what I think.

1. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cream 2. Clearasil Rapid Action Treatment Cream
3. Mario Badescu Ceramid Eye Gel 4. Mario Badescu Glycolic Eye Cream 5. St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub
6. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cleanser

1. Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish cream.  I don't know what it was about turning 26, but as soon as my birthday came last year I felt like my skin immediately changed.  Before then my skin was pretty low maintenance, maybe a pimple here and there and that was about it. Now... now my skin freaks out at every chance it gets so for the last year I have tried anything and everything to get it under control and so far, this is the only face lotion I have liked.  I definitely have combo skin; dry/normal except in the t-zone. Everything I've used in the past has either completely dried out my skin or left it super oily and gross by the end of the day.  This face lotion actually helps keep the oil under control but also helps in with the dryness (a.k.a. anti-wrinkle department) as well.  I'm still getting a few breakouts here and there, but nothing like it was before, so it's a win in my book.

2. Clearasil's Rapid Action Treatment Cream.  I use this at night for any pesky pimples and it really helps to dry them out quickly.  I can only use it once a day, if I use it too much it really dries out the skin around it. Ever since I stopped taking birth control last year, I feel like I am constantly breaking out around my chin and forehead .. anyone else? This is new territory for me and for the cheap price, I think this stuff works pretty well.

3. & 4. Mario Badescu Ceramide and Glycolic Eye Creams. I <3 Mario Badescu.  The skin around my eyes is dry and super sensitive to the point that I can't even put normal face lotion on it. It can also get really dark if I'm tired, low on iron, or just because it feels like it (all thanks to my Irish and Italian genes). These eye creams are my favorite.  Not only are his products amazing, but the price is fab too. His eye creams are around $18 for a pretty descent sized container that lasts me months. I've tried a number of his eye products but the two I have listed are my top favorites for what I need. The Ceramide eye cream helps with puffiness and moisture, I keep it in the fridge and use it in the morning. It gives me enough moisture for the day without any grease.  The Glycolic eye cream helps reduce darkness under the eyes and exfoliate skin cells to help reduce the look of fine lines. I typically use it at night but have used it under make up before if my skin is particularly dry that day.

5. St. Ives Apricot Scrub.  I've been using this stuff for years on my arms when I shower. I have Keratosis Pilaris which basically means the hair follicles don't exfoliate well on their own and so keratin can build up in them causes small bumps on my arms and legs. The key to keeping that from happening is exfoliating on a regular basis and moisturizing first thing out of the shower.  This scrub has been the best for keeping my KP under control and has been gentle enough on my skin that I can use it everyday.

6. Neutrogena Healthy Skin cleanser. I mentioned earlier that I used to have really low maintenance skin. I used the same face lotion since I was like 10 and a bar of dove soap. Seriously.  A lot of cleansers would either really dry out my skin or would make it feel too oily.  I'm almost out of my first container of Neutrogena's Healthy Skin anti-wrinkle anti-blemish cleanser and I am really considering buying it again.  It didn't dry out my face or make it feel greasy and I felt like it helped keep breakouts under control too. I bought it on Amazon which is where I also bought the face lotion but I'm hoping I'll be able to find it in a store near by.  The face lotion I've only been able to find online.

Are there any skin care products you use or have tried lately that your loving?? I'd love to hear!


Friday's Letters

Dear Katie, I loved getting to help shower you with gifts and well wishes for your sweet little peanut that is coming NEXT MONTH. I feel like time has flown by and that you should only be like 3 months pregnant, not 8... We are SO EXCITED to meet your little one in March!! AH!

Dear Laura,  I am so happy I got to see you this weekend and celebrate your birthday sweet friend!  I am thankful for weekends like these and I'm sure Veda Jane is thankful too for her mom letting her eat icing cake all weekend. #coolestmomever
Oh, and you live too far away so...let's fix that?

Dear Bobby, I hope you like the spot you have in every.single.letter. I'm thankful that this week I'm sharing my excitement about our post-work-Friday-afternoon-mini-date we're about to meet up for and not my sadness about you being sick.

Dear Wilco YL Leaders,  I hope to see all of you tonight at our first ever worship night. What could be better than group of amazing YL leaders all coming together to worship and praise our Creator? Wait until you see the list of songs. It's going to rock your socks off.

And as always, TGIF! Goodness it's been a LONG week!



Healthy Lunching :: A Simple Spinach & Quinoa Salad

This is a super easy lunch to make that honestly could last you all week if you keep the dressing separate until you are ready to eat.  Adding a different side with it each day (like yogurt or a piece of fruit) helps me to break up the monotony of having the same dish five days in a row.

If I don't prepare it ahead of time, lunch is a mess because of how rushed I am in the morning (not a morning person at all). Did I emphasize that enough?  Anyway, I can't eat too heavy at work either or I literally can't keep my eyes open so easy salads like this are key for me to eat a well rounded meal at lunch that is light enough to keep me awake, yet dense enough to get me through my workout when I get home.

As I mentioned, I usually make enough for an entire weeks worth but the recipe below will only yield enough for just one salad.  If you would like to make more, you will need to increase your ingredients and if that confuses you... feel free to email me and I can help you out (happens to me all the time). :)


1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups of raw spinach
1/4 cup of canned white beans, rinsed (I used cannelloni but you can use navy beans or whatever you have on hand that you like)
1/2 of an avocado
1/2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP lemon juice
salt & pepper (to taste)

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions (1 cup uncooked makes about 4 cups cooked which would give you eight 1/2 cup servings).  You can refrigerate the remaining quinoa or adjust the amount of water you use to only cook enough for the salad. 
  2. Dice half of an avocado (wrap up the other half with a little bit of lemon juice on it to prevent it from browning).
  3. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper for dressing. 
  4. Combine the quinoa, spinach, white beans, and avocado (let the quinoa completely cool before mixing all the ingredients if you are looking for a cold salad, if not, your spinach will wilt a little from the heat). 
  5. Mix in the dressing. 
  6. Enjoy!

**A brief side note on serving sizes and how I came up with the measurements:

1/2 a cup of a cooked grain (like quinoa) equals a serving, so you can use your judgement on how much you want to add to your salad. I make everything separate and then combine portions of each to make an individual salad.

2 cups of raw leafy vegetables (like spinach or lettuce) equal 1 serving of vegetables.

1/4 cup of cooked beans equals a serving of protein.

This dish is a little on the heavier side for healthy fats due to the avocado and olive oil, so I usually just make sure the rest of my day balances it out.

331 calories via myfitnesspal.com


Friday's Letters

Dear blog, you sure do clean up nicely. I am smitten with your new design and can't thank Moe enough for creating it for me!

Dear yoga students,  I thoroughly enjoyed kicking your butt (in a positive way) with my yoga blocks and straps that finally came in this week.  You are rock stars.

Dear kitchen, you and I had an impromptu organizing/cleaning session on Tuesday night that kept me from doing about a thousand other things on my to-do list. OCD at it's finest. 3 hours later...SO worth it.

Dear YL Campaigners group,  This may have been my favorite night yet. God is GOOD.  The Holy Spirit was doing major work in our group that night and I am so thankful and so encouraged.  We had amazing conversations surrounding Andy Stanley's "Simple" series about what it means to take that first step in Jesus' invitation to simply "Follow me".  I will keep praying that God continues to show you to what it looks like to follow Him through the dark hallways of high school. You girls are amazing.
Dear love, you have had the flu all week and I am so thankful you are on the up and up today. Although I was extremely productive this week because you weren't there to distract me like usual (which I love), I've missed you. It's just no fun when you're sick.

Dear jewelry store in Atlanta that shall remain nameless, shame on you for taking advantage of young (and somewhat naive) couples like us and selling us a faulty (engagement) ring and then trying to blame this mess on my "taste". I could start my own diamond collection with the number of stones that have fallen out of this "one of a kind" ring you created and I'm pretty sure other people I know with similar "tastes" don't have this issue.  You used to be a major source of frustration for us but now we just expect it and chalk it up as a life lesson.  This is not normal. #majorfail  #justgivemeagoldbandandwe'llcallitaday

Dear Laura and Veda Jane, is it true we haven't seen each other since summer? That is ridiculous.  I am so excited to spend the weekend with you guys showering Katie and baby Painter. I love weekends like these!

Dear snow, I'd appreciate it if the next time you come to town you would also cover the roads so I can stay snuggled up in my warm home instead of freezing my buns off outside at 6am defrosting and desnowing my car. #thanksfornothin'

Happy February friends (I still can't believe it!) and TGIF!

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