Thursday, September 27, 2012

Put Your Best Face Forward


Your face, it's the first thing you see when you look in the mirror every morning and the first thing others see when they look at you.  When your skin is clear and glowing, it instantly makes you a happier and more confident person. Not to say that you are vain, but it's true, and it's ok.  Fact is, that if you look and feel healthy, you exude a confidence that is contagious.  That smile that you will carry around with you will inspire others to smile and will make them view you in a pleasant way.  So embrace the power of your face and treat it right, morning and night.

  Being the daughter of a  dermatologist, skincare has been integrated in my life for as long as I can remember.  Whether it was fighting the sun, acne, or aging, I have always been aware of the latest and greatest products available.  One thing that is for sure, is that no matter what your issue may be, there is always a solution. The best part is that you don't have to spend a fortune to make it happen! Below I'm providing you with a list of budget friendly options for acne prone, aging, and sensitive skin.

 Acne Prone: Have no fear you will be clear

BEYOND CLEAR is a great new line for acne prone skin.  Actually it is what I have been personally using for about 6 months now.  Although my acne has never been that bad, I was still victim to the occasional frustrating break out.  Being a makeup artist, I was lucky that I could cover it up, but now I don't have to! My skin is looking and feeling fantastic. This is a 3 step system that is easy and effective.  
Step 1 is called Pure, which is a purifying cleanser that clears and prevents breakouts. It has Salicylic Acid and fruit enzymes that unclog pores and regulate cell turnover, and glycerin which strengthens the skin's moisture barrier. It makes your skin fresh and clean without feeling overly tight and stripped of moisture.
Step 2 is called Clear, which is a foam delivery system that has a super potent 4.25% benzoyl peroxide to eliminate that nasty bacteria that causes acne. It being a foam actually eliminates the irritation that is commonly associated with benzoyl peroxide.  Also the anti-inflammatory ingredients like aloe, comfrey and chamomile strengthen the moisture barrier and create a soothing effect.  You only need to apply a small amount of this, a little goes a long way with the foam.  
Step 3 is called Healthy, I am obsessed with how this feels on my face. This antioxidant, nutrient rich serum repairs and strengthens, reduces pore size, evens skin tone, and reveals a brighter more refined complexion. It contains Retinol which regulates cell turnover, Niacinamide which exfoliates and targets acne and a unique blend of fruit seed extracts to provide the antioxidant protection power and nutrients to promote healthier skin all together. 

What makes me so excited about this product is that even though it is marketed as an anti acne solution, it can work for all skin types.  For someone like me who is dealing with a combination of somewhat sensitive skin, occasional breakouts and in need of anti aging, this comes in as a big winner.  Since they have blended in so many soothing and moisturizing properties you get the clearing benefits without stripping your skin which would be horrible for both aging and sensitive skin. To top it off it happens to be very affordable.  You can get the whole system for $29.95, learn more at: 

Aging: Make it right and keep it tight

One company that understands and meets their client's demand to have youthful & beautiful skin is OLAY. They are in a class by themselves when in comes to making truly effective skincare affordable and accessible.  Two lines by them that I highly recommend are OLAY REGENERIST and OLAY PRO X.  They have had the best of the best in doctors and scientists working on these products, making sure that they perform as promised.  Using many of the same ingredients that their much pricier competitors offer, they respect the average consumers needs and provide top of the line products for the babe on a budget.

A great way to get started with their Pro X Anti Aging line is with this Starter Kit :

In addition to that kit you may want to get their Advanced Cleansing System which will accelerate  your results by stimulating and exfoliating your skin to properly prepare it for the the treatments you apply next. 

I use and absolutely LOVE this Advanced Cleansing System tool! You may recognize that it resembles a tool that Clarisonic offers for around $200. But why would you spend that when you can get this one for $25?! (prices may slightly vary depending on retailer) 

As for the Regenerist line, there are tons of products to choose from, you can learn more here:

But one new product that they came out with that I'm particularly excited about is the Regenerist Micro Sculpting Serum, it's fragrance free and the super concentrated amino-peptite + B3 complex penetrates the skin to deliver firmer skin within 5 days! 

Sensitive Skin: Find your power delicate flower

Sensitive skin can be a very frustrating dilemma, it can seem like absolutely everything either makes your skin red or sting or itch or break out. Thankfully the people at LA ROCHE POSAY have seen this problem and decided to do something about it.  They have put together a Sensitive Skin product line that provides a product for every need. Whether you need to cleanse, tone, soothe, correct, moisturize, or protect, they have you covered with a gentle solution.
To give you an idea of how gentle, The Physiological Cleansing Gel uses a cleansing ingredient called Poloxamer, which is so mild that it is actually used in contact lens solutions. Yet it still effectively removes impurities while keeping the skin's natural balance of hydration. You can access and learn more about these products here:

Although the Posay products are quite reasonable, it may be more of an investment than some of you are ready to make. So in that case I recommend a drugstore brand called YES TO CUCUMBERS! This is a full line of sensitive skin friendly products at a very affordable price point.  My absolute favorite product from them is their cleansing wipes, I use them daily to take of my makeup and my clients makeup.  It's really the only wipe I have come across that really gets everything off and doesn't sting around my eyes.  Learn more and access the line here:

Protect & Respect

Lastly I want to make sure that absolutely each and every one of you knows to protect your skin every day from the suns harmful rays! If you don't you are disrespecting yourself and doing more harm to your body than you can imagine.  With all the knowledge and endless options for sun protection now there is no excuse! It doesn't matter what your skin type is or if you're going to be outside all day, you still are exposed even when you are in the car.  The only time you should be without suncreen is when that sun goes down... all the way down.  If you are young and you start this simple habit now you will be thanking me later. If you are fair, learn to embrace your porcelain beauty, you would be surprised how many people are envious of your snow white glow. But if you still love the look of a tan, get a bronzer! I  get it, I live in Miami, I have more self tanning products, bronzing powders and lotions than one person ever should, but underneath all that my skin is staying healthy and strong.  So show your skin a little respect, and don't forget to protect!

Personal Favorite Sun Protection Options:

Suntegrity Skincare: All natural, great for sensitive skin

La Roche Posay: The Anthelios line as the best overall protection from the sun. They also offer light weight formulas that are good for acne prone/ oily skin.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pretty Sweaty

   The road to pretty isn't just about powder puffs and lip gloss. Although, I sure wish it was that easy! Recently I've sort of had a fitness awakening,  and wanted to share what it was that got me here.

    I have been aware of my physical fitness since a very young age, always active with horse riding and tennis after school. Then in high school and college I took to weight training in the gym. I got bored with it and it always seemed like a chore so I gave up for a while. That lead to a quick freshman 15 and ever since I have been on a constant mission to find a routine that works for my lifestyle. I've tried just about everything from running, to spinning, yoga, pilates, gyrotonics, and even pole fitness! So as you can see I love trying new and fun ways to break a sweat and tone up.  But with all this bouncing around (so to speak) from one thing to another I never really fully committed myself to a really good balanced routine.  Whether I blame my hectic and inconsistent work schedule, the toll that the memberships were taking on my bank account, or my mild case of ADD, there was always something in the way of keeping a consistent effective routine.  That is until now....

  It all started one lazy sunday morning when a screaming voice on an infomercial woke me out of my mid morning nap, "Dig Deeper!! Come on Y'all!" Little did I realize that I would soon be hearing those words daily for the next two months.  It was the voice of Shaun T, the energizer bunny of celebrity trainers. The man behind the at home workout that has inspired 100's of thousands to dig deep and get in the best shape of their lives, "INSANITY".  

   My husband and I watched the crazy people jumping up and down, drowning in sweat and laughed... "that looks crazy... we should do it... haha.. ya right.." But then something in me said, why not? We are young and healthy and should be in the best shape of our lives. We were both thin by society's standards, and looked good enough in our clothes, so it was easy to brush it off and not care about being in shape.  But I hated being out of breath after running up stairs or struggling to lift my always over weight suitcases.  Next thing I knew I was online at and I impulsively ordered the program!

    I never really thought about at home workout videos before,  I didn't think that I would be able to stay motivated without other people around to answer to.  But I think that changing that one thing in my mind is what has made the most difference.  Fitness isn't about answering to anyone else. It's all about you, and once you have set your personal goals, you only have to answer to yourself. If you give up or don't push yourself hard, then you're only cheating yourself.

Here is a picture of my before on day 1... and then my progress after 1 month (day 30):

   I am now on DAY 53 out of the 63 days of INSANITY! I am feeling strong and motivated and it is definitely starting to show.  More than the change on my exterior, I am thrilled with the change in my mental approach to health and fitness.  I now eat to fuel my body, I crave healthy balanced meals that will make my next workout better than the last.  I am more aware and in touch with my body than ever before.  I am positive now that even when I reach day 63 and complete this program that it will not end there.  I am now addicted to feeling this way and will continue these videos along with possibly trying some other programs. It is now a part of my daily life and I hope to inspire others to make it part of theirs as well.  I decided to write about this just to share my latest ' favorite beauty trick.'  It's not a quick fix, but it is effective... and I promise you that if you commit to something like this you will be more radiant and have a glow that not even my trusty Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick can provide!!

 From here on out I will post more about my progress and fitness and diet tips and tricks, because as we all know but sometimes forget, true beauty starts from within! i said before... the road to pretty is more than powder puffs and gloss... when you're face is bright red and sweat is dripping off your nose you may feel more beautiful than ever. :) 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Long Hair Don't Care

The fact of the matter is, Long Hair needs a lot of care! I have a long history of abusing my hair in just about every way possible, yet I have always expected it to grow long and luscious.  Needless to say that wasn't going to happen without some serious tender loving care. After many trials and tribulations I have found some great tricks and tips that have my hair growing longer and healthier than ever. So I thought I'd share with all of you.

Lets start at the root of it... SCALP HEALTH:

Your scalp health is essential to grow a magnificent mane.  My suggestion is to use a Head & Shoulders shampoo for a deep clean and scalp treatment.  Even if you don't have dandruff or scalp issues, it is a fabulous way to maintain scalp health, which will help stimulate hair growth and prevent any future scalp issues.  I had the chance to speak to the actual scientists that are behind the scenes at P&G and they suggest that everyone use the shampoo and conditioner at least twice a week.  The active ingredient Pyrithione Zinc (PTZ) is the key to the effectiveness,  it is in every formula of Head & Shoulders. There are many options to chose from, some fight frizz, some volumize, but all of them will give you that great deep clean that your scalp needs to produce healthy shiny locks. An extra bonus is that they smell fantastic too, whenever I use it I get compliments on how fresh my hair smells!

If you have a very dry scalp and are looking for additional treatment to add on after you wash, try out Rene Furterer Intense Nutrition Oil for very dry scalp and hair.


Every girl with long hair or chemically treated hair must indulge their hair in a deep conditioning treatment at least once a week. Depending on how damaged your hair is will depend on how often you need to treat it.  I do a deep treatment once a week but always leave my regular conditioner on extra long while showering to get the maximum effect from it. When I do my deep conditioning I like to leave it in for as long as possible. But since time is often limited, I try to kill to birds with one stone and do it while I work out. I just slather it on, put it back in a braid then when I'm all done I just rinse it out in the shower.
Here are the treatments that I recommend.  My trusty hair color expert/ friend Shakira Silverman suggested some of these and I have come across some with my own research.

Kerastase Chronologiste Caviar Treatment 
This one comes with a hefty price tag, $145 for 10 treatments worth. But it has been known to heal even the most damaged locks; one stylist I spoke to said that if you use this on a regular basis you never have to get a trim.

Oribe Signature Moisture Masque
This one is $59 for a nice sized jar. 
 It can be used daily if you have thick hair or weekly as a treatment for everyone else.

Davines Nourishing Miracle Treatments

These Davines products are a great options for those of you that prefer something natural. The Keratin Miracle is fantastic but difficult to find for home use, it comes in a giant bottle that is meant for salons. So I suggest finding a salon near you that offers this treatment. The Vegetarian Miracle is a great one for at home, it is also the most affordable of the bunch, I found it HERE for $25.09


All this work will be for nothing if you just tear into your hair with improper brushing.  So I suggest using a detangler and quality brushes.  After you shower and towel dry your hair (blot don't rub), you will want to spritz a detangler in your hair before you comb it out. My personal favorite is:
This guy is pretty self explanatory in that it detangles your hair in 7 seconds. But it doesn't stop there, it also acts as a UV and Thermal protector. It's also great for color treated hair, it locks in your color and protects it from fading.

After you have spritzed, you should use the best comb & brush money can buy. These brushes have been around forever and are a staple in the kits of top stylists globally.

Buy Them Here At Barneys

The comb is best for detangling wet hair, the detangling brush (white one) is best for detangling dry hair, and the popular mixture brush is best for smoothing out dry hair.  It's also great for evenly distributing the oils from your scalp to your ends which is another important technique to maintaining long hair health.

Well there you go, I hope you are treat that lovely mane of yours with the respect it deserves.  Trust me it will be worth the trouble and investment and everyone will take notice of your shiny smooth tresses. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Baby You're A Firework

Baby You're A Firework

Baby You're A Firework by ashleymia 

I don't know about you, but I love any chance to get dressed up, especially for a holiday.  By dressed up I don't mean fancy necessarily, althought I love that too.... But I mean putting together a fun outfit with a purpose or theme. The trick to pulling this off is to avoid going cheezy and predictable. No oversize t shirts that say Happy 4th! with a giant flag on the back... To start it's best to choose a style that you like and will be suitable for whatever activity you'll be partaking in.  If you look at the collage above you'll see that you can be patriotic no matter what style you lean towards.  To the left is a more preppy look and to the right is more of a western or bohemian feel.  If all else fails and you like to keep things simple, just rock a white sundress or a white t and cutoffs, add some red lips and you're good to go! 

Happy 4th of July Everyone! 
Be Safe & Be Pretty ;-)  xo

Sunday, April 29, 2012

DIY Printed Cut-Offs

Repurpose an old pair of jeans and get a great addition to your Spring/Summer wardrobe!

So I came across an old pair of jeans that from high school that were a horribly unflattering cut, so I decided to make them into shorts.  I have done this with quite a few oldies and have plenty of plain jean cut-offs so this time I wanted to do something a little different.  With printed denim being all the rage this season I figured I would try a little experiment to make a print of my own.  I have to say I was pretty pleased with my results!  The process was quick and easy and made for a perfect project for a rainy sunday afternoon.  

What You'll Need:
Plastic Gloves
Plastic Cup
Paint Brush
Water Source
Washer & Dryer

*Cut the jeans to the desired length, keep in mind that after you wash them the fray will rise and they will shorten a little bit.

*Draw the desired pattern onto the shorts lightly with a pen (optional). If you need ideas for patterns, google tribal patterns or printed denim and you will find plenty of inspiration.  

* Choose a place to set up your bleaching station. You'll need a flat surface that is near a water source. I used a bath tub, you could also do it near a sink or outside by a hose just lay out a garbage bag under the shorts to protect the surface.  

*  Wet the shorts so that they are damp not soaked, Put on the gloves, and pour the bleach into the plastic cup.

*Dip the paint brush into the bleach and begin to paint on your pattern.  If you are working with a thin denim you may want to keep a plastic bag inside the shorts to prevent the bleach from bleeding through to the other side.  

*Your pattern will start to show in a few minutes and will keep lightening the longer it is left on. Go back over any areas that don't get as light as you wanted.

*Once you have finished both sides and it has lightened to your liking, rinse off the shorts in the water.

*Now all you have to do is wash, dry and wear! 
(probably best to wash them solo the first time so that any extra bleach doesn't get on other items)

Have fun and wear them well! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Birch Box, a Beauty Addict Must!

If you are a product addict like me then Birch Box is for you! You can visit their site to shop for the latest and greatest in beauty and to view how-to articles and videos. But the best part is that you can sign up for their monthly Birch Box for $10 a month.  It's an adorable little box that is full of handpicked samples, sometimes even full sized products! I always look forward to it's arrival each month and fall in love with a new product every time.  Check it out for yourself at

Here's a pic of a few favorites that came in the last two boxes: