Travel Safe This Summer (and always)! 

After having a discussion with my husband about air travel (I’ve traveled my entire 36 years – learned some things), I feel there’s a few “tips” I should share for you summer travelers! 

1. Stretch often. Car, train or plane, get up (or out) and move some. Even a few hours being stationary in/on a vehicle, can contribute to PE (pulmonary embolism) or DVT (deep vein thrombosis). As a BPE (bilateral pulmonary emboli survivor, this is a big deal!). 
2. When flying, don’t panic! Turbulence happens. Unless you see the flight attendants start to panic, stay calm. It’s normal. 
3. Check FTA advisories daily. They change often. As of my recent knowledge, <3oz liquid, nothing sharp (tweezers, scissors, etc.) can be carry on and random tickets can get you a full body search. Ditch bras with metal, avoid belts and wear shoes you can get in and out of in less than 30 seconds. 
4. Get the travel insurance! Not only does it cover loss of property, but most cover medical and if a flight is overbooked/re-scheduled, you get first priority. It’s an extra $50 well spent. 
5. Rent a car early! We use Enterprise Rent-A-Car and have had fabulous luck. But, the longer you wait, the less likely to get the vehicle you desire. 

6. Invest in a real, paper atlas. It can help you avoid tolls and come in handy when phones are out of service. 
7. Pack snacks! I travel (alone) often – and usually with Monster Energy and a prayer. But, things like a cooler, ice, chips, healthy alternatives (remember, different locals may have better produce and unique treats), and water! Not only for drinking, but if a radiator overheats. 
8. Look into AAA services or roadside services provided by the rental company. 
9. Don’t eat what you can have at home. As the saying goes, “When in Rome…”.
10. Pack emergency supplies. Basics. Band aids, topical ointments, things like nail files (in a pinch, a matchbook will work as a file and vise versa), maxi pads (not only for “lady issues”, but large wounds), etc. 

11. Make a list. Start as soon as you plan to travel. I keep mine on my phone – I check off what I’ve packed and can add as needed. 
12. Tell 2-3 family or friends your itinerary. And, if you’re like me and keep your GPS and privacy settings off, turn them on. Worst case, it may help find you in a terrible event. Example, I have an iPhone. I know those who know I’m traveling can call iPhone and have me “tracked”. 
13. Take sample size makeup and skin care. Hotel products don’t always do us any favors (however, if you DO like the products provided by the hotel, grab them when you go. Hotels have to trash them after each guest). Check my AWESOME rep for Perfectly Posh, The Pampered Mom – Kristen Matzke, for sample packs for hair, skin and more! She’s amazing and with a quick survey, can nail your skin and hair care needs! Personally, MOISTURIZE 911 is the best (possibly the best thing of all time!)!

Also, check Sally Beauty, drug and big box stores for travel size products and/or containers for your fave products. 
14. Minimize your makeup! Invest in a BB or CC cream, a good mascara and a fabulous red lipstick (I love Femme Coture’s ‘Shanghai Red’ – an easy to wear red on all skin tones – check eBay since it’s been discontinued). Loreal has some flattering reds or try one of LipsMak – Independent SeneGence/LipSense Distributor gorgeous shades. A blush and bronzer pallet is a nice addition as well. NARS Cosmetics Orgasm is also flattering to all skin tones and they do a blush/bronzer combo in one slim, sleek compact. Remember, especially if you’re on vacation, a 27 step contouring routine is unnecessary and, well…stupid. 
15. Keep hydrated! Travel, especially during hot summer months, takes a toll. Find a good bottled water in case your destination doesn’t have palatable drinking water. A small (remember, under 3oz I believe for air travel) spray bottle with water, especially rose or lavender water, can be a refreshing boost for parched skin, too. Tuck it in a purse or carry on. 

16. Make a list of medications and dosage, health issues and allergies and tuck it in your wallet. You can also download apps for your phone, but if you lock your phone (as you should) and are traveling alone, emergency responders will go for your wallet. Keep prescription medications in their original bottles, with the original label, especially if you take anything that’s federally regulated (like narcotics or even anxiety medication). 
17. Think small! Grab a travel sewing kit and pack it in case you need to fix a hem, reattach a button or conceal a low cut blouse temporarily. Also handy if you have little ones and Mr. Bear loses an eye or suffers an unfortunate tear. Tuck a couple extra earring backs (Walmart has them in gazillion packs), safety pins and a small tube of nail/super glue in it, too (basically the same thing and can be useful for more than just a broken/lifting nail).
18. Be smart! Especially traveling alone. Trust your gut – if you feel you’re being followed, assume you are. Don’t stop at isolated rest areas at night. Keep your doors locked (and a spare set of keys with you). And, by NO MEANS are you obligated to give personal or any other information, even small talk, to the person sharing your arm rest. You don’t have to be rude! But, you don’t have to be overly polite, either. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and that includes not over indulging in adult beverages or over medicating; both of which can put you in a dangerous position. 
19. Four things you should have at all times – 

  1. Your phone

  2. Keys (car/hotel)

  3. Identification 

  4. Cash

Remember, a hotel key or credit card can be “erased” if it comes in contact with your phone. Don’t “flash” cash or carry large amounts. Keep cash in a safe spot (look online – you can find ankle wallets and other nifty stuff if you’re not blessed with boobs to hide cash in), keep smaller bills “on top”, keep cash on the front of your body (men tend to keep their wallet in a back pocket – move it up front, especially if you’re traveling in an area you’re unfamiliar with and/or with lots of people/large crowds) and a “Mugger’s $20” is always a handy idea. 
  ~~MUGGER’S $20 ~~

Keep roughly $20, in small bills in your front, non dominant pocket (if your wallet is in the right, then put your Mugger’s $20 in the left) or purse (avoid large purses with long, thin straps – invest in a cool, new clutch or smaller handbag that can be worn cross-body). In the unfortunate event you’re mugged, or threatened, throw the Mugger’s $20 as far from you as possible, in the opposite direction and run. Most muggers will be interested in the cash and focused on finding and collecting it, allowing you time to flee the situation. 
20. Have a great playlist ahead of time. In the car, you may find yourself out of range of radio stations (or music you like). And, on a plane, it’s a great way to avoid unwanted conversations. Just make sure you keep the volume at a level that allows you to remain alert to emergency notifications or undesirable situations around you.

Bon Voyage! 

*Photos: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, personal 
**Links to individual product representatives are Facebook specific. 


Perfection IS Perfectly Posh! 

I know I’ve done some reviews about Perfectly Posh – mostly about their facial skin care (for example, this one) and I’m still raving about this amazing bevy of beauty foundation fabulousness! 

Skin care is the essential foundation to great skin, but Perfectly Posh is so much more than just skin care. It’s whole body care; with hair, foot and nail products, too! 



My fabulous Posh representative, Kristen, sent me this little goodie package, including their new pedicure system. 

The sample pedicure system – matches made in heaven! Basic instructions were also included.

(We’ll get to the other goodies in a moment.)

The pedicure system includes:

  • All Mixed Up Bath Salts 
  • Rio Rumble Salt Scrub
  • Schwanky & Soft Moisturizing Lotion 

From the hip, beautifully packaged products to the little bits of heaven inside, Posh is perfect! 

This kind of simply gorgeous packaging makes my heart swoon!

Back to this pedicure system…

What can I say? It’s fantastic! 

Start with a 10-15 minute salt soak, which alone is wicked relaxing. My husband did an amazing mini pedi for me, to help me relax, and being a cosmetologist was a refreshing change of pace. 

(Don’t mind my unshaven legs – we’re moving and it’s been low priority)

Then, we patted dry (not super dry, just so no dripping since I got my pedi in bed while I was relaxing), and using the now, lukewarm salt water, my husband added a bit to some of the Rio Rumble salt scrub, which smells like pineapple- more specifically, white gummy bears – and proceeded to massage my feet and ankles to eliminate dead, dry skin and rough patches. 

Notice how little product was actually used – this was plenty of the Rio Rumba exfoliating sand scrub.

A girl can’t help but love a good pedicure! Especially from a sexy man!

After my sensual salt scrub, another rinse and dry (again, not bone dry, since moist skin likes soaking up moisturizers from lotions and potions) and on to my lovely, moisturizing massage with Schwanky & Soft. A pea-sized amount of this wonder cream, that glides on and smells vaguely of Doublemint Gum (back in the day), and simply helped to melt the tension in my feet away like butter in a hot skillet. 

A little sad to rinse away the sweet smell of white gummy bears but that meant the magical massage was soon underway!

Again, note how little product was necessary to be effective. Literally a pea-sized dab of Schwanky & Soft is all it takes.

My perfectly magical and magnificent manicurist! My adoring husband who will do damn near anything to make his loving wife happy – in fact, he volunteered to do my mini pedi so I could relax and enjoy for a change!

Schwanky & Soft is recommended for daily use to maintain your perfectly pampered piggies, and while my feet weren’t horrible to begin with, I definitely noticed a difference in how soft they were – and how relaxing the whole system was. Pretty impressive, when I’m used to using a small arsenal to do pedicures in the salon and three, simple products accomplished the same thing! 

I look tired – it’s actually blissful relaxation! Enjoying my softly scented feet (words I never thought I’d say)!

Post pedi piggies!

Now, on to the other pampering goodies in my package! 

I adore the Big Fat Yummy Hand Cremés for their silky texture, non-greasy application and luxurious scents. Not taking a vacation this summer? Do yourself a favor and order a tube of the Beach Blanket Big Fat Yummy Hand Cremé! It’s like a vacation in a tube you can use anywhere, anytime you need a little beach therapy! 

“Tangy citrus and sweet vanilla wrapped in creamy coconut.”

Coconut and Apricot kernel oils leave skin soft, silky and nourished, while the scent is good enough to eat! What I imagine a tropical drink with a little paper umbrella, on a sunny beach dotted with palm trees, magnificent white sand and lapped by cerulean kisses of an unblemished ocean would smell (and taste) like. Forget Calgon! Let Beach Blanket “take you away”! 

Pamper yourself! You deserve it! At least once a week, take the time for a hot bubble bath, your favorite tunes, maybe a good book and a Posh mini facial.

If you’ve followed my blogs about Perfectly Posh, you already know Moisturize 911 is very possibly the. best. thing. EVER. 

Full of caffeinated  tightening and brightening power, it’s this girl’s best friend when it comes to face cremé! It’s the perfect way to start (and end) your day! 

My first Moisturize 911 experience. I have a bit of makeup on, but a light application made my BB cream glide on effortlessly and I used a fraction of what I normally would.

To really test the Complexion Perfection, a gentle exfoliating daily cleanser with peppermint and super fine walnut shell powder, I went all out on makeup. That’s how I test any new cleanser, is with a full face of heavy makeup to ensure it can live up to any claims. Naturally, the exfoliating walnut shell powder helped – since the job of any exfoliating product is to gently remove dead, dry skin – so, safe to assume it helps to remove other dead, dry stuff like the foundation and lipstick that’s been caked on your face for far more hours than it should. 

(Sorry ladies and gents – it only works on dead, dry skin issues…not dead, dry exes. I’ve tried.)

Before makeup or ANY skin care.

Full face – contouring, lipstick (I needed an excuse to wear my vibrant new violet; one of the hot picks for summer ’17), brows, liner (liquid), about ten coats of mascara…

Squeaky Clean after washing with Complexion Perfection! In a single wash, with roughly a pea sized amount. Also applied Moisturize 911, which a pea-sized amount is plenty to do my face, at least, making both products super cost efficient.

Complexion Perfection is not only a fabulous cleanser, but a multi-tasker and money saver! It’s two products in one convenient tube! It left my face feeling fresh as well as refreshed; with just enough peppermint oil to leave skin slightly tingly and clean feeling, but not enough to sting or burn – especially in sensitive eye areas where I was focusing to remove the entire tube of mascara I used. 

It also smells clean and refreshing – like minty pineapples, which is actually a very pleasant combination. Moisturize 911 smells tangy and citrusy, so together they make a delightful duo. 
Last, but not least…

Envy This, a tightening and brightening face masque with green tea, Neem flower (which, after reading about this amazing tree, I’m astounded by claims of its medicinal, beauty, pest control and construction benefits) and caffeine, was a wonderful finish to my Posh package. Naturally scented, it smells a bit like freshly ground black pepper to me – which happens to be one of my favorite scents in the world – and sandalwood. A thin layer is all it takes. It drys quickly and is über lightweight, with no noticeable feel to the touch. While it recommends washing it off after 5-10 minutes, I left it on overnight and was happy to wake up without any residue, oils, discoloration or stains on my pillow. Kaolin Clay based, it’s also moisturizing and Kaolin adds another level of firming and tightening to this powerful packet of Posh perfection. After a quick rinse in the A.M., and a bit of Moisturize 911, my skin felt taught, soft and had a glowing radiance. 

It also contains Malachite Extract. Malachite is a natural stone (being into crystals and gemstones, I own several pieces and it’s one of my husband’s favorites). 

Beautiful Malachite slice.

According to Bellatorra Skin Care, who are leaders in Malachite Extract skincare: 

“Malachite is non photo-toxic and combats daily stresses and acts as an after-sun ingredient. Malachite Extract is an extract of Malachite obtained by grinding the stone then dissolved by hydrochloric acid and neutralization by sodium bicarbonate. Acts as an anti oxidant.”

Nice touch! 

While Perfectly Posh is my go-to for all my skincare needs, in day-to-day life, check out their awesome holiday sets and promotions, too! Fabulous gifts for friends, family and co-workers, for all occasions. Also, perfect to stock guest bathrooms (as well as your own) and the gender neutral packaging and vast range of products makes it easy to gift gals and guys (psssst! They do offer a man specific line as well). Even my 22 year old son wouldn’t complain about these Posh products in his bathroom! 

So many puns! So much Posh!

If you still need reasons to try Perfectly Posh – 

So, what are you waiting for? 

Check out my Perfectly Posh and help a glitter goddess out! And, give Kristen some love, too! Take a short survey and she can match you to the Perfectly Posh products perfect for you. 

Many thanks, as always Kristen! Always happy to review Posh!!!

Images: Perfectly Posh, personal

POSH Spice! 

Don’t cringe! We’re not going to to discuss the rumored Spice Girls reunion. That’s not really what I want, at least. 

No, I’m talking about Perfectly Posh skin care. Chock-full of yummy smelling, good for your skin ingredients, this line is perfectly decadent.

Perfectly Posh is a US based company, featuring skin and hair care products that are vegan (with the exception of milk, honey and beeswax in some products), does not test on animals, is void of petroleum-based products (a huge deal in our house since Craig’s Toxic Exposure was as a result of petroleum distillates in solvents and inks) and paraben free, utilizing the finest natural ingredients and essential oils for naturally beautiful skin. 

My Posh sample pack included – 

  • Fall Out Girl body soap chunk
  • Boho Soul Fat Yummy hand crème 
  • Olive My Love mild face cleanser
  • Never Grow Up anti-aging face serum
  • Never Grow Up anti-aging face crème
  • Dawn On Me daytime facial oil
  • Moisturize 911 caffeinated tightening face crème 

Good things come in small packages! Cash, jewelry and Perfectly Posh! All those beautifully packaged little pouches of luxurious scents, silky textures and complexion perfection! Plus, I’m a sucker for a handwritten “thank you” note – its a dying art.

I’m also a sucker for beautiful handwriting, since I can’t read my own 90% of the time! I was relaxed before I ever got the pretty pink package open!

All of these samples were hand-picked by my Perfectly Posh consultant, Kristen, based on a short series of questions about my skin concerns and scent preferences. No form to fill out. Just a brief, one-on-one chat about my skin issues and goals. 
Kristen is a stay at home mom, one of the toughest jobs around, and started with Perfectly Posh on the search for natural, affordable skin care products that left her feeling pampered. Being a stay at home mom with young children, pampering is often left by the wayside, and she found Posh gave her that, in whatever few moments she had, leaving her feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day (and probably the kids here and there), making her a better mom and a better “her”. 

“It’s amazing how far a little pampering can go to make women (with or without kids), feel rejuvenated!”, Kristen states. 

And, fewer, truer words have been spoken. 

Now, I’m 35 but typically guessed in my mid to late 20’s. As a teen, I had horrible cystic acne that left pocking and scarring, which took me years to repair. Even into my early 20’s, I was still battling horrible acne along both jaws, to the point I appeared to have some futuristic, alien disease. Nope. Just horrible acne. Dermablend was my everyday foundation and I refused to leave the house without it because I was simply so embarrassed and self conscious about my skin. And, I wouldn’t be caught dead letting someone photograph me or taking a selfie without a Kylie Jenner style, 200 step makeup application. 

I then discovered the miracle of good skin care, which not only helped me repair the damage done, but also shlepped years off my appearance. In fact, I’m now regularly asked what my secret is and rarely believed when I state simply, “good skin care and a good skin care routine”. One day a week isn’t going to get that glow back or soften the signs of aging. You have to be diligent (but, that’s another blog). In fact, I was complimented three times last week alone, by complete strangers, wanting to know what foundation I used. I may wear a light BB cream for special events (and that’s mostly for the SPF), but even that’s rare these days. 

Halloween decorating with Craig about a month ago – not a drop of makeup. Hell…don’t even think I brushed my hair before pulling it up/back!

Clean and fresh skin for bed. I know its a pain folks, but ALWAYS take all that makeup off before bed! Leaving it on can clog pores, break/make eyelashes brittle and over time, the residual build up will dull your complexion, especially if you don’t exfoliate regularly!

Go karting with hubby for a Saturday date day! We played 18 holes of mini golf, before this picture was taken, too. Nothing but my BB cream (mascara, waterline liner and lipstick), in Arizona heat of 100°+ for Labor Day! Another perk to a great skin care product and routine is using less makeup (should you choose to wear any), because your skin isn’t “drinking it up”, and easier application! I’m done in five minutes and ready to go, with makeup that’s going to stay put and not slide off an hour later! I’m not constantly fussing and checking it, either. Skin care is the true foundation of gorgeous skin, whether you decide to enhance it with makeup or not.

I’ve tried a lot of skin care, too. Drug store to department store, $5.00 to $500.00. Especially since GF came into existence. I won’t lie – I definitely have my favorites! However, with everything in the catalog being under $25.00 a pop, Perfectly Posh just moved up my list! 

Not only do these products smell amazing, they’re gentle, rich without being heavy and in the week I’ve been using them, I’ve seen results (especially with my favorite amongst the products I tried, but we’ll get to that in a minute). With something for every skin type, including products with charcoal and volcanic ash to combat dull skin, Black Sea salt and honey to exfoliate and turmeric and Shea butter to give skin, what they call, “the Midas touch”, let’s start with my experience and get you familiar with some of the products before you go blowing up Kristen’s inbox wanting to know what she recommends for you. 

Main skin complaints for me, personally: 

Dull skin, dry skin (I live in a desert and my NY skin does not approve), unevenness, tightening/firming and reducing pore size. 

My scent preferences are irrelevant for the most part. That’s definitely an individual thing. Not that skin concerns aren’t, but far easier to narrow complexion offenders than scent – and they have a lot! That mostly applies to their body soaps (Chunks) and hand creams, in my opinion, anyway. 

Fall Out Girl body soap chunk – I liked this glycerin based body soap quite a bit! It removed the grime and grossness of the daily grind, never felt greasy or heavy, left my skin soft and I used far less lotion! In fact, Craig asked if I’d switched body lotions because my skin didn’t feel as dry and look as ashy. A little goes a long way, because it lathered so nicely. Never mind the name; the scent is pomegranate and blackberry which smells wonderfully fresh and fruity. It’s not for the faint of heart! The scent is a bit strong (if you’ve followed GF very long, you know my husband is very sensitive to scent, and while he liked it, he just simply uttered, “too strong” when I shoved it under his nose. After bath he didn’t mind it though). Cocoa butter and pomegranate seed oil are the package selling points, as far as ingredients go. After this fabulous “chunk”, I’ve got my eye on some of the ocean scented ones – because y’all know by now, I’m a mermaid at heart! Kristen also recommends these, especially the citrus and fruity scented ones. In fact, this is her absolute favorite product by Posh! When your hostess and her rep say it’s good, you should trust us! 

I was so excited, I couldn’t even wait to snap a shot before I ripped into that Boho Soul hand crème! While the chunks are decedent, they are glycerine based (at least Fall Out Girl is), which means they will “melt” faster if you just leave them on the side of the tub or in a shower caddy. Invest in a covered soap dish (look in the travel section at your local dollar or big box store), to keep glycerine soaps fresher, longer. Its also going to reduce the messy soap puddle it will inevitably leave in it’s wake, and who wants to spend an hour scraping half your delicious soap off the tub or caddy? Plus, once it melts down IN the dish, you can simply dip your fingers in and make sure you get every last, precious drop!


Boho Soul Fat Yummy hand crème – Again, loved this lightweight, non-greasy hand crème that didn’t gunk up my rings! I find I often skip using lotion, especially hand lotions, because it’s not worth the effort to clean my bazillion rings (most of which have pavé accents, A.K.A., little diamonds of endless frustration when it comes to cleaning them – and it’s both hands) afterwards. Spiced fruits, Amber and Oud wood make up the scent, which turned a lovely, musky sandalwood scent after mingling with my body chemistry. Coconut and Apricot kernel oil, again, a little dab did hands to elbows without a second thought. The difference was noticeable immediately too. Another of Kristen’s picks; she says the Big Fat Yummy Hand Crèmes can even withstand dishwashing after use! I’d test that theory, but then I’d have to fess up to the hubby that I’m really not allergic to it. 

Check this out! Boho Soul on the initial application. I ONLY applied to my hands, to make sure the scent wasn’t going to overpower my husband. Notice the very subtle line of demarcation (the color change), right where my hand meets wrist? That difference was from a single use! You can see the softer, more even tone to the texture of the skin on my hand, as well.

Olive My Love mild face cleanser – This was my least favorite of the lot. Olive and Avocado oil, it claims 6-8 drops will develop a nice lather on dry or damp skin. I must be doing something wrong, because I cannot get this to lather. Not even a bit of bubble. My cosmetology instincts tell me the oils are a bit heavy and preventing that, especially since it also contains sunflower and lavender oils. It doesn’t feel heavy on the skin and it did cut through my mascara with little to no effort. My skin felt clean and looked great. I think, personally though, another of their cleansers might be a better fit for me. In fact, I think the BFF exfoliating daily face wash might be one catching my eye. That, or one with the volcanic ash, that may be a bit more aggressive. Kristen swears by the Pore-fect Deep facial cleansing bar, which offers a deep clean and tightening benefits. Lasting her an average of four months (and retailing for only $9 bucks! Let me tell you…the one I currently use retails for $60) so I may be adding this to my list for Santa as well! I’m not typically a fan of bar cleansers for the face, but at that price, I can get over it (unlike my dishwashing allergy *cough, cough*). 

Never Grow Up anti-aging face serum – Designed to be used in conjunction with the crème, this semi-viscous liquid is designed to tone skin before bed by patting into wrinkle-prone areas. Includes caffeine, lots of lavender and even watermelon seed oil, so it has a light, relaxing scent, perfect for before bed. 

Never Grow Up anti-aging face crème – Follow up the serum, by applying this a bit more generously to entire face and neck. Again, all the products are light-weight and non-greasy, so I’m going to assume we’ve established that. Coffee, olive and avocado oils, rose extract and exactly 3/4 of the fruit section of the grocery store, I did feel it was relaxing and easy to wear and a big peeve of mine…absorbed immediately so it didn’t stain or rub off on bedclothes. 

Dawn On Me daytime facial oil – “Lime, Ginger & Other Essential Oils”, I applied this before Moisturize 911. Very citrusy smelling (I commented to a friend after the first use, I smelled as fresh as an orange grove in spring), it suggests applying under makeup and is certainly light enough to do so. 

But, the winner (they’re all winners, so let’s say the “gold”) goes to…

And, the gold medal goes to…Moisturize 911! So special, in fact, it received the moment of glory; posing atop my beloved mermaid pillow! This AM pot of coffee for the skin, deserved it!

Moisturize 911 caffeinated tightening face crème THIS was by far my favorite! Vitamin C, glycerin, orange and an extra caffeine “kick”, this is your morning pot of coffee for your skin! It states it can be used 2-3 times daily, but honestly, once was all I needed for a beautiful glow and a definite difference in tightening, brightening, evenness and firming. I totally understand why this is one of the company’s top 10 sellers! If you only try one Perfectly Posh product, I’d highly recommend this one!  Even my husband noticed after I applied this, saying my skin looks, “softer, brighter and prettier. It always looks healthy but it looks even healthier.” My husband isn’t one to not notice a new haircut or that I’ve lost weight – Craig is quite observant to even the most subtle changes I make. He’s also always flattering, but every bit as honest as I am (just typically a lot more tactful about it). If he doesn’t like something, or he thinks something isn’t flattering, he will say so (which is why I now avoid neon green nail polish). Today, though, after five days of Perfectly Posh pampering, he immediately commented when he got home about how nice my skin looked and inquired what I was doing differently because it looked, “even prettier than normal”. I’m sold! 

Day 1 – Fresh out of the bath, after using Fall Out Girl, Olive My Love, Never Grow Up serum and Never Grow Up crème. Forgive my crooked smile – I had my forward helix (very hard cartilage ear piercing) re-pierced the day prior, and smiling hurt.

Day 5 – After an application of Moisturize 911, and having used all the Perfectly Posh products, noticeably tighter, brighter, more radiant skin! No makeup, no filters, not even a digital pimple popper (concealer).

“Oh my Posh!” Not the most flattering shot, but I wanted to show the eye area and how much my pore size shrank and became more consistent. And, forget crow’s feet! There’s not even a feather around these eyes!

Now, I mentioned before that the key to gorgeous, glowing, youthful skin, in my opinion, is a good skin care product and routine, which would be another blog. Very true. There’s a lot of stuff to know about getting the most out of your skin. If you’re going to invest in a great skin care line like Perfectly Posh, let’s take a quick, “crash course”, so you can make the most of your pampering and truly reap the rewards every single day – when you’re sleeping in an extra half hour before work because you don’t need that time to do your makeup, every single night, when you’re not hunched over the sink with a putty knife, trying to scrape it all back off and especially every single time a stranger asks you your secret to such great skin. 

Day 6 – Craig and I attended a Koi festival, which was held outside, and then a wine and food tasting. What better way to see how Perfectly Posh reflects than under three, different light sources, at multiple times of day? I am wearing my standard BB cream, a touch of blush, eye makeup and lip gloss. The only thing I touched all day was to reapply lip gloss, once! This was, of course, after using Dawn on Me and Moisturize 911. My makeup practically applied itself! I was sad to wash my face with Olive My Love about 9:00PM, before bed, but my skin felt amazing! Clean, soft and my Never Grow Up serum and crème absorbed right in. Talk about compliments on my skin! “Oh my Posh”! And, poor Craig! I kept yelling, “Look at it! LOOK. AT. IT!”, at random intervals.I ADORE the way my skin looks and feels! It honestly looks airbrushed!!!

Laying the foundation 

There’s a metric shit-ton (yes, that is an actual unit of measurement) of products to choose from for skin. Everyone is different, and much like wine, why  there are so many brands and varietals to pick and choose from; something for everyone. 

However, like in cooking, there is a “holy trinity”. Skin care products aren’t cheap, especially when you get into all the “extras” which we will in a moment. The best way to start, especially if you’re new to a skin care regimen, is with what I consider to be “the holy trinity”. 

1. Cleanser 

This should go without saying. Like you clean your body, you need to clean your face. Consider creamy, milky, non-foaming cleansers for dry and delicate skin and more effervescent ones for oily and acne prone. An almond sized amount should be plenty to do face and neck. 

2. Toner 

After cleansing, toning is a great way to stabilize skin’s pH balance and allow all the lotions and potions to fully absorb and work to their best ability. It also helps to remove any traces of soap residue left behind. A great, inexpensive one is Witch Hazel (commonly found near the rubbing alcohol and peroxide at your drug or big box store). Natural and gentle, it’s great for cuts and bug bites as well. To use, simply dampen a cotton ball or pad with tepid water and then apply a bit of the Witch Hazel. The water soaks in first, allowing you to save a bit of product and cash by not using quite as much, leaving the Witch Hazel right on top so you’re really getting every last bit on your skin. The cotton ball/pad is already soft and clean coming out of the bag and doesn’t need any help. 

3. Moisturizers 

Both day and night. Day creams should be light enough to wear under makeup (should you choose) and contain SPF. Make sure you’re using a portion about the size of a dried banana chip to get plenty of SPF coverage. Night creams will be a bit heavier; more dense and saturated, to help undo and prevent environmental damages as well as good ol’ genetics. Because they’re more concentrated, you’ll only really need a M&M sized amount. Even oily skin needs to be moisturized! Look for ones that contain salacylic acid, alpha and beta hydroxy acids or even tea tree oils to combat shine and acne flare-ups. Dry skin benefits from extra moisturizing goodies like honey, avocado oil, coconut oil and ingredients to help firm and tone like collagen and elastin, or some of the PP ingredients we’ll get to in a second. 

Kristen agrees! Her number one tip for healthy, glowing skin is moisturizing. 

“Hot water is drying, as it strips oils and moisture from your skin. It’s so important to moisturize to keep skin youthful and radiant.”

Hence, this being one of the steps in the trinity; especially in dry climates or as skin ages, moisture levels in skin deplete, which is a huge factor in premature aging, fine lines, wrinkles, sagging and uneven skin tone. The best method is prevention, and you’re never too young, or too old, to start reaping the benefits of what daily moisturizing can do for your skin. 

*Please note: Perfectly Posh’s day creams DO NOT contain a SPF! They do, however, sell a separate product called My Hero, that has a SPF of 30 via zinc oxide (honestly, all you need. A 50 or 70 has not been proven to provide any added protection). Whether you opt to go this route, or use a SPF bearing BB cream or foundation, just make sure you’re getting it on, somehow. UVA and UVB protection is a huge factor in preventing skin cancer and premature aging! 

After the trinity, I strongly recommend:

  • Exfoliating – By sloughing off the dry, dead layers of skin, you not only have a brighter, healthier looking appearance immediately, but save time and product, since it allows product to get straight to the source. 1-3 times a week is plenty and again, skin type will determine how coarse a “grit” you want and how often you may want to use it. Oily skin should look for coarser grits like sand, coffee grounds, walnut shells and extra coarse salt/sugar scrubs, while sensitive and dry skin may better benefit from baking soda, small seeds and extra fine shells/salts/sugars, microbeads or even just a soft, damp washcloth. Usually a nickel-sized amount is plenty. 
  • Masques – Oily and acne prone skin may find peel off masks work better for them, while dry and sensitive skin typically responds better to mud and clay type masques. Water masques are usually well suited for all skin types, but again, check the ingredients! If you have dry skin, you certainly don’t want a clay masque full of salacylic acid to dry it out even more. Once a week or bi-monthly use, makes investing in a good masque easy to do and affordable! Typically masques should be left for 20-30 minutes, and can cram 3-5 times the amount of skin nourishing goodness into the skin in a half an hour, as a week’s worth of creams and lotions. That is not a “get out of jail free card” to avoid daily moisturizing, though. 
  • Eye Cream – The skin around the eyes and lips is thinner, which is why they’re more prone to showing the signs of aging faster than the rest of the face. A good eye cream, dabbed gently into the outer eye area every night, can help head off or reverse laugh lines and crow’s feet. A sunflower kernel sized dab is plenty and I stress gently patting as opposed to rubbing on such delicate skin. Bonus? Because eye creams are so densely packed with nutrients, they also make a great lip balm for severely chapped lips. Just use a clean cotton swab to avoid cross contamination with the eyes and never “double dip”. 

From there, depending on your skin’s needs and your concerns and goals, you can get into everything from Glycolic Acid peels (any concentration over 10% is illegal in the states, FYI), to zit zappers to light therapy and beyond. As I said, skin care is a vast topic and this is just a way to help you get the most out of, what I consider, the essentials. A nice guide to keep handy if you’re building a gift basket this holiday season, as well!


***Always read product directions and follow, especially if you get into acids, like glycolic. You can do more damage than good. These are general recommendations and guidelines, being a cosmetologist and based on the products I’ve worked most with. ***

What are some of these ingredients and what can they do for me? 

I was curious too. I can only retain so much information on any given subject, and that’s primarily the information most likely to be used and some random trivia here and there. Even I was curious about some of the “stuff”, that makes Perfectly Posh naturally fabulous. I’m also including a few I see repeating on the products, just in case you were wondering. 

Rough little grains of natural sea salt, colored in a rich, dramatic black, thanks to activated charcoal.

  • Black Sea salt – This one had me from the get-go. It’s simply sea salt, from several locations around the world (Hawaii is very well known, for what you’ll see as obvious reasons), which has been mixed with activated charcoal. Charcoal is fantastic for getting the skin über clean and detoxifying all the junk that’s built up on it. Same goes for charcoal powder and volcanic ash (all three make amazing exfoliating tools – think salt/powder/ash to oily/normal/sensitive. 
  • Caffeine – Becoming increasingly popular in skin care and beauty products, caffeine helps to tighten and firm the skin. Super effective on cellulite, too. 
  • Tumeric – This may have shown up on your grocery list lately because it’s one of the superfoods of the minute. However, topically, it helps control oil, reverse acne scars (wish I’d know about this 10 years ago!) and even skin tone. One thing to watch – if you’re a bronzed babe, regular use can lighten the skin slightly. 
  • Watermelon Seed Oil – An excellent oil for all skin types,  it can firm and prevent a multitude of skin disorders, such as acne. It gently removes excess sebum (oil) and detoxifies as well. 
  • Kaolin – A natural clay; one of the US’ largest sources is Georgia. A soft clay, it absorbs oil and impurities and has a mildly astringent effect. Also known to control diarrhea, we do not recommend eating your skin care, no matter how good it may smell. 
  • Pomegranate Seed Oil – A “dry oil”, it absorbs quickly and helps to firm and tighten skin. Loaded with all the same, health-boosting antioxidants we’ve come to know and love from the juice and those damn little frustrating seeds, that’s now going straight on your skin and skipping the, ahem, scenic route. 
  • Argan Oil – Another trendy cure all, this super moisturizing oil is derived from a nut (if memory serves), which can be found in only a couple places in the world and is traditionally still hand harvested and pressed. It’s very much like liquid gold for your skin. 
  • Grape Leaf and Grape Seed Oil – Prior to GF, I blogged for another site (who shall remain nameless due to their ethics and horrible business practice), and did a review on some lip products containing wine. Yes, wine! While only one of the three products had a powdered wine in it, they all included Grape Seed Oil and Grape Leaf. What I found in my research was wine  (or, more likely Grape Leaf and Grapeseed Oil) helps to diminish fine lines and wrinkles and firm skin. So, now you can drink your wine and slather it all over your face, too, for a double dose of its healing and nurturing effects. Salut! 

Oud wood slice – that dark, icky center is where the lush scent and highly prized wood is derived from.

  • Oud Wood – Not an ingredient, rather the scent of Boho Soul had me intrigued. Well, sit down for this little nugget of knowledge, especially if you have a weak stomach. This highly prized scent comes from evergreen trees, native to Asia after a particular mold develops in the tree. The trees are odorless and light in color until this fungus takes over, turning the heart of the tree a rich, dark color with this musky, woodsy scent. So, think of it as the mushrooms of the perfume world. 

What’s with all the citrus?!?

Aside from the blood orange, I do believe the Never Grow Up crème contains all of these juicy fruits!

Not only is citrus acidic yet relatively alkaline on the pH scale, it can help balance the skin’s pH to a slightly acidic 5.5 (where you want it – 7 is neutral, if you were curious, with anything under being acidic and anything over, alkaline). Mildly astringent, it helps clean up excess oil, loaded with Vitamin C and those bright colors aren’t just for show (or margaritas)! New studies have found the bright colors of citrus fruits can actually brighten skin with regular use. Remember that episode of the ‘Brady Bunch’, where Jan wanted to “bleach” her freckles? 

(Don’t lie! We’re not here to judge!) 

The friendly neighborhood pharmacist recommended lemon. Citrus can fade dark spots (in a more concentrated form, ala Jan Brady), even skin tone and give it a brighter appearance. It’s naturally slightly antibacterial (how many household cleansers do you own that smell like lemon? Also, with my husband being so scent-sitive, we can’t use bleach or most household cleansers, nor can I use Barbacide to disinfect my tools as a hairdresser. I use a hospital grade, all five levels needed to qualify as hospital grade and it’s-not-getting-any-cleaner-unless-it-goes-in-an-autoclave, disinfectant called Citrus 2, which is loaded with citrus oils), so it’s perfect for gently removing oils and unclogging pores (maybe where you picked at that pimple with dirty hands) to prevent and treat acne. In fact, during my battle with acne, a good friend and naturopathic doctor suggested drinking lime juice every day. Citrus is good stuff! Inside and out! 

Now, gentlemen! You need to be taking care of your skin as well! Lucky as most men are to age gracefully and become more distinguished looking as they get older, the popularity of metrosexuality in the early 2000’s made it much more acceptable for men to use a skin care regimen. To be honest, like hair care products, typically the biggest difference in “men’s products” versus “women’s products”, is in packaging and marketing (often times, scent). My husband (lucky bastard) is almost 54 and still gets carded buying me a pack of cigarettes. He also uses bar soap – grocery store body soap – on his face, which I admit, makes me die a little inside every time I witness the autrocity. If I nag enough, I can get him to exfoliate occasionally and after almost nine years, I don’t have to hog-tie him to slather on a little moisturizer or a spot treatment (bless him! He gets my acne at “that time of the month”! In fact, about six months ago I had a tiny pimple on my chin and he, being the ham he is, after noticing, followed with all the appropriate melodrama and aplomb, even going so far as to fake fainting and pretend to call Guinness). 

Craig and I at our local wedding reception, May 2015. We were married in California, on the beach, and most of our friends and family couldn’t make the trip, so we had our reception at a local wine bar upon returning to Arizona. Gorgeous (and all mine, ladies and gents), he certainly doesn’t look much, if any, older than I do! Lucky &*%#&@!

However, I can see where a lot of men probably wouldn’t want a bunch of pink and white products scattered around their bathroom, especially the bachelors. That’s just asking, begging even, for relentless teasing from friends and the “raised brow” of suspicion from any potential love interests who may stop by. While Perfectly Posh’s packaging is clean, trendy and what I’d consider gender neutral for the most part, it’s also targeted to a younger age range, in my opinion, which, while Craig wouldn’t care (he’d just blame me, plus he’s pretty secure in his masculinity), I see where some guys may be a bit concerned (I can hear my 21 year old son whining, “Really Mom?!? Pink?!?”, even though he does a better smoky eye than I do).Never fear! Posh has got the guys covered, too, with a line dedicated to the dudes! 

Give “twinkle toes” a whole new meaning!

Head to toe, too, Posh has products to spoil your scalp and treat your feet. After a long day of standing and walking at the Koi festival, the Rubby Scrubby stick for feet, with naturally exfoliating beads and peppermint has my dogs begging for a pedicure! I’m a die-hard fan of that product that comes in the big, green tube, out of a famous, New York apothecary, that uses a couple initials and a last name (they do a minty lip shine, that freshens breath, too – you know the company), but I’d love to see how Posh stands up to my tried-and-true. Kristen recommends Snarky Bar – a Shea butter and sugar bead scrubbing and exfoliating bar – she says it keeps her feet in tip top shape between pedicures, and the rest of her skin glowing too. “Think of it as a soap and loofah all wrapped up in one!”, she tells GF. And, if you weren’t aware folks, those loofah balls hanging in your shower should be replaced at least once a month. They’re a breeding ground for bacteria. Save yourself the cash, and the headache, and grab a Snarky Bar instead. 

While we’re on the subject of lip glosses, Perfectly Posh has your pucker pampering needs as well! That one I have my doubts about, simply because I’ve been a My Lip Stuff junkie for so long, I have doubts any lip balm can hold up to the kissable softness, shine and 700 flavors of MLS. I’ve been an addict since 2006, and view other lip balms with a great deal of suspicion and skepticism. MLS’ Healing Body Butter Balm also has Craig and me hooked, so not sure I could belly-up to try Posh’s The Healer Skin Stick, either. Stranger things have happened; so we may have to just for the sake of skin science. Kristen recommends it! As a stay at home mother of young children, I’m guessing she knows a lot about “uht-ohs” and “boo-boos”, and while I do love my Healing Body Butter Balm, the vanilla and citrus might be a bit more soothing to young noses. 

Another of Kristen’s favorites is the Gender Bender “chunk”, but perhaps not for the reasons you may think. Shea butter, palm oil and activated charcoal offer deep cleansing and detoxing without sacrificing moisture, but Kristen says this the best makeup brush cleaner she’s found! She swears by it; stating cost effectiveness, longevity and ease of use, beats her old $20 a bottle cleaner, bristles down! This is another one folks (and I’m guilty too) – you should be cleaning those makeup brushes at least once a month or anytime they go on any face other than your own. Not only will your makeup look less “muddy” due to all the product build up, but they too can harbor bacteria and contribute to cross contamination on the face. An acne break out could be the least of your problems. Wash until water runs clear, blot excess water then allow to dry flat to retain shape. 
Another “fun fact” about Perfectly Posh is their You Deserve It foundation, which aims to, “share pampering, bringing [sic] their message that everyone deserves to take a minute or two for themselves each and every day”. It’s not selfish – it’s about nurturing oneself, inside and out, to be the best you, you can be

To check out the foundation and some of their projects, visit You Deserve It! 

Also, if you’d like to help out your hostess with the mostess here at GF, you can order these multitudes of skin care miracles in tubs and tubes and jars by clicking on MY personal Perfectly Posh link! Get glowing, glittering skin and help a sistah out! Yes, folks! I’m that hooked. It’s my new addiction (at least this one is healthier than most of my other ones!). Trust me! You’ll be just as hooked, just as fast! Think of it like skin crack!

Perfectly Posh Would also make fabulous gifts for holidays, birthdays and other special occasions for: 

  • Teachers
  • Hair Stylists/Nail Techs
  • The In-laws (or, to stash in their room/bathroom when they visit)
  • Babysitters
  • Team Coaches
  • Team Moms
  • Co-workers
  • Friends
  • Neighbors (especially that nice one who always pulls up your trash cans)
  • Pet Groomers 
  • Doctors and Nurses
  • White Elephant Parties/Secret Santa
  • A Favorite Waitress/Sommelier 
  • Teenage kids’ GF/BF 

And, so much more! Think of the Big Fat Yummy Hand Crèmes alone! Male or female, how many of those folks above constantly have their hands in water or chemicals and could use a little TLC? You don’t have to be all “up” in their business either! 

I’m hooked. No, I’m not a consultant, and as always, have not been paid to provide a positive review. However, I strongly encourage you to give Perfectly Posh a try! I cannot stress that enough! Worst case, you hate it (which you totally won’t), I’ll send you my address and your can pamper your hostess with the mostess here at Glitter Fantasy (who has a birthday coming up, too *cough, nudge, wink*). 

Trust us! You’ll thank me (maybe with some PP) when you’re constantly being asked, “Oh my Posh! Your skin looks amazing! What do you use?!?”. 

Posh gratification. 

Perfectly Posh for the perfect complexion! Being a MUA, I would swear this had been airbrushed! And, yes, my husband and I supported “Safety Pin Saturday” which, if you’re not familiar, is a simple display to designate a person as “safe” to anyone being harassed or threatened. A small gesture to show we’re friendly, will not judge and help assist you out of whatever situation is making you uncomfortable.

*If you have any doubts, please take a moment to refresh yourself with our PR and review policies, by clicking our “pages” link at the top left of the main page. We never accept bribes, or threats, in any form, in exchange for a positive review. Please see our review policy for more information. 

**None of the images (skin/personal) have been edited in any way. No filters, no Photoshopping; they are raw and un-retouched. 

***Images: Personal, candlesupply, Pinterest, AATEA, Rhysa Photography, stocksy, perfectly posh

      Not All Snacks Are Created Equal 

      Face it. We all snack. Especially if there are kids in the house. We’re all guilty of mindlessly chomping away and a bag of Doritos or a couple rows of Oreos later, we’re not even hungry…it just happened, like magic.

      We’ve all done it. Easy. Relatively inexpensive. Tasty. There’s probably something staring at you from your pantry or tucked away in your fridge, right now, and like a moth to a flame, you’re now suddenly interested and thinking about a Netflix and binge marathon.

      No shame. No judgement. It’s “Julia’s Law” – your desire for food is directly proportional to how badly you probably shouldn’t have it.

      Yet, with Thanksgiving just a couple weeks away, and I heard Christmas carols playing today while grocery shopping, we all know weight gain this time of year is likely inevitable, but we all want to look our, sveltest, skinniest best for the family and friends we only see once every 12 months or so (see? Julia’s Law).

      While we could all probably work on portion control, like knowing a standard serving of potato chips is about 150 calories for 14-15 chips or that a standard size candy bar is roughly 220 calories per serving, and there’s two servings, I’m not here to fat shame or talk you out of wiping your orange fingers on the dog and stepping away from the Cheetos. With the next six weeks being a food lovers dream, I’d just like to share some snacking ideas to help you keep off the pounds and take the guilt out of having that second slice of Aunt Betty’s famous pumpkin pie.

      1. The fruit and veggie facts. 

      We know fruits and veggies are good for us. Hell, I have a couple pints of blackberries sitting here giving me the eye right now. But, there’s a couple things that can make a healthy, low-cal snack, not so nutritious in no time.

      Dips and Sauces

      I love broccoli, but you’ll never catch me eating it, especially raw, without something else. Same goes for apples (if you don’t think caramel on an apple is a glorious thing, you’re doing it wrong). But, sauces and dips can be loaded with fat, calories and we tend to “over-dip” because, duh! That’s the best part! The fruit/vegetable is just the vessel so you can avoid the shame of eating your dip with a spoon (again, no judgement. I’ve sat and watched my husband eat an entire jar of marshmallow fluff like a pudding cup). Read the nutrition facts first. Serving sizes are small (measure it out and see how many carrots you get with the standard two tablespoons of ranch, or whatever your flavor, dip). Instead, consider low fat/low calorie options (just because something is labeled “low fat”, does not make it so. Always double check – or, if you must have ranch dip, consider buying Greek yogurt or low calorie sour cream and one of those packages of dip mix and making your own so you control the calories), or healthier options like hummus, nut butters, plain Greek yogurt or even things like mustard, horseradish sauces (including wasabi), fruit butters, hot sauce, vinegar like malt or balsamic, or guacamole. Yeah, theres still some pretty high-cal options on that list, but those are good fat calories, the ones your body can use, and don’t pack quite as much sugar, fillers and preservatives, so you can feel a bit less guilty about double dipping.


      If it’s prepackaged, it’s going to be less nutritious. Vitamins and minerals are lost in the packaging and preserving process. But, sometimes you just can’t avoid it. I adore pickled vegetables, and I could pickle my own okra or asparagus or cukes, but I just don’t have the time and resources, so a jar it is, especially if said vegetable is out of season. I love olives, but those olive bars in grocery and specialty shops are expensive! Unless they have some reduced or one hell of a sale, those bad boys are coming from the canned/jarred veggie aisle. And, it’s a special breed of insanity that makes anyone want to skin and core a pineapple; if you’re really bored some day, try hacking a coconut (have 911 on speed dial). But, when you can, buy fresh and prepare it yourself (which, fun fact – baby carrots are not a special breed. They originated with a farmer who was losing tons of his carrot crops due to them being undersized or ugly/misshapen. So he peeled them and cut them into what’s in that bag you probably have in your fridge for school lunches. However, after undergoing peeling, they get bathed in chemicals to prevent browning, retain freshness and extend shelf life. Your call.).

      2. Try something new

      I love chickpeas/garbanzo beans (whatever you refer to them as). I love hummus and even eat them on pizza. Roasting them though, gives them a light, satisfying crunch and make an excellent snack, chock-full of protein. With the foodie I am, I’d read about them numerous times but hadn’t gotten around to trying them until last weekend at a monthly wine club my husband and I attend. They serve snacks and pallet cleansers and hors d’oeuvres, which these crunchy, roasted, chipotle seasoned chickpeas were amongst. Delicious! A bag came home with us! Supremely satisfying at taking the edge off my salty cravings, too. Maybe sub them for croutons on a salad or crackers in soup. The bag even recommends adding them to party mix, which you know someone will be serving , so maybe you bring the cereal snack we all know and love and add these (let’s face it…the triple pretzel method leaves a lot to be desired). Edamame “chips” (rather the roasted pods and caviar, which is what the “seeds” or “beans” inside  are actually called), a handful of nuts, and toasted veggie chips and crackers (just because they’re vegetable flavored does not mean they have any suitable source of veggies, so watch that) can all be super delicious and curb your salty, crunchy, savory cravings with tons of protein and other nutrients. Just avoid those puffy looking veggie sticks and snacks found in the chip aisle – yanno, the name brand involves a sailor and his treasure (or backside – however you like to think about it). They have no more nutritional value than a bag of potato chips.

      3. If sweet is your go to treat…

      Next time you’re tempted to grab a pudding cup or bowl of ice cream, grab a Greek yogurt instead. Personally, I prefer Oikos. However, those Chobani flips aren’t bad either. Again, protein. And, tons of it. You can get all your favorite ice cream flavors (even chocolate!), get that same sweet, creamy feel, but much better at nipping hunger pangs and filling you up. Much less guilt, too.

      Why are we so damn hung up on protein? 

      Protein is the building block of the human body, from muscle to hair. The body processes it easier than carbs, facilitating muscle strength and repair, fills you up without the carb crash and provides steady, consistent energy. I’m not saying you need to go on that famous diet that Sharon Osbourne will try and shove down your throat as her testimony to weight loss and health. In fact, you may occasionally see me discuss my weight loss of 150lbs, most of which I dropped in five months, but every body is different. Which is why your BFF may swear by “X” diet but you gained 10lbs on it. I will say the diet I used was a high protein diet. However, I don’t necessarily advocate it to others, nor will you ever see any diet being recommended on GF. If you’re considering a diet, I recommend you speak with your doctor and perhaps a nutritionist. They know you – I don’t. They are much more qualified to recommend what may work best for you. I will say, I tried (and inevitably failed) several before finding the one that worked for me. I’ve drank the disgusting shakes. Ate the gross bars. Soup, salad, more cardio, more weights. You name it. Protein is amazing though, and while it may or may not help with any weight issues you may or may not have, it’s going to build/repair muscle, strengthen hair and nails and help your skin glow. Plus, help kill cravings. Sounds like a good deal to me!

      4. This sounds good, but you can’t live without…

      Doritos? BBQ potato chips? Ice cream? Whatever your snacking pleasure is, don’t completely deny yourself! Like a diet, it’s a set up for failure of you completely deny yourself everything you love. Splurge! But, watch your portions, maybe cut back (or cut back/cut out other, lesser favorites) and ask yourself if you’re really hungry before you dive in. Most studies show that if you can occupy yourself for about 10 minutes when the snacking urge strikes, you’ll find it lessens or quits because it’s often boredom, not hunger, that has us crunching and munching. Read something. Take a walk. Pop in a movie. Take some silly FB personality quizzes. If you’re still hungry, go for it (in moderation!). Try getting your mind off it, first though. And, forget paying twice as much for those “calorie packs” – make your own! Stock up on zip seal bags and portion snacks for yourself. This way, you grab a pre-portioned bag and aren’t as tempted to have “just one or two more…”. Works for the kids, too, especially when they’re being a pain to begin with. You grab little Susie or Johnny a pre-portioned bag, they know their “limit” and there’s no meltdown because they can’t have the whole bag. They wanna scarf ’em down or savor them – choice is theirs! So, you’re helping them learn portion control, limits and other healthy eating habits all at the same time. And, don’t be afraid to tell them no to a second bag, either. Trust me. They won’t die. You may want to at first, but you’re doing us all a favor in the long run.

      5. Avoid drinking your snack

      Studies show drinking calories is much less gratifying than actually chewing them. Pre-made juices, smoothies and shakes are typically more sugar than anything. There’s that crash again, as soon as your body’s processed it. Won’t lie. This is a hard time of year for me, because we have a local grinder and sub chain that produces a fruit slush (what made them famous around here). They have four flavors year ’round and each month have a specialty flavor. Well, October and November are the two months I have to have the FOTM. My husband isn’t a fan of them, but indulges me. They do include actual fruit and probably beat the hell out of a fast food shake. I can’t say I honestly feel full after having one though and I’m sure if I read the nutrition facts and saw the sugar and calorie count, I may have a heart attack. It’s one of my splurges though (re-read #4 if you missed that). Otherwise, consider making your own juice or smoothies to control everything from sugar to calories to flavor. Also, check the alcohol aisle. Seriously. A lot of drink mixers (the ones you just add the booze to) actually have more juice and less sugar than brands you may find in the juice aisle. Seriously! We’re big Bloody Mary folks (as you should know) and we buy Mr&Mrs T or Zing Zang over the tomato juices in the juice aisle. Alcoholic or not. The flavor is better and so is the nutritional value. That famous tomato juice – the one with a letter and number in the name – is typically 5% juice, where the mixers run about 95% juice. Tough call.

      6. Read ingredients and nutrition information religiously 

      Formulas change. Suppliers switch. New and improved often means cheaper ingredients and a heftier price tag. Know what’s going in your mouth before you buy. Some may surprise you – for better or worse. Also, those values can change depending on flavor (chips for example) or how they’re produced (let’s say baked versus fried). Like those chips that “once you pop, you can’t stop”, and those ones that, “you can’t eat just one”? Check them both and opt for the lesser evil. Trust me. Having food allergies and having lost and kept so much weight off, for so long, I am that person you will see in the middle of the aisle reading everything. I’m used to it. My hubby, not so much. He will attest to what a pain in the ass it is. As silly as it sounds, this alone will make you far more conscious about exactly what you’re eating.

      7. Just like dieting…

      Avoid mindlessly eating (again, see #4). Avoid snacking away as you’re watching TV, surfing the web, or engrossed in a good book. Stop those activities and move to the dining room table. You’ll eat less because you’re eager to get back to your movie/FBing/reading, be more conscious about what you’re eating and notice when you’re full, faster and easier since you’re concentrating on the task at hand and not distracted, just going through the motions. It takes on average 20 minutes for your brain to send your stomach the memo that you’re full (for meals at least – since snacking is typically meant to tide one over between meals, that time should be a bit less).

      8. Don’t shop on an empty stomach 

      Everything is libel to look extra delicious when you’re starving! That’s two bags of chips in your cart instead of one. That’s butter pecan ice cream because you haven’t had it in years and now you suddenly must. That’s all those over-processed foods (#1) that you’re buying in a hurry because you want to eat. Keep a healthy treat like a bag of almonds or a granola bar in your purse/car for unexpected shopping trips or snack before you go. A list can help, but not when you’re dying of hunger and there’s a candy bar in the checkout lane that just tempted you. Again, guilty. Craig and I did some of our Thanksgiving shopping today (when name brand butter is under $2.00 a box, you jump!) and while I wasn’t remotely hungry when we left – by the time I smelled bread being baked and ripe apples by the display-full and onions being cooked in the deli area…my list went out the window. I had impulse moments before we were even close to the magazines and chocolate bars. I don’t eat much, but being hungry suddenly led to me grabbing far more carb-a-licious, calorie laden, junk food than I would have grabbed had I not been salivating all over the poor man sampling New York Crunch Rolls (sushi). I was HANGRY at that point. So, now I sit here snacking on soft pretzel bites and over-processed cheese food product, with a side of peppermint and chocolate sandwich cookies, rather than my typical broccoli and hummus and those blackberries I told you about earlier. Could have easily been avoided had a thrown a package of wasabi almonds or some of those chipotle chickpeas in my purse.

      Which is what got me on this whole subject to begin with.

      Just some simple ideas to help your holidays be happier and take the guilt out of indulging a bit this season. They say it takes three weeks to learn a new habit and if you start now, these ideas can easily help you from making a diet one of your New Year’s resolutions (or a heart attack/diabetes one of your holiday gifts).

      From us to you, happy holidays and salut!

      Don’t Fall Victim to This Horror Story This Halloween (or ever)!

      ~~~*WARNING – this story includes graphic photos and images some may find disturbing or a trigger*~~~

      Tis the season for scary stories, however, this isn’t the type most people have in mind when they imagine sitting around a bonfire with a flashlight and some s’mores. While it is graphic, it does contain a very important message, that’s often overlooked. 

      Yes, this happened to me. Yes, the photos are 100% real and un-retouched. 

      If you’ve followed GF for awhile, you may know that I have quite a few chronic health issues. My husband and I also have a great deal of stress in our lives, both as a result of our health problems, as well as other, more personal issues. I do my best to keep GF an upbeat, lighthearted, fun place, full of the beauty this world has to offer, instead of focusing on the negative. Last week though, I had two scares, if you will, that I feel compelled to share since they are both things we (as a society) often take for granted. 

      Well, one thing really, but two different incidents. 

      The people we trust with our health. Namely, doctors and pharmacists

      Craig and I see our PC (Primary Care Physican) monthly, because we both take narcotic class painkillers (oxycodone), which in AZ is a controlled substance and therefore we have to have a new prescription each month as opposed to automatic refills. 

      We also use three different pharmacies, between us. Our main pharmacy doesn’t keep enough oxycodone on hand to fill our monthly prescriptions, nor do they keep enough Valium (which I’m on). So, he uses “X” pharmacy for his oxy and I use “Y” pharmacy for my oxy and Valium, due to which takes who’s insurance, and we use “Z” pharmacy for everything else. 

      There’s the backstory. 

      Now…last week (Monday, the 26), we went in to our PC for our regularly scheduled, monthly prescription refill. Also, I was put on two more medications; one of which I have used in the past and one which I had not. We dropped them off at pharmacy “Z” to be filled, but being backed up, waited until the next day (Tuesday) to pick them up. At that time, my hubby dropped off my other scripts to pharmacy “Y”, to be filled and ready Wednesday. 

      I got into a lengthy phone conversation that night with my friend and neighbor, after I had taken this new pill. After about four hours I said, “yanno what? Just come over! My ear’s going numb!”. Craig was doing some work for his son and being exhausted, decided to crash at his house for the night, instead of making the long drive, late at night, when he’s tired and has to be up early. He does this often so it didn’t bother me – besides, I was enjoying a “girl’s night” gossip and giggle fest with my friend (who, coincidentally, shares almost identical medical problems). 

      One minute we’re laying back, relaxing…I’m showing her some reflexology points on her feet to help reduce pressure in other areas, when suddenly I look up and it’s not my neighbor anymore. It’s a little, old, Asian man (think George Takei in about 20 years). The room was spinning. Words didn’t make sense. I’m asking her who she is and she even sounded like an older Asian gentleman. My vision is blurry. My heart feels like it’s about to pound through my chest. 

      I’ve never done acid or ‘shrooms or any kind of hallucinogenic drugs before, but what I imagine the equivalent of a “bad trip” to be. 

      The last thing I remember with any clarity at all, was reaching over and grabbing a knife I keep in the end table for protection and thrusting it into my outer thigh. 

      Look to the right-hand side of my thigh, above the knee. This was about an hour after the inital stab and the bleeding had subsided.

      Blood was, needless to say, everywhere. My friend, bless her, stayed with me until I “came down” and my husband could get to me, I stopped hallucinating, applied pressure to stop the bleeding, tended the wound and bandaged it. She was covered head-to-toe in my blood (which, I do remember reassuring her I didn’t have any blood-borne pathogens like HIV or Hepatitis), and being a true friend, which is hard to find these days, she didn’t care. She cared about taking care of me. I also remember trying to stand and my itty bitty, 5’4″, 100# wet, neighbor caught my 5’9″, 150# ass. 

      First cleaning. Salt and alcohol. Old school. My friend told my husband while she was on the phone with him, waiting for him to get home, “I’m a tough bitch”! No way! She’s the tough one, not bailing and staying cool when most people would have freaked.

      I’d love to tell you more – including why on earth I decided to shove and eight inch, serrated butcher knife about 3″ into my leg – but, I can’t. I have no clue what possessed me to do so. 

      The knife. As she was on the phone with Craig, she grabbed the medical information pamphlet that came with the new prescription. I was suffering from all six of the top, stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to the ER side effects.

      My husband naturally, was upset and furious. He called our PC who said I was “obviously beyond medication and needed to be in a psych ward and he’s not a psychologist”. I might add, he didn’t even have the balls to come to the phone himself, rather had his RNA deliver that information. 

      Not satisfied with that answer, he called the pharmacist at pharmacy “Z”, where it was filled. He knows us well and within two seconds found the problem and apologized profusely for not catching it himself, since he filled it. 

      The new medication and one I’ve been on for about a year don’t play nice together. Apparently, I was lucky I only suffered what I did, since this combo could have lowered my BP too far, too fast had I chosen to go to sleep (which, I was planning to do until I got into the epic phone marathon with my neighbor) and stopped my heart. This combination is apparently a huge NO, and being my only prescribing physician for the last year and a half, my PC should have caught that. He showed no remorse or responsibility for what could have very realistically left my husband planning a funeral, and showed absolutely no concern for “squeezing me in” to clean, check and stitch the wound that resulted from his fuck up. 

      Cleaning and changing the dressing yesterday. Thankfully it was a “clean” wound. The bruising extends 2-3″ around the wound and the pain from groin to ass, knee to hip.

      Naturally, having hit nerve and muscle, and being in a great deal of pain, my husband picked up my prescriptions from pharmacy “Y”. They’re notorious for changing the manufacturer on my Valium every couple months, but later that evening as I reached in to grab one before bed, lights off, watching a movie and keeping my leg elevated, I kept gravitating towards a pill that was significantly larger and smoother in texture than the others in the bottle. 

      I reach over and turn on the light to see what the fuck is going on, and apparently I must have been the 500th customer at pharmacy “Y” last month, because they threw in a “freebie”…which, ironically was in the same class of drugs as the one that damn near killed me (I looked up the number online to find out exactly what it was). It wasn’t the exact same drug, but like hell if I’m taking any chances! 

      One thing in this photo does not look like the others. I’d never even heard of this pill before, nontheless taken it.

      Here’s the thing folks – doctors, nurses, therapists, pharmacists – their job is to help us. Part of why they take what’s called the Hippocratic Oath, which is a vow to do no harm. Yes, mistakes happen. But, they seem to be happening more and more often; not to mention with more severe consequences. 

      Why did I share all this with you? Because it never occurred to me to question my doctor about whether or not there may be an interaction with any of my other drugs. I assumed being the only one seeing me for 1.5 years and the only prescribing physician I have as of present, he either knew my scripts well enough or would have at least glanced at my chart to refresh his memory. Doctors are busy. They see tons of patients every day. I get it. 

      This nonchalant behavior from the medical community is unacceptable. Our lives are very literally in their hands, and when they chose to ignore that fact, is when they need to look into a new profession. 

      I urge you. Please double check with all of those who provide medical assistance to you and your loved ones – especially when changing a medication, adding or stopping a medication or changing doseage of a medication – and/or if you notice any new symptoms/side effects, plan to take OTC (Over The Counter) or herbal/dietary supplements, or your medications don’t seem to be working as effectively anymore – ASK. 

      Asking your doctor is probably your best bet (not in my case, but I’m going to consider it extreme), however, pharmacists are also a fountain of knowledge. Don’t be afraid to look up drugs you may be taking or planning to take online and have a list of questions to ask your doctor or pharmacist if necessary and always read the information that comes with your prescriptions. Every time you fill it, in fact, since information often changes and your pharmacist may forget to mention it or be unaware. 

      Please feel free to share this story! It could save a life! While I’m currently very, very sore and my entire right quadricep hates me, my husband destroyed the pills in question, according to pharmacy “Z”‘s instructions and seeing as how it does not seem to be improving and pain is waking me every 3-3.5 hours (when my painkillers wear off), I am planning a trip to UC (Urgent Care) in the next day or so to see if they can do anything to at least ease the discomfort (numb it and give it a good scrubbing, maybe a muscle relaxer or anti-inflammatory to coincide with my oxy) because they at least check my medications every time  I go in. I am also in the process of finding a new PC, as I no longer trust or respect the one I currently have and I will keep y’all updated. 

      Again! Share! It could save a life! 

      Tips and Tricks to Make Your Next Salon Visit Your Best

      As I sit here in the wee hours, fighting off the last bits of my first autumnal cold/flu and watching “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan”, for what must be the 5,000th time, I find myself laughing, not only at Adam Sandler’s delightful comedic style, but also at how much is both true and false about working in a salon. 

      Granted, every salon is different. But, being a cosmetologist and having been on both sides of the scene, so to speak, a few things always pop into mind that I wish more people knew when they sit down to get their do, did. It’s nobody’s fault – how can one be expected to know these things unless they or someone they know has worked the industry. With all the big family holidays quickly approaching, everyone wants to look his or her best for family, friends, parties and special events. Tis the season to try a new cut or color for a lot of people for this very reason. 

      So, as I sit here waiting for my sniffly, sneezy, please-gods-hurry-up-and-knock-my-ass-back-out medicine to kick in, I figured I’d share a few of the secrets that make the salon world tick, so every salon visit can be your absolute best! 

      1. Pick the right salon for you. 

      Chain salons (Super Cuts, Great Clips, Cost Cutters, Smart Style, to name a few), are family friendly. Which if you’re looking for a more relaxing, spa type experience, these aren’t the best choice. There will be kids. There will be tears (both from kids and adults alike). There will be chaos. They also have a reputation for getting you in and out quickly, which is great if you’re short on time, but not so great if you want your hair done correctly. These salons keep stylists on a timer, some as short as 10 minutes. From the time your stylist calls you back to the chair until you checkout and pay, the clock is ticking. Stylists whose monthly averages don’t fall in the allocated time range (usually 10-15 minutes per client), often are reprimanded, lose bonuses and repeat offenders risk their job. Some offer chemical services such as color and perms/relaxers, which give a bit more time for your stylist to work (naturally). Again, don’t expect magazine worthy results. Most are licensed to use only certain brands, which are typically lower end. Sure, they’re professional, name brand products! Just think well as opposed to top shelf. 

      2. Take photos. 

      We’re beauticians, not magicians, as the saying goes. We’re also not mind readers and what you mean by “choppy” or “gold” or any other adjective can often be interpreted in 100 different ways. Don’t be afraid to take multiple pictures, either – both what you like and dislike. Have an idea before your walk in for your appointment. Unless you honestly mean it when you say, “do whatever you think will look best on me”, don’t say it. You may be shocked and it may be a look that you hate, is high maintenance or just simply isn’t you. By the same token, don’t let a stylist talk you into something you’re uncomfortable with. Yes, we’re trained to “size you up” and determine what we think will look best on you, from color to cut to styling. But, if you really hate bangs, and your stylist insists on it, don’t hesitate to politely, but firmly say “NO”

      3. FFS, BE HONEST! 

      We usually know when you’re lying, so just fess up from the start. I’d rather you tell me you trimmed your own bangs so I know going in, why things maybe aren’t matching up. Especially when it comes to chemicals, we need to know. Things like henna can be big trouble if we go to apply a permanent color over the top of it. Unless you want to see your hair on the floor, all of it, honesty is the best policy. Relaxers and perms as well. Applying color over a fresh relaxer can cause hair to melt or wilt a fresh perm. If you require more than one chemical service, it’s best to discuss with your stylist beforehand how to proceed to get the best results. 

      One of my favorite stories happened while I was working in a chain salon. A very flustered mother walked in with seven girls, aged about five to 15, all of which had horrendous haircuts except one of the younger ones (I’d guess about eight). It was a busy Saturday so the entire staff was there. With a deep sigh, mom started into the story. The eight year old wanted to cut her hair. She asked and mom told her no. As is often the case with kids, after about an hour, mom noticed they were all being far too quiet. Walking into one of the girls bedrooms, she happened upon this terrible scene. The eight year old had taken it upon herself to cut her sisters’ hair instead! All six stylists are on the verge of busting up laughing at this point! Hilarious, not to mom, I’m sure, so we were doing our best to hide snickers and giggles. Standing there proudly, beaming with pride, the wee one then announced, “you said I couldn’t cut my hair! You never said I couldn’t cut sissy’s hair!”. All mom could do was give a slow, sad nod. We couldn’t help ourselves at that point. We had to laugh! However, due to her honesty (including the fact the wee one did this with Peking shears/scrapbook edgers), we as stylists were better able to at least hide most of the damage and we gave mom a discount due to her horrendous experience. 

      4. Be realistic. 

      Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’ve fallen in love with a particular look, ask your stylist how to make it work for you. Keep in mind, none of the pictures you see in a magazine or of celebrities are “wash and go” styles. There’s product involved. Styling time and utensils. Plus, hair texture and thickness may be different, as well as length (a lot of the beautiful hair you see in magazine ads and on red carpets is thanks to extensions). Ask before any cutting takes place. Is this look flattering for me? How much upkeep and styling will be involved? What kind of product will I need? Will I need a piece of equipment I don’t already own, like a flat iron or triple barrel waving iron? How often will I have to come in to the salon for maintenance (trims, color touch up on regrowth, etc.)? There’s no point going all out on a hot new look if you’re not up for putting the time and effort into maintaining it. If it sounds like it’s going to be too much work, discuss with your stylist what it is about the look you really like and see if (s)he can give you a style with less upkeep, but still includes the key elements you were drawn to. 

      5. We’re not your bitch. 

      It’s not the 1950’s anymore. You can’t just walk into a salon and start by sweeping up hair and washing towels and end up a stylist six months later. Every state requires anyone working in the beauty industry to be licensed. In order to obtain a license, you must pass state board testing. In order to be eligible for state board testing, you must have “X” amount of educational hours (this varies by state). This includes everything from medical (for example, 600 of my hours are medical), electrical, chemistry – it’s not all shampooing and painting nails and fun and games (I did enjoy my time in beauty school, but that’s beside the point). So please – don’t talk to us like we’re morons. We didn’t choose this career because we weren’t smart enough for college. Let me tell you, boards in AZ, at least, consist of a written and practical exam. 1 out of every 10 who take them, pass. It’s not easy. After that license is in your hand, it doesn’t get any easier. It’s a catty, bitchy, backstabbing industry. We, like servers, live on tips for the most part and often have to rent our station or only make 40-50% of our total sales. We pay to work and until we can build a clientele, which can take years, we’re nothing more than starving artists. So, please…don’t talk to us like we’re idiots and respect the fact that there’s a good chance we may be losing money on you…so, tip well. If you’re unhappy, let your stylist know immediately! It can probably be fixed and everyone can go home happy.