Thursday, July 16, 2015

5 Beauty and Wellness Secrets Every Mom Should Know

Lately I have been getting some really positive comments from friends and family about my looks.  I have heard that I am looking years younger, that I look great, lost weight and generally am looking very well.

I did lose a lot of weight recently, about 25 pounds. I started to work on it about 4 months after I had my second child.  I really worked hard to get the weight off, and it most definitely took about 10 years off my appearance.  However, I think a combination of things is what I attribute to my general feeling of well being and the positive comments I have been getting.

I recently started doing 5 or 6 things religiously on top of losing the weight that I am certain have made a huge difference in making me look younger.  I even think I may look better now than I did when I was in my 20's simply because I know the secrets now, and I take better care of myself.  It is not easy to take care of yourself when you have little ones to take care of - believe me ladies I know!!  But, that's why it has been so important to me to take a little time for myself, because feeling confident and happy can make all the difference you need to get through a rough day with the kids.

So, here are my "secrets" that I wish to share with all of you...

1.  Keeping Off The Weight

Something I think a lot of women experience is when you eat like a bird for a month, lose some weight and then a few weeks later the weight creeps right back on.  So, I have found a few ways to keep myself in check without feeling like I'm constantly on a diet.
Mainly, I just do a few little things like, only eating bread once or twice a week.  Keeping sweets, especially chocolate out of my pantry - and just about once a week or so I will buy some chocolate as my 'special treat'.  Another thing I do is serve myself dinner on an appetizer plate.  I think we've all been taught from a very young age to finish everything on your plate - and it's only natural to eat everything that is in front of you.  To avoid overeating, especially when pasta or pizza is on the menu, I just eat on a smaller plate.  I do it at restaurants too - just scoop food onto an appetizer plate - and pack the rest in a to-go box.

Here is the real secret though...

2. Magical, Magical Lemon Water

Okay, before you dismiss this one because it sounds too simple, let me explain to you the amazing benefits of this magical fruit...

- Lemon balances your PH levels (I know what you are thinking; it's acidic you say.  Well yes it is - until you eat it- then it's properties change internally to balance body's PH levels) 
There are tons of articles about this online.
- Lemon is THE MOST ALKALINE food you can eat - meaning helps to counteract the bad effects of sugar and carbs.
- It also kills bad bacteria in your gut and helps regulate your digestive system
- Lemon also beefs up your immune system which helps all your organs function better and prevent illness
- (the best one) Speeds up your metabolism and helps you lose/ regulate weight
- Gives you an immediate energy boost!  Start your day off like this - and you will feel so much better everyday!

Okay, so the main trick is to squeeze a whole lemon into a tall glass of water and drink it down in the morning when you wake up - BEFORE you eat or drink anything else.  I do this religiously every morning and I swear it has made a HUGE difference in my overall health and helping me lose/ maintain a skinny waist line. The only thing is that it can mess with your tooth enamel so be sure to brush your teeth after breakfast.

Check out this article from LA Healthy Living...

3. Eyebrows To The Rescue

Well, if you are like me and were a teenager in the 90's, then you know that plucking the crap out of your eyebrows to get that 'oh so trendy' super thin line eyebrow look was a big thing back in the day.  

Well, recently I have discovered 2 things about eyebrows...
1) Big eyebrows are REALLY on trend right now
2) Bigger, thicker eyebrows make you look years younger. 

 So if you really want to take years off your face - put the tweezers away and start embracing all the available eyebrow pencils and fillers available out there.  If you are like me and you did pluck the crap out of your brows, you may not have a whole lot of brow to work with. I certainly don't - but I am doing my best to grow them back!

I try and keep my makeup simple and natural for just everyday, but I never leave the house without brushing and filling in my brows - no matter where I am going.  It instantly takes years off my face.  The main reason for this is simple; as we age our eyebrows along with the rest of our hair become thinner - so in your subconscious mind when you see people with thicker eyebrows, you assume they are younger.

I have watched a zillion eyebrow makeup tutorials to make sure I know how to make them look naturally full.

Check out this tutorial from Desi Perkins - one of my favorite makeup artists - I subscribe to her You Tube channel.

4. Complexion Rescue FOR REAL

My wish has finally come true now that I have found a tinted moisturizer/ BB cream that actually DOES what it says it's supposed to do.

Let me introduce you to the best product ever - Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue.
I use the lightest color Opal 1 - since my skin is really fair and I have cool undertones.  It matches perfectly!

Honestly, I have searched for years for a product like this - it is The Magic Unicorn of all makeup products.  I have had a lot of skin issues in my life - I'm very fair with a fair amount of freckles; I've struggled with acne for years; have a ton of sun damage, and have redness issues too.  This product makes my skin look smooth, even and glowy (in a youthful, natural sort of way) and the best part is - it blends in so well with my skin it doesn't even look like I have any makeup on!!  Plus it has the every important SPF in it.  I'm telling you - it's magical. Don't take my word for - get a sample from Sephora and see for yourself.

5. It's All About The Hair

After I had my fist child I got so mad about her pulling my hair and it was all falling out anyway from pregnancy hormones, so I decided to chop it all off into a short bob.  My hair cut was cute but, since I was already over weight in only magnified the effect of making me look older.  The main reason is that long hair lengthens out the look of your face, hides neck thickness, and leaves a youthful impression - which of course makes you look skinnier.
Since then I have been growing out my hair - 2 years later it is still only a couple inches past my shoulders but it has made a big difference in making me look a little younger.
The second and most important part of my hair maintenance is my hair stylist.  I can't stress enough the importance of an excellent stylist.  I've been with my stylist for a few years now and couldn't be happier. She is amazing!  She is a fantastic colorist and she is constantly keeping up with trends, new products and developing her skills.  
The best tip I have for finding an top notch hair stylist is to look for salons that carry Kerastase products.  Kerastase has certain criteria for allowing a salon to carry their products and that criteria usually means the stylists there are really good. 

 This is by no means inexpensive but, to me, worth it!  I spend a lot on my hair when I go in, but because my stylist is so good - I only have to go in every 3 or 4 months.  It's like being pampered once every few months - so wonderful for my confidence and general well being.

Here's a photo to prove my point.  As you can see in the photo on the left I was heavier, had shorter hair, my eyebrows were thinner and my skin was looking textured with age.  Now, even though the photo on the right is not a great one (just took a selfie with my phone) you can see I look thinner, my longer hair makes me look younger than the photo on the left, I have fuller eyebrows, and my skin is looking much more youthful.  Also, I think I just look happier - and that is the main goal!

6. Prevention

Lastly, I would like to add the one thing I wish I would have known when I was in my twenties.  
Always protect your skin!  That means always wearing SPF in your face and neck.  It means always washing your face at night and using moisturizer. It means drinking plenty of water and not drinking too much alcohol.  And most importantly, it means NOT worshipping the sun!  If I could go back in time and stop myself from ever tanning or letting my face get tanned or burned I would.  Nothing ages you faster than the sun.  Don't think that just because you have dark skin or tan easily that you are impervious to the ill effects of too much sun exposure - if you've ever seen those videos where they look at your skin through an ultra violet light and reveal all the damage you will know what I am talking about.

I'm sure a few women told me something about this when I was younger but I never heeded their advice.  Now I am paying for it with sun damaged skin.

However, I did stop tanning about 5 years ago and it has helped a lot.  Not to mention being tan is not a fashionable thing anymore like it was when I was growing up - now the message is (as it should be) that;

Your skin is perfect and gorgeous no matter what your natural shade.  If you are dark or light - don't try to change it! 

SPF - is an everyday must!!!

Below you can see more before and after photos that really speaks for themselves.  The photo on the right was taken about 3 years ago when I was about 25 pounds heavier and my hair was short, and I didn't know about filling in my brows or any of my other beauty secrets.  Well, I did know about having a great hair stylist - fortunately I have known that one for years - my hair was still cute even though it was short (which aged me a bit).

The photo on the left is me a few weeks ago after I got my hair done with my AMAZING stylist, only it's longer and more flattering on me.  Even though I don't have any good full length photos of myself - I think you can really see the weight difference in my face.

Well - you heard them all - I'm always looking for new ways to improve my well being, and even though exercise was conspicuously absent from my list - I try to get some in when I can - I didn't add it since it's sort of a given that we all need to try and get exercise and the benefits are obvious. However, if you are a mom with multiple little ones under the age of 4 you already know how hard it is to do.  I'm right there with you!