Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Easy DIY Skincare




So....now that my 6 year tenure with a manufacturer that produced high end clinical skin care has ended, I am ready to pull back the curtain and give you a peek inside. Why would you want to know where your face cream comes from? Well, I believe that knowledge is power and if you only knew what really goes into making that bottle of lotion you may just want to make it yourself (and its easier than you think!). Who wouldn't want to eliminate unnecessary or harmful chemicals from your routine? How awesome would it be to save a ton of money AND improve the quality of your face products? Let me help you out with that.

Now, before you go throwing out all of your Clinique and Estee Lauder you should know that there are a few down sides to DIY skin care. If you opt to totally eliminate preservatives, you may have to resort to making small batches on a weekly basis and may need to refrigerate your concoction (depends on the ingredients used). Accuracy can also be a challenge unless you own a small scale to measure the ingredients so, willingness to accept small variances from batch to batch will be helpful. OK, that covers the "cons" category. The "pros" list is much longer - customize your products, preservative free skin care, maximum potentency, cost effective, easy, fun and you get to skip the mall!

Everything you need to make your own skin care can be purchased online - seriously. Whether you want to whip up organic baby butt balm for your newborn or have decided to reclaim the garage to start up your own line, there are websites that will provide everything you could ever want in your jar. The two that I highly recommend (based on quality of ingredients and selection):  www.lotioncrafter.com and www.theherbarie.com. Here you will find the same actives and ingredients you find in the highest end department store brands along with formulas, ingredient calculators, containers and even intro kits!

Does it sound too easy? It is. There is no need for a fancy lab with huge mixing kettles and filling machines. A little time, some basic math and a refrigerator are all it takes to be successful. Good luck and have fun!




Monday, June 30, 2014

Addicted to the needle - fillers and botox

 Have you been thinking about taking the plunge? Maybe just a little filler here and a little Botox there?  Maybe you just want to chase away those crow's feet or that deepening line in your forehead.  What about plumping up your pencil thin lips?  What's holding you back?  Those "celebrities gone bad" face photos you googled?  Think it is going to be wicked expensive or excruciatingly painful?  If lack of knowledge is keeping you from looking younger and feeling better about yourself, let me help.  I have had countless needles stuck into my face for the sake of beauty and I loved every minute of it.  Let me lend you some of my personal (and numerous) experiences provide you with some valuable tips to guide you on your journey:

RULE #1  Be wary of cheap prices when it comes to Botox! Ask the clinician what their dilution rate is to truly judge if your getting what you pay for. Allergan, the makers of Botox, give these guidelines:
  • 2.5ml of sterile saline for a 100 unit vial of Botox
  • 1.25ml of sterile saline for a 50 unit vial of Botox
 If you get an answer of anything less than this, your getting a watered down product and should not expect the results to be as effective/last long. You will also find that you need to go back more often for a “refill” which can end up costing more in the long run. When mixed at the recommended percentages, the effects of Botox typically last 3 months or more (depends on how many units go into one area).  You can expect to need 20-40 units per area of correction.  If the practitioner quotes in units, ask how many will be needed for each specific area.  If you are given a dollar amount per area, ask how many units that would be and break down the price per unit. You MUST know the per unit price in order to accurately know what you are paying for.  Normal price ranges are $10-$15 per unit.  Remember - if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely IS.

     There are numerous dermal fillers on the market and new ones being added every time you turn around. Do your research before going to your consultation so that you already have an idea of what you may want. Each filler has pros and cons as well as guidelines for where it should and should not be used. If someone wants to use Radiesse to fill out your tear troughs, RUN because the makers specifically state where their filler can and cannot be used.  Some are superficial while others are deep tissue and you never want to mix and match them. Some fillers last 3 months, some 2 years....some have lidocaine built in for a virtually painless injection.....and cost fluctuates in accordance to these variables. Know the variables and you can break down the cost for a more accurate comparison.

When it comes to the person holding the needle, experience is Crucial! Many publications recommend that you should only seek out a plastic surgeon or dermatologist for these treatments. This is true IF these doctors perform injections on a daily basis AND have performed a multitude of treatments. There are many practitioners, such as medical aesthetitians or aesthetic nurses/nurse practitioners, who are equally qualified and, in some instances, have a better hand. These folks are usually trained by the manufacturer and do injectables as the majority of their business. This, by no means, implies that you should let your podiatrist or cardiologist stick you in the face with Botox. Ask lots of questions - How many treatments do you do in a day? Who trained you and how many hours was the training? How long have you been working with_______ (Juviderm, Botox, Evolve, etc.).

These tips and tricks may seem like logical things to ask but, in the heat of the moment, its easy to become impulsive and “Just Do It”. Trust me when I tell you that doing your homework can save you from a lot of misery down the line!


God drives a Hyundai

Today I met God..... and she was driving a Hyundai Accent. Mind you I am not an overly religious person but, sometimes there are things you can not ignore.


I've been struggling with a decision for the last 24 hours however, on my way home I decided to go with my conscience and do something I know would not sit well with my husband or my immediate plans for the future of our family.   I just knew it was the right thing to do but, it would also complicate my life immensely come November.


I had lost one of my beloved dogs just a few short days ago.  I should preface this by saying they are like children to me and this loss was tearing up my heart and soul. I'm a foster mom to these “throwaways” and have taken in a lot of fur babies that I know don't have long on this planet. It's not an easy task but, it brings me a purpose in life (along with the sorrow).


I had just recently suffered a devastating blow with the abrupt loss of my Bimini (a stunning black and tan Pekingese whose original "mommy" threw him away once he could no longer breed). He had only been with me for a little over year. I loved him with all my heart and called him my little hippie boy. He was the most peaceful, sweet, loving animal I've ever known. My heart was broken just as it had been with the 2 losses just 4 months prior.


So, when I see this pathetic little waif of a dog in need if a savior I went into stress mode. How can I help without taking on the responsibility?  We are moving in November and it is so much easier to find a place that allows 2 dogs.  Three dogs, no matter what size, is almost impossible! But she was crying out to me through her photo that was circulating via social media and  I was being told that the rescue I work with is not going to save her. Ugg!  


Against my better judgment, I stop by the county animal control to see her after work today. The minute I lay eyes on this little angel I knew what I have to do. Phone calls are made, the plan was set and I push the button. Tomorrow I would pick her up and bring her home, get her well and most likely never let her leave my life.


As I am on my way home struggling with the decision (made without consulting my husband) and rehearsing my speech I convince myself 3 is my lucky number and all would be well. Long ago, I had made a vow to always have one special needs dog in my home to "pay it forward". I have 2 super great young pups I share my life with but, one of them had been purchased at a pet store. Only later did I learned about the horrors of puppy mills and that this is where "pet store puppies" come from. I had such guilt and needed make it right (thus the rescue work began). I make very effort to sell it to myself so my pitch to my husband is rock solid as I sit at a red light talking to myself. Next to me I hear "beep beep". I almost NEVER look over because it is almost invariably an asshole wanting to cut in front of me or some similar form rudeness. But I did, and there was God.


Next to me sat a "grandma" type woman with blonde "grandma" styled hair in an orange Hyundai Accent hatchback - exactly like the one I was driving. She looked at me, flipped me a double thumbs up and smiled.  I smiled back, then laughed, then cried as I pulled away when the light turned green. This was my sign. I was doing the right thing and the powers that be felt it was important enough to deliver the message personally. The emotion from that experience was so strong that just writing about it now, 3 hours later, is making me cry. I saw me, like a future reflection, telling myself "good job". It was dumbfounding and overwhelming and astounding. I am still scratching my head....I can't recall her face and I would not be able to recognize her again, but that smile and thumbs up brought me to my knees and changed the course of my life.  Mhysa is here safe, sound and saving me in my dark hours.


So, yes Virginia (I hate it when people ask me if Ginger is short for Virginia, but bear with me here) there is a higher power and she drives a Hyundai hatchback just like mine.