Winter Dry Skin – A Twitter Chat

Looks like all of North America has dry skin this winter. And my friend, Gabriella, and I had the most refreshing twitter chat with two guys last night who volunteered their skin care routines.

Both Jon and Simon had the best recommendations I’ve heard in a long time. Despite the fact I follow loads of female beauty and skin care bloggers (including me since 2009!), I learned a lot from these dudes. It is no wonder. Simon calls himself a “SNAG”:

My routine has been a humidifier, lotion, Embryolisse Huile De Beaute, a Swiss goat milk bath soak and almond oil after my regular lotion. But it just wasn’t cutting it. I have been flaky, itchy and it just hasn’t been pretty.

These guys had some excellent recommendations. First up was a resounding recommendation for First Honey Manuka Honey Cream for Dry & Itchy Skin. Followed up by a barrier cream from either Cerave or Cetaphil. I ordered Cerave Healing Ointment. I have used this before and forgot how incredibly nourishing it is.

When we got on the topic of dry skin around our eyes, Jon recommended Burt’s Bees Calming Eye Cream (which immediately went into my shopping cart). I love this brand but I haven’t used it in ages – I will be sure to report back on thoughts. The eye area seems to be so susceptible to dryness, so a soothing and calming formula is just what I need.

And then the lovely Courtney joined in (who has ALWAYS had good tips plus best Twitter handle EVER). I have been following Courtney since my early days of blogging and Twitter. Naturally, she had practical and luxe ideas for dry skin and shared her whole routine.

Thanks to Courtney, I also dug out some Dove unscented bar soap I had in my guest room. Forgot how nourishing that was. And also added some Indie Lee products to my Amazon cart. I have used one of their face masks in the past, and excited to try out body care. I ordered the body oil and body scrub.

Last two honorable mentions are my favorite hand cream: Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Hand Cream and Courtney’s favorite budget body lotion: Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion for Very Dry Skin.

I’d love to hear anyone else’s thoughts. On the plus side, we have some rainy snow here today so I am grateful for the humidity.

Shopbop Sale

It is that time of year again – stock up on favorites with the Shopbop Style Event. Use code STYLE through October 14, 2021, at 11:59pm PT to get 15% off orders of $200+20% off orders of $500+25% off orders of $800+. Just make sure to look for items labeled Style Event.

Skin Care Update

I had one of those evenings last night where I was so grateful for social media. I’ve always appreciated the tool for keeping up with friends and building my business when I was a full-time blogger. But since then I deleted my Facebook account. Never joined TikTok. Still trying to figure out Clubhouse. But I love Instagram.

First, a fun exchange of memes with the wittiest of my friends, Suzie. And an update on my new apartment with Katy (she also shared the best NYT article that seriously hit home). I appreciated hearing influencer/blogger insights from a new friend, Lindsay from NYC. A fun catch-up with my real-job-finance-world-soul-mate, Pamela. And a new favorite follow, former-hockey player and fellow golf player, Emma.

They all together inspired me to write. As this is indeed a beauty blog, I wanted to share an epiphany. I am definitely on the other side of life since I first started this blog. Ah, I was just barely 30 years old, almost eleven years ago. My skin is different now – duh. As this 41-year-old face tells me every autumn when I try to get back into my Tretinoin regime. I get so dry and red. I think it makes me look haggard when I try to use the product. Despite my being strict in easing into the routine, using a good moisturizer, etc. I just can’t break through to a glowy result. And one skin care professional I see recently likened it with hitting an ant with a sledgehammer. At least for me. If you can power through, more power to you! I just realized it wasn’t for me.

So I switched. My issues (besides fragile, sensitive skin – btw those are the words on my literal SkinGuru here in Tulsa), are occasional hormonal cystic acne, redness, and if I am not super careful, rosacea. After relinquishing myself to a Tretinoin-free life, I have found my skin is healthy, plumper, not-as-angry, and even actually the desired “glowy”.

As a side note, I also gave up on eye cream after my beautiful mother told me recently she never used one. I was tired of spending an arm and leg on them without much results. I think she was right – I have not noticed a single difference and haven’t used an eye product in three months. I also acknowledge that I don’t have super difficult bagginess and dark circles.

So I am sharing my current lineup below. There are a handful of cleansers. I rotate. And I love cleansers. LOL. Pamela is the one that taught me acne cleansers can be for us adults too and I am still hooked on her recommendation, PanOxyl. But I threw in a couple other favorites as well. My Instagram link is here so if you have any thoughts, please share!

By the way – if you are one of my loyal readers (which I bet you are), you are getting this post via email. You have to click through to see what I am using. Go to my actual site here.

Shopbop on Black Friday

We have all become experts on online shopping this crazy year. So no need to sell you guys on browsing the web for loungewear ideas. I am still working from home. And while I tell my “real clothes” I miss them every day, I am quite proud of my “lounge chic” look I have developed over the last nine months.

I’ve picked up quite a few gems from Shopbop. And definitely plan on adding to my collection during their fab sale going on this week. The sale begins today through Sunday at 11:59pm PT. Use code SHOP20 to take 20% off orders of $200 of more.

Here are some beauties I have my eye on (click through to post if you are viewing in email):

How Iceland Made Me Fall for Linen Bedding

In May of 2017, my friend Katherine and I went on our Iceland adventure. It was a trip of a lifetime. Iceland has been on my bucket list since before it was even trendy. My friend in college did a Fulbright scholarship there in 2001 and I have had dreams of visiting ever since. We did the whole ring road over 12 days, seeing every nook and cranny of the beautiful island.

We didn’t buy a whole bunch over there (except for some amazing skin care). But I did take home something like a souvenir. I got hooked on how the Nordic sleep. Every night at the humble but so cozy homes we stayed it, the beds were made with a fitted sheet and a folded duvet as the sole cover. No flat sheet, no blanket. I slept like a baby.

As soon as I got home, I ordered a sheet set from Parachute Home (who obviously knew what they were doing because they sold sheet sets in this exact way). For the last three years, Parachute has been my go-to. I have one set of Percale, but I continue to use my Linen sets week after week.

In the picture above, where Izzy and Tink are showing off their bed, I have the Parachute Home Matelasse Coverlet in Pebble Grey with matching Euro Shams. These are a relatively new addition and I like that they lend themselves to a more finished look. But more often than not, I embrace this undone linen (obviously this week, unmatched and quirky). I have the linen fitted sheet in White, the linen duvet cover in Coal and the linen pillowcase sets in Coal and Fog.

My other look is linen pillowcases, fitted sheet and duvet cover all in Fog. Fog is an almost near match with the Matelasse Coverlet in Pebble Grey for a more monochromatic look.

I tend to sleep hot, and I have never been more comfortable than in the weight and feel of Parachute Home’s Linen. The bedding is easy to care for and holds up beautifully. I wasn’t asked by Parachute Home to write this post – I just really love the brand and wanted to share. The brand is committed to high quality items that are easy to shop. Most of what I have purchased has been made in Portugal. And to boot, the packaging is beautiful.

Gym Journey

Last week I introduced some new topics here. Thanks for the enthusiasm and excited to shake things up on the blog. To get things rolling, this is how my re-entry into the fitness world came about. It wasn’t pretty but I am sure glad I took that road.

In June 2019, I turned 40. As my big year approached, I drummed up the idea to run a 10k before I turned the big 4-0. In January, I figured I better join a gym to facilitate that undertaking. I knew I had to increase my endurance and strength to run that distance (and not destroy my knees in the process). Lots of my co-workers enjoyed the gym at the hospital across the way from our office so I figured I would give it a shot.

I’ve always benefited from personal training. I like the instruction, but even more I like the accountability. Yes, it is pricey. But I was willing to forgo other little luxuries and invest. It paid off. And I have learned that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, especially in these times of COVID. More on that in a bit.

When I joined the gym, I expressed interest in functional fitness and HIIT (high intensity interval training) and got matched with Exercise Physiologist / Tactical Strength and Conditioning Coach Lee Smither. Lee is a veteran of the United States Air Force with years of tactical, strength and conditioning experience. Slightly intimidating. And a little scary. LOL. His workouts are definitely challenging but his approach and demeanor encouraged me to go further than I ever thought I could. Lee is patient in instruction, and a stickler for form – something who knows what being 40 feels like and wants to avoid injury at all costs would appreciate. He is also adept at adjusting workouts and routines according to goals, injuries and ability.

Our hour long training sessions consisted of a lot of body-weight work (jumping jacks, burpees, air squats). He works with cardio equipment tools like the assault bike, rower and SkiErg (a kind of cross-country skiing upright rower). And he isn’t afraid to throw in medicine balls, battling ropes and weighted sandbags. He also is an experienced runner and came in valuable as a race coach. Below is a sample workout from last week that really made me hate him humbled me but was so rewarding at the end:

Cardio and Abs

Warm Up: 1 mile run

5 rounds:

  • One minute of up/downs (kinda like a burpee but not quite)
  • One minute max meters on assault bike
  • One minute max flutter kicks
  • One minute slam balls

Three rounds:

  • One minute plank
  • One lap (100 meters approximately) Farmers carry (carry plate weight in each hand – I used 10 pounds but can go up to 25 for a challenge)

Finish with 100 Russian Twists

Simple but killer. I burned approximately 660 calories.

The punchline of that story: thanks to a lot of hard work and help from Lee and my friend Deena, that 10k turned into a half-marathon. I completed the race in March of 2019 at a “not-totally-embarrassing-time” well ahead of my 40th! And in the process, got hooked on getting stronger and more fit.

*Stay tuned for my next fitness post on why virtual training works for me versus apps like FitOn, Aaptive, Nike and even in-person training. And more about how Lee and I work together now virtually. *