WHAT I’M LOVING NOW (Spring Edition)

I know it has been a minute (OK…OK…a few months) since my last post; but to say that life has gotten in the way would be an understatement.

Work at QM has picked up quite a bit which has kept me super busy as of late. With the uptake in work  came some crazy moments with my health (as many of you know I have been managing Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which when out of control can really have me out of it along with my migraines). But, after NYFW this past February, I took stock and refocused and got myself back in order. Sometimes as women, we forget how difficult it can be to keep everything in balance if we don’t make a conscious effort to do so. I used the Spring (a time of renewal and rebirth) to make a pledge to myself to literally add the “me time” to the calendar in pen– otherwise know as investing in #TeamMe.

What does that mean?

Well, I have added yoga back to my weekly calendar after a two and a half year hiatus. At least twice a week, you can find me at Yoga Herald Square sweating it out at a 60 or 90 minute hot yoga class– releasing the stress and easing the aches and pains that come taking care of business (and running all over town doing so).

#TeamMe also had really making an effort of getting my thyroid disorder under control as it was affecting everything else in my life (sleep, diet, energy, skin, hair, concentration….just to name a few). I was tired of feel sluggish and tired all the time and looking like I got hit by a MACK truck (yes seriously…..I felt like it too). It didn’t help that I was in the middle of prepping clients for Fashion Week shows/presentations and burning the candle on both ends and along the sides (is that even possible?). After spending the night in the hospital after a really bad migraine right before NYFW  and being told by my doctor (well being screamed at to be more accurate) that I pretty much was deficient in every vitamin and mineral known to man– and being threatened with a hospital stay, I sought the help of a nutritional coach to help me get back on the ball.

Which brings me to the first item on my “What I’m Loving Now” List….

 

HERBALIFE’S FORMULA 1 HEALTHY MEAL NUTRITIONAL SHAKE MIX– ALTERNATIVE PROTEINS

 

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One of the biggest problems I was having was that I was so busy that I did’t have time to eat. I pretty much would spend the entire day working and would get into a flow and not want to stop for lunch and then find myself having unable to eat because either my head would hurt so much from a hunger headache or from being so filled with air that I just wasn’t hungry anymore. It was not a good look. It was wreaking havoc on my thyroid and pretty much just messing me up badly. I ended up meeting Irina (a former member of the Romanian national gymnastics team) over at NYC Health & Nutrition and began a 6 week program to get myself back on track. Irina put me on a schedule that included vitamins and food (among other things) that would help me get back in control.

One of the things she introduced me to was Herbalife’s nutritional shakes. It was a great option to get the much needed nutrients (remember what the doctor said) that I was missing from my lack of eating like a human being. Now Herbalife has a whole bunch of nutritional shakes in a some amazing flavors (dulce de leche, cookies and cream, chocolate, etc). I personally opted for the Alternative Proteins Shake which currently only comes in Vanilla as it doesn’t contain soy and gluten (no-no’s for folks with my issue). But why do I like it so much?  “Formula 1 Alternative Proteins is a delicious healthy meal that satisfies hunger, helps manage weight and gives lasting energy, with balanced amino acids from pea, sesame and rice proteins. Each gluten-free certified shake is packed with 21 vitamins and minerals, herbs and fiber.” I make mine with Almond milk and it taste great or when I want to feel fancy or have more time (like on the weekends) I throw it in the Nutribullet with a banana and some chia and other fruit and make a delicious smoothie. I have the shake twice a day (my second one is either before or after yoga) and keep it moving).

You can meet Irina or one of her partners at NYC Health & Nutrition here in New York or in their office in LA. Just visit their website here for more info.  Tell them Tamara sent you!

 

FITBIT CHARGE

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Maybe it’s in my name or maybe it is just what it is….but I am a walker. I walk everywhere here in New York. To be honest, I think it is more because I don’t have the patience to wait for public transportation or a cab. I just joined the FitBit tribe last month when I got a Charge. I’ve had fitness trackers in the past, but this is by far my favorite.Not the brand’s most fancy one, but for me it does what it needs to do and more  (track steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes and sleep– and it has caller ID and it tells time– HA).  But why do I love it so much? Well, it syncs to your phone via their own app (Android & iPhone) and your computer. It also has the ability to sync with other apps including MyFitnessPal, UA Record, MapMyFitness and many more. It also allows you to challenge your friends to see who can rack up the most steps during the day, the week or over the weekend. The natural competitor in me loves that and online, they have community forums which can lead to you finding a workout partner or a new friend. I can easily see why this is the most popular of the fitness trackers on the market.

 

DESHELI HYALURONIC CAPSULES

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My skin suffered the most during this whole crazy period when my thyroid was really out of whack. I had breakouts that I hadn’t seen since junior high and that had me running to the dermatologists and to the spa to try and save my face. I started going for regular facials at the Desheli Spa & Rejuvenation Center in Midtown. Desheli, founded in 2008 in Israel, is known worldwide for their innovation in botanical, stem-cell, diamond powder and light therapies. They focus on improving the look and texture of the skin and hair of men women with patented deep hydration and anti-aging products. One of my favorite products are their hyaluronic capsules.

Look, it’s a fact, we are going to get older and our skin changes. Some faster than others and outside factors (pollution, health, etc) also contribute to the acceleration of the aging process. These capsules contain hyaluronic acid that fill cells with moisture and helps them stay hydrated throughout the day. Used morning and night, the capsules help stimulate the  cells regeneration process, helping to minimize lines and wrinkles, increases the tone of the skin, and slows the aging process. Desheli’s Hyaluronic Capsules contain natural oils and extracts that nourish the skin.

 

TROPIC ISLE LIVING LAVENDER JAMAICAN BLACK CASTOR OIL

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Another random and unwanted side effect of Hashimoto’s is super dry skin and hair (which causes the hair to thin and break a lot). Having dreadlocks,it’s hard to put some of the products on the market “designed” for natural hair  in my hair as they tend to be heavy and cake and not dissolve totally in my hair due to the nature of the style and also have parabens and other irritants that hurt my scalp. With that said, my new best friend is Tropic Isle Living’s Lavender Jamaican Black Castor Oil. I use it for everything! It’s a natural miracle worker. It’s great for treating everything from dry hair and dry scalp to helping to thicken your hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows! It is also great for helping with extremely dry skin and mild acne (did I say it was a miracle worker? For more uses, check out this great article.). By itself, castor oil can smell a little icky, but Tropic Isle Living infuses theirs with some great natural oils including lavender and coconut. I personally like the scent of lavender and it’s calming properties (I tend to do my hair moisturizing at night so it helps to calm me before sleeping).  Mr Socialite has commented on how thick and healthy and long my hair has gotten thanks to this all natural (yep…only ingredients…Castor Oil and Lavender Oil) gem of a product.

 

VANITY PLANET’S SPIN FOR PERFECT SKIN

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Who doesn’t love the feel of a clean face? Between the recent breakouts, my hot yoga workouts and my general obsession with my skin, I am always looking for the perfect product or tool to help achieve the feel and look of gorgeous clear skin. Vanity Planet’s Spin For  Perfect Skin cleansing brush set is definitely a must have for the skin obsessed. This 5 piece system (1 facial cleansing brush, 1 exfoliating facial brush, 1 body cleansing brush, 1 pumice stone and the handheld device) needs to be part of your daily and weekly routine. Let’s face it (pun intended) we live in environments which wreak havoc on our skin. From smog and other air pollutants, the sun, sweat and more….and the fact that we are aging (hello, we aren’t getting any younger), we want our skin to look its best. The Spin For Perfect Skin system pretty much can help you do that from head to toe with brushes (and a pumice stone) for all your needs. What separates this  brush systems from many of the others out there is that it actually spins in gentle circular motions versus a side to side movement. I personally like this because I feel like I am getting a gentle exfoliation with each wash as well as a thorough cleansing. Afterward, I did the astringent test– you know, when you go and follow your cleansing with an astringent. Most times you find yourself still removing a layer of dirt and asking yourself “did I actually wash my face?” But, with the Spin For Perfect Skin, I haven’t had to ask myself this once! Oh and yeah…your misters are going to want to get in on the action too…smdh. Just ask Mr. Socialite who finds this thing pretty cool.

 

GARNIER MICELLAR CLEANSING WATER 

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The French have been raving about Micellar Cleansing Water for over a hundred years. We here in the States are a little tardy to the party on this one. Found at most local drugstores, beauty specialty stores and department stores, (I am found of Garnier’s and I get mine at CVS), there is no longer any excuses ladies to sleep with makeup on. None. Nope. Nada. I don’t care how tired you are coming from work or the club or wherever, you can now clean your face before bed. Why? Because this one product simplifies the nightly cleansing process from 3-4 steps down to just 1– and no rinsing is involved! I know you are looking at the screen all skeptical, but it works and it’s pretty simple (and ingenious) actually. Micellar Cleansing Water features micelle cleansing molecules that pull oil and dirt away from the face (see the images below for the explanation). And because there is no alcohol, fragrance or harsh chemicals in micellar cleansing water, it’s pretty much safe for all skin types (particularly those who suffer with dry and acne prone skin– yay me).

 

 

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TRADITIONAL CLEANSERS work individually to dissolve oil, dirt and makeup so you have to rub your face harshly and rinse with water to clean your face completely (image via Garnier)

 

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MICELLAR CLEANSING MOLECULES cluster together to lift the oil, dirt and makeup on contact. So basically you don’t have to rub or rinse! (image courtesy of Garnier)

 

That’s what I have been coveting so far this spring. All the images (except for the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water) are clickable and will lead you to the brand’s page so you can get one too. Because you can get the Cleansing Water at most major chain drug stores, start there first.

And also….this isn’t a sponsored post. I bought each product mentioned here and reviewed each on my own without any solicitation.

Hope you find these products as great as I have found them.

Until next time my lovelies!

 

THE CS BOOK CLUB: Brittany Gibbons’ Fat Girl Walking

The last few months, I think I have gotten the same piece of advice/instruction from almost everyone I know—“Stop stressing.” And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. Mr. Socialite says it daily. My mother has been saying it a lot lately too. Even my physician went as far as to write a prescription literally saying….”Stop Stressing and go have fun.” Thanks Doc. Great advice but easier said than done.

The sad part is I know I stress a lot. Sometimes it’s warranted and other times it’s due to the stars. Yes, I said the stars. Being a Virgo has its privileges but there are some nasty side effects—one of them being the never-ending quest for perfection and the stress that comes with this (Ask me how many times I have actually started this post and why it’s taken me almost two weeks to finally post it, SMDH). But I am learning to manage stress and being a Virgo a lot better as I get older. One of my coping mechanisms is reading.

Just as much as I like to write, I love to read. Magazines (I’m subscribed to a million of them), the newspaper (I blame you Mama Socialite for that one….I read 3-4 different local newspapers every day. Seriously how different can each retelling of the same news item be?) , Blogs (Bloglovin’ is one of my most active apps on my phone) and of course books.

Books are like the ultimate vacation. Where else can you travel to exotic places, time warp to the past or future; or even live someone else’s life (without being on the lam) for free? Alright….maybe for the cost of the book or download but free if you go to the library (support your local library!). For me, books are the ultimate escape from the everyday. And sometimes they are almost as good as a therapist or sister-friend. So it’s no surprise that I am launching the Curvy Socialite Book Club. The CS Book Club will feature new and old books alike (truthfully what catches my fancy at the time) with my thoughts on the book, the author and more.

To kick things off, I will talk about fellow blogger extraordinaire, Brittany Gibbons’ book, Fat Girl Walking.

Many of you know Brittany Gibbons already—maybe not by her real name but at least by her blog’s name, Brittany Herself. She is ranked as one of the top bloggers in the Plus Size/Curvy, Mommy and Lifestyle categories. I think Brittany first came across my radar after I read some coverage about an experiment in body image and self-love were she had sex every day for a year with her husband, Andy (yeah you read that right—yeah she tells us all about it in her book). To be honest, I always thought she was brave as she bared everything for the world to see (she’s also known for wowing the crowd as she stripped down to a bikini during her TED Talk a few years back). But how did Brittany Gibbons become the fabulous body positive activist and champion for the everyday woman? Simple…she was just herself.

Fat Girl Walking is one of those books that reads more like a conversation with your BFF rather than an autobiography. In it, Brittany shares her life story of growing up as a “big girl” in Ohio and dealing with mental illness, obesity, family, dating (not easy at any size) , eating disorders and more. Chock full with hilarious stories riddled with pop culture references as well as some of raw painful moments that out right broke my heart, I found myself sitting their laughing out loud (and sometimes at the most inopportune times—try cracking up in the quiet car on the Metro North….if looks could kill….) and even shedding tears throughout the whole read. She pretty much bares her soul to the reader to giving us all the good, bad and sometimes out right gross details of it all (yeah the post childbirth stories will have you second guessing kids if you don’t have them already) At the end of the day, she takes us on an intimate journey of how she came to love herself despite—rather in spite of—her size.

Fat Girl Walking is definitely a must for your summer reading list….no matter your size.

Brittany Gibbons…herself

DON’T CALL IT A COME BACK…..The return of the Curvy Socialite

It’s been over six months since my last blog post.

Six months….Six LONG months.

Many of you have sent me many a private message asking if I was coming back.

Well….here I am.

I’m back.

I think unconsciously I needed a hiatus. Life was getting in the way (and so was stress) and because of that the things that I am passionate about (i.e. the blog) began taking a backseat to everything.

A good thing about being away from the Curvy Socialite was that I realized how much I missed writing and how much this blog has become a part of who I am. I kind of had a bit of separation anxiety– almost like a parent who has taken a long business trip away from their child.

I didn’t totally abandon everything with Curvy Socialite. I kept up on social media with regular Instagram and Facebook posts filled inspirational quotes, pop culture news, red carpet fashion and other random musings…as well as tweets about my favorite shows, about interesting reads I came across during my time away from CS and more.

The Curvy Socialite

Another thing I learned while “on leave”– and what may have prompted the hiatus in the first place– was how to put myself first. Between running a boutique PR firm, blogging and trying to be a good significant other, daughter, sister, and friend, I found myself spread super thin. There were major and minor crises that had to be handled, along with other fires that had to be put out. I soon found my role with many in my life morphing from a helper to the new dual role of doer/fixer. But I can’t really blame anyone for that happening except myself. I had allowed myself to fall into a role of having others be too dependent on me. At the end of the day I had no time to do what I wanted or even needed to do for myself. I felt like the life was being sucked right out of me.

Now don’t get me wrong– I love my family, friends, and clients, but I wasn’t loving myself. And when that happens the world truly does start to fall apart around you. I wasn’t sleeping enough (trying to get everything done for everyone and then trying to cram a few hours in the evening to get my stuff done late at night) , or eating properly (again never enough time in the day) , and I was always sick (chronic bronchitis and  my thyroid issues lead to other issues). Something had to give because I was now no good to myself or those who needed/wanted my help.

It’s like what the flight attendants say before the flight takes off, ”put your oxygen mask on first THEN help the others around you.” It makes sense. How can you help someone else if you’re passed out from lack of air? So I found myself asking, how could I help everyone else if I wasn’t helping myself?

During these six months away, I have been regrouping and recouping. I began “cleaning house” in a variety of sectors in my life—getting rid of both the people and things that were holding me down. Sometimes it was a painful process (lost a few “friends” during this time) and other times it was a natural loss of dead weight that was keeping me from what I needed to do and what I needed to be in order to be at my best. I pretty much have been going through a mental “detox.”

I literally got this whole process going with a private one-on-one  ThetaHealing session.

Naturally you’re asking what is THETAHEALING?

ThetaHealing is a “mind/body technique that uses the energy that flows through all things to produce instantaneous and permanent change.” Sounds deep right? Well it is. I know you think it sounds like some new-age type of fad. But honestly speaking…it isn’t. Ok…it is kind of new in the sense that ThetaHealing itself was found in 1995. But the basic concept is something that is rooted in beliefs that are thousands of years old– the belief that we are all connected—mind body and universe.  Changes created by ThetaHealing result in physical, emotional and spiritual transformation.

Discussions like this can be a rather touchy subject (remember what your Mom always says…never discuss politics money and religion). But in order to understand where I am now, you have to understand where I have been. So let me put this out there…I am not here to convert you to anything or even convince you of anything but rather to share my experience with you. Also, this isn’t something that “interferes” with one’s belief systems.  In ThetaHealing,  the belief is you connect directly with the Creator (God, Allah, Yahweh, Jehovah, the Universe….) to co-create the change in your life by reestablishing the original “connection with our minds and bodies, one another and the Divine.”

A ThetaHealing session is a definitely a unique experience. For me it was a power opportunity to start the change I needed to create in my life. I was lucky enough to have a session with certified Master ThetaHealer (and one of the co-Founders of ThetaHealing NYC), Tara Greenway.

I thoroughly enjoyed my session with Tara (which I did virtually over the phone—yeah, like I said life was getting in the way of everything). Her personality and demeanor was everything I needed during that crazy point in my life. She was kind, patient, friendly—not intimidating in the slightest–  but most of all, she was genuine. I think that is naturally who she is as a person coupled with her experience over the years working with individuals with all kinds of issues (physical and emotional issues to those looking to escape the craziness of anxiety, depression and other pains).

My session (as is everyone’s session) was tailored to fit my needs so that I could achieve the best results for me. Because it is intense you have to mentally (be open minded) and physically prepare (in the sense you need to be well hydrated) as you truly get down to the nitty gritty about what you want to change in your life be it health, energy levels, emotional difficulties, grief, relationship issues, clearing obstacles, spiritual growth, manifesting greatness and more. For me, my session was the catalyst for what would come over the next few months. I learned a lot about myself and what I needed to focus on and why. Afterwards, I felt as if huge weights were lifted off my shoulders and I was given the tools needed to begin my detoxification.

So after 6 months….I’m still not done but I am moving into a better place.

But now it’s time to get back to business and reconnect with the world again.

#CheckYourself (Breast Cancer Awareness Month)

Courtesy of PinkRibbons.org

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s kind of hard not to know it. Everything has been awash with pink—from the NFL to the Empire State Building. And then there are the pink ribbons….they’re everywhere! From the pins to social media avatars, the world is all about breast cancer awareness. It’s great that everyone is about it, but how many actually are truly aware of breast cancer?

What do I mean?

Did you know that breast cancer is one of the two most common cancers among women? Skin cancer is the other. About 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime?* That’s about 12% of 150 million people—roughly half the population of the US. No one can dispute that is a lot of people. More and more people can say that either they themselves or someone they know has been affected by breast cancer.

Millions of women are surviving this disease thanks to early detection and the continued improvements in treatment and research. Organizations like the American Cancer Society are on the front lines of the fight against breast cancer by educating women about risk factors, treatment options and helping them get tested to find the cancer earlier.

Based on the statistics, every woman should be aware of her own personal level of risk for breast cancer and ways in general she can lower her risk of getting the disease. At the end of the day, some of the factors—being a woman, age, and genetics—can’t be changed. However, we do have control over others including diet and exercise, smoking and other lifestyle choices can help lower your risk of getting breast cancer as well as improving your overall health.

Some of the known risk factors for breast cancer are listed below. To find out more about these and other factors linked to this disease, visit BreastCancer.org.

  • Being a woman
  • Age
  • Family History
  • Genetics
  • Being overweight
  • Race/Ethnicity

Early detection is key in the battle against breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that:

  • Women 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and continue to do so as long as they’re healthy
  • Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam as part of their regular healthy exam every 3 years and every year starting at the age of 40.
  • Women should routinely perform self-examinations and report any changes to a doctor or nurse right away.

For more information about early detection, visit the American Cancer Society.

This month there are all kinds of interesting (and fun) events going on around the world including walks, runs, landmarks being illuminated in pink and more designed to raise awareness. For example, on October 25th, the NFL and the American Cancer Society have teamed up for A Crucial Catch Day—a nationwide event to provide breast cancer education and free or low-cost screenings in under served communities.

Other events include:

Celebrities are getting in on the action too. Check out Paula Abdul‘s #CheckYourself video for the Avon Foundation for Women

 

 

*Statistics are courtesy of BreastCancer.Org

WHAT’S IN MY BAG?

Randomly last week, Mr. Socialite filled me in on what he thought was one of the biggest mysteries known to man—what is actually in a woman’s purse.

After giving him a serious side eye, I had to admit that the knowledge of what’s inside a lady’s handbag is really one of the world’s burning questions. Think about it. For 60 years folks pondered what Queen Elizabeth could possibly carry in her purse. It was such a hot topic in the UK that it inspired a book (What’s In the Queen’s Handbag and Other Royal Secrets by Phil Dampier).

Walt Disney went as far as to make it seem like a purse was some kind of magical land of wonderment when he had the beloved character Mary Poppins pull out everything in her seemingly bottomless carpet bag from medicine to magical umbrellas to even a small potted plant in the 1964 musical film. The curiosity is still a big thing today. US Magazine has made discovering what lives in the depths of our favorite celebrities’ bags a regular feature—giving readers a glimpse into what makes them tick.

For those of you who know me offline, I am always carrying a large tote. Because of my life as a publicist and blogger, I need a bag that can carry all my essentials needed to get through my day. Though it changes from season to season or at times based on my whim that day, my handbag has to be able to carry my arsenal necessary to sustain me throughout the day.

For spring 2014, my go-to handbag is my MICHAEL Michael Kors Jet Set Signature Tote in Vanilla. Because I carry a lot of “stuff,” having a bag with a lot of pockets is key to me staying organized. This signature tote has double compartments, slip pockets on the outside, zipped divider, and pockets throughout the interior ideal for all your little knickknacks including your smartphone, and more. The light, airy color reminds me of sunny days making it perfect for the warmer weather.

MICHEAL Micheal Kors Jet Set Signature Tote in Vanilla

So my lovelies, here’s a snippet of what’s in my bag…

I never leave home without my SAMSUNG Galaxy s3 (though I am about to upgrade to the S5). I hate to admit it but I’m lost without it. I keep track of everything on it. Currently my favorite app is the Any.do Calendar App which takes the traditional phone calendar to the next level with Google Maps integration, customizable settings, sync capability with my online calendar as well as it works seamlessly with its sister task app. My smartphone just makes life so much easier. But because Manhattan seems to be an energy black hole, I also carry an old school agenda as backup.  A dead battery or no access to an outlet is no excuse for not knowing what I have on deck.

Samsung Galaxy S3 (Image Courtesy of Phandroid.com)

I am a huge supporter of independent designers. I’ve been a fan of the SK Wilbur brand for years. I am currently using the handmade brown and beige zebra print “mini” as my wallet. Given to me by the designer himself, I carry everything from my train ticket to cash in this super cute accessory.

SK Wilbur Mini in Brown & Beige Zebra

With the schedule I have, sometimes it’s hard to take time for a lunch break. I recently started subscribing to Graze Box, a subscription service which allows you to pick healthy, delicious snacks. Four tasty treats come in a box (delivered at a frequency of your choice) in perfect portions. I carry one of the options with me to stave off hunger and lightheadedness with the long stretch in between meals. I’ll be doing a full review soon. (Wanna try Graze box for yourself? Use my friendcode CKTJKRQ3P to get your first and fifth box free!)

Graze Box sends tasty but healthy snacks that are perfectly sized for a quick bite.

Because I spend at least an hour a day on a commuter train of some sort, I treasure my ASUS Memo Pad 7. This chic seven inch Android tablet is perfect for catching up on client emails, social media or enjoying some downtime listening to Pandora or playing whatever my gaming addiction of the moment.

ASUS Memo Pad 7

Now that the weather is getting warmer, my beauty needs have morphed a bit. The higher temps bring an oily face. I swear by Boscia’s Green Tee Blotting Linens. They quickly suck up the oil without removing your makeup.  Also in my bag beauty wise is Grand Central Beauty’s S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting Serum + Primer. Alone or under makeup, this Serum + Primer works instantly to smooth and moisturize  your skin without any sulfates, parabens, mineral oil or strong fragrances (simply put it looks good and is good for your skin). And because you always want to have healthy, kissable lips, I make sure I have my limited edition Carmex Ultra Hydrating Moisture Plus lip balm in Chic in my bag at all times. The lip balm we have come to love has paired a fashion forward exterior designed to match one’s style and personality with the brand’s patented moisturizing formula and SPF 15 sunscreen to keep lips looking luscious, healthy and protected.

Boscia Green Tea Blotting LinensS.M.A.R.T. SKIN PERFECTING SERUM+PRIMER by Grand Central BeautyCarmex Moisture Plus Limited Edition stick

Now you know what I carry….so what’s in your bag?

LET THE HUNGER GAMES BEGIN! (Reviews of BYSTRICTIN and VYSERA)

With today ushering in a once-in-a-lifetime event, Thanksgivukkah (the rare occurrence when Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day), many of us are preparing for a day (and for some eight days) of enjoying savory entrees and sweet delights with friends and family. Seriously…this does not bode well with those of us trying to watch our waistlines. So what’s a girl to do?

We all know that if you cut down the amount of food you eat, you will shed those unwanted pounds. For some that is easier said than done. For others, a little assistance is needed. In extreme circumstances, some opt for surgeries like gastric bypass or even the lap band. With any surgery there are risks—potentially dangerous ones. And let’s not talk about the astronomical costs associated with bariatric surgery. And need I remind you that you can’t get gastric bypass if you are not clinically obese (and even then there are criteria that one must meet in order to quality). Does that mean that there is no hope for those of us who are looking to lose fifty pounds or less? Fear not my dear readers…there is hope.

Well, earlier this month, I shared a tip that I got from Dr. Oz about eating black soybeans a half hour before lunch and dinner to help curb your appetite. It actually works. But maybe beans aren’t your thing.  Well, here are two more Curvy Socialite approved suggestions that may help you in that battle against those oh-so-tempting latkes and turkey that will be staring your down at the dinner table tomorrow.

For the past few weeks I have been testing two new products that have recently hit the market.

BYSTRICTIN

One of the hardest things about weight management (fancy way of saying dieting) is that it can be hard. No, I’m not making excuses about putting in the hard work at the gym or moving in general, but rather I am talking about lifestyle can get in the way. Working long hours at the office, traveling regularly for work or having a job that has you attending a lot of events doesn’t really lend for having healthy eating habits…no matter how hard you try. Your gym time is or naught if you find yourself munching on snacks all day or skipping meals and gorging yourself later.  Maybe BYSTRICTIN is for you.

BYSTRICTIN Meal Replacement Formula

BYSTRICTIN is all about blocking your hunger.  Utilizing the patented Gastric Fill Technology, BYSTRICTIN uses an all natural ingredients to create an immediate feeling of being full causing you to eat less. I can see your faces right now—giving me that “ummm ok “look. Ok. Let me tell you a little more.

BYSTRICTIN contains a special complex blend of soluble fiber (doesn’t contain stimulants, fat blockers or diuretics) that comes in a variety of flavors (I tried the vanilla one) that you mix with water to create a shake. All you have to do is replace a meal or two with the shake followed by a glass of water and you’re done. The ingredients in BYSTRICTIN will absorb the water and expand in your stomach within minutes—the patented Gastric Fill Technology. You should feel satisfied without feel jittery or other crazy side effects.

I tried BYSTRICTIN for about a month and used it as my breakfast in the morning. For the most part, I didn’t really feel hungry for most of the day.  I only used it to replace one meal and had a light lunch and dinner (usually a salad for lunch and some type of protein (chicken, turkey, etc) vegetable and a side for dinner) and I managed to lose 10 pounds at the end of a month.

Interested in finding out more, visit BYSTRICTIN’s website at www.bystrictin.com.

VYSERA-CLS

Every year there is a new pill that pops up that claims to be the next “miracle” to solve our your diet needs.  They say they can help you lose weight (while you follow a strict low-cal, low fat diet). What if there was something that could take it one step further and actually “reshape” your entire body? I know you nearly choked when I said that. There is a new product out there that does just that – with real clinical research to support its claims. That product is…VYSERA.

So how does it work? It’s simple really. All you have to do is pop a pill right before you eat. You don’t have to wait half an hour or anything. You literally just take VYSERA just before you take your first bite. Recommended to be taken with your largest meals (say lunch or dinner), you take one tablet with each meal and that’s it. After 30 days, you should notice a change in weight and the inches on your hips, thighs and butt!

I know you’re wondering how they can make sure a claim. Well, they had a team of scientists who performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial where they had subjects take the pill along with their mail meal of the day. Thirty minutes later, the study group had a significantly lower percentage of blood sugar in comparison to the placebo group. They also noticed lower levels of increase in insulin, peptides and in the hunger hormone ghertin (who knew there was a hunger hormone?). At the end of the study, scientists found that VYSERA also caused a significant reduction in body weight, fat mass, BMI, fat tissue thickness and waist/hip/thigh circumference while maintain lean body mass. So what does that mean in laymen’s terms? When you take VYSERA, you end up absorbing a fraction of the calories in the meal and after regular use; you end up melting away the inches and the pounds. Who doesn’t want that? And the best part…no crazy side effects!

I tried this product as well for a month. I ate normally and took the pill generally at lunch and dinner (my highest calorie meals during the day). At the end of the trial period, I was 7 pounds lighter and had lost an inch off my waist, and a inch and a half off my hips and thighs. Definitely not complaining. You know this is going to be with me at the dinner table tonight.

Want to get your hands on VYSERA, visit www.vyseracls.com.

Because the ingredients in both BYSTRICTIN and VYSERA do not contain stimulants and all those other stuff in diet supplements of all, it’s safe. But with any type of supplement, you should consult your doctor before you start using it.

And with that, I wish you an your family a very Happy Thanksgivukkah….now LET’S EAT!

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BLACK IS THE NEW GREEN : Black Soy Beans, the Curvy Socialite & Dr. Oz

We live in a society that is obsessed with being fit, healthy and young. I’m not going to lie; I am not immune to it. To be honest who doesn’t want to look and feel their best? There are entire industries built around our quest to achieve our fitness goals (hello…the beauty and fitness & wellness worlds make billions of dollars every year). Think about it…you can get liposuction during your lunch hour, extensions to make your hair look longer or fuller, Botox to hide the wrinkles and let’s not forget the magic creams and pills that will make you look younger, have the cellulite disappear and give you the energy to run ten marathons.

Some of these miracles in a bottle actual work…others not so much. And many times these fixes are super expensive. But what if there was something out there that could help you curb your appetite, regulate your blood glucose level and decrease your cholesterol… all this for around $2? I can feel you looking at me sideways through your computer screen. Yes there is something out there that it cheap and healthy that can NATURALLY help you do all these things…enter the BLACK SOY BEAN.

Black Soy Beans? Yeah you read right. Not your normal edamame (salted green soy beans you get at many Asian restaurants as an appetizer); black soy beans are a naturally low carb, high fiber, high protein and a great addition to a healthy diet. How do I know? Well for 3 days, I did an experiment in preparation for an appearance on the Dr. Oz show (airing on this afternoon and replaying on tomorrow—click here to view the preview). For three days I ate a half of cup of black soy beans a half hour before lunch and dinner and recorded my results (two days prior to that I ate normally as my control).

And here’s what happened….

  • I felt fuller longer. With black soy beans being such a high source of protein and fiber, it took longer to digest which means you are actually fuller longer.
  • As each day progressed, my portions got smaller. The soybeans were curbing my appetite. Based on my food log (and that of Karen…the other guest who did the experiment with me), Dr. Oz surmised that I ate 35% fewer calories a day by the end of the experiment. And let me repeat, I DID NOT FEEL HUNGRY.
  • Also, at the end of the experiment, I lost 2.5 pounds (and I wasn’t even trying).

Now for the purposes of the experiment, I ate the black soy beans separately prior to my two largest meals, but you can easily add them to your favorite dishes that call for beans. Check out some of the suggestions from Dr. Oz’s website below.  But I will warn you. They can be a little bland. I personally love them with hot sauce (and for those who know me personally I like everything with hot sauce) but a pinch of salt is fine too.

Black Soybean Chicken Caesar Salad (pictured). Click the image to see some tasty recipes as suggested by Dr. Oz and his team.

I’d love for you guys to give it a try and share with me some of your thoughts. Who knows…you may end up liking it and adding it to your grocery list like I did.

 

Also, if you like the necklace I wore on the show, you can get it and other great pieces at Shop Lately! Click the image to visit their site!
Also, if you like the necklace I wore on the show, you can get it and other great pieces at Shop Lately! Click the image to visit their site!

 

 

BEAUTY FROM THE INSIDE OUT (Health Supplement Review)

Since I started the Curvy Socialite a few years back, I have focused on what makes us look good on the outside (fashion and beauty). Maybe it’s because I am getting older or maybe it’s because certain things just happen to go hand-in-hand, I’m introducing a new topic to the blog…Health & Wellness. I think I might have heard a groan or two out there in the blogosphere, but give me a second to clarify…

We all know that a great outfit and flawless make up and skin care can work wonders, but what happens when you remove all the finery and you are looking at the blank canvas in the mirror? Is it as good-looking as what it looked like all dressed up a few moments before? Let me take it a step or two further….have you started noticing a few fine lines appearing here and there? Or dare I ask…has your significant other even seen you without make-up on?  Though we would love to think we will be young and beautiful forever, at some point we need to take measures to ensure that—and I’m not talking about plastic surgery.

With many of the readers of this blog coming from diverse backgrounds and age groups (I have readers from as far as Singapore and Australia and as young as 20 and as old as their 70s), they all have one thing in common…they love to look good. And as we get older, we just need a little extra help doing so. When we were kids, we relied on our parents to make sure we ate right and got all the necessary nutrients we needed to be active, healthy kids. By the time we got to college and could choose our own food (and could say no to the brussel spouts and asparagus), those good eating habits…well, they weren’t so good. Then we started working and it was all downhill from there. You were lucky if you could have a home-cooked meal once a weeks (or month) like you did as a kid with something from every food group. And that lack of balanced eating started letting itself be seen with tell-tale signs (lack of energy (also from lack of sleep), slower metabolism, foggy mind and more. But fear not dear readers! We can start to counter act these ill effects. How…you may ask?

(Drum roll please….) with VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS!

Ok…no you can’t fix everything with a pill. But for the woman (or guy) on the go…vitamins are a start. As a thirty-something-year-old woman who is always going someplace or doing something, I know I am not always getting the all the good-stuff I am supposed to.  It didn’t help that in July I found out that I had thyroid problems which were leading to issues. I try to lead a healthy life—exercise regularly, eat healthy foods and all that jazz. But who am I kidding? I haven’t had a meal containing on the food groups in ages. And sleep…well…I think I get at least 4 hours on average a night. That’s just not going to cut it.

According to experts, a woman in her 30s is looking for a few key things when it comes to her health in addition to overall wellness:

  • To rev up her metabolism (we’re not in our 20s anymore and the phrase “a moment on the lips equals a lifetime on the hips” takes on a new meaning)
  • Anti-Aging (we want to keep our youthful  glow as long as possible)
  • Energy (with everything we have to or choose to do, we need as much as possible)
  • Heart Health (heart disease is the number one killer of women—thank you to the Heart Truth campaign for bringing the awareness to that)

Add to this list we want to have healthy pregnancies (as many of us are thinking about having families).  And though we try our best, we are not always getting everything (or as close to it) we need as possible.

I have always been concerned with my health (according to my significant other…I’m a hypochondriac). Though for the most part, I have been relatively healthy, the Virgo in me wants to be perfectly healthy.

Doctors and other health experts say that the following vitamins and minerals are key to a woman’s health in her 30s

  • antioxidants
  • vitamins E & C
  • folate (found in B vitamins and folic acid)
  • calcium
  • iron

Because in today’s society, we are always on some type of diet, not eating some food because it will kill you (and then eating it the next week because it will give you eternal life) we are always lacking something that is vital to our health and well being.  So I am working on getting myself back on track.  Here are some of the supplements I’ve added to my diet to help me on this journey.

SAINTHOOD HERBS™ Mental Agility (Boost Series)  

MENTAL AGILITY by Sainthood Herbs

Be it from lack of sleep or not enough of the good stuff in my diet, I find myself from time to time suffering from a bit of brain fog (you know…when you are brain is shot and you can’t even remember your own name). I was fortunate enough to be introduced to a new brand of products from California named SAINTHOOD HERBS™. More than just herbs, Sainthood Herbs offers three specific product series with a distinct set of benefits (BOOST, SOLUTION and WOMEN)—eliminating the guesswork of trying to find the right product. Their concept is simple: give the healthiest alternative to enhance your lifestyle with effective, naturally made supplements. And added benefits…all of their products are naturally gluten free, wild-crafted herbs, healthy, safe, non-GMO, sustainable and eco-friendly.

For 30 days, I sampled the supplements targeted for Mental Agility from their Boost series and I noticed a difference after about a week. I found myself more clear-headed and able to focus on what I had to get done each day. Because I am a list maker, I measured success by how many items ended up being carried over to the next day. By the end of the 30 days, I was super focused and able to knock out of my to-do lists with no problem even adding more tasks giving me more time for myself as the end of the week.

Click here to see the full range of products offered by Sainthood Herbs.

 

APTEKA NATUREL™ Vitality Naturel Energy Enhancement Supplement

Vitality Naturel™ Energy & Well-Being Dietary Supplement.

APTEKA NATUREL is a company that prides itself on being small and ensuring the highest quality of products. They hand pick the best of the best natural products (many are exotic—hailing from such distant locales as Nepal, India, Siberia and the Amazon).This all natural health and wellness company provides a full range of supplements and oils.

Because during the time leading up to Fashion Week and right afterwards, sleep isn’t always my friend (and the weather changes aren’t helping either), I find myself a little lethargic. And because coffee (despite my love for a fresh brewed cup of Café Bustelo—yeah I’m that old-school it’s-so-strong-it-puts-hair-on-your-chest coffee drinker) can’t always cure all, I tested Apteka Naturel’s Vitality Naturel Energy Enhancement Supplement.

For 30 days I popped the Vitality pill with a glass of water first thing in the morning instead of my coffee. Within a few days I notice that I wasn’t dying for a cup of Joe first thing in the morning like usual. Very different for the “high” one would get with caffeine, I felt awake without the crash towards the afternoon. By the end of the trial period, I found myself being satisfied with one cup of coffee a day instead of the 4 that I sometimes had to combat fatigue. And with all natural ingredients (with this particular supplement, the ingredients came from New Zealand) I had no weird side effects and I actually found that I slept better at night (because I didn’t have an overload of caffeine in my system).

Click here to see more of the Apteka Naturel line of supplements and oils.

 

 

This is just the beginning of my journey of finding the right balance that will work for me and my health, but I will gladly share the process with you. But let me add a disclaimer here….before you take any supplements, vitamins, etc., please consult a doctor.

 

CONFESSIONS: BLOGGER EDITION

The Curvy Socialite is in the September Issue of Ladies’ Home Journal

Ladies’ Home Journal, September 2013

So D-Day is finally here.

I got the September issue of Ladies’ Home Journal in the mail yesterday. A mixture of excitement and dread filled me as I held the magazine in my hands as I stared at the headline, “Love Your Body at 30, 40, 50+.” As I mentioned here a few months back, I was selected as one of the women to be featured in a piece on body confidence. Who would have thought I’d be featured in a piece about that.

So confession time…

Body confidence—or rather a lack there of—has been an issue for me for most of my life.

My vision of how I see myself and what others perceive me to be has dominated decisions I have made, paths I have taken and just how I lived my life in general. It started from a young age at home where I was constantly told that I was too big or too muscular (I was an athletic child) and that I need to be smaller if I ever want to have a boyfriend or get married. I wasn’t considered a pretty child with my thick calves, overdeveloped hamstrings, muscular arms and thick waist. I wasn’t lithe like my younger sister and my mother and every family member made sure I knew that. “You’d actually be pretty if you were skinny,” was a regular comment I’d hear from family growing up. The seed that being of a thicker frame being considered ugly and not attractive was planted back then.  I’d look at all my thin friends and family members and wonder why I wasn’t built like them. What was I doing wrong? What was wrong with me?

For years I was obsessed with becoming smaller. I tried fad diets, diet pills, purging, and starvation…whatever it would take to make myself be considered “small” and pretty. I’d read all kinds of crazy articles about dieting, celebrity diets and listen to what some of my friends and teammates would do to stay small. As a gymnast, I was bigger than many of the other girls on the team.  I was a super toned athlete (think a Serena Williams or a Mary Lou Retton or Shawn Johnson) versus what many thought was the ideal look for a tumbling pixie (think Gabrielle Douglas). I would sabotage myself and pretend to be injured or “not ready” for a meet so that I wouldn’t have to go up in front of crowds and perform. Why would they want to see how fat I looked in my leo?

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Going to college didn’t make the situation any better.  Seeing girls from all over the country and around the world that were beautiful and thin just made me hate myself even more. I would work out a lot and eat as little as possible. Many times, I would take my meals up to my dorm room and eat (or not eat) there. Who wanted to see a fat cow stuffing her face?

My weight would fluctuate dramatically for years. I’d be a size 4 one moment or an 8 a next. But when I entered into the real world, the real roller coaster began. I ballooned up to a 12. For many that wouldn’t be considered fat at all but because now I was a double digit size, I thought my life was pretty much over.  “Well meaning” friends and family had a lot to say about my expanding size. Offering tips or publically letting me know that I was too fat to order anything other than a salad. And dessert…perish the thought!

By my early 20s, my self worth was so wrapped up in my dress size. I was always depressed. I was already in and out of really bad situations with “boyfriends” who used and mentally abused me because they knew they could do that because at the end of the day I was too fat to be cared about. That’s when the binging and purging really started.  I knew it was wrong and could seriously harm me, but I didn’t care. I had seen the after-school specials and made-for-TV movies with Tracey Gold and others who suffered from anorexia and bulimia. I knew it could kill me. But I didn’t care. All those did were give me tips on how to hide what I was doing better. I had to be as close to a size small dress size as possible—at any cost. Ironically, I actually was a plus model for a few years and did rather well with it. Though I smiled for the camera, secretly I was stressing on how fat I was going to look in the pictures that came out. I was generally a size 8/10 back then.

Tracey Gold on the cover of People Magazine

Around this time I met my significant other.  Much older than me, he always saw me as a person. it would make him angry how obsessed I was about food, my looks and specifically my weight. But he is a patient man. He tried to use reverse psychology to get me to eat “real” food versus the “rabbit” food I ate regularly. I began putting on more weight but he didn’t mind. He would tell me every day I was beautiful. But it wasn’t easy for him either. When I got to a size 14/16 we’d end up in fights when it was time to go out on the town. I couldn’t wear that dress because it made me look like a cow. I couldn’t wear that top because you can see my rolls. Those pants…hell no…they made my thighs look huge. Mind you, during this time I was still going to the gym almost every day. But still I got bigger.

Fast forward to a few months ago my blogger friend, Alice, telling our blogger collective about this opportunity with Ladies’ Home Journal to be a part of a feature about body confidence and…we’d be shot in our underwear. I mentioned it to my mister and said I was thinking about applying (more as a joke than serious). He was all for it. So were some of my friends (including Black, Latina & Fabulous blogger, Amaris Acosta). Not thinking they’d actually call me back, I applied. A few days later, I got a call that LHJ wanted me for the shoot. DAMN.

The week before the shoot I was in California. The entire time I was out there I was stressed over the upcoming shoot. I worried about every morsel of food that I ate and worked out as much as possible while on the trip. The trip also served as the medium for another first…the first time I wore a bikini since I was 7. I wore it…but didn’t really take pictures in it. I still hated how I looked.

The day of the shoot finally came around. And after a crazy morning (I had lost my wallet), I finally made it on set. Everyone was so sweet. The staff at Ladies’ Home Journal went out of their way to make all of us “models” feel comfortable. Hair and makeup made us look gorgeous and the gorgeous lingerie. The photographer and his team gave helpful hints as to how we should pose and still be natural. And for the most part, I had a great time.

When I did the interview for the quote to accompany my picture, I talked about how the diets and pills and how I was working on building my self esteem. How my focus was on being a healthier me (all true). I kind of fibbed a little when I said I loved my curves. It’s more like I am coming to grips with them and learning to love myself. Looking back on all the things I did to myself in my never-ending undying quest to be the perfect size2, I knew I had to stop. I already proved my family wrong by getting into a loving happy relationship with a man who loved me for who I was not what the scale said. I have even become a proponent of thick, pleasantly plump, curvy and full figured communities. I love to see beautiful curvy women like Asia Mone’t, Liris Crosse and Christina Mendez in ad campaigns in all their full figured “goddessness”.  I’m in awe at how gorgeous and confident in themselves they are. I want to be like them.

After a trip to the GYN last month, I found out that I actually suffer hypothyroidism (pretty much my thyroid isn’t functioning properly and causes issues like weight gain, depression, decreased heart rate, hair falling out and more). Turns out that it can be genetic (I just found out that there is a history of thyroid issues in my family) and can also be triggered by stress (a constant state of being in my life). The mister thinks that part of it could be from my abusive behavior towards my body. Whatever the cause, I am working on managing it. Because like I said in the article, I am about a healthier me.

But as I sit here looking at page 88… (I have a whole page to myself) typing this post with mixed emotions, I am crying. Pausing from time to time because I can’t see through my tears to type, I look at this picture of me and others from when I was younger and realize how far I have come—and how far I still have to go. To be honest, I am not super happy about the picture (in my opinion my face looks way too big). But I am a little happy with myself because I can say I did it. I took a picture in my underwear for the whole world to see. I did that. That is something to be proud of.

PS…I’m still camera shy and it will take me a while before I start posting more pictures of myself here or anywhere else…but this was a start.

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