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!

 

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ALL ABOUT THAT FACE (The At Home Spa Series…Part 1)

My name is Tamara and I’m a beauty addict.

There I said it. The first step is admission…right?

You see, for me, the love affair with skincare/cosmetics and make up was born more out of necessity than the actual love of playing dress up or desire to look older for a crush. I was a teenager who was plagued with bad skin. Well not really bad skin…more like sensitive skin that just looked really bad.

The teenage years, the 7 to 9 year period in a young person’s life, that parents the world over dread. Raging hormones cause extreme mood swings and wreak havoc on the body—especially the face. For me, when the breakouts started the real lessons in skincare began. Trial by fire—and almost in a literal sense.

Remember the “Noxzema Girl?” Also known as Rebecca Gayheart (I just found out her name the other day), the Noxzema girl had teens around the country (and maybe even the world) believing that slapping on some cold cream every night was the cure all to acne prone skin. Don’t get me wrong…it did work for some. But this chica soon learned she had sensitive skin. And my using the famed product resulted in mild chemical burns on my cheeks (where the breakouts were the worse) and extreme scarring. Hence sensitive skin that just looked really bad.

Over the years, I would experiment with a variety of products– from all natural soaps, glycerin soaps, high end products (my mom was a huge fan of Chanel and Lancôme) , beauty counter staples (like Clinique) and later cocoa and shea butters (which actually over time helped fade the scars). It took a few years, but my skin finally cleared up– just in time for college. By then, I was already a skin care junkie.

Fast forward to present day.

One of the perks I love the most about being a blogger is getting the chance to test some of the newest beauty products to hit the market. From established brands to those just bursting onto the scene, I love trying them all. Lou (my postman), Alex (my FedEx guy), and John (my UPS guy) are the couriers of my addictions. I literally do a happy dance when I hear the doorbell ring. A new product to test!

After Fashion Week my skin needs a chance to recuperate from the 24/7 make-up, lack of sleep, and all the wine and champagne (water? What water?). Add to all the stress of 7 days of nonstop running around the city and partying– the onset of fall and its blustery winds; all of which do a number on one’s visage. For the past month or so I have been all about the face (get it? Thanks Meghan Trainor for the title idea) — testing a number of products. Some were hits and others…not so much. But after a four week trial period I’ve come up with a list of faves that I think my fellow beauty addicts will be adding to their home spa arsenal.

DERMOLOGICA DAILY MICROFOLIANT

Dermologica Daily Microfoliant

Not a new product by any means (it first hit the market in 2001), Dermologica’s Daily Microfoliant is a definite must have as we transition into the fall and winter. A powder exfoliant, this rice-based formula activated with just a little water to gently but effectively lift dead skin cells for smoother, brighter skin. A half to 1 teaspoon’s worth goes along way– releasing active ingredients papain, salicylic acid and rice enzymes. I guess that’s why it’s been one of the brand’s best sellers worldwide since its debut. Safe for daily use, I use it every morning after cleansing my face. Afterwards I follow with a serum and a moisturizer with an SPF.

MONAT REJUVENIQUE OIL INTENSIVE

Rejuvenique Oil Intensive by Monat

Speaking about serums…I’m in love with Monat’s Rejuvenique Oil Intensive. Actually a dual purpose product (seriously who doesn’t love a product that multitasks?), the Rejuvenique Oil can be used on both your hair and skin. For the purposes of this trial I focused on its benefits for use on my skin. Utilizing its key ingredient Abyssinian Oil (derived from the crambe seed), Rejuvenique Oil does what its name suggests—rejuvenates the skin by replenishing and repairing the skin by providing nutrients, Omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants that help prevent premature aging. With the late nights (as I write this post at 1am…) and lack of sleep due to stress, work and life in general, why look older than you are? This product is super light and absorbs quickly into the skin. I use it twice a day (in the morning after cleansing and before moisturizing and in the evening as a treatment). A little goes a long way. For those of us who are a little wasteful with oils, Monat has conveniently included a dropper which miraculously supplies the perfect amount to cover your face and neck.

CLAYSPRAY MATTIFYING RED CLAY

ClaySpray Mattifying Red Clay Masque

I have declared time and time again that I have the oiliest skin in New York. But after recent weeks, I am about to relinquish this title. Thank you Clayspray! I am singing the praises of the brand’s Mattifying Red Clay because it literally has changed my T-zone from an oil slick mess to a normal forehead, chin, and nose. Though many an aesthetician has told me I should thankful for oily skin (they claim it “keeps you young”), I can’t stand the shine that takes the sexy dewy look (let’s face it you can achieve that with bronzer) to looking like I just slathered Vaseline on my face. Since using the Mattifying Red Clay masque, it’s like I have a whole new face (I’m close to saying “bye Felicia” to my blotting papers). Why does it work? Well, the masque uses enriched mineral clay which helps regulate oil secretion in the skin, helps combats blemishes and purifies by really giving you a deep cleanse. Added benefit…the Mattifying Red Clay has minerals that have anti-aging capabilities including silica to boost collagen, iron to activate circulation and magnesium to heal the skin. It absorbs impurities while helping regulate the oil in your skin. Used in conjunction with ClaySpray’s H2O Spray (mineral rich mountain spring water), twice a week I use the masque on my t-zone. I let it dry and then rinse off followed the remainder of my facial routine.

ILLUMASK ANTI-AGING MASK

illuMask Anti-Aging Phototherapy Mask

Don’t we all wish we had the latest and greatest beauty products and technologies at our disposals like our favorite celebs? Please…many have an aesthetician on call (or better yet on staff) for their skin care emergencies. Since many of us aren’t that fortunate and daily trips to the spa aren’t in our budgets, we have to opt for the next best thing. Introducing illuMask. Now this is a product that brings the daily spa treatment right into your home. IlluMask uses phototherapy (the process of using “good” light to treat the skin) which has been used by dermatologists, spas and skin clinics forever. With illuMask you can get a top quality high end treatment in the comfort of your own home using a similar technology. I admit, it does look a little space-agey. It uses red light to even the skin and reduce roughness and infrared light to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The other thing—invoking the spa experience) you are forced to be still for 15 minutes (the length of the preset treatment). For a month (each mask is set to give you 30 treatments—yes they advise for optimal results to use this everyday) I carved out 15 minutes where I would put on some relaxing music (thank you Songza for your Yoga activity setting) and let the mask do its thing. Because there is no way for you to see (no eye holes) there’s no checking your email or texting to be done. But it is worth it. It works. Mr. Socialite (like most men…doesn’t really notice much) made a comment about my skin looking really nice. So illuMask is Mr. Socialite approved.

SILK’N REVIT MICRODERM

Silk’n ReVit Microderm

After attending a holiday preview event a little while ago, I was introduced to the brand Silk’n. A boutique brand, the company is known for providing professional aesthetic devices for home use. In a contest at the event, I won a ReVit Microderm Kit. It is everything! ReVit is all about creating beautiful skin—ReVitalizing it by removing dead skin cells using a very soft vacuum like process with a gentle “diamond peeling” tip. Sounds fancy right? Let me get down to the nitty gritty… ReVit literally slough off the dead skin cells helping to improve skin tone, texture and elasticity as well as reduce the appearance of age spots, fine lines and acne scarring (yay!). And the best part…it only takes 5 minutes. The other thing I love about it is that you can see the results after each use. What do I mean by that? Well you can literally see the skin flakes (gross but sooo cool—skincare geek) after each treatment. Recommended for use twice a week or as needed, the kit comes with three detachable diamond peeling treatment heads—Precision (for small and hard to reach areas), Fine (for a more gentle treatment) and Coarse for a more powerful exfoliation. Perfect for the face, neck and hands (the places that can show the most damage), the ReVit is definitely another must have for your at home spa. Be careful while letting others in your household try it. They’ll get addicted and you will find out that they are using it twice a week too (yes I’m calling you out Mr. Socialite!).

Alright…now I feel like a pusher (you know, that person who introduces you to the drug—thank you  former First Lady Nancy Reagan and the whole SAY NO TO DRUGS campaign of my youth for instilling that in my head)—talking about how amazing you will look and feel after using these products. You know you want to try ‘em. You know you’ll like ‘em. It’ll be worth it…believe me. You know you can trust me. LOL. Besides it’s the holiday season and between Thanksgiving and the one million parties that will take place between then and New Year’s you skin will need it. Just click on the links in each post…you want regret it!

* To learn more about each featured item, click on each product title to visit the brand’s site.