Weight loss week 1 (Sanford Profile)

Weight loss week 1 (Sanford Profile)

So, in another post I mentioned I had gained some weight this year. Nothing too dramatic but I was at the point that my clothes weren’t fitting and I either needed to size up and get a new wardrobe or lose the weight. Now, weight is a tricky topic. One person’s “before” picture is another’s “after”. So if you are happy with your weight- whatever it is, good for you! Awesome! If you are unhappy with your weight, whatever it is- it doesn’t define you. Don’t let it! As I tell my kids- our outside is just the box we are wrapped in. It’s fun to change the paper around or maybe even the size of the box, but none of that should overshadow what’s IN the box. That is you!

So, back to me trying to shrink my box so my paper fits…

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Everyday Makeup – 10 Minute Face

Everyday Makeup – 10 Minute Face

Makeup has always been fun for me. I remember sneaking into my mom’s bathroom to play with it at age 5 and by late elementary I was obsessed. If they would have had YouTube tutorial videos back then I would have probably never left the house!

All this to say, I wear makeup pretty much every day and have since I could convince my mom to let me. Even when life is super busy it’s something that I’ve always taken the time for because I just feel more “me” with it- and it’s fun! It doesn’t really take much time at all for a quick everyday look. Here is my 5-10 minute face. Just scroll over product names for links.

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Spring in Texas, Winter in Me

Spring in Texas, Winter in Me

Spring is in full bloom here. Flowers are blossoming, the weather is hot one day and cold the next, I’m buying economy size bottles of Claritin for my family and it’s tornado season. This is spring in Texas.

Traditionally, spring is seen as a time of newness but I’ve always associated it with the end of the year. My internal calendar is based on the school year, so fall is my new year and spring is my end of year. And with that comes reflection. What did I accomplish? What areas are growing? What areas need growth? What needs pruning?

This year especially, my areas of growth are mostly internal. Which is great! Wonderful. Honestly it’s the most important. But my areas that need attention are external. And external is just so much more…visible. So while I’m thrilled I have devoted more time to Bible study, read more books, accepted new volunteer opportunities am working on more personal development- I’m frustrated that I’ve gained some weight, I haven’t kept my resolution to cook at home more often, and haven’t been as organized as I want-among other things.

Why is it so easy to let the perfection get in the way of progress? Why does one area seem to droop when another is growing?

I think I need to be better at recognizing my own seasons. Just like the trees grow dormant in the winter while preparing for springs blooms, I will have periods that require rest and internal focus which will ignite the coming outer growth.

I don’t want to be a cut flower, blooming only a short time and then quickly fading. I want to be a strong tree (one with pretty flowers and red fall leaves! Does that exist?). So I need to recognize times made for refueling. And that’s ok. Spring is coming.

What season are you in?

-Cher

Let There Be Light (and Clear Skin)

Let There Be Light (and Clear Skin)

You know what is super awesome about getting older? Me neither!

In fact, I’m at an age where my skin is starting to show the first signs of aging. But no worries, because adult-onset acne makes me feel just like a teen again. Sigh. The problem is that fighting acne and wrinkles is kind of like trying to fight a flood and a fire at the same time. Many products that help one- hurt the other. This can create a vicious cycle of clogged and dehydrated skin.

Over the last year it has been my mission to find products that work. Now, obviously everyone’s skin is different and this is what has helped my skin. But the products I’m recommending are my results after talking to dermatologists, reading way too many blogs and trying approximately every product there is. I’m not a medical professional- just a skincare junkie sharing my finds.

Step 1– Go back to basics. My first step was switching all products to those least likely to cause a breakout. I wanted to start at the beginning so I switched my cleanser and moisturizer to Cerave products (Cetaphil is a similarly good place to start). These products come highly recommended for sensitive or break-out prone skin. They are very unlikely to cause breakouts so it’s a good first step.

Step 2– Retinol. This is a game changer. This product is scientifically proven to increase cell turnover, stimulate collagen production and fade dark spots. This means it fights acne before it can start, helps marks from previous breakouts clear faster, and helps fight fine lines. It does all the things. You can find Retinol mixed in with lots of ‘anti-aging’ lotions and potions (it will be on the label) but sometimes the other ingredients can cause breakouts. I liked ROC pretty well though as a first step.

Now, if you have already tried those types of Retinol and are ready for the next step- I have great news. Differin is a product with a much higher concentration of Retinol that until January was only available by Rx. But now the 1% version of Differin is over the counter (3% is still Rx) and it works great! And it’s a lot less expensive the the 3% Rx version.

2-3 times a week I use a pea sized amount of the Differin all over my face and neck (you can even use it under your eyes which surprised me) and then top it with a moisturizer.

Now, retinol can and probably will dry your skin out. Wait 30 minutes after cleansing and use plenty of moisturizer. But it works. And your skin should adjust and react less as it acclimates to it. I saw some results in a couple weeks and major results in a month. I don’t see ever not using Retinol.

Step 3– Cool Light- Up Mask-

The Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask is actually really fun for the first few uses because it glows bright pink and it’s great for scaring your friends and family- you look kind of like a pink storm trooper. You just wear the mask every day for 10 minutes and the blue and red light do their magic. The red light reduces inflammation and the blue light kills acne causing bacteria. This is not UV light so no worries about that. I use it at night after cleansing my skin. And I think think this works just as well as the Differin for breakouts and fading marks, with the added bonus of NO irritation, dryness or redness.

After 2 weeks of use I had no new breakouts. None. It’s been 2.5 months now and I have only had very minor skin congestion but not a single new large bump. I’ve experimented with using it every other night but find it really does work best when used every night. Worth it though.

And, no skincare post would be complete without the before and after, right? About 2 months between these photos with no makeup. This is for you my readers…be kind.

 

All these products can be purchased at Target, Amazon or most drug stores. Click the links for more info about them.

So- I hope that helps any fellow sufferers! What are some of your skincare secrets?

-Cher

 

 

 

Scrubbing my skin off (Exfoliation fun)

Scrubbing my skin off (Exfoliation fun)

If you have done any research on skincare you know exfoliation is very important. It removes some of those old and dull layers of the skin to expose fresh, smooth, happy skin. This helps moisturizers and serums penetrate the skin better, makeup goes on smoother, and just feels really nice.

I have usually stuck to manual exfoliation (Clarisonic which I still love, and even a few times that old relic the Buff Puff- probably too harsh) but I was intrigued when I heard about something the Japanese were using. According to Internet legend, they sell a bottle of this magic potion every 12 seconds in Japan. Asian beauty treatments are huge right now because they take skincare very seriously over there. I’ve tried a handful of things but this is my favorite by far.

Cure Natural Aqua Gel. It’s a bottle with a pump and the liquid inside is a white-ish clear and has a medium consistency. After cleansing and partially drying your face (or really anywhere on your body that’s not sensitive) you apply a couple squirts of the gel and massage it in. It smells kind of like alcohol and at first, as you rub it around, you may think it’s not doing anything. Persevere. Keep gently massaging it over your skin. Suddenly you will start to feel little bits of…skin. Massage for about a minute and focus on the areas that need the most exfoliation. Your hand and face will be covered in little rolled up balls of your skin. It’s highly satisfying- instant, visible gratification! Then rinse off and follow up with a good moisturizer. The instructions state you should only use it twice a week so keep that in mind because it’s actually pretty fun and you could get carried away.

I bought mine on Amazon (click the link if you are interested- over 2000 reviews and 4.5 stars). I’ve had my bottle for about 4 months and still have over half of it left so it should last you quite a while.

Let me know if you have any questions and how you like it if you purchase it!

-Cher

Beauty Sleep. Or just sleep…Really any sleep will be fine!

Beauty Sleep. Or just sleep…Really any sleep will be fine!

 I have always been a night owl. According to my mother, since birth I would stay up late and sleep in. And that hasn’t changed. Well, the up late part hasn’t. My natural clock seems to be set to sleep at midnight (ok, 1:00am- don’t judge) and wake up at 9am (ok, 10am- don’t call CPS). Now, of course since I have 3 kids I do not usually get to sleep in but unfortunately that doesn’t mean I go to bed any earlier. So I’m regularly living on 5-6 hours of sleep when I know my body needs at least 8.

What do I do in my nocturnal hours? What DON’T I do?! I have a quiet house and no interruptions at all! I watch This Is Us, write, I catch up on Facebook, paint the dining room, fold clothes, I watch YouTube videos showing me how to contour my face (Tried it- daughter told me it looked like I had dirt on my face. Fail.) . The point is, this time is great. Until morning rolls around- then I’m attempting to wake up enough to french braid hair and drive my kids to school. And trying- and often failing, not to get back in bed for a nap once I’ve delivered the children to their respective schools. It makes me feel lazy and unproductive and I want to change it. Because one day you know someone will notice I’m in PJ’s and a hoodie at school drop off…and still at lunch. Plus sleep deprived = craving carbs all day, puffy eyes, grouchy and no energy. Not lovely inside or out.

Not wanting to jump straight to pharmaceuticals I found Olly Restful Sleep supplements (ok, my dear husband found them and begged me to take them- see “grouchy” above). I like the fact they are all natural and don’t cause any lingering sleepy feelings in the morning. They are gummies with a blackberry flavor “with a hint of mint”. I think the mint part is kinda weird but my husband suggested they may have added it so it pairs well with your nightly tooth brushing. Seems reasonable. I’m on my first week of trying them and despite being skeptical at first- I’m impressed. In me, they create a sort of relaxed feeling that just makes it easy to fall asleep. And the sooner I fall asleep, the earlier I can function the next day. My goal is to get in a good routine and hopefully by the time I’ve finished the bottle my body will be used to the new schedule. What helps you sleep?

olly.jpeg

UPDATE:

I took my Olly gummies for a month and have to say I began to really look forward to them each night. It was so nice to know that in about an hour- I would be drifting off. This did help me get on a better sleep/wake cycle and that has made my mornings better. Not perfect, but better. Is there a morning gummie? Ha! I do not plan to take them every night since my body is now naturally used to going to sleep at an earlier time but will keep some around for times when I need a little nudge.

-Nite-Nite, Cher

What’s Lovely?

What’s Lovely?

 

Hi! My name is Cher and I’m here to help you focus on finding the “lovely” in your life. What is lovely? Well, that will be a little different for everyone but we all have it and with proper cultivation it will bloom! I will show you what inspires and encourages my inner self and what steps and products help me feel good about my outer self. Inside and out loveliness.

When thinking about this blog I was torn on what to write about. I’m very interested in beauty products and fun fashion. But I’m also passionate about focusing on what will make one a lovely person. What good is a flawless face without a warm heart? And honestly, I think when people become too focused on the outside, it’s often an indicator something is missing on the inside. So, my goal is to nourish the inside and have fun with the outside. Find the ever elusive balance.

I hope this will be a place for women to share tips and encouragement with each other.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8