Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Last night was rough.

I had a terrible night and  I immediately wanted to turn to food for comfort. I was almost ready to throw in the towel and eat a fatty hamburger. Where would that get me though? I was already not feeling well, so to add guilt and regret on top of that? No thank you. I gathered all of the willpower I could muster and ended up having a super delicious vegan citrus tofu wrap with a green salad, plus a little comfort food of chips and guacamole. I'm proud of myself for making that decision. A few months ago, I would have said fuck it and ate until I was sick. Just goes to show how far I've come from that, and while I still have an off day every once in a while, I'm still on the right path.

To be honest, I really have my boyfriend to thank for literally coming to my rescue. I'm grateful to him for not having a judgmental bone in his body, and for loving me unconditionally.

I'm just grateful in general. Life isn't perfect, we all know that, but seeing past that and being able to love what you do have is important. 

And If you're reading this, I'm thankful for you too.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Is It Vegan?

It is such a dramatic change of lifestyle to go from eating almost exclusively animal products to none at all. I know that I need all the help I can get. I'm so grateful to live in the era we do today where information and technology is literally at our fingertips. I had my first solo vegan shopping trip this week, and while the store clerks were as helpful as they possibly could be, some things they just simply didn't know. This is to be expected. Which is why I'm SO glad I decided to use my smartphone to help me out on this journey!

I found an app on the iTunes store called "Is It Vegan?" (also available on the Google Play Store) You can input specific ingredients you are unsure of, or you can scan the barcode on the item you are considering purchasing. It will list the ingredients for you and tell you if it is vegan, vegetarian, or neither. I've been using the heck out of this app since I got it.  It is a very handy tool :)

Become familiar with common ingredients that you may overlook, but are definitely animal products.
Here is a detailed list from the PETA website:

I won't lie, making this transition hasn't been the easiest thing to do. At the same time, it also has not been the hardest. Small sacrifices for my health and countless other reasons are totally worth it to me to be a bit uncomfortable for a while.

Monday, November 25, 2013

My first 5 days as a vegan


Today marks the 5th consecutive day that I have followed a strict vegan diet.
No meat.
No eggs.
No milk.
No cheese.
No animal byproducts or ingredients whatsoever.

I quit all of this cold turkey. People have been surprised that I just up and ditched animal products from my diet, but honestly I don't even miss it. It almost wasn't even an option. All of the research I have been doing, documentaries and TED talks I've been watching, all reinforce my initial desire to pursue this kind of lifestyle for X amount of time. I say that because I don't know if I will continue as a vegan forever, or if I will be just a vegetarian later down the line; but right now, I'm happy. Isn't that what is important?

I had my first restaurant experience last night at a non-vegan establishment; Outback Steakhouse of all places. I used my trusty iPhone to search the vegan options that are available at Outback and had decided on a house salad without croutons or cheese and balsamic vinaigrette as dressing, a side of steamed veggies without seasoning, and sweet potato fries. As I was ordering, the waitress looked at me and was like "Are you vegan?" I told her I was, and she goes "Me too! Actually, the sweet potato fries are not vegan because of what they are fried in, but you should do the baked sweet potato with brown sugar and cinnamon" So that is what I did. How lucky am I to have the pleasure of being helped by a fellow vegan in a restaurant like Outback Steakhouse?! I'd say pretty lucky. My meal was delicious, simple and totally filling.

This is what I would normally get every other time I've been to Outback with my family:
-The bread they give you with butter
-Bloomin' Onion appetizer (to share)
-Steak and baked potato with all the fixings or a hamburger with French fries
-Some sort of alcoholic beverage.

What a difference, right?? Whoa.

In the five days that I have been vegan I am noticing how much more energy I have. I really do feel wonderful in body and mind.  Plus, it helps knowing that *no animals were harmed during the making of this blog!* (haha) This is definitely going to be a challenge, but I'm super open to it and excited to see what this next chapter of my life will bring me!

Have a happy Monday :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Vegan Challenge!

When you hear the word "vegan" what do you think? Personally, I thought adjectives like "crazy, extreme, hippie," etc. I would never guess that one day I may be considering that type of lifestyle. I am obviously not any of those things I described by the way, maybe a little crazy, but that's it. ;)

I had been toying with the idea of becoming a vegetarian for some time now, and I came to the conclusion that if I'm going to cut out one animal product, I want to go all the way and cut out all of them. Support from my friends and the horrible images that I will not soon forget from the documentary "Vegucated" help me make up my mind. (Seriously, I cried so hard watching that documentary) So I'm challenging myself to eat a vegan diet. I don't know for how long, or if I will continue once I figure out how long I'm doing it for, but I'm excited to see what kind of changes in my body and my health that I will see and feel.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Product Review: Physicians Formula Super BB All-In-One Beauty Cream

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been using Estee Lauder's Double Wear Maximum Cover Camouflage Makeup SPF 15. This was great for when my acne scars were dark and numerous, but now that I have fewer and most of them have lightened, I decided I didn't want such a heavy makeup for every day use. I did a lot of research about tinted moisturizers, BB creams, CC creams, and liquid foundations and decided that I want something easy to apply, with SPF, and with light/medium coverage. It looked like a BB cream was the answer, but the hard part was which one?! There are SO many on the market with claims out wazoo about what they do for your skin.
I turned to Beautypedia, which is a great tool for reviewing and comparing beauty products with extensive information about them. The website rates products Best, Good, Average, and Poor. Naturally, I want only the "best" products for my skin!

After looking at nearly all of the BB creams on the market, I decided I wanted to try Physicians Formula Super BB All-In-One. I found it at Target for $15.79, which wasn't too bad, considering how much I was paying for the Estee Lauder foundation. ($36)

I was hesitant at first because of the limited shade options. There are only two shades currently available: Light/Medium and Medium/Deep. Fortunately for me the Light/Medium actually works perfectly with my skin tone (olive/yellow undertones). This may not be the case with everyone unfortunately. It will definitely be too dark for lighter skin with pink undertones. This is the only real problem I found with it so far though.

  • Mineral Based SPF 30 for broad spectrum protection
  • Matte Finish
  • Medium coverage
  • Good for normal to oily skin
  • Glides on and blends extremely well
  • Unscented
  • Great for sensitive skin
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Paraben and gluten free
  • May not be moisturizing enough for dry skin
  • Limited shade options

So far I really like it. After I wash my face and  put on my medication I apply it with my fingertips all over my face and under my eyes and set it with a bit of translucent powder. It doesn't feel heavy or overly creamy on my face and it sets really nicely. I have a bit of shine in the afternoon, but I went all day yesterday without blotting and I didn't feel like I looked overly oily when I got home in the evening. Overall I think it is definitely one of the better BB creams on the market right now for the price and the benefits you get from it. Plus the packaging is super pretty!  Hopefully they introduce more shade options in the near future.

Have you tried this product? What do you use for your every day makeup? I want to hear your thoughts!

Motivation...or lack thereof

Happy Tuesday !

As I sit here writing this, trying to make it just ONE WEEK of eating clean, working out  and not giving into temptations, I'm seriously considering going to town on one of the pastries my boss brought in for the office. "Will power" I tell myself. How the heck do I stay motivated when there are so many temptations around me??  Which brings me to my topic: motivation. Much of what I will discuss will ring true for many of you out there working on your goals.

You've made a plan, you're sure that THIS TIME you will succeed. It's not like all of the other times you've tried. The first week you're perfect; you've done everything you said you were going to.  The second week rolls around and you slack a bit, and before you know it you're wondering how you're ever going to succeed.

I can't tell you how many times I've been there. I'm not proud of how many times I have failed, but the important thing is I never ever gave up. Despite how many times I fell off the wagon, I always got back on. It's STAYING there that is the hard part. Here are some things I do to help me when I've exhausted all of my motivation.
  1. Text or call my accountability buddy. This person knows the goals I set for myself and gives me positive encouragement about whatever I'm struggling with.
  2. Revisit my reasons for why I'm trying to change. This is something that I do often. It's easy to get lost in the blunder of information and emotions swirling around me. Keep it simple. Remember why in the first place you felt something had to be different.
  3. Check my Instagram. I have an Instagram account specifically dedicated to health and fitness. I post about it, and I follow women who are on the same journey. Seeing their success and progress is definitely a great way to get that push I need to get out the door and run, or to make something healthy rather than go pick up food.
  4. Find ways to have fun with it. If you hate what you're doing, you'll never succeed. If you dread the thought of running, download the app Zombie Run and make a game out of it. It is way more fun pretending to escape zombies than listening to the same tired workout playlist and mindlessly running.
  5. Recognize the progress you have made. Looking at my before and after pictures from a year ago to today is motivation all by itself. I NEVER want to get back to where I was, and the only way to do that is to stay on track with eating healthy and working out.
After writing this, I don't even want that pastry anymore. The thought of setting myself back for a moment of brief satisfaction just isn't worth it. Because immediately after eating that pastry I will regret it. It will lead me to a train of negative thoughts, which is unhealthy all by itself. So when I'm done with this I'm going to enjoy a nice grapefruit, and take pride in myself for making the right decision for my health and my body.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Healthy Lifestyle: Getting Started

Happy Thursday!

Side note: If you like Country music and you like Disney movies, I must tell you how amazing the CD "The Best of Country Sing the Best of Disney" is! haha I found it just browsing iTunes. Seriously. Listen to it. It is magical. I'm listening to it as I write this :)

Anyway, I wanted to discuss the life changing decision of pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

Just making the decision to get healthy is an huge accomplishment all by itself. I sincerely applaud you for making this realization if you have. It definitely was not an easy one to come to, I'm sure, as it was not for me either.
Here are some questions to ask yourself now (and later come back to) about your intentions.

1. What are your main goals?
Think of reasons for yourself as to why you want to be healthy. General health? Toning? Weight loss? Improved self-image? 

2. Why now?
What stopped you before? Has something changed recently?

3. What can you do to help yourself succeed?
Think of ways that will ensure you a successful journey to health. Plan meals. Make grocery lists. Make a vision board. Think up weekly menus. Prep food ahead of time.

4. Do you have a good support system?
Is your family supportive of your decision? Will your friends accept your new lifestyle?

I definitely find myself coming back to these kinds of questions, especially when I am feeling unmotivated to work out or when eating out sounds so much easier than cooking up something healthy. *Remind yourself that this is a lifestyle change, not a diet. You're literally changing your life and your health for the better. It won't be easy, but it will be so rewarding, I promise! :)

Share with me your stories/tips for getting started!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Clear Skin, New Me!

Hi there J

I first want to address the thing that I have had the most success with in overcoming: my skin

 When I decided to first begin blogging a few months back, my acne had been at its absolute worst.  I was diagnosed with cystic acne by my doctor and she started me on a combination treatment that has worked absolute miracles for my skin.  I can’t begin to tell you what a daily struggle it was for me when my acne was at its worst.  I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin, and no amount of makeup would cover up the deep pimples all over my cheeks and chin.  If you suffer from any kind of acne, you know the same feelings of shame and embarrassment that I was experiencing.

I did everything by the book. I cleaned my makeup brushes regularly, used oil-free products, changed my pillow case weekly, and was diligent about washing my face morning and night. It just wasn't enough. The year that I spent trying to get my skin to clear up seems like a big blur to me.
I spent nights alone at home instead of out with friends because I just couldn't stand to be seen with so many pimples on my face.

I sincerely hope that if you find yourself reading this and are experiencing the same feelings and struggles with your acne, you can rest assured knowing that there is hope for you. It may take some time, and it may take several attempts at different combinations that work for you, but eventually, all of this will be a behind you, and you can show off that confidence that was masked behind your acne.

It has now been several months since I sought advice from my doctor, and the difference in my skin is phenomenal. She put me on a combination of anti-bacterial gel for the mornings, and a retinol based cream for the evenings. I reduced my regimen to simple essentials only. No more toners or medicated moisturizers. Apparently, there is such a thing as "over treatment" and that was a part of the problem.  Nearly everything I was using, including my makeup, had some form of salicylic acid in it. The effect was severe drying of my skin, which lead to an overproduction of oil to compensate, which equals more acne! Don't make the same mistake I did.

Here is my healthy skin regimen
Cleanse with Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask  2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide
(Creamy and has a sort of menthol feeling to it. I like it though, it wakes me up. Some may find this irritating, however) Before I used this, I was just using Cetaphil because it is gentle and doesn't contain any active ingredients, but I got the OK from the doctor to add the Benzoyl Peroxide now.

Apply RX anti-bacterial gel and wait 20 minutes before applying additional product

Moisturize with Estee Lauder Day Wear SPF 25  (oil-free, non-acne genic, and SPF, it is PERFECT)

Then apply makeup as normal. I've been using Estee Lauder's Double Wear Maximum Cover Camouflage Makeup SPF 15
This stuff will cover anything. I highly recommend it for those pesky acne scars.

Cleanse with Alba Botanica Even Advanced Cleansing Gel
Retinol based RX cream
Beauty sleep 8 hours!! 

Don't be afraid to ask for help. I thought I knew everything there was to know about skincare, and of course, I was wrong. It took seeing a physician to realize how serious my condition actually was, but it also gave me the tools to correct it.

I sincerely wish you luck with this if you're struggling with it! Let me know what treatments you have tried and what has worked for you!