You Can’t Take It Personally

Last week was my first week back at work after taking a hiatus to treat my depression.  I really weighed whether or not I should go “public” in my workplace.  There are about 120 people in my home office, then about 20 people outside of the office, who I work with on a day to day basis. I am not connected to many people I work with on social media so most of them were in the dark about why I was away. In fact, rumors had swirled around the office that I was fired.

I considered the professional, personal and legal repercussions of sharing my story with my co-workers very heavily, but ultimately decided that if I was going to say that I wanted to remove the gag order on discussing mental health, I needed to do it completely. Selfishly, the cool reception that I received on my first day back made me want my co-workers to understand that I hadn’t been taking an extended vacation while they still slaved away.

So I shared my blog with a select group of people I work with closely and the reaction was both disappointing and surprising. The surprises came from the number of people that I never would have expected to reach out who shared their experiences with depression. The disappointment came from those who I thought were closest to me who stayed silent.

The first lesson I have learned in sharing my story is that you can’t take someone’s reaction or lack of reaction personally. Many don’t understand and they still won’t understand, even when you try to explain. The ones who are silent may not be comfortable talking or they might not know what to say.

I felt frustrated for a moment and then realized this is why I started talking in the first place. I am going to keep talking and maybe the silent ones will find the words to support someone who is struggling with depression in their lives.

 

Homemade Dog Treats

Meet Meyer. She is (in my opinion) the world’s greatest wiener dog. 

 

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She was break your heart cute as a puppy.

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She is not a fan of selfies.

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She is not a fan of the costumes that I like to torture her with.

And bath time makes her sad. 

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But the one thing that makes her sleeping in the sun with a rubber chicken kind of happy…are my homemade dog treats.

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When Meyer was a puppy I used to have the “no people food” rule, but the first time I gave her a baby carrot as a treat and she devoured it, that rule got kicked to the curb. If I am chopping veggies, Meyer is eating the scraps. Kale, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, celery, and peppers are some of her favorites. (Note: Never give your dog: grapes, raisins, avocados, mushrooms, onions and garlic)

I started making dog treats for Meyer when I realized that I was tired of paying for treats that contained a bunch of ingredients I didn’t recognize. (We can analyze why I don’t treat my own diet this way another time.) I have found some easy ways to make treats that are healthy and budget friendly for your favorite four-legged friends.

Sweet Potato Treats 

Meyer’s favorite neighbor got her hooked on dehydrated sweet potato treats. Once I figured out how easy they were to make at home, I knew I had to make this a staple in our house as well.

These couldn’t be easier. Slice a sweet potato and then lay flat on a baking sheet and dehydrated in your oven. Literally, that is it.

  • I use a mandolin and put it on the thicker setting because Meyer likes it chewy and not crispy.
  • Grease a baking sheet and lay out the slices flat.
  • Bake in an oven between 175 to 250 degrees and let it go low and slow to dehydrate the potatoes.
  • The length of time depends on the thickness of the slices, at 175 and thick you could leave them in there for up to 8 hours. At thinner slices at 250, 3 hours tops. I usually keep an eye on them and when they dried out, pull them out and let them cool down before storing them.
  • Since there are no preservatives in these (like the ones you find at the store) they will go bad after about 7-10 days.
You can also bake a whole sweet potato and give that to the pups. I totally cheat and get the potatoes that are wrapped in plastic and throw one in a microwave for Meyer and she loves it.

Doggie Birthday Cake

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup of shredded carrots (this is optional, Meyer loves baby carrots as a treat/bone, so I threw them in)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions 

  • Mix all the ingredients together and then bake at 350 for 15-20 mins. 
  • You can frost the cake with plain yogurt. I watered down some peanut butter and then put it in a zip loc bag, then snipped the corner and wrote on the cake like it was icing. (Obviously, completely unnecessary because dogs can’t read, but it looked good for pics)

Homemade Frosty Paws 

These frozen treats are a hit at any Pup Party, but they are way too expensive for my taste. Once you learn how easy they are to make, you will always have a Frosty Paw on hand for your pup.

Ingredients 

  • 32 ounces of pain yogurt
  • 3 bananas
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter (i usually add a lil more because Meyer loves it so much)

Instructions 

  • Throw all of these ingredients into a blender and blend. Seriously, it is that easy.
  • I pour the mixture into small paper cups and then put in the freezer until solid. You can also put them in muffin tins and it will pop right out, but I like that I can just throw the cup away and the melting treat doesn’t get all over the place.
  • This batch makes a ton of treats, so you can half it if you want.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Treats

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This recipe is the most complicated, but worth it.  I make these treats around the holidays as a gift for my friends who have dogs from Meyer.

Ingredients 

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (whatever you prefer, you can do whole wheat)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 can of pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions 

  • Set oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and it should end up being a stiff dough. If you need to, you can add a little water if it is too dry.
  • I roll the dough out and use cookie cutters to cut out individual treats. I have built a cookie cutter collection that contains bone, weiner dog, squirrel, alligator (Go Gators), and fire hydrant. 
  • If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can also just roll the dough into a log and cut in into rounds like cookies.
  • Bake for about 30-40 mins, you want them to be hard, not soft like a human cookie.

 

Many of the ingredients that I use are good for dogs with sensitive stomachs (pumpkin is great), but if you are not sure how your pup will react to any of these ingredients, I recommend giving them just a tiny taste to test it out.

 

Do you have any homemade treats that you pup loves? Please share!

White Chicken Chili

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Every cook has a few signature recipes. The ones that people talk about for years after they have had it. They beg for you to make it. If you are serving that dish, you can be certain the line will be long. Somewhere along the way, White Chicken Chili has become my  signature dish.

I guess it all started with my annual Pumpkin Carving Party. I put out a huge spread of chili and all the fixins. Everyone serves themselves and piles on whatever toppings they would like. I thought the chili bar itself would be the star of the show, but it turned out that my White Chicken Chili was what left everyone talking. This dish has also been the back to back winner at my company Chili Cook Off (humble brag) and people beg me for the recipe, so here it is! I love to top mine with crushed tortilla chips, sour cream and jalapeños.

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2-3 cloves garlic diced finely
  • 1 can chopped green chilis
  • 1/2 yellow onion chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup of frozen white sweet corn
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 boxes chicken broth (or 32 ounces)
  • 1 can white Northern beans
  • 2 cups of shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 bar of Velveeta

Seasoning

All seasoning can be adjusted to your preference.

  • 1 tablespoon White Pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Celery Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder

If you want to make life easier, you can use McCormick’s White Chicken Chili seasoning packet. This is a great substitute

Instructions 

1. Over a medium high heat brown the ground chicken.

2. Remove the ground chicken and drain most of the fat from the pan, leaving just enough to sauté your vegetables.

3. Sauté onions, bell pepper, celery, and jalapeño until soft. Add garlic in once it is translucent so that it doesn’t burn.

4. Add cooked ground chicken back to the pot.

5. Add chicken broth to the pot and stir until incorporated.

6. Drain the can of beans and add to the pot and add frozen white corn.

7. Allow the mixture to just come to a boil and then stir in your preferred combination of seasoning.

8. Add shredded pepper jack cheese and Velveeta and stir until melted.

9. Once seasoning is incorporated, reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes before eating.

Top off your chili with your choice of fixins: crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, jalapenos, shredded cheese, tomatillo salsa, saltine crackers – the possibilities are endless!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my friends and family have!

 

The conversation has started!

Wow. I am just speechless at the feedback that I have received from my first post “Breaking the Gag Order on Mental Health“. Sometimes when I read blogs and they say “thank you so much for sharing your stories” I am left wondering, well what did people share? I want to get specific, because I think that each response carried so much value.

  • Friends shared their stories of their own personal experiences with mental health, specifically depression and anxiety, and similar symptoms that I experience.
  • Distant family members reached out and shared that they have similar experiences from depression, further supporting the genetic condition
  • Friends reached out saying that they have suffered from similar symptoms but have never thought that they could be suffering from depression until now
  • People that I haven’t spoken to since middle school shared my blog, not because they have mental health issues, but to bring awareness to their network of friends
  • Friends reached out to share how they have felt ashamed or unable to discuss their experiences and they appreciated me sharing my story to help them do the same
  • Many people reached out just to say that they were there if I ever needed anything and that gesture was so simple and kind.

A sincerest thank you to those of you who have reached out. Pressing “publish” on that post was scary and each and every one of your responses has made it so worth wild. My voice is small, but I know that by sharing my experiences it at least starts the conversation in the network that I engage with and that is the first step. I have no doubt that if we break the gag order on discussing mental health, we will no longer have just temporary solutions, but a cure for generations to come. Let’s make it happen.

 

My Current Beauty Wish List – Summer 2014

At any given time I have at least 5-9 products in my Sephora.com shopping cart.  If I go back and still really want the item, it stays, if it was just an impulse, I kick it to the curb. This is how I rationalize my purchases. Judge all you want, it works for me (and I think in some way I can blame my Mother for teaching me this technique). If only Sephora used the common practice of sending coupons after you leave an item in the cart, but alas, they know there is no need, as we will eventually pay full price.

These are the products that have stuck around in my cart this season and I am dying to get my hands on.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Palette 

I have had my eye on the Ambient Lighting Powders for awhile now, but haven’t been able to bring myself to pay the $45 for a single product. This palette provides three shades of this powder for only $58, so it is certainly much more budget friendly. Yes, I realize how ridiculous it is that I just said $60 is budget friendly for a block of powder.

Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara 

With a name like Iconic, I am already won over to try this product. Dior’s mascaras have always been highly rated and my lashes have absolutely no curl so I am dying to try this and see if it lives up to the hype.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Beige  

Once again, Jaclyn Hill has won me over with her rants and raves for this classic product from Bobbi Brown. I have always wanted to add a Shimmer Brick to my make up collection, but couldn’t decide on the right color. This Brick has a perfect champagne color with a brown base that is sure to compliment my skin tone. I want to use this on my cheekbones, brow bones…basically any bones that are naturally highlighted.

Too Faced Natural Eye Shadow Collection 

I may have ever color shadow possible, but I always come back to the same neutrals that are always flattering. Champagne, soft pink, matte browns, creams, they never fail you. This palette has rave reviews on being the perfect every day palette for that natural, no make up, make up look. You know, cause that makes sense? Anyways, it has caught my eye and I love my Chocolate Bar palette by Too Faced, so this is a must have.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation 

I think that I will forever be on the hunt for the perfect foundation. There will always be a better technology that comes out, so I will always be up for trying something new. In this case, this is a tried and true classic. I have never heard a bad review about Estee Lauder Double Wear. It is supposed to have a natural finish, last 15 hours and stay true to color, what more could you want?

Make Up Geek Blush – Spellbound 

If you haven’t discovered Make Up Geek yet, I recommend that you run, not walk, to their website and check them out. They have fantastic eye shadows that are completely on par with MAC and many are exact dupes of your favorite shades, but oh so much cheaper!

When they came out with their blush line, I knew I was going to want to buy each of them. My girl Jaclyn Hill did reviews and swatches of all the blushes and oh boy was I not disappointed. Of course, these blushes have sold out, but I am anxiously awaiting their re-stock so I can pick up Spellbound, I mean, look at how gorgeous it looks on JHill.

Perricone MD No Bronzer Bronzer 

I need this in my life. It is so difficult to find the perfect bronzer, I don’t want a bunch of shimmer on my face like I am in middle school, I just want a healthy glow that looks natural. The No Bronzer Bronzer is like no bronzer that you have used before, a liquid bronzer that is not just meant for a night out on the town. This bronzer is supposed to be subtle, but buildable and can be easily used to contour (which my naturally round face is in desperate need of) so sounds like perfection. This little guy has been sold out at Sephora for weeks, but hopefully it finds its way into my shopping cart once it is back in stock.

Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Honey Bath 

This is an item that is completely unnecessary, but I think everyone deserves a little bit of luxury in their lives. Yes. A $45 bubble bath is a total splurge/luxury/pampering item, but oh man do I love a bubble bath.Youtuber Zoella included this in one of her monthly favorites and I have been eye’ing it ever since. I love a pamper night, light some candles, slather on a face mask (maybe a deep conditioning hair mask too), glass of wine, good book and slip into a bubble bath. I think this honey bath sounds like the perfect companion to a pamper night and what could be better than drizzling the product into the warm water with the honeycomb dipstick.

What is currently on your beauty wish list?

Or should I say what is waiting for you to press “purchase” in your online shopping carts? I have a feeling many of your beauty wish list items will find their way into my shopping cart as well!

 

Breaking the Gag Order on Mental Health

I have decided to break the gag order, the one that I believe keeps society from discussing mental illness. I am no longer going to lower my voice to a whisper when it comes to discussing mental illness, instead I am going to say it out loud and proud. Since I am saying this out loud for all to hear, let me be specific, I have major depressive disorder, reoccurring, also known as clinical depression, along with generalized anxiety disorder (these two are often companions).

A Little Bit of Background…

I was first diagnosed with major depressive disorder in 2009 and after about 6 months of trial and error, I found a medication that treated my symptoms.  This medication worked well until this past fall and over the past couple months, my symptoms had become so crippling that I found that I could not be effective at my job. Finally, the only thing I could do was take a step back to focus on taking care of myself.

When I called in sick to work, there were many opportunities presented to answer the seemingly simple question, “what is wrong?” from the people around me.  As I responded with the explanation that I have depression, I watched (or heard) their confusion and discomfort.  I don’t fit their expectation for what depression looks and acts like.

Do I look like someone who is depressed? 

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Most people who suffer from depression develop coping mechanisms so they can continue to function despite their symptoms. This is our way of fighting back. We fight with all we have so the depression doesn’t steal every moment of our lives.  We fake it until we make it. While there is a smile across my face in this photo, I felt completely worthless inside and I was barely hanging on to keep my head above water, when this was taken.

I can understand why people are confused when I tell them that I am depressed, how is anyone supposed to know what depression looks like when no one will discuss it. While I have grown more and more comfortable discussing my depression with my close family and friends, but very few of those closest to me understand what it really means.  It doesn’t mean I am just “feeling sad” or that it is a result of a situation that I am going through. My depression is clinical, it is a result of a chemical imbalance in my brain and when the chemicals are off balance, my life is thrown out of balance. When someone with asthma can’t breathe, they need to use their inhaler and when I am depressed, I need help balancing the chemicals in my brain to treat the symptoms.

Symptoms of depression vary for everyone. It is common to think that depression just means that someone is sad, withdrawn, and going through a rough time, but they can snap out of it if they tried.  I can’t speak for what others experience, but the cocktail of symptoms that I experience with depression are:

  • Irritability
  • Uncontrollable Negative Thoughts
  • Exhaustion
  • General Feelings of Worthlessness
  • Lack of Interest to Engage in Social Activities
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Feelings that there is no solution or resolution to these feelings
  • Desire to Give Up

Many of these symptoms can be invisible, which can make suffering from them even harder.

Something to Talk About 

Statistics show that 1 in 10 Americans suffer from depression, so why aren’t we running 5Ks for depression? Our health is a private and personal matter, but without bringing attention and (and more importantly private funding) to an issue, how can we expect a change?

So let’s start talking.  I am making a vow to break the gag order and discuss mental health openly and honestly. I will raise awareness with my voice in person and here, on this blog. I ask that you consider taking the same vow. You may be surprised about what you learn once you start.

 

 

 

Spotted: Clean Graffiti Marketing Campaign

IMG_8079 On a Spring walk with Meyer pup I came across my first Clean Graffiti Marketing campaign and it caused me to (literally) stop in my tracks.  This sidewalk is a popular path for runners and walkers in this popular Dilworth neighborhood, so at first, the markings on the sidewalk caught my eye as very well done sidewalk chart art. When I took a further look, I realized that I was standing on a genius marketing campaign.

BKLsshMCEAAXYPqA simple message was pressure washed on the sidewalk with stencils.

STAY STRONG. Pain stops here. OrthoCarolina. An athlete’s best friend.

What better place is there for an orthopedics healthcare company to advertise than exactly where their target audience is?

As a runner is just thinking about giving up, they look ahead and see words of encouragement cheering them on just one more mile.

When a familiar ache or pain rears its ugly head again, you spot the one who will bring you relief.

Someone who may have never considered orthopedic care now has a solution in mind the next time they are in pain.

One of the most important aspects of any marketing campaign is determining who is the target audience, then determining where and how to communicate with that audience. In this case, the target audience is athletes, but not necessarily someone that you find in a professional arena or high school football field. An athlete is anyone who is pushing their bodies in the pursuit of fitness. The 40 year old training for his next marathon. The new Mom who has picked up running with friends to get back into shape. The post-college graduate trying to de-stress after work with a long walk.By targeting the sidewalk, you widen the audience and extend brand awareness.

Can you count the number of impressions made? Not exactly. Can you calculate the ROI? Probably not accurately. But the cost is small, the message is subtle and the impact is huge. After a little research, I discovered that this great campaign was implemented by local Charlotte agency, thesavageway, and they call this technique “clean graffiti” .

The execution of this campaign is simple, but the idea is smart and opportunity for using this technique is endless. I hope to stumble on more of these clean campaigns around town, have you spotted any in your neighborhood?

The 6 things you MUST have in your makeup bag

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In the quest to find the perfect solution to every makeup problem I have ever had, I have found a few staple products that I now can not live without. Beauty bloggers like to call products like these their “holy grail” but I just can’t bring myself to use that phrase. These are products that work for me and make life just a little easier by doing exactly what I want them to do. They work for me and I hope they will work for you too.

1. Stilla Stay All Day Waterproof Eyeliner 

This eyeliner is liquid and uses a flexible felt like tip to apply the product. It is easy to control, has great pigmentation and does exactly as it’s name says, stays all day. It doesn’t take much practice to get used applying this eyeliner and before you know it, you will be flicking the perfect wing.

2. Naked Basics Palette

In the world of makeup, the rainbow of eyeshadows can be so enticing to play with, but it is the basics that will make any eye look possible. Naked Basics looks boring and simple and almost repetitive, but don’t be fooled. You can create complete looks with this palette or use these shadows as the base or blending shadows for any look you want to create. Either way, you won’t be able to live without these simple shades. 

3. MAC Pro-Longwear Concealer 

I call this concealer spackle because once you set it, there is no smudging, creasing or fading until you remove it. The coverage is amazing for any level of dark circles under your eyes and the range of colors that it comes in ensures you will find your perfect fit. I use NW20, just a smidge lighter than my foundation to help provide even more lightness to this usually dark area. You only need the tiniest amount of product, so if the $19 price tag seems a bit expensive, don’t worry, this bottle will last you months. I set mine with a light powder, but depending on who you ask at MAC, some say you don’t need to set this product, so it is up to you!

4. Benefit They’re Real Mascara 

I will not declare that They’re Real is the best mascara of all time. I certainly believe there are better mascaras out there, but if you want a consistent product that will always give you great results, you must add this to your collection. They’re Real separates and lengthens lashes with a formula that is worth the price tag.

5. Rimmel Stay Matte Power (Translucent) 

I never thought I needed a powder to complete my makeup kit. I don’t have oily skin and I have never been the type to touch up makeup when out on the go, so I was surprised to how many different ways I now use powder. I love Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in Translucent for two reasons 1) the price (you can find this under $5 at your drugstore) and 2) the performance. This translucent powder does not look cakey when you pile it on, blends in seamlessly and really is translucent. I use mine to set concealer and fix blush blunders (I can sometimes have a heavy hand), but I also find it useful to set any liquid product or as a base for eyeshadows.

6. Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray 

You take your time to make sure your makeup is perfect, but then forget the most important step of your routine, setting spray. A simple mist of All Nighter will help make sure your makeup looks as fresh and perfect at the beginning of the day until the end of the day. I also love how this product provides a cool mist that feels refreshing after layering on products.

My (Current) Skin Care Favorites

My relationship with my skin can be as dramatic as my love life, but recently I have fallen into a routine of products that seem to be calming down the roller coaster ride that my skin usually takes.

It is important to note that my skin is relatively normal, with hormonal acne in my chin area. I don’t typically have much to complain about my skin, I just like to keep it happy so it doesn’t revolt against me and I am always on the hunt for the ever illusive miracle product that is going to make my skin “glow”.  Here are a few items that I have found that have yet to disappointment me, so I trust that you will love them too.

Face Wash – Philosophy Purity

I was first introduced to this cult favorite by Jaclyn Hill, my favorite YouTube beauty guru and it wasn’t long before I completely fell for its greatness. I am lazy when it comes to skin care, so this wash and I are kindred spirits. Purity does everything (except the dishes) it is a make up remover, gentle face cleanser, toner and make up brush cleaner all in one. Purity is my go-to face wash and it has not failed me, it removes every ounce of gunk from my face and leaves my skin feeling clean with no residue. I recommend that you try out any new products with a sample or travel size and you can easily find Purity for only $10 for a generous supply.

You can’t go wrong with Purity, even if you hate it (for some crazy reason) as your face wash, you can use it as a make up brush cleaner. If you fall in love with it, keep an eye out for coupons from Philosophy.com and then stock up and save!

Day Moisturizer – CeraVe Moisturizing Facial Lotion

I want to start my day with a clean face and a light moisturizer that will not interfere with my make up or leave my skin feeling weighed down. CeraVe does exactly what you want it to, it provides the perfect amount of moisture before you put your make-up on and calms down any irritation or dryness.

CeraVe was recommended to me by my dermatologist when breakouts decided to take up permanent residence on my chin. I love that this moisturizer is easy to find at any drugstore or Target and while it can typically cost around $15, it lasts for-ev-er! Plus, at that price, you won’t mind when the man in your life inevitably starts using it regularly as well.

TIP: If you can, give your moisturizer 15 minutes to absorb before you start applying your makeup.

Night Moisturizer – Philosophy, Hope in a Jar

Nighttime is the prime time to let your skin repair itself from the damage you have done all day, but that doesn’t mean I want to slather on a thick layer of moisturizer that is just going to end up all over my pillows. Hope in a Jar is a cult favorite and I figure, if that many people like it, I might as well give it a shot.

The product is a light, air whipped texture with a light fragrance with marine notes. It absorbs quickly into the skin and is light enough that you could wear it under make up. They have a night time version, but I prefer the weight of the day version for my skin. I focus on my typically dry areas of my face and make sure to cover my neck (this is the first place that shows signs of aging, eek) with this glorious cream. The next morning, my skin is baby soft and ready to take on another day.

TIP: Did you know the best time to put on your moisturizer is within 10 minutes of getting out of the shower? This is when your skin’s pores are primed and ready to soak up the moisturizer and you will see the most benefit.

Dark Spot Treatment – Garnier Skin Renew Dark Spot Overnight Peel

I have always been looking for a product to put on at night and when I awoke in the morning I would magically find my dark spots had faded. I was tired of claims from products stating that it would take 6-8 weeks until I could see a difference…until this little gem found its way home with me from an Ulta trip.When looking for an effective dark spot corrector, I always feel like I am trying to weed out the “scam” products from the real deal.  Most often I find that I believe price = effectiveness, but alas, a product to disprove this theory!

Garnier Skin Renew Clinical Dark Spot Peel costs about $15 at drugstores or Ulta (use an Ulta coupon and get it for cheaper). I never would have picked it up because the word “peel” confused me, but think of this just as a serum that you put on at night and then wash your face as usual in the morning. I started seeing results for this within a week to two weeks and more importantly, my Mother made a comment about how clear my skin looked. The peel doesn’t irritate any current breakouts and makes a noticeable difference in a short period of time, what more could you want?

Daily Sunscreen – Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunscreen SPF 70

Speaking of dark spots…as I whined and complained to my dermatologist that there had to be some magic laser he could shoot at my skin to make them disappear, he said unless I wanted to spend a couple hundred dollars my best bet was to use sunscreen, every day. Of course, I protested, I did use an SPF 20 on a daily basis already (it is built into my foundation, duh). He wasn’t amused and informed me that in this case, even just walking to the mailbox everyday could intensify my dark spots and I needed to use 50+ every day to help prevent any further damage.

I am a Florida girl, but for some reason, I can not stand the scent of sunscreen on my face, unless I am on a beach. Thankfully Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunscreen saves the day with their super lightweight formula and zero fragrance! I use on a daily basis, on my chin, after I have moisturized and then place my make up on top with no issues. I would say the $10 investment in this little bottle is worth it over those silly lasers.

 Jury is still out

Clarisonic Mia

I have heard rave reviews on the Clarisonic, reviews so good you almost can’t believe they are true. After hearing these reviews for over a year and asking around to a few friends who use the system, I finally decided to give it a shot this Christmas. The Christmas deals and discounts made the decision to give this $100 tool a chance as well.

Once I received the Mia, I couldn’t wait to start using it and seeing the “life changing” results. After one use, I didn’t have a glorious complexion and zero signs of acne as I had expected, but after a few months of use my tune has started to change. I had a few initial breakouts, but then my skin started to settle down and after two months my skin cleared enough that I stopped taking my prescription acne medication.  I have now been using the Clarisonic for three months and off my perscription for a month and my skin has never been this clear. The best part is when someone stops you and asks, “what are you doing with your skin? It looks fantastic!”

I will give this wonder tool another month or so of use before I deem it a “favorite”, so for right now the jury is still out, but the verdict looks positive!

Still on the Hunt

I am still searching for an under eye cream to help reduce dark circles, if you have found a product that you love, please share!

Back in the Game

Well after a brief hiatus from the blogging world (and a terrible lesson in always backing up your website) I am back in the blogging game. I have dabbled in food blogging before, where I shared some of my favorite recipes and local Charlotte eats, but this time around, I have decided to expand my horizons. I often found myself wanting to share more than just my take on food, so here I will also be sharing my view on beauty/make-up, marketing, and food/entertaining. Each of these topics are dear passions to me and I can not wait to share them with the people that stumble upon this tiny piece of the internet that I own.

What can you expect? 

Food that is delicious and makes you happy. I am a self taught cook and to me cooking is my way of showing how much I love those around me. I like to make food that makes those around me happy. Food is the universal language (I will argue this over music) and it is my way of connecting with the world around me, so expect my recipes to be mouth watering and addicting.

Recommendations on beauty and make up products that I have put through a rigorous and completely unsophisticated testing processes. I have become obsessed with make up and beauty over the past year and my only way to cope with this addiction is to publicly admit it and share my new found knowledge. You can benefit from my unhealthy addiction to buying beauty products as I share my take on current favorites and new products.

Oprah once told me, through her daily television show, that you should find what you love and then find a way to make a living doing it. Well, I love marketing. I totally geek out when I find a brilliant marketing idea and want to shout “THIS IS BRILLIANT” from the roof tops. My blog may be a pretty short roof top, but I guess I will take it. Every aspect of your life is influenced by marketing initiatives and find studying this quickly evolving industry to be fulfilling and fascinating.

Moral of the story, there will be something for everyone, so tell your Mom, neighbor, mailman and pup to check out my blog, I will be sure not to disappoint.

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