Three things my mom passed on to me.

First and foremost, this is my 100th blog post! Holy cow!

I wanted to make this a special post, so I hope I did a good job of that.

I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot lately. Although I’m 25 and married, I live 350+ miles away from my mom, so I miss her quite a bit. And I’m okay with that because she’s my mom and she taught me a lot, showed me what real motherly love is, and (in my opinion) raised me to be a mature but silly, intelligent but empathetic, independent but humble, and loving but tough woman.

I’ve often thought about writing a book about my mom’s life because I think she is a remarkable woman – even if I wrote about my own life, she would play a central character in it. She’s gone through so much in her life, and if you know her then you understand what I’m talking about.

Instead of thinking about the frustrating and/or sad things surrounding my mom, though, I find myself reflecting on little (and big) things that I don’t necessarily realize I have picked up from her. If you told me when I was younger that I would pick up or appreciate some of these things, I would laugh at you and say, “Yeah, right.”

So here we go, here are some things my mom passed on to me.

My baby face. If you know me, then you know I’ve often talked about being told I look like I’m a high school student. I don’t think my facial features have changed much since graduating high school (other than my teeth, thanks to Invisalign) so I’ve gotten asked my age a lot since then.

I know that people always tell me, “Oh, you’ll appreciate it when you’re older!” But when I was trying to be taken seriously and get a professional job as a teacher, it was difficult when the principals, teachers, and even students looked at me as being similar to a high school student, if only by looks. Obviously that makes me seem unqualified and inexperienced.

Luckily now I have a job, but I still get that comment at least once a week. I was even questioned by the school nurse this past September when I went down and she was about to deny me a feminine product because students aren’t allowed to use them. Heck, my hairdresser just mentioned it again to me today, that the first time I came in to the salon back in October, she thought I was 18. Well, that’s all thanks to my mom; she always looked at least 10 years younger than she actually was.

Mom and IThanks for my youthful (albeit pale as heck) skin, Mom.

My love of crosswords. When I was younger, my mom’s right hand seemingly always had a blue stain on it from using erasable pens while doing crossword puzzles. She always had a crossword dictionary at the ready for when she just couldn’t seem to think of the answer. We also had a coffee mug with crosswords on it. That’s how much they were present in our house.

I think she has gone through 4 of those paperback crossword dictionaries (the spines always break, so she has to duct tape them back together), but she swears that the particular one she has always used is the best out there. And for birthdays or Christmas, it was always a safe bet to buy her crossword books. The hard ones. Like New York Times hard. She’s so smart and has done crosswords for years, so she knows all of these answers!

When I got a little older (like, 10), she would leave the less difficult answers blank and ask me to help her fill them in. As I grew up, I began getting my own crossword books; you know, the ones with EASY written on the front in gigantic letters so that you knew they were flipping EASY. As time went on, I was able to help my mom with the more difficult ones: Spanish translations, typical crossword clues, ones with more modern clues/answers, etc.

Now I have a few books of my own – they don’t have EASY on the front, but they aren’t the super hard ones like my mom does. Mostly because I take them with me when I might have some downtime and want to do a puzzle or two and so therefore don’t want to lug a dictionary with me everywhere. Yes, I’m sure there’s an app for that, but I’d just assume not have to use one on the go. Thus, I’m not able to fill them out completely without looking at the answers in the back. But I’ve found I’m better than the average person (not to sound cocky at all. I mean, come on, how can you be cocky about crosswords? Unless that’s what you base your self-esteem on and go to competitions and stuff like that. Well then, good for you, but that’s not for me).

Crossword love mug

Thanks for my intelligence and weird love of crosswords, Mom.

My compassion for others with differences. Ever since I was young, my mom would always make sure I understood that just because someone was different did not mean they were inferior in any way. I was told that I shouldn’t make fun of people just because they spoke different, looked different, walked different, thought different, or lacked the ability to do things that I could.

Sure, growing up as a dumb little elementary/middle school girl, of course I said some mean things here and there. But I honestly don’t think I was ever mean to the point of being cruel or making someone cry.

Especially because I HATE WHEN PEOPLE CRY. I’m a very sensitive soul; my mom will be the first to tell you that. I hated when people made me feel bad, so therefore I hated making other people feel bad. I was always able to put myself in their shoes, because that’s what my mom instilled in me from a young age.

Sure this has backfired on me a lot because I would tend to hold back feelings so as to not rock the boat. I would let people make snide comments and not defend myself. But now that I’m grown, I am able to defend myself without being mean and nasty. Plus, with all that’s happened in my life surrounding my mom, I know I’m much more compassionate than I would have been had my life been different.

Cute animals different rabbit kitty puppy mouse

Thanks for teaching me compassion and love, Mom.

So obviously there are many more things that I’ve learned from my mom, but I figured I would start with these three. If you liked this, let me know and maybe I’ll write another sometime.

Feel free to comment something(s) that you value about your mom or have picked up from your mom because moms and other motherly figures are important and need to be appreciated and valued much more than they are.

Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse – Skincare Series

If you haven’t heard of Nuxe, I would suggest you look into it. This brand originated in France and holds three core values – nature, performance, and sensuality. Sounds good to me!

Nuxe has multiple lines of products, each dedicated to a different skin category. For example, they have the Crème Prodigieuse* line that targets fatigued and dull skin. The Nuxuriance line is targeted to mature skin while the Crème Nirvanesque is formulated for those experiencing their first expression lines. So Nuxe is really great for targeting your personal skin issues.

[* for those of you who don’t know French outside “yes”, “hello”, “thank you”, and counting to ten (like me) that is pronounced Pro-dih-joo. Except the j is not as harsh as we Americans would say a j. I took Spanish for 11 years, so I’m still shocked at some of their letter combinations vs. pronunciations.]

Not only do they have multiple lines, but also each line has a product for everything you want for your face. There’s also a whole line of face washing products infused with rose petal water and even a men’s line!

These products are a bit on the pricey side if you are buying them anywhere but France. I was shocked to find that it costs about 5 times more to purchase these products here in the States than it does in France. So if you’re planning a trip to France, you could totally score a great deal! If you want to plan a trip just to snag said great deal, I have a feeling that the travel expenses kind of outweigh the savings of the skincare products.

Anyway, I want to focus on the Crème Prodigieuse day and night creams. These creams are so wonderful if you want a little extra TLC for your face after a long day at work or a long night that you didn’t sleep well.Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse

The day cream comes in two formulations: one for dry to very dry skin and one for normal to combination skin. Nuxe really understands that not all skin types are the same, not just age-wise but also dryness-wise.

This anti-fatigue moisturizing cream is infused with the blue everlasting flower which, “to protect itself from its hostile environment (sun, wind, salt), it has developed exceptional resistance to stress and possesses anti-free radical and anti-oxidant properties superior to those of vitamins C and E.” Cool!

It smells amazing and feels so luxurious on the skin. My skin feels so smooth and hydrated and carries this light fragrance with it, so I feel amazing after putting it on.Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse Nuit

The night cream (Creme Prodigieuse Nuit) is very similar; after using this at night, my skin still feels smooth in the morning. And not an oily smooth like some creams I’ve found give me, but a nice still-moisturized feel.

Overall, although a bit pricey, these two products smell great and definitely give you the moisture your skin needs, especially after a restless night or a long day at work. There is no SPF protection, so a separate product should be used in conjunction to give you that extra protection from the sun’s rays.

You can check out the Creme Prodigieuse line here, or see their full line of products here.

Hair, Skin, & Nails >1 Month Update<

It has now been 4 weeks since I started taking the Hair, Skin, & Nails supplement, so I’m updating with my overall impressions after one month. As was mentioned in my previous post about the supplement, I am only taking 2 of the caplets when the suggested dose is 3 per day. So let’s see what (if anything) I’ve noticed…HSN biotin 2

My skin has been on and off with pimples here and there, and it still feels dry without moisturizer. I realized, however, that when I work out my skin tends to freak out. Since our 5k at the end of June I haven’t been working out as much with school and my new job. My skin was looking fine and then one day I decided to run, and by the end of that day I had two pimples starting to take form. To be fit or not to be fit?

Also, the back part of my scalp went through a couple days worth of itchiness and I was actually afraid that I had gotten lice! I bought Neutrogena T-Sal shampoo and T-Gel conditioner and (thank God!) it felt better by the next day and (again, thank you Lord) I have not had the itches since.

My hair seems a little bit more lively, but I’m not sure how much the supplement has to do with that. For one, as mentioned before, I have a different shampoo and conditioner combo – I’ve been mixing the T-Sal/Gel products (for dryness and softness) with some Brilliant Brunette (to help with the color).

Second, I picked up the “It’s a 10 miracle leave-in product” and have used that every time I wash my hair for about two weeks now.

It's a 10

Third, to promote shine, I started rinsing my hair with really cold water in the shower. So after my whole shower routine is done, when I’m all ready to get out, I torture myself by turning the water to cold and holding my head to it for about 20 seconds. I haven’t gotten any comments about my hair blinding anyone with it’s shine, so it may be all for nothing, but what the heck? If nothing else, it wakes me up in the morning.

Finally, and probably most helpful, I have cut down on using heat on my hair. I’ve only used my straightener to curl my hair maybe 6 days this month as opposed to every other day. It helps that it’s been so sticky and humid. Honestly, there’s no point in even trying to make my hair be anything but curly and frizzy when it’s so hot and humid. So I save time and my locks when I go semi-au natural.175875_10151496725246526_624190009_o (1)

So when I wash my hair with said shampoos and conditioners, I spray said leave-in product and squirt some mousse in my hair, comb with my head upside down, flip right-side up, and finger-comb/shake my waves out to my normal parted style. I then create a braid at the front of my hair using my bangs because they get the most out of control and awkward looking when left to air dry (seen above…kind of).

Against all these great improvement-inducing products and routines, I dyed my hair about 2 weeks back. I am now all brunette again (I used Natural Instincts #12 Light Golden Brown if anyone is wondering) because I wanted to blend my highlights and cover my grays. I let it go for quite awhile longer than normal, but a male coworker pointed it out one day so my self-conscious self took over and I caved. Ugh, when are they ever going to patent that cure for gray hair?Natural Instincts #12

All that said, I’m glad to report that I definitely notice my baby hairs are less pronounced and seem to be growing because they aren’t breaking due to heat tools.

My nails took a beating at the beginning of the 4 weeks because I had gotten gel nails done at a salon. After almost 2 weeks, I started picking and pulling at them and a few of my nails ended up really beat up. Because the top layer(s) were pulled off with the gel nail, I ended up buying acetone to take the remainder off. So needless to say they’re still recovering from that.

I haven’t felt nauseous or anything while taking the supplement, but I’ve been taking them with breakfast and dinner, so I think that helps. I have about 3 weeks left of these pills and I’m not sure whether I want to continue with the regimen or not. If I do, I will definitely look into getting a different brand/pill because these are large and horrid tasting when they don’t go down the first four tries because of their being large. Since I take 12 pills a day for my Crohn’s, I’d rather not continue to add two more huge pills to the equation.

I will update either when I finish the supplements and change over to a new kind or in another month. Or when my hair is thick and luscious enough to do a super sexy hair flip.

Until then, I’ll just keep looking like this:White Chicks

Cheers to healthy mind and body. And humor.

Hair, Skin & Nails (oh my!)

I’ve decided to try taking the Hair, Skin, and Nails supplement by Spring Valley in hopes that I will become a smokin’ hot, glowing supermodel with long, luscious locks to my tush. Alliteration aside, I guess I would settle with stronger hair with less fallout, stronger nails with less breakage, and maybe a bit of a glowy complexion. That sounds a bit more realistic.

I have heard so many girls (mostly on YouTube) who buy Prenatal vitamins in hopes that their hair/skin/nails will improve. I mean, we all hear about how pregnant women’s skin glows and how their hair and nails grow like dandelions on Miracle-gro. But honestly, I think a lot of it has to do with hormones. So instead, I’ll try this collagen support vitamin and hope for the best!HSN biotin 2

So I’ll start by giving you an idea of what I’m dealing with right now so that an update can hopefully show improvements.

A little about me: I’m a very dry person. And no, I’m not talking about my humor.

My hair is really dry, so it frizzes if I don’t put some sort of product in it. I usually use a mousse because my hair is curly but fine, so I don’t want anything too heavy to weigh it down or make it flat but I need some sort of control. I color my hair quite often because I was blessed with graying hair at the age of 16 (Proverbs 16:31 – crown of glory, holler) so that adds to the dryness.

At the moment, my hair is about 2 inches past my collarbone and is not very thick (density-wise, not diameter); I have fine hair, but quite a bit of it. I also have a ton of baby hairs around my face, so I’m hoping this whips them into shape. I also have been trying to cut down on using heat on my hair, so hopefully that will help as well. It stinks that heat makes it look so much better! #firstworldproblems anyone? Anyways, see picture (left) for current hair condition.lunch-copy

My skin is always dry unless it’s really hot and humid (causing me to sweat profusely) so I am constantly reaching for lotion. I have had bouts of eczema on and off since high school, so I try to be very conscientious of applying lotion when my skin feels dry. My face suffers hormonal breakouts around my T-zone (typically once a month, if ya know what I mean) and is sensitive, so finding gentle but effective cleansers and moisturizers is difficult.

My nails have taken a beating over the past year; I was diagnosed with Crohns disease in October, and my malnutrition showed in my nails. I had pits and ridges on every nail and was unable to grow them very long because they were pretty brittle. Since I have returned to normal eating habits, they have gotten better, although I still have some ridges and waves.

So that is the condition of my hair, skin, and nails right now. In terms of the supplement, the serving size is 3 caplets per day, to be taken with meals.  So far I have been taking them for three days, although I have only taken two caplets each day instead of the suggested three.  They are kind of large and are kind of smelly, but I’ve taken larger pills, so it’s no big deal. I’ve heard that it should take 2-3 months before full benefits are seen but I will update any changes I see after the month mark.HSN biotin pills

I looked up a bunch of reviews, from YouTube to Amazon (you can read through them here), and here’s what I found:

Good experiences

  • Many reviewers on Amazon and YouTube claim that their hair and nails grew longer and stronger after only a couple weeks. Also, skin was less oily and more glowy with fewer breakouts.

Bad experiences

  • I read a bunch of reviews where bad skin breakouts occurred; apparently the collagen found in these kinds of supplements is broken down through hydrolysis, so it is recommended by many to drink plenty of water while taking it.
  • Others complained of nausea caused by the pills; it is important to take any supplements with food. Your stomach will be producing acid to break up the food and supplement instead of the lone supplement sitting and rotting the lining of your stomach and/or causing nausea.

Unfortunately I was unable to find any proper research on these sorts of supplements, so this will be a self-study. I shall update after one month. Ready. Set. Sports Illustrated cover, here I come.