The Scales Not Moving, but I'm Getting Smaller

The mystery of my weight loss continues as I weighed in today and am no lighter on the scale, but I’m actually looking smaller! My clothes are looser and I can see the weight loss when I look in the mirror, but I wouldn’t know it from the scale! Cue The X Files theme. I feel like these pictures accurately reflect how truly short I am!

I’ve dropped two sizes, but only a few pounds on the scale since June so I’m basically ignoring the scale at the moment and just going by how I look and how my clothes feel. I may be picking up some muscle from starting to jog and I’ve done a bit of pilates mat work when I feel like it.

I’ve been pretty happy with my food this past week. I ate cream cheese pancakes in the first half of the week and bacon, egg, and cheese in the latter half of the week for breakfast. The turkey burgers with A-1 were great last week so I’ll probably do that again this coming week. The Quest chips are too good, but they’re great with my burger or as a snack at night (and sometimes, both LOL).

I tried a new place today for lunch because I was in a different area running errands. I got a chicken salad from California Tortilla. It was tasty! I had them hold the corn and tortilla strips and I got ranch dressing. I’d definitely go there again!

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I ran out of cream today. I usually prefer that in my coffee, but bulletproof coffee to the rescue. I had butter and coconut oil so I added them to coffee and blended in the bullet blender for a few seconds. I actually don’t mind the taste of BPC so it’s good to have that as a backup option when I run out of cream!

I treated myself this morning to a perfume that I’ve wanted for a while. Guerlain Art of Materials - Spiritueuse Double Vanille Eau de Parfum is one I’ve had my nose on, but never purchased. I pulled out the tiny sample I had of it and gave it a sniff and it’s love at first whiff. It’s a boozy vanilla that just smells so great to me. My gift to myself for sticking with my diet, even during my very stressful week!

Review: Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede

Y’all asked me to review Jo Malone so here’s the first of the samples I got. Peony and Blush Suede is a floral perfume. This perfume has notes of peony, red apple, jasmine, carnation, rose, and suede. On me, I smelled a pleasant floral smell (the peony, I think) with a hint of apple and rose. It is a nice, inoffensive floral that wears soft. It has a green, cleanish, natural scent that makes it seem best for daytime or wear around the office.

I was surprised I liked this because I do not usually do florals. Most are too strong or give me a headache but this was just very nice and pleasant. It’s not going to convert me to a floral wearer, but I didn’t mind the perfume at all.

Review: Prada Candy Gloss

So, embarrassingly, I thought I had Prada Candy, but I apparently had Prada Candy Gloss! So, that’s what I’m reviewing. I probably do have a sample of Prada Candy somewhere in the house so I’ll try to do that one soon!

Prada Candy Gloss has cherry. almond, vanilla, peach, musk, and rose notes. It smells a lot like Cherry Almond at first (much like Jergens lotion), but eventually smells more like a Sweet Tart candy mixed with powder. It’s a very pleasant scent and smells a bit clean and fresh - not just a sweet candy scent. I don’t think this will replace my Holy Grail scents, but it’s nice enough that I’ll give it some more wear and see how it does with longevity. I washed my arm after this review and I can still faintly smell it there so it seems to last a bit!

HUDA BEAUTY X LOTTIE Launches Lottie Lash

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Beauty blogger and entrepreneur Huda Kattan of Huda Beauty is collabing with fellow makeup artist and entrepreneur Lottie Tomlinson to launch the Lottie Lash. The lashes are the first in the Luxe collection, are made of silk, and are very long and full for an extra glam look.

Lottie posted on Instagram saying, “HUDA BEAUTY X LOTTIE dreams do come true 😍 I am so excited to show you my new Lottie lash 🕊 launching tomorrow. Thank you so much @hudabeauty for collaborating with me I still can’t believe it. One of the biggest moments in my career”.

Huda posted on Instagram saying, “I'm sooo excited to reveal that our next lash collab is with the gorgeous@LottieTomlinsonShe is so glam and a serious lash queen. The Lottie Lash is the first in our Luxe Collection of lashes 😱 it's made of silk and is super dramatic, perfect for full glam! Who’s excited! 💃🏻 Will reveal how you can get these gorgeous lashes on stories. Stay tuned#HudaBeautyLashCollab”.

Huda is the founder of Huda Beauty and Lottie’s Tanologist line is currently available in Target.

6 Things I'm Loving This Week (including Pink Nails and Plum Pants)

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Sally Hansen in Flamin-go!: I’m a big fan of Sally Hansen nail polish and this one is no different. Amazing pink color goes on nice and dries fast!

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Wild Fable Square Neck Flutter Sleeve Tank and purple jeans: I’m a black on black kind of gal. My niece teases me that I always wear black. But not today! I tried this plum colored outfit on for the hell of it and loved it!

Little Mix’s Bounce Back (Pride Version): This is a great song and the original video is great, but so is this Pride version!

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Nexxus Humectress conditioner is my go-to conditioner when my hair needs help. It smells great, works well, and you can use as a leave-in conditioner as well. If you have Medusa hair like I do, you need this.

Pacifica Cosmic Twinkle Shimmering Body Serum says it will “Boost your aura with a cosmic radiance” - I don’t know about all that, but it sparkles, has hemp oil in it, and smells like vanilla orange (it actually smells like a plastic doll from the 80s, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!).

How To Henna Your Hair

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I have been dyeing my hair since middle school. At this point, I’m not even sure I know what my real hair color is. A few years ago, I noticed that hair dye was starting to give me little rashes and bumps. I would have to take Benadryl before dyeing my hair. Afraid of getting a full-on hair dye allergy, but with a small crop of white hairs that I had to dye, I decided to make the switch to henna.

I had experimented with it for a bit before I made the switch so I was used to the process, but once I made the commitment I have never looked back. I like the red color and it lasts much better than any red box dye ever did! My hair also seems to grow better, probably because it’s not being subjected to chemicals. The henna has made my hair feel stronger, which is also a bonus.

I use Mehandi Henna for Hair kit. I’ve done it enough to not NEED the kit, but I like how everything is provided (the fruit acid for mixing, gloves, etc.) so I just keep ordering the kit. A kit will usually last me at least 4 full head applications, even more if I’m just doing roots.

For the most part, the kits are pretty foolproof. You get two packages of henna powder, a smaller fruit acid packet (the acids activate the henna), gloves, a piping bag that I never use, and instructions. I use one packet and 1/2 the fruit acid packet. The night before you plan to henna, put those in a big plastic bowl. Add distilled water (enough to make a pudding consistency) and stir. I usually have to add some water, stir, add some more, until I get the right consistency. When it looks like brownie batter, I cover it with plastic wrap, being sure to push the plastic wrap so it lays flat on top of the henna mix. Then, put the bowl somewhere room temperature. Henna needs time to activate - 6-8 hours - I usually just leave it before I go to bed around midnight and do the henna at 8 am.

When you are ready the next morning, give the henna mix a stir. You can test a little on your hand to see if it’s ready. If you let it sit there for a bit and it leaves a stain, you’re good, but I usually skip this part. You can also tell when you stir it if some parts look like a slightly different color.

If you are worried about your bathroom, lay down some newspapers or old towels or sheets that you don’t mind getting messy. Henna can be messy! Put on an old shirt - I like to use a long sleeve one to protect my arms so I don’t get henna stain on them. Put a little Vaseline all around your hairline (but don’t actually get the Vaseline in your hair)! This helps keep the skin around your hairline from staining.

Put on your gloves and start spreading the henna mix in your hair. I usually do my roots first, just scooping some up with my fingers and making sure the areas are covered. Then, I do my hairline and around my ears where I tend to go white. Finally, if I’m doing a full head application, I spread it throughout my hair. If you have long hair, this can be hard and messy, but it helps to focus on one section at a time and pile the finished section on top of your head as you go. When I’m all covered, I make a little bun (it stays by itself, no hair tie needed). Then, I cover my head with plastic wrap so the henna doesn’t dry out while it’s working. You can also cover with a shower cap - that will help catch any drips. Then, you wait. Some people leave their henna on overnight or for very long periods of time. I’ve always gotten good results with just 2-3 hours.

Make sure to protect any sofas you may sit on with a towel while you wait! When it’s time to rinse, I first try to rinse out as much as I can with just plain water. Then, I use a shampoo or cheap conditioner like VO5 to work the rest of the henna out. I condition it again once I’m sure I got all the henna out just for good measure.

Your hair will leak a bit of henna for the next few days when you shower so don’t wear white or use white towels! Your henna may look very bright when you first do it, but over the next few days, it will oxidize and turn darker and not so bright.

You can make your own henna mixes with henna and orange juice or add other things to it like cinnamon, etc. but I find that’s way too complicated for me and the kits seem to give me great results. Henna is a bit of a commitment. The more you henna, your hair can sometimes start to look darker and darker because henna coats the shaft. Some henna folks lighten their darkened henna with honey or even Sun-In to get lighter results again. Henna can be hard to dye lighter with real hair dye if you change your mind. Before I committed to doing only henna I went back and forth a bit and it was difficult to get the henna out to do a lighter color. It’s pretty stubborn which is both good and bad!

I’ve been doing henna for years so I have a bit of a routine now but it can be intimidating at first. But, I’m always super happy with the color and I don’t have to worry about having hair dye reactions!

Happy henna-ing!

My New Bathing Suit Bottoms Plus My Favorite Sunscreen

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I weighed in at 187.2 today and to celebrate, I went to Target to get some bikini bottoms. I found a bikini top I really liked last year, but I was more self-conscious of my weight last year so I had bought a swim skirt. It was okay - I wore it once to the beach and the rest of the time was just at my house, but I told myself that I would get regular bikini bottoms this year. As a celebration for losing 23 pounds so far (about of the third of the way to go), I treated myself to these cute bottoms from Shade and Shore at Target. They are high waisted and cover almost like a short short, but they have slits in the side to spice it up a bit!

I also picked up some Tanologist Mousse in Medium. I reviewed the Tan Water a few weeks ago, but I wanted to try the mousse to see if it was easier to apply. It was! The mousse smells as nice as the tan water. It’s still clear in the bottle, but it makes a foamy mousse when you pump it out. I found it easier to apply and I think I did a better job with coverage this time. I left it on for 2 hours and rinsed off. It gives a nice natural glow!

Today was the first day using my pool this season. I loaded up on my fave sunscreen - Neutrogena Beach Defense. It smells so nice (very tropical) and it really works. I used Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunblock because I’ve heard good things about it. My skin has been doing so good on the Olay Regenerist that I’m afraid to mess it up with all these other products, but so far so good!

I feel so good that I’m actually making progress on Keto! I don’t feel deprived. I don’t feel like I’m dieting. I’m getting closer to my former “before” weight of 179. That will be a big milestone for me.

Here’s how to get your hands on the goods (or check your local Target):

Giving Olay Regenerist a Try - So Far So Good!

I’m still bitter that Mary Kay has reformulated their Timewise products. It was the only thing that seemed to address both my oily skin that occasionally got zits and also the lines I’m starting to get as I get older. I’ve tried the new ones and I hate them! I tried to like them, but I can’t get over the new smell, which is very strong, and the heavy feel on my face. The old Timewise was great! The cleanser was nice and creamy and seemed to work with the moisturizer to just make your skin moisturized and so nice. It didn’t really have a scent.

The new cleanser is a gel and just is annoying to apply and remove. The new moisturizer comes in a day and night version. The day has SPF, which is nice, but both moisturizers have this horrible heavy feel. You can literally feel it sitting on your face. So, I gave up.

I had bought Olay Regenerist Cleansing Whip, Micro-sculpting Lotion, and Night Recovery Cream a little while ago, but hadn’t really tried all of them together as a routine. Fed up with Mary Kay, I started the Olay this week and so far I’m pleased!

The cleansing whip is very similar to the Mary Kay one. It’s a creamy cleanser with the micropolishers and seems to do a good job of making my face feel clean yet not all dried out. I apply the Micro-sculpting Lotion next all over. The combo reminds me a lot of the old Mary Kay in terms of what my skin looks like and how it feels on my face. I was literally glowing this morning.

I use the Night Recovery Cream at night after the cleansing whip. I love the Night Recovery Cream and how it feels on my skin. It’s a bit heavier of a lotion, but feels sort of velvety. I wake up feeling very hydrated.

So far, none of these has seemed to cause a breakout, which they hopefully shouldn’t, but I’ve had some bad luck with products that aren’t supposed to cause breakouts. I’m going to keep using these for as long as they seem to be working well!

Mountain Ocean's Skin Trip Lotion Smells Divine

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Coconut used to be my signature smell. I had a coconut milk lotion that was the “Amy smell” and I didn’t even wear perfume, just the lotion. Sadly, I purchased the lotion at a Marshall’s and it appeared the company had gone out of business, hence being at Marshall’s on clearance so bye bye Amy smell. I’ve searched high and low for a lotion or perfume that replicates that smell, but haven’t found it yet, but Mountain Ocean’s Skin Trip comes close!

It smells amazing - like a coconut cake or coconut frosting or something. It’s not overpowering and it definitely works well with my Choco Musk perfume that smells like chocolate or cake, but your mileage may vary depending on what perfume you wear.

Another great thing is that it absorbs into the skin quickly and is non-greasy. You put it on and it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing lotion. Your skin is just softer.

The website has a full list of what’s in the product with descriptions of what everything is or does, which is nice. I bought a three pack on Amazon, but you can find it at some drug stores and Whole Foods Market.

I’m a big believer in moisturizing heavily while losing weight. I feel like it helps your skin snap back into shape a bit better and it also helps with the itchies that I tend to get when I’m losing lots of weight.

I used to always be able to tell when I was going to get a big whoosh because I would get super itchy all of a sudden. It’s also just a nice treat for you and your skin!

Definitely treat yoself to some Skin Trip!


My Current Beauty Routine

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I’m still mad about Mary Kay’s reformulated Timewise skincare products. They redid them all and now they are smelly and they feel heavier on the face. I bought an old tube of the moisturizer off ebay, but it’s just not the same. I’m not a big fan of the Mary Kay concept (or Avon) so I’d buy mine on Amazon and ebay so I didn’t have to deal with people. But, ever since, I’ve been looking for a new routine.

I’m currently 44 so I’m at the age where I’m worried about lines and wrinkles and that sort of thing, but I still break out occasionally so I usually need something formulated for that. I’m of the opinion that the less you mess with your skin the better. I think some products are overkill and actually give the opposite result, making people look older. I’ve been trying a few products though just to see what they can do. I love the Olay Regenerist Night Recovery cream, but I was noticing that it seemed to be breaking me out a little so it was back to the hunt.

I got the GlamGlow Supertoner as a freebie from Sephora and I love the stuff! It’s a pore-clarifying exfoliating acid toner that unclogs pores and removes dead surface cells all at once. It has the Super Six Acid Blend, a “highly potent” blend of skin-exfoliating AHAs, BHA and PHA and activated charcoal. I was skeptical because it’s literally gray and you shake it before using, but it’s worked great. It doesn’t sting and it does seems to work nicely.

I got the LaNeige Water Bank Essence while I was shopping for their lip sleeping mask. People seemed to really like this product and I do, too, even though I’m not using it the same as everyone else! The essence is meant to go on as one part of a whole routine, but I’m using it as my main moisturizer. I don’t like using a lot of products on my skin so this plus the toner seems to be enough. My skin is soft and it hasn’t made me breakout. This plus the GlamGlow toner seems to be enough to keep my skin happy!

I do highly recommend the Regenerist Night Recovery cream. I did love it and I still use it from time to time to see if my skin can tolerate it.

I'm STILL Addicted to Kylie's Lipsticks and Eye Shadows

Why can’t I quit you? I am still addicted to Kylie’s lipsticks and eye shadows. They seem to be the one makeup I splurge on. My favorites are Candy K, which is a pinky brown natural shade, and Kristen, a berry shade. Candy K is great when you want a more natural look and Kristen is just the right amount of bright. I just bought On Wednesdays because I just can’t stop and need a 12 step program apparently.

For eyes, I love the Rose Gold creme eye shadow, which was a limited edition, and the newer Roses Are Red Glitter Eyes. That one is in a tube (in the middle of the top pic) and has a liquidy consistency, but seems to work a lot like the creme eye shadow. I always worry that “wet” eye shadows are going to dry feeling weird (you know that horrible heavy, tight feeling?), but this one dries normally so you can’t feel it.

I love Kylie’s Rose Gold creme eye shadow so much and I feel like I have to hoard the one jar I have since she seems to have moved on from the creme shadow pots, but I’ve heard Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Ballet Pink is a good dupe. I just dip my finger in and smear some on my eyes and I’m good to go! Seriously.

What are your favorite liquid lipsticks or creme eye shadows?

Testing Tanologist Self Tan Water

I grew up in the 80s when the idea of suntan lotion was baby oil or maybe SPF 2 if you were prone to burning. I spent many a summer at the pool and the beach, baking myself to a crisp. As I entered my teens, I had less time for laying by the pool so I hit up the tanning beds, which were the big new thing. In college, I added self-tanner to the mix, but it often came out too orange or splotchy and you’d look sort of polka dotted as it faded.

By my late twenties and early thirties, I became a lot more serious about staying out of the sun. I saw the sun damage that some people who were lifeguards when I was growing up got and I started to stress my own lines and wrinkles as well as skin cancer. These days, I wear Neutrogena Beach Defense SPF 70 on my body and the highest non-pore clogging SPF I can find for my face. I have a pool so I do go out in the sun, but I try to limit my time to a few hours at most and make sure I’m slathered in sunscreen.

With red hair and pale skin, I haven’t really worried about being tan for almost a decade. I can’t even remember the last time I tried self-tanner. I was dying to try the new Tanologist self tan water though to see how it works. Tanologist was created by Lottie Tomlinson, sister of Louis Tomlinson of One Direction fame. I’m familiar with Lottie via her brother (my other web baby is a Louis’ fansite I created called LTHQOfficial.com). But what got me most curious is that the product is clear! I’m used to the self tanners from the old days that sometimes went on sort of brownish and left stains everywhere. So, clear self tanner was interesting to me.

The self tan water sprays on clear and you rub it into skin. You can then leave it on from 1 to 4 hours to get your desired level of tan. Target was out of the light so I got medium and decided to go for less time. The spray is nice for coverage although I felt like the spray was too broad and not focused enough. I’d spray my arm but it was also spraying my stomach. A minor thing, but from someone used to the old cream formulas I worried if I was covering enough.

The smell is great. It smells floral, but not overly so. It’s a pleasant smell and nothing like the chemical smell of way back when. It seems to dry onto skin pretty quickly. It also doesn’t dry tacky like the old cream formulas did. My skin was basically dry to the touch by the time I was ready to get dressed. I let it sit for 2 hours (you can leave it on between 1 and 4 hours to get your desired level of color) and then rinsed off.

The verdict: Not bad! I didn’t have a mitt to blend it in and you can tell on the undersides of my arm that I could have done a better job, but overall, it made a nice even tan that looks sunkissed. I’m including tons of pictures in different lighting situations so you can see the results.

Here’s first thing when I woke up, no makeup (except coverup on a healing zit that looks like a Cindy Crawford mole):

See, it totally looks like a mole! You’d think that now that I’m in my 40s, zits would be a thing of the past, but nope:

I didn’t use a tanning mitt to blend and you can tell on my wrist area. I was very pale so this was a big color change even though it doesn’t look that dark.

For some reason, I did really bad on the undersides of my arms. Everywhere else looks pretty even but my wrists/undersides were a problem! But you can see a bit of the color difference.

In natural sunlight, I think it came out very even on my face. I sprayed it into my hand and blended really well on my face because that’s the part everyone will see most!

Hello, less pale version of me.

I really liked how it came out on my stomach and chest area. It is super even there and looks nice and natural.

Another no makeup shot, but I like how it just looks sort of sunkissed and glowy.

Full body shot. My tummy came out nice and tan and even, which I liked!

So, there you go. I think it’s a decent product. I like the nice glow it gave to my face and it looks really natural overall. I’m not sure if I’ll be into the upkeep required to maintain my tan, but it’s actually pretty easy and something I could do when I have some downtime while watching TV. I would invest in a tanning mitt or at least work on blending a bit better on my undersides of my arms but that’s more user error than the product itself. The smell is great and that’s a huge plus and it doesn’t stain clothes, which is another huge plus!

Tanologist is available at your local Target or at the link below.