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Trial Day

My Resist Sample Kit, Lip Gloss, 3 Free Samples  and a bookletLast Monday I talked about the limitations on skincare (you can view the post HERE). In summary I mentioned Paula Begoun’s Beautypedia product reviews which I will be using as a resource on skincare products that I use currently or intend to use in the future.

I was a little bummed out to find out that my Mary Kay TimeWise 3-in-1 Cleanser and TimeWise Age-Fighting Moisturizer were only rated “Average” in Beautypedia. But I got over my disappointment rather quickly and moved on to the next step of finding a higher rated cleanser, exfoliator and toner.

It was so easy to locate the Best of the Best on Beautypedia because the products are broken out by type. For example there are categories of body lotions, body washes, cleansers, hand creams, moisturizers, self-tanners, toners and more. Since the reviews are so thorough, you can make a more informed decision on a potential product.

Resist Anti-Aging Sample Kit
Resist Anti-Aging Sample Kit Paulas Choice

I’m looking for a new cleanser under Best of the Best, to give you an idea of the range of results I found (once I filtered out cleansing cloths) there were approximately 75 cleansers that cost as low as $4.69 up to $41.00. Along with price, the results include the container size, category and of course rating. Following are three of the results I obtained:

Cream Cleanser, for Sensitive Skin pHisoderm $4.69
Cleansing Milk DHC $25.00
Soothe Gentle Cream Wash Rodan &  Fields Soothe $41.00

After exploring my results I decided to try Paula’s Choice Resist Anti Aging Sample Kit. The kit comes with 10 single use samples (5 for day and 5 for night). Included in the kit are a cleanser, toner, smoothing treatment (exfoliator), serum and moisturizer. I received my kits on Thursday of last week, began using them and noticed that after I applied my makeup my skin felt tingly. Contrary to popular belief a tingling sensation on the skin means it’s irritated. Since I haven’t used a stand-alone exfoliator for years I felt that this could be the cause of my reaction so I had a live chat with a Paula’s Choice rep who agreed with my assessment. She said that the 5% AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) exfoliator could be too strong for my skin and offered to send me samples of their 1% BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) exfoliator.

Perfect Shine Lip Gloss Peachy Cream Paula's Choice
Perfect Shine Lip Gloss Paula’s Choice

AHA and BHA exfoliate dead skin cells which in turn promotes the growth of heathy new skin. Both acids have a rejuvenating effect on skin and are used in a range of topical cosmetic preparations. The choice of using either AHA or BHA is dependent on skin type and the purpose for which it will be used. AHAs are better on sun-damaged and dry skin and fine lines because they exfoliate on the surface of skin whereas BHAs are preferred for sensitive and oily skin.

So really with the exception of the minor tingling my skin felt smoother and softer so I’ll be interested to see if the BHA makes a difference. At this stage I’m not sure what products I’ll be choosing but since being introduced to Paula’s Choice I do feel more enlightened and confident that I can easily find products that are not tested on animals or contain chemicals that are unhealthy for my skin. Whatever I may choose the one thing I am quite sure of is when it comes to my skin I always try before I buy.

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” ~Mark Twain,Following the Equator


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You Are Precious

This Is Not a Dress Rehearsal

You are enough as you are. Perfect in Your imperfection.

My brother, Robert, is always reminding me that life is the real deal, no second chances, no do-overs, no cut, copy, paste. Life is the ultimate reality TV the only difference is we cannot choose what clips we are going to broadcast and which will be left on the cutting room floor. Everything we think, do or say can and will have an impact on someone if only on ourselves.

When I was pregnant with my third son, I had a sonogram that indicated there might be a problem with the baby. Amniocentesis, the diagnostic procedure used in utero to see if the baby had certain genetic defects or if there were possible obstetric complications was the doctor’s recommendation. Without blinking an eye my reply was an emphatic NO.

Of course the doctor went on to explain all the issues that my son could have and why it was important for me to have this procedure so that all the cards would be on the table and I would have “options”. I explained to the doctor that knowing the worse-case scenario in advance would not alter my decision on terminating the pregnancy. I was afraid for my son but he deserved a chance at life and my prayer for him was that I would be a capable mother for him.

I carried the baby to term and while he had some initial problems that necessitated him being in the neonatal intensive care unit for a few days after his release he thrived. Today he’s a healthy 24-year-old and the father of my first grandson.

I’m a thinker, I over think everything and I doubt myself countless times but on the decision to abort my baby based on the outcome of a test result there was no debate. If my son were born with a disability then I was willing to do whatever I needed to do to ensure he knew he was wanted and loved. My love for him and my other two sons was never based on their purported wholeness I only wanted them to be healthy.

The miracle of conception, evolution of the fetus, to birth is wondrous. Thinking about the human body’s bones, blood vessels, organs, muscles, cells, molecules, atoms, and how these thousands of interrelated parts work together is mind-boggling. Add to it the fact that from the beginning of time each of us is a totally unique individual is uncomprehensible.

Think about it – over 7 billion people are populating the earth and there is only one of you. You are not perfect but you are precious, an invaluable treasure who cannot be duplicated, imitated, replaced or recreated. This is it, this is your time to sparkle and shine to be the best you – celebrate you!

A couple of years ago someone sent me an email of the most amazing TED Talk featuring Alexander Tsiaras who presents Conception to birth – visualized and I wanted to share it with you today. Since the video isn’t accessible I’ve provided the text below with the evolutionary steps of baby from conception to birth:

  • Oocyte
  • Sperm
  • Egg Inseminated
  • 24 Hours Baby’s First Division – The fertilized ovum divides a few hours after fusion…
  • And divides anew every 12 to 15 hours
  • Early embryo
  • Yolk sack still feeding baby.
  • 25 Days Heart chamber developing.
  • 32 Days Arms & hands are developing.
  • 36 Days Beginning of the primitive vertabrae.
  • These weeks are the period of the most rapid development of the fetus.
  • If the fetus continues to grow at this speed for the entire 9 months, it would be 1.5 tons at birth.
  • 45 Days Embroyo’s heart is beating twice as fast as the mother’s.
  • 52 Days Developing retina, nose and fingers.
  • The fetus’ continual movement in the womb is necessary for muscular and skeletal growth.
  • 12 Weeks – Indifferent Penis – girl or boy yet to be determined. Baby is sucking thumb.
  • 8 Months – Fully formed
  • 9 Months – Expulsion/Delivery

Cherish life

“Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t.” ~Richard Bach

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Mellow in Mint

Alter Egos

Me sitting on the balconyGranted I would have gnawed off my left hand for Cinderella’s pair of glass slippers when I was a little girl but strangely it was antagonists like Wile E. Coyote, Sylvester (Tweety), Elmer Fudd, Tom (Tom & Jerry), The Wicked Witch of the West and The Grinch who I admired. I didn’t like the head games the Road Runner played, Tweety with his whiny voice and the “”I tawt I taw a puddy tat” nonsense was just irritating, Bugs Bunny was arrogant, Jerry got on my nerves, Dorothy made me want to gag and Max (the Grinch’s dog) was hilarious. But it was Cruella DeVil with her flamboyant style who stole my heart.

My dahling Cruella was in a word fabulous!!! My fixation with her runs so deep that my ex-hubby gave me a stuffed miniature version of her that I kept on my desk at work. Marcel, one of my friends and artist extraordinaire, made me a Valentine’s Day card with images of some of my faves including Cruella, donkey (from Shrek) and Jolly Ranchers candy.

Cruella Card by Marcel Walker

My Desk with Donkey and Cruella

When I worked I was all about the job and while I still liked to laugh and have fun for the most part I was so focused on my job that I gave the impression of being “intense.” Okay, okay, so maybe it wasn’t just an impression, I was intense so to show my lighter side I displayed a few silly things as a reminder to loosen up a bit.

At any rate I’m sure if I were psychoanalyzed there would definitely be parallels drawn between my Cruella Craze and my wardrobe (I’m not even going to think about discussing the Pandora’s box that is my mental status). As a matter of fact when I look at my wardrobe and see all the black and white (my favorite colors) it’s then I notice the lack of color. Oh I have a number of colored things but they pale in comparison with black and white.

Aloha Necklace Premier Design (retired)
Aloha Necklace Premier Design (retired)
Aloha Earrings Premier Design (retired)
Aloha Earrings Premier Design (retired)
Sunglasses Modcloth

Because I realize my color deficit, a reasonable compromise is to add dashes of color with my accessories, like a scarf, hat, sunglasses, shoes, jewelry, handbag, sweater, wrap or jacket. Earlier in the year I did a post on these luscious mint colored flats I’ve posted the link HERE for your reference. I’ve wanted to wear these shoes for the longest time but either it’s raining, too hot, too cold or I’m just not in the mood. Today was the day.

Me Standing on balcony Me standing on balcony

I wanted to wear my black maxi skirt but It needed to be kicked up a notch so I paired it with a black cami layered with a mint colored tank, black pre-knotted head scarf and the mint flats. Following are the descriptions on my outfit:

  • Michael Kors Side-Slit Maxi Skirt – Macy’s – Black knit maxi skit with alluring side slits.
  • Victoria’s Secret Square-neck Swing Tank – Very loose-fitting racer-back knit tank (just for the record I would only wear this type of tank with a cami underneath).
  • Black Cami (old may have gotten from Kohl’s)
  • Qupid Pointer-56 Suede Pointy Toe Flat Urbanog (similar HERE) – pointy toe, piping detail at front vamp, open shank, lightly padded insole, and easy slip on style
  • Pre-Tied Knotted Head Wrap Scarf Amazon
  • Aloha & Earrings Premier Designs (retired) – Flower on the leather chain is made of green and pink crystals. The flower has five green petals and the center is pink. The tiny delicate earrings are dangling posts identical to the flower on the necklace.
  • Sunglasses Modcloth – Semi-translucent, mint frames along the top half, and petite accents at the corners to match the silver bridge.

“You’ve won the battle, but I’m about to win the wardrobe. ~Cruella DeVil”

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Mary (Mel) Scott

Mel Scott
Mel Scott

Isn’t it funny how we go through life and if everything is copacetic we don’t give a thought to those things that cause hardship like a backache for example. For a number of the daily nuisances that I encounter there are workable solutions, for some it’s only a matter of self-advocating by speaking up. For others it’s a matter of creative thinking to develop an answer to an unasked question.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Mel Scott who earlier this year launched a new business, Blind Alive LLC to address the fitness needs of people who are blind or vision impaired. I met Mel earlier in the year and more recently when I contacted her for permission to feature her, she told me about BlindAlive, eyes-free fitness.

I would come across the commercials on TV or I would hear sighted friends talking about how great they felt after working out using an exercise video. When I would hear these commercials, I would prepare my memory to capture the 1-800 number, and run fast as I could to the phone before I forgot it. Sometimes the number was just on the screen and I didn’t even have the opportunity to reach out even if I had wanted to. ~Mel Scott

Among the many misconceptions about blind and vision impaired people is that we either cannot or will not exercise. Some of us prefer not to go to a public gym simply because most of the equipment is not accessible. For many of us who would like to use exercise videos/CDs/DVDs it is challenging when the instructors do not describe what they are doing. Mel understood this situation from personal experience which prompted her to develop BlindAlive.

The entire team at BlindAlive is motivated by a driving passion to deliver eyes-free fitness products to everyone who wants to be healthy and strong. At BlindAlive, we create more choices for more people. ~Mel Scott

Mel, a true force to be reckoned with, was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago. In her podcast she talks about the day she received the devastating news and how, in preparation for her upcoming surgery, every day for 5 weeks she did yoga, sit-ups and Pilates. She understood the critical need to strengthen her body for post-operation recovery after a double mastectomy and breast implants.

Mel Scott & Jingles the dog
Mel Scott & Jingles

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) the cause of Mel’s loss of vision, was the diagnosis she received at age 7. RP refers to a group of inherited diseases mainly caused by mutated genes which leads to retinal degeneration. In Mel’s case she and her sister’s RP was caused by a recessive gene because neither of their parents nor their 4 other siblings were affected by this eye disease.

I can’t tell you how happy I was when Mel told me about her business, I mean there’s this whole demographic of blind people who can and do achieve many of the same things fully sighted people accomplish. It’s just a matter of the how we perform any given task.

I thought you know what? It’s time to stop b*tching about excercise videos not being accessible and I just got this flood of energy in my body that said do it!! Go do it yourself take it into your own hands and create products that blind people, and people with low vision and sighted people can do this too… ~Mel Scott

When you visit BlindAlive be sure to check out Mel’s podcasts and the Audio Encyclopedia where Mel gives step by step warm-up instructions. Oh, and before I forget Mel asked me to share with you a promo code for a discount on her first Sculpting with Weights Level One Fitness Workout. The code is “acb14” and it will be good through August.

Mel and her team work hard to ensure her site and products are accessible. She also encourages your feedback to help her provide nothing but the best products and services.

Mel, thank you again, for allowing me the pleasure of writing about you, and BlindAlive. As you say and it’s so true, “being healthy is a choice.”

To follow Mel on Facebook and Twitter the links to both are below this post.