Got Some Kick A$$ Running Shoes!

Thanks to two holes directly over my big toes, it's time to retire my Nikes.

Thanks to two holes directly over my big toes, it’s time to retire my Nikes.

Between the torn meniscus and my Achilles tendon acting up this week, it was time to retire my old Nikes and invest in some running and cross training shoes. On the advice of my running pals, I visited my local Pacers, a family owned running store in the DC area.

I was very impressed with the staff’s expertise in all things running and how darn friendly they were too!

When I walked in, most were shocked by the state of my current footwear. Both of my big toes were protruding from the top of the shoes. And both heels were worn down. I might as well walk in barefoot; it would have been more comfortable.

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Everyday Beauty: Unexpected Field Trip To Sephora!

One of my new favorite shops, Sephora called to me yesterday after I met my husband for lunch.

One of my new favorite shops, Sephora called to me yesterday after I met my husband for lunch.

I met my husband for lunch yesterday and as luck would have it, the restaurant was across the street from one of my favorite new stores, Sephora. I wasn’t planning on buying any make-up. But as I started to walking past Sephora, I swore I heard it calling to me.

It couldn’t hurt to take a quick look around, right? Plus I needed a new sharpener for my lip and eyeliner pencils. My current sharpener was crap and I desperately needed to replace it. Easy peasy and quick, right? Eh….not so much.

About one hour and $170 130 dollars (yea online coupons!) later I finally started heading towards my car.

Do I feel guilty about spending the money? Sure, but everything I got is so pretty and is perfect for summer (or so I tell myself).

I love Urban Decay's Naked 3 (top) pink tinted neutral colors. And I can't wait to play with Too Faced's cocoa scented chocolate bar palette (bottom).

I love Urban Decay’s Naked 3 (top) pink-tinted neutral colors. And I can’t wait to play with Too Faced’s cocoa scented chocolate bar palette (bottom).

Urban Decay & Too Faced Eyeshadows
I wanted some neutral colors and just love Urban Decay’s Naked 3 color palette. These neutrals have a rosy tint with great shades and finishes. Playing with it yesterday I found that the colors were real easy to blend and had a velvety feel. Of the 12 colors, I love Nooner, Mugshot and Darkside the best.

I also picked up Too Faced’s Chocolate Bar Eye Palette to add a little more color variety. I haven’t played with the palette yet, but it smells delicious! Why? It’s scented with real chocolate. Yep, you read that right. This palette’s infused with 100% cocoa powder. This is one you have to keep away from the kids as they will want to eat it. Trust me on this. My salivating husband couldn’t put it down.

NARS' blush bronzer duo was exactly what I needed for summer.

NARS’ blush/bronzer duo was exactly what I needed for summer.

NARS Orgasm-Laguna Blush-Bronzer Duo
This NARS Blush/Bronzer Duo is great. I love the blush’s coral color. I tried it on without wearing my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer and it was a little too soft for my rosy cheeks. But lo and behold, when I put on the tinted moisturizer, then added the blush, it looked amazing.

The Laguna Bronzer is a little lighter than my current bronzer. But it’s perfect for the summer as I don’t actively go out and tan. Sure I’m outside hiking, running, walking and biking, but I always wear sunscreen and a hat now. I really don’t like looking overly tan so I keep my tanning to a minimum. The bronzer should be a nice complement to what the sun does naturally to my face. I will say that the shimmer is very subtle compared to my current bronzer. That’s a big plus.

These Sephora lip stains offer the perfect colors for summer fun.

These Sephora lip stains offer the perfect colors for summer fun.

Lips: Stains, Liners And Brushes, Oh My!
I needed more lipsticks in my arsenal. But my problem is finding something that got some staying power. So I went with two stains. The first is Sephora’s Rogue Infusion Lip Stain. Since it’s a stain, it should last longer than regular lipstick, right? Well, we’ll see. I just liked the color – Pink Essence. Perfect for summer.

I also picked up Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain. The Infinite Rose – Satin Golden Peach color is soooo pretty. I was wearing my coral dress when I tried out the golden peach. Wow, a perfect match.

In addition to the stains, I picked up some lip liner and a new lip brush.

Now I’m all set for summer. Sweet.


Time For New Running Shoes or Do I Go Bare?

Thanks to two holes directly over my big toes, it's time to retire my Nikes.

Thanks to two holes directly over my big toes, it’s time to retire my Nikes.

For the last 8 months, I’ve watched two tears in my shoes grow into rather large holes. On my run yesterday both of my big toes protruded out from each hole. Not a very comfortable feeling. Alas, it is time to replace my beloved Nikes.

After reading Born To Run, my husband encouraged me to pick up a pair of minimalist running shoes. Basically minimalist running shoes simulate barefoot running – there is little padding compared to traditional running shoes. The idea being that barefoot running is the natural way to run. Barefoot running is supposed to correct your form and changes how your foot strikes the ground, resulting in fewer injuries.

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Sometimes Your Diet Isn’t The Only Thing That Needs Shaking Up

No I didn't go for the pigtail look. I'm waiting for Jenny to apply the color to get rid of the grays.

No I didn’t go for the pigtail look. I’m waiting for Jenny to apply the color to get rid of the grays.

I’ve rededicated myself to making better food choices and cut my daily carb count to 20g. But when I woke up yesterday something else needed to change. I have a new attitude, but I wasn’t feeling it on the outside.  Maybe it was all that gray hair.

I headed over to the salon for some much-needed color. After my fab hairstylist Jenny got rid of my grays she asked if I wanted to trim up my hair just a little. I tilted my head, squinted my eyes as I looked in the mirror and slowly said “yeaaaaahhhhhh.”

Do’h! Clearly it wasn’t the gray hairs. I needed something else. Jenny could tell could tell it was time for a new do.

Problem was I really didn’t know what to do. I put absolutely no thought into it. I just needed something…sassy!

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Rack ’em Up — Finding The Perfect Bra Size

brasI did some emergency shopping today. My sports bras no longer give me the support I need during workouts. Just too much damn bouncing around. And frankly, my other bras’ cups seem to stand away from my breasts. Clearly it was time to resize the girls. Despite the lack of movement on the scale the last couple of weeks, I got a nice boost (pun intended) from the lady fitting me for a new bra – I dropped 2 band sizes!

Time to try on some new bras. The lady helping me suggested I try on a couple of sizes to see which styles fit the best.  Also, there was a question on my cup size. I went up a cup size the last time I was measured. This time I was on the fence.

The lady with the measuring tape gave me some helpful tips on what to look for when trying on bras.

Band Issues

  • Band Position – The band should sit level or low on your back. If it rises, go with a smaller band size.
  • Battle of the Back Bulge – Look at your back. Is there any skin bulging around the band? The band needs to fit snugly around the lest-fleshy part of the rib cage to reduce tissue spilling over the back and sides.
  • Bra Straps – If they dig into the shoulder, then the band is too loose. Nearly all the support comes from the band (who knew?). So no more loosening my straps to the max. That should stop those blasted things from falling off my shoulder.

Cup Issues

  • Flesh Spilling Out Under The Armpits – The cup is too shallow and is pushing tissue to the sides.
  • Space Between Bra & Breastbone – Bras shouldn’t lift away from your body. If it does, then the cup isn’t large enough.
  • Spillage – Tissue flowing over the top of the bra means either the band is not snug and low on your back and/or the cup is too small.

The tips worked great and I found a few bras that fit just right. Turns out the lower band size worked best and I’m still the same cup size…for now.


Weight Loss And Accessory Fashion Frets

In my 40+ years, I’ve never been big on accessorizing my look. Mostly because I’ve never really had a look I wanted to cultivate. But with great weight loss comes a whole new attitude.

So now I find myself thumbing through fashion magazines, doing a lot more window shopping and adding a line item for clothes in our monthly budget.

Paralysis By Analysis
While I’m excited about fashion, I find that I spend most of my time looking, not buying. I want to be fashionable, but I get obsessed reading all the different tips out there (and there are plenty) and I’m afraid of making a blunder.

I still think of myself as someone who weighs over 300 pounds, so I’m too cautious about attracting attention. No matter how great something looks on me and goes perfect with an outfit, I won’t buy it.  I just think I’m way too fat to try something new. Ugh! How annoying.

I thought I drop-kicked those bad thoughts after my fashion makeover. Nope, they still pop up now and again…and again. Usually when I’m not eating healthy.

Sam Moon – Accessory Heaven
While in Texas, my sister and mother took me to Sam Moon for a little shopping excursion.

I’ve written about the wonder that is Sam Moon before. At this Texas-based store you’ll find great handbags, jewelry, scarves, hats and shoes.

Thanks to a gift card from my brother, I had funds to spend on little ol’ me! Oh, and did I spend.

First up — purses! I decided I needed a red purse to help make a couple of my outfits pop. And I found this fun handbag. The gem at the top sealed the deal. The size of a doorknob, it turns to open and close the purse. Sweet!

red purse

Then my sister pointed out a snake skin handbag that matched my shoes.

Of course, I had to get it.

snake purse

One of my favorite outfits is a pair of blue jeans, black sweater, blue scarf and Softspot Maria snake print shoes. This purse was the punch the outfit needed.

From there, I strolled over to the scarves. I love scarves and only have two in my closet. It was time to add a few into my rotation.

scarvesI loved the prints and colors on these scarves. Two of the scarves go with nearly everything in my closet. The pink scarf, while I love it, really only goes with one outfit. But something tells me that will change come spring.

I do love pins and decided to pick up a few.

pinsI loved the color the mask provided and with Mardi Gras season coming up, I couldn’t resist. The pearl and silver grape pin is prefect for some upcoming wine tastings. The peacock pin goes well with my peacock earrings and the big chunky piece is just pretty.

There were so many necklaces, but my gift card had its limit. I ended up with three necklaces, two of which came with matching earrings (bonus!).

necklacesThe blue and silver necklace has some weight to it and I hate the feel of heavy necklaces. But trying it on, it felt great and didn’t pull on the back of my neck. The orange beaded necklace really pops and goes great with a lot of my outfits.

Of the three, I had the most doubts about the copper-colored necklace. I think I looked at it five different times before picking it up. It’s so pretty, but short. I don’t like anything tight-fitting around my neck. If it’s too snug, I’ll start tugging at it.

Oh um, did I mention the necklace is pretty? I tried it on and yes, I did pull on it a few times, but I liked how it looked so much I decided I needed to break my tugging habit. It took a few hours, wearing the necklace until I forgot about it, but it worked.

Finally the one item I never thought I would actually buy — a hat.  I’ve always loved hats, especially loved women’s hats from the 20s and 30s. But I never thought I looked good wearing them.  Mustering a courage I hardly knew I possessed, I tried on nearly every style of hat in the store. I liked many of the hats, but I kept on coming back to this brown cloche.

brown hat

Some good news: the cat liked it too!  I think more hats are on the horizon. They’re just too much fun not to wear.

cat hat

Thanks to my shopping excursion, my fear of accessories is gone.  It’s too much fun trying on each item and figuring out what goes best with which outfit. And if I make a mistake, oh well. That just means I need to try again.


Choosing A Red Lipstick — Not As Easy As You Think

Feeling a little sassy playing with my new red lipstick.

It’s late and I’m feeling tired, yet sassy as I play with my new red lipstick.

Can someone tell me why picking out a red lipstick is so frickin’ hard? I spent what seemed like an eternity at Sephora analyzing every single red lipstick in the store.

Before walking into the store, I did my homework. I’ve read tons of articles about orange-reds, blue-reds and true reds. And all the writers can’t seem to agree on a magic formula.

After spending nearly an hour checking out all of reds, I decided to throw myself at the mercy of the Sephora chicks to pick a color for me.

So began my odyssey of trying on one color after another. Focusing on the Sephora Collection, first up was Deep Brick Red, my first experience with a “blue-red” color. I absolutely loved the color, but it was so intense. Very much a Snow White look. But up against my pale skin, my lips were all that you saw.

Sigh…

Next my Sephora chick picked out a beautiful pink that I promptly shot down. I was there to conquer my fear of red lips. No pink today!

We then looked at two lovely colors that looked pretty – Classic Bright Red and Valentine. But yet again I felt washed out. The bright red was, well BRIGHT! But I absolutely loved the color, just not the pasty white skin on my face.

The Valentine? It didn’t just pop against my skin color, it supernovaed on me.

I ended up leaving the store empty-handed and dejected.

I decided to start from the beginning, refining my search for some solid advice.

Enter Makeup Geek.

Finally someone who knows how hard it is picking the right red.

Makeup Geek’s post on red lipstick struck a chord with me. She suggest it’s more about how bright the color is against your skin and not the lipstick color. But you also need to consider your eye and hair color as well as your eye makeup too.

When I walked into Sephora, I wasn’t wearing makeup. So any red lipstick would make me pasty white.

So I put on my makeup, choosing Laura Mercier’s Crystal Beige and Morning Dew eye shadow and headed back to Sephora.

Wow what a difference. Both the Classic Bright Red and Deep Brick Red looked amazing. The Valentine…no so much. The colors popped but didn’t overwhelm my face. But I only had enough cash for one. I chose the Classic Bright Red. I always go with darker colors, so I decided to pull a George Costanza and go the opposite of my instinct!

Makeup Geek recommends 5 possible reds that most people can pull off. I plan to check those out soon.

But I know in a couple of weeks, I’m going back for the Brick Red.


Top 10 Foods For Great Hair

healthy hair, you are what you eat, best foods for hair

Want beautiful, healthy hair? Eat more blueberries! (Image courtesy of Paul and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

While researching hair care products, I came across an article on best foods to eat for great hair.

I know certain foods, like avocados and beer, are great to use on your hair. I just never thought about eating foods for hair care.

As a fish-hater, I wasn’t happy that salmon made the list (strangely enough I enjoy oysters). However, avocados, pumpkin seeds and walnuts are good substitutes. Plus, I take daily omega 3 fish oil supplements.

How many of these foods make it into your daily diet?

  1. Salmon
  2. Walnuts
  3. Oysters
  4. Sweet Potatoes
  5. Eggs
  6. Spinach
  7. Lentils
  8. Greek Yogurt
  9. Poultry
  10. Blueberries

Everyday Beauty – Gray Hair And Mastering That Damn Curling Iron!

everyday beauty, weight loss hair makeover, curling iron

For weeks I’ve been curling iron challenged. Thanks to Jenny, my hair stylist, I’m closer to mastering the perfect curl.

It’s been six weeks since my weight loss hair makeover and right on cue my gray hairs started sprouting. Now I’m notorious for letting the gray take over before breaking down and buying a box of color. Not anymore.

It was time to head back to the salon to visit my new favorite stylist Jenny.

Besides touching up my roots, I wanted Jenny to do another tutorial on the curling iron for me. I’ve tried to use it, but I always end up with a clamp dent near the ends. I got so frustrated that I started using my hot rollers again.

Burning Washing That Gray Out
My highlights and my ends still look awesome so no need for foil or a haircut this time out. Just a root touch up today.

Normally when I dye my hair I don’t wash it the day before. I want some oil build up to protect my scalp from the inevitable burning sensation. Well after yesterday’s workout and run, my hair was too funky not to wash.

So I braced myself. But as Jenny applied the dye, nothing happened. In fact, if felt quite cool.

I don’t know what hair dye product the salon uses, but it’s awesome! My scalp didn’t feel like it was on fire.

That’s it! No more box dye for me!

Prepping My Hair
After my shampoo, it was time to start styling. Jenny applied a heat protectant followed by a stronghold mousse to my wet hair. One to protect my hair from the heat of the iron and the other to define the curls and fight frizz.

And of course, I don’t have either in my home. Guess I’m going shopping this weekend.

Curling Iron Tutorial
dot curlWith my hair dried, Jenny handed me the curling iron and asked me to show her my mad skills!

I picked up a 2 inch section of hair, ran it through the curling iron first. I then clamped it about an inch from the end and rolled up until my hair was completely around the barrel. I released the clamp after about 10 seconds and…a near perfect curl.

Crap. It’s like taking your car in for repairs and you can’t reproduce the problem for the mechanic.

Hmmmm…me thinks the hair prep is a reason for great curls.

However, Jenny did notice a few problems with my technique.

I tend to hold the curling iron at an angle. Instead I need to keep it vertical (parallel to my face) with the clamp facing forward. Also I turned the iron in towards my face. Oops! I need to curl away from my face.

Jenny also recommends spraying my hair with a light-hold hairspray before using the iron. It’ll help hold the curls while doing my hair (I have a lot of hair!).

I carefully watched as she curled rest of my hair. When she got to the last piece to curl, she handed the iron over for me to do the honors.

I did everything right, including curling away from my face.

Whew!

Time to send those hot rollers packing.


Kangoo Jumps – OK, I’m Curious

physical exercise, weight loss and kangoo jumps

Kangoo Jumps — Will these make my Christmas list?

I started putting together my list for Santa this weekend when I came across Kangoo Jumps. They look absolutely ridiculous…and amazingly fun.

I’ve read that the shoes reduce the impact on joints by up to 80%. That got my attention.

Apparently Kangoos have been around since the ’90s. I’m not sure how popular they are, but I’m seeing them more on fitness sites. I’ve never heard of them until this weekend.

To me Kangoos look like ski boots with shock absorbers on the bottom. I’m not sure about the comfort level when jogging. Seems like it lacks flexibility that my regular old Nike’s offer.

In the little research I’ve done, running in Kangoo Jumps is like to running on a trampoline. Apparently you burn up to 50% more calories and cardio in regular sneakers. Since you rebound off the ground, you use your core more to stabilize yourself.

I haven’t run across these in the DC area yet, but I’d love to try them out.

Has anyone in the Peanut Gallery tried Kangoo Jumps?