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My journey to glowing skin..

7th March 2016

A little over a year ago, I heard that Stella & Dot was launching a Skincare line as part of their family of brands. The line had been in development for a couple of years, and the head of product development is the co-founder of Juice Beauty. I was excited to try this new product that was Clinical Grade & Ever Conscious. Those are more than just buzzwords, and here is what they actually mean.

  • Clinical grade, means using clinically studied, efficacious levels of ingredients that are comparable to what you might find available for purchase in a dermatologist’s office.
  • Ever Conscious represents rigorous ingredient standards. Ever is formulated with ingredients that are good for you and safe, while delivering performance at the same time. The majority of the ingredients are botanically-derived. The formulas and ingredients are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, propylene glycol, synthetic fragrances and colors, chemical sunscreens, and hydroquinone, among others. We do not test our products on animals.

After YEARS of terrible skin, I was excited to try something new. My skin was in pretty bad shape with hormonal and cystic acne that I tried treating with prescription products that left my skin raw, red and dry. My bad skin was affecting my self esteem and there were many times where I just hid from people when it was really bad. My chin was the worst. If it wasn’t broken out, it was peeling and red. Trying to make it look better with makeup really only made it look worse and called attention to it. I had tried EVERYTHING I could and never found a line that worked for me.

When I ordered the Ever Skincare regimen last year, I was hopeful, but also realistic that it could be just like all the other things I tried. I was nervous, I really wanted to love the line not only to help my skin, but I also had been wanting to try a social selling business, and if the products worked for me it would be perfect.

From the very first time I used the products I was happy. The first thing I noticed after just my first use is that my skin felt soft and moisturized but not in a greasy and oily way. I also loved the way the products smelled and how easy they were to use. I knew that if I was going to see results, I had to stick with something, and the only way I was going to stick with something was if I liked using it. As the weeks went on, I noticed a huge difference in the tone and texture of my skin, and after using the line for just a month I started leaving the house without foundation. Let me repeat that..I left the house without foundation. That is something I had probably not done in 15 years! Just some of the tinted moisturizer and I was good to go.

A year later, and I am truly amazed at the difference in my skin. I look at these before and after pictures and am thrilled with these results (not as thrilled as putting a no makeup, close up photo of myself on the internet of the world to see).  The redness is gone, the dry patches are gone, the lines are not as deep and the texture of my skin is completely different than it was a year ago. While I don’t look like a 24 year old supermodel..yet, my skin is 100% better than it was, which is pretty good for being one year older.

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I have used the Ever Skin Pure Result Regimen with LSR10 for the past year as well as the revive eye treatment and overnight facial.  LSR10, which you can read more about here, is composed of powerful ingredients that have been scientifically formulated to reduce the top 10 visible signs of aging.

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I know lots of people get overwhelmed with using too many products, and I promise you it takes less than 5 minutes, and you are going to see the greatest results in using all of them.

Step 1 is cleanser, and Ever has 2 choices for cleansers; Luminous & Rebalance. I will be the first to admit that I was not always so great about washing my face. I was lazy at the end of the day, I did not want to splash water on my face, most cleansers made my skin feel tight, etc, etc.

cleanserLuminous is a cleansing balm that is for normal or dry skin. It smells and feels great, but my favorite part..no splashing water on my face. I know I am not the only person who HATES splashing water on my face, so this one was a quick favorite. You just apply to your dry skin and then remove it with a damp washcloth. I am not kidding when I tell you that I actually look forward to it every night.

Rebalance is for combination and blemish prone skin and has Salicylic Acid which help to clarify the skin. This is the only product I have ever used with Salicylic that does not dry my skin out. I use Rebalance in the morning and Luminous at night. For that time of the month when my skin is more prone to breakouts, I use Rebalance at night instead of Luminous.

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 6.24.11 PMAfter cleansing, it is time for step 2, the Reveal Peel Pads which have already won an Allure Best of Beauty award. Sometimes when I walk by them in the bathroom, I just open them up and smell them because the smell so clean and fresh. The peel pads exfoliate the skin, getting rid of the dead cells, and I use them very night. This is an important step that many people think they can do without, but it is so important to exfoliate your skin!

If you have a teen or tween with acne, the rebalance and peel pads are perfect for them.

 

Step 3 is the Youthful serum which I use morning and night and I freak out when it is running low and do all I can to get the last drops out of the pump. There are lots of scientific reasons why it is so great, and my esthetician friends tell me it is truly one of the best serums they have seen in terms of the delivery methods of the peptides. I just know that it works, and I will never stop using it. If you already have a cleanser or moisturizer you love, and want to try some Ever products to see a difference in your skin, you can’t go wrong with the Pads & Serum or Peel & Seal to exfoliate and treat.

Step 4 during the day is daylight, the daytime moisturizer with sunscreen. After one month of using the regimen, my skin looked and felt good enough to go without foundation and only the tinted moisturizer.

Step 4 at night is is Hydralift, the nighttime moisturizer. Since my skin is more oily than dry, I keep this away from my T-zone and use it just a few nights a week. It is also great for calming down a sunburn!

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Step 5 is the revive eye lift. I can tell you all the  scientific reasons this product is so great, or you can read about them, by clicking on the link. What I can tell you is that this is one of the lightest eye creams I have ever used. It feels more like a serum, and does not irritate my eyes like many products I have tried in the past. While all my wrinkles and dark circles are not completely gone, I am in awe at how smooth the skin under my eyes is now.

 

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A few nights a week, I skip step 3 & 4 and use the Overnight Facial Oil, or liquid gold as I sometimes call it. It’s seriously a magic oil that  makes me feel like I am spoiling myself with something very special. It contains Retinol, which is the #1 Dermatologist recommended anti-aging ingredient

 

 

 

Now, one year later, in addition to having glowing skin that I never thought I would have, I also have made  great new friends and have been able to make some extra money sharing something I truly love. If you are lucky enough to already have perfect glowing skin, than these products are not for you. But, if you are like most women and could use a little help in that department, I would love to help you find what would work for you!

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Full Circle

2nd February 2016

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Back in 2005, I had this little idea for a night out for moms to benefit Jacob’s Heart, a local organization that helps families who have a child with cancer. I would not say that they event was a huge success, but it definitely planted some seeds of things that would continue to be important to me; raising funds and awareness for pediatric cancer and supporting mom owned businesses.

This event took place before we were all on Facebook, and now I can’t image how I even told people about it. There were various direct sales vendors at the event, and the only one I really remember is a company called Luxe Jewels. I thought the concept of home parties where you made your own jewelry wan an interesting one, and followed this company to see where it would go. A few short years later Luxe Jewels became Stella & Dot, and unless you have living under a rock these past few years, you probably have heard of it. Over the years, I followed what Stella & Dot was doing, but never really thought the opportunity was for me.

In 2011, I went back to that little idea I had in 2005 for a mom event to benefit charity, the first vendor that I thought about having was a Stella & Dot stylist. While I was starting to see stylists everywhere, there was not one to be found in Santa Cruz county who was interested in doing the event. I thought about signing up to be a stylist then, but knew there was no way I could run the event and a table, so found a lovely woman from San Jose to come do it. As the years went on, I bought some S&D jewelry and watched many friends become stylists, but still did not think the opportunity was for me. As I watched women succeed, I also became a huge fan of the founder Jessica Herrin, and what she created to give women flexibility, opportunity, friendship & fun. But, that little voice in my head told me a few things that kept me from trying it. This voices told me these 3 things:

1. I do not wear a ton of jewelry.
2. What would people think of me doing this.
3. It is “those” type of women who succeed at this, I will never be successful.

When I saw that Stella & Dot was launching a skin care line last year, and I could quiet 1 out of the 3 voices telling me why I should not do it, I jumped in and signed up as a Specialist with Ever Skincare. And while maybe I have not yet had the huge success that I was hoping for, I do now have a much better understanding of what these businesses are really about and what leads to success. And as a huge bonus, my skin looks better than it has in years. I was lucky enough to qualify for an intimate training at the home of Jessica Herrin last year, and just last month attended another training led by her in the home office of S&D. It is one thing to read articles about a successful business woman you admire, but to hear straight from her about her passion to create flexible opportunities for woman..I got it now. I understood now why women love being Stella & Dot stylists and that you can be successful if you really do believe in something and can share that in an authentic way.

So that is what I am going to try to do. I’ll keep you updated on my success. If you want to see what Stella & Dot is all about, check it out here.

And back to those three things that kept me from saying yes over the years.

1. I actually realized that I actually do love to wear jewelry, because it is the easiest way to feel put together and cute.
2. I stopped caring what people think. (OK, that is not entirely true, this one will probably still haunt me. But..I am going to work on overcoming that as I go.)
3. The only difference between those “type’ of women and me is that they did not let fear get in the way of their dreams.

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zoey (6 of 6)

My muse..

13th October 2015

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong

zoey (6 of 6)

My little muse. I NEEDED to take these photos, I NEEDED to remember the joy I once had when aiming my camera at my children, and I NEEDED to capture her just like this because she seems to be changing right before my very eyes.

Sure, it took a bribe of $20 for her to put on lip gloss and give me 5 cooperative minutes, but quite honestly, I can’t put a price tag on these images.

There are moments with her lately…

It is different than the almost teenage boy in the house who I have not a clue about and don’t know what to do right or wrong.

When I was pregnant for the first time, I wanted a girl, that was what I knew and I was sure it would be easier. And, I thought I was having one, which turned out to be Eli, but that’s another story. I imagined a Zoey as a little girl who wore tights, and had braids in her hair and danced and was in recitals with costumes and twirled around the house..that is not what I got. I got Zoey, a girl with scraped knees and no rhythm and beauty that sometimes takes my breath away.

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But I can do it, I was a teenager once not too long ago, I mean how hard could parenting a tween girl be?!  I know these things to be true, that is for sure..

  • She is going to like a boy someday that may not like her.
    • Luckily with a teen boy in the house, I can now see the other side.. that most likely he does not know that girls even exist, so it is not her, it is the entire opposite sex.
  • She is going to have friends that decide one day that they don’t want to be friends anymore.

What sucks, is that even though I know these things,  I can’t protect her, and even if I did have the magic words to protect her from the teenage years, she would’t listen anyways.

But let’s be honest, she is NOTHING like I was..she is confident and secure and does not care what other think? How do I work with that?

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She thinks she can take over the world and do ANYTHING she wants. There is no such thing as No. I mean..whay can’t she end up playing Soccer at Stanford while traveling around in an RV full of dogs photographing animals who need homes, all while studying to be a vet.

Being a parent, It is a struggle to not want to overcompensate for the things that I felt I did wrong or mistakes I make. That is not to say that I am not exactly where I am supposed to be, but looking back, there are things I would have done differently had I known then what I know now.

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Just a few of the thoughts the keep me up at night..

  • How do I push her to work really hard in school to do everything she can to get into a 4 year school and move away from home to have the freshman experience I never had?
  • What will I do when after only 4 years in the workforce, she falls in love, gets married, has kids and stops working. Can I tell her that is a good choice, when I look at how much angst it is left me with over the years?
  • How do I convince her to keep running now because there is no way she will be able to pick it up when she is 40?
  • Would she even believe me that the boy she had a crush on in high school will show up at her 40th birthday and someday she will laugh about that crush?!

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

zoey (1 of 6)

amomslife

Why is “ish” not enough?

7th April 2015

If I made a list of everything I thought about doing or even started since becoming a mom 12 years ago, it would be a very long and unfinished list. I have had way too many moments lately where I think, if only I had stuck with this, or gone to school for that, or listened to the little voice saying try something I would not still feel like I am searching for that happily ever after.

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I started a mom blog back in May of 2006 and wrote sporadically about kids, parenting and the elusive search for happiness and balance until July of 2009. The blog was called “a moms life”  and a few years ago I had it printed out and made into a book. I was flipping through it recently, happy to have the random memories, but disappointed to see that I still have many of the same unresolved struggles. After that blog, I had a photography one from my few years of doing photography as a business. Something else I should have stuck with, but for some reason moved away from. The old personal blog posts from that blog are now on here. And then there were a few random jobs here and there and Mamas Night Out. Through is all though, I was always trying to find that “thing” that is going to make me feel like I have succeeded, that I had finally found my happily ever after in all areas of my life.

When I turned 40 last year, I was sure that it would be the year that I finally figured it all out. I learned ALOT in the past year, and now as I approach 41, I feel that just maybe I am closer to figuring things out and my happily ever after.

But then I think, maybe “happily every after” does not exist and constantly searching for it is not the best way not to find it. Maybe happyish is just fine.

Ish – “The suffix -ish comes from Old English -isc and is a diminutive. So it means the word is lessened in intensity. Normalish (while not a proper word) means a bit normal. Yellowish means the thing is a bit yellow. Smallish means something is small, but not overly so.”

So here I am..another mom starting another blog hoping to find that “happyish ever after”.

I am a great parent…

20th May 2014

from about 9pm (if I am lucky) until 7am.

After a LONG day with 3 kids bickering, whining, asking to be fed over and over again, they finally go to bed. After I have asked them to quiet down at least 30 times and they are finally asleep, I go down to check on them and can’t believe how sweet they look. Those can’t possible be the same children I was dealing with just hours before. I open my ipad, and if I am not currently reading a good book, I start reading some of my favorite blogs and then I feel like a total ass. How is it that I can not be more appreciative of the fact that I have 3 healthy kids as I read about child after child who has died. Why do I let so many “little” things bother me day after day when I am so aware how lucky I am to be blessed with this life?

Once I move on from blogs, I head on over to Pinterest and look at things that are sure to make me healthier, prettier, better dressed, more crafty, more organized, and a better cook among many other things. By 11pm I am a new person and come morning, everyone will see the new me and all I can do. At 7am, I wake my wonderful perfect kids and get ready to start a perfect new day. By 7:10, I am counting to 10 and trying not to yell, and by 7:20, I am that mother who is lecturing my “starving” kids that they should be happy with the 3 cereal choices and 2 bread choices that we have and that kids in Africa would be thrilled with their choices. By 7:25, I have moved on to telling them about girls in other countries who would do anything to be able to go to school and they need to appreciate what they have. Come 7:35, I am yelling as we look for socks, backpacks, homework and lunches. Some where between 7:50-8:07, I am rushing them out of the car and am finally breathing a sign of relief. It is pretty amazing how just one hour in the morning can bring my parenting from a 10 to a 1.

Parenting is hard and it looks nothing like I thought it would. Added to all the “fun” we have, is the guilt that I do not appreciate my kids enough. While I read story after story about children with pediatric cancer, shouldn’t I care less and less about brushed hair, messy rooms and constant bickering?! Unfortunately, as we all know, it does not work that way.

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Well..because number 4 from above.

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