Increase Collagen Production

What is collagen and why is it so important?

Collagen functions as the support system of the skin, providing firmness and elasticity. As we age, the body naturally produces less collagen which leads to skin thinning, sagging and wrinkle production.

According to my dermatologist, using retinol, a vitamin-A derivative,  is the only substance proven to increase collagen content in your skin. Retinol, paired with healthy habits such as exercising, hydrating and using sunscreen, provides the basis for an effective skincare routine.

How do retinoids Work?

Retinol  is by nature an irritant. It essentially micro-wounds your skin to spur cell turnover and promote new growth. Over time, retinol thickens the dermis and stimulates the production of collagen.

Where can I purchase a retinoid?

Prescription retinoids can only be purchased through a dermatologist.  According to Chicago-based dermatologist Carolyn Jacob, MD, prescription retinoids are  “100 times as potent as the retinol-containing products sold without prescription*.” A $60, .7 oz tube of prescription Tretinoin lasts me 3 months.

Is a retinoid a good option for me? 

Visit a dermatologist to learn if  this vitamin-A derivative would be a good addition to your skincare routine.

*Retrieved from


Share This Post:

Product Review: Aquage Defining Hair Gel

This gel provides just enough hold and shape for my medium weight S-shaped curls without being too sticky or creating too much of a crunchy gel cast. The gel eliminates frizz and leaves a shiny finish. The formula is not as thick as a traditional gel and borders on runny. For chin to shoulder-length hair, a quarter-sized amount does the job. This gel will set you back about $20 for 6 oz. Amazon offers the best deal on this product and can be purchased here.

Share This Post:

Keep on Keeping On: Rousey Style

I have followed MMA fighter Ronda Rousey for years.  I have mad respect for this woman. I love her story, what she represents and how she is breaking down barriers.

She is the best pound-for-pound athlete and the highest paid MMA fighter in the world…male or female.  This is significant. Huge actually.

From struggling with a major speech impediment in her childhood that prevented her from speaking until the age of six , to losing her father to suicide, to battling an eating disorder, and living out of her car for a time, Ronda has experienced some life. This is why she fights.

She is called “the most dangerous woman in the world.” But, she is as sensitive as she is dangerous. She cries when she talks about her Dad. After every match she says from the octagon, “Dad, I hope you are proud of me.”  At one of her book signings, she broke her PR team’s protocol to take time to talk to a little girl who struggles with the same speech impediment Rousey dealt with as a child.

She talks openly about overcoming her body image issues. Here is how Ronda responds to body shaming critics these days:

DNB“I have this one term for the kind of woman my mother raised me to not be, and I call it a do nothing b*tch. A DNB. The kind of chick that just tries to be pretty and be taken care of by someone else. That’s why I think it’s hilarious if my body looks masculine or something like that…. I think it’s femininely badass …because there’s not a single muscle on my body that isn’t for a purpose, because I’m not a do nothing b*tch.” – Ronda Rousey

Yes, she is crass. She is not eloquent. So what.

I think more young women need to hear this kind of message-I wish I had heard this kind of message from a female athlete when I was growing up.

In spite of all Ronda’s success, she still drives the same car she did long before her success, rents a house with her best friend and admits she is not comfortable with the attention that has come with her success.

We all fight-in different ways and for different reasons. Whatever your fight, however you fight, keep on keeping on.

Thanks for representing, Ronda

photo from

Share This Post:

How Receiving and Giving are Connected

Gifts-of-ImperfectionUntil we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart.” ~Brene Brown in “The Gifts of Imperfection”

This makes sense. When you don’t  receive love, kindness, etc. well, you are not only depriving yourself of experiencing these things, but you are also depriving others the gift of experiencing these things through you.
As someone who self-identifies as a care-giver who struggles with receiving love, this really made me think. The core issue (at least for me) is related to the the lie that I am not worthy. The truth is that I am worthy and that YOU are worthy…as we are…where we are. 
♥ ♥ ♥
Share This Post:

Makeup…An Adult Form of Coloring

  Here is my answer to the age-old question, “Why do you wear makeup?”

Simply put, makeup is my medium and faces are my canvas.  My goal in doing my makeup is to highlight my best features. I think of it as an adult form of coloring.

I think it is irritating when people make assumptions about why women wear makeup. As a woman who enjoys wearing makeup, here is what I would like others to know…

Enjoying wearing makeup is NOT synonymous with being shallow or lacking confidence

Wearing makeup does NOT necessarily mean that one wants to impress others or draw attention to oneself



Share This Post:

Multipurpose Makeup and Beauty Products

Here are a few of my favorite multipurpose makeup products:

Eyeliner/eyebrow pen or pencil/dark eyeshadow: you can use these items interchangeably as both an eyeliner and and eyebrow filler

My favorites include: Physicians Formula eyeliner pen in brown, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz pencil and any matte  eyeshadow (applied with an angled brush)



Cream blush: you can use cream blush on your cheeks and on your lips

My favorites include: NYX cream blush in Tea Rose and Maybelline Master Glaze blush stick in Make a Mauve






Bronzer: you can use bronzer as a complexion color  booster , a gentle face contour and a transitional eye shadow crease color. (Caveat that  a matte, cool-toned bronzer -as opposed to a glittery, orange-toned bronzer- will work best UNLESS you like the oompa look)

My favorite is Benefit’s Hoola bronzer


My favorite multipurpose beauty products include :

Witch Hazel: facial toner, astringent for minor cuts, scrapes and burns

Coconut Oil: moisturizer, makeup remover, deep-conditioning hair treatment

Orajel: designed to help ease the pain associated with teething, Orajel can also be used  to numb the pain associated with plucking or waxing eyebrows

Share This Post:

Hurt for Those Who Hurt You

IMG_3297I think it is safe to say that most people have encountered bullies in life.  I have. When I think about these people, I feel anger.

But anger is a secondary emotion. What I really feel is disappointment. I feel disappointed in bullies. I feel disappointed in those who provide an audience for the bullies…But most of all, I feel disappointed in myself, because when I give these things a place in my life- darkness wins.

What I have realized is that bullies carry heavy burdens. Bullies spew their hurts onto others in ugly, destructive ways.  It hurts to be on the receiving end of this destruction.  But here is the thing…the ugliness and destruction that bullies spill onto others is only a fraction of the pain and hurt that they carry inside. Hurt people hurt people.

What if we learned to hurt for those who hurt us? I think that this would be transformational…beautifully transformational.

Share This Post:

Fat Pants

IMG_2794I recently found a plastic container of clothes that I had labeled “FAT Pants/Shorts.” I initially felt a sense of freedom and accomplishment due to the fact that I have lost weight….however, this feeling was followed by an intense sense of guilt and shame. Why? Because I was shaming myself-my heavier self-when I labeled this box.

Self-shame is not healthy or productive, but I do it. In the moments when I am really honest with myself, I realize that this shame does not just hurt me. Shame (associated with anything) is NOT JUST A SELF ISSUE. If I cannot be truly kind, accepting and gracious with myself, how can I truly extend these things to others?

Share This Post:

Neat Little Boxes


Someone once said to me “I can’t figure you out.” I don’t know what exactly was meant by this comment, but it felt like the person was frustrated because they had been trying to place me in a neat little box.  I wanted to say “ I am complicated and far from neat and tidy. There is only one me.” I am sure I muttered something amusing along these lines. But the point is that we all have preconceived notions about people. We label. We judge. We try to place people in neat little boxes.

The problem is that when something is placed in a box , it is labeled so that one does not forget the contents. Boxes with labels are cast aside and placed on shelves. People are not meant to be placed in boxes. So, revisit the boxes on your shelves. You might be surprised by what you overlooked.

Share This Post: