Tips from Mom: 1). pimple buster 2). power smoothie

She was my first and continues to be a go-to source for beauty and healthy lifestyle tips. She is my Mom – Jane!


one of my favorite pics of my Mom. Taken at my wedding. She looks so happy, bright, and beautiful!

one of my favorite pics of my Mom. Taken at my wedding. She looks so happy, bright, and beautiful!

From an early age, I always remember my Mom taking good care of her skin and having a good skincare regimen morning & night. One of my favorite things to do was play around with her vanity…so many things to try! It felt so glamorous sitting in that chair reaching into her brush jars, opening her lipstick draw, and testing all the products she had in there. This is also the seat where I over-plucked my eyebrows for the majority of my middle school and high school years. She had a great, magnified mirror soooo with some tweezers in hand I’d go to town on my brows – it was always a bad idea.

Now, I have a vanity of my own full of products and samples. And I always opt for professional brow styling vs. my own “design.” (Believe me, it’s worth the money to have a professional shape your brows.) One thing will never change though, I still look to my Mom for tips – and this weekend she shared 2 great ones…one is more skincare the other is more lifestyle/healthy living:


  1. If/when you get a bad pimple (I actually had one on my neck this past weekend – so gross) – she told me to crush up an ASPIRIN add some water to it and make a paste. Apply the paste directly to the pimple. Aspirin is derived from salicylic acid which has known anti-acne/anti-inflammatory properties. People have long used Aspirin topically (in small doses) to treat blemishes. Speaking from experience, I applied the paste to this cyst-like pimple for about 30 minutes. When I removed the paste, the pimple was definitely dried up and today it is in full healing mode (i.e. no more inflammation or the feeling that something is under the skin). I’m just going to put some triple antibiotic on it because it was seriously a painful red pimple that seemed to be infected. I find triple antibiotic ointment (used as a spot treatment) speeds up the heeling process without drying out my skin and within a day or so the scab (sorry, gross…but true) will dry up and flake off


I bought this marble mortar at HomeGoods for under $5! Originally, I bought it to smash up avocados but it's kinda small so instead I use it to crush up ASPIRIN! Clearly you don't need this but it's a handy tool

I bought this marble mortar at HomeGoods for under $5! Originally, I bought it to smash up avocados but it’s kinda small so instead I use it to crush up ASPIRIN! Clearly you don’t need this but it’s a handy tool

I use Bayer Aspirin for the paste - this is a mini bottle - less than $5 @ the pharmacy. Make sure to buy the TABLETS

I use Bayer Aspirin for the paste – this is a mini bottle – less than $5 @ the pharmacy. Make sure to buy the TABLETS

there is the Aspirin/water paste! Use a clean fingertip or Q-tip to apply to the blemish, let sit for 15-20 mins and wash off

there is the Aspirin/water PASTE! Use a clean fingertip or Q-tip to apply to the blemish, let sit for 15-20 mins, and wash off

  1. If you’re having trouble taking your vitamins – add them to your morning / daily smoothie. I have these large pre-natal vitamins I’ve been trying to choke down daily. I got them from The Honest Company. I like that they are more natural but the ‘serving size’ is 3 hard pills. I gag trying to put them down. So, using my Mom’s recommendation, I added them to my morning smoothie – which included some greens, coconut water, water, and frozen strawberries. I was able to get it all down easily! A high powered blender is key (I’m still wishing for the Vitamix) but just make sure you run the blender a few times and stir things around so that it can chop up the pills. I like that I got everything down at once – it was fun to make my smoothie even more super powered with vitamins!
Vitamins, Green Super Food mix by Amazing Grass, and my compact Cuisinart blender

Vitamins, Green Super Food mix by Amazing Grass, and my compact Cuisinart blender

upside down! I throw in a couple organic frozen strawberries to cool it down

upside down! I throw in a couple organic frozen strawberries to cool it down

I added some chocolate coconut water to sweeten it up

I added some chocolate coconut water to sweeten it up

don't forget some extra water to keep it from getting too thick

don’t forget some extra water to keep it from getting too thick

now, I a pic of the vitamins - I used my ring to show how big these babies are! I threw all 3 into the blender and boom - delish, refreshing smoothie. And I COULDN'T taste the vitamins!

now, I a pic of the vitamins – I used my ring to show how big these babies are! I threw all 3 into the blender and boom – delish, refreshing smoothie. And I COULDN’T taste the vitamins!


I hope you enjoy Jane’s tips. Do you have any beauty tips from your Mom? Please share!

AaaaaCHOooo…winter cold? Read here for some remedies, treatments, and just plain treats

I’ve been a little under the weather this week and it’s given my a lot of time to think…and try (although it’s against my always-on-the-go nature) to relax and rest so I can kick this cold. I’ve found myself making a list in my head of my favorite, some new and some old, cold treatments (or shall I say, cold accessories?). These aren’t your typical treatments or remedies…but I thought, since cold season seems to be in full swing, that I’d share:

A good lip scrub and hydrator

  • Coughing and sneezing leads to repeat tissue usage…I try to reach for the extra soft kind, but sometimes they’re not at arms reach. By the end of a long day, both my nose and lips are chapped and red from all the wiping and blowing. Sick. During my latest cold, it got so bad that my lips started to peel, yowza. I needed 2 things…1. Something that would get off the dead skin without hurting my lips more 2. Something that would smooth out my lips and take away the rough appearance. I’ve been using these 2 gems and totally recommend them for complete healing. Hey, you could even use them if your lips just need a good cold weather treatment:
      1. “The Lip Scrub” by Sara Happ: $24 @ Dermstore, I like Vanilla Bean. It’s simple to use, grab a dot from the tub, rub in light circular motions on lips (and I did a little buffing around my mouth too, since skin was chapped above my lips). Buff, buff, buff – then wipe gently with a tissue. On a side note, this stuff tastes lovely as it’s sugar based. This scrub buffs right off those dead skin pieces so you can create a smooth canvas for a good lip treatment!
        • PS: I actually got this scrub as a gift from my friend, Robyn – THANK YOU, BINNY!! Maaaarvelous find

          Sara Happ "the lip scrub" in brown sugar. comes in a bunch of different flavors!

          Sara Happ “the lip scrub” in brown sugar. comes in a bunch of different flavors!

      2. Derma/e Hydrating Lip Repair With Hyaluronic Acid: $14.50 @ Dermstore, also sold at Whole Foods. Seriously, nothing was working…even some heavier balms I had in my beauty drawer of tricks. So, I got this wonderous tube at Whole Foods. I like that I don’t have to reach my finger into a pot for this…and it’s travel friendly. I squeeze a bit of the white cream onto my finger and rub on my lips. It takes a moment or so to sink in. At first, I was skeptical that this was enough to really hydrate. But the hyaluronic acid really helps and seals in the moisture. I found that this REALLY WORKS. And I’ve only had to re-apply a couples times during the day, bravo!

        derma e hydrating lip repair with Hyaluronic acid - a lip saver!

        derma e hydrating lip repair with Hyaluronic acid – a lip saver

Intense face balm (that won’t do anything crazy to my skin)

Oh my red nose, it’s a dead give away that I’m sick. And then, it starts peeling and I look like something out Silence of the Lambs. Sick. I tried a few different things and it just.wasn’t.getting.better. Well, after a reco from someone at a Health Food store in nearby Quincy, MA, I bought a pot of Medicine Mama’s Sweet Bee Magic. I’ve heard of this stuff…I like that it has minimal ingredients. No petroleum. So I put it on. Rubbed it all over my nose and above my lip. It’s shiny, don’t get me wrong. But it sinks in. I’ve found that it moisturizes well – takes away the flakes, calms the redness. I’ve applied it a couple times a day. Ahhh relief…it is really a lovely product. And according to their site and many reviewers, it can be used daily and has many benefits including, healing very dry skin, soothing red/itchy/sunburnt skin, repairs minor cuts/scrapes/burns, and improves skin tone and texture.

  • Medicine Mama’s Sweet Bee Magic: $30 @ (note, I’ve never ordered from this site) or, you can find a some Whole Foods
    • Full list of ingredients: organic extra virgin olive oil, organic beeswax, organic honey, propolis extract, bee pollen, royal jelly
Medicine Mama's Sweet Bee Magic...working wonders on chapped skin

Medicine Mama’s Sweet Bee Magic…working wonders on chapped skin

Tea, and more tea

Of course pushing fluids is key when you’re under the weather…and tea is magic when you’re sick. It’s warm, comforting…the steam helps you breath easier. I’ve been rotating between a couple caffeine-free Yogi teas and this lovely bedtime tea by Pukka Herbs that I found at Whole Foods. I’ve found that my symptoms kick up at night – so this tea has helped me relax a bit and lull off to sleep. And yea, I’ve had to pee during the night, but it’s helped to go and feel like I’m flushing the system. I envision peeing out the sick…is that weird? Whatever makes you feel better, right?!

  • Pukka tea in Nighttime: ~$5 at Whole Foods
    • Ingredients: Oat flower (30%), licorice root, chamomile flower, lavender flower (14%), lime flower (10%), valerian root, tulsi leaf
Pukka night time, yummy, makes you zzzz

Pukka night time tea…organic, yummy, makes you zzzz


Comfy PJs

I really think comfy PJs are an imperative. A couple times this past week, I came home from work and felt so sick I just wanted to fall asleep in my work clothes because it was easier than changing. Sad. Well, instead, I forced myself to take the 3 minutes and change out of my tight and layered work clothes, to comfy PJs. I’ve always loved Victoria’s Secret Afterhours Satin PJs. But, I’ve found a new brand that I’m in love with. A bit on the priceier side, but I splurged on a set over Christmas with some Christmas money I had. Wildfox pants and comfy top. Softest fabric ever. like nothing else I’ve felt. And they also look quite cute…I feel pretty damn fly in them even when my nose is peeling.

Material is 47% polyester, 47% rayon, 6% spandex.

Technically not ‘PJs’ – you can wear them out and about, running errands, to the gym, as a beach cover up etc. Just a few ways to justify the cost. But damn, I can’t dress enough how comfy they are.

big fan of this brand - especially their quirky tops and t's that have fun sayings on the front

big fan of this brand – especially their quirky tops and t’s that have fun sayings on the front

All-natural meds

Another recommendation I got – and I’ve popped a couple a day is for KOLD KARE. I can’t vouch for ingredients. It’s all herbal. But I can say, I’ve used it for the alst 2 days and I’ve noticed improvement in my symptoms. Worth a try.

no frills cold care by Kold Kare

no frills cold care by Kold Kare

A treat

With my appetite all over the place and my temp a’ rising…for some reason, I just wanted a cool treat. My tum doesn’t always appreciate ice cream – so instead, my husband and I opted for the frozen hot chocolate at Coffee Break in Quincy, MA. If there isn’t a place near you that makes this treat – below is a recipe so you can make at home! I opted for soy milk vs. dairy milk in mine. If I made at home, I’d probably use almond milk. Yes, this treat isn’t low in sugar – but dang, it made me feel better. And I wanted a cool treat (even though its cool outside) between my headache and sweats, it was SOOOOTHING


Those are just a couple of my out of the box rememdies. Do you have anything good?? Please share!

Chew these for better skin? Let’s discuss

I came across NeoCell Beauty Bursts “Gourmet Collagen Soft Chews” as I flipped through Natural Health magazine. I was intrigued by this product’s claims. In a nutshell,  NeoCell Beauty Bursts are vitamin chews that claim to help improve your skin’s health and appearance (from the inside – out). They come in 2 flavors, Fruit Punch or Mint Chocolate. Being the perpetual tester that I am and intrigued by a chewy vitamin that could possibly help improve my skin, I grabbed a bag at Whole Foods (for approx. $20). They only had the Fruit Punch flavor which was ok for me!

NeoCell Beauty Bursts

NeoCell Beauty Bursts

So, what’s in these babies?

  • Collagen Type 1 & 3 For Firm, Smooth Skin & Strong Hair & Nails
  • Hyaluronic Acid For Skin Hydration & Renewal
  • Vitamin C:  Collagen Enhancer
  • From the brand: “Having beautiful & radiant skin has never been so easy- or so delicious. Deliver high absorption beauty nutrients in delectable, gourmet soft chews.  Collagen Type 1 & 3 is the body’s beauty protein & strengthens skin, hair & nails. Hyaluronic Acid is known as “Nature’s Moisturizer” & hydrates the skin.  Vitamin C is essential to boosting collagen in the skin.  Together, these three beauty nutrients work together to build beautiful skin from the inside out.”
  • No lactose, gluten, or artificial ingredients

My initial thoughts:

  • I get what Hyaluronic Acid is, I’ve used it topically before. I get Vitamin C. But what is/are Collagen Type 1 & 3? And why would I consume it?
    • Found online: Collagen I is found in many bodily structures including bones, skin, and intervertebral disks. Present throughout the body and is the type of collagen most commonly used in the gelatin industry and for research. (I gagged a little reading this). Collagen type III, which can be found in the skin, muscles, and intestinal walls, has been found to be the second most abundant type in the body. It is often closely associated with collagen I. This is because these collagen types are commonly found in the same places and they are synthesized in a similar manner. These collagen types are often combined to form supplements taken to maintain and promote healthy skin, bone, and muscles. (from
    • Over time, our body produces less and less of this ‘connective tissue’ protein. The outcome of less production = increased lines, sagging, and wrinkles as our skin looses this important ‘booster’
    • I’d been chewing these for about a week before I did this research. And after getting more info, I felt a little weird about WHERE this Collagen Type 1  and 3 comes from. It clearly has to be something mammal, right?
      • After doing some more digging, I found the answer on NeoCell site…”all natural sources of bovine hides. all cattle hormone and antibiotic free. grass-fed. free range. pharmaceutical grade. gluten & wheat free.” Hmmm…ew? kinda?  But then I realized, I eat meat. I’m not a vegetarian. If this is a “pure” source, what makes it different from the other products I consume from ‘bovines’? It seems pretty clear though, if you are a vegetarian, you might avoid this product


  • You are directed to take 2 to 4 chews daily. I’m starting with 2 a day for now because I want the bag to last
  • The Fruit Punch chews are quite tasty. Thankfully, no chalky after-taste
  • Didn’t upset my stomach or anything like that (that some vitamins can do)
  • I’ve been trying to take in the AM, when I typically get my vitamins in

After a week of using & my research:

  • I will say, my skin looks brighter! I can’t completely attribute this to the chews though. I’ve been good about washing my face every night before bed. GO ME! And it’s the time of the month when my skin isn’t acting as ‘funky’ from a hormonal perspective
  • I am pretty torn about this product because on one hand I feel like I’ve seen some results. On the other hand, I’m not sure I believe the hype. And yea, I’m a little weird about where they get the collagen…even if it’s from a source I consume regularly as food.
  • I felt better knowing it’s sold at Whole Foods and promoted in natural living magazines/sites though. But I’m not a fool, I know that doesn’t mean it’s “safe” So, I’m still pondering this one for now…

Has anyone else tried a supplement like this?  What do YOU think?

Click here to go to the brand’s website for more information on this product

Don’t forget the stocking stuffers! 10 unisex stocking stuffer ideas

ImageStocking stuffers are totally fine to leave until the last minute – at least I think so! Below is a list of 10 unisex stocking stuffers. Each quite different from the other! The below is an alternative to the typical candy canes and marshmallow Santas (which I love!)

All under $20

  1. Mario Badescu Dry Lotion – this stuff is magic. And although it goes on pink, it is meant to be worn at night…and will zap a pimple in no time. Especially those painful ones that seem to last weeks. Not to name-names, but my husband swears by this and I usually put a bottle in his stocking. Click the above link for more information. $17 / available @ Nordstrom


    MB drying lotion – pimple zapper

  2. Tide To Go Pen(s) – I never think to buy these myself but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spilled something on myself and a friend has pulled a Tide pen out and saved the day. These things are clutch when you are out and about. They are purse/pocket friendly. This set of 3 is less than $10 / available at Target, CVS etc.


    Tide To Go pen = shirt saver!

  3. Lip Balm Stick – this one by Avalon Organics is my favorite (approx. $3). It has a rosemary + vanilla scent which is guy-friendly. It conditions the lips really well without adding too much shine. It uses beeswax and organic oils to moisturize, lovely! Avalon Organics available at some specialty health foods stores and super markets (i.e. Stop & Shop) – I’d double check Avalon’s site first to confirm

    Avalon Organics Soothing Rosemary Vanilla lip balm

    Avalon Organics Soothing Rosemary Vanilla lip balm

  4. Weekly/Monthly Planner – I love this one by Blue Sky – available at Target. It is travel friendly. I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly double booking myself – and having a planner helps me track everything from social engagements to dentist appointments. This one is less than $10 – who couldn’t use a good planner?


    A weekly planner can be a lifesaver – available in many colors. This one is durable!

  5. iTunes card – this might not seem that creative, but with all the apps you can download now and the fact that you can buy Apple products through the iTunes store as well, there is a lot someone can do with an iTunes card. And you can pick one up almost anywhere. You don’t have to worry about a big increment because even $10 will buy someone a bunch of songs or a couple movie rentals. Available in a variety of increments @ CVS, Best Buy etc.
  6. Vitamin C Gummies – these have been a lifesaver for me this winter. I try to take them everyday and since they’re tasty and in gummy form, it makes it much easier to remember. Available at supermarkets, Target, Trader Joes etc.


    Yummi bears – available at Target

  7. Dark Chocolate – I consider this a healthy gift…I’m sure most of us have read about the benefits of DARK chocolate. Trader Joes has a great sampler right now – which includes a few different bars. The link above is to Godiva – a dark chocolate peppermint crunch bar, yum! Try for at least 70% cacao. This Godiva is 50%, I still think that’s good – hey, it’s the Holidays!
  8. Poo-Pourri – yup, you read that right. This little bottle can come in handy especially when you are visiting someone. Or, it’s a nice thing to leave out in your bathroom if you have guests. And hey, at the very least, it’ll make someone laugh! Available at specialty stores/boutiques, check the site for a location near you. Approx. $10


    Poo-Pourri – how cute, right??

  9. Mini tweezers – a unibrow doesn’t look good on anyone. I think everyone should have a good pair of tweezers handy. I love this mini pair by Tweezerman – it comes in a little tube case for easy/clean storing. $15 / available @ Sephora


    Tweezerman mini – in a manly blue!

  10. Comfortable pen(s) – might sound boring, but most people appreciate a good pen! One that writes smoothly! And this can be a good reminder to send thank-you notes for all the gifts you may receive. I love these Pilot G2 rollers, super easy to write with! 3 pack approx. $5 @ Target


    Pilot G2 pens – smooth thank-you note writin’

Had to share this protein shake recipe!

2012 is the year of wedding planning and prep for me…I nearly lost my mind on a couple of occasions and have obsessed over everything from centerpieces, to my hair length, to my diet…it has been pretty exhausting but I can say I’ve learned a lot in the 8 or so months – especially about my diet and what makes me feel good vs. sick or too full or crampy. I’ve always been active but in the last year have picked up my work out routine and interest in healthier eating. Please don’t get me wrong, I frequently eat sweet treats and find myself out to dinner with my fiance for no good reason! – but, I have found a few key things that help me stay on track when I’m trying to be good. One thing in particular is my typical weekday breakfast – of the most delicious and filling protein shake.

Typically, I work out at 5:30am and this is a good post work out shake – however, I often have it even if I haven’t worked out because it keeps me full and it’s so easy to have on the run.

I searched hard to find a protein powder that avoids 3 things: dairy, soy, and gluten. Why you ask? Dairy– because I was having stomach troubles for months and got the lactose intolerance test…although my results were ‘inconclusive’ – it was highly recommended I avoid dairy…plus, I still get creeped out eating too much dairy with all the hormones they pump into dairy products. And I know dairy upsets my stomach and it also makes me feel bloated. Again, don’t get me wrong this doesn’t mean I avoid it completely – you will find me eating ice cream here and there, and indulging when I feel it’s worth it. Soy because it has been well documented that soy is not a great ingredient for women – and soy is in everything, it’s scary. I won’t go into this topic too much – hey, I’m not a nutritionist nor a doctor – but from what I’ve read on soy, it is worth avoiding. And lastly, why gluten? Well, although I don’t have a gluten intolerance I do think that there is too much gluten in our diets – so again, avoiding it in my morning breakfast felt right for me. So after much trial and error – and tasting of flavors – I landed on this brand:

Vega Sport

It is called Performance Protein

It is plant-based – soy, gluten, and dairy FREE!

It comes in 3 flavors but I love the Chocolate

120 cals / 1g fat / 6g carbs / <1g sugar / 26g protein per serving – those are some pretty good #s! low fat, carbs, and sugar! and a pretty solid serving of protein

Here is the link if you want more info:

Where to buy: Whole Foods or

The 28.9 oz. container will run you about $55 – but it’s huge – and it’ll last a couple of months if not longer…I have this almost everyday for breakfast, so if you do the math it is probably more economical and HEALTHIER than buying my own breakfast!

Now the recipe – I use the Magic Bullet – which I love because it’s compact and easy to clean, you can also use the actual blender cup to drink from if you’re in a rush/don’t have any travel cups – in one of the larger Magic Bullet cups I put:

  • 1 scoop VegaSport protein powder
  • 1 cup of almond or coconut milk (unsweetened kind/no sugar in either!)
  • 1/2 cup of water (to add volume!)
  • 1 cup of frozen berries (I go with blueberries and strawberries – from Trader Joes or Whole Foods) – I like frozen because they’re cheaper, and make your shake cold, like a real shake!
  • Sometimes 1/2 a banana depending on how many berries I put in
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Teaspoon or so of flaxseed (doesn’t taste like anything – but adds some omega-3s)
  • And one of my all time favorites – PB2 – powdered peanut butter – I won’t even get started on this, because it’s great for a lot of reasons – this isn’t a required ingredient – but it sure makes my shake tastier and richer:

Blend for 30 seconds or so – pour into a travel cup and GO! so yummy!

Overall, this is a low sugar shake, which is surprising! The sugar really only comes from the fruit! PB2 only has 1g of sugar in 2 tablespoons. This is a delicious shake – you don’t feel like you’re drinking something flavorless…it is super tasty and chocolatey.

Love this! Do you use a protein shake – if so, which kind?