I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: The Vitamins and Supplements I Purchase Again and Again

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: The Vitamins and Supplements I Purchase Again and Again

Raise your hand if you eat a well balanced, inclusive diet? What about eating the full recommended daily servings of fruits? Veggies?…no? Me either.

Whether it be a hectic lifestyle, or a picky palette, some of us aren’t getting all of the vitamins and nutritional benefits that our bodies need to perform at its best. But don’t panic, it’s okay. There’s help.

Ideally, doctors and nutritionists say that we should be eating our vitamins and minerals. Good for them. I like french fries. And sometimes, I don’t eat 6 small meals a day (I rarely am able to do this). Sometimes, medications wipe out my appetite for days. Other times, I just have a craving for one thing, and I’ll eat it obsessively for four days straight before moving on to other things. And then sometimes, I’m on prednisone and will inhale everything in sight (good or bad). My lifestyle could definitely be healthier. I’m working on it.

It’s because of this unhealthy fluctuation that I take my vitamins and supplements seriously. I don’t feel guilt about needing and taking the extra help, because something is better than nothing in this case. Stalling my vitamins is better than not getting them at all. But I don’t go overboard. I take enough medicine so I try to keep the ingestion of vitamins to a very strategic minimum. Read on for the top 3 vitamins/supplements that I always make sure are stocked up:

*Disclaimer: I have consulted my physicians, and you should to, before beginning a new vitamin or supplement regimen. These are my personal opinions and are catered to my needs; this is not meant to be or take the place of medical advice* 

Sundown Naturals Cherry Flavored Vitamin B-12, $12.13, Amazon

Courtesy: Sundown Naturals/Amazon

I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which very simply means that Lupus has gradually worn down my thyroid and it is now under active. This can cause weight gain, fatigue and just a general feeling of not having enough energy (among other symptoms). I’ve tried many Vitamin B supplements, but this is the only one that I have tried that has made me feel even remotely better. I’m still sluggish, but less so when I am taking these consistently. And the great thing about this is that it’s dissolvable and tastes like cherries!

Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Formula, Lemon Flavor, $22.07, Amazon

Courtesy: Nordic Naturals

I can’t explain to you how much persuading it took for me to even try this. My doctor had recommended it for its overall benefits (heart, cognition, etc.) but also because my joint pain was getting gradually worse. I heard the word “fish oil” and balked, almost completely shutting him down. I had all the excuses, the most amusing being: “I don’t want to smell fishy.” He was ready for them all and even told me how his children take the kids version and actually looked forward to it everyday. His children. Little people were taking this with no complaints and there I was looking at him like he’d grown another head. I bought the smallest bottle I could find that same day and reluctantly agreed to take it for 30 days–as a trial (because I’m still in control after all!). That was years ago. I take this almost everyday (I forget a lot of days because it’s behind a close cupboard door) and while my joint health hasn’t substantially improved, it hasn’t substantially deteriorated either. It’d be probably be a lot better if I could just remember every single day to take it. Add this to wellness resolutions ;)

On a side note: the version I take is a liquid/ointment consistency and you take it by the spoonful. However, I’ve just recently been alerted that this also comes in capsule form and the capsules are actually a combination of Omega-3 and vitamin D. So, I’m probably going to give those a try. Drop me a comment if you’d like me to share my thoughts.

Olly Women’s Super Foods Multivitamin, $16, Target

Courtesy: Olly

Confession: I hate the way these taste. They taste terrible to me. However, they’re $16, and they contain super foods. So, because I didn’t want to waste money and because they contain ingredients that I need, I started and finished this. And because I felt a mild improvement over all, I keep purchasing this and holding my noise when I go to take my daily allotment. Is it magic? No clue. But probably not. They’re just good vitamins. Maybe not good, effective is the right word. It’s fine. It does the job, but I don’t have to like it.

3 supplements. Once a day. Lifetime of benefits.

If you feel you’re lacking in the vitamin department, I’d encourage you to see a physician, have your levels checked and if you’re in fact in need of anything, do talk to your doctor about how you can address this and help keep your body in its best condition.

Do you have any fave vitamins and supplements? Let me know in the comments below. You know I’m curious!

Talk soon, xo-Layla

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The 6 Products I’m Using Obsessively To Keep My Skin Hydrated This Winter

The 6 Products I’m Using Obsessively To Keep My Skin Hydrated This Winter

(Bring this with you on your next beauty shopping trip!)

Winter isn’t inherently evil. Sometimes it’s beautiful (first snowfall), and sometimes it’s it’s just got annoying bits to it (when first snowfall leads to next snowfall, and the next…)

But however you may feel about Winter, we can all agree that it can wreak total havoc on our skin, from head to toe. Between the indoor heating that sucks moisture from the air, and the freezing temperatures that can make your skin dry, chapped, cracked and otherwise uncomfortable, our skin has got its work cut out for itself.

But I’m not going down without a fight. So, keep reading to my personal winter weather skin arsenal. It’s relatively easy and all but one of the products are under $20!

Now, these are not in the order of my love and preference, but rather the order in which I apply them, let’s get into it:

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Milk, $28, Sephora

Clinique's Take The Day Off Cleansing Milk
 Courtesy: Clinique/Sephora

I originally purchased this product after a particularly rough bout of dry, rash ridden skin. It was so sensitive to the the touch and this creamy makeup remover/cleanser felt like a calming dream. You apply this dry, massage it over your face and then add a bit of water to your hands and massage again. Then, rinse off and feel refreshed. It’s pricey, and honestly, after I’m done with this product, I’m most likely try a drugstore equivalent (Yes To Cucumbers makes one that’s got me curious), but for now it’s what I have and I don’t want to waste product, and it’s wildly effective. If you have Ultra Sensitive skin, skip the drugstore and go for this tried and true allergy-free formula. The cost is worth it for peace of mind and it lasts you quite a while because you only need a little at a time to do a big cleansing job.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (Mini Tube), $12, Sephora

First Aid Repair Cream Mini Tube
Courtesy:                                 First Aid Beauty/Sephora

I have the full size tube of this cream. It’s fantastic. I first got hooked on First Aid Beauty through a few samples that were included in an online Sephora order. Ever since then? Nothing but my complete devotion. Don’t get me wrong, Clinique is a classic when it comes to tending to sensitive skin, but First Aid Beauty is innovative in the way it caters to the same market. Products like oatmeal masks, lip exfoliants, glycolic peel pads, serums, firming sleeping cream, and body lotion mists (just to name a few), there truly is something for everyone. You can read about their lip hydration set here.

This cream comes in a variety of formulas and packaging. Their tub boasts intense hydration, which must be superhuman level because their plain old tube is incredibly hydrating already. I prefer tubes because I feel they are more sanitary. You can use this cream any time of the day for a non-greasy, heavy dose of hydrating and soothing goodness.

Boots Hydration Burst 3 in 1 Micellar Cleanser, $6.69, Target

Courtesy: Boots/Target

I will forever sing the praises of Micellar Water, the gentle, effective way to remove makeup and cleanse your skin, without leaving it stripped, dry or tight after. This particular formula is for dehydrated and sensitive skin, which I think can be anyone during winter. Bonus points for being alcohol-free. All you need is a cotton pad and 2 minutes, then you’re good to go! Double bonus points for also being available at Walgreens (although not in every location sadly).

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea, $5-12, Ulta

Courtesy: Mario Badescu/Amazon

The only thing that I might be more obsessed with than sheet masks are facial mists and sprays. I love the Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist ($18, Sephora), but sometimes a girl’s gotta skip the fancy packaging and go the the simple ingredients that just work. 

This mist is the quintessential basic but better situation. 3 soothing ingredients, all packed together to give you a refreshing, completely saturating dose of moisture and hydration. This mist comes in other varieties, including lavender and rose water, but when it comes to perking up dry, irritated skin, this aloe, cucumber and green tea combination cannot be beat. Bonus points for being available in a $5 (!!) travel size so you can mist and refresh throughout the day.

Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Body Oil, $6.99, Walgreens

Courtesy: Palmer’s/Walgreens

I have tried so many lotions. So. Many. Only one has been able to provide the kind of hydration my skin needs year round but especially in the winter. Problem is, it’s pretty rich and after applying, I experience muscle aches and pains and need to lay down (#LupusSucks). So I decided to cut myself a break and find something easier to apply that would still moisturize my skin for a full day. Heellooo body oils. I was first thinking about almond, grapeseed or argan oil. But, on a quick trip to Walgreens, I discovered this product. For the price, I was willing to give it a try and not love it. I tried it. I don’t love it, but it does a nice job so I’m definitely not complaining. Instant hydration? Check. Greasy skin? Nope, not here. Smooth and soft? Double check. The caveat here is that coconut oil can be cosmogenic (that is, pore clogging). I wasn’t too worried about this because I use a soap that mildly exfoliates everyday. If you don’t or can’t exfoliate regularly, I would think twice about using coconut oil on your skin. If you need recommendations on alternatives, drop a comment below.

And last but certainly not least…

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Lip Treatment, $8.99, Ulta

Courtesy: Neutrogena/Ulta

…this surprisingly good lip product. I’ve already hit bottom in one area of this pot. Don’t let the color fool you, this super hydrating balm goes on completely clear. It has a bit of slip at first but seems to thicken a bit when applied and sinks into your lips beautifully. I use in the morning before applying any other lip products and before bed as a lip mask. Put this on and allow some time for this to naturally go to work and do its thing. The best part about this treatment is that it doesn’t make you feel like you need constant application. One application, twice a day will do you just nicely.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this post and find it helpful. Please feel free to comment below with any questions. And I’d love to hear how you protect and hydrate your skin in the winter too.

Talk soon-

xo, Layla

 

 

 

Drawing The Line: Anti-Aging and Personal Reconciliation

Drawing The Line: Anti-Aging and Personal Reconciliation

Today’s chat might seem random. It’s not. This year, I turn 30! I’ve thought about this new milestone a lot in the last couple of weeks, as my family has constantly been reminding me of its impending arrival. I’m not scared or anything, but I honestly never thought much about my thirties beyond wanting to be done with my crazy twenties and hoping for a more relaxing, stable decade of life. Not to mention, there were some periods where I questioned if I’d even make it due to chronic illness flares. But, we’re looking at the upshot here, and I’m now thinking about all the positive possibilities…

You know what I’ve noticed lately? Beauty advice, especially skin care, is often broken into categories based on your age. Popular blogs, websites and even magazines all seem to want to point out what products you have to change out when you’re entering a new decade. Some of that advice, I take. Most of it? I leave. (Let me know in the comments if you’d like me to link you to some of these articles with skincare, beauty and even fashion advice by the decade)

One set of advice that I do really pay close attention to? Which treatments one should consider when transitioning from one decade to another. Lasers, professional facial peels, outpatient procedures like Botox, Juvaderm, or other fillers/injections are all recommended. And that got me thinking: how far am I actually  willing to go to look like I’m still in my twenties (or better)?

Turns out, I’m not willing to go very far. Surprising, right? Also, it’s downright confusing. I love beauty and products so much, that I’m almost baffled at my unwillingness to go under the knife for cosmetic improvement or relief. I’m not completely sure why I feel that way that I do, but I do feel like the answer lies more deeply and will take time to truly unpack.

Some people prefer to age naturally, that is, leave everything as it and as it will be. Laugh lines? Reminders of happy times. Others prefer to take advantage of all that modern medicine has to offer. I truly believe there is no wrong answer.

So, I wanted to ask you…how far are you willing to go? No judgment, just different experiences, thresholds, and genuine curiosity. Do you have a philosophy that drives your level of comfort? Let’s chat in the comments :)

Talk soon, xo-Layla

BeautyBlender Dupe??

BeautyBlender Dupe??

Friends, lend me your ears!

I know, I’m dramatic sometimes. But some things just require a bit of uumph, for emphasis.

Before I get into the possibility of having found a perfectly usable, although imperfect, BeautyBlender dupe, let me set you up with a little bit of background…

I’ve always been responsible. That’s what people say about me, they’ve said it for years. It’s a point of pride more than it’s something I consider a flaw. That said, the balance that stares back at me when I go to check my savings account is…sobering. Am I disappointed? Greatly. Do I know I’ve done my best? Absolutely. Doesn’t change the way my breath catches when I stare at that balance though.

Because of this, I told myself I’d be more diligent about finding beauty products that performed well but didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. The first product that I needed to replenish after having said this to myself? My beloved BeautyBlender. Of course it was. I sucked my teeth a bit when I realized what I had promised and what it now meant that it was time to re-up on a sponge. But, I stuck to my word and I went on a drugstore hunt (which let’s be honest, these days is a lot of fun!)

So, about this potential dupe…

It looks the same. Here it is in it’s package:

Rite Aid Daylogic Your Best Blend Specialty Sponge_Beauty Blender Dupe
Daylogic’s Your Best Blend Specialty Sponge in the High Definition Variety

Basically the same color, same shape. Fine. Great.

Here’s what it looks like after one full use:

Daylogic Specialty Blend Sponge
Daylogic’s Specialty Sponge (After 1 Full Use and Before Washing)

Let’s talk about some major differences you might notice if you’re used to using the BeautyBlender on a regular basis.

First, the price. Whoa my goodness, the price! BeautyBlender’s can run $20 a pop, this drugstore dupe cashed in at $4.99. My debit card hit the Milly Rock at checkout. Ha! The bonus here is that if you’re a Gold Member w/ Rite Aid’s loyalty program, then you can take an additional 20% off of that $4.99 retail price, which makes it $3.99! SCORE.

Weirdest of all things: it’s heavier than the BeautyBlender. Yes, I know–that’s odd. But it is. Especially at what feels like is its core. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s something noticeable so I’m mentioning it. You get used to it after a few minutes so we keep moving…

The application was BEAUTIFUL! I was very impressed with how smoothly my foundation went on and blended out. But, there were a few spots where application was patchy because of small rashes or spots where my skin was extra dry (even though I heavily moisturized last night, UGH). So I built the coverage up a bit to handle that which would probably be what I’d do with a BeautyBlender as well.

The other difference that confused me at first, was that the directions don’t include wetting the sponge before use. It does say to wash after each use though. Personally, I don’t like dry sponges. I chose to wet this sponge. It was fine. We’ll see how it holds up in the long run (a month hopefully with daily washes, but we’ll see).

Bottom line: is it worth a try? For the price, yes. Do I miss the BeautyBlender? Kind of. If you can afford it and it truly is a bright spot in your beauty routine, then treat yourself. But if you’re like me and looking for ways to cut back without causing any real sadness or feelings of deprivation that alter your outlook on your daily living, then run to Rite Aid. And make sure you use your loyalty card if you have one!

Disclaimer: This post was NOT sponsored by Rite Aid. All opinions and remarks are my own, based on my honest thoughts and opinions. 

What do you guys think? Will you be trying this BB dupe?

What other under-the-radar drugstore dupes have you found? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time. xo-Layla

 

Make 2018 The Year You Kiss Dry, Flaky Lips GOOD-BYE

Make 2018 The Year You Kiss Dry, Flaky Lips GOOD-BYE

If my horoscope for 2018 is anywhere near on-point, then your girl is in for some great changes in the love department. Am I ready? Mostly.

Now, I get a lot of comments about how soft my skin is (thanks to regular exfoliation and heavy, repetitive moisturizing from the inside-out). I also get a lot of compliments and comments about how I love to rock a bold lip. Guilty as charged. But, I’ve got a confession–lean in…*whispers* I don’t exfoliate my lips near as religiously as I should. That’s right, sometimes your girl is out and about dancing on the line of having full blown flaky lip status. It’s shameful. Do not judge me. Save your side-eye. Unfurl that brow.

You can’t fix a problem that you don’t acknowledge right? So, there. That’s that. Now we move on to the solution: First Aid Beauty. Before we get to the specifics, can we briefly talk about how this brand gets a lot of play, but not nearly as much as feel they deserve. They’ve got everything–and it’s safe for sensitive skin. Jack pot. You. cannot. go. wrong. (Hello, Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream) <3

So, about that fix — it’s a one-two punch of a package. It’s fast, easy, but still manages to feel luxurious. The first jab is the Ultra Repair Honey & Oat Lip Exfoliator — I know what you’re thinking: “it’s a lip exfoliator, big deal.” You’re right. It is a big deal. It’s an exfoliator that’s easy to use (apply, gently rub, rinse) and it’s quick. But the kicker here is that once you’re done with gently rubbing and rinsing, your lips already feel moisturized. Do you hear me? You scrubbed your lips and they’re not dry. That’s a pretty big deal to me. I cannot overstate how rare I find this to be, or how much this elevates this particular lip exfoliator above all of the others that I’ve tried (and I’ve tried many, included DIY ones with honey as a base.)

Okay, so now you’re thinking, you’re done, right? Your lips are exfoliated and they’re not dry. But *insert tire screeching noise here* wait a second, you’re not done. I said it was a one-two punch, remember? The second and final jab is the Ultra Repair Lip Therapy which is the petroleum free, soothing and moisturizing balm/ointment formula that you apply to add and lock in moisture to your newly flake-free smackers. It also smells delicious–it has the slightest hint of mint that isn’t overbearing, but it may make you crave mint chocolate chip ice cream, be warned.

I’ve tried these products separately, and together and I honestly have zero complaints. They’re perfect on their own or together. Best of all, I’m not worried about having a negative reaction because my skin is ultra-sensitive. I don’t wish they did anything differently with these products. I just wish that I had found them earlier than I did, but even with that, I’m just happy to have found them and I think you will be too.

Yes, NYE has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only time that you’ll want to have smooth, pillowy soft lips so get your hands on this 1-2 punch of a package and do yourself (and your boo) a favor all year round (cold weather, hot and humid, nights out or in; you name it).

Okay, gotta run. But we’ll talk soon.

Until then…flake free-kisses and smooth-skinned hugs–xo, Layla

2018 Health, Wellness and Beauty Resolutions

2018 Health, Wellness and Beauty Resolutions

Happy New Year! It’s finally here, 2018. Are you as excited as I am?

I’m very hopeful for this new year. 2017 wasn’t terrible to me but it definitely shed some light on areas of my life that I can work to improve. If 2017 gave report cards, I would’ve failed in the stress and self-care department. Big time. No catch up assignments.

But, if a new day can bring about a complete improvement, so can a new year. So, keep reading for my 2018 resolutions for beauty, health and wellness.

Drink more water. I don’t do so bad in this area but I can definitely do better. There are a lot of benefits to drinking water, we’ve all heard them. For me, I want to specifically help my body perform its essential functions better: like clearing toxins. I take a lot of heavy-duty medications, sometimes I feel like a walking toxin bin. This is a small, relatively easy thing that I can do, and it’ll yield big results.

More #sheetmasking please! Have you guys jumped on the K-Beauty train? If so, whatever level of K-beauty fan you are, I think we can all agree that sheet masking is God’s gift to skin and self-care routines everywhere. I’m looking forward to scheduling 15-30 minutes of uninterrupted, pure luxuriating relaxation time. I’m going to shoot for 3 times a week minimum. My mind and face is READY.

No more daily nail polish changes. First of all, how did I ever have the time?! Then again, I’m just replacing the daily nail polish changes (don’t judge me) with sheet mask time. I want my nails to be healthy, long and strong, so I’ve got to kick my daily polish remover habit, otherwise, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll get the nails of my dreams. It’s not all sad news though, this resolution will give me a chance to try out some of the at-home gel systems that are available from brands like Sally Hansen and Deborah Lippmann for particularly hectic 2-week or longer stretches.

Treat my brows and lashes with a little more TLC. Y’all already know that I love a good brow and lash look. I’ve never been scared of a heavy-duty mascara and I put my (thin, almost non-existent) brows through their share of wear and tear almost daily with fiber gels and pencils, but up until now I’ve been living on a wing and a prayer that they would both hold up. No more reckless beauty living: it’ll only take a minute or two for me to coat my brows and lashes in castor oil. I’m not looking for miracles, I’m just trying to keep matters from getting worse (read: scraggly).

Perfect a winged eyeliner look. Need I say more? A sharp eyeliner look for my almond-shaped peepers would be fierce. Bonus points for colored eyeliner looks.

Take up yoga and meditation. Again. Save your side-eye. Sometimes the best things take a few times to catch on. And quite frankly, it’s been years since I’ve done either so I feel like I’m actually starting for the first time. The two usually come as a package deal, so…fine. I don’t have to love it to commit to trying again, so I won’t lie and say I’m enthusiastic about it, but the way my Lupus has these joints and muscles set up? Any poses I can do to lessen pain and loosen tight muscles: sign me up. The meditation? That’s for trying to keep my mind clear because I carry a lot.

Stick to a regular sleep routine. 8 hours a night. Most nights. Some nights I need for fun. This also means I’ve gotten stash my devices in another room or something because have y’all been on Twitter lately? So addictive. I digress.

Say ‘no’ more often. Because I’m exhausted to my core from saying yes about 90% of the time. I’m so tired, I could hibernate. Lucky bears.

So, what about you? Any beauty, health or wellness resolutions? Tell me in the comments!

Cheers to a happy, healthy, beautiful 2018 friends! *sips champagne*

xo-Layla

 

Mermaid Nails: Sally Hansen Color Therapy in Reflection Pool (First Impression)

Mermaid Nails: Sally Hansen Color Therapy in Reflection Pool (First Impression)

Some people prefer a good #ManiMonday. Personally, I’m partial to a good manicure any day of the week. When all else fails and you need a pick me up? Nail polish. Feeling anxious? Paint your nails. Wanna hang with the girls? Get a manicure and/or pedicure together. Nail polish saves lives. Period.

As you can probably guess, I have a decent sized collection of polishes–lots of different colours, finishes and brands. But, I keep adding to it, because no two polishes are alike in my opinion (same with lipstick to be honest).

Yesterday, while on a prescription medication pickup, me and a friend browsed the cosmetics aisle (if you’re my friend and we go to the drugstore together, just expect that I will be giving the cosmetics section some love). I already own Essie’s Dive Bar, a beautiful, deep and unique metallic swirl of mermaid colours. Perfect for a fall day, especially when paired with a good, chunky knit sweater and your most comfortable pair of jeans or leggings and cozy socks. I like that colour a lot. It’s never disappointed in the “cool manicure” category and I get many compliments whenever I wear it.

However. The world is big and other companies have their takes on the mermaid swirl look. Sally Hansen’s new Color Therapy offering, in the shade Reflection Pool, is one of them. Where Dive Bar is deep, dark and twisty, Reflection Pool is just that–a beautiful oceanic blue/green/tinge of purple mix. It’s shade name really nails it. I mean, honestly, you could stare at the colour in the bottle and honestly get lost. It’s mesmerizing.

Okay, let’s get to the good stuff:

Size: Reflection Pool retails for $8.99 at grocery and drugstore chains. If you are Gold status at Rite Aid, you can grab it for $7.19! For the price, you get 0.5 fl. oz./14.7mL. Product size really is personal to each individual, some may consider this to be too large a bottle to avoid wasted product, others may think it’s great bang for the buck, to each its own–those are the facts.

Color: It’s GORGEOUS. There are swirls of blue, green and do I detect a little bit of purple?? I think so. See for yourself below!

sally hansen_reflection pool
Sally Hansen Color Therapy in Reflection Pool

Application: Even with a clear base coat (Essie’s All-In-One Base, Top and Strengthener Formula) the application on this is sheer but buildable. You’ll need at least 2 coats to get a more opaque look if that’s what you’re going for. Also, for many, this might be more wearable than other options because of its sheer formula. If you’re intrigued by mermaid nails or the mermaid/unicorn trend in general, this is a nice little gateway.

Mood: Fun, exploratory, optimistic, positive (safe) risk taking, slightly moody but also mood enhancing; I think water signs would love this colour. <3

Overall, my first impression is that I think it’s worth the price. I wish the formula was more opaque but for me, it’s not even remotely a deal breaker. Just a mild annoyance that requires me to exercise patience (which never hurts!). I’m applying to my nails as I’m writing this, but I also think this will find its way to my toes before we see our first leaf fall. If you’re into the trend, definitely give this a try!

So, what do you think? Do you love the mermaid nail trend? Will you try it?

Chat with me in the comments below.

Talk soon. -xo, Layla