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

Layla Loves: Micellar Water

Layla Loves: Micellar Water

I just arrived home from work. Shoes come off first. Then my wig (yes, I wear a wig, more on that some other time). Then, off comes my makeup. I look forward to all of these things every day, but especially on days when I am tired and want to just come home and lay down, maybe watch some TV and zone out.

As much as I love to wear makeup and rock a bold lip, I also am growing to love being in my bare-faced skin and I care about it’s health as much as I care about it’s natural appearance. So, I want to make sure that I tell you all about one of my favorite beauty products EVER: micellar water.

In case you haven’t heard more than excited buzz around micellar water, let’s start with the basics. The first (and the only thing, in my opinion) that you need to know is that it’s a beauty secret and staple of French women. Say no more, right?

I heard that micellar water was great for sensitive skin (due to its lack of harsh chemicals, soap, fragrance and alcohol), requires no rinsing, is a great makeup remover, AND is a gentle alternative to most facial wipes on the market (some are soft and treat your skin like the baby it should be viewed as).

At first, I was skeptical. Very skeptical. I tried a small bottle of Simple Micellar Water and was converted to a full fledged believer within a week. My skin felt clean, looked better, felt softer and appeared smoother. On top of that, I hadn’t experienced any new breakouts. I stopped washing my face twice a day with harsh tap water ever since.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t stopped washing my face with good old face cleanser and bathroom sink water completely, but cutting down has helped my skin a lot–it’s undeniable.

So, which micellar waters do I use regularly and think you should try? Glad you asked!

Here we go…

The First Love: Simple Micellar Water, 13.5 fl.oz., $8,99, Target

Simple Micellar Water

The Brightening Secret: 

Botanics All Bright Micellar 3 in 1 Cleansing Solution, 8.4 oz., $5.99, Target

botanics all bright micellar

The Oily/Combination Skin Power Punch: 

Bioderma Sebium H2O Solution Micellaire, 500ml, $14.90, Birchbox

Bioderma Sebium H20 Micelle Solution

And since you’re going all in on micellar waters, make sure you are using the right counterparts: facial rounds or ovals. I prefer ovals because of their size (compared to rounds). They’re larger and can cover more of your face in less swipes, saving product and ovals. These are the ovals that I prefer.

So, will you be trying a micellar water? Do you already use them? Let me know your thoughts, and feel free to ask me any questions in the comments.

Talk soon. -xo, Layla

Head to Toe: My Fave Exfoliators

Head to Toe: My Fave Exfoliators

How long is your daily body care routine? Does it change on the weekend when you (presumably) have more time? My body care routine is about 30 minutes on weekdays. On weekends? All bets are off. I get to luxuriate and it’s fantastic. Self-care is important and it can look like anything to anyone. For me, weekends are for the additional at-home spa moment. Whether it’s a calming shower or bath, followed by a rich moisturizer before I go back to bed, or it’s a DIY manicure and/or pedicure, it’s all important and it all feels absolutely wonderful. Whatever your energy level allows, do it.

One of my most loved things to do is to exfoliate head to toe while I’m in the shower, when I step out I feel like a new, pampered person. Keep reading for the products that I use, and love:


Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub, $3.99 for 1 Fl. Oz, Target 

This is one of my newest facial scrubs, I think I received the trial size (1 fl. oz) as part of a Target Beauty Box. No matter how it came to me, I’m just glad it did. This is a nice scrub for the face, but it requires a light hand, as it can be too abrasive if you scrub your face with too much pressure. Just a light, circling motion will do you just fine. And yes, your face instantly looks a little brighter after rinsing off.

Modern Friction Nature’s Gentle Dermabrasion, $21-40, Origins 

Not one of my most beloved scrubs and I think it could be more gentle, especially since the word is included in its title and packaging, but it’s effective. This is your pick if you are more mindful of ingredients, environmental impact, and the like.

Derma-E Anti-Wrinke Vitamin A Glycolic Scrub, $13.99, Ulta  

I don’t use this scrub often, but I do like it when I use it and I have a feeling that with its specific targeting towards wrinkles, I’ll be using it more and more (hello, year 29). Give this a go, if you’re starting to see wrinkles in places on your face that you’re not okay with (for me, I’m okay with laugh lines, forehead wrinkles though? No, thanks)


Just A Minute 60-Second Manicure Scrub, $12, Bath and Body Works 

This citrus fragranced, sugar scrub isn’t necessary, but it’s a nice treat to have around. Your hands take a beating daily from all of the touching, shaking, washing, typing, etc. Keep the skin on your hands looking young, and bright by using this about once a week, and following it with a rich, creamy lotion or oil.


Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Polish, $13.99, Target  

I had been hearing about this sugar exfoliator for months before I decided to finally give it a try. That was almost a year ago, and I have literally used every ounce of this gentle, moisturizing product since first trying it. It took a little getting used to, as my skin is typically dry and itchy and so I was unsure of how often I should use this, but once I got the hang of it and starting using it once weekly, my skin began to rebel less and become less dry and itchy, and it holds moisture much longer. If you have dry, sensitive, itchy or otherwise timid skin, sugar exfoliators are going to be your go-to, leave the salt scrubs alone. Your skin will thank you.  Also, I have to mention this scrub’s scent, which is the brand’s Original Pink fragrance and includes bergamot, mandarin, rose, peach, strawberry, jasmine, and a few other yummy notes. You’ll be hooked immediately.

Shea Exfoliating Sugar Body Scrub, $7-$24.00, The Body Shop 

If you’re like me and sometimes want something more less fragrant (this smells faintly like the Shea nut it is derived from), and more down to earth, then this is the sugar scrub for you. Also, for the sensitive or irritate skin types, this scrub gets the job down with no fuss. It’s also moisturizing, although less than the Soap & Glory polish, so you’ll have to be ready to hop out of the shower, apply another moisturizer and lock it in before your skin has a chance to fully dry. If you’re looking for a way to try out sugar exfoliators, this is a good introduction as you can purchase a small size (1.7 fl.oz) for only $7. Can’t beat that!


Earth Therapeutics Refreshing Foot Scrub, $4.96, Walmart 

I use this in the shower, even though the directions explicitly tell you to use this on dry feet. The shower is easier for me. This is great for use in between professional pedicures to keep your feet from becoming too dry, cracked and crusty–not cute in warm weather, sandal season. This scrub is quick and easy. Note: if you use this on dry feet, as directed, then you may experience some tingling as it contains peppermint and tea tree oil. That’s normal, but of course, if you feel uncomfortable in any way, rinse your feet, and find something more soothing for your dogs.

Those are my exfoliator picks, I hope you enjoyed reading about them and that you’ll give one, two or a few, a chance. How often do you give your body a fresh skin start? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Talk soon, xo-Layla
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K-Beauty: My Fave Sheet Masks

K-Beauty: My Fave Sheet Masks

Photo: Chrissy Tiegen

These days, I’ll about self care and doing what you can to make yourself feel that you’re at your best. For me, that involves a lot of skin care and at home spa-like treatments. As much as I love makeup, I am trying to make the state of my skin a constant priority because its function is critical. Not to mention that your makeup looks best when it’s applied to healthy skin.


Cue my obsession with all things K-Beauty. Korean beauty is becoming more and more popular and for good reason: Korean women (and men!) are seriously diligent about skincare. We should all aspire to be dedicated to a care routine with the same fervor. After all, it produces RESULTS. The before and afters are undeniable. Most K-Beauty routines involve approximately 8 steps and can include as many as 12 or 13. Fear not: you don’t need to have these many steps to reap the benefits of the Korean beauty philosophy and method(s). Incorporating a step here or there will have your skin looking better than it ever has.

One of the easiest steps to incorporate is sheet-masking. These cloth masks (they sometimes come in other materials as well) are soaked with serums and moisturizers in a convenient and efficient design to optimize the benefits of the treatment for your skin. You simply unfold the mask, apply to your face avoiding your eyes and let it sit for anywhere from 15-30 minutes (check and follow directions listed on the package). For those minutes that you’re letting the mask sit and work its magic, I like to do absolutely nothing–it’s wonderful! Forced relaxation can be such a benefit and sheet masking trains you to just let yourself be and take rest. Whatever you need to do will still be there when your masking time is finished. And when your time is up, simply remove the mask and throw away. It’s just that easy!

I do a sheet mask at least every other day. Some weeks, I do one daily–I personally love those weeks. I find myself less stressed and with more clarity throughout the week. Since I’ve tried so many, I feel comfortable enough saying I have preferences that I think once you try as well, you’ll love:

Photo: San Francisco Racked 

Tony Moly is my accessible and affordable sheet mask fix! I get them at my local Urban Outfitters for about $3 each. Sometimes, they’ll have a 4/$10 sale–great for grabbing a few extra or trying one for a different purpose.

  • Red Wine (Pore Care): this mask lives up to its name. I’m prone to large, visible pores so I tried this mask hoping it would reduce their appearance. That it did. Results don’t last very long, so it could be great for special occasions in the beginning.  I’m going to keep using them to determine if results are longer lasting with continued use.
  • Avocado (Nutrition): my face felt “fed” after using this mask for sure. I tried this before bed once and woke up with visibly brighter, plumper skin where scaly spots had started to appear. (Damn flaking face!)
  • Aloe (Moisturizing): I think this should actually also say soothing as I go straight for this one when I feel my skin is irritated or just generally behaving badly. The Tea Tree formula is actually labeled ‘Soothing’ and I find that odd as tea tree is strong and usually irritates many–mostly because it can be drying. Bottom line: this one is a sheet mask staple.

I haven’t tried them all yet, but I do have the Seaweed (Skin Purifying) and Rice (Clear Skin) on deck and will try at least one of them this weekend and report back.

What about you? Got any fave masks? Love to hear about your holy grail masks, especially your sheet mask picks, so comment below!

Good chat. Until next time…xo


Let Your Skin Troubles Evaporate

Let Your Skin Troubles Evaporate


I’m so happy to be writing again after almost a month. I’m always inspired but lately haven’t been able to find the time or scrounge up the energy with my added school schedule.  Speaking of…the end of Spring term is exactly one week and one day away and I am feeling all of the hard work and long nights that it took to make it through.

Last week, I decided to pay more attention to de-stressing and detoxing my body and my skin so when I had finally found my Summer term textbook on Amazon, I decided to also see if there was something I could get to add to my arsenal of skin tools. Just like magic, I took a few clicks and voila! I had happened onto the Conair Facial Sauna System. And for all of $21.80, I was in business!!

Just an hour ago I embarked on my first facial sauna. It was certainly easy enough to do. Before I used the system, I cleansed my face with Clinique’s Liquid Facial Soap Mild for Dry/Combination skin. This is an old standby, tried and true product for me. Definitely in my Holy Grail ranks. Next, I moved on to the steam system.

Gentle, yet effective cleansing
Gentle, yet effective cleansing

The Conair system itself was very easy to use once I had read the clear instructions. I didn’t use any of the attachments that come with the system as I just wanted to keep it extremely simple for my first time.  I read a couple of articles and how-to posts on using the system as part of a broader at home facial process. Some tips I used, others I discarded based on the sensitivity of my skin. For instance, most articles suggest steaming for a minimum of five minutes. My skin reacts and behaves badly with out prodding so I decided to try the lowest timer setting, which was three minutes. The process of steaming itself was so relaxing, I almost fell asleep. I was very surprised at how short of a time it took to bring me into a peaceful lull. So here is my biggest and most important tip: MAKE A CONCENTRATED EFFORT TO STAY AWAKE during your steam (for safety purposes of course).  Conair has designed the system with a few safety nets already (automatic on/off, timer which loudly signals the end of your session) but help the system out a bit and just do your best to stay awake, okay? K.

Steam in, Gunk out
Steam in, Gunk out

After the steaming, I rinsed my face with cold water as instructed and moved on to the next step in my facial: Clinique’s 7 Day Scrub Cream. I love this cream. It does a great job of exfoliating but is gentle as it is a creamier formula than most scrubs and grains. In fact, when it’s dispensing from its bottle, you think it’s a cream cleanser until you begin to rub it into your face and even then it’s hard to detect the actual exfoliating agent(s).

Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse Off Formula

After I rinsed my face of the exfoliating cream, I moved on to highlight of my facial: the brightening mask. The one other time I used a mask of this nature, it was the Garnier Dark Spot Treatment Sheet Mask. I liked it, it was effective and left my skin visibly brighter after only one use. However, since then, I haven’t been able to find it available for single use purchase. When it first launched that was the only option, now it seems to only be sold in a multi pack for around $17.99 at my local Walgreens. I haven’t seen it at Rite Aid. So, in the interest of finding a more affordable alternative, I decided to try the Walgreen’s version: Studio 35 Beauty Brightening Mask. I’m not blown away. It was…decent. I found it to be ill-fitting even though the packaging claims it can be torn for adjustment. I found that since it was so saturated with product (which is a great thing!) it was hard to get a good enough grip to tear it for sizing. And once it dried out enough to tear it, it was time to take it off. I also noticed that upon its removal, my skin was the same dull tone it was prior to use. It’s safe to say, I probably will not be using this again.


I finished my facial with the following products (in the order of use):

Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3 for Combination Oily Skin
Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3 for Combination Oily Skin
Clinique Acne Solutions Spot Healing Gel
Clinique Acne Solutions Spot Healing Gel
Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin
Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin
Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage Roll On
Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage Roll On

My skin feels squeaky clean and very soft. With continuous use, I’m sure I’ll be to my goal of even, healthy, glowing skin in no time :)

Product Reviews: L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Concealers

Product Reviews: L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Concealers

loreal true match concealer cool 6-7-8-

Happy Saturday my glossies! How are you enjoying the first weekend of 2014? Personally, I’m still inside, not yet ready to face the aftermath of Winter Storm Hercules. Instead I’ve been hiding out and giving myself at home spa treatments, a quick foot exfoliation, and later I’ll be scrubbing my face clean of winter grime and assessing my progress on Operation: Great Skin. Which brings me to the topic of this post…concealers. The almighty cover ups, the holy grails of blemish cover up, etc. The right concealer can be a dream come true and inspire confidence in the most right of times.

First up: L’Oreal’s True Match Super-Blendable Concealer in the shade Cool 6-7-8. Let’s not beat around the bush here. I LOVE this product. I’ve been eyeing it for a long time–at least a year and have asked friends for their opinions and they’ve always said it was great, especially for a drug store offering but every time I would see them in the aisles the colors and consistency never seem quite right. So a couple of weeks ago, I took the plunge and purchased this product along with some other L’Oreal products. I’m really glad I decided to try this product. I was completely wrong about the shade match and consistency. In fact, I feel like L’Oreal is underselling this concealer. To me this shade also has a color correcting quality to it as it contains a hint of peach. I’ve also heard others with fairer and deeper skin say they felt the same way. The consistency is spot on. You can really see the R&D payoff in the way this concealer applies and dries down. The texture from the bottle that includes a doe foot applicator, which is perfect for under eyes) is creamy and thick, but not so thick that it’s hard to spread and blend. It dries down to a sheer powder like consistency. The dry down reminds me of MAC’s Select Cover Up. I’m not sure about others, but this concealer also has a brightening effect on my under eye area. Absolutely love this. Classes start again on Monday and I can already tell that this will be a staple, holy grail product for me as I’m sure it’ll come through for me when I need to cover up long nights of assignments and studying, etc.

Next, let’s talk about another concealer in L’Oreal’s True Match Super-Blendable line–their concealer crayon (see below):

loreal true match concealer crayon medium deep n6-7-8


I’ve purchased this product quite a while ago–almost this time last year actually. Bottom line: I like the idea and the consistency (it’s powdery and light) but the shade offerings are not up to par for me. I purchased the neutral offering of the darkest range they had, which was Medium/Deep N6-7-8. This product was too light for me and ending up looking ashy and chalky–not good for under eye (or any other) area. I want to look as naturally flawless as possible and this gives away my complexion secrets right away. I hate to toss this, but I can’t even see any other use for this. I tried to use it as a highlighter–that was a certain NO-GO. If you have fairer skin, however, I would try this product. It’s seems like it’d be a great, easy to tote cover up. Perfect for on-the-go, just throw it in your makeup bag or purse and you’re good to go always.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the days when I only need to use concealer for the one off breakout and not for every day coverage to be presentable, but in the interim, I’m glad I found a product that works.

What about you lovely people? What cover up do you use?

Talk to me!

Until next time…

xo, Layla