Feature Friday: Healthy Living

Today’s Blog is written by my sister Josie.

I want to give a few personal tips for maintaining a healthy weight and losing weight. I am at a weight right now that I like and feel good about but this hasn’t always been the case. I usually judge my weight based on how I feel in my clothes and not so much on what the scale says. However, just like most women I know, including myself, we go through seasons where we put on weight and lose weight. My hope now is for maintaining my weight. I am not an expert on the subject but I have some things that work for me and wanted to share how I have been able to achieve weight loss success.

I went through some emotional things in my early 20’s which ended up effecting my physical body. I gained weight and ended up weighing a little over 30lbs more than I should have and was used to. Once I was back where I needed to be emotionally I realized I needed to do something about my weight and began a journey on becoming healthier. I will share a few of the things that started my weight loss and things that I use to this day; close to ten years later.

The following picture is the best before picture that I am willing to share and at this point I had already begun to lose weight.

Heavier side of Me: 2006

My First Weight Loss Accomplishment

I began to drink more water than any other beverage. It was a big deal for me because I LOVE  my sweet tea and at the time I had a pretty strong attachment to Mountain Dew and coffee. I stopped drinking soda altogether and began to limit the amount of sweet tea and coffee that I drank. I think it is best to make small changes because they are more likely to stick if you don’t feel like you are depriving yourself. When I first stopped drinking my sugar filled coffee and soda I lost 10 lbs in just a few weeks. That jump-started the rest of the changes I made because I began to feel better and it motivated me to make better choices. I still drink water more than any other beverage but when I do want coffee or the occasional soda, I limit the amount and add it into my calorie count for the day. This leads me to my next point.

Second Important Key to Weight Loss

I count my calories. When I first stared counting calories I wrote everything down that I ate to keep track but after a while it just became second nature. Now I know the calorie count for most of the foods I love to eat and can keep track mentally. I have a resource that I use and recommend that will calculate what amount of calories you should have in a day if you want to lose, maintain, or even gain weight based on your age, height, and activity level. I love this tool and especially the zig-zag feature. It will allow me to eat different amount of calories each day which will prevent my body from reaching any plateaus. I limit the amount of sweets and carbs I eat and drink but do not cut anything completely out. I believe in moderation for all things and portion control versus deprivation. I heard a tip from a nutritionist in the past who said it’s okay to have 200 “cheat” calories each day. I also have 1 “cheat” day per week to keep myself motivated. But even on that day I don’t eat everything I see, just the things that I normally don’t eat like pizza or brownies I may indulge in on these days.

Calorie Resources

Resource for calculating calories needed: Calorie Counter

Also if you would rather not write down the calories, you may want to use an online app like:
My Fitness Pal.
This app is also available in the Android and Apple markets.

Food That Works for Me

As far as actual foods, one go to food that has helped me maintain and lose weight is soup. Campbell’s Soup has some pretty healthy options available now and they carry some of my favorites like Healthy Request Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup. If I need to lose a couple pounds quickly or want to jump-start any weight loss I will replace one meal a day with one healthy soup and it has done wonders. I told my mom about doing this a couple years back to replace her meals at night because she had to eat late due to her work schedule and she lost 20 lbs in less than a month!

Important Weight Loss Element

Let me not forget to include adding some movement to your daily life. I started running a few years back and that was awesome for my body but I don’t do as much running now. I mainly walk and use Kettle Bells, which I can expound on more in another post. However, moving in some way is important to your overall health. Walking is awesome and will help you drop pounds if you add it to your diet changes. I would suggest getting a pedometer and keeping track of your steps. 10,000 is the recommended amount of steps you should take in a day. Add more steps and you’re doing even better.

Here is me before a run I completed in 2008.

July 2008

After 4 mile run!

July 2008 After 4 mile Run

I hope that what has worked for me in my journey to healthier living is helpful to someone else. Feel free to share anything you do that works for maintaining a healthy eating plan or let us know if you decide to make any of these changes.

This is me currently, in my maintaining phase.

Thanks for reading,
Josie

Feature Friday: Nails / Face Care

Beautiful Sister Josie

Today’s blog is a continuation from last Friday, written by my beautiful, talented, gorgeous sister, Josie!

Follow Up

Last week I promised an update on trying out the Nutra Nail Gel Nail color.

Well, I would not personally recommend this product.

If you remember from my last post I talked about how the gel had gathered around my cuticles and was not coming off, however; this area started cracking on day three of wear. Once that started cracking I had to start peeling it off because it was irritating me. By day four I had taken most of it off so I had to get the polish remover out because it was looking awful.

The directions said that for removal I would have to press the cotton ball with acetone on the nail and wrap it with foil for 2 minutes. I did not do all of this but simply held the cotton ball with polish remover on my nails for a minute or so and the rest came right off.

I did not like the condition of my nails after the gel was off either; it left them dry with peel marks on the tops. I have strong nails so they rebounded quickly but if you have thin nails or have any trouble growing your nails out this product may do a number on them. If you choose to use this product proceed with caution.

Onto this week’s topic: Give your skin some love.

I want to share a make-up product with you that I love.

In the last few months BB (Beauty Balm) creams have been all the buzz. If you are not familiar with this item it is a tinted moisturizer with several benefits to your skin.

I have used regular tinted moisturizer by Covergirl since my early 20’s and prefer it over regular foundations. It has sunscreen in it and is light on the skin. Once I started hearing about the BB creams I had to check it out.

A lot of brands are carrying these BB creams but I went with my tried and true brand of Covergirl. All of the brands that I have looked at offer the same benefits so I think it is just up to you what you want to pay and what brand you prefer. I was not disappointed by Covergirl’s results or price.

Some of the benefits for your skin are:

  • Won’t clog pores
  • Improves skin’s elasticity
  • Natural looking
  • All day hydration
  • Smooths skin
  • Protects against sun damage
  • Improves skin’s overall appearance

Since I bought it, I have been using it everyday and I am already squeezing the last bits out of my first tube and will be purchasing more this weekend.

Give it a try and let us know what you think or let us know if you already use it.

Thanks for reading,

Josie

Feature Friday: DIY Gel Nail Tutorial

Today’s Feature Friday is brought to you by Josie.

I wanted to try a new product for nails that I have been seeing on TV commercials so I thought I’d share my results with you after applying it last night.

Here are my natural nails:

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The product is called Gel Perfect by Nutra Nail. It is supposed to provide “Ding-Free Protection” in 5 minutes that sets rock solid with a “Patent Leather Shine.” Unlike some of the other gel nail manicures on the market this one does not require an LED light. It costs $14.99 regularly at Walgreens but with the new Walgreens card I got it for $9.99 (I was excited).

This is the product:

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It comes with 3 bottles; one for cleaning the brushes, one for the gel color, and one that is called the activator. The instructions included provide step-by-step directions which are easy to follow but are a bit more than a regular polish.

Something I will point out about the product if you want to try it is; be aware of the smell. The activator is strong and brought tears to my eyes sort of like cutting up an onion. Also, be careful to not let the product pool around the edges of your nails because it is very difficult to remove it is very thick and is “hard as a rock.” Any of the color that got on my skin came off easily with nail polish remover but the part connected directly to the nail color on the nail bed isn’t going anywhere until I attempt to remove it in about a week if it lasts.

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According to the instructions you will need to buy a special remover made just for this gel polish or use regular nail polish remover but after it is applied, wrap your nails in aluminum foil for 2 minutes. We will see…

As of right now, it is very shinny and looks nice and it did set in 5 minutes like the box promised which was nice. I will give an update next week to let you know how long it lasted and if I think it is worth the time, effort, and money but after a few days of dishes I will know if it’s worth it or not. If you have used this product please share what you discovered as well.

Feature Friday: Hair Care

by Josie (my sister)
Licensed Cosmetologist

A real person’s hair….my sister Josie

Today’s beauty tip is for dry shampoo. I personally love dry shampoo because it is extremely useful when you live in hot climates and now can also help your hair color last longer.

Many hair care professionals promote not washing your hair everyday because shampoos strip the natural oils that your scalp and hair needs and I agree. However, if you live in a hot climate, naturally have an oily scalp, or work out on a regular basis, washing your hair everyday is a must.

Dry shampoo has come a long way over the past few years and there are all sorts available. I personally love the cheap version from Sally’s Beauty Supply, I have used an expensive brand from Ulta but it did not work for me.

Here are a few different dry shampoos available at Sally, although, this page does not include the one I tried.

Sally Beauty Supply Dry Shampoo

There are some tinted versions that can help with the outgrowth of hair color. You simply spray it on your roots and brush it through with a bristle brush for even coverage. There are many brands available at department stores, beauty supplies, and high end salons. Try some today if you are looking for an easier way to manage your hair.

Here is an example of tinted dry shampoo.

Tinted Dry Shampoo

Feature Friday: Make-up Tip

Here is my sister Josie with an important make-up tip.

I see that most women wear make-up and do a beautiful job but the most common thing I see that is left out and makes a big difference is eyebrows.

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Me without eyebrows highlighted.

Well groomed eyebrows are a good starting point. But in addition to plucking, waxing, threading and/or trimming, it is also helpful to shape and contour your brows with shadow to fill in and darken if needed. This is an alternative to eye brow pencils. I do not like brow pencils because they have pulled hairs out of my brows in the past creating more of a problem.

I use a Maybelline eye contour palette. The darkest color in the palette works for my shade of hair but you will want to experiment to find the shade that works for you. I use an angled thin shadow brush and make short strokes in the hair line. Remember less is more with the shadow, don’t overdo it because a little goes a long way with your brows.

Then I use a regular small tooth brush, which I have designated for this job only, to get the hairs to go in the right direction. I do not like the regular brow brushes with the comb on the other side because this does not get the whole brow. Try adding a little extra to your brows if you don’t and see if it balances your face and gives you a more finished look.

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Me with contoured eyebrows.

Hope this helps you take your make-up routine to the next level. 😉

Josie

Feature Friday: Inner Beauty

My BEAUTIFUL sister Josie

When my sister asked me to write for Feature Fridays, she wanted me to give tips on make-up, fashion, and health and beauty. Today I want to talk about beauty.

Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, shades, ages, and backgrounds. Usually the things that you don’t think are beautiful or that you are sensitive about are only in your head. I think beauty is doing the best you can with what you’ve been given.

For me, I feel most beautiful when I feel good physically. People say beauty is what’s within and I agree, but also along the idea of what you put inside your body; it can change how you feel and help you feel more beautiful.

If you haven’t read about the benefits of drinking green tea, you will be amazed. Green tea helps with skin’s appearance, healthy body weights, and lowers your risk of cancer just to name a few.

I drink Lipton green tea flavored with passion fruit/mango almost every day. It is the first green tea that I really love and after I found that I liked it and started drinking it regularly, I really started to feel better. I started noticing physical changes to my body for the better and I haven’t been getting sick as often. I work with little ones and this is huge for me because those little guys are always passing something around. My skin seems to be clearer and I know I’m doing something good for my body.


My suggestion is to try different kinds of green tea until you find one you like, but also be aware of the sugar content. Try switching at least one of the unhealthy drinks you have each day for green tea and see if you find that you start to feel better. This feeling can lead you to looking even more beautiful than you already are.

I want to share a link to the benefits of drinking green tea.

25 reasons to drink green tea

~Josie

Thanks Josie for your health/beauty tip for today. I’m going to get my green tea with passionfruit/mango right now! 🙂  Angie

Feature Friday: Avoiding Razor Bumps

Today’s post is written by my sister who has a great tip for avoiding razor bumps from shaving.

Angie on left, Josie on Right

Beauty Tip: Anti Razor Bumps

Today I’d like to share a personal beauty tip that I use and have been asked about before.

Since I began shaving my legs, I have always battled getting razor burn and after many, many years of suffering and trying every new razor on the market, I have found something that works for me and maybe it will work for you if you share in my pain.

You will need to invest in an anti-itch lotion like Curel (this is my favorite) and a good quality razor like Venus Spa Breeze or Schick Intuition.  Something with moisturizers near the blade work well with this method.

Examples:

Venus Spa Breeze

Venus Spa Breeze

Schick Intuition

Schick Intuition

I shave while in the shower using any type of shaving cream or even hair conditioner (not necessary with the Schick Intuition). Then once I finish showering, I apply the anti-itch lotion directly to my wet legs. It seems messy but it really isn’t. I dry the rest of my body and feet, then let my legs air dry while I continue getting ready. You will want to wait for your legs to dry before putting on jeans though. It may take a little longer to get ready, but for me it is worth it. This has worked amazingly for me and hopefully it will work for you.

Let us know if you have razor bump issues and if you’ve tried this method.

Thank you for reading,

Josie

 

We are not getting paid to mention any of these products.

Feature Friday: Fall Fashion Tip

Today I’m featuring a fashion tip from my sister Josie. She’s one of the nicest and most genuine people I know. She’s one of those people who is caring by nature. She is also a loyal wife, step-mother, daughter, sister and friend, who always gives of herself sacrificially with no expectation of reciprocation!

Besides all the good character qualities she possesses, she is also beautiful on the outside. She is a trained cosmetologist. She is knowledgeable in fashion. And she has an incredible knack for finding the best deals. I consider her my own personal stylist guru–even though she is currently with her husband who is stationed in California and I’m all the way here in Florida!

Here she is:

And without further ado, here is Josie’s fashion tip:

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