Beauty magazines and talk shows are full of advice. But I want to hear from someone who doesn't have advertisers to please, an on-site makeup artist and a six-figure wardrobe budget. What are REAL women doing to look and feel their best?
Here's Holly! My real-life and on-line friend. She's gorgeous, but practical and down-to earth.
Here are Holly's thoughts on beauty--inside and out.
1. Alright, Holly. This time of year my clothes are feeling tighter than a Christmas sausage...help! How do you get yourself motivated to lose a few (or more than a few) pounds? What are your favorite healthy eating tips?
Okay… first of all, I have to warn everyone that I am soooooooo NOT an expert at any of these topics. But I will share a few things that have worked for me. Some more than others. Even as I type this, I just got back from a holiday feast and I’m bulging at the seams. Sometimes ya just gotta enjoy it. Know what I mean? However, the new year always gets me motivated to get in shape and lose all the weight I gained from the holidays.
As far as healthy eating goes, I’m probably the worst person to be giving advice. I love food. My family loves food. Anyone who knows me or any member of my family knows this. Food is a big deal for us. When we have a family feast, it is in large amounts. Family functions and get-togethers kill me. I literally have zero self control at these events and constantly rationalize why I’m allowed to overeat at family functions.
Here’s my theory (and let me warn you that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t): Everyone should be allowed to have ONE day a week where it doesn’t matter. As long as you are really diligent throughout the week, you can save up your calories or points or whatever. The trick is letting it be really and truly only ONE DAY. That means, if you have two family functions or parties, you have to choose ONE of them to indulge.
2. What about exercise? What works for you? How do you fit it in with your busy family's schedule?
Now I might not be that great at eating right, but I do get out and exercise. I do it because it’s a stress reliever for me and it honestly and TRULY makes me feel better. It makes me feel better physically, mentally and spiritually. Granted, some days I get more out of it than others. But let’s just say that my husband notices a difference in me when I exercise. And I am NOT talking about the way my jeans fit. I’m talking about my attitude and overall sense of self-worth. I’m happier. We all know ‘when Mamma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy!’
Here’s what works for me:
I like to change things up so I don’t get bored. I only recently got a gym membership. I used to have a gym membership for several years but then we moved and the gym I was going to was too far away. We decided to buy an elliptical machine at that point rather than spend money on a gym membership. This worked for me for three years. I got up early or did my workouts during naps. I would record shows on my DVR and then watch them as I worked out.
I joined Weight Watchers after I had my daughter, Faith, as a way to lose the baby weight. I did the elliptical and WW and they both worked great. I also got up at 5:30 during the summer to run. I am NOT a morning person, but I forced myself to get up early at least a couple times a week because of the way it made me feel. Running outside in good weather is probably my favorite way to exercise, but it isn’t always doable.
Once I hit a plateau doing Weight Watchers, I decided to quit my membership (which I wouldn’t necessarily advise) and joined the gym instead. I didn’t want to pay for TWO memberships to something so I picked ONE. So far, it’s working out fine though I KNOW I probably would weigh less had I kept both the gym membership AND the WW. But… whatever. I fit exercise in by using the day care at the gym and I go in the mornings before my day gets crazy.
I ALWAYS, ALWAYS , ALWAYS do classes at the gym. Classes keep me motivated and there ON TIME. The excuse ‘I don’t have time to work out’ is just an excuse. If you want something bad enough, you can find a way AND A TIME to do it and work it into your schedule. You might think it will kill you, but in the end it will make you stronger! You’ll have more energy, more zest for life and you’ll be happier if you keep it up consistently. I PROMISE.
3. January skin is the worst...dry, scaly and pale...with a few Christmas-stress pimples thrown in. What's your skin-care regime? Do you have any favorite brands to share with us?
Like so many people, I have been plagued with extremely dry skin. As a child, I was one big eczema patch. As a teen, I had ‘Pityriasis alba’ and as an adult I have been plagued with Perioral Dermatitis. My dermatologist and I are good friends, let’s put it that way.
I don’t buy those yummy smelling soaps at Bath & Body works or any body wash for that matter. I use a very boring bar of Cetaphil on my body. That is ALL I use. Ever. (Cursed is the day when I’m out of Cetaphil and have to use my husband’s soap. I’m itchy and scratchy and BOTHERED. I don’t know how he survives!) When I get OUT of the shower, I use Cetaphil lotion. If I really want to use yummy smelling lotion, I use it in places where I don’t break out -- like the tip of my pinky or something. No, really-- I’ll get The Body Shop Body Butter and use it on my knees and elbows. I really love that stuff. (My only annoyance is that they always stop selling the kind I like the most. Curse you, Body Shop! Why did you stop selling the Sesame Body Butter?! WHY?!)
4. I know you love beauty products. Will you list your top five picks and tell us why you like them so much?
1. I love everything DHC. I use their deep cleansing oil to remove makeup. It’s liquid gold and really does wonders for ANY kind of skin you have. Even if you have oily skin.
2. Another DHC product I love is the Olive Leaf Cream. It saves my face from that dry itchy feeling you get in the winter time.
3. I love Clinique. One of the products I use every day is Touch Tint for eyes in Nude Sparkle. They have lots of colors, but I use the nude one and then use regular eye shadow over the top. It makes a great base and it’s sparkly. But not TOO sparkly if you know what I mean.
4. Origins makes a really great product called ‘Pinch Your Cheeks’. I’ve used it forever. It does exactly what it says. It lasts forever and it’s cheap. I use Raspberry, but they have Coralberry and Brownberry too.
5. I have skimpy eyebrows. I used to over pluck in high school and look like I had NO eyebrows, but I’m a lot more disciplined now and just overpluck when I’m bored or angry. Kidding. I love Clinique brow powder because you can just fill in the bald spots. That way you don’t look really fierce with those penciled in brows. Remember Uncle Leo from Seinfeld?
I rest my case.
5. What about all of us who are feeling the post-holiday pinch? Where do you go to get good deals on girl stuff? What tricks do you have for looking sharp on-a-shoestring-budget?
I understand the post-holiday pinch. I also understand eliminating things because they’re too expensive. I found THE PERFECT under eye concealer. I have still never found a better one. The problem? It’s forty dollars a pop. One tube would last me 6 months. Still, every time I ran out, I would literally have a meltdown at the thought of spending 40 dollars on under eye concealer. I don’t use it anymore. I simply can’t justify it. I use Lancome, which is half the price and I STILL hate buying it.
I have already mentioned some of my cheap favorites. Cetaphil is a big one. It’s an inexpensive fix for problem skin; and to tell you the truth, I don’t buy the Cetaphil brand lotion. I buy the knockoff lotion from Walmart. It's half the price.
To order DHC products, I team up with my sister and we buy together. We wait until we have a combined order of $75 or more and get free shipping and a 10% loyalty discount.
If I see a favorite product on sale, I try to buy a couple of them to stock up. I always hit the Clinique bonus time sales and buy ONE thing. Sometimes you can get really lucky and they’ll have a great undereye cream sample which will last five months. Totally worth it.
6. And is there anything you refuse to skimp on? What are your beauty "splurges"?
I don’t skimp on facial moisturizer. I have tried to use off brands and over-the-counter items, but the skin on my face is simply too problematic.
I also don’t skimp on hair. I have extremely odd hair. It went from totally straight to extremely curly when I hit puberty. As I’ve gotten older, the curl relaxes more and more with each day and definitely with each child. One day it’s really curly--the next it’s stringy and falling out. It’s a frustrating element in my life. You should feel sorry for me.
Hair frames your face. It’s worth a splurge. I skimp by not getting my color touched up EVERY time. I get it colored every other haircut even though I would love to have it done more often. I tell my stylist only to do a few foils on the top to save money. Because my hair is curly, I simply don’t need my entire head done in foils. Just my roots and about 10 random foils on the top. Done.
7. Finally, I know your little girl, Faith, is the apple of your eye. What do you hope to teach her about grooming, beauty and self-esteem? How can we teach our daughters to take care of themselves without forgetting to focus on the things that REALLY matter?
Gabi, this is my favorite question. As a young girl and clear through my teens and early twenties, I REALLY struggled with my self esteem. It is still something I have to continually work on. I have to constantly remind myself that I’m good enough and that my husband loves me no matter what.
I’m so lucky to be married to someone who compliments me all the time even without makeup or when haven’t washed my hair in 3 days. As fortunate as it is to be married to someone like this, it’s important to feel beautiful ALL ON YOUR OWN without compliments. I’m still working on this one.
As for grooming, one of the things I remember is that my mom always looked gorgeous and put together. She wore perfume even on days she wasn’t going anywhere, she always did her hair and looked nice for the day. My dad also told all his girls ‘not to let themselves go’ once they got married. I’ve tried to remember both things my parents taught me. I’m not saying I don’t have a day where my hair isn’t done now and then, but I do try my best to look as nice as possible.
One more piece of advice that I still have to work on is to STAND UP STRAIGHT! One way to look confident and 10 pounds thinner is to put your shoulders back, your chest out and look like you’ve got it all figured out --even if you don’t. When you stand up straight, you automatically feel more confident. My dad always said really sternly ‘STAND UP STRAIGHT!!’ It was really annoying as a teenager, but it’s worked wonders as I’ve gotten older and it’s a piece of advice I always try to remember. That, and chewing with your mouths closed, but that’s another post.
Also, I’m a strong believer that if it’s working for you, keep doing it. But if there’s something that’s really bothering you, fix it. My teeth have bothered me FOR YEARS. They don’t bother my husband, but having them fixed is important to me, so we’re finally getting it done. I'm getting braces this Tuesday. I realize that wearing braces as an adult isn’t going to do wonders for my self esteem, but it will when I’m finished. It’s important to me. And after all these years of letting it get to me, why not fix it?
I just want Faith to grow up feeling confident. I want her to be proud of who she is and what she looks like. Just thinking about her future and all the things that influence young girls these days scares me. The only thing I can do to prevent her from falling into the media trap of thinking she’s not good enough is to teach her otherwise.
I think children learn by example. By feeling good about myself and never talking negatively about myself in front of my children, I’m teaching them that I’m happy with who I am. If you go around complaining about weight in front of your daughters, they’re going to wonder if they’re fat. One of the greatest gifts I can give my children is to love myself. If I’m happy with myself, they’ll be more inclined to be happy with themselves too.
Thanks, Holly! I'm feeling better already...