Healthy Bod Products

Hey, hey!

So I think I’ve mentioned a time or two on this blog that I’m working toward using all natural home and body care products. Every time I run out of something “toxic” I use that as an opportunity to swap it out for something healthier for my body and for the planet. It’s been great fun! I have done quite a lot of experimenting so I wanted to put together a list of my favorite Healthy Body Products I’m loving these days.

I highly recommend going to http://www.ewg.org/skindeep to see how toxic your beauty products are. They also have an app which works moderately well.

Another thing that has really been weighing on my mind since I started going “all natural” is the fact that I bleach my hair and have for a very, very long time. Ok, technically bleach doesn’t touch the scalp, it just sits on the hair so that makes me feel a little bit better, but I know it can’t really be healthy. So I finally took the plunge and returned to my natural hair color last weekend! I stopped coloring it about 6 months ago and the color & texture difference from having natural hair vs fried hair was driving me CRAZY.

hair before and after

You can see the grow-out situation in the bottom pic. And then in the top picture I’m just looking all sorts of fly in the parking lot of the grocery store. Yeah! I can’t believe how much of a textural difference this made on my fried ends! My hair is so soft now.

The one natural product I have NOT been able to find is a good shampoo and conditioner! I have tried A LOT and it’s getting to be an expensive and frustrating experiment. All the natural products I try dry my hair out and make it even more angry. The only product I found that didn’t dry my hair out horribly also didn’t clean it so I ended up with mad build up on my scalp. So, it was back to my beloved Pureology.

Alright, let’s look at my list starting with the top left working clockwise.

fave body products

Enkido synergy facial lotion. This is an Australian company so this stuff isn’t easy to get but I absolutely love it and I’m a facial care snob. It’s not expensive, you just have to order it from Australia. They do ship orders of $99 for free though and with the AUS to USD conversion rate it’s a steal. All their products have an EWG rating of 1! I also use their eye cream and their moisturizing face wash and love both. My skin is extremely acne prone (like, extremely) and my skin has actually improved since using this.

Jane Iredale “Disappear”. All Jane Iredale products are fabulous and non-toxic. This disappear product is my favorite concealer for all my acne scars and hyperpigmentation. It’s legit.

Uncle Harry’s Toothpaste. OMG I use natural toothpaste and I love it! My goal is to start making my own toothpaste but until then I will be buying this. It’s awesome and it’s remineralizing.

Almond Oil or Jojoba. I use this as a body moisturizer. It’s a little more convenient than using coconut oil since it’s liquid all year long and absorbs better.

Andalou Naturals Creamy Lemon Face Wash. Everything Andalou is awesome. They make a really good body lotion too if you are looking for a traditional looking/feeling/smelling body lotion.

Earth Science Tea Tree & Lavender Deodorant. Have I never posted about switching off regular deodorant?! That’s a novel in itself, what a journey! This deodorant is great and it’s inexpensive. I got it at Harmon’s! (local grocery store)

Sappo Hill Soap, unscented. I was convinced when I stopped using my “moisturizing body wash” my skin would dry up and flake off my body. No such thing. It turns out those “moisturizing” soaps and lotions dry skin out so we have to keep using them! Since I switched to natural products my skin has been much softer and not nearly as dry! It’s all a conspiracy I tell you…

Jane Iredale Glow Time. This is another great Jane Iredale product. Just 4 tiny drops does the entire face. Great for covering up those scars!

Andalou Naturals BB Cream. This is my absolute favorite sunscreen!! This is the only sunscreen that doesn’t make me break that I can actually stand the feel of. It’s tinted too so that’s a nice bonus. It’s a physical sunscreen (zinc oxide) so it’s non-toxic!

I should also mention that most of these products are SUPER inexpensive and cost much less than the toxic versions I was using before. Check out http://www.vitacost.com for most of these products or Amazon or even the local grocery store! I am loving vitacost these days. Free overnight shipping, plus their prices can’t be beat and they are always having sales and sending coupons.

And here is the Rocco pic of the day. He was starting to get sleepy after a run.

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Alright, that’s it for now! If you know of any good & natural shampoos you better be sending me a message!

Bye for now!

Laura

The Official Body of Sunshine Fitness Gear Guide!

How has this never happened? How have I never put out a gear guide?! In our house, we love gear. Researching it, testing it and of course, finding the best price on it! I compiled a list of my absolute favorite fitness gear. Not just stuff I’ve tried but items that I buy over and over again because I really use them and/or wear them out!

gear guide

1. Brooks Adrenaline GTS Running Shoe for moderate pronators. I’ve had at least 4 pair of these so I obviously like them a lot. I do pronate and these offer good support. You can get them from Zappos or runningwarehouse.com. Occasionally (like right now) you can get last seasons colors for CHEAP at http://www.6pm.com. I always check 6pm first before paying full price for running shoes. Make sure you know your size before ordering though because I don’t think they accept returns.

2. Garmin Forerunnin 15 GPS Watch. This is my newest fitness doo-dad and I really love it. It was a bit of a splurge for me but I have wanted a GPS watch for a long time. I like that this one is very small, comes in several colors and is actually pretty feminine without being pink. You can get it with or without a heart rate monitor strap. I chose to not get the heart rate strap because I feel like I have a pretty good idea of when my heart feels like it’s about to explode 🙂 The GPS is really accurate and only takes a few seconds to find it’s location.

3. Chi Running App. Best $3.99 I ever spent! This app has changed my life. It’s like having a running coach on your arm. Start your run and the owner of Chi Running is by your side reminding you to how to run properly without getting injured. Bonus: it has a metronome included and it tracks your distance/route/time etc. The app also has training videos you can watch to improve your running form.

4. Lululemon Run Swiftly Racerback Tank. Contrary to popular belief I really do not buy much from lululemon. Back in the day I did for sure. But now their stuff is just meh. This tank is by far my favorite running/workout top and I’m very picky. The material is light, comes in tons of colors and it doesn’t “cling” (i.e. it doesn’t stick to love handles).

5. Lululemon All Sport Bra. Ok, fine, another lululemon item. I got hooked on this bra about 5 years ago and it’s still my favorite. I have 4 of them now, including 2 that are 5 years old. So yeah, they hold up, they are comfortable and they do what they are supposed to do.

6. Sol Republic Relays In Ear Headphones. I used to exclusively use cheap headphones. I got used to them falling out of my ears, hurting my ears because they were too big and the poor sound quality in general. Luckily I have a nice husband who did a ton of research and picked up a set of these for me. He liked them so much he got himself a pair too! They come with 4 different sized ear pieces from tiny to large. They are super comfortable, AND they actually stay IN your ear when running. A little pricey but worth it.

7. SUUNTO Ambit2 Saphire. Ok, this is not my gear. It’s my husbands but I’m including in my Official Gear Guide because he loves it so much. I would probably have one too but the watch is pretty large and it would take up the majority of my forearm. I kid. This watch does everything. GPS, compass, barometer, altimeter, heart rate monitor, dishwasher, can opener and tons of other stuff I don’t know about.

8. Fitbit Flex. I’ve had my fitbit for a couple years now and in my opinion it’s still the best fitness tracker on the market (although I think it’s overpriced considering how little it does compared to the newer trackers). I think the basic flex is the best because the newer, fancier ones just don’t look durable and the reviews are pretty poor. I also have the fitbit scale and I like that it syncs to my fitbit “dashboard” so I can keep track of all my nerdy stuff in one place and track my nutrition if I choose.

9. Brooks Cascadia Trail Running Shoe. Oh these are just the best! I think this shoe wins every award for Best Trail Running Shoe and I agree 🙂 I don’t have the newest style yet (pictured above) but I’m hoping they go on sale soon!

10. Lululemon Run: Speed Shorts. Yeah, yeah, another lululemon item. I used to only run in running skirts which are cute for sure, but they can also be hot since they have more material. A couple years ago I went out on a HUGE limb (for me) and got a pair of these shorts. My body stayed so much cooler running in these shorts that now I’ve retired almost all my skirts and I have 4 pairs of these shorts. Lululemon always has tons of cute colors too. #bonus.

That’s my gear guide! I’ll be back soon with a beauty & fashion guide! How exciting!

Laura

A Post about Hair

I have so many recipes to share but I want to take a little break from food posts to talk about some other topics that are near and dear to my heart…like hair and skin care!

I am totally unqualified to give any advice in the hair/skin department. In fact I’m kind of a bozo when it comes to hair because I never blow dry, curl or straighten my hair and I don’t even own hairspray. But, I have hair and there are some products I absolutely swear by so I’m going to write about them!

Here are my favorite products!

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First up is my newest obsession. I know this is kind of out there and it was a big splurge for me, but it is totally worth it, especially if you have long, dry, chemically treated hair like I do.

This T3 Showerhead Filter is incredible. I came across it while researching how to get the brassiness out of my hair. I would be happy with just not having my hair turn orange, so the fact that it makes my hair softer, shinier, less frizzy and a zillion times easier to brush is all just a bonus. Let’s make it weird: here’s a photo of me in my bathrobe and the back of my head-a couple hours after washing my hair and letting it air dry. Normally my hair turns into a poof ball as it dries. No more! PS I took this picture to send to my hair stylist so she could see the difference. She was convinced.

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Read the reviews on this thing and you’ll be convinced. One girl said it cured her cystic acne! PS I am going to do a whole post on how I cured my acne (and it wasn’t because of this showerhead), just you wait!

Up next is my beloved Pureology Shampoo and Conditioner. I have been using this stuff since college which means I’ve been using it for 15 YEARS!! The purple shampoo is my favorite. I like the purple conditioner too but I’ve been liking the the blue, “Strength Cure” conditioner as well. Although now that I have this new showerhead the blue might be too moisturizing. I never thought I would say that! I know this stuff is pricey but a little goes a loooong way. I used to use less expensive brands but I ended up spending more money in the long run because I had to use so much product, especially conditioner.

I always buy this stuff on sale. Who am I kidding, I buy almost everything on sale. But for real, watch for Ulta to have a sale. They send out “20% off entire purchase” coupons from time to time and that is the time to stock up. It’s only available in store though. Locally, I also buy it at http://www.gotbeauty.com and they also occasionally have sales.

After I wash and brush my hair I apply 1 pump only of this Aveda Light Elements Smoothing Fluid. This step is crucial to prevent my hair from getting too poofy. I’ve had my bottle for over a year and I’ve hardly made a dent in it. This is the only smoothing serum I’ve ever used that doesn’t make my hair feel greasy or weighed down.

I have tried (I’m not kidding) every dry shampoo on the market. Seriously, I’ve tried them all and I have very high standards so I consider myself quite an expert in this department. Someone should pay me to test dry shampoos.  Oscar Blandi ‘Pronto’ Dry Shampoo is hands down the best. It’s a powder you sprinkle on right at your roots and then rub in like crazy/brush through. A little goes a long way so a bottle of this will last a really long time. I like the powder so much more than aerosols! Aerosol powders makes my hair dry, brittle and unbrushable. Yuk. With the Oscar Blandi powder I’m able to contain the grease at the root and still have the rest of my hair feel like my hair.

And last, this is the question I get the most about my hair: How do I make it wavy?

I gave up blow-drying, curling and flat ironing almost 2 years ago and my hair has gotten SO much healthier. I hardly ever get split ends now. And when I travel I don’t have to pack my blow dryer and flat iron! It’s been so liberating!

This is what I do: In the evening (around 8pm usually) I shampoo & condition my hair. After my shower I wrap it up in the towel even though they tell you not to. I’m such a rebel. I take the towel off and brush it with a paddle brush similar to this one. I apply 1 pump of the smoothing serum and work it around the ends of my hair, steering clear of the roots.

Then I leave it down for a couple hours as my hair dries. When my hair is starting to get dry, or when it’s time for bed, whichever comes first, I twist twist twist my hair up into a bun on top of my head. If I’m still up doing things I’ll lightly put a clamp or elastic around it to hold it in place. But if I’m just going to sleep, I coil it up there and just leave it and somehow-it stays-it’s magic. I guess I don’t move much in my sleep.

When I wake up I unravel it and voila, curly hair! Some days turn out better than others but it’s always better than having to take the time to blow dry & curl my hair.

So there you have it! Thanks for hanging in through this long post. I’m excited to write about my skin care regimen next!

Have a great week!

Laura

How to make a Standing Desk

Hi!
The last couple weeks I’ve been reading a book called “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle and it is MIND BLOWING! I highly recommend it as it is one of the best books I have ever read. Even if you aren’t into awakening to your life’s purpose, it’s still a fascinating read on the human mind and society.
Ironically, I was given this book as a gift about 8 years ago. I read maybe 2 pages and chucked it. Clearly I was NOT ready to be enlightened! But then a couple weeks ago I thought, you know, I’ve heard a lot of good things about that book, I should check it out. And that’s precisely what I did. I checked it out from the library because I threw my original copy away! I like the book so much I purchased a copy too so I can read it over and over again. There is so much good information in there!

Enough rambling, on to my standing desk!

By now I think everyone has heard that sitting down all day is basically one of the worst things for our bodies. If you haven’t heard about how sitting all day is killing us-google it!
Here is one great article.
Basically, research is showing that even if you exercise regularly it isn’t going to make up for sitting down all day. Well that’s a horrible thought! I exercise every day, so the idea of all this exercise basically being for nothing because I sit down all day was all the convincing I needed to make a change.
And treadmill desks are out. Studies show that just standing at your computer yields all the same benefits of walking slowly at a treadmill desk.
One of my friends switched to a standing desk and lost 15 POUNDS in 6 months. 15 pounds! He didn’t make any other changes to his diet or exercise, he just started standing up at work.
Um…DONE.
My husband has been using a standing desk for over a year. And when he gets a phone call he paces the floor. It’s surprising how all those steps add up!
Standing desks can be hundreds to even thousands of dollars depending on how fancy of a desk you want. My husband and I are cheapskates so my awesome hubby made me a desk. Here it is!

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First, he just took some measurements to see what height I would want the monitor and keyboard. Second, we located this piece of wood and cut it into a large piece for the base and a small piece for the monitor.

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And then my husband went to The Home Depot and purchased these metal pipes (I think from the plumbing department) to make legs.

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And voila! All in all this was about $50 worth of materials.
I work in a large building and I’m always walking around so even when I sat it was never for hours at a time. I have noticed after standing all day my legs get really tired! It’s a great feeling because then I get excited to sit in my chair while I work on something that doesn’t require a computer.
Side note: remember when computers and email came out and everyone said how much less we would have to work because technology would lighten our workload…? That’s funny.
What I notice most of all though is just how good I feel. Mentally I feel more alert and I’m quick to spring into action when someone needs something from me or has a question.

And last, here are some Rocco pics! The weather has been SO nice in Salt Lake and Rocco has been taking full advantage of the sunbathing opportunities!

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He is so cute with his little baby squirrel there in the picture. He has to have at least toy with him at all times. He is pretty much the most handsome dog I’ve ever seen.
Have an excellent weekend!
Laura

4 Eyes

I got new glasses! I know this shouldn’t be a big deal but for me it is. Every year I vow to get new glasses but at the end of the year I don’t have any money left in my flexible spending account and so another year goes by and I don’t get new glasses. I think it’s been at least 5 years since I got my last pair and I didn’t realize how outdated my prescription was until I got new ones and I could see so well!
Here’s the best part…THEY WERE ONLY $95!! $95!!!!!! For the frames and lenses. Good lenses. Anti-scratch, anti-glare, uv protection. The works.

First I made the mistake of getting some glasses from the mall. They were “on sale” but still cost me $300. The problem was, the lenses were bad. Just bad. The material or something really bothered my eyes so I returned them (so glad you can return anything these days). Then my friend Karnell told me about this place, http://www.warbyparker.com, where glasses are just $95! You can order frames to try on for free but I just went all in and ordered some glasses online without even trying them on. I was a little scared of this but they have free returns, so hey, why not?! These glasses are phenomenal. I ordered them on a Sunday afternoon and they showed up at my house the following Saturday.
Anyway, I just had to share that website for any glasses wearers out there.
Here’s me in my new hipster-nerd glasses. 🙂

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I love them so much.

Rocco is doing great! He graduated from puppy school last weekend! He also won the tail wagging competition on the last day of class which was pretty cute considering his tail is about an inch and a half long.

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He’s losing teeth now and cutting his adult teeth. It looks so painful, I feel bad for him!
He really isn’t allowed in the people bed, but yesterday morning I was making the bed and he jumped in, got under the covers and quickly pretended to be asleep. It was too cute. I couldn’t kick him out. And that’s how my dogs get spoiled…

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And this is just cute.

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Have a great rest of the week! I just heard there are still 6 weeks of summer left so enjoy them!
Laura

Better Body Butter + Fun News!

I have a new and improved body butter recipe to share today but first, big news! Can you guess?

We are getting a puppy!

We have picked out a new puppy, it’s a Miniature Pinscher (Min Pin) and he’s only 6 weeks old right now so we won’t be getting him until the first week of June some time. We got to meet all the puppies and the mom last week and they were so tiny! They were the smallest puppies I’ve ever seen. Here I am holding one. You can see the fear in my eyes holding something so small…

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But seriously how cute is that? He has eyebrows!

Here he is biting my husbands thumb. I would say these two started bonding very quickly!

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As everyone in the world knows, I loooooooooove pugs and I thought for sure I would never be able to love any pet other than a pug. The only thing is, every time I looked at a pug (and I looked at LOTS), I expected to see Lilly. And of course I never saw Lilly because she was a one of a kind. I just didn’t get any recognition and it didn’t feel right. Also, pugs have a lot of health issues! When I was researching dog breeds the synopsis of a pug has about a paragraph worth of health issues and Lilly had about 75% of those issues. The synopsis of a Min Pin for health issues is one line: Generally Healthy. Another bonus is they don’t shed much and this dog will actually be able to run and hike with us which we are really looking forward to.

This dog will grow to be 12-15 pounds which is small enough to be portable but not too small. Even though he (yes we are getting a boy dog) will be small, he will be macho! I’ve already started acquiring gear for him: camo bags, stuffed mallard. You know, manly things. No bows or light blue wussy stuff for this dog!

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Now we just have to wait a few more weeks. And figure out a name!

Ok on to body butter if you are still with me.

This recipe is just slightly different from the original body butter I posted a while back. I didn’t use coconut oil in this batch and I like it way more. It isn’t as greasy and it seems to soak in better. My skin is softer for days after using it so I can tell it really sinks in deep. Another bonus is, it’s more heat stable. Coconut oil is a loose cannon. Rock solid in the winter and liquid in the summer. This formula will remain the same consistency year round. It’s a little heavier feeling but absorbs pretty quickly.

The method for making it is the same as this recipe. Just melt all the ingredients together in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Refrigerate for about an hour, or until no longer runny and then mix with an electric mixer until fluffy.

And then this other miracle happened. I did something crafty and actually made a printable recipe! I feel so fancy. Except there is a typo on it and it should say to refrigerate for an hour or more but I did not save this work of art because I’m not that smart.

body butter recipe card

Enjoy the rest of the week & weekend!
Laura

Foam Rolling the Calves and Lower Legs

Hey I finally made another video! This is a little foam rolling tutorial just for the calves. I am working on one for the rest of the lower body.
I am committed to foam rolling. I’ve done it off and on for years, mainly only when I’m injured. Ok, only when I’m injured. And now I’ve been battling this silly ankle injury for over a year and it’s most likely caused by tight…everything. So I’ve been foam rolling every day and guess what? Even though I’m running MORE, my ankle is hurting LESS.

Amazing how everything is connected isn’t it?

Disclaimer: Foam Rolling can be extremely painful, especially if you are an athlete! Take it easy and just do a little each day until it becomes more bearable.

The roll I use is made by Trigger Point.

Enjoy!

Get silky soft skin and get rid of cellulite

Say what now?

A few months ago I started “dry brushing” my skin (the body, not the face) and I wasn’t really expecting to notice any changes, but WOW my skin is soft!

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I read that dry brushing the skin exfoliates it (obviously) but it is also good for lymphatic drainage and circulation. That’s how it can get rid of cellulite. So the benefits of brushing not only effect the skin but the entire body. Or so people say. I tried it because I read that it can help with acne, and I will try ANYTHING to get rid of acne. Sadly, it did nothing for me in that department, but I’m silky smooth everywhere else!

The proper method is to start at the feet and work your way up, taking long, smooth strokes toward the heart. And it doesn’t take long. Just a minute before the shower is all, 2-3 times a week.

There are special dry brushing brushes which can be found on Amazon or at whole foods. That’s where I got mine. I found it painful at first because the bristles are really stiff so I brush very lightly and over time I think my bristles are softening.

Anywho, just wanted to share that little tid bit.

Also, it’s December now which means the new year is just around the corner! I know everyone I work with has weight loss goals and plans for races in the coming year. Time to start making those plans NOW!

I personally am feeling a cleanse coming on in January! Who is with me!? Should we all do it together? That would be fun!

I am also planning on running the Salt Lake 1/2 marathon in April as long as I can heal from this nagging ankle injury I’ve had for almost a year. We can do a group 1/2 marathon training too!

I’ll post everything I eat and my training plans! I hope you are as excited as I am!

I will leave you with this. In case you can’t tell what you are looking at, it’s Lilly’s face. Hard to tell if her eyes are open or closed. She is in her usual state of half slumber.

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How to clean a ceramic cooktop

Hey, here is some useful information! This is probably the best advice I have ever shared on here! Someone should pin this to pinterest. For real.

I tried cleaning my ceramic cooktop with a method I saw on pinterest. It didn’t really do anything.

This method WORKS! And all the credit goes to my awesome grandma!

When I moved in to my townhouse the cooktop was toast. It looked baaaaad. I was actually going to replace it because it had so much caked on who knows what.

Then my sweet grandma heard of my sad cooktop and sent me some razorblades!

Here is how it works.

First, start with a dirty, COOLED cooktop, like so:

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Don’t even worry about trying to wipe it down first, it doesn’t matter. Take a razor blade (make sure it’s not pointing toward you-safety first please!), angle it slightly toward the cooktop and start scraping. Kind of like a squeegee action.

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A nice little dust trail will be left behind:

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Last, wipe it down with a damp paper towel.

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Clean cooktop!

Of course, any time you are working with sharp objects such as razor blades, be careful. This works great on my cooktop but I’m sure different manufacturers have different cooktops so I can’t guarantee it will work on every kind. Use this method at your own risk. It’s just what I do. 🙂

A few of my favorite things

This is a bit of a random post…it’s not very food or fitness related.

But here it is anyway.

I really love beet chips.

But last week my friend Tiana brought in some PARSNIP CHIPS, which totally blew my mind! We decided to call them ‘snip chips’, pretty clever, huh?

She made them the same way I make beet chips but used garlic powder, salt, pepper and chili powder. They were amazing. She gave me a bag full around 9:15am and I had them gone by 9:26!

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I know that’s a really good picture.

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Alright, now here are a few of my favorite things.

Nobody ever asks me for fashion advice. Hard to believe, what with my extensive sneaker collection and all. But the one item people do ask me about are my sparkly headbands!

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These headbands actually, really do stay in place. I always wear them running and they never slip off.
They are from http://www.sweatybands.com.

The next thing I love, love, love is my tinted sunscreen/moisturizer. My dermatologist tells me everyone should wear spf30 on their face every day. No excuses. I love this moisturizer because it does everything and yet it’s not makeup.

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I combine 2 kinds and wear a mixture of Estée Lauder BB and Dermalogica ultra sensitive tint.

Now, I am probably the last person who should be giving out beauty advice since I have the worst skin. That’s a whole nother post. And because I break out all the time the only makeup I use is this concealer. And boy do I ever use it. Very rarely will I put powder on my face, but when I do, I use this stuff.

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Neutrogena skin clearing makeup. It saves me!

And last, when I tell people what I eat, one of the frequent questions I get is “do you ever eat bread”? The answer is yes, sometimes. Usually before a run or a bike ride. I don’t eat it every day but when I do have bread it’s this Ezekiel bread. It has wheat and gluten in it but it’s made out of sprouted grains (that means the grains are soaked until they actually sprout so it’s kind of like eating a grain that has turned into a vegetable. Sprouted grains are extra nutritious.) and it never makes me feel sick or puffy.

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I like the sprouted 7 grain and the 4:9 varieties although last week I got crazy and purchased the cinnamon raisin kind and it is delicious!

And of course, my VERY favorite thing is my pug dog!!!

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Have a wonderful weekend! Next week I promise to have a new workout and a new scaaaary food!