Gone Girl

Drop everything you are doing and read this book RIGHT NOW!

It’s about a woman who goes missing on her 5th wedding anniversary. Her husband is left clueless (well, not literally) and everyone suspects he murdered her. This book is the craziest mystery novel I’ve ever read and needless to say I couldn’t put it down. The character development (of two questionably insane people) is very well-written and well-thought out. The suspense is killer. And the thousands of questions you’ll have while reading will be well worth waiting for the answers as they come.

I’m picky about my books and I read this within a week. Fantastic novel.

Best Face Forward

Ever since I started wearing makeup, I’ve learned so many tips and tricks that I wish I would have known sooner. So I’m spreading the love. This post will probably reappear with different tips later on, but I’ll start with the most important part: keeping your skin healthy.

If you wear concealer, foundation and power (like I do), that’s a lot to be putting on your lovely, flawless face. And that’s before you even get to blush and bronzer.

So the solution: prepping your face properly. It’s simple, and only requires three products. But they are essential!

1) Moisturizer with SPF

If you are using nothing else, you should at least be using moisturizer (with SPF!) on your face every day. It keeps your skin hydrated and protected from the sun, which is important even if you’re hardly outside during the day. Your face is the LAST place you want skin damage or wrinkles from the sun, so protect it! Use every morning – no need to wear SPF at night, so either use an oil-free moisturizer without SPF or no moisturizer at all! (Remember, if you’re using the oil-cleansing method, you don’t need to moisturize at night).

2) Eye Cream

I don’t care how old you are. Use eye cream! It will prevent circles and wrinkles down the line, and it gives your eye-areas the special moisture they need. You’re technically supposed to apply morning and night, but I only use it in the morning. Starting young = less wrinkles when you’re old. Yes please.

3) Primer

Primer does a LOT for your skin if you wear makeup every day. It will perform different duties based on the type you buy, but most offer to smooth (even out your skin tone),  brighten (give your skin the glow it deserves!), mattify (keep your foundation from making you shiny), and protect your skin from your makeup. I know it may seem unnecessary, but primer acts as the guard between your skin and all the makeup products you pile on. If you want to keep your skin clear and happy (and especially if it is sensitive or acne-prone) then primer is your friend.

Pictured above is the primer I use because it helps prevent acne on top of doing all the other wonderful things I mentioned. But you can certainly buy a cheap drugstore brand–as long as you’re using it!

A makeup artist once told me, “Please, don’t ever ever NOT use moisturizer, eye cream and primer every day.”  I know it may seem pricey to be using these products every morning, but they last a long time. You use so little with each application that the bottles/tubes last several months. So no excuses! Keep your face happy, healthy and beautiful. 🙂

Water!

There’s so much to love about water. It’s pretty much all I drink, it keeps me clean, cools me off and gives me an excuse to stay inside and watch movies all day. Let’s take a second to send a big thank you to water.

There are far too many benefits of water to count, let alone list here (although I wish I could). But I wanted to mention a few of my favorite benefits that I, like many other water lovers, get to live with every day!

Here is why you should love water as much as I do:

  • It keeps you balanced and healthy. As you have probably read in six thousand other places, drinking enough water each day keeps your body happy. Staying hydrated is very important, even when you aren’t working out or sweating, and most people are not as hydrated as they should be.
  • It helps you lose weight. If you drink the right amount of water every day (approx. 8 glasses or 64 oz. a day, although this varies by sex and body type), you will eat less food. In fact, most of the time you feel hungry, you are actually just thirsty. Drinking water throughout the day will keep you fuller, allowing you to eat less during meals and snacks. And if you do the math, eating less = consuming fewer calories (and replacing them with your new zero-calorie best friend) = losing weight!
  • It clears your skin. Let’s think about this one. What does water do best? It cleanses. And I’m not talking about when you wash your face with it. Water cleanses your body from the inside just as much as it does from the outside. Consuming more water can help flush the nasty toxins that build up under your skin and cause breakouts.
  • It prevents kidney problems down the line. Drinking more means peeing more and peeing more means you are less prone to infections, bladder and kidney diseases, kidney stones, etc. Got it? Now go pee.

Yes, adding more water to your diet may make you visit the bathroom a lot more often than you’re used to. Your co-workers might think you’re crazy (like mine probably do), but at least you are staying healthy! Leave them to their dehydrated lives and continue on with yours, knowing you will probably outlive them (maybe).

L’Oreal EverCreme Leave-In Spray

I use this spray as leave-in conditioner on the days I don’t wash my hair (I wash it every other day). I’ll dampen my hair after my shower and spray this all over it to give it some moisture and make it smell like I did wash it. I have naturally curly/wavy hair (see my picture), so this stuff works wonders on keeping frizz down and revamping my flattened curls from the night before. And it smells delicious!

I also use L’Oreal EverStrong shampoo/conditioner. Sometimes I used EverCurl, but it all works great and smells great. L’Oreal is the cheapest I’ll go for hair products because my hair is picky and can be hard to manage since its thick and gets frizzy. L’Oreal’s conditioners are thick (unlike some other brands), so it doesn’t take as much to moisturize my hair and detangle it in the shower.

Curly-haired friends: this is a must try. Any other products you swear by for your curls?

5K Training Program

If you’re like me, you used to hate running. Everything about it. The panting, the cramps, the sniffly nose when it’s cold.  But somehow, by some miracle, I’ve come to like running now that I’m older. And by some even BIGGER miracle, I’ve decided to start training for my first 5K. See? Even people who hate running can like running.

I’ve been following Hal Higdon‘s training program that I found through a simple Google search. There are different levels you can start at (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Walk) and I chose Novice, which is for people who have run before but not long distances. No matter which level you are, Higdon provides an 8-week program that has you walking/running about every other day, with rest days thrown in as well.

The Program

The Novice level begins with a 1.5 mile run during week one. You run 1.5 miles three days out of your first week. The next week you run 1.75 miles three days a week, the next week 2 miles, etc. Each week you increase your distance by .25 miles and you don’t worry about your speed. As long as you get your distance in, you should be set to run a 5K by week eight!

The Intermediate and Advanced levels allows experienced distance runners to increase their speed and score a better time in their race. Maybe one day I’ll be at one of these levels, but certainly not yet.

I’m currently in my second week of training and it’s been great so far. Not as hard as I imagined it would be, but also not easy. You really have to make sure you stay on top of your runs otherwise you’ll have to drag out your program for more than eight weeks. And that is perfectly fine if you aren’t pressed for time, but I’d rather stick to the program and make progress faster. 🙂

If you’re looking to get into better shape, or condition yourself as a runner, I recommend this program, or any of Higdon’s other training programs. He also offers 8K, 10K, 15K, half marathon and marathon training programs. If you’re willing to kick your own ass for 8 weeks or so, I think you’ll be proud of your results.