Getting Healthy, Part 1


busy mom

See this picture? That was me just a few months ago, trying to do it all. (As usual!) 2015 was a crazy year for me and I am going to be glad to put it behind me. I had wanted to take charge of my health, but life got in the way. I had a job that kept getting more and more stressful by the day, aching joints, insomnia, anxiety, and if there was a cold or flu, I almost always caught it. In regards to the anxiety, I had a particularly bad attack that put me in the Emergency Room one night. That was my rock bottom.

Two days later, I found myself meditating alone in my living room to weird New Age music and crying.  I tried praying and asked a question. “What do you want me to do?” Moments later, a little voice inside of me whispered, “Get rid of whatever doesn’t make you happy.” So, I started to really think about how I could truly BE happy & change my life for the better. How could I, for once, be IN control of my life?  That day, I went into work and turned in my two-week notice.  Then, I bought a new journal & made a list of things I needed to change/incorporate into my life.

  1. Just say NO!!! And,boy, did I. It may have ruffled a few feathers, but that’s okay. I can’t be everywhere at once or do everything. The extra “Me Time” has been great for reducing stress.
  2. Quit what isn’t working for you. In this case, it was my job. Trying to be Supermom and Superlibrarian wasn’t cutting it. So, I chose to be just Mom. And I’m happy with my choice.
  3. I chose to homeschool my 10-year old son. The tears, the stress over homework, Common Core, etc. was too much for my child. He’s a sweet, sensitive boy and was getting left behind. I know I did the right thing. He is thriving at our little homeschool. I get to see how happy he gets when he finally grasps a new math concept, or learns about science. We take nature walks, read books together, and go on field trips. Learning + Love = Bliss & Success.
  4. I decided enough was enough with my weight issues. I’m 40 now, and I know I won’t be the next Miranda Kerr, but I can lose weight and be a healthier version of myself. It’s now or never.
  5. I hired a holistic nutritionist. I tried vegetarian, then went to low-carb, now I’m finding myself walking a vegan path. Do whatever works for you. I was never a huge meat eater to begin with, so giving it up wasn’t hard for me. Dairy, wheat, & sugar were my biggest crutches. It was time to give them up. I can already see my skin clearing up, I’m down a few pounds, and I have more energy. More about this in Part 2.
  6. I’ve started moving…gently. I have never been a gym rat and I most likely never will. I love walking though! I use a FitBit (on occasion) and I like tracking my steps. I like to walk outside when I can, but when it’s cold or rainy, I use my treadmill. Just two miles/day makes me feel great. Some days I’ll do three miles,but I don’t want to push it. Slow & steady wins the race.
  7. Strength training. I’ve decided to do this twice a week. Plus, I need to work on my posture. Leaning over a computer for years at work did not do my body good. It’s something I’m working on.

I’ll write more tomorrow in Part 2 later this week. How are you making positive changes, or how do you plan to do so? Please comment/share below! 🙂


Stressful Day

Yesterday was a very stressful day for me.  It was one of those days where everything & anything that could go wrong went wrong.  I’m dealing with stress from work, my kids started school this week (Moms, you know how that is!) and I’m also editing my two YA novels in order to get them back in a timely fashion to my editor.  I have a lot on my plate right now.  I admit that I fell off the wagon.

I had pizza (2 pcs., pepperoni–and it wasn’t even that good) & I had cookies with my afternoon tea.  I only ate one MF meal & that was breakfast.  I was mad at myself yesterday, but today I’m okay.  I’m okay because I’m HUMAN and I know these things happen.  I’m okay because this morning I feel stronger, got some sleep (thank you, Tylenol PM) and will make better decisions today.

I’m not going to post my food journal for yesterday because I know I screwed up.  But that’s okay.  Today’s a new day.  🙂

8/24/14 Food Journal

I did well this weekend!  I’m still sticking to it!


8/24/14 Food Journal:

Breakfast:  MF chocolate shake made with unsweetened coconut milk  (I liked the added coconut flavor–yum!)

Snack:  MF chocolate brownie bake + 2 T. sugar-free cool whip

Lunch:  MF chicken rice soup + 1 cup salad greens + 2 T. Italian dressing  (The soup was okay, but the rice was a bit crunchy.  Any MF’ers out there who have any tips re: doctoring up the soup???)

Snack:  MF strawberry shake + unsweetened almond milk

Dinner:  1 bison burger patty wrapped in 2 lettuce leaves, chopped onion, 2 slices of tomato + 1 cup of green beans + side salad with 2 T. Italian dressing

Snack:  MF chocolate shake + unsweetened coconut milk


I stuck to plan all weekend & it was HARD because my husband bought cookies at the store.  They were hard to resist, but I did it & am glad that I did.  🙂

This week has its own challenges.  My kids go back to school (thus begins practices, games, field trips, PTA meetings, etc.)  & my new boss (whom I’ve not met) begins tomorrow.  I can already feel the stress building up.   I do have a journal, so I’m hoping that will help get me through it all.

A Better Day

Today was much better than yesterday.  I am still a bit sleepy, but no headaches.  Yay!

Here’s what I consumed today:

Breakfast:  MF Berry Cereal Crunch + 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk  (This is my favorite!  I really love it.)

Snack:  MF Cookie Dough Bar

Lunch:  2 oz. lean beef + 1 cup salad + tomatoes, a bit of avocado & onion (a taco salad)  —> Today was a super-busy day filled with work, appointments and my kids’ sports activities, so I had to eat my Lean & Green at lunch to give myself something solid to last me for the rest of the afternoon.  What I did was split in in half and had 1/2 for lunch and 1/2 for dinner.  🙂

Snack:  MF Ziti  + 1 cup of chopped raw broccoli with 2 Tbsp sugar-free ranch dressing  (The ziti didn’t vibe with me.  I followed the package instructions, but the noodles were crunchy and I didn’t have seasonings with me at work to make it taste better.  Not ordering this one again!)

Dinner:  Other half of lunch (2 oz. of lean beef, 1 cup salad, tomatoes, a bit of avocado & onion

Snack:  MF Chocolate shake



Oscar’s Food Journal 8/18/14



Soooooo tired today.  And headachey.  And feeling crappy.  I want my mommy.  😦  Detox sucks and if anybody has told you otherwise, their pants are on fire.  Still, I’m going to push through because I want to be healthy and thin more than I want to fill my body with crap I don’t need.

Please excuse my irritability.  I feel like Oscar the Grouch today.

Today’s Food Journal:

Breakfast:  MF berry crunch cereal + 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

Snack:  MF Peanut Butter Crunch bar + 16 oz. of water with lemon

Lunch:  1 cup salad greens + 2 Tbsp. Italian dressing + MF ziti meal

Snack:  MF Brownie Bake with a dollop of sugar-free whipped cream & sprinkle of cinnamon (Yum!  Chocolate calmed down Oscar the Grouch for a few hours!  Get back in that trash can and stop scowling at people!!!)

Dinner:  1 cup salad greens, 1/2 cucumber, 2 slices of tomato + 2 Tbsp of pico de gallo + Italian dressing + 4 oz. of baked chicken

Snack:  MF chocolate shake + 8 oz. unsweetened vanilla almond milk



8/17/14 Food Journal

Today I feel TIRED. I know it’s because I’m consuming less calories, but I am tired and crabby. My poor husband. I watched the TSFL video for day #2 and the person on the video said that my energy level would be better in a few days. I really hope he is right!!! That being said, I’m glad I started on a weekend so that I could get some rest.

I am prepared for work tomorrow and am packing my snacks ahead of time so that I won’t be tempted to eat whatever sugar-filled yumminess the girls bring into the office!

Food Journal for 8/17/14:

Breakfast: MF Cereal Crunch + 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
Snack: MF Peanut Butter Crunch Bar
Lunch: MF mashed potatoes + 1 cup salad greens + 2 Tbsp Opa Greek Ranch dressing
Snack: MF Cookie Dough Bar
Dinner: 4 oz. baked chicken with garlic & herbs + 1 cup collard greens
Snack: MF Vanilla shake made with 8 oz. unsweetened almond milk & a bit of cinnamon

That’s it for today!

Take Shape For Life

Today I started the Take Shape For Life/Medifast program.  My awesome TSFL health coach is Brianna Rangel.  I received my food and so far I really like it.   It’s an easy program to follow.  Basically, you eat 5 Medifast/TSFL meals/snacks and have a “Lean & Green” meal that includes around 4-6 oz. of lean meat + a side of green (non-starchy) vegetables.  That’s it!

I don’t have a lot of time to cook, so this plan works great for my lifestyle.


Today’s Food Journal:

Breakfast:  Mixed Berry Cereal Crunch + 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Snack:  Cookie Dough Chewy Bar

Lunch:  MF turkey meatballs + mixed salad (1 cup) + 2 Tbsp. of Opa Greek Ranch dressing

Snack:  Honey Mustard Pretzels

Dinner- Lean & Green:  4 oz lean round steak with diced tomatoes + 1 cup of green beans

Snack:  MF Dutch Chocolate shake made with unsweetened almond milk


The only things I didn’t care for/won’t order again were the turkey meatballs and the honey mustard pretzels.  The cereal, cookie dough bar and chocolate shake were all awesome though.  I don’t have any tiredness so far and I don’t feel like I’m starving.  I’ll keep recording my diet & exercise through here so that I can look back and see where I started.  I am also going to take monthly photos to document my journey.


Q&A with Esthetician Jessie Pack of Studio Z

Here is a great Q&A I did with my Esthetician, Jessie Pack from Studio Z.  I hope that this helps someone who is either hesitant to get a facial, or someone who has been on the fence about getting one.  Jessie is wonderful and keeps my skin glowing!


~Mrs. E


1.) Q: What made you decide to become an Esthetician?

A: When I was about 12, my mom took me to get a facial with her at a day spa in our area.  I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to go have more facials, not because I really had any skin problems, but I just enjoyed the relaxing spa atmosphere. Since then, I have gone with her to get facials every now and then over the years. When I started college after I graduated high school, I was still undecided on what I was going to do as far as my career.  I knew that I did not want to go anywhere faraway for school, so I skimmed through a college course catalog for Blue Ridge Community College in Hendersonville, NC and found the course for Esthetics.  It was then that I remembered the relaxing atmosphere of the day spa and how much I enjoyed the facials.  I was even more interested in skin care at that point, having experienced problematic skin that I did not have when I first had a facial at 12.  The more I thought about it, the more Esthetics seemed meant to be for me.  I am very much an introvert, and more of a one on one person.  I have always loved spa music since I was younger, my room in my home was even painted in soothing spa colors, and the quiet atmosphere of a spa just fits in perfect with my personality.  I loved the Esthetics course and learned many in depth skin care concepts from a great instructor that most students do not get the opportunity to learn.  She truly taught us things that you cannot learn from a book.  After completing the course, I realized that more than ever I was sure that I wanted to be an Esthetician so that I could work in such a relaxing environment and promote healthy skin care that is not only a daily regimen, but a healthy lifestyle.  


2.) Q: What typically happens in one of your facials? (From start to finish…)

A:  In a typical facial (which is my deluxe one hour facial), I start with a facial cleanse with warm water and soft cotton followed by a gentle exfoliation with steam to open the pores and prepare for extractions if needed. While the steam activates the exfoliant, I rub lotion on the client’s hands and arms and massage the lotion into the hands. I then remove the exfoliation with a soft hot towel, and examine the skin under the magnifying lamp.  I check for any indications of problematic skin (dry, dehydrated, oily, congested T-zone, redness, etc.) and do extractions if needed and follow up with a soothing toner applied with a cotton round.  Then comes the time for the relaxing facial massage.  I start with a pressure points massage around the face with an aromatherapy essential oil.  Then I massage the facial muscles with a facial oil that contains many beneficial antioxidants and work my way down the neck, decollete, shoulders, and finish with the scalp.  I then remove the facial oil with more cleanser, warm water, and soft cotton.  Then I apply a mask according to your skin type with a fan brush ( I have a clay mask that is great for oily/large pores/congested skin, an herbal cream mask for severely dry/aging, sagging skin, and the ginkgo mask for a boost of vitamins, plant extracts, and moisture balance that will relieve stress in your skin.)  While the mask is soaking in, I wrap the client’s feet in hot towels and place the client’s hands in plastic and then inside heated hand mitts to relax the client and to help the moisture from the lotion soak in. I then remove the hot towels from the client’s feet and do a light foot massage with a moisturizing oil.  Afterwards, I remove the heated mitts from the client’s hands and remove the facial mask with a soft warm towel. I then finish with an eye cream and a moisturizer.  

3.) Q:  What product line do you use/recommend?

A: I have been using CA-Botana for myself ever since I began to use it in my facials this year. I recommend it to everyone!  It is a highly professional brand, not available over the counter in stores, and contains high quality ingredients that you just don’t get in other brands like clinique, lancome, olay, and loreal to name a few.  CA-Botana is made from all natural ingredients, it is 100% organic, and the ingredients are all botanical and plant based.  It is made in California and has been a trusted skin care brand since even before Dermalogica came around.  

4.) Q: The product lines you use are CA-Botana and Farmaesthetics.  What made you choose those product lines?

A:  I found Farmaesthetics online through a spa website that I sometimes order products from.  After trying the products out for myself I began to use them in my facials.  The first thing that I loved about these products was the beautiful packaging and the fact that they all smell amazing, but I really liked these products because they are made with all natural ingredients.  That is what steered me towards the all natural product line.  I already saw a big difference in my skin after I began to use organic products. Then I found out that the sales rep. in this area for CA-Botana does not require minimum orders like most other professional brands (such as Dermalogica) that require package deals to allow licensed Estheticians to order professional sized products for their back-bar. I already knew a lot about CA-Botana from my instructor at Blue Ridge because that is the product line she used, living in California, and still today in her Esthetics Studio.  After I tried using CA-Botana for myself, I loved the gentle cleanser that didn’t strip my skin and the fresh ingredients.  Since I have been using CA-Botana, my skin has never looked better.  My skin tone is even where it used to be red just after using a cleanser, the moisturizer does not irritate my skin, and if I have breakouts it is very minor (maybe 2 pimples) and only hormonal-related once a month.  Before I used CA-Botana, I struggled with dry and sensitive skin but also had breakouts, so of course when I used products to treat breakouts, (cleansers, spot treatments, moisturizers) it just irritated my skin even more.  I truly believe that my skin had been reacting to synthetic ingredients in products I had bought from drug stores.   I had been using a Neutrogena gentle cleanser and still experienced breakouts in clusters all across my forehead, and sometimes around my jaw line around my ears.  Using all natural ingredients right away I saw that just using the cleanser, my skin appeared more even toned it became clear of breakouts, and there was no redness like I saw with every other cleanser I tried. 

5.) Q: How often should we get facials?  

A:  I think once a month is perfect to get a facial.  However, twice a month is great too.  It really just depends on your preference and your budget.  Facials do not strip the skin of its moisture, so getting a facial as often as you like is wonderful too. Facials do for your face what getting your car detailed does for your car.  You get a deep cleanse and exfoliation with steam to open your pores that you just cannot do for yourself at home.  You also get extractions with an extractor tool (as opposed to the pinching and picking we often do to our pimples at home) while the esthetician is looking through a magnifying lamp allowing them to see things you would never see looking at your skin in your own mirror at home.  Not to mention, the Esthetician is also using wonderful products with vitamins and quality ingredients that are doing wonders for your skin.  The facial massage stimulates facial muscles, increases circulation, and improves muscle tone.  Imagine the results you will see in your skin when you have the benefits of a facial once a month!


6.) Q:  The truth about large pores….Can you shrink them or not?

A:  Honestly, you cannot permanently shrink pores.  There are masks that you can use that will temporarily shrink and improve the look of pores, but 24 hours or so later, they will be back to normal and that is just genetics.  I can say that clay masks work wonders for anyone with oily skin and/or large pores.  I have seen amazing results with the Farmaesthetics Rosehip & Clay Mint Mask when I used it on a client with oily skin and large pores around her nose and cheeks.  When I removed the mask her skin looked like smooth porcelain.  Using this mask every day or even every other day could probably lead to visible improvement in large pores, as long as you did not see any irritation in your skin from using the mask this often.  There are also may skin primers on the market today that work well to approve the appearance of pores before you apply your makeup, such as Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. 

7.) Q: What sort of diet/nutrition is beneficial for glowing skin?

A:  Always drink plenty of water throughout the day.  Drinking water is essential to keeping the skin and body healthy.  It sustains cell health, aids in elimination of toxins and waste, helps regulate body temperature, and aids in proper digestion.  When all of these functions perform properly, they help the skin stay healthy, vital, and attractive.  Drinking 9 to 12 cups of water a day is an average recommendation.  If it is difficult to drink water, try adding some flavor with lemon or lime.  There are fruit diffuser water pitchers you can find at Belk’s and Bed Bath and Beyond that allow you to cut up any pieces of fruit you would like and place them in a tube with holes in the middle of the water pitcher and it flavors your water with a light fruit flavor that does not overly sweeten it. Keep your diet as diverse as possible eating foods from every food group so as not to overdose on one vitamin and not get enough vitamins from another food group you might not be eating.  The USDA food pyramid is a recommended guideline for foods in food groups that individuals should consume daily.  The pyramid is now personalized for individual needs and can be found at .  Grains, vegetables, dairy, fruits, and meat and beans are the basic food categories in the pyramid.  A fruit smoothie that contains Kale for breakfast is a great way to start your day with a healthy, antioxidant boost that is filled with skin loving ingredients.  Kale contains Vitamin K, which is great for skin.  Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, and sardines are also beneficial for skin. 

8.) Q:  What sort of treatments do you recommend for those of us turning 40+? What other treatments do you offer?

A:  The number one skin care routine to guard against aging is being careful with your sun exposure!  (The 2nd is not smoking.)  Approximately 80% of premature aging is cause by the sun.  Getting a little sunlight and fresh air are good for your health, but limit your time in direct sunlight and always wear sunscreen.   Never let your face sit in direct sunlight and limit your time when other parts of your body are susceptible to burning.  If you will be spending a significant amount of time in the sun, wear a hat to protect your scalp and shield your face.  Proper home care, skin treatments, and ingredients such as antioxidants, peptides, lipids, and AHA’s are all beneficial.  A good diet, vitamins, water intake, exercise, and other healthy practices all have a positive effect on our health and our complexion.  Some authorities even believe positive thinking can decrease premature aging!  I offer peels with natural ingredients from CA-Botana.  There is a medium pumpkin enzyme peel and a stronger Aloe Vera Peel.  AHA natural fruit acids micro-exfoliate the skin and rebalance moisture loss.  Peels improve the texture of the skin, increase hydration, improve barrier function, moisture retention, and elastin & collagen production.  Peels also reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and surface pigmentation.  Peels can be used to treat acne, hyperpigmentation, clogged pores, and dry skin. 

I also offer the High Frequency Anti-Aging Treatment in which the High Frequency is used along with an anti-aging all natural serum by CA-Botana (which has been referred to as “liquid gold.”)  In case you don’t know what High Frequency is:  It is a machine apparatus that utilizes alternating current through a device called an electrode.  During manufacturing, most of the air has been removed from the electrodes, creating a vacuum in the tube.  The air is replaced with either neon gas, or argon gas.  As electricity passes through these gases, they emit visible shades of light and produce a mild heat effect on the skin.  The machine also produces Ozone, which has a germicidal/antibacterial effect on the skin.  The benefits of High Frequency include:  Antiseptic effect on skin, stimulates circulation, oxygenates skin, increases cell metabolism, helps to heal any open lesions after extractions, and generates a warm feeling, creating a relaxing effect and leaving skin with a glow.

9.)  Q: Can you please explain how Hot Stone Reflexology is beneficial?

A:  Hot Stone Reflexology is a pressure points massage on the feet which targets specific points of the body by manipulating points on the feet with hot stones.  The pressure points massage is not only relaxing, but the hot stones retain heat and have a healing effect on sore muscles in the feet and can also improve circulation. 

10.) Q: What does High Frequency do to help the skin? Is this a good treatment for aging skin? 

A:  If you read question 8, you read about High Frequency and its benefits for aging skin.  To add to that description, the machine has a Neon electrode used to treat aging skin, and the Argon electrode is used to treat acneic skin prone to breakouts.  High Frequency is good for all skin types, but especially targets anyone who suffers from acne/breakouts, or wants to treat aging skin and boost the benefits with the anti-aging serum in the high frequency anti-aging treatment.

11.) Q:  What regimen do you suggest for someone with combination skin?

A:  Combination skin will need the oilier areas treated with water-based products.  Facial goals will be focused on deep cleansing. Use products for oily skin, not heavy creams or oils. This skin can usually tolerate more stimulation and stronger products.  However, be careful not to overdry the skin.  Aggressive products and treatments may make it worse. 

12.) Q:  Sensitive skin?

A:  For sensitive skin the primary goal is to calm and cool the skin.  Increasing the skin’s barrier function is another important part of treating sensitive skin.  Calming ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile, allantoin, azulene, and licorice extracts are all effective on sensitive or irritated skin. People with sensitive skin should avoid stimulating, drying products and heat.  Avoid vasodilators that dilate capillaries: heat, the sun, spicy foods, and stimulating products.  Preservatives can be especially irritating for sensitive skin.   Another reason CA-Botana is a great product not only for everyone, but for sensitive skin due to its natural and soothing ingredients.  CA-Botana also offers an entire sensitive skin line other than the basic essentials line. 

13.) Q: Dry/Mature skin? 

A:  Skin is often dry due to inactivity of the sebaceous glands, which produce the sebum (oil) that lubricates the skin.  Facial treatments and home maintenance can help minimize dryness and stimulate the production of sebum.  For dry or mature skin, the treatment goals are similar: to hydrate and nourish the skin.  Receiving facial treatments with performance ingredients stimulate the cell metabolism.  Using a gentle enzyme peel, or a gentle alpha hydroxy acid peel are great to exfoliate dry skin and stimulate the production of oil.  Using a collagen or hydrating mask, hydrating serum, and a moisturizer cream with an oil base and antioxidants are beneficial for dry/mature skin. 

14.) Q: What age should teenage girls begin using a skin care regimen? What do you recommend teenage girls use for acne?

A:  Puberty is the time for girls to begin using a skin care regimen.  I think natural products like CA-Botana can prevent acne from happening as opposed to products from the drug store containing drying ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid which are never good to use on the entire face.  Tea Tree oil is a great spot treatment for acne because of its germicidal, healing antifungal, and antiseptic properties.  Burt’s Bees Acne Spot Treatment contains tea tree oil.  The High Frequency machine can be beneficial for teenage girls suffering from acne.  The Clay Mint mask from Farmaesthetics is very helpful to anyone with oily skin prone to breakouts.  The clay goes deep into pores to draw out toxins and dry excess oil without overdrying and irritating the skin. 

15.) Q: What are your thoughts regarding facial oils?  Are they beneficial to everyone or should some people only use a light moisturizer?

A:  Beneficial to everyone! Facial oils are great for dry/aging skin, but anyone can use them.  Oil containing antioxidants are beneficial for everyone when used at night before bed.  Night is the time when the skin repairs itself, so it is prime time for using any kind of high performance product such as an antioxidant/anti-aging serum/oil.  Everyone needs a moisturizer whether you have dry or oily skin.  (*Note to anyone with oily skin: do not skip moisturizers thinking it will dry out your skin.  It can actually lead your skin to produce more oil to overcompensate for the dryness which can also lead to breakouts.)  However, someone with oilier skin could use the facial oil every other night or even twice a week as opposed to every night. 


16.) Q:  What are your tips for those who suffer from hormonal acne?

A:  Hormonal acne can be tricky to deal with because it’s an internal caused problem.  Taking steps to take care of your body/physical health to keep hormones as balanced as possible can help such as: getting enough sleep, exercising (at least 30 minutes of cardio 4 to 5 times a week/anything that gets your heart rate up,) drinking plenty of water, proper nutrition, limiting alcohol and caffeine are all internal aspects that can affect your skin.  Even having a negative attitude can affect your skin in a negative way!  Exercise can really help you obtain glowing skin because it increases blood flow which provides oxygen to cells, and flushes out waste and toxins.  Exercise also decreases stress which is a large cause in problematic skin such as premature aging, breakouts, and flushed skin/redness from reacting to stressful situations.  As far as topical treatments for hormonal acne, as I have already stated I firmly believe using all natural ingredients make all the difference to eliminate your skin’s risk of negative reactions to harsh irritants found in other products.  Also, I mentioned Tea Tree oil as a corrective treatment for acne to be used as a spot treatment. 

17.) Q: Do you think a daily eye cream is necessary?

A: Of course! It’s never too early to start using a daily eye cream because the area around the eyes is made up of very delicate tissue that can easily be damaged.  Eye creams during the day under your makeup and even at night when you go to bed will hydrate your eyes, protect thin & delicate tissue, firm, reduce lines, and decrease puffiness. 

18.) Q: What is the minimum one should do daily to take care of their skin?

A:  If nothing else, always wash your face with a cleanser every night to remove your makeup and sleep with a moisturizer.  I also think that a moisturizer in the day time is a good primer for makeup, especially if you have dry skin. 

19.) Q: You offer hot stone therapy/reflexology in addition to facials.  What is the purpose of this and how is it beneficial to clients?

A:  Refer to question 9 for that answer.  However I will add that anyone suffering from sore/aching muscles in the feet and even arthritis can benefit from hot stone reflexology because the heat from the rocks is soothing to the muscles, and the pressure points massage can relieve tension held in those muscles.  It is also just relaxing, in general, for anyone and good for well-being because feet are a neglected part of the body and you are stimulating different areas that you might not have even known needed attention. 

20.) Q. What other things can we do at home to help our skin along?

A:  Always wash your makeup off before you go to bed and sleep with a moisturizer and eye cream.  Use a light weight moisturizer during the day, and always wash your makeup brushes once a month and throw away any makeup you have had for over 6 months.  Bacteria can build up in brushes and makeup and cause breakouts and irritation.  If you choose to use a facial oil, look for one containing antioxidants and use it at night before bed.  Drink plenty of water, exercise, get enough sleep, practice proper nutrition, wear sunscreen and limit sun exposure.  And of course, get a facial once a month! 


Thanks, Jessie!  If any of you live near the Hendersonville, NC or Columbus, NC areas, contact Studio Z to make an appointment with esthetician Jessie Pack.  I highly recommend her!  Studio Z is located at 191 E. Mill Street, Columbus, NC  28722.  Their number is 828.551.9238.  

To make a facial appointment with Jessie Pack directly, you can reach her at 828.817.6063. 

~Mrs. E

My Facial Experience with Anti-Aging High Frequency and Hot Stone Reflexology

Over the weekend, I decided to treat myself to a facial.  There is a great salon where I go to get my hair cut and they recently hired an esthetician named Jessie Pack.  I waffled back and forth on whether or not to get a facial.  I used to think that it was an unnecessary expense, but since I’ve formed the Invest in Yourself Plan, I decided to give it a go.  

Jessie offers a one hour or thirty minute facial.  I decided to go all out and get the one hour facial.  She also has various add-ons that you can add on to your facial.  I chose the “Hot Stone Reflexology” treatment and the “Anti-Aging High Frequency Treatment.”  I’ll break those down for you.

Hot Stone Reflexology:

The esthetician massages certain pressure points on your feet in order to target specific points of the body by using hot stones on the feet.  She also rubs a delicious moisturizer on your feet to soften them.  

Anti-Aging High Frequency:

Per Jessie Pack’s brochure:  “High Frequency is a machine apparatus that utilizes alternating current through a device called an electrode.  During manufacturing, most of the air has been removed from the electrodes, creating a vacuum in the tube.  The air is replaced with either neon gas, or argon gas.  As electricity passes through these gases, they emit visible shades of light and produce a mild heat effect on the skin.  The machine also produces Ozone, which has a germicidal effect on the skin.  The Neon Electrode is used to treat aging skin.  The Argon Electrode is used to treat acneic skin prone to breakouts.  The benefits of this treatment include:  antiseptic effect on the skin, stimulates circulation, oxygenates the skin, increases cell metabolism, helps to heal any open lesions after extraction, generates a warm feeling, creating a relaxing effect and leaving skin with a glow.

Here’s an article from TEI Spa Essentials regarding the benefits of High Frequency Facials.  

The Facial:

I am greeted by Jessie Pack.  She has perfectly smooth skin and a bright smile.  She has me fill out a questionnaire about my skin care regime, habits, along with any issues that I might be having with my skin.  Next, I am led to a room with a massage table and soft lighting.  Relaxing music and ocean sounds play in the background.  I am asked to change into a robe that covers me from the chest down.  After changing and getting onto the table beneath warmed blankets, I settle in.  Jessie asks me a few questions about my skin and if I have any concerns I’d like to address.  (For me, it’s the occasional bout of hormonal chin acne, red bumps on my cheeks and how to incorporate anti-aging techniques into my regime since I’m quickly approaching 40.)

She cleanses my face with a creamy, but light cleanser that smells of fresh herbs.  The cleanser is gently rubbed into the skin and taken off with soft cotton soaked in warm water.  I ask what the cleanser is and she tells me it is a cleanser she uses from CA Botana.  Next, with a fan brush, she applies an exfoliate mask to my face.  She tells me she is using the Sweet Milk and Lavender Exfoliate by Farmaesthetics.  


It was such a pleasant experience and felt so wonderful that I am going to purchase this exfoliate to have at home and use it once a week.  The exfoliate mask is removed like the cleanser, with warm, wet cotton cloths.  

Next, she puts a cloth over my eyelids to shield them from the light and turns on a lamp/magnifier to start extractions.  She was very gentle, so it really did not hurt at all.  After this, she rubbed an herbal-scented oil on my face, wiped it off and applied a gingko mask with a fan brush, along with a warm, wet facial towel.  While my mask was setting, she used moisturizer to rub my neck, shoulders, arms, hands and scalp.  It was total bliss.  

When she finished that, she gingerly slid my hands into a pair of warm mittens and gently placed them on my belly.  Now it was time for the Hot Stone Reflexology.  She rubbed moisturizer all over my feet and massaged them.  Then, she began rubbing them with the hot stones.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was so incredibly relaxing!  This went on for a while (I never wanted her to stop!) and then she rubbed moisturizer on my feet, finally sliding them back beneath the warm blankets.

After my treatment, she used soft, warm cotton cloths to remove the mask from my face.  After the mask was off, she replied facial serum, moisturizer and dotted eye cream beneath my eyes.  She followed this with the Anti-Aging High Frequency treatment.

Jessie pulled out a gauzy face mask, placed it on my face and turned on the machine.  It makes a low humming sound and you can smell the heat coming from the wand.  I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous at first.  She placed the wand on my face and it was really, really warm.  In certain places, it sort of felt like a rubber band snapping the skin, but it’s not painful.  You can really feel the machine working!  I asked Jessie how often I should come in and she said every two weeks, but once a month is good, too.  

When finished, she rubbed more moisturizer on my skin and told me we were finished.  I got dressed and looked in the mirror before leaving the room.  My skin was absolutely glowing!  I have not seen it look this good in years.  I will definitely make room in my budget to have this done once per month.  The relaxation I’d experienced from the hands of Jessie Pack stayed with me for the remainder of my day.  I felt so incredibly serene.  

If you live in Western North Carolina or in the Upstate of South Carolina, I highly recommend you make an appointment at Studio Z in Columbus, North Carolina with Jessie Pack.  

Studio Z Hair & Nail Spa is located at 191 E. Mill Street, Columbus, NC  28722.  Their number is 828.551.9238.  

To make a facial appointment with Jessie Pack directly, you can reach her at 828.817.6063.  

This week, I’m interviewing Jessie, so if you have any questions you’d like me to ask her about skin care, please leave them below in the comments section or on my Facebook page.

Have a great week!

~Mrs. E


Weekly Weigh-In/June Goals/Product Recommendations

Happy June!!!  Firstly, I’d like to start off with my weekly weigh-in: I’ve lost another pound!  So, I’m officially down 26 pounds since March!!!  I’m so happy with Weight Watchers.  I’ve been consistently tracking my WW Points and walking at least 2 miles/day.  I have written down a few goals that I’d like to accomplish this month.  

1. Eat at least 5 servings of fresh fruit/veggies every day.
2. Increase my daily 2-mile walks to 4 miles/day. (Split them up–2 miles in the A.M., 2 miles after dinner.)
3. Commit to performing two strength training sessions per week.

What are your goals for June?  Please share them in the comments section below or on my Facebook page!  

Now onto the FUN stuff–products that make me feel pretty.   One of my goals over the  past few months has been to incorporate more organic bath, body & skin care products into my regime.  I’d been using Caudalie products for quite sometime and a few Clarins products here and there.  I love Caudalie and their products are all-natural.



Caudalie Vinosource Moisture Sorbet

This stuff is fantastic.  I currently use this as my day cream.  The scent is very light and my skin just drinks it up.  


Caudalie Divine Oil

I love, love, love the smell of this oil.  It’s a dry oil, so it doesn’t feel greasy or pore-clogging.  It has a faint scent that is really pleasant.  I put it on after my nightly shower and find that it’s really relaxing.  I use it on my arms, neck & décolletage.   


Caudalie Make-up Remover Cleansing Water.

I put this on cotton squares to take off the rest of my makeup after using cleanser.  It removes all of my eye makeup & foundation.  The scent is very fresh & light.  I buy three bottles at a time because I don’t ever want to run out of it–I love it that much! 



Clarins Beauty Flash Balm.  

This is not organic/all natural, but I don’t think I could ever give it up.  I use it as a primer before I do my makeup.  I love the smell and it really gives my skin a lovely glow.  

Now onto the organic products I love:  


Mountain Rose Herbs Facial Wash

It has a faint scent of roses and has a watery base.  This doesn’t clog my pores and I really like how my skin feels afterwards.    Mountain Rose Herbs has so many wonderful products besides skin care.  They have herbs, teas, etc.  This is definitely a company worth checking out.  






Fawn Lily Botanica Lavender + Willow + Calendula Facial Toner

I love this toner!  I’m a lavender girl and I know that the herb/oil has so many wonderful benefits for your skin.  (Here is a great article regarding the “24 Best Benefits and Uses of Lavender for Skin, Hair & Health.)  I originally ordered this toner from Mountain Rose Herbs, but discovered that Fawn Lily Botanica has their very own website.  I’m really excited about this and plan to order directly from them to try out some of their other products.  



Tom’s of Maine Natural Beauty bar in “Relaxing.”

I just bought this the other day and I love it!  The scent is exactly what is says it is…relaxing!  I used this before bedtime last night and slept like a baby.  I am not sure if it was this soap or not (I did have a facial and reflexology treatment yesterday), but I loved it and will definitely buy it again.  




Acure Lemongrass + Moroccan Argan Oil Firming Body Lotion.

I bought this at my local health food store and I really like it!  I use it after shower, but also at night as a foot cream.  I slather it on my feet and put on a pair of thick socks & it makes them feel baby soft.  After finding their website, I see they also have a Lavender + Echinacea scent that I’ll have to order soon.  

Well, I think that about wraps it up!  I am going to do a post this week about getting a facial & I’m also going to interview my esthetician, Jessie Pack.   If you have any skin care questions you’d like me to ask her, please feel free to leave a question in the comments section below or on my Facebook page.  

Have a great Sunday!

~Mrs. E