Injectables – What you need to know

Have you thought about injectables to improve your appearance?

I’ve been hearing a lot about injectables for anti-aging, but I really didn’t know a lot about it, so I decided to research and see if these procedures were something I might want to explore.  As diligent as I am with my skincare, I think once you hit a certain age, depending on your genetics, there may be things that you aren’t 100% happy with that can be addressed with injectables.  And what do I mean by injectables?  Neurotoxins (like Botox) and fillers.

Neurotoxins like Botox, or Dysport, are injected directly into the muscle below the skin to relax that muscle.  As we age we start to see wrinkles where our muscles are being used the most.  For a lot of us, that is the wrinkles in our forehead which we get from repeatedly making certain facial expresssions.  By relaxing those muscles, the wrinkle smooths out.  This is only temporary, though.  This procedure typically lasts 3-4 months and varies by individual.  So, if this is something you want to do, be prepared to go back to maintain that look.  Prices vary depending on where you go (I would recommend an experienced dermatologist or plastic surgeon) but I was quoted $525 by my dermatologist.

Fillers work differently than Botox – they are injected right below the skin and “fill” areas that we want to plump up, like under the eyes, in your laugh lines, lips or your cheekbones.  As with Botox, this is not a permanent result, but fillers last up to 2 years which would require less frequent maintenance.

My experience with Injectables

I have not been happy with how my under-eye area has been looking lately as well as the overall loss of volume in my face.  When my son told me that I looked so “crinkly,”  I decided it was time to go for a consultation with my dermatologist to understand what procedures would be able to address my concerns.  After discussing this with her, I decided on the filler in my cheek area.  This filler is made by Juvederm, and is called Voluma.  It is FDA approved, hyaluronic acid (which your body already makes naturally).   As I mentioned, it lasts up to 2 years (again the exact time varies by person and how quickly it is metabolized in the body).  The cost for this by my dermatologist was $900 for one syringe.  My derm told me usually two syringes are done for the procedure but as she (and I) believe in a very subtle result we decided to do just one (half a syringe per cheek).  Also, what I liked about the filler is that you see immediate results, unlike Botox, which takes a few days before actual results are seen.

My face was iced to numb it and then the dermatologist made her injections in the side of my face (below the temple where the cheekbone starts) and in the center of my under-eye area (along the cheekbone).  This was done on each side, with her stopping to show me her progress in the mirror.  It did not hurt at all; I simply felt pressure when she injected me.

I loved it in the office;  I actually met a friend for lunch right after the appointment and she did not notice anything!  However, later in the day I noticed that my cheeks were red and swollen at the edges of my face; the left side more than the right.  To be fair, my dermatologist did warn me that the left side would be a bit bruised and lumpy looking, but that it would smooth out.  To me, it looked like a golf ball sticking out.  At that point I  started to panic and wonder did I do the right thing?  Everything I’ve read says that it takes some time to spread out in the face and soften.  I started to see a bruise on the left side but was really not that sore. Luckily, my hair did camouflage most of the bruising.  I do really feel that my under-eye area looks more rested and fresher.  Also I like that the result is subtle – it’s good if no one notices anything.  I know that it’s there, and that’s what really matters!

before and after of injectable Voluma
The left picture shows the swelling on the left side of my face post procedure. The right photo shows the left side of my face as it looks today. The filler does soften over time.

If you are nervous about my description about the swelling, you can take a look at my before and after picture. One week post-procedure the swelling was down, and the look was starting to soften but I still had a faint bruise.  One month later, the bruising is completely gone, everything has settled and smoothed out and looks very natural-looking and more like me.  When I touch the areas where I was injected, I can’t feel anything under the skin.

Overall, I am happy with the results and have no regrets getting this procedure.  Based on what I’ve heard from others who have had this procedure, the results are liked even more around the 6 month mark; so I will check back in with you all at that time and give you my feedback of what I think at that milestone.  I believe that injectables can be a nice addition to a balanced skincare regimen depending on your concerns.  Any injectable procedure does NOT replace taking care of your skin with the correct products.

Have you had filler or Botox?  I would love to know your experiences.

Best Highlighter for Over 40 Skin

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand
My holy grail highlighter!

I am so excited that I found my holy grail highlighter!!!  If you are over 40 like me, then you might like a highlighter like this that doesn’t make you look like you are going to a club, but gives a subtle healthy glow to your face.  Easy to apply and wearable every day is another prerequisite I have when looking for a highlighter.  Also, a product that does not accentuate texture or wrinkles is a big PLUS.  Well, I’ve found the product that does all of this!  Let me introduce you to Charlotte Tilbury’s Beauty Light Wand.  I purchased this product about a month ago and have been using it nonstop ever since!

It retails for $38 and comes in a tube with a sponge applicator.  This makes it so easy to apply and its packaging allows for easy travel too.  Just swipe on in the areas you want to highlight and either blend with your fingers or a beauty sponge.  There is only one shade and I would describe it as a beautiful pearly champagne which is a great universal shade.  A little goes a very long way and what I think is so unique about this is the way it looks.  It isn’t glittery or chunky but gives the skin an almost wet look, like a natural glow (not greasy).  And it’s noticeable but not “in your face” glowing.  Since this is a cream product, you should apply to your face before setting with powder for the best result.

There is a contour wand by Charlotte Tilbury that was released with the highlight, but I don’t really like it as much.  I like the ease of application and blendability, but I don’t think it really shows up on my face at all and it doesn’t have the same WOW factor that the highlight has.

So, if you are in the market for a new highlighter, I’d definitely recommend checking it out.  I am really enjoying this product and plan to buy more as it’s really hard to find highlighters that are suitable for more mature skin.

Best Drugstore Eye Shadow Palettes

drugstore eye shadow palettesI know everyone likes a bargain and I am here to tell you, in the world of makeup, there are fantastic quality products right in the drugstore!  I’ve rounded up my favorite eye shadow palettes from the drugstore to share with you.  These palettes will give their high-end competitors a real run for the money!

e.l.f. Mad for Matte 2

I talked about this palette in my round up of the best e.l.f.  products here.  This palette has 10 matte shadows all in beautiful warm colors.  If you prefer cooler tones they also have the palette available in other shades.  This one is my absolute favorites – I reach for it all the time and travel with it also!  It has enough of a range of colors to complete an entire look with just this palette (I personally don’t love jumping around to a bunch of different palettes for one eye shadow look).  The colors blend well and are very pigmented.  And all this can be yours for $10!

Kokie Classic Romance Palette

This is the newest addition to my collection.  I reviewed some Kokie products when they first debuted at Walmart here.  This palette is also available in a variety of shade ranges but I selected cooler tones – this has a combination of  matte, shimmer and satin shades.  Similar to the e.l.f. palette, you can create one full shadow look with just this palette.  I do like having some shimmers to take you from day to night and the palette is small enough to make it easy to throw it in your purse.  This retails for $9.97.

Covergirl trunaked – Roses and Goldens

These Covergirl palettes have been around awhile and I still reach for them constantly!  The quality of the shadows is unmatched for a drugstore brand.  They feel so soft and buttery just like you would experience in a much more expensive palette.  Each palette comes with 8 shadows in a variety of shimmers and mattes.  The Roses palette has all purple shades and the Goldens has your creams and brown shades.  The packaging is nothing special with these, but the quality of the products inside is truly special.    If you don’t have these then head to your nearest drugstore and grab them today!  You won’t be disappointed!

ColourPop “Yes, Please” palette

OK, so I might be cheating a little because ColourPop is not available in drugstores (although they are going to be available at Sephora in the near future!), but the price range is equivalent to drugstore and the quality is equivalent to a luxury palette!  The shade selection in this palette is very unique.  It has warm colors (again, that is my personal preference with hazel eyes) that range from light peach to plummy browns and some golden shade in between.  This palette also offers shimmers along with matte shades and many different looks can be created with these 12 shades.  At $16, this is the most expensive of the palettes, but you are getting 12 high quality shadows at a fraction of the price of most higher end palettes.  This is a great up-and-coming brand to keep your eye on!

What eye palettes are you loving from the drugstore – I’d love to know!

A Natural Deodorant that Works

For the past several years  I have been on a search for a natural deodorant.  Unfortunately my experiences with many different brands have not been positive.  Just to clarify, natural deodorants do not contain antiperspirants, so basically you can still sweat (although, if working correctly, the deodorant should still reduce odor).  Aluminum (which is also a neurotoxin) is an ingredient that is used to prevent you from sweating, but this has been linked to many negative health effects (Cancer, Alzheimer’s).   I don’t sweat easily, but with some brands that I tried, I felt very wet and sticky and sometimes I just plain STUNK.  Not pleasant.  I’d switch back to regular deodorant for a while and then read something else about the cancer-causing ingredients in regular deodorant and start looking for a new product to try.  Here I’m going to run down what I’ve tried and what product is finally working for me!

natural deodorant
All these deodorant products were misses for me.

Tom’s of Maine

Tom’s is a pretty well-respected brand of more natural products and my mom had told me they worked for her.  So I went out and got two of them to try – one was unscented and the other was calendula scent.  The products boast having no aluminum, no animal testing, no artificial colors, flavors, fragrance or preservatives, and having natural 24-hour odor protection.  Well, these were just gross.  The calendula scent smelled like body odor in my opinion.  The product glided on nicely but I always felt wet and sticky even when I wasn’t perspiring.  And if I did sweat, I smelled, so the 24-hour odor protection was a crock of sh*& in my experience.


My husband suggested Crystal.  This product also boasts of no aluminum, and also is hypoallergenic, fragrance and paraben free.  It comes in a spray, a roll on or a stick.  I did use this one for a while, but overall did not enjoy it.  I still felt sticky and wet a lot so it wasn’t very comfortable for me to wear.  However, with this one I did not smell, which was an improvement over my experience with Tom’s.


I heard about a brand called Lavanila that is sold on Sephora.  It did have good reviews, so I picked one up, even though it was pretty pricey ($14) for a deodorant!  I picked the pure vanilla scent (they have several to choose from) and this brand also prides itself on being all natural, aluminum free, and no parabens.  I couldn’t get past the smell of this.  I love vanilla in general, but this deodorant stank on me!  I kept smelling it on myself and didn’t like it.  Now I was reaching a maximum frustration level.  This was a higher end product and I expected a higher end result, but that was not the case.  Maybe my expectations were too high for a natural deodorant product.


natural deodorant
These products are a home run for me!


Recently I heard about a brand called Schmidt’s that’s available on Amazon.  I picked up the Lavender + Sage scent.  This brand also promises no aluminum, no propylene glycol and no artificial fragrance.  It is certified vegan, cruelty- free and gluten-free.  Can I just say that FINALLY my search is OVER!  This product works for me!  It does not leave me feeling wet or sticky and I smell good!  It’s the closest feeling to real deodorant that I’ve experienced in a natural product!  The only thing that I had to get used to is to warm the product a bit with my finger before swiping in the underarm area.  It is a little harder in texture than the other products I’ve tried.  But this has been the answer to my prayers!


Another product that deserves an honorable mention are the Pacifica deodorant wipes.  These are great to freshen up after the gym or on the go.  Because they are individual wipes, they aren’t practical for everyday use but before I found Schmidt’s this was the only natural product that I enjoyed using.

I know that choosing a personal care product like deodorant is an individual experience, and that some of the products that did not work for me might work great for you.  I just know that, overall, finding a natural product in this category has been a long and frustrating process for me personally,  and if you are also struggling, then maybe one of these products can mark the end of your search.  If you’ve found a great product that I haven’t mentioned here, I’d love to hear about it!

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase the product, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog.

5 Ways to Make Retinol Work For You

woman applying retinol
Less is more when applying Retin A – only a pea size is needed!

I’ve been using retinol and Retin A on and off for years.  I would start to use it, then experience extreme dryness and flaking and quit using it.  Then I’d continue to read about how retinol is such a key ingredient for anti-aging (heck I’ve even written about it myself here), and I’d try again…. you get the point.  I’ve finally figured out how to use this ingredient consistently with little to no side effects and I want to share with you how I did it.

#1 – Start SLOW

Just like with dieting, sometimes we are so psyched to try something that we dive straight in – BAD IDEA.  You are almost certain to set yourself up for failure.  With incorporating any new routine into our lives, we need to make gradual changes or it will seem so overwhelming that one day we’ll say “Screw it,” and give up.   I don’t know about you, but in the anti-aging game I REFUSE to give up!  Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. You are looking to incorporate a skin care treatment for the long haul, so you need to ease in.

If you’ve never used retinol before, I’d recommend buying an over-the-counter product to start with, as they are not as strong as a prescription.  In addition, do not start out by using it every day!  Start with a couple of days a week (not consecutive) to see how your skin is handling it, and then slowly work up from there.  I personally like some retinol products that are in a facial oil form as it helps to maintain the skin’s moisture and keep flaking at bay.  Sunday Riley’s Luna oil is one I’ve really enjoyed using.  Also, Colleen Rothschild just came out with a new Retinol Supreme Night Oil  (the site is also having a sale so it’s currently 25% off with code FAM25)! On a budget?  Head to the drugstore and try the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle repair with Retinol.

Tretinoin cream is another name for Retin-A. It comes in varying strengths.

If you get a trentinoin prescription from your doctor, I’d start out with .025% strength first before building up to the higher strengths.  You don’t need the highest strength to see the best results.  Be gentle with your skin!


#2 – Apply correctly

A pea size amount is all that is needed to spread evenly over your face.  Yes, a pea!  Again, remember- marathon, not sprint.  More is definitely NOT better.  Also, make sure your skin is BONE dry before applying.  The product is not as effective on damp skin.  So, after you wash your face, go do something else for about 20-30 minutes before you apply this.  The drier your skin is, the less chance of irritation.  I wish I had known this years ago but trust me, this makes a huge difference!

#3 – Continue to Moisturize

I don’t know why when I started using retinol years ago, I didn’t think to add a moisturizer on top.  Hello, your skin can get dry and flake off as a side effect of the product!  I think that I was afraid to add anything that could compromise the efficacy of the product.  But I’m here to tell you that you CAN and SHOULD add a moisturizer to your face after applying retinol.  However, I would wait another 20 -30 minutes prior to doing that so the product has time to settle into the skin.  You’re probably thinking this is sounding WAY too complicated and that you just want to slap on all your products one after the other and go to bed.  Trust me, I get that, I do.  I’ve found a way to incorporate this into my evening routine to make it work.  For instance, I’ll wash my face after cleaning up after dinner.  Then I go and help my son with his nighttime routine.  After I tuck him in, I spread the trentinoin on.  Then I go watch a little TV and head back to the bathroom to add the moisturizer.  Done!  Trust me, the extra effort that this takes has more than made up for it for me personally with no side effects.  Once you’ve established a routine that works into your schedule and have been doing it for awhile, then you will enjoy the results on your skin!

#4 – Be EXTRA anal about sunscreen

If you are not good about putting sunscreen on your face every day, rain or shine, winter or summer, then I would NOT begin any retinol routine until you get good about it.  This stuff is no joke; remember, it is stimulating your skin cells to turn over rapidly to smooth your skin texture and reduce lines and wrinkles.  In that process, your skin is not only prone to the side effects we’ve talked about, but it is more sensitive to the sun.  If you use this and are exposed to the sun without protection, not only are you undoing any benefit the retinol will provide, but you are setting yourself up to have a bad skin reaction.  Please, please proceed with caution!

#5 – Be careful about other exfoliators you are using

Take a look at all the products you are currently using before starting your retinol.  If you have cleansers or toners with glycolic acid, I would stop using them in the evening before applying your retinol.  You want to use very gentle products with the retinol to avoid irritation.  You can continue to use exfoliating treatments, but avoid using them on the same day that you plan to use your retinol.

Hopefully you picked up a tip or two or five, that you didn’t know before.  Retinol is a powerful skincare ingredient, but that shouldn’t discourage us from using it.  With the right care, you CAN make this work for you and enjoy the results!  Good luck!  If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.


Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase the product, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog.

Product Review – Shiseido Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask

Shiseido Pure Retinol Express smoothing eye maskOk, this is the real deal!  I purchased the Shiseido Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Pads at Sephora just because I am constantly looking for eye products where I will see visible results.  In my anti-aging journey, I am still trying to find products that will address the fine lines, wrinkles and crepey skin under my eyes with results I can notice.  And was I beyond impressed with this eye mask!

If you’ve read my other articles on anti-aging, you know that retinol (vitamin A)is a key ingredient to incorporate into any skincare regimen.  I was curious to see this in an eye mask, as sometimes retinol can be harsh on the skin, especially the delicate under eye area.  This product promises to instantly reduce the appearance of visible fine lines and wrinkles with its special proprietary “Benefiance WrinkleResist24” ingredient.  It comes with individually wrapped eye sheets saturated with the product.  You lay them carefully under each eye and let sit for 15 minutes, then gently remove.  You can then pat in any excess product into the under eye area.  I really like how firm and smooth my under eye looks right after this treatment and that the product does not cause any irritation whatsoever.  You could also use this for laugh lines and place the pads around the mouth, but I haven’t used it I that way.

The left is my under eye before using the product, and the right is after. You can see in the after picture that the texture is smoother and tighter and the discoloration is also improved! All that in 15 minutes – I’m blown away!

The only negative is I have with this product is that these suckers are pricey!  It’s $65 for 12 packettes (I did find them cheaper -$51 for 12 packettes on Amazon here).  I have the 3 packette size, which is $17.50 but that size is currently sold out in Sephora.  I plan to order the larger size now that I’ve seen the results for myself and plan to use them at least once a week in addition to my normal under eye creams that I currently use.  In the meantime, I’ll be on the hunt for a drugstore dupe (if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears)!  I would love to know what anti aging products you are all loving right now!

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase the product, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog if you do decide to try it.

Review and Haul of New Target Clothing Lines – A New Day and Who What Wear

Have you been to Target lately?  They’ve recently launched some new clothing lines, and I have to say I am IN LOVE!    One line is called “A New Day” and it has a great blend of casual and office-appropriate attire.  The other is called “Who What Wear” and has similar, although overall I think this line is a little more geared toward office attire.  Both have plus sizes available too so there’s something for any body type.  I went a little crazy but got some awesome deals (like over-the-knee boots for $39.99!?!) and stocked up on great fall pieces.  Let me show you some of the great finds I made because if you are in the market for some new fall clothes, there are some great finds at Target!  And if you have the Target Red Card, you get an ADDITIONAL 5% off all of your purchases!

Target A New Day Poncho and Over the Knee Suede boots

Poncho sweater ($26.99)and Over the Knee Suede boots  ($39.99)

I love this sweater because it will keep you warm during the transitional weather and it looks so put together!  I just threw it over the striped shirt I had on and it instantly jazzes up the outfit (which can be worn with the black mules in warmer weather and the over the knee boots in the cooler weather).  It’s so versatile and the price is great!

I bought a pair of over-the-knee suede boots with a heel last winter and I can tell you I spent a whole lot more money on them.  However, I felt that a flat heel would be more wearable in my day-to-day life, so when I saw these at this fantastic price I had to get them, and I was not disappointed!  I will say that if you have larger calves then these are not for you.  They aren’t adjustable and are fitted around the calf area.  They do offer a wide size but I’m not sure how much extra room they provide.  They tie at the back which I like – I think it adds some interest to the boot. Also, to get the ideal look out of the boot, you need to wear really skinny jeans or leggings as the calf is not roomy to tuck in any excess material.  But, in my opinion, overall a great find.  They also come in a gray and camel color.  I wear a size 7 and they run true to size.

Target Who What Wear blouse and A New Day Mules

Striped Tie Waist Shirt ($27.99)and Mules ($29.99)

This shirt is from Who What Wear, and immediately caught my eye because of the tie waist detail that made it really unique.  It comes in blue and white stripe as well as the gray and white that I purchased.  I love that you could wear this on the weekends or to an office – it is so versatile!  I also threw a sweatshirt over it (see dragonfly sweatshirt below)  to create another look with it.  I have a size S and it runs true to size. The mules are from A New Day and are perfect into the mule trend this season.  They are in a black suede and are perfect for the transitional fall weather.

Target A New Day striped sweatshirt

Striped Sweatshirt ($19.99)

A lot of the pieces I have were ordered online, as my local Target rarely has a lot of clothing items in stock.  However, I stumbled upon this piece during one of my Target runs  – the material is so soft and cozy I just couldn’t resist.  I sized up to a M in this as it was a little shorter than I liked in the small.  I plan to wear it with jeans or leggings.


Beaded Dragonfly Sweatshirt ($24.99)

This was another item I happened to find in-store.  This sweatshirt is so warm and cozy but the beaded dragonfly makes it a little more interesting.  You can wear it alone, or layered over a shirt as I did in this picture.  As with the striped sweatshirt, I did size up to a M in this shirt as well.

Target A New Day BlazerBlazer  ($34.99)

I am really impressed with the quality of this blazer for the price.  It is long sleeved (I have it rolled up in the photo) and lined on the inside.  It gives a nice fit and I have it paired with a black cami and jeans.  This can easily be worn with a skirt or dress pants for an office environment as well.  I have it here in a size 6 and it runs true to size.

Target A New Day Ruffled Bomber jacket

Ruffled Bomber Jacket  ($29.99)

I know bomber jackets are very on trend right now, but when I saw this one with the beautiful ruffle detail (I know it’s hard to see in this picture) I fell in love!  Stripes and varsity looking bombers just aren’t my taste but this jacket definitely is!  I have a size S and I’d say it runs pretty true to size.

Tartet A New Day Khaki vest

Military Vest ($29.99)  I really like this piece just to give a little more interest to a basic t-shirt and jeans.  Here I have it with a short sleeve shirt, but as the weather gets cooler I plan to pair it with long sleeve t-shirts or sweaters.  I love the draw strings around the waist that let me control the look it gives (I prefer more fitted).

Target Who What Wear ruffle sleeveless blouse

Ruffle sleeveless blouse ($22.99)

This blouse was another item I actually purchased in store.  I’m seeing so much of these ruffles and I loved this pattern (it goes so well with jeans).  With the weather still being warm I love this as something I can wear now without a jacket, and then throw a layer over it when it gets cooler.  This is a size S and it runs true to size.

I hope you got some ideas for your fall wardrobe.  Have you been shopping at Target lately?  What have you been loving?


Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase the item, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog.