Archives For January 2013

Last winter was so mild in Tennessee, it was more or less an extended Spring.  After this past week of chilling temperatures in the twenties and low thirties (that is COLD to us in the south!), winter is most certainly upon us.  The long pea coats have been pulled out of the closets, gloves are on every hand, and of course, scarves add the finishing touch of warmth.

I’ve seen a lot of blog posts lately about winterizing your skin.  Some of them I’ve found to be helpful; others I find to be a little pushy.  Everyone’s skin is so drastically different that what works for one person, may not be the best course for another.  Therefore, this post will focus more on the how than the product — because you ultimately have to find the products that work for you, but your products are not the only factors to consider.

Most Important Things to Consider for Winter Skincare:

1) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  You might think since you sweat less in the chilly temps you need less water intake.  FALSE.  Drinking plenty of water in the winter is equally as important as in the warmer months.  Properly hydrated skin is more elastic and has a healthy, natural glow, naturally (note I referenced natural twice!).

2) Shower Time.  No, I’m not referring to your shower routine — that’s personal! I’m simply referring to the products you use in the shower.  The products you put in your hair and on your body will have an impact on your day.  Make sure you choose a shampoo/conditioner combo that is right for your hair type (hydrating, color-care, etc.).  You should do the same with your body products.  If you prefer soap to body wash, try to find a natural soap that has a moisturizing component.  If you prefer body wash, again, stick to something with a label you can understand.  My personal favorite is the Aveeno line as I have extra dry skin and the oatmeal washes do wonders for me.

3) Toweling. Have you ever noticed in the hair salon they pat your hair dry with the towel?  Those hair people know what they are doing! Why would you not do the same with your skin after you shower?  By patting your skin dry with the towel your skin will still retain enough moisture from the water to better absorb the next step.  Note: Be sure to turn your heater up a degree or two because there is nothing worse then goosebumps after that nice, warm shower!

4) Moisturize! This list is in no ranked order.  If it were, this one would likely be number 1.  I don’t think I can stress the importance of moisturizing, immediately after drying off.  The warmth of the shower water expands your pores, and moisturizing while your skin is still damp and warm will maximize the moisture that your skin will absorb and retain throughout the day.  Make sure you pick a product for your skin type.  The last headache you need during is day is whether or not you have to re-moisturize on your lunch break.  You know you have more important things to do!  My go-to moisturizer in the winter is Eucerin (body) and Cetaphil (face) as the properties tend to last the longest for me, personally.  (Some people find Eucerin too greasy, but there are non-greasy options, FYI) My moisturizer in the summer is slightly different, and it’s OK (even preferred) to have different ones for the seasons!

As you can see, I’m a big proponent of skin care.  Skin is the first thing people notice when they interact with you, so you should want to keep it looking its best.  Winter can be a challenge, but face it head on and with a few simple steps, you can always have fabulous skin!

How do you keep your skin looking healthy and fabulous during this time of year?

Having only $80/week at the grocery store has certainly been a challenge.  After 3 weeks of grocery shopping (I do all my meal planning/shopping on Sundays) I have gone over budget for two straight weeks, but not by much!  I’ve kept the total bill to $82.45 in week two and $91.36 in week 3.

During this process I’ve learned a thing or two, about food, cooking, and what it means to question every price tag on the shelf.  Over the past three weeks I’ve bought three newspapers and visited at least three stores each Sunday to get everything I need at the lowest price possible.  (I truly appreciate the support my friends and co-workers have offered me!)  Here’s what I’ve taught myself after these three short weeks:

1) It is surprisingly easy to sacrifice.  Next time you walk up and down the aisles and you have a coupon for something, ask yourself if it’s something you can’t live without or something you are simply purchasing because it’s a) on sale or b) you have a coupon.  I learned that cheese, bacon, and even hummus are all things I simply love to indulge in, but if the price is steep and will push me over the edge, I can live without it for a week or two.

2) It’s OK to have a night that is less healthy–odds are if you cooked it, it is still better than the restaurant.  My husband and I went from eating out several meals a week to eating in almost every night.  And while we eat healthy, mostly unprocessed foods, I realized it was OK to sacrifice a night of healthy cooking to enjoy the “finer” things in life (like pizza or chili dogs).  By cooking those less healthy meals at home, I still know everything that is going into the food and can control the unhealthy factor and portion sizes with ease.

3) Make a list and STICK TO IT.  I make my list each week and the main reason for my overages has been diverting from it.  For instance, last week I saw strawberries were on sale.  I convinced myself I would make more smoothies this week so I bought them.  There went $3 of the budget I hadn’t planned.  I also refuse to go back to the store if I forget something.  Odds are I have something else on hand that I can substitute with, or I can leave that out all together.  (It’s easier than you might think!)

I’ve found that while planning takes a least an hour of couponing and weekly ad searching and shopping takes a solid two hours between three stores it really is rewarding at the end of the week to know that I not only spent (close) to $80 for the week, I got 6+ dinners and at least 4 lunches for the week.  So, no more excuses.  I can finish the month strong and keep the spending under control.  How are you doing with your resolutions?

January is always considered a new start; a new year, a whole new set of possibilities. Two months ago I began my 30-day challenges.  The first one was too hard (or so I thought).  The second one was far too easy (not even worth writing a follow-up about).  This month, I decided to revert back to the hard challenge.  I mean, it is supposed to be a challenge, right?  Merriam Webster defines challenge as “a stimulating task or problem.”  I believe it’s safe to say that a 30 day workout challenge is much more of a stimulating task and problem than trying to cut processed coffee creamer.Working in an office, it’s easy to justify the need to get out of the office every day for lunch:  “It’s a mental break,” “I need vent time,” etc.  If the average lunch costs $10, that’s $50+ per week eating out at lunch alone.  Then, tack on the Sunday grocery trips that range anywhere from $100-$150 and we have a recipe for disaster.  I clearly spent some time analyzing my finances…and I was amazed to find that as a household of two, we spent over $12,000 between eating out and grocery shopping in 2012.  I can only fathom how much food I threw out, because how can someone spend so much at the store every week and still eat out every single day (and dinner some weeks too)?  I found my call to action.

Ladies and Gents, I present to you my January 30-day challenge and FIRST lifestyle change of 2013: $80/week at the grocery store AND $10/week eating lunches out. Two birds, one stone. My goal is to take my family from $1000+ per month on food to under $600, including all groceries, toiletries, and household items.

Now, this challenge only contemplates true out-of-pocket expenses.  I do have a few gift cards from Christmas that will help me in my journey, but I’ll be buying the newspaper again every week, clipping my coupons, and checking the 3 or 4 store ads to save the most money possible.  And while I may still leave the office every day to eat, I’ll be sporting by lunch bag at least 4 days a week.

How do you cut costs in your family?  Have you found any advice (couponing, etc,) better than others?  I sure hope I can make this happen!