Friday, March 24, 2023

Advantages Of Using Ankle Or Wrist Weights.

 I often read that people should add some extra weight by using ankle or wrist weights to improve their resistance as they workout but is it really worth using them?  The answer is it depends on when you use them and how you use them.  So I'll look at this topic in a bit more detail.  

First off, ankle or wrist weights are weights that one can wear around the ankle or the wrist. They come in either a band or pouches filled with weights, sand, or water.  Some of these come with multiple weights that you can add or subtract to change the amount of weight you are using each time.  

These are designed to increase resistance during certain cardio exercises however, one has to be very careful when using them.  If you use them while walking, you should use light weights of no more than three pounds because ankle weights tend to make you the fronts of your thighs (quadriceps) rather than the backs of the thighs (hamstrings) thus causing an imbalance.  

In addition, ankle weights tend to pull on the ankle joint which could result in injuries to the knees, hips, or back.  It is much better to use ankle weights when doing exercises that target the hip and leg muscles such as leg lifts. Since ankle weights rely on gravity to provide resistance, when used with leg lifts, the muscles end up working harder leading to increased strength.

Furthermore, wrist weights can have the same issues of muscle imbalance due to swinging your arms back and forth. This movement can also cause injuries in the neck, shoulders, elbows and wrists.  But as with ankle weights, there is a time and place to use wrist weights effectively.  They can easily be used instead of dumbbells if you cannot use regular weights. They work well with targeted exercises such as bicep curls or rows.

If you want to use these, consider contacting an experienced personal trainer to learn the best way to use them so you don't hurt yourself.  If you have joint or back problems, talk to your doctor.  Like any weight, you do not want to use these every day and you only want to use them when doing exercises containing up and down movements. 

Just because they fasten around the ankle or wrist does not mean you want to use heavier weights, consider what you would normally use and stick with that amount. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

How Many Face Products Do You Really Need To Use Everyday?


The other night, I realized I use a lot of face products.  I use one set in the morning and a different set in the evening.  I save those products with vitamin C and retinol for the evening along with a denser moisturizer when it does the most good.  I don't mind it at home but when I travel, especially internationally, I wonder if I can cut down on what I take so I don't have to worry about weight.

The first thing to know is that what you do every day has a large impact on how you look. However, when you read all the articles out there, everyone has a recommendation but do you really need all 10 steps of this or that routine to have great skin?

Maybe not.  A good skin care routine is broken down into three parts.  The first part is cleansing where you wash your face but not necessarily with soap. The second encompasses toning or balancing the skin while the last part focuses on moisturizing the skin where you hydrate and soften the skin.  These three steps are designed to help your skin function at its best and most experts suggest you only need three to four products in your skin care routine, not 10 or 20. 

If you get a product to address a specific skin issue, you need to be prepared to use it for at least 6 weeks to notice a difference because there are no products which produce instant results.  When you do apply products, go from the thinnest to the thickest such as your cleanser, toner, serum, and finally your moisturizer.

When looking for a cleanser, look for a gentle effective one that will remove dirt, oil, sunscreen, and pollution. It doesn't matter if it is a cream or is foaming.  You want to make sure it doesn't strip the skin because it is your first line of defense when it comes to taking care of your skin.  Although many people recommend the double cleansing, a good cleanser will do the same job with just one product.

As far as the moisturizer, it doesn't matter if it is a cream, lotion, or ointment.  You want one that is filled with emollients that will trap moisture in your skin while protecting it from the elements.  If you want to use an oil, make sure your moisturizer has it because if you try to use only oil, it is not as effective as a regular moisturizer.  Don't forget to finish everything off with a good sunscreen which adds another layer of protection.

This is the minimum anyone needs for a good skin care product.  If you want, you can include a good eye cream, a toner, serums, and others but you don't "need" them to have wonderfully looking skin.  For me this important because I can leave half my facial products at home.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Walking With Weights


Although it is supposed to be spring, I am sitting here in my house, watching the snow fall for the third day in a row.  This morning it cleared just enough for a couple of planes to come in before the weather closed in again.  Pretty soon, it will be nice enough that I'll start walking a lot more and when that happens I tend to use my weights way less.  I decided that I need to figure out how to walk using weights so that I keep my bones dense and keep myself more in shape.

When you add weights to your daily walk, it can provide an additional challenge to your workout while helping you to burn more calories but you have to be careful or you could injure yourself. When you begin walking with weights, choose the light ones weighing between one and two pounds.  You can increase the weight as your fitness level improves. Furthermore, using weights can help you strengthen your muscles while walking so your walk is now doing double duty.

Although it is easy to carry the small hand weights, look for those that have a strap to help you carry it or look for weights you can wear on  your wrists  otherwise you might drop the hand weights and hurt yourself.  You can also look at using ankle weights that strap to your ankle and provide resistance to your legs at the same time.

No matter whether you choose one or both types of weights, make sure you maintain good posture and form while walking with the weights.  Always keep your back straight, your shoulders relaxed and avoid swinging the weights otherwise you might end up off balance. In addition, shorten your stride when walking with weights so there is less strain put on your joints.  Furthermore, make sure you do not use the weights for more than 20 to 30 minutes when walking but only use them once or twice a week so you don't hurt your joints or muscles.

It is important that you cool down properly after your workout and take time to stretch out your muscles so you don't start cramping. If at anytime, you experience any pain or discomfort while using weights, step back and decrease the weight, check your technique and if it persists, talk to your doctor. Adding the weight will increase the overall intensity of your workout.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Too Many Hair Products

I learned that since I have naturally curly hair, I need to make sure I hydrate it on a regular basis.  I wear it extremely long, down to the rear, so the weight helps control the curl but I still end up using quite a few products.  The other day, I wondered if it was possible to use too many hair products since there are times when my hair gets a funny feel to it and I just pin it up without brushing it.

Yes, it is possible to use too many products in your hair and there are signs to look for that give you a hint, you might just be using too many.  One visible sign is that your hair is stiff when it dries rather than nice and bouncy.  In addition, your hair can become dull, feels sticky, and the shine disappears These signs indicate you are experiencing product buildup. 

Product buildup is actually when the product leaves a film on the hair strand due to both improper rinsing and using too much product which prevents moisture or water from getting into the hair cuticle. Your hair needs this moisture to stay bouncy and healthy.  

One way to avoid product buildup is to only use a little bit of any product as most instruct the user to use a small dime sized amount.  In addition, the type of product used depends on the type of hair you have.  If you have finer hair, you want to use lightweight products that will not weigh your hair down but if it is thicker and coarser, you might need something with a bit more body to it.  

If you do end up with product buildup, think about using a clarifying shampoo if you can't get it out with a simple rinsing.  In the meantime, try to reduce the number of products you have.  You can do this by sticking to the basics of cleaning, hydrating, protecting, styling, and finishing.  In reality, all you need is a good shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner, a styling product, and a decent hairspray.

One way to save money is to realize that you can take some of your regular conditioner, add some spring water to it to thin it out and use that for your leave-in conditioner. If you use a little bit of regular conditioner in your hair, it can double as a styling balm.  In addition, conditioner is extremely important to use because it hydrates, protects, and helps keep your color solid. If you apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair, it can help protect your locks against heat and help the color last.

So next time you look for another hair product, you might ask yourself if you really need it or do you already have too many.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

What To Use Instead Of Weights.

Sometimes, when we travel or we've just moved into a new place, we don't have access to weights so we need to be aware of alternatives.  This last move, I ended up using some 16 ounce cans instead of one pound weights because I hadn't found my three pounders during my unpacking. I've gotten a list together of things one can use instead of regular weights to use while working out.

One of the first recommended substitutions for one pound weights are 16 ounce cans of anything be it beans, soup, or coconut milk.  As long as it weighs 16 ounces, you'll have your pound weights.  If regular canned food is a bit awkward for your hands, look at those more narrow cans that spritzer and such come in but don't open any carbonated drinks after a workout or you might end up drenched.  

If you need a set of two pound weights, look at boxes of oat, almond, or even regular milk.  As long as the box contains 32 ounces, you have a nice substitution for two pound weights. These are a nice size for things like curls or presses and many of us have them in our pantries.

On the other hand, if you prefer three pound weights, look for three pound bags of uncooked rice. The great thing is that it seldom goes bad so you'll always have some around.  I admit, I'd start with the bag of rice but end up using it because I forgot to pick some up but then again, it is easy to replace.  

Should you have need of some four pound weights, make sure you have those 64 ounce boxes of milk stored in your pantry.  The milk might be regular, oat, almond, or any other type.  It doesn't matter as long as it weighs 64 ounces.  

Are you up at five pounds, look at the five pound bags of flour or sugar to use as weights.  They come in a nice package but if you want some extra protection, just wrap them in some cling weight or pop them in large ziplock bags so you don't sprinkle powder all over the place.

Need something that weighs even more, try a set of gallon milk jugs filled with milk, water, or other liquid for something that weighs about 8.4 pounds.  The thing about this sized jug is that its center of balance is off so it is hard to use than an 8 pound dumbbell. If you have the 150 ounce jug of liquid tide soap around, it is great for a nine pound weight.  

So if you need weights and don't have any handy, you have a whole list of substitutions you can use in your workout without omitting that part.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Is A 2 - in - 1 Shampoo and Conditioner Worth Using?

I travel enough that I've been looking for ways to cut back on the hair stuff I take so I have more space for other things.  I know people who swear by them but the last time I tried one, I didn't like how it left my hair but that was many years ago.  So I'm revisiting the topic, just to see if they have gotten any better.

To begin with, a 2 - in- 1 shampoo and conditioner is a product designed to clean the hair like shampoo while conditioning the hair like your regular conditioner.  In general a shampoo contain negatively charged surfactants that cleanse while conditioners contain positively charged ingredients to attach to the hair to give it the conditioning properties.  If the two are not combined properly, you end up with a not so great product.

So chemists have found a way to combine the two by hiding the conditioning ingredients in an emulsion that releases them when rinsing the hair.  What actually happens is you shampoo your hair and everything breaks open so the conditioning ingredients such as silicones or polymers are deposited on the hair. 

The advantages of using a 2 - in - 1 is you are saving time because you don't have to use a shampoo and a conditioner separately and money since you only buy one product.  It also saves space in your cupboard, shower, or gym bag, and it promotes sustainability. 

Unfortunately, 2 - in - 1's have some built in downsides.  For instance, product buildup can happen faster than when using two separate products.  The buildup can make your hair seem dull and limp.  To counter this, you'll need to use a clarifying shampoo to strip away the buildup.  In addition, this type of product can be more drying for many folks. This happens because the conditioning ingredients are not enough to counter the shampoo removing the oil from the scalp and hair. 

Trying to find a 2 - in - 1 that works for your hair is going to take time and some trial and error.  If you find one that promises everything, it won't.  Furthermore, if you have curly or coily hair, this type of product is not recommended but if your hair doesn't need a lot of work, it will work for you. No matter what, one should not use this more than twice a week. 

So the bottom line is that they are ok for some folks but not for everyone.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.  

Friday, March 10, 2023

Muscle Cramps During Exercise - Causes And Solutions


It has happened to all of us.  In the middle of exercising, the muscles suddenly cramp and you have to stop and wait for the muscle to quit cramping.  It always happens at the wrong moment. My mother always handed me a banana to take care of the problem but it didn't always work.  In addition, things have changed so that isn't always the recommended method of treating exercise induced muscle cramps.

By definition, a muscle cramp is when contracts strongly without your control.  Although any muscle can spasm, the calf muscles, foot muscles, the quadriceps, and hamstrings are the ones most likely to act out during exercising.  According to research a person's chances of experiencing exercise induced muscle cramps increases with age and with increased body mass index or BMI.

Should muscle cramps occur while exercising, you should immediately stop exercising to slowly and gently stretch the muscles,  The stretching position should be held at least 30 seconds because you want the muscles to relax. Each stretching exercise may need done multiple times to relax the cramping muscle.  You might also need to gently rub the muscle or drink a hydrating liquid to provide electrolytes if you are dehydrated.

Suggest exercises for spasming calf muscles include standing in a lunge position with the affected leg stretched out behind you.  Push your heal towards the ground and hold for 30 seconds or pull the toes and foot upward towards the shin and hold for 30 seconds.  If the muscles in your feet cramp, grab the toes and pull upwards for 30 seconds.

Should the front of your thigh or quadriceps spasm, grab your toes or ankle and pull backwards towards the back of your thigh and hold for 30 seconds.  On the other hand, if your hamstrings spasm, sit on the ground, with both legs straight in front of you and reach down towards your toes.  Hold for 30 seconds.  You can repeat any of these exercises as necessary.

Unfortunately, no one knows what causes muscles to cramp during exercise but there are a few things you can do to cut down on the possibility of getting them. First and foremost, always do a proper warmup so your muscles are ready to go and don't forget to stretch the muscles regularly.  Next, make sure you have enough liquids so you do not become hydrated.  Keep an eye on your electrolytes because it is easy to sweat enough salt out of the body to cause cramps.  Finally, eat a healthy diet so you have enough carbohydrates as this helps cut down on muscle fatigue.

Although muscles cramps cannot be totally avoided, you can cut down on their happening by following the above guidelines.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

What To Look For In Sunscreen.


Although one should always wear sunscreen, people don't think about it much until the days get longer and the temperature rises.  I admit, it is hard thinking about wearing sunscreen when it is still in the negative temperatures but I also know how important it is to wear, no matter what.  Since we are almost at the time of year that we spring forward into daylight savings time, I've decided to visit the topic of what one should look for when purchasing sunscreen.

The problem with sunscreens is that not all of them are created equally. You want one that will allow protect you from sunburn, skin cancer, and help slow down early signs of premature aging.  It is fine to have skin that is not tanned. Did you know that one in five people will develop skin cancer in their life time? 

When shopping for sunscreen, look for a SPF of 30 or higher for the best protection. Although you can find sunscreens with SPF's of higher than 50, most organizations state that anything higher than a 50 is not any more effective than a 50.  An SPF of 30 prevents about 97 percent of UVB rays from reaching your skin while one containing an SPF of 50 prevents about one more percent of rays from reaching your skin. In addition, make sure that it is labeled as being broad spectrum.  This means it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays as both can damage your skin.  It is important to make sure the sunscreen is water resistant so you know it will stay on wet or sweaty skin for a while.  Most water resistant sunscreens stay on either 40 or 80 minutes before it needs to be reapplied.  It should say on the bottle.

Furthermore, it is advised that one use one ounce of sunscreen or the equivalent of a shot glass worth every time you put it on.  This provides the best coverage and it should be reapplied every couple of hours for the best protection. In addition, know whether you are using a mineral or chemical sunscreen.  A mineral sunscreen remains on top of the skin where it filters out the suns rays.  Mineral sunscreens usually contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.  On the other hand, a chemical sunscreens containing oxybenzone, avobenzone, or homosalate  are absorbed into the skin where they turn UV rays into heat and reflected off the body.

When you shop for sunscreen, look for one that matches your skin type so that you do not make your oily skin oilier or dry out your skin too much.  Now a days, sun screens are made for a variety of skin types.  In addition, look at whether it is a spray, solid stick, or liquid.  The problem with sprays is you don't know when you've put an ounce of sunscreen on and to get the most effectiveness out of the product, rub it in once you've finished spraying it.

 Having looked at what to look for in a sunscreen, there are some ingredients you should avoid so read the bottles very carefully.  Try to avoid any product with parabens, since they could possibly cause cancer. In addition, try to avoid sunscreens with fragrances, chemicals, or dyes because they might irritate your skin and many people have a sensitivity towards fragrances. 

Finally, even if your makeup has sunscreen, apply a layer of sunscreen on top of it to provide maximum coverage. If you don't like sunscreen per say, think about getting a tinted sunscreen that matches your skin tone so you get the look you want with the best protection.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Best Ways To Increase Metabolism.


We've all heard that our metabolism slows as we age but that isn't quite true. Sometimes it is not that our metabolism is slowing due to age but that we no longer do the same activities we did when we were younger.  In fact, there are studies that show metabolism does not really start slowing until we reach the age of 60.

Earlier this year, I discovered I'd gained several pounds in a rather short period of time.  The doctor didn't seem too concerned but I was since I knew that gaining wait could lead to certain health issues.  So I took time to sit down and realize that I was not exercising as much and eating more.  I immediately looked for ways to increase my metabolism. The above mentioned study indicates that the best step to take to have a good metabolism is to have a lean body mass.

Metabolism is defined as the amount of energy your body burns in calories. If you eat more calories than your body uses, your metabolism will seem slower but if your body uses more calories than it consumes, your metabolism will seem faster.

When you talk about metabolism, you are referring to one of three things.  The first is the basal metabolic rate which refers to the rate your body burns calories when you are at rest. Second looks at how fast your body burn calories when it is digesting the food you eat.  The third focuses on how many calories are burned when you move around. Although some of it is controlled by genetics, there are choices a person can make to help improve their metabolism.

One step you can take is to eat more protein since it takes more calories to burn a gram of protein as compared to a gram of carbohydrates. So if you replace some of the carbohydrates with protein, your body will use more calories when it is a rest.  A study showed that people whose diet contained about one third protein tended to burn over 200 calories more each day while at rest than people whose died was composed of about 11 percent protein.

Another is to exercise more.  It is important to choose exercises that build muscles since increasing the amount of muscle also increases the amount of calories burned. Don't forget to  improve your cardio health at the same time.  As for gaining muscle, think about lifting weights, using resistance bands, or other forms of resistance training. Think about adding High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT to help increase your metabolism. The nice thing about HIIT training is that it helps to build muscle while increasing the amount of energy your body burns. In addition, it helps your body keep burning muscles for up to one day after doing it.

Eliminate sugared drinks from your diet and replace with cold water.  The cold water requires your body to burn calories to raise its internal temperature.  There are people out there who tell you to drink more coffee or green tea because they supposedly increase your metabolism but it appears this is not true based on several studies.

Finally, make sure you get enough sleep every single night.  When you don't get enough sleep, your body tends to demand you eat more calories so it is strongly recommended that you get 7 to 8 hours every night.

The best way to help your metabolism is to eat a healthy diet without over indulging. It doesn't matter how how many things you do to improve your metabolism if you are eating all the wrong things or eating too many calories.  The three biggest things you can do is to sleep more, exercise more, and eat better.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, March 3, 2023

The Best Ingredients For Face Creams.

 I admit that it is always so hard when I go looking for face cream.  The aisles are filled with so many different types, different ingredients, and the number is mind boggling. I tend to find face creams I like and I stick with them until they are no longer manufactured since I hate trying to figure out which ones I want.  So today, we'll visit at what you should look for in a face cream.

One should begin using face cream in your mid to late 20's to experience the most benefits.  In addition, it is recommended you purchase a cream designed specifically for your skin type. If you aren't sure what type of skin you have, talk to a dermatologist. It is also recommended that you use two different creams - one in the morning and one at night.

The biggest reason to use a face cream is that the cream helps seal in your skin's moisture and helps the skin retain elasticity. A face cream also helps provide a protective barrier for your skin. When you look at face creams, look for one that says its noncomedogenic which means that it does not block pores so you won't break out. 

During daylight, you should use a day cream. A day cream is lighter on your skin than the night cream which is designed to penetrate to help repair your skin.  A day cream should contain sunscreen and vitamin C.  Vitamin C helps brighten your skin, even the color, and helps cells overall.  If your day cream does not include sunscreen, it should be applied separately year round so you don't experience sun damage. 

For a night cream, one should look for ingredients such as Retinol, or Hyaluronic acid because night creams are designed to moisturize your skin while repairing and soothing it at the same time over night as you sleep.  One should look for retinol which is a derivative of vitamin A. It helps with fine lines, wrinkles, and brown spots but it can irritate sensitive skin so only use it three times a week at first.  Next, check for alpha and beta hydroxy acids since these gently exfoliate nd soften your skin so the cream penetrates better.  Hyaluronic acid is great since it helps your skin absorb and retain moisture so your skin looks more alive.  There should also be vitamin E as it is a antioxidant that helps both moisturize and brighten your skin.  

If you have sensitive skin or you are older , you should look for ceramides since they are a natural protein found in the outer layer of the skin.  They help keep moisture in your skin and protect it from the enviornment.  If you are older, your skin does not produce as many ceramides as it did in your twenties, so this ingredient helps.

Another ingredient to look for if you have sensitive skin is glycerin because it is a natural moisturizer that helps heal the skin.  A gentler exfoliant is lactic acid and it removes dead skin cells so your skin absorbs moisture better.  

So these are ingredients to look for in your face cream.  Next week, I'll look at ways to increase your metabolism naturally and ingredients one might find in moisturizers that are really beneficial and were not discussed here.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Metabolic Conditioning.


I have been following a program to help me get in better shape. It is an eight week course with lots of DVD's filled with toning, cardio, and so much more.  The other night, I did the one called metabolic conditioning.  It was a good workout but I wondered if there really was an exercise routine by this name or if it was something created by the instructor.  Turns out, metabolic conditioning is real.

Metabolic conditioning is a series of exercises designed to increase the amount of energy both stored in and released by your body. In other words, this workout helps you burn the maximum number of calories within a specific time frame.  Metabolic conditioning or MetCon for short uses high intensity exercises to help your body lose weight, gain lean muscle, and improve performance.  One experiences results in a shorter time than many other programs but if the exercises are not done correctly, one can become injured or even die.

MetCon contains specific exercises designed to improve how well the body works short, intermediate, and in the long term.  As you know, metabolism refers to how the body converts food and drink into usable energy. In the process, your body makes andenosine triphosphate or ATP which fuels the contractions of muscles. The amount of ATP used by your body depends on the intensity of physical activity.  Basically, when you do low intensity exercises your body produces ATP from the long term part, medium intensity exercises from the intermediate area, and high intensity produces ATP immediately.  The exercises in metabolic conditioning are geared to work with the intermediate pathway so your body is conditioned to do more work in less time.

It makes your energy production more efficient, helps you burn more calories so you lose weight, it increases the amount of oxygen your body uses, and increases lean muscle while reducing body fat.  A MetCon workout can be designed to take a person from where they are right now, to an improved level.  It might be as simple as walking up hill, riding a stationary bike with bursts of sprints, or up to ones that demand a lot.

Although it may sound like it is similar to something like HITT or high intensity interval training, they are different.  Metabolic conditioning has you workout at the maximum for longer periods of time than the HITT training.  If you are new to this, find a trainer who can help tailor a program to your needs so you get the best results and decrease the possibility of injury.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Cross Fit Training - Not To Be Confused With Cross Training


If you ever run across something advertised as cross fit training, it is not the same thing as cross training. Cross fit training is a specific program which gained in population a few years ago at a variety of gyms. Cross fit is a high intensity form of exercise composed of highly functional movements all done at highly intensive rates.

The movements such as pushing, squatting, pulling, etc are ones you would do in your day to day life. Many of these movements are actually variations of squats, push-ups, or weight lifting for set amounts of time so the person builds muscles. This is not the traditional way of doing things where a person is expected to perform a specific number of reps. It is said that cross fit training is extremely effective due to its emphasis on load, distance, and speed.  

Everyone does a certain workout each day and the workout is listed on the website. In addition, there is a place on the website to advise people on which workout is best for them according to their fitness level by having suggested substitutions available. Cross fit trainers state that the training can meet the needs of every person because everyone has to do these functional movements.  Many cross fit places include an element of competition by using a scoreboard and posting the winners to social media to share their victories. 

Unfortunately, this type of training can also have risks due to the high intensity nature of the workout.  According to one study, they found that 20 percent of the folks who participated in this type of training injured themselves. This is a high rate of injury for a recreational activity. The injuries occur when the participant becomes fatigued and their form becomes sloppy.

If you want to do this type of activity, always monitor your form. You want to make sure you do not round your lower back and make sure your knees do not go over the toes during a squat. One way to help is to find the right trainer or coach. You want to make sure you do not over fatigue yourself but work only to the point of fatigue. 

If you are just beginning, make sure you take a class designed specifically for beginners so you learn to do it correctly.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day. Take care.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Cross Training - Why It Is Good.

Trying to stay healthy and in good shape can be quite challenging for the average person. You hear that one should be doing this, that, or the other thing so you stay in good shape, especially if you age.  I've seen references to cross training being a great thing to do but I've never looked at the topic in detail. 

Cross training is defined as a type of exercise where people train using other exercises than they normally do.  This allows your body to adapt to new routines while encouraging better overall fitness levels. Cross training means the fully body undergoes conditioning, while improving skill, agility, balance, and fitness. Your cross training routine might be incorporating riding a bike once a week into your daily running routine.  When you add the bike riding, you are using a different set of muscles from those used when you run daily. 

There are several benefits to cross training.  First you won't get as bored as easily.  When we get bored, it is so much easier to find excuses not to workout and pretty soon, your exercise regime disappears.  By switching up your choices of exercise, you stay motivated, work muscles in a new and different way, and fun.

When we exercise, the body works harder because it has to breath more, the blood flow increases, and increased muscle load.  Exercise actually stresses the body in a way that makes it healthier in general.  If the frequency, intensity, time, and type of exercise is the same everyday, the body becomes used to it and will not become fitter.  When you change it up, the body will improve.

In addition, when you cross train, you make sure your metabolism stays up and more efficient.  When you do the same exercise, your metabolism can stagnate so you might hit a plateau if you are trying to lose weight.  Furthermore cross training helps prevent injury.  When you do the same type of exercises every day, it puts your joints, bones, and muscles under stress which can increase the possibility of injury.  

A good cross training program will have an aerobic component along with  a strength component  and one that focuses on flexibility.  All training should consist of at least 30 minutes on most days but if you need to break it up into smaller chunks, that is fine but it needs to add up to 30 minutes. So switch up exercises, change things around, and enjoy the benefits of cross training.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear have a great day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

What To Look For In An Eye Cream.


At one point or another, most of us end up using an eye cream.  I use one regularly due to the wonderful bags I seem to have inherited from my father.  They are something I'll never get rid of but I can do things to minimize their impact.  As a result, I've been researching what things you should look for in a good eye cream. 

As we age, the skin around our eyes begins to form wrinkles referred to as crows feet.  In addition, the area might develop puffiness, or dark circles.  You might want to think about preventing them when you are in your 20's or you see them and want something to help minimize the issues, you want an eye cream.

Unfortunately, not all eye creams are the same so it is important to read the ingredients list to see if it contains the ones you most need.  Check for antioxidants as they protect the area against cell damage. You want something with vitamin C, vitamin E, or ferulic acid as it protects against environmental damage and helps decrease puffiness and swelling.

In addition, look for retinol which is a form of vitamin A that helps stimulate collagen.  Collagen helps reduce and prevent wrinkles.  Remember one thing though, both vitamin C and retinol are best used at night otherwise they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.  If you have droopy, crepe paper like skin, make sure the eye cream has peptides because peptides help firm the skin by increasing collagen and elastin.

Furthermore, the skin around the eyes is the thinnest on the body so it becomes dry and irritated more easily.  This is the perfect spot for hyaluronic acid and ceramides.  Did you know that when the area is hydrated, wrinkles are less obvious?  So make sure the eye cream has this in it.

If you inherited the discoloration from your parents, you might think about looking for niacinamide and koji acid as they both reduce the discoloration by brightening the area and reducing activity in pigment producing cells.  Finally, make sure the eye cream has sunscreen or wear a layer over it the eye cream.  This is an extremely important step.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Should You Rotate Your Shampoo And Conditioner.


I grew up in a household where you were expected to switch between two different conditioners and  two different shampoos because your hair would get "used" to one product if you used it all the time.  It always seemed to me that this was true because when I had to use one product several weeks at a time, my hair started feeling blah.  Due to that feeling, I honestly thought it was true.  According to several hair stylists, this is not true. 

Instead, it is important to find the right combination of shampoos and conditioners for your hair based on type of hair, its condition, and overall condition.  They say the only reason to switch shampoos or conditioners is they either contain harmful ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate which can strip hair and damage it over time, or it doesn't clean it properly. 

If your shampoo does not clean your hair like it used to, you might want to see if you moved recently and now have harder or softer water than before. Is it winter or is it summer and you sweat a lot more. This might make you change shampoos but your hair has not become "used to it.", your circumstances have changed, requiring a change in you shampoo.

It is important to determine exactly what you want your products to do rather than just switching them up due to not working.  It might be you have an incorrect shampoo or conditioner to begin with. If you colored your hair, you want products designed specifically for hair that is colored so the color lasts longer and retain its moisture.  If you keep switching products, it won't do your hair any good.

When you look for a shampoo, you need to look at more than your hair type and if it is colored or chemically treated.  You also need to look at your lifestyle which includes what part of the country you live in, exercise, and humidity levels.  Look specifically for shampoos that meet your individual requirements.  

As for conditioner, look at your type of hair and it's texture. For instance, if you have fine hair, you will want a light weight conditioner where as if you have medium to coarse hair, you will want one with deep conditioning abilities so your hair is moisturized.  It seems as if companies offer shampoos and conditioners in pairs but the reality is that you might need one type of shampoo and a different conditioner so you aren't buying a pair.

Rather than deciding if your current products are not working right, ask yourself if your circumstances have changed?  Are you using the proper shampoo and conditioner or is one of them the wrong type.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

What Is Biophilia Exercise?

Prior to this past Wednesday, I'd never heard of biophilia exercise.  It is however, one of the latest exercise trends for 2023. Biophilia refers to the instinct people have to connect with nature and others.  Biophilia exercise is taking traditional indoor activities into nature. It is known as green exercise.

Think about it this way, instead of having yoga or cardio class in a gym or club, the classes are moved outside into the grass or on a lawn.  Many places are having classes on the green areas outside the buildings. In fact, the search on google for outdoor fitness classes has increased over 200 percent in the past five years. It came to the fore front due to Covid because people couldn't go to the gym so they started going outside.  I did a lot of walking by the ocean at the beginning because it was important to my mental health to feel the wind and breath the fresh air.

There has been at least one study done that indicates those who exercise outside are more likely to be involved in social interactions with fewer distractions and people were more likely to want to do it again. In addition, people felt that being in nature was more calming than being indoors and it was considered less stressful.

Other research indicates that people are more likely to work harder and perform better outdoors. This is because people feel that exercise is less strenuous when done outside and people are more likely to push. The exercises that work best outside include yoga, roller skating, biking, skateboarding, swimming, walking, hiking, trampolining, and climbing.  

In some places, gyms are beginning to bring the outdoors inside because the outdoors might be too hot, too cold, too smoggy or other reason.  These gyms have redecorated so there are plants spread out around the space with sun coming in so you feel as if you are outside rather than in a stuffy building. In addition, rope and wood is replacing metal and plastic to reinforce the feeling of being outdoors. 

So if you exercise at home, think about having plants spread around the room to make it feel nicer and so you can undergo some of the same benefits you'd receive by exercising outside.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Ended Up With


Friday, February 17, 2023

Should Your Face Be Wet Or Dry.


I have been trying to figure out why my skin absorbs all of the serums if it is allowed to dry between products but it its when it is still damp. Serums are light-weight, super concentrated  products designed to target specific skin products. Serums can help decrease dark spots or fine lines and wrinkles.  

You want to make sure what ever product you choose is filled with vitamins and minerals. Look for one that has most of what you want but don't expect to find a product that has everything. Do not apply any product with vitamin C or Retinol in the morning as both makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight.

When you apply serums, make sure it is damp because wet skin is able to absorb ten times the amount of moisture dry skin can. This is extremely important if the product contains hyaluronic acid because this acid helps bind moisture to wet skin.

It is strongly recommended that you rotate serums because applying some of these products can make your skin sensitive and even dry out. In addition, one should not use those potent anti-aging or exfoliating products more than 2 to 3 times a week.  When you rotate your serums, you expose yourself to more of the benefits of all the products.

Before you apply any serum, you need to make sure you've taken time to cleanse and tone your face. When you clean your face, you remove any impurities from your skin and the toning helps balance your facial pH and preparing it for serums. When you clean and tone, you get your skin in the best shape for applying serums and creams so your skin receives the most from all the nutrients.

Once you've applied all your serums, finish it off with some sort of moisturizing cream because serums do not provide the moisturizing power of proper creams.  If you use several different serums, wait at least 90 seconds between each one so your skin has a chance to absorb nutrients before the next one is applied.  Otherwise, you could dilute the efficacy of each serum. 

Make sure you store your serums away from the sunlight in a cool dry location.  This is so the ingredients contained in the serum do not break down. You do not need to invest in a small fridge for all your beauty products. Instead, place them in the bathroom on a shelf as far from the shower and windows as possible or on a shady dresser in the living room.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Is New Zealand Honey Better Than Regular Honey in Skin Care?


I was down, visiting New Zealand, earlier this year and one thing that came out of the trip was how proud the people were of their special honey, also known as Manuka Honey.  This honey is produced from the flowers of the Manuka tree found only in New Zealand and parts of Australia. Manuka honey is said to have better therapeutic and antimicrobial properties than regular honey since it contains Methyglyoxlal and hydrogen peroxide.  

In addition, Manuka honey also contains lots of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B3, potassium, zinc, and antioxidant compounds such as phenols and flavonoids which neutralize free radicals. The  honey helps block the damage these free radicals cause so you don't age as fast.

According to what I could find, this honey helps improve skin that is prone to acne by decreasing the amount of redness and helping inflamed skin. The two compounds mentioned earlier are great at killing bacteria so your skin is better able to heal. There are suggestions that it possibly fights infection while boosting healing.  In addition, it helps repair cellular damage at the same time it encourages skin regeneration. It has such a good reputation for healing that it is often used in clinical settings.  Manuka honey is also known for balancing your skin's pH, while helping get rid of dead skin cells. 

Furthermore, Manuka honey also works as a moisturizer due to it's humectant and emollient properties.  Remember humectants draw moisture from the air and deposit them on your skin while emollients fill the spaces between skin cells so your skin is softer. It is in this dual way that the honey hydrates your skin and causes your skin to look dewy.

You can either use it straight or you can invest in skincare products that contain it.  If you use it straight, you can clean your face by massaging a pea sized amount of honey all over before rinsing it off.  You can also mix the honey with ground oats and lemon juice as a mask. Mix it, apply it all over your face and leave for 15 minutes before washing off.

When shopping for Manuka honey, you want one that has a UMF or Unique Manuka Factor of 15 or more and an MGO or methylglyoxal rating of at least 250. Furthermore, make sure it comes from New Zealand so it is the actual item. It will be a bit expensive and the cheaper ones are not always what you want.  So know you know why Manuka honey is considered better than regular honey, especially for skin care.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Does Bee Venom Really Work?


Every time I turn around, there is some new ingredient hitting the skincare market.  One that makes all sorts of promises.  There's been snail slime, dragon's blood, and so many others.  Some stick around, some fade in time.  Recently, bee venom has been on the list but does it really work?  I know the hype says it does but does it?  We'll find out today.

We already know that bees play an important part in our world.  They fly from flower to flower, pollinating so we get both food and more flowers.  In addition, they produce a beautifully sweet liquid known as honey.  One other thing, bees have is venom which is used to protect themselves when they have to sting someone.  The venom is now found in many skin care products. Bee venom is said to contain amino acids, enzymes and peptides.

It appears there are multiple reasons ones should use a skincare product containing bee venom.  First, it helps reduce the the look of inflammation in the skin.  Bee venom contains melittin which is responsible for helping sooth skin.  Another thing it helps reduce is eczema which an outbreak of redness and itchy skin.  The same ingredient that helps sooth inflammation, also helps reduce eczema.  In addition, it is also suggested one use bee venom to help acne as it can help reduce the inflammation associated with acne.  

Furthermore, it is said to reduce how wrinkles look.  According to several studies, bee venom reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles so your skin does not look as if it is aging as fast.  One study I found indicates that bee venom actually reduces the total wrinkle area, total wrinkle count, and the average wrinkle depth. It is also said to make your skin glow giving it a more youthful look.

One other thing, if you have a sensitivity or allergy to bee venom, it is suggested you not use it at all.  If you really want to try it, speak with a medical professional first.  If you do not have a sensitivity, give it a try.  I use a cream at night that contains bee venom and I like the results but know results can vary form person to person.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, February 10, 2023

How To Stay Motivated To Lose Weight

So many times, it is easier to gain weight than it it is to take it off or even keep from gaining anything.  According to my doctor's scale, I'd put on something like 8 pounds in about 6 weeks which is something I have not had happen.  This made me step back, revisit my life, make some decisions including looking for ways to lose the weight while staying motivated.  I found something that works for me but I am not promising it will work for everyone but I'm including the most promising tips to help others.

When it comes to losing weight, you need two components.  The first is your diet while the second is exercise.  You need both components to successfully lose weight because you have to burn more calories than you consume.   Unfortunately, loosing weight can be quite difficult, especially if you lose your motivation.  When it comes to motivation, there are two types. The first is extrinsic or that which comes from outside in the form of rewards.  The second is intrinsic or motivation which comes from inside you.

According to a study of people who participated in an internet based program, the ones who lost five percent of their body weight by the 16th week, were the people who were able to maintain intrinsic motivation between weeks 4 and 16.  In fact, the study also found that those people who increased their self-monitoring, were more likely to be successful when it came to losing weight.

There are nine things you can do to help you lose weight.  First is to set realistic goals.  It is best to write down a very specific goal so instead of saying you want to lose weight, say instead that you want to lose 15 pounds by eating healthy foods and exercising more.  One has to also have a way of monitoring the diet and exercise and this would consist of writing down what you eat, how much you exercise every day and one a week write down your weight.  This way you can see what is happening.  

In addition, when you set these goals, you need to make sure they are attainable.  Goals such as losing one to two pounds a week is much better than deciding to lose 15 pounds in a month, or exercise 20 to 30  minutes a day if you know you don't have time to do an hours worth.  

Next, have a journal where you write down every single thing you eat, and how often you exercise.  You might also want to record what type of exercise you do.  You do not need a fancy journal, I use a spiral bound notebook where I write the date, a line for exercise and two for what I each each day.  I have a third line for when I need to record my weight.  Be specific when you record what you eat.  You might state you had 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal for breakfast with 1/4 cup milk and one tsp of sugar.  Make sure you also record any and all liquids you have every day.  In addition, include some self-reflection such as why did you keep wanting to snack all day, or why did you cut short the exercising or how did you feel after you tried that new workout? 

Provide positive self-talk to yourself.  Rather than thinking something is too hard, think of it as challenging, or rather than saying you should workout, just do it.  I find once I get started,  it is so much easier to complete a session.  If you don't manage to exercise that day, don't get mad at yourself. Forgive yourself and promise you'll do it tomorrow.  If you end up enjoying a piece of cheesecake, don't berate yourself, just accept that we all slip up, and start again 

As far as eating, do not go on a diet, especially one that is extremely restricting.  Start with a list of foods you like and want to eat but if they are higher in calories, look for variations that are lower in calories.  For instance, if you like a Chicken Alfredo, check the internet for a recipe that is just a creamy but has fewer calories so you don't feel deprived.

If you are a person who operates with todo lists or calendars, set them up for yourself.  Be specific when you schedule your exercise.  Don't just say walk but write walk for 30 minutes.  In fact, you can get your exercise via walking, dancing, working out, rowing, or other activity but you need to enjoy what you do.  

Look for a buddy who is there for you throughout your journey.  When you have a partner, you both keep each other motivated, you hold each other accountable, and you celebrate the small losses together.  Exercising with a friend, makes the time go faster and you have more fun.  From a personal viewpoint, I find having a journal the most motivating thing for me because I can see how much exercise I get and what I eat during the day so I know if I am eating properly.  I also know that weekends are the hardest thing for me because I'm at home all day, so I have to figure out what I can do to keep me from eating due to boredom.  

I hope this helps you.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Strengthening Your Core Muscles While Standing Up.

 Last time I looked at how important it was to have a strong core. This time I'm looking at ways to get a strong core without doing it all on the floor.  Yes, I do some of my core strengthening on the ground but it is not that easy so I prefer choosing exercises I can do standing up.  In addition, I still have to modify some of them so I don't hurt myself or get discouraged.

Although standing core exercises are not as effective as the traditional ones such as plank, abdominal crunch, or bridge, because of gravity.  Unfortunately, gravity helps do the exercises rather than providing resistance but for some people, the standing versions are better due to back issues. In addition, standing core exercises tend to target more muscles in your back and hips than the normal ones done on the floor.

One that can be done is the standing bicycle crunch. It actually mimics the bicycle crunches you do on the ground.  Furthermore, it helps your body be more functional, burns more calories, and there is less stress on your neck and back. Basically you bring your hand up behind your head with your elbows out.  Bring up the left knee while bringing the right elbow towards it as you would if you are on the floor.  Then you place the left leg on the floor and return the right elbow to its original position while standing straight.  Repeat with the right leg and left elbow and then revert back to the left.  Continue alternating sides.

If you want to take the standing bicycle crunch one step further, add in a squat.  You would start by lifting the left knee and moving the right elbow towards the knee and then return to a starting position. At this point, rather than switching to the other side, you squat while holding your hands up behind your head.  So you go down into a squat and back up.  Then you switch to the left elbow and right knee crunch and back to standing position. Then you throw in another squat.  Keep repeating. This variation burns even more calories.

For this next exercise, you'll need a dumbbell or a kettle bell. You grab the weight and hold it with both hands in front of your chest.  Keeping both hands on the weight you will bring it up by the left side of your face, up around to behind your head and down the right side till you return to the original position.  Then reverse the circle up the right side, behind the head, down the left side to the front.  This overhead circle or halo can be done with 8 or 4 or 2 in one direction before switching and doing 8,4, or 2 the other direction or you can do singles.  It is up to you.  In addition to working on your core, it also works on the rotational function of your abs along with your shoulders, triceps, and upper back.

Next is the standing oblique bends also known as the weighted side bend.  As the name implies, it targets the obliques.  This requires a set of dumbbells so you have one in each hand.  As you hold one dumbbell in each hand, feet a bit more than hip distance apart, you are ready to start.  You hold the hands down by the thighs, then slowly lean sideways to the right side allowing the weighted hand to move down towards your ankle.  Come back up slowly to an upright position, then slowly lean sideways to the left allowing the weighted left hand to move towards the ankle before slowly coming up.  Repeat multiple times. 

These are four standing exercises to help get you started on improving your core strength.  I'll revisit the subject in the future with more standing exercises.  I'd love to hear from you if you'd like to share your thought.  Have a great day. 

Monday, February 6, 2023

Why Core Strength Is Important.


It seems like every time I exercise, I hear the words core strength.  I know I need a good strong core but have never thought about the why before.  Why do I need to have a strong core?  So today, we are going to explore the topic.  In addition, we'll look at the best way to get a strong core because if you need one, you also need to know how to get one.

When they talk about core strength, they are referring to the muscles that are around your middle region also known as your trunk. This area includes the pelvic region, lower back, hips, and stomach or abs. They connect your upper and lower parts of the body.

One big thing working the core does is to help train the muscles all to work together so that you have better balance and and are more steady and are much more stable. Improving core strength is not only important for anyone who participates in sports, it is also important for people in everyday life. These muscles help you with everyday activities such as bending over and reaching up, to on the job activities that require twisting, standing, or even sitting at your desk, to household activities, to gardening to having good posture.

Now, you don't need to rush to the gym to exercise there. You can do certain moves at home to improve core strength but the moves need to coordinate back muscles with stomach muscles so they work together.  For instance, if you do a workout with free weights while keeping your core muscles stable, you are working on core strength.

Many of the classic exercises designed to strengthen your core include plank variations, sit-ups, and the use of a fitness ball.  One example of a classic exercise is the bridge. This is the one where you lie on your back with your knees bent.  You tighten the muscles in your stomach, raising your back off the floor up so your body is in a straight line from the shoulders on the floor to your knees.  Hold for three breaths and then slowly lower.  Repeat as needed.

Although it takes cardio exercise to burn the fat off your stomach, core exercises help strengthen and tone the muscles located underneath.  Another thing your core muscles are needed for is to make doing certain physical activities so much easier.  Activities like swinging a golf club, getting a plate down from the top shelf, or even bending down to tie shoes.  If you have weak core muscles, you tend to have poorer posture, lower back pain, and more inclined to suffer muscle injury.

It is important to include core exercises in your workouts so you have the stronger core and reach all your fitness goals.  So next time, I'll share more exercises that are designed to strengthen your core and they can be done at home.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Spring Fashion Colors Trends for 2023


In the last column, we looked at the trends for makeup so today we'll look at the trending fashion colors for spring 2023.  It's time to see what the best colors are and to decide if they are already in your wardrobe or if you need to buy a few pieces to update your look. 

Overall, the colors are selected to be combined in as many different ways as possible with the idea of living as if there is no tomorrow.  People are expected to combine vivid and saturated colors with neutral and basic tones to create the perfect look.

Specifically, look at intense reds, astro green, cerulean blue, rust brown, hot rose, cobalt blue, pistachio green, a beautiful vibrant orange, bright solar yellow, lavender, and mint green.  The intense red is a self-affirming, powerful, and impactful color that was seen on four major runways indicating it is quite popular.  It is wonderful to add a touch to monochromatic looks  and looks great when paired with neutral, warm, pink and gray tones.

Astro green is quite popular with the generation Z folks.  It adds a joyful look to any casual piece worn, yet looks fantastic in party wear with its shiny and satin type fabrics.  It adds that bit of luxury. On the other hand, cerulean blue works with so many different seasons. It brightens up the look as it goes well with darker shades or with monochromatic looks and is great in tailored pieces, party wear, or sportswear.

Then there is rust brown, a nice striking, versatile, neutral color which allows it to be used in a variety of combinations. This shade looks best in cotton and linen fabrics and goes well with certain blues and greens. This year pink is moving to a warmer and less vibrant shade called hot rose. It goes well with prints and small florals. In addition, it can easily be paired with lace, satins, and textured fabrics. 

Another shade of blue, cobalt blue, is on for this season. It looks good in monochromatic situations, matched up with neutrals or with oranges, yellows, and pinks, no matter the shade. On the other hand, pistachio green is wonderful to pair with certain shades of pink, brown, and gray, especially when worn as a blouse or dress. 

This year, vibrant orange is found with ruffles, and drapes of satin fabrics.  In addition to being found in clothing, it is great when worn as an accessorizing color for shoes, etc.  Choose a dress, jacket, or blouse of this color to match with other pieces.  The nice thing about Solar yellow is that it is a bright, cheerful color that cheers us up. It is great as an accessorizing color or in prints.  

Of course, lavender is one of those shades that can be found in warmer or cooler choices. It can be romantic, or youthful depending on the shade and looks great in lacy or transparent pieces.  Finally is mint green that is great in dresses, tops, and outer wear such as jackets. 

Have fun with these new colors and enjoy updating your wardrobe.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Spring Makeup Trends For 2023


We are now in February, the days are getting longer, and it is time to look at your makeup palette.  It is time to think about spring and checking out the latest trends for the new season.  Think about dewy skin, smoky eyes with layers and layers of liner, shadow, and blush but that isn't all.  Some of the looks and colors are subtle for those who prefer something lighter.

Shimmer is back but not as a one note.  Think about using a dimensional look so it adds depth.  In addition, think about choosing a frosted color on the eyes, the lips, and even a dab on the cheeks.  Frosted can be your friend.  Look for a gel containing shimmer to help it stay on better.

For contouring, look at underpainting so it is more subtle.  Think about applying the contour first before putting on the concealer and foundation so that the contour is barely there but causes the cheekbones to pop.   For a more subtle over all look, think about using the barely there look of rosy cheeks with the minimal make up look which is way different than the no make up look. You can still have the slightly flushed look on the cheeks, a bit of glimmer while having a polished look.

Of course, smoky eyes are usually around and this spring, they are there in the forefront.  Think about adding a angular wing at the eyes for that special look.  In addition, think about moving away from the gray and black shades towards the warmer shades.  The nice thing about a smoky look is that it can be matched up with bright red lipstick and nails.

As far as blush goes, layer, layer, layer it.  If you layer different blushes, you can create a theatrical look while elevating the overall look.  When you layer blushes, you need to start with a cream blush and then set it with a powder of about the same shade. This will give you that "look" you want.

Don't forget to start with the dewy skin look so you glow and look ethereal. Use plenty of highlighter so you get this great look. You don't have to use glitter to glow but you might want to use a skin care hybrid designed to boost the skins luminosity rather than relying on highlighters to get the look. 

Have fun experimenting and if you want something a bit extra to pop, think about a yellow lipstick, neon green eye shadow but save those for the Avant guard days.  Enjoy yourself this spring.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.