Beautiful Skin: Beyond the Knife and the Needle


Botox

Turning thirty was bad. Turning thirty-three was worse. Not having college students think I was “one of them” at a restaurant at my alma mater after a recent football game was the Grand Poobah of all things awful.

The combination of having a stressful career, spending years laying in the Florida sun after dousing myself with baby oil, and drinking five cups of coffee a day has taken a toll on my skin. I’ve resisted Botox, mainly because of an irrational fear of needles triggered by a bad vaccination experience when I was four years old. I’ve also resisted Botox because “old lady face” beats “crazy lady face” any day of the week, and a bad Botox job can be spotted a million miles away. In an effort to postpone resorting to the knife or the needle, I reached out to my long-time girlfriend, Dana Hess, who is a Physician’s Assistant at a Tampa dermatology practice. Dana and I met in college when I was assigned as her recruitment counselor when she was participating in sorority rush at the University of Florida. We’ve stayed friends ever since, and she was kind enough to give me skin advice after I had my second baby and was ready to tackle pre-pregnancy skin problems. Here’s her input on how to have gorgeous skin without breaking the bank:

Best Drugstore Product: It’s important to have a good cleanser that removes dirt, oil, and make-up. For people with dry or sensitive skin, I recommend Cetaphil. People with normal skin can use a variety such as Neutrogena.  For oily skin, I recommend a cleanser with salicylic acid, such as Neutrogena pore refining cleanser. It is vital to wash your face (and wash it well!) before going to bed. Do not skip it. Your skin will thank you in the morning.

Best Over-the-Counter Product: Good sunscreen! Not all sunscreen is created equal. The active ingredients I look for are zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide because they physically block the sun. The pricier sunscreens micronize these minerals so they are clear when applied, as opposed to “baby” sunscreens and the 1980s zinc oxide that is thick, white and pasty. I like LaRoche Posay sunscreen and EltaMD, the latter we carry at my office. Sunscreen should be worn daily, especially in hot climates! I know, I know, “you work in an office and don’t go outside.” Put it on regardless! Sun exposure is cumulative from birth, meaning that your skin does not forget each time you are exposed.

Best “Splurge” Product: My favorite splurge product is from ZO, which is Dr. Obagi’s new line of products. It is called Daily Power Defense and it should be worn daily prior to sunscreen. It contains DNA repair enzymes, antioxidants, retinol, and ceramides to help repair dry, irritated skin. There are a few key reasons I am a big fan of this product. Evironmental factors such as allergans, pollutants, and sun can cause free radicals, which are small enough to get into our pores and begin to break down collagen. This product helps repair and restore skin barrier function by protecting and repairing damaged DNA. Even women with sensitive skin can use this product. I have not had one patient say their skin cannot tolerate it. You want to begin using this product in your 20s, 30s, or 40s, and it’s worth the hefty price tag.

Best Out-of-the-Box Pointers:  When applying sunscreen, I always include my chest, if exposed, before applying the remainder on the backs of both hands. Nobody wants brown spots on the backs of their hands. I am also a huge fan of my Clarisonic. I can physically see the difference when using my Clarisonic to wash my face versus when I don’t use it. You can find them on sale frequently and there are many knock off competitors which I am sure do the job just as well. Many women also notice the first signs of aging to the delicate skin around the eyes, so I think a good eye cream can be paramount. If you have puffiness and dark circles, I like Teamine Eye Complex by Revision skincare, and if you have fine lines and crepiness, I like ZO Intense Eye Repair.

Best Way to Achieve “Red Carpet Skin” without Needles: I am a big fan of undergoing chemical peels a couple times a year, such as after summer and mid spring. A chemical peel is great for uneven skin tone/hyperpigmentation, acne, pores, bad texture. In order to keep skin healthy, you need cell turnover and exfoliation, both of which a chemical peel can provide. You do need to pick a time where you don’t mind your skin peeling for a few days, typically the second or third day after the peel. We also have several lasers to address fine lines, deeper wrinkles, texture, scarring, pigmentation. Come and see me for a VISIA skin analysis and we can get a treatment plan that’s specific to your needs. Skin care is not “one size fits all.”

Dana Hess is a Physician’s Assistant at South Tampa Dermatology. She lives in Tampa with her husband and two daughters. (And she’s so much fun and an awesome friend!)

Dana

 

    The Lady Who Saved My Sanity: The Mother’s Helper


    How to find a mother's helper | The Champagne Supernova

    Our beloved Aba

    This is Josephine, but we call her “Aba,” short for Abuela, which means Grandmother in Spanish. She joined our family in August of 2014 and what followed included a heaping wad of sanity for all four of us.

    I could barely get myself dressed, out of the house, and to work on time when I had zero children. I definitely couldn’t do those things when I had one child. When I was pregnant with our second, I knew we needed to find someone to help get us out of the house in the morning. I didn’t want valuable after-work time with my kids to be consumed with the stress of coming home, getting unpacked, making dinner, doing laundry, cleaning up from dinner, washing bottles, and getting ready to do it all over again the next day. Enter Aba.

    Aba is what I call a “Mother’s Helper.” I definitely think I coined this phrase because Lord knows Google had no clue what I was looking for when I was on the internet frantically looking for one during my last few weeks of maternity leave. Aba arrives at our house each weekday morning at 7 am and leaves a couple hours later at 10. In that timeframe, she washes bottles, makes lunch for both girls, does our laundry, makes the beds, and has dinner ready and waiting for us when we arrive home.

    If I had to come home and do these things after working a full day, it would not be pretty. I’m positive I would be sobbing in a corner while rocking back and forth in fetal position, angry at the world.

    Lots of parents do this on their own, I get it. But this is my one “splurge” for myself.

    Not only is Aba helpful, but she is a joy to spend our mornings with and she treats my daughters like they are her own children. She genuinely cares for them and will often call or text to see how they are doing when they are sick.

    Best of all, she’s able to watch them for the day when they are too sick to go to school and my husband and I have obligations at work that are difficult to miss. Aba’s gotten us out of many a work bind, as we don’t have local family who can cover for us in an eleventh-hour emergency.

    Being a parent is really hard. It’s even harder when you’re keeping a ton of balls in the air- to include a marriage, career, hobbies, obligations, and friendships. This isn’t limited to working moms. I’ve (temporarily) experienced the struggle of staying home with kids and man, it’s exhausting. While having Aba has required us to sacrifice between buying fancy “stuff” or keeping her around, just knowing that I can come home from work and legitimately play with the girls without being taunted by the laundry demons makes her worth every red cent.

    What are things you’ve done to simplify your life in order to enjoy time with your children? Do you have any “outside the box” tips to share with busy moms who need extra help?

    Cheers to simplifying your life!

      Great Hair: Streamlining Your Daily Routine


      I have naturally frizzy hair. Its texture is best compared to a fresh-out-of-the-sink-Brillo-pad. I used to have the time to blow it out every day and get it colored every 8 weeks, but that ship has sailed. Enter Ellie Wambold, my hair guru. Last year, I hosted a girls’ night at my house where Ellie came and educated me and some friends on how to have our hair look great without spending a lot of time on it. That night improved my life, and I wanted to share the highlights (pun intended) of it with you!

      Ellie has been in the hair business for over a decade and has hundreds of clients. According to Ellie, “when it comes to coloring, we just don’t have the time to get our hair done every few weeks anymore.” She loves that the low-maintenance balayage, ombre, and sombre looks that were once considered “trendy” are here to stay. “Most of my clients that color this way can go 3-6 months, and sometimes a year, before needing to recolor. This saves them time and money.”

      Tips:  Wash your hair every other day or every other third day to save time. If you have oily hair, no fear: after three weeks, your glands will become accustomed to not having your hair washed daily and you will end up with shinier, healthier hair. Plus, you’ll save money on beauty products. (Dry shampoo will be really important to ensure your roots don’t look like the Exxon Valdez… more details below). Pinterest and The Beauty Department web sites are great resources for achieving new looks and usually contain tutorials for how to do your own hair.

      Products I Can’t Live Without: Dry Shampoo. It saves tons of time and does a good job of absorbing oils. (Note: I’ve tried almost every brand and find that TRESemme works the best and is the least expensive.) Another great product is a 1″ wand or curling iron because you can tame frizzy hair by smoothing the hair and curling it away from your face, even if you go to bed with wet hair and don’t want to blow it dry the next morning. I also love Bumble and Bumble “Prep” Detangler. This works well to freshen the ends of your hair on days you don’t blow dry.

      Day 1: Blow out your hair with a round brush. To do this, you will want to blow dry your hair with your hands pulling at the roots to create height and volume. When your hair is almost 100% dry, take 2-3 sections with clips and a round brush. Make sure you use the flat nozzle that came with your blow dryer so you don’t fry your hair. (See the illustration below courtesy of Lauren Conrad and The Beauty Department).

      TBDperfblowout2

      Day 2: Spray dry shampoo on your roots. Curl your hair in spiral-style curls away from your face. Wait 10 minutes after the curls have cooled. By this time, the dry shampoo has had time to suck up the oils. Now, message the dry shampoo into the roots, shake your head upside down, and voila… you have great hair! The photographs and instructions below were found on Pinterest.

      fakeblowout

      Day 3: The high bun. First, pull your hair to the top of your head in a high ponytail. Second, tease the ponytail, and lastly, slightly comb your hair out before wrapping it around your head into a messy bun and secure with bobby pins. The key is to put the bobby in with the grooves facing down. (I’ve been doing it wrong all these years and wondering why the bobby pins weren’t holding my hair in place). The photograph is courtesy of Pinterest.

      TopKnot

       

      Ellie

      Ellie Wambold is an independent stylist at Mint Hair Lounge in Tampa. Make an appointment with her by email: Ellie@hairbyellie.com.  She enjoys being a successful business woman, nature, the peacefulness of the ocean, and spending time at playgrounds with her spunky, creative three-year-old daughter.

      I think we’re all guilty of committing mortal hair sins at some point in our lives. Mine was going platinum. This lasted until around 2009, and I look back on pictures of me and wonder where on Earth my friends were to tell me how horrible it looked. It was difficult to even delineate between where my forehead ended and my hair started. See the photo below- I’m the girl whose hair matches the house behind me.

      jenplatinum

      Bad, bad, bad. What is your mortal hair sin? Also, what are some of your favorite tricks for streamlining your morning routine?

        Stop Prefacing your Statements and Start Owning Them


         

        I cringe when I see it on my social media newsfeed. Awesome, educated, intelligent people who feel the need to preface their status updates about a controversial or potentially unpopular subject with “I don’t usually post about <religion/ politics/ race relations/ gender equality/ my expensive new car/ superstitious chain mail> but…” This little phrase appears most frequently during election seasons, but I’ve seen it in a variety of other situations.

        I think people use this preface for different reasons. It’s because they think it serves as an advance apology for writing something that others might find offensive. It’s because they think their readers will give more credence to their opinion about the subject because of their usual silence. It’s because they want to lighten the blow of the statements that follow. Or, it’s because they’re unnecessarily verbose.

        Stop it already. Just stop.

        If you want to make a statement about something (without being plain unkind), then own that statement! You are entitled to present your complete opinions without an advance caveat. Without the preface. There is nothing more powerful than hearing (or reading) someone speak from the heart.

          Girlfriend Traditions


          I love my college girlfriends. They are the ones who have seen me at my best and worst, and still choose to be my friend anyway. I met a core group of college girlfriends through a combination of living in the dorms and my sorority pledge class. These are the girls who ironed my hair- literally with an iron- before I discovered the Helen of Troy straightener (even before there was Chi). We lived together, went on Spring Break together, and were in each other’s weddings. Unfortunately, we all live far away and found it hard to get together once we started our careers, got married, and had children.

          Melissa lives in San Francisco, has two children, and works in sales.
          Stephanie lives in Washington, D.C. and juggles her career as a research consultant with her packed social calendar.
          Emily lives in Orlando, has a toddler, and is an elementary school teacher.
          Amanda lives in Fort Lauderdale, has two children, and is a physician’s assistant.

          In 2010, we started the tradition of meeting in a different city for an annual girls’ trip. In 2013, we made an exception and had a family trip, which included children and significant others. We canned that idea the following year because it was difficult to have meaningful “girl time” when we were busy changing diapers and trying to prevent our toddlers from drowning in the pool. So far, we have gone to Newport, Boston, Dallas, Sarasota, and Orlando. My favorite location has been Newport because it’s a historic and “walkable” city where you don’t need a taxi to get around. There were plenty of restaurants and shops within walking distance from the Bed and Breakfast where we stayed. Our inner nerds convinced us to tour Rough Point, one of Newport’s many mansions, and the former home of philanthropist and tobacco heiress, Doris Duke. This mansion tour was the inspiration behind my daughter’s name. The first time I ever heard the name Arden was when the tour guide said it was the name of Doris Duke’s only daughter, and I loved it so much that it became my first daughter’s name (beating out Harper and Channing, but I digress…)

          GirlsNewport
          The Girls (and a guy friend) in Newport in 2010.

          GirlsBoston
          The Girls in Boston in 2011. I was five months pregnant with my first daughter.

          GirlsDallas
          The Girls in Dallas in 2012. Melissa couldn’t travel because of pregnancy complications and it wasn’t the same without her.

          GirlsOrlando
          The Girls in Winter Park, Florida, in 2014.

          What are your favorite traditions with friends who live far away? How do you make time for your friends once you get busy with life’s obligations?

            My Theme for 2015: Just Say No!


            SayNo

            Happy 2015 everybody! I hope everyone is having a nice start to the new year and had a good time ringing it in last night.

            A new year always triggers a need for me to reflect on what worked in my life and what didn’t in the last year, including what I want to change and what should stay the same. This can be tough because it forces me take a long, honest look at my weaknesses, which is never fun. I’ve taken a personal vow to remain completely authentic 100% of the time with total disregard about what other people think (my first step: putting myself out there on the internet). I’ve come to realize, in this journey to authenticity, that many of my actions were performed out of fear, obligation, or guilt, rather than a sincere desire to do them. I was taking on too many commitments and it was straining my career, marriage, and friendships. For instance, I was so stressed about accepting five consecutive after-work dinner invitations in one week that I wasn’t enjoying the brief time I had at home with my family after work- all I could focus on was getting myself dressed and out the door on time for whatever obligation I shouldn’t have accepted in the first place. I was constantly saying “yes” when I really wanted to say “no,” but feared that the “no” would let other people down or would cause the invitations to stop coming. I can’t let myself be guided by fear.

            My theme for 2015 is “just say no!” I will just say no to committing myself to doing things I don’t truly want to do.  I will just say no to spending time with people who I don’t genuinely want to spend time with. I will just say no to allowing myself to be distracted by technology during what should be “quality time” with my daughters. I will just say no to overextending myself through membership in organizations that no longer suit my interests or further my goals.  I will just say no to allowing myself to feel guilty for declining invitations to dinners, weddings, showers, or birthday parties unless these events are things I completely want to attend.

            What are your goals for 2015?

              A Mediterranean Slumber


              Without being obnoxiously mushy, finding out that our second child was going to be a girl was a proverbial dream come true. I always knew in my heart that I would be the mother of two girls. My sister, Amanda, and I are two years apart and inseparable (although it wasn’t always like that growing up when we were arguing over clothes and the phone). When my husband and I discovered we were having another girl, I felt excited that my daughters would be close in age and someday have the bond that Amanda and I are lucky to have.

              I love the colors and theme of our oldest daughter’s room, but wanted our second daughter’s room to be completely different, just as we want her one day to embrace the inner peace that comes with “marching to the beat” of her own drum.

              After running circles around Pinterest, poring over children’s magazines, and consulting with some fashion-savvy friends, here is the final product:

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              The pouf, bedding, and curtains are part of the Bazaar collection at the Land of Nod. The fauxidermy and framed wall art is from Z Gallerie. The burlap wreath is from Etsy and the diaper container on top of the changing table is from The Container Store. The night stand and changing table are from a local vintage furniture store. Last but not least, the rug, which is my favorite part of the nursery, is part of the Wyndham collection with Safavieh.

              As my “baby” is now seven months old, she has gotten a lot of use out of the nursery (we didn’t let her over-welcome her stay in our bedroom like we did with our first daughter). We have enjoyed watching the girls “play” together in the nursery and hope they realize, when they are someday teenagers and arguing over clothes and the phone, that they will ultimately be best friends.

               

                A Lilly Pulitzer-Inspired Nursery


                Lilly Pulitzer girls' nursery | The Champagne Supernova  http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2014/12/a-lilly-pulitzer-inspired-nursery/ ‎
                Like most first time moms, the pending arrival of our daughter in March of 2012 came with the anxiety of having the most.perfect.nursery.ever. I wanted her room to be different than the expected “explosion of pink” but feminine in a not-so-over the top way. I searched for ideas all over the internet before vowing I wouldn’t look at another web site and to be authentic about what I wanted to do. I’ve loved Lilly Pulitzer since college and wanted to go with a Lilly-inspired theme. Here’s what I came up with:
                Read about how I created a Lilly Pulitzer inspired baby nursery for my daughter, born March 2012. Read about how I created a Lilly Pulitzer inspired baby nursery for my daughter, born March 2012. Read about how I created a Lilly Pulitzer inspired baby nursery for my daughter, born March 2012. arden79 Read about how I created a Lilly Pulitzer inspired baby nursery for my daughter, born March 2012. arden82
                The bedding, curtains, and floral lamp are from Pottery Barn Kids. The wreath and pillows are from Etsy, and the green wall paint is “Green Goddess” from Valspar at Lowe’s.  I purchased the fashion form from Amazon and decorated it with faux pearls and a tutu from a kiosk at the mall. The hamper is from The Container Store and the furniture from JCPenney. I ordered the mix-and-match Lilly fabric from an Ebay seller and placed it inside large white frames from Pier One. Note: iron the fabric before taping it to the inside matting of the picture frame. The rocking chair is from a thrift store and the wicker stand was a hand-me-down from a friend. The photograph inside the frame on the wicker stand was a favorite baby shower gift from my great-Aunt Dolores. It contains a picture of my cousin, my mom, and my mom’s twin sister at a birthday party in the early 1960s. Do any of you have sentimental treasures that you incorporated into your home décor?

                 

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