Remember being a young teenage girl and realizing that you might just maybe, possibly smell bad?  One day you’re spending your babysitting money on Wacky Packs and Hubba Bubba and the next day you’re riding your bike to the drug store to buy some Love’s Baby Soft, because what if you stink? What if that’s the real reason no boys like you???  Those early teenage years are brutal as your mind discovers dozens–nay, hundreds–of bodily flaws it hadn’t known about six months earlier. Body odor, whether real or imagined, is one of the easiest to solve. The shape of your nose, the ability to “pinch an inch” on your stomach, or the ever-growing colony of blackheads on your nose might be tough to get rid of, but smelling good is a no-brainer.

So you shouldn’t be surprised when your thirteen-year-old daughter wants to stop in at Bath and Body Works when you’re at the mall. You haven’t been to that store in probably a decade since you decided once and for all that you do not like to smell like fruit. You don’t really mind the idea of visiting Bath and Body Works until you realize your daughter will be smelling each individual item in the store.  Not just Cashmere Glow lotion, but Cashmere Glow hand sanitizer, Cashmere Glow Shimmer Mist, Cashmere Glow Shower Gel and the Cashmere Glow scented candle.  This will then be repeated with every single scent. At first you are game, washing your hands in the little sink and trying out a matching lotion. But pretty soon everything starts smelling too sweet and too cloying. Being the good mother that you are, you still gamely smell everything that your daughter holds out to you (“ooh, that’s nice!”, said in your most enthusiastic voice possible). But inside you want to run away. Quickly.

But Bath and Body Works has formulated their store to be hypnotic to the female consumer. Once you get over the initial fight or flight response, you begin to be lulled by all the flowery packaging and colorful shelves.  The smart and pragmatic woman inside of you is thinking, Sheer Cotton? What exactly is that supposed to smell like anyway? Your lizard brain, however, is saying Flowers. Cotton. Pretty. Yes.

Before you know it the “buy 2, get 5 free” sign seems like a really superb idea even though you hate shower gel and never use it. Why stop there, though? Who doesn’t want a butterfly-shaped plug-in that makes your house smell like a giant cupcake?  And why not buy the enormous three-wick candle? Because, really, don’t you need more Love & Sunshine in your life? Yes, you think tearily, I do need more Love & Sunshine. I really do. Or maybe you just need an Oahu Coconut Sunset. Even though that name makes zero sense it registers on some primal level. Hawaii, coconuts, beaches, happiness.

Then you spot Country Chic. Oh yes, that’s you all right. You’re humble and approachable in a Country sort of way. But also chic and stylish (wearing three-year-old capris qualifies as chic, right?). So that sounds perfect for you. Even though “country” in reality means Walmart and trailer homes not charming cottages and antique barns.

You’re eyes are darting madly by this point; yes, an Endless Weekend is pretty much your ideal. Wait, that would mean the kids are home every single day. Scratch that; no Endless Weekend.  Paris Amour. Now that sounds more like it. Paris, the City of Lights, the City of Love. That overpriced city where people are rude and the métro stinks of urine and everything costs way too much. And lets face it, you can find cuter things that say “Paris” at Target than in France. No, forget it, you’ll be passing on Paris Amour.

You reach for the next scent, Mad About You. Oh please. You’ve got to be pretty desperate to think that your lotion has feelings for you. Keep going. Amber Blush? Twilight Woods? The English language is starting to take a shape of its own. What do all these words even mean? A haze is washing over your mind as well as your nose. You aim towards the door, temporarily blinded by the shiny silver covers for the hand soaps (“Oooh, I must have those . . . .”).

Fortunately at that moment your daughter has finished her purchase and is jauntily holding her bag full of Velvet Sugar sweet nothings. You grab her arm and steer her out of the store, never so happy to smell the stale, piped-in air of the mall. And then you look down and notice something. A bag in your hand. What? How? You don’t even remember getting out your credit card. And so the endless cycle continues: each birthday and holiday, some woman will receive a gift purchased at Bath and Body Works. I didn’t mean to buy it, your eyes say as you watch your friend open her present, it’s just that Shimmer Mists were on sale, the Midnight Pomegrates were calling and I couldn’t say no.


Are you on the essential oil bandwagon? Nevermind, don’t answer that. Because if there is anyone more missionary-minded than Mormons, it’s people who are into essential oils. You would think that essential oils are the cure-all to every ailment under the sun, the way do-terra people talk. I do like the idea of essential oils, though, and think there are all sorts of nature-ey substances that can help people get well.  I tend to be a little distrustful of mainstream medicine. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good antibiotic and my kids are vaccinated right on schedule. But on the whole I think doctors are just educated guessers. Sometimes they can hit the nail on the head but a lot of the time they are just way off-base. But they refuse to believe that they are; so instead they throw a bunch of expensive prescription medication at every ailment and think it will all be OK.

A couple of months ago York got a nasty case of Mono. If you’ve ever had Mono you know there is nothing to treat it. Just take some Advil and get a comfy pillow because you’re going to spend the next six weeks sleeping your life away.  That’s it. That’s seriously all the doctors have to say. So I was more than happy to have a friend of mine offer to help out with some essential oils. Essential oils are especially appealing to me when modern medicine has zero to offer.

She came over and gave York some oils to gargle with to help with his killer sore throat and some other oils to make into pills to boost his immune system. Or something.

After three doses York was feeling well enough to drag himself to school. But he called in absolute dismay by the end of the day. He was covered with a red rash and his face and lips were quite swollen. I called my friend who had given me the essential oils;  “A rash is just a symptom of the body adjusting to the powerful essential oils,” she explained. “This is just his body’s way of detoxing.”

I raised my eyebrow. A rash doesn’t seem like a reassuring side effect. What’s next, getting rid of bad humors through blood-letting?

I was assured by my friend that it wasn’t an allergic reaction, and after doing some investigative reporting on the almighty interwebs, I felt assured that York wasn’t having an allergic reaction. (Just to be sure I gave him Benadryl which made zero difference in the rash or swelling.) If essential oils are powerful enough to cause this sort of reaction after just a few doses; there needs to be a lot more education before people start recommending these products, willy-nilly. Obviously essential oils can pack a punch if this is what can happen. Learning how to use these products properly should be a much bigger deal than it seems to be.

Here’s my big beef with essential oils: it’s really hard to find actual, truthful information. Instead people are being “educated” by the companies that sell the oils. That seems all wrong. Everyone knows that corporations exist to make money. They can say that they just want to help people, but if that were true they wouldn’t be charging the prices they do for their oils. They want to make a buck (well, lots of bucks, actually). So of course these companies want to sell all the oil that they can. I get that and I understand that’s what business is about. But I think this causes a conflict of interest. I basically don’t trust what these corporations have to say. It’s like a petroleum manufacturer making cars; wouldn’t a petroleum company make a car that requires you to use even more gas because that’s how they make money? Selling people gas? So why would I trust them to make a car that gets good mileage?  Same idea with essential oil companies.

Trying to find a reputable website or book to educate myself has been almost impossible too. What I’ve had have a hard time finding is a book that is unbiased. Many of the books and websites are affiliated with essential oil producers and affiliates. These books want me to use all sorts of oils every day for every complaint I have–surprise, surprise!  Again it makes me very skeptical of anything E.O. companies have to say. These are huge corporations that have all sorts of catch-phrases and hype that are meant to replace education with enthusiasm. (And lets not forget about the whole MLM aspect which makes me plain old uncomfortable.)

Here’s something I would like every essential oil company to know: the more copywrited terms you use, the more skeptical I become; so save your “certified pure therapeutic grade”, “seed to seal” and “certi-5” testing and just give me the honest truth. I am not interested in your slick marketing and websites featuring beautiful people surrounded by flowers.

What is a smart and savvy girl to do? I stumbled upon a few resources. Here were some incredibly helpful blog posts:

Which Essential Oil Company Should YOU Buy From?

The Great Essential Oils Showdown

These great articles piqued my interest in finding out the truth about Essential Oils. Just this week I took a big jump and registered for a couple of courses from Vintage Remedies. I’ve done a ton of info-gathering on the web and it seems like these classes are just what I’ve been looking for: research-based classes using actual science to educate and teach the way to use essential oils properly. These classes are not cheap but I really feel like I’ll be able to get the truth that I’ve been looking for to help my family find a healthy way to use natural substances to heal and prevent illness.

I’ll let you know how my journey goes!


If someone told me I would start getting zits again as I sauntered into middle age I would have punched them in the face. And then fainted. Because it’s not bad enough that my hair is getting really wimpy and my metabolism has come to a screeching halt. Now I’m getting pimples again like I’m 16 years old. What the heck, body? Why are you doing this to me???

But I have good company because both my teenage sons are breaking out too. I’ve only got chin zits now and again but they definitely need some help, skin-wise. So I did what I do anytime I think there must be a product to cure my ills: hop over to Amazon! Sho’ nuff, I found something magical.  This stuff:

Gel peel

It’s Perfect Image’s Salicylic Acid Gel Peel. It eats pimples. I’ve had professional chemical peels many a time and I’m a huge fan. This is a similar kind of thing but it doesn’t make my skin peel like the professional ones. It does get rid of zits, though. Totally. I use this once a week and I have not had one single pimple since then. I’m not exaggerating. No zits whatsoever.  Just wipe this on with a cotton ball, let it sit for between 45 seconds to 2 minutes and then rinse it off very thoroughly. Easy peasy.

Just a warning: it burns like a mother. The first time you use this you will barely be able to handle 30 seconds. Each week I upped the time until I got to about two minutes. That’s my limit.

After I use the gel peel my skin is super dry so I slather on some of my extra-luxuriant homemade moisturizer. The chemical peel makes skin more sensitive to the sun, so products with an SPF are a must! The rest of the week I use this Roc Retinol Correxion moisturizer which my dry skin just drinks up.  It’s quite heavy but since I have dry skin, it works for me. Sometimes I get this on Amazon but I can usually find it cheaper at Costco.

Roc moisturizer

(Yes, I use a product that is designed for “deep wrinkles”. Let’s just gloss over that little detail, mm-kay?) This moisturizer has got a big fat SPF 30 and you’d better believe you need that every single day. Especially if you live someplace sunny. If you have greasy skin this isn’t the product for you, but if you’re on the dry side, this Roc moisturizer is great.

Truthfully my sons haven’t had as good of results with the chemical peel as I have. Their zits are of the angry teenage sort and they’re hard to stop. The gel peel has reduced their break-outs by about 50%, I’d say.  I’ve given them a face wash that has also helped. Because Finn has dry skin he uses a moisturizer too.

They’ve had good luck with this cleanser
Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 11.58.18 AM

And this mositurizer:
Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 12.05.21 PM

The good news is that we’re a lot less zitty than we used to be a couple of months ago. I think you’ll agree that nothing is as big a drag as having a big fat pimple on your face.


P.S. Okay, yes, there are things that are a lot more of a drag than a big zit. No need to give me a laundry list of what a drag it is to be missing an arm or whatever.

P.P.S. I bought all these products with my very own money. Well, my husband’s money if you want to be technical. But I do receive a small pittance if you buy any of these products through my links. Which you should definitely do because I try to do right by you guys. And these products are legit.


 Bottle and dropper

Have you been hearing about cleaning your face with oil yet? If not, you will soon. The Oil Cleansing Method is all the rage. If you’re new to the concept of cleaning your skin with oil this will sound like the most ludicrous, bizarre notion EVER. Because who puts oil on her face? Who??? Lots of people! Me, for one.  I am incredibly picky and vigilant about skincare. So when I say that my skin has never looked better since I started washing with oil, you’d better believe that it’s good stuff. We’re talking luminous angel skin. I haven’t cleaned my soap with soap in over a year.

You know your skin produces oil all the time, right? Oil isn’t bad. Oil is what keeps your skin looking dewy and fresh. But if the oil production goes into overdrive it can cause problems. It can combine with bacteria and dirt and cause zits and blackheads. But without oil you will start to look like a raisin. No girl wants to look like a raisin!

All the commercials and ads have convinced us that we must use cleansers to get rid of the oil! That only when all oil is gone will we have good skin. So we buy all these cleansers thinking that we must get our skin clean CLEAN CLEAN. But then our skin gets dried out. Skin doesn’t like to be dry, so it sends a signal that we must produce even more oil. So our face becomes oilier. And more oil attracts more grime.

Then we start throwing moisturizers in there because our skin is so dry after we wash it to death; moisturizers full of chemicals and all sorts of nasty things and pretty soon our faces are not happy. Our skin is a big fat mess. We need to find a happy medium.

That’s where oil comes in: oil actually cleans oil. Without getting too science-y, like dissolves like. We need nice, nourishing oils to get rid of the gross, dirty oils on our faces and to do it without stripping our skin bare.

I know you are feeling mighty skeptical right now but believe me when I tell you that washing with oil will make your skin look phenomenal. It will feel so lovely and healthy you won’t even be able to deal with it. I get compliments on my skin every single day. Not kidding. This is one of the big reasons why.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Get some washcloths. I like grey ones because I don’t want to have to worry about stains from my eye makeup.  Cleasing with oil will take every stitch of makeup off; even the most waterproof mascara ever. I bought a big stack of washcloths at Target for just a few dollars. You’ll only use them a couple of times before they need to be washed in very hot water. Don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets.

Get some hot water. Let your faucet run til it’s nice and steamy or heat some up in the microwave. You want it hot but not hot enough to hurt you.

Make up your oil mixture.* You can’t just use any oil, silly! Most of the oils you’ll need can be bought at a health food store or maybe a grocery store with a fancy organic department. If you want to make it easy then just buy everything online (read the footnote below for more details).

The number one important oil to use is going to be castor oil. (When I make soap from scratch I always use castor oil because it makes nice big bubbles.) Castor oil has extra-great oil-removing properties and gets the yucky stuff from your pores. You’ll also need a companion oil. There are dozens of different kinds of oils: if you have oily skin jojoba, sunflower, and sweet almond are your best bets. Regular skin does well with grapeseed or Apricot Kernel Oil. Dry skin like mine prefers avocado or Extra-virgin Olive Oil (I’ve heard a lot of complaints about olive oil causing skin issues but I haven’t had any problems personally. If you have dry skin, try avocado oil first.) Tamanu oil is especially good if you’re prone to acne. It’s a spendy oil but is supposed to be fantastic.

Only mix a small amount at a time (maybe one ounce total). You might need to play around to find the right blend for your skin.

Get a little bottle; one of those travel sized bottles is perfect. Make sure it’s totally clean. A bunch of conditioner residue is not going to help. Depending on your skin type you’ll mix your oils up in various ratios depending on your skin type.

If your skin is oily, mix 2 parts castor oil with 1 part companion oil. For example: 2 Tablespoons of castor oil for 1 Tablespoon of almond oil.

If your skin is regular, mix castor oil and your companion oil in equal parts. For example: 2 Tablespoons of castor oil and 2 Tablespoons of apricot kernel oil.

If your skin is dry, mix 1 part castor oil to 2 parts carrier oil. For example: 1 Tablespoon castor oil to 2 Tablespoons avocado oil.

This is how to wash your face using oils: The first part will be the weirdest. You will take some of your oil mixture (about a quarter-sized amount) and rub it all over your dry face. No need to get your face wet first because we aren’t using soap. Just massage the oil all over your face for a minute or two. Make sure to rub your eyelashes because it will get rid of any trace of eye makeup in a snap. (Eye makeup remover is ancient history!)

Soak your washcloth in hot water (don’t burn yourself, for Pete’s sake!), wring it out, tip your head back slightly and lay the washcloth on your face. Leave it here until it starts to cool down. This is going to open up your pores and cut through the grime. Then gently wipe the oil from your face. I usually wipe my face off once, but you can do it again if you feel like it. Make sure to wipe under your eyes to get rid of any mascara, but be gentle!

Apply your moisturizer as soon as you’ve finished. I am still madly in love with my night-time syrum that I make with olive squalane (among other things). Yes, I wash my face with oil then apply more oil! My skin has never looked better. That’s saying a lot considering I’m 42. I also use the oil cleaning method every single solitary night. It truly pays off. Remember that your face is your calling card; treat it well!

Your skin might freak out a little during the first 1-2 weeks. Remember that it’s gotten used to having oil stripped away and has made your oil-producing factory wig out. Let your face have a week or two to settle down and get used to the new oil regimen. Just stick with it and try to resist using your old cleanser for a while. I think you’re really going to fall in love with your new glowing, velvet-y skin. Give it a try and tell me how you like it!


*So where do you get these oils? If you have a natural grocery store, that will probably be your best bet. My local H.E.B. has a big aisle that sells natural/health products and I can get most everything there. Sometimes sunflower seed and avocado oil can be found in the baking aisle by the vegetable oils (My local Costco carries Avocado oil in the baking aisle and it’s priced wonderfully.) Quite often you’ll find castor oil in the pharmacy department near stomach medicine. It is a big-time laxative (I drank a couple of spoonfuls of it once when I was enormously pregnant and trying to get labor started. Hoo-boy was that a crazy night in the bathroom!).
If you live in the middle of nowhere or just don’t feel like searching high and low, there are lots of places online that carry oils. I used to buy everything at Texas Natural Supply but they’ve been real jerks lately; Horrible, condescending customer service. Also, they wanted to charge me more for shipping than Brambleberry (which is located in Seattle) even though I only live 20 minutes away from them. So I recommend Brambleberry–my other favorite supplier.  I’ve been getting stuff from Brambleberry for almost ten years–their quality is excellent and their prices are reasonable.

I know you’re expecting me to tell you about that mascara or lipstick that you simply must have. Here’s the absolute most important thing you need:


Yep. Every single day. Winter, summer, even if you live in Oregon and the sun hasn’t come out in days. If you can see without a flashlight, your skin is getting bombarded with UV rays. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this truck driver who spent decades with only one side of his face exposed to the sun. And this is through a window! It’s not even full-on sun exposure!

If you’re under 30 you may think, “meh, I’ll worry about my skin when I’m older.” No, no, no, no, no. If you worry about your skin now, you’ll thank yourself each and every day.

You’re never too old to start wearing sunscreen. Take it from someone who is 41 and has no wrinkles. I wear sunscreen (both in my lotion–28 SPF–and in my foundation–15 SPF) and moisturize ever single day.

If you’re one of those people who insists they look so much better tan, yes. Yes, I’m sure you do. We all look better tan. But when you get tan you’re choosing wrinkles. It’s as simple as that. So if you’re OK with that then tan away.

You’ll never meet a 50 year old who wished she laid out a lot more as a teenager. But you’ll meet a ton of 50-year-olds who wished they took better care of their skin. I’m just telling you what you already know, right? So do it. Buy some skincare products with sunscreen. You can thank me in ten years.

Whether you wear makeup every single day of your life or wear it just for special occasions, there is something that you need to be doing on a very regular basis: exfoliating.  As I’m sure you remember from 8th grade biology, your body sloughs it’s skin all the time. Sometimes the skin falls off (hello dust!) and sometimes it sticks around. I’m sure you can imagine how unattractive it would be to have makeup, especially foundation, clinging to your dead bits of skin. Not pretty.

We all want perfect, smooth skin. Exfoliating gets you one big step closer to that. Have you ever seen someone whose foundation just looks so . . . obvious? A lot of the time it’s because they’ve got their makeup spread over rough, dry, dead skin. Sounds pleasant, no?

So how are you going to exfoliate and get rid of all this dead skin? There are some really fancy long, term solutions like chemical peels (which I love!) and microdermabrasion. But those are costly and not a day-to-day solution. Some people swear by swirly battery-powered brushes that cost upwards of a $100. Uh, no thanks.  Instead I’d like to recommend facial scrubs that have lots of scrubby ingredients like seeds or ground nuts. My favorite is the Citrus Facial Scrub by Burts Bees. It’s about $7 and I get it at Target. It’s made of natural goodies and smells like actual dried oranges and spice, not like fake-scented orange cleaner. It comes out of the jar very dry so it needs to be mixed with a bit of water to form a paste. Unlike other scrubs Burts Bees leaves behind a nice bit of moisture. Your face won’t feel parched and dry when it’s rinsed off.  This product can be a little on the messy side so I only use it in the shower. It really leaves my skin looking glowy and smooth.

Everyone’s skin is different so you’ll have to figure out how often you need it. At the bare minimum you ought to exfoliate once a week. Pay special attention to your nose and cheeks. This seems to be the area where dead skin seems to stick around the most.

No matter how young or old you are, exfoliating will help your skin look as fabulous as possible.



* I received no compensation for this review. I bought this scrub with my very own money and wanted to tell you how much I like it.

Today we’re going to talk about makeup primer. For a lot of you the response will be “say what?”. Primer is one of my favorite products; the whole point of it is to make your skin perfect for applying makeup. It goes on after your moisturizer/sunscreen (you’d better be wearing something with sunscreen in it or else I’m going to spank you!). It’s made out of who-knows-what but it glides on and makes your skin feel like velvet. Seriously, I could sit and pet my face for hours after I put this on. But instead I put on my foundation. Or if I’m having a less-is-more makeup day, I put on my blush, concealer and powder over the top. Either way, it helps the makeup do its job better by keeping your face smooth and silky-looking. It also helps the makeup stay in place and not look too shiny. If you live in a hot sweaty climate, it’s a must in the summertime. Especially since it’s oil-free.

Another great benefit of primer is that it sinks down into any fine lines you have, making you look a little less wrinkly. Perfect for light lines like crows feet. It also works well on big pores.

My favorite brand is by Smashbox. It’s called Photo Primer and the product I like best is the basic clear primer. (There are tinted ones as well, but I don’t like to mess with colors; I’d rather use my makeup to color-correct.) It’s not cheap ($36.00 for one ounce) but it lasts a long time. Sadly this is kind of an upscale item and the drugstore brands haven’t really jumped on the bandwagon yet. But they will! This is such a great product that it’s only a matter of time.

If you want skin that stays dewy and radiant looking all day and keeps your makeup in place, this is the thing for you. If you want to try it out first and make sure it’s something that you like, try buying a sample tube of it on ebay. Sephora sells it too and you might be able to snag some samples there.

It’s time we sat down and had a chat. You know you’re not getting any younger, right? Even if you’re 22, you know your lovely, wrinkle-free skin won’t last forever.  The older you get, the more important nice skin becomes. So here’s what you need to do: Stay out of the sun. I know, I know; you look gross and pasty if you don’t have a tan. I get it. But this is the thing: a tan lasts for what– a few days? But the damage of being out in the sun lasts forever. Forever. You can’t undo the damage. It’s not like a pair of lungs that somehow regenerate themselves once a person stops smoking. Forget what the ads say, you can’t turn back the clock. If you could everyone would look 28.

It’s sad to consider all the damage we girls of the 80’s did in the quest for bronze-goddess status. But nowadays pale skin is where it’s at. You can be pale and still be accepted socially!  Look at all the actresses! They are pale. So accept your future; it’s either tan and wrinkly or pale and less wrinkly. There is no possibility of being tan and having gorgeous skin until you’re fifty. It is simply impossible. Impossible.

Most of the skin products I use are homemade, but my daytime moisturizer is something I don’t mess around with. Why? I need serious SPF and so do you. Adding SPF to handmade products is a tricky business and I don’t want to end up making a product that hurts, rather than helps, my skin.

There are a jillion creams and lotions out there for you to chose from. I stick to the drugstore products because they are cheap and work perfectly well. If buying something that costs $50 makes you feel better about yourself, be my guest.  But there are lots of cheapo products that work really nicely.  This is my favorite. It’s by Garnier and moisturizes my dry skin without making it greasy, and it looks nice under my makeup. It has a nice fat SPF of 28.  You shouldn’t be putting anything on your face with an SPF less than 25.

favorite daytime moisturizer

Garnier Skin Renew costs about $12 and can be purchased at any drug store/Target, etc.

Again, my skin is dry and not at all sensitive. If your skin is oily or easy irritated, you might need to try some other options. Garnier Skin Renew might work for you or it might not. Either way make sure you get something with a nice high SPF. Promise?


I was not paid by anybody to hype this product. I just like it.

Today is Makeup Monday and although I call it that, it’s really about more than just cosmetics. Anything having to do with the face or skin is fair game.  Today we’ll be discussing that gross, bumpy, red skin that shows up on the backs of your arms (or even on your legs, hips or bum). I always figured this skin condition was something that happened to everyone as they got older. It happened to me, although I’m not really sure when I first noticed it—maybe sometime in my early thirties.  But I’ve talked to several people who don’t have it (lucky!). I’ve also found out that it can actually be caused by a medical condition called Keratosis Pilaris. (That sounds like some sort of fancy new workout.)

I’m rather passionate about skin care and have tried all sorts of methods to get rid of my scaly, red chicken skin. I have used every exfoliation product sold at the store and still it’s persisted.

Until now.

My red bumps are gone. Completely gone. It took about two weeks.

This is how I got rid of them: (People are always asking me for lots of details when I do a skin “how-to” so this will be very descriptive.)

1. Exfoliate in the shower every day. You can use whatever method you prefer. I have a loofah that I use sometimes. But I also use an Apricot Scrub by St. Ives. This is a really unique body scrub because it isn’t oily. Most scrubs are full of oil so they will moisturize as well as exfoliate. But we don’t need to be coated with oil at this point. So stick with the St. Ives if you plan on using a body scrub (it’s also perfect for exfoliating before a spray tan). It’s cheap and can be found in just about any drug or grocery store. But any product that really gives your skin a good scrubbing will be fine.  Exfoliation alone is not enough, though.

2. Moisturize. I stumbled across a fantastic product a while ago called Olay Quench In-Shower Body Lotion. It is pretty strange stuff. After you’ve cleaned yourself off in the shower, you slather this Olay lotion on and then rinse it off. Yes, you rinse it off. So bizarre. But it is wonderful. It will leave your skin so moist and soft. And it has a little sparkle to it. Who doesn’t want to be sparkly? (Okay, maybe not men. But Mister uses it and you definitely cannot see the sparkle through his arm hair.) It has  a pleasant scent (not my fave but it’s OK. The scent doesn’t last long anyway).  Occasionally I can find this at Target (you know I don’t shop at the Walmarts on principle so I can’t tell you if they sell it there) but sometimes I have to get it here on Amazon where it’s about $8 for a pretty big bottle. It’s easy to spot because it has a large hole at the top of the bottle to hang in your shower (nifty little touch). You don’t have to use this moisturizer, but I love it and it’s super convenient to apply lotion head to toe and be done in 30 seconds. If you don’t want to use this, then go straight to step three.

3. After I get out of the shower and do my hair, my lotion has absorbed pretty well so I apply my third—and most important—product: Glytone Body Lotion which you can buy here. I found this on Amazon and it’s been a game-changer.  This lotion is over 17% Alpha Hydroxy Acid. So basically, it’s going to sizzle off those bumps and keep new ones from forming.  Glytone is pretty spendy (about $30 for an 8 ounce bottle) but I only apply it to the areas that need it so I imagine it’s going to last quite a while.  Glytone needs to be applied twice a day, so I use it in the morning after my shower like I said, then in the evening after I get undressed. That way it can sit on my body all night long.

I’ve been completely amazed at my arms; they are silky, clear and baby soft. It took me about two weeks to get them looking good, but other people that have used Glytone say it can take up to 3-4 weeks.  If you’re going to be wearing anything revealing for the holidays, now is the time to get your skin in tip-top shape.


I was not compensated for any of these products. I bought them, tried them and liked them all on my own.

Hey lookie! Makeup Monday is back! It’s not just about makeup, despite its name. It’s about beauty, and products I like, and maybe even a tutorial or two. After all, I want you readers to be even better looking than you already are! Well, actually, you can be hideous if you want. It’s not really my business. But I’m here to help you look ravishing if you’d like to. And before we even think about makeup we need to think about skin. It’s your blank canvas. Your makeup can be absolutely perfect, but if your skin is no good then it hardly matters.

I am 40 and my skin still looks pretty darn good. I get compliments on it almost every day. Part of it is genetics, part of it is staying out of the sun, but a large part of it is due to two products: olive squalane and shea butter. I make my own soap (soap being nothing more than a combination of water, lye and oils). While I think soap is sort of important, it’s washed off every time it’s used. But moisturizers stick around. To me moisturizing is where it’s at. I love the idea of using completely natural products on my skin. Because of my soapmaking, I have many, many oils and butters on hand. I have tried everything to see what works.

I have dry skin that has only gotten dryer as I’ve aged. Dry skin looks tired and lackluster. So I was thrilled to find my first product: Olive squalane. Squalanes are produced by the skin and are basically fats pumped with antioxidents. They are what gives a child that radiant, glowing complexion. But our bodies slow down squalane production in our early 20’s. After than we’re left with skin that gets wrinklier every year. Excuse me while I sob about that for a minute.  But lo, here is squalane in a bottle! It is wonderful! Seriously, it is light and quickly-absorbed by the skin. I apply a few drops to my face, neck and hands every night after I wash my face. When it’s dry weather I’ll also put some on before I apply my moisturizer with SPF.

The thought of putting oil on my face freaked me out a little the first time I tried it. I mean, I spent my entire adolescence getting rid of oil! But this isn’t heavy and won’t clog pores. It’s nickname is “A facelift in a bottle”. While I think that might be pushing it, olive squalane is fantastic stuff; my skin glows. It is soft and moist and healthy-looking. It will forever be my favorite facial product.

My second favorite product is shea butter. I make a salve that has several ingredients but the backbone is pure shea butter. I’ve used it by itself for quite a while and it’s great stuff. When I was about 35 I started getting dry, scaly skin under my eyes. The skin in that area is very delicate and I had an impossible time trying to get rid of the dry cracks.  I even tried chemical peels which worked for a couple of weeks but never cured the problem.  One night as I was going through my soapmaking supplies I came across my container of shea butter. I though, “what the heck?” and rubbed a bit under my eyes. By the morning the dry skin was gone and has never come back.

Shea butter is very heavy and greasy. I only put it under my eyes and around the mouth on my smile lines. It’s incredibly gentle and has never irritated my eyes. It is also great to put on lips or on chapped baby cheeks. If you live in a dry or cold climate, you need this stuff!

Olive squalane and shea butter are specialty ingredients that can be hard to find locally. I get mine from Texas Natural Supply. They are here in Austin but are exclusively a mail order company. I have been thrilled with the quality of their products. Their prices are very good too (although shipping is not cheap. But in the end these products are not going to be any more expensive than nice drugstore moisturizers). You can find olive squalane here and shea butter here.