Blackhead removal tool

For several years now I’ve been using this great tool I got from Bliss Spa. It’s the Antoine de Paris blackhead extractor. As Bliss says on their website, “if you’re going to ‘pick’, you might as well properly equip.” So true!

I’m a picker–I admit it–I cannot stand the sight of a big blackhead on my nose. But unfortunately in the past (before I had this tool) I had broken some of those tiny capillaries around the crease of my nose–not good! So this tool is great–it’s the same thing they use in spas. I use it right after I shower, when my skin is well steamed and the blackheads are softened.

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favorite anti-aging neck treatment

Call me crazy, but I’m paranoid of a sagging neck when I get older. I wear sunscreen religiously on my neck and chest, but lately have been trying different products for night and under sunscreen. I’ve come up with two products I really like.

The first is called “Face and Body Nutrients, Anti Aging Mist” by Acqua. This is super light and moisturizing but not in a greasy or thick way. It’s totally compatable with oily/acne prone skin (mine!) I use this on my face (night only) and then neck and chest morning and night. I got this at Preston Wynne spa in Los Gatos.

Then at night on top of that I’ve been using Dr Brandt’s V-Zone Neck Cream. Thick, but not greasy. Really nice for the neck and chest. I got this at Sephora.

new favorite face sunscreen

Just when I thought I would look no further than the Derma Doctor sunscreen, I was in NYC and the airline lost my bags, so I had to beeline to Saks 5th Avenue in the morning before my meetings! I went straight to the Laura Mercier counter to get make up, and came across their oil free spf 15 sunscreen. I love it! It’s very light–lighter than Derma Doctor–and has lavender, so it’s great for oily or sensitive skins. This combined with the Laura Mercier mineral make up line is pure face bliss 🙂

Easy way to make your own baby food

When I first started feeding my baby solid food, I was using the Earth’s Best Organics. It tasted good and seemed fine. A good friend of mine pointed out that this was my golden opportunity to introduce a large variety of vegetables and that after a certain amount of time passed, that window would be gone. She explained that this is the stage where kids develop tastes for foods and after a certain amount of time passes, they’ll be choosing their own foods.

I’m really glad she gave me this advice. Even though I’m so busy and the thought of making food seemed daunting, I found it to be very easy and it’s been very rewarding to see my daughter eat so healthy.

Here’s what I do:

Each Sunday I steam a bunch of veggies: spinach, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower are the main ones I use. I steam them seperately. Once cooked, I put them in a Cuisinart Mini Prep chopper ( you could use any food processor) and blend to desired consistency (I used to totally puree them, now that she’s older I leave them with a little more “chunk”.) Then I put them in ice cube trays and freeze. I use the Tovolo silicone square trays–they make perfect square cubes and are easy to snap out.

Then you have a few ice cube trays of fresh-frozen organic veggies. I typically pop out 2-3 squares per meal and microwave for 30-60 seconds. I usually then add Plum Organic’s Veggie and Beef Stew frozen food to this so she has some protein. You could obviously add whatever protein or additional stuff you want. Sometimes I add in Happy Baby (fresh in the refridgerated section of Whole Foods) sweet potatoes. They’re so creamy and yummy. I also sometimes use Happy Baby’s frozen foods–they’re all great and are of the same premise–fresh frozen food in cubes.

I got a few faces at the beginning, but now eagerly she eats this for breakfast and dinner and loves it. Yes, that’s right–breakfast. I found that she was the least picky with breakfast, because she was good and hungry and started feeding this to her then. Then it just became routine we kick off the day with some good greens and protein.

As of today (she’s 11 months today), she’s not yet had any processed food or sugar. She doesn’t even know what they are. Her diet is veggies, protein and fruit. She’s very healthy and happy and doing great.

I know I can’t keep her from sugar forever, but I figured there’s no sense offering her processed foods when she doesn’t even know the difference or know what they are at this point. And we’ve got a good base of her eating and liking healthy foods.

I was at a baby shower a few weeks ago and one of the games was to pass around baby food in a jar and guess what it was. Some of those foods were so revolting I dry heaved! It’s no wonder parents say their kids don’t like veggies or meat. If you smelled or ate that stuff, you wouldn’t like it either. It was really an eye opener for me to see the huge difference between frozen veggies and jarred veggies (i.e. green beans, peas, etc.) I always taste the food before giving it to my baby and it’s yummy. This stuff was really gross. So I think if you want your kids to like their veggies, serving them fresh or fresh-frozen is the way to go. 🙂

Why the Bugaboo bugs….

I have a bad habit of thinking “most expensive = best”. When I was pregnant, I came across the Bugaboo and was told it was the BMW of strollers. Being a BMW owner and avid lover of these cars, this statement sold me. The fact that I could have a pink stroller cinched it for me. After that, I didn’t even look at other strollers.

When you’re pregnant with your first, you’re totally clueless on what you are going to need and what is going to work.

Sadly, this stroller has been an utter disappointment, and here’s my words on the subject….

1. Like BMW, Bugaboo seems to think owners don’t need space for things like cup holders, cell phones, etc. Bugaboos add-on cup holder is lame. What you really want is a big area for baby bottles, classes, keys, cell phones, etc.

2. You cannot assemble or take apart this stroller with one hand. And I don’t mean that it’s hard or inconvenient–it is a physical impossibility. This is not enjoyable when you have a baby in your arms.

3. There are only three seat recline choices–one being extremely upright and the other nearly horizontal.

These are my main complaints about the stroller. Had it not been nearly $1000.00, I probably wouldn’t have minded so much, but you’d think that for that price, the designers of this stroller would have thought some of these things through.

Also, I wish someone would have told me that not all babies like strollers. Ours is one of them. When she was an infant, she only wanted to be in a sling. Then she wanted to be in a Kelty backpack. Now it’s all about those plastic cars that you can push them around in. So this stroller has hardly seen the light of day, thus adding to my annoyance. While this is obviously no issue of Bugaboo’s, I think it’s important for new moms to know that their baby simply might not want to ever be in a stroller. So before you spend 1K on this stroller, you might want to determine if your baby even wants to be in one.

It’s funny to me to look back and think how hearing that this was the BMW of strollers appealed to me before having kids. That really is a true claim–it’s a very good looking stroller that is also extremely impractical for kids. In sum, in looking for a stroller, you don’t want the BMW of strollers, you want the Toyota Sienna or Honda Oddessy of strollers. 🙂

Derma Doctor – LOVE IT

I’ve not been using this line for about a month now and I must say, it’s the best line I’ve come across for oily acne prone skin yet. The acids are quite strong and I’ve noticed a marked improvement in pore size and reduction of blackheads. It’s also excellent at eliminating acne–even the cystic kind that’s difficult to handle.

I never thought I’d change sunscreens from Clinique’s Oil Free City Sunscreen, but I adore the sunscreen from Derma Doctor. What’s great about it is unlike the Clinique sunscreen, it has no make up, so you can use it on the neck and chest area without worrying about make-up getting on your clothes.