Posts in Health & Beauty
Tips for Natural Stress Management with RESCUE
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A lot of people don't know this, but almost three years ago I was in a bad car accident on my way back to Boston after visiting my family for Thanksgiving. I had never been in a serious accident like this, and for me, it was very traumatizing. Immediately following the accident, my body was overcome with adrenaline and I felt no physical or emotional pain. I was taken by the tow truck to their lot where my roommate at the time picked me up and brought me home. Still extremely shaken up, I went straight for my bed, laid down, tried to relax and went to sleep. All night I tossed and turned replaying the accident over and over again in my head. The next day when I woke up, I felt as though I was hit by a bus. Everything hurt, and the vision of my car accident wouldn’t stop replaying.

Over the next few months I started feeling extremely anxious. At first, I wasn’t sure what the feelings were, and tried to play them off. Immediately after the accident I couldn't even get into a car never mind drive myself anywhere. I was anxious about getting into elevators, taking the T, and so on. About a year later, while waiting for the bus (still was not driving myself) to go home for Thanksgiving, I had a full-blown panic attack. At first, I had no idea what was happening. It felt as though my body was completely shutting down. I started to lose my vision, had zero control over my body, not to mention I was both sweating and shaking profusely. I had to have someone watch my things and found the nearest chair to sit down as I thought I was going to faint. Eventually, I made it onto the bus and immediately ran to the bathroom where I threw up. 

From that moment on, I was unable to shake the anxiety. Even being home surrounded by the best family in the world. Fast forward to the end of the weekend – I was not in a good place. I was extremely anxious ALL THE TIME, which caused me to dive into a severe state of depression. I tried my hardest to shake the feeling and tell myself it was going to be okay. After a day or two of being back in Boston I knew I needed help. One evening around 8 or 9 pm, I had my boyfriend drive me back to CT so I can see my doctor and be with my family. After a day or two nothing had changed. I became extremely depressed, wasn’t eating, lost a ton of weight, and was even suicidal. At the time, I felt as though my life was over; like I was going to be stuck in this anxiety-stricken way of life forever, and I knew that was not how I wanted to live. As I’m sure you can imagine, this entire year of my life was extremely stressful. I felt defeated.

Later that week, my parents convinced me to see my doctor who prescribed me anti-anxiety medication. At first, there was no way I was going to take the meds. I was afraid of how my body would react. After a pep talk from my amazing boyfriend and family, I took a leap of faith and started the medication. It was around 3 weeks from that moment that I started to feel more like myself before the accident. During that time, I experienced the most stressful moments of my life thus far. I had to explain to work what was going on, and "WFH" almost every day. In addition, I was taking Xanax 2-3 times a day which I hated. I was constantly tired, didn’t want to leave the house or hang out with friends – I even stopped blogging. In addition, I was extremely scared that someone I knew was going to pass away in a car accident. I would cry if my mom would leave to go to the grocery store, or my boyfriend would go down the street to get gas. It was not a way to live. I started going to therapy weekly to help with the PTSD and daily struggles I was facing due to my anxiety which helped.

Working alongside my therapist I learned there are other ways besides medication to help with stress, anxiety and depression. She convinced me to try yoga, doing more walking, making more plans to hang out with friends to keep myself busy, etc. While in the process of bettering myself, I was contacted by a company, RESCUE, that has a line of products aimed to help people deal with stress. The company was developed by a doctor more than 80 years ago and is the leader in over-the-counter stress relief products. RESCUE provides natural relief for everyday stress, helping you to stay calm and in control. Each product includes one dose of their famous 5-Bach® flower blend that are safe, gentle, and effective for people of all ages, including children. It is also widely recommended by veterinarians for emotional and behavioral problems in pets.

 RESCUE DROPPER

RESCUE DROPPER

 RESCUE SLEEP (my favorite)

RESCUE SLEEP (my favorite)

 RESCUE PASTILLES

RESCUE PASTILLES

 RESCUE PLUS LOZENGE

RESCUE PLUS LOZENGE

 RESCUE CREAM

RESCUE CREAM

 RESCUE PET

RESCUE PET

I want to make it very clear that I am not using any of these products as a replacement for my medication, but as another tool to be my best self. What I learned from RESCUE is that stress can intertwine with your anxiety/depression. I know if I was stressed at work, or about what was going on with my accident, my anxiety only became worse. Everybody experiences stress in different ways. It is controlled by our nervous system which when faced with danger goes into "flight" or "fight" mode. When this happens, the following can occur: heart races, blood vessels become narrower, we become more mentally alert, some people get headaches, some people's mental performance is severely impacted and so on. If you read my post before, you will see some of these symptoms are the same to when I had my first panic attack. After reading RESCUE’s site, what I found most important is that stress can be managed. 

In regards to using the above products, you can ingest four drops, two sprays, a pastille or a melt orally at least four times a day, more frequently if necessary, depending on the acuteness of the situation. RESCUE drops can also be added to a beverage for an ongoing administration of the remedy. In addition, RESCUE products can be blended with other Bach Flower Remedies.

Personally, I love RESCUE's sleep aid and sugar-free pastilles (shown above). Of course, I use the sleep-aid a bit before I go to bed to put me in a relaxed state. The pastilles are great for at work when you're feeling a few steps behind and the need to stop and compress for a moment is not possible. They make me feel calm, relaxed, and stress-free! 

All RESCUE products are available on Amazon and you can find a full list of their products on their site RescueRemedy.com. You can also follow RESCUE on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. If you have any question, feel free to leave a comment or email me at: mariaealbini@gmail.com. 

xo

Can Acne Scars Go Away? Banish Acne Scars Review
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Hey guys! If you've been following the blog/my social handles recently, you will see that I'm super into skin care, which is why I was very excited to try Banish. For those of you who have never heard of the comapny, here is a little back story.

The founder, Daisy Jing, was always insecure about her skin. Ever since Daisy was in 3rd grade, she dealt with terrible skin and had no idea why. She tried product after product after product and nothing worked. She saw numerous dermatologists who would all go through the same checklist and ask the same questions but never found a solution. Her confidence plummeted and she had little social life, so she immersed herself in school. Daisy's dream career was to be a dermatologist so she could help others find a solution for something she had longed to find herself. When she started college, she developed cystic like acne that created very deep pustules that were very painful to touch. These cystic pimples would leave a scar when their tenure was over. And those scars stayed along the sides of my face and jaw that I couldn’t hide. One day, she came across a YouTube video by someone who shared her experience with acne (skincare routine, products she liked, etc.). From there, she discovered other videos of people who had the same skin ailments. One day, Daisy turned on her webcam and decided to start fulfilling her dream of helping others.

Fast forward five years. Daisy's YouTube channel has grown and she's had a fair share of followers who are acne sufferers. She was fixated on using organic products which reduced her acne. By the time she graduated college, Daisy had saved enough money ($4,000 to be exact) to get her skin lasered in hopes of getting rid of her scaring. Just before getting the procedure done, she met a plastic surgeon who told her about using this cosmetic tool in conjunction with a Vitamin C serum. He recommended this routine much more than undergoing the procedure as the system was non-invasive and natural, and creates far better results than anything he has seen before. A few months later, her YouTube subscribers were commenting on the noticeable difference in her skin. She asked if they wanted her to send them what she was using and within a few days everything was sold out. The rest is history!

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After reading about Daisy and watching many of her videos, I was even more excited to test her products. I received the starter kit in the mail which includes: banish oil, vitamin C beauty elixer, banish rollerpumpkin enzyme masque, activated charcoal clay masque, pore smasher, banish bag and plastic cleaning container all for $195. All Banish products are vegan & cruelty free and made from organic ingredient you can pronounce! In addition, all products are made fresh to order and without parabens and sulfates. There are also no artificial colors or preservatives. 

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The only thing I did not like about the kit was the instructions. When it comes to using new products, I like to have a detailed step by step process so I can learn as I go. I went on YouTube and found a video by FaceBeautybyEn explaining what came in the kit and how to use each piece which I found very helpful and I highly suggest watching before using your kit. 

One of my main questions, prior to using the kit, was whether or not it would hurt. When I took the roller out of the case, I saw the tiny spikes that I would be applying to my face and thought it wasn't for me. Contrary to what I thought, it does NOT hurt at all. It feels more like tiny pricks, but nothing we can't tolerate. 

My favorite aspect of Banish as a whole, is their use of fresh natural ingredients. For the most part, their products are created the same day they get shipped, and they ship 6 days a week. Something I didn't know prior to testing out this kit, is that the Vitamin-C serums we buy at CVS, on Amazon, etc. are dyed orange so that we cannot tell when they are no longer fresh. Banish's Vitamin C beauty elixer, which comes in the starter kit, is a clear liquid and will change color when you should no longer use it. Some food for thought...

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Two-days after using the banish roller on my skin, I tried the pumpkin and activated charcoal masks and I have to say, I love them! The pumpkin mask gently exfoliates your skin without harsh scrubbing to reveal smooth and more evenly toned skin (and smells like pumpkin pie!). It also helps to reduce the appearance of oily skin and and can reduce congested skin to help with clogged pores. The charcoal mask is pretty much a facial in a jar. As the mask dries, you will feel it tighten on your face as it is pulling out the impurities and excess oil from deep within your skin. The mask comes in a powder so you have the option to customize it depending on your skin type plus you have full control on the consistency of the mask. A little goes a long way so this will be your comrade to slay blackheads (I have a million) and impurities for months to come. This mask is also vegan friendly and comes with a 30 day money back guarantee!

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If you have any questions on Banish as a whole or on the starter kit, feel free to leave a comment or email me at mariaealbini@gmail.com. To view before and after shots, click here

Review: SkinSmart Antimicrobial

A lot of people don't know this about me, but I suffer from psoriasis; a condition that has been in my family for generations. For those of you that don't know, psoriasis is a condition in which skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, dry patches.

When I was younger, around third grade or so, is when I started to develop psoriasis on my scalp. It was incredibly itchy and I would constantly be brushing the flakes off my clothes. My mom would try to apply a cream or balm to each patch to try to hydrate my skin and get rid of the itching but it never worked. As I got older, the patches spread to my elbows, arms and stomach and I would try my best to cover it up. After trying numerous steroid creams (prescribed by my doctor) I finally found a product that I really loved, Simple Sugars. I first learned about Simple Sugars when I saw the founder pitch her product on the very first season of Shark Tank (SS received an investment from Mark Cuban's whose children deal with psoriasis). While I love Simple Sugars and will continue to use it, it only helps on the surface. 

Recently, I was asked to test out SkinSmart Antimicrobial™ which although made specifically for eczema, works great on my skin. It is based on Hypochlorous, a “secret weapon” in skin care treatment that has been used in the medical field for years to treat serious and chronic skin & wound issues, but was only available with a prescription, until now.

SkinSmart Antimicrobial uses Hypochlorous technology to bring new solutions to help your skin. Their technology works because advances in science have taught doctors much more about the role of bacteria and microorganisms on the skin. What does that means? Studies show that most eczema sufferers have an excess amount of Staph (staphylococcus bacteria) on their skin. SkinSmart doesn't just soothe symptoms, it addresses this problem at the root. The product removes microorganisms, which promotes healing, helps itch, soothes your skin, and more. Best of all – it can be used on any skin, even faces, as much as you need.

What I love most about SkinSmart is their are driven to break the cycle of never ending creams and steroids (as I mentioned above)! The product is steroid-free, dries like water with no residue, is great for all ages, soothes angry, red, broken skin & of course promotes healing. I have only been using the spray for a few days and can already see a difference. It also has NO restrictions on use. In fact, the more exposure your skin has to the product the better. 

Right now, this product is available in the following stores: Safeway, Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilion, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Lunds/Bylerys. It is also available on Amazon (depending if weather is permitting as product can freeze). You can also email the company at: customerservice@skinsmartantimicrobial.com and they will find the closest store to you! 

This post was sponsored by SkinSmart. 

Review: HomeDNA Healthy Weight

A few months ago, I shared my review on HomeDNA's skin care analysis and report, and I am back to share my review on their new Healthy Weight DNA test. Within the last two years, I was diagnosed with anxiety after a pretty bad car accident. My anxiety got so bad that I was prescribed medication to be taken on a daily basis. While my medication has turned around my life for the better, it has also caused me to gain weight (about 30 lbs) and fast. I have changed the way I eat and am more motivated to get to the gym, but was still feeling like I needed more. The process of losing weight is definitely not one-size-fits-all. Everyone is different, and in order to do it right, I believe, that you need to focus on what works best for you, which is why I was super excited to test out HomeDNA's Healthy Weight analysis and report

HomeDNA™ Healthy Weight is a scientifically-based weight- management test and program that identifies your unique genetic makeup and provides diet and exercise strategies specifically tailored to your genotype. All you have to do is take the simple at-home DNA test and within a few weeks you will receive personalized nutrition and fitness recommendations that work best for your body. 

HomeDNA's certified and highly-qualified lab checks it for certain genetic markers connected to your weight, metabolism and body type. Using these genetic markers, HomeDNA will send you a personalized report with specific recommendations based on the results of your genetic test. The personalized report provides you with essential information you need to tailor a weight-loss program that can achieve real results. Unlike diet books and pre-packaged meal plans, the fitness program created by results of DNA testing can offer customized solutions to help you realize a healthy weight since it’s based on your unique genetic information.

Results Include:

  • Detailed analysis of the genetic markers influencing your weight
  • Personalized recommendations for:
    1. Foods to eat—the best foods to meet your caloric needs
    2. Nutrients—Optimal nutrient needs and most effective supplements
    3. Best exercises—Ideal workouts to achieve and maintain your healthiest weight

If you're interested in viewing results, please feel free to email me; I would be happy to share mine with you (mariaealbini@gmail.com). Want to give it a try? Use code HW50 to save $50 off your order now through 4/30 HERE

*HomeDNA provided this product for review. All opinions are my own.

 

Review: Freeman Beauty
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Happy Tuesday peeps! I recently received a variety of face masks from Freeman Beauty and  wanted to share in case any of you haven't heard of them before. They have been in business for a while, but prior to them being sent to me I never heard of them. Their masks are super affordable & garner great results...what more can you ask for?! 

The travel size mask (show above) is just a $2.99 and is great for a weekend trip (I got 3 uses out of that one little pack!) You can also purchase the full size tube for just $4.29! Charcoal is super trendy at the moment, so I had to try that mask first. I love the clay texture and the deep, pure clean feeling I received. The serum-infused mask instantly clears pores, and the activated Charcoal gently draws out oils and toxins without over-drying, something we definitely don't want in the winter months (especially me who has super dry skin). The mask also contains Probiotics to reveal a fresh, clear complexion and is perfect for all skin types ( a plus!).

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I was also sent the Manuka Honey & Tea Tree Oil Foaming Clay and Pomegranate Facial Revealing Peel-Off Mask. The honey mask was made to deliver potent healing properties to nourish the skin. It also helps to purify your pores and control oil with its antibacterial properties. This mask also softens while Collagen helps to improve elasticity and restore smoothness. Although I do love the Collagen aspect of the mask, it really works best for those who have oily/breakout prone skin. I have very dry skin and am not prone to breakouts therefore it is not the best fit for me. The pomegranate mask gently purges dirt and excess oils from skin for a cleaner, refined surface, guarding against free radicals and environmental stress. It also helps plump and increase skin's resiliency featuring a powerhouse of antioxidants that tones and reveals radiant, glowing skin. It comes out a liquid (as opposed to the clay texture in the above mask) and feels like pure magic on your skin. 

Freeman Beauty masks can be found at Ulta & Sally Beauty

 

Health & BeautyMaria Albini
My Favorite Skincare Products

While the new year is still young, I wanted to share my ever growing list of skincare products
that are well worth getting your hands on like, NOW.

Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist $48
I just purchased this spray (thanks to my girl Jenny Z!) and I am loving it! The spray provides a boost of soothing hydration & a luminous complexion, especially needed in the cold winter months. It is formulated with more than 20 percent botanical oils and humectants to leave skin dewy. It’s also infused with hadasei-3 anti-aging complex, a trinity of Japanese anti-aging superfoods—green tea, rice and algae—that restores the look of youthful radiance. Just 2 or 3 spritzes before you apply your makeup & you are good to go! You can also mist it over makeup to replenish moisture and prevent caking. It won't disturb makeup, so you can use it anytime, anywhere. 

Dr. Dennis Gross Daily Peels $88
These peels have to be my FAVORITE skin care product out there! I use them daily to exfoliate, and they make my skin feel super smooth. They help to revive your skin without the risk of irritation no matter how sensitive your complexion is. They come with a two wipes, one to exfoliate and the other to deliver antiaging actives while nourishing and soothing skin to keep it balanced, soft, and luminous. Daily use produces powerful results—reduced fine lines and wrinkles, minimized appearance of pores, and enhanced radiance—with a soft touch. 

Creme de la Mer $170
I know this product is SUPER pricey, however it is AMAZING. This highly coveted moisturizer is known for its power to hydrate and heal dryness in as little as three days. Miracle Broth™ softens, nourishes, soothes, and gives skin the energy it needs to focus on repair, while the powerful antioxidant lime tea protects against stress and pollution for a healthy-looking glow. Skin looks instantly radiant and naturally balanced as imperfections fade. 

SK-II Pitera Welcome Kit $110
While I have never tried this product, I have heard nothing but GREAT things about it so I wanted to share it with you all! This essential set of Asian beauty bestsellers utilizes the power of Pitera™ to help boost skin's hydration and combat signs of aging, resulting in a visibly radiant, firm, youthful complexion. Pitera is rich with vitamins, organic acids, minerals, and amino acids that work together to enhance the skin's natural rejuvenation process, transforming skin's texture and tone. 

Fresh Rose Face Mask $62
I love love love anything rose scent, so I immediately fell in love with this mask. It is a toning gel mask that drenches dull, tired skin with hydration for a healthy-looking complexion. This unique cooling mask is infused with real rose petals (an average of two-and-a-half roses per jar) to restore radiance and suppleness to all skin types.  Gentle enough to use every day, this powerful mask is perfect for all skin types. 

Tarte Drink of H2O Hydrating Moisturizer $39
This moisturizer is a great low-budget option! A daily, vegan & hypoallergenic gel moisturizer that soothes and refreshes parched skin with electrolyte-packed hydration, perfect for your dry skin in the winter months. 

Simple Sugars Almond Body Scrub $14
Simple Sugars is a product that I use on a daily basis that I cannot live without. I suffer from psoriasis, and this body scrub has seriously changed my life. This all-natural cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizer for the body and leaves your skin feeling super soft and smooth so you don't need lotion. Simple Sugars products are intended for daily use and are safe for even the most sensitive skin. 

It Cosmetics CC + Illumination Cream $38
I recently tried this product for the first time, and is something I definitely cannot live without. I apply before putting on my makeup and sometimes use in lieu of foundation. The cream delivers full, flawless, perfect coverage and protects your skin with SPF 50+. It is also clinically proven to provide intense hydration, support improved appearance in skin texture, and enhance skin brightness without glitter or shimmer. It  never creases or cracks and instantly camouflages imperfections, including dark spots.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer $44
If you're like me and only like to wear foundation for going out or on special occasions, you need this tinted moisturizer by Laura Mercier. I have tried a few brands and this one is definitely my favorite. It not only keeps your skin hydrated, but also gives you a little color boost and SPF. If you have oily skin, I suggest trying the broad spectrum version, as this one can make your skin oily. 

Sephora Collection Eye Masks $5
These Sephora brand eye masks are a life saver and won't hurt the wallet! Each of these masks is infused with a different active ingredient to replenish skin's nutrients, provide a boost of vitamins, and achieve a brighter, more revitalized eye look. The new fiber masks adhere perfectly to the contours under the eye for better penetration of active ingredients. The rose mask replenishes the delicate eye area with water for intense moisturizing and an immediate radiance boost. 

Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation $43
If you're looking for a foundation that has great coverage & long wear, Makeup Forever's Ultra Invisible Cover Foundation is a must have! Completely invisible under the latest, super-focused 4K lens, this innovative foundation is infused with uniquely-coated pigments that provide medium-to-buildable coverage with an even lighter weight, second-skin texture that looks just like skin. It delivers the very same flawless results as before when applied with a flat foundation brush in a tap and stretch motion. 

Buxom Big Tease Plumping Mascara $22
For the last year or so I have been using Better Than Sex mascara by Too Faced. While I loved the length it gave me, I didn't like the way it clumped my eyelashes together. While looking for a mascara that did both, I was told my a Sephora employee to try Buxom's plumping mascara and well, I'm IN LOVE. The mascara delivers a smooth and creamy application experience, coating every surface evenly from root to tip. 

Becca Highlighter $19
When highlighters became popular a while back, (thanks Kardashians!) I tried a few different kinds to see which looked best on my skin. BY FAR, my favorite was Becca in Golden Opal Pearl. This iconic formula is enriched with ultra-fine, luminescent pearls that absorb, reflect, and refract light to amplify your natural radiance. The multi-toned pigment pearls adjust to your skin’s natural undertones. Unlike traditional pressed powders, this unique formula blends pigments with liquids, to create an unparalleled, creamy feel that applies seamlessly for a silky finish that never cakes. 

Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder $38
I always had an issue with my makeup not staying on all day. I would come home from work or dinner looking completely different than when I left. Recently I learned that if you apply translucent powder, it helps set your makeup for long-lasting wear and I highly suggest using it! Translucent Loose Setting Powder locks in makeup for long-lasting wear, without adding weight or texture, so your makeup continues to look natural and not caked on. 

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer $30
Ideal for all skin types, Radiant Creamy Concealer is a multi-action formula that instantly masks imperfections, blurs the look of lines and wrinkles, and hides dark circles and signs of fatigue. The botanical blend hydrates, firms, reduces redness, and strengthens the look of skin by helping its barrier retain moisture. Light-diffusing technology evens out the complexion so that skin appears fresh and natural with a radiant finish. It also delivers antioxidant protection to help shield skin against damaging free radicals. 

Becca Sunlit Bronzer $38
Bronzer is a must have in my beauty routine, I mean who likes to be pale?  Becca is definitely one of my top Bronzer brands. This
neutral bronzer imparts healthy-looking warmth so that skin looks sunkissed—never orange. (In high school I was SO orange!) Each beach-inspired bronzer is custom-made with subtle shimmer that  blends pigments with liquids to deliver its unparalleled, creamy feel. The powder’s silky texture lets you customize your glow—go from subtly sunkissed to a just-stepped-off-the-beach bronze.

 

NARS Blush $30
NARS Blush offers a range of translucent, natural shades, each with a subtle pink for a natural-looking blush undertone to highlight the complexion. Designed to be worn alone or layered together for more depth, it provides a healthy glow that flatters any skin tone.

 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer $23
Featuring a unique, triangular tip, Brow Definer's retractable pencil design is ideal for outlining and filling your brows in one fluid motion. The custom spooley end is created with a precise width and firmness to seamlessly blend color. For someone who is bad at doing her eyebrows, this pencil makes it a piece of cake! 

Health & BeautyMaria Albini
Shaklee Review
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I'm super excited to share a package with you all I recently received from Shaklee, including six products from YOUTH, a line of skin care products designed to regenerate your skin cells so they act younger. The company does not promise that their products will not only dramatically improve the health of your skin, but is also 100% guaranteed to shift your skin to a younger age. Once I heard this, I knew I needed to see what all the fuss was about. 

Prior to receiving these products, I had never heard of YOUTH, so I was super excited to give the products a try. Unlike ordinary skin care products, YOUTH uses advanced technology which goes beyond addressing aging on just the surface by also targeting the cellular level of your skin.  The products are able to so this by using a patent-pending Youth Complex that activates a key youth protein to regenerate cells to produce more collagen and elastin helping your skin act younger so you can look younger.

YOUTH products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, gluten free and free of more than 2,500 harmful chemicals and questionable ingredients, delivering Clinical Results Without Compromise. 

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1.

The Radiance C+E formula is AMAZING and is definitely my favorite! It plumps, brightens, and visibly reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles. I've been using this product once a day, typically before I go to bed. To use simply twist off the tab and squeeze the product onto your hands and smooth on face. When done, I use either a serum or moisturizer and then off to bed! 

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2.

I love love love to use serums. After applying, I feel my skin always feels super smooth and hydrating. I typically use Dr. Dense Hydroshield Moisturizing Face Serum but was very pleased with the results from using YOUTH's activating serum. It has gentle encapsulated vitamin A retinol, polyphenols, plus extracts of Lotus japonicus, apple cell and schisandra. I've been using this product twice a day, once in morning and once at night, and have been loving it! 

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3. 

Last but not least is YOUTH's activating BB cream. My favorite part about this product is that it contains SPF 30. Most people don't realize that it is important to wear SPF on your face year-round. This product leaves my skin glowing and helps to correct, hydrate, nourish and protect with mineral, chemical-free sunscreen. This product comes in four different shades - at the moment I am a 2 but would most likely be a 3 in the summer months. I have been trying to not wear a lot of makeup lately, so I like to use this BB cream as my foundation, throw on some mascara and I'm good to go! 

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Overall, I really enjoyed YOUTH products and will definitely continue to include them in my skincare regimen. Feel free to comment if you have any questions regarding any of the products, I would be happy to answer them! 

Preen.Me Review

I was approached by Preen.Me to review their "Preen.Me Edition: 01 VIP box and I was excited to test it out and see what products I would receive. If you're not familiar with the company, Preen.Me aims to become the leading destination for all things beauty, transforming how women shop for beauty products. Their team provides everything from inspiration to personalized recommendations based on the user's social graph and crowd sourcing, proving a holistic way to buy beauty better. 

Each box features uncovered gems, trending products, and Preen.Me's personal faves. At first I was skeptical of what products I would be receiving, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised! 

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First up is a brand called Dr. Denese Skin Care in which I received four products: FirmaTone Rx Retinol Maximum Firming Serum, Advanced Firming Facial Pads, Triple Strength Wrinkle Smoother Advanced Treatment and SPF 30 Defense Day Cream. Each product deserves two thumbs up, however I have to point out the firming serum as it was definitely my favorite product in the entire box. It is made to improve lines, wrinkles, firmness, elasticity, skin tone, brightness and also significantly improves the evenness of skin color and makes my skin feel hydrated and smooth. The moment I put it on my skin I wanted to pour the entire bottle on myself. The last few years I have been dedicated to using good skin care products (mostly anti-aging or preventative), and I can say that after just a few times using these products my skin has seriously never felt so good.

The brands founder, Dr. Adrienne Denese, a Cornell trained M.D. and Ph.D. is a trailblazer in anti-aging skincare, with all products made with clinically proven formulations in the highest possible concentrations. With Dr. Denese it’s all about applying the best products in the right order to maximize results. Click here to learn more about her and her products!  

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Next in my box was a gift from Demeter Fragrance. With over 300 fragrances inspired by everyday objects, Demeter turns your favorite goodies, like Birthday Cake and Tootsie Pops, into delicious, fresh scents that can be worn alone or blended. Gifted to me in my Preen.Me box was a 50 ml bottle of my own personal Zodiac scent (Pisces) as well as 5 ml bottles of all twelve Zodiac scents. 

The cool things about this brand is that you can combine your personal Zodiac scent with the others to create something unique based on the different facets of your personality, rising sign, or the people most important to you. You could mix your scent with your best friend's sign when attending her wedding, your significant other’s when going on a date, or those of your children. The creations are endless and the best part is, they all are personal to you. Pretty cool concept if you ask me! 

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Last but not least, was an assortment of gluten-free granola packs from She is French started by a French girl, Agathe, who hoped to simplify her morning routine while still accessing the health benefits of superfoods and gluten free. She created "She Is French" and gathered three collections of superfoods to create recipes for her favorite breakfast food, granola. The brand believes that food should taste good, feel good and make you look good in that order. Did I mention it's delicious?! 

My box contained the following flavors (also shown above): Maca Almond Coconut, Matcha Walnut Ginger, and my favorite, Tumeric Cashew Cranberry. These packs are perfect for on the go, and make a great addition to a yogurt or acai bowl. 

For more info Preen.Me and purchasing your own box, click here

Health & BeautyMaria Albini
purity.organic

If you're like me, you love juice. Cranberry juice, apple juice, orange juice; you name it. BUT what a lot of us don't realize is how bad juice can be for you. Most lack fiber and are extremely high in sugar. In fact, fruit juice contains just as much sugar and calories as a sugary soft drink and sometimes even more. For example, a 12 oz glass of Coca-Cola contains 140 calories and 40 grams of sugar (10 teaspoons). 12 oz of apple juice contains 165 calories and 39 grams of sugar (9.8 teaspoons). This is where Purity.Organic comes in. 

Each can provides a daily dose of vitamin C and only contains 20-30 calories (based on flavor) with no fat or sodium. Each flavor is made with only a handful of ingredients, all of which you can pronounce. It is also stamped USDA Organic and contains 15% real juice. Did I mention each can only contains 3-5 grams of sugar? That's 34 grams less than a 12 oz glass of apple juice.

For Purity.Organic, the journey to provide organic goodness began 20 years ago on a friendly organic apple farm. Their founder, Greg, watched how farmers took care of the orchard and he tasted the difference it made in the juicy quality of each bushel of apples. Ever since then, the company has been working with farmers to bring us deliciously pure, certified organic fruits and vegetables.

Purity.Organic's mission is to create more demand for organic produce with no GMO’s. The first Purity.Organic drink was born when they pressed 100% Apple Juice in 2003. Since then, they've continued to bottle certified organic ingredients to offer a variety of juices, teas, coconut water, and superjuices blended from fruits, roots, veggies, and spice. To learn more about Purity Organic's offerings, click here

Their new line of sparkling juices are delicious and are a great alternative to a high-in-sugar cocktail mixer. Purity.Organic can be found at Flour Bakery, Tavern Road, South End Pita and more. To find it near you click here. Don't forget to follow them on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter

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Health & BeautyMaria Albini
HomeDNA
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Within the last year or so, I have been working hard on taking care of my skin. Like most women, I am overwhelmed by the number of skincare products on the market and can never find one that meets the needs of my skin. In the mean time, I'm throwing away money trying to figure which products would work best for me only to find that I need to try something else. So, when HomeDNA reached out to me to test their new at-home DNA testing I jumped at the opportunity. The DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) Company has recently brought the test to the USA, which launched in July. 

The Home DNA Skin Care™ test is super easy to use and can be done right from your home with a simple cheek swab. The test examines 28 genetic markers associated with skin aging, providing in-depth, easy to understand information about your skin and its needs. Once you have finished your swab, simply send back to DDC’s lab where a thorough DNA analysis is prepared. The areas explored include: fine lines and wrinkles, sun protection, skin sensitivity, skin elasticity, pigmentation, collagen quality and skin antioxidants. Your results will serve as an individual road map that will guide you on how to improve and maintain the heath and appearance of your skin, suggesting the most beneficial nutrients, ingredients and treatments for your genetic makeup, something I desperately need! 

For each category, you are given an in-depth recap on your gene profile and the ingredients and treatments you can do do help get your skin be the best it can be. 

HomeDNA's at-home kit retails for just $24.99 with a separate $79 lab fee $104 in total). Similar tests offered by dermatologists exceed $300. The kit is sold exclusively at CVS in the Home Diagnostics section of the store and online at HomeDNA.com. 

Click the below view my results! 

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Yumi Lashes

Last week I was invited to Ardan Medspa + Salon in Wellesley to test out their Yumi Lashes services. Now, I'm sure you've heard of lash extensions or had them done before, and while they look great, they are not the best for your natural lashes (they tend to rip out or make your natural lashes fall off). The process is also super expensive and your lashes needs to be refilled every 2-3 weeks. That's where Yumi Lashes come in.

Yumi Lashes is a NEW advanced Keratin based treatment designed to lift and boost your natural eyelashes without the need for fake eyelashes or extensions. This lash treatment is pretty painless, safe and non-invasive and will lend a remarkable amount of length, thickness and uplift to your own eyelashes (it is also hypo-allergenic and paraben-free). As a result, you have thick, dark lashes that beautifully curve upwards. The service also includes a lash tint which gives them a thicker, darker and longer looking lash. There are two tints to choose from - a true black and a blue-black. I chose the true black. 

The process was way quicker than I expected (under an hour) and Kimberly who worked on my lashes was AMAZING. She walked me through the entire process step-by-step so I knew exactly what she was doing. There was a bit of a burning sensation during the treatment, but it was definitely bearable and short lasting. 

The lifting and boosting effect lasts around 8-12 weeks which is the natural life cycle of the eyelash. For the first 48 hours you are not to get the lashes wet. Once the 48 hours has passed, you can wear mascara and treat your eyelashes just as you normally would. The salon also sells the Yumi keratin lash serum to use in the morning and before you go to bed to help extend the life of the process. I would suggest purchasing this as it has really helped my eyelashes stay separate and full. Make sure to use this before putting on your mascara as well! 

Ardan Medspa + Salon is the ONLY spa in Boston to provide this service. Yumi Lashes is $175 and the serum is $80. Scroll down for my before and after shots! To book an appointment call 781.235.7788.

Pure Glow

If you're looking for the best, most natural looking (and feeling) spray tan in Boston - look no further!

Pure Glow is by far THE best spray tan I have ever had. You can wear as little or as much as you would like, and their talented staff sprays you themselves (way better than a machine). Pure Glow provides you with a cream that is applied to your hands, as well as a disposable thong and foot pads and makeup remover wipes.

I worked with Victoria who was nothing short of AMAZING. She made me feel extremely comfortable (even though I was basically naked) and sprayed me perfectly. When she was finished, she asked me to look at myself in the mirror to make sure I was happy with the color and how it blended with my skin - of course she did a perfect job. One of the reasons they ask you to look in the mirror, besides making sure the color is even, is that if you think the color is too light, they are happy to spray you down again so you are a darker shade - a luxury most tanning salons do not offer. 

At Pure Glow the color you leave with is the color you will stay - another luxury not offered at most salons. I hate when you leave a tanning salon and get gradually darker as the day goes on. There's no way to tell whether your spray is too light, too dark or just plain orange (totally happened to me in college). 

 Pure Glow's mission is to help you glow in the most safe and healthy way possible. Their rigorous ingredient standards make it easier than ever to get a beautiful, flawless tan without any compromises. ure Glow offers a custom, organic service with three shades to choose from: light, sun kissed and deep. I chose sun kissed, with help from Victoria, which was the perfect shade for my skin tone. When I left I looked like I had just came back from a great weekend at the beach - exactly what I had hoped for.  ure Glow believes that what you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your body which is why their founder Lauren created this safe, non-toxic and pure spray (which also consists of skin nourishing and anti-aging ingredients). To view the full list of ingredients, click here.   Pure Glow is located at 176 Newbury Street in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood and definitely worth the trip if you live outside the city!  I hope that this post has shown you all how amazing this service is but if you still don't believe me, Boston Magazine just named Pure Glow the best spray tan in Boston for 2017. Ready to book your appointment? Click HERE.  

Pure Glow's mission is to help you glow in the most safe and healthy way possible. Their rigorous ingredient standards make it easier than ever to get a beautiful, flawless tan without any compromises. ure Glow offers a custom, organic service with three shades to choose from: light, sun kissed and deep. I chose sun kissed, with help from Victoria, which was the perfect shade for my skin tone. When I left I looked like I had just came back from a great weekend at the beach - exactly what I had hoped for.

ure Glow believes that what you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your body which is why their founder Lauren created this safe, non-toxic and pure spray (which also consists of skin nourishing and anti-aging ingredients). To view the full list of ingredients, click here. 

Pure Glow is located at 176 Newbury Street in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood and definitely worth the trip if you live outside the city!

I hope that this post has shown you all how amazing this service is but if you still don't believe me, Boston Magazine just named Pure Glow the best spray tan in Boston for 2017. Ready to book your appointment? Click HERE.