Tag: skin

Top 3 Favorite Skin Care Products

So let’s get to the real reason for this post since I know a few of my English major friends are cringing as they read on… Moving to the Central Valley of California, saying that the summer weather is hot and dry is one of the understatements of the year. There are days were the humidity does not even hit double digits though the thermometers are reading 105 degrees Fahrenheit easily. So coming here and trying to survive my first summer after spending 5+ years in Florida, and New Jersey before that, well my skin was in for a surprise. So I had to find a fix and fast because my face was experiencing dryness, flaking, redness, itchiness…the whole gambit. And to make matters worse, my skin is super sensitive so it was not like I could go to Walgreens and pick up the first moisturizer on sale and call it a day. I had to research, test, and even cross my fingers a little to find something that worked! And I could not just stop at my facial skin, but I had to do something about my chapped lips and even my under eyes. That’s when a trip to Sephora and Ulta led me to my top 3 tried and true products.

Now I am getting compliments on my skin, its radiance, how smooth it feels…and my makeup, when I want to wear any, goes on smooth. I am very grateful to have found my signature three products and while I do test others and have a few items I use seldom, these are the three that I keep returning to!

For Lips: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask – $20 (0.70oz)

This lip mask is not the same as your Eos balm or the Chapstick on your nightstand -that I can promise you. This lip mask is very thick which is why the little spatula is included. It goes on very nicely, has a very minimal fragrance at first application and is not sticky. It usually lasts the whole night for me and when I wake up in the morning, I wipe it off and my lips are hydrated and supple! My husband even tries to steal some of the product here and there! I do not use this every night but can if necessary (like in winter months). I have had this now for 4 months and it is about 1/4 of the way used so even though you get less than 1 ounce, this product will last a very long time.

For eyes: Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb – $48 (0.84 ounces)

This water based eye cream has helped take my under eyes from dry and itchy to moisturized and healthy. This has even helped fade my dark circles. It claims to work for 26-hours and I have to say that while that is false, this does work through the night and into the next morning. On particularly trying days, and often some dehydration or stress, when my eyes are particularly puffy or dry, this also lasts throughout the day. As an occasional contact lens wearer, with seasonal allergies as well, this product has not once irritated my eyes even when I cheat and put some under my eyebrows.

For Face: Trio logo Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil – $29 (0.67oz)

Now I know you are sitting there saying “Didn’t she say all of two paragraphs earlier that she has sensitive skin so why would she use an oil?” Well, sensitive skin actually responds best to minimal ingredient products with less fragrances and additives, so an organic facial oil is one of the best things to use.

Okay but what if I told you that I also have combination to oily skin? I shouldn’t use this product repeatedly then, right? I must get breakouts! So nope on all accounts! This oil is fine and light enough that it does not clog pores, does not have added fragrances (so no it does not smell like old lady perfume), and it helps keep my skin balanced so there is no over production of oil.

This oil also helps fight free radicals and even has a more concentrated version available at Ulta. I only have to use three drops for my cheeks and nose, three drops for my forehead and chin, and three drops for my neck (yes, my neck gets some love too) so a little goes a long way! This then lasts all night and I can either wipe it off in the morning for any excess left behind or just add my BB cream on top and call it a day!

So inquiring minds want to know… What products are your top 3 skin care products? Have you tried any of the ones I mentioned? Comment below or tag me in your IG posts and stories – @ms_bella_daniela!

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Amazon Favorites – June

Wait a second…it is already the second half of the year?! I swear that when I was a kid, in school, 180 days took FOREVER to come and go but now that I am an adult, I blink and it is already a year later. I cannot believe it is less than 150 days left till December 1st!

Okay, so since it is July, it is time for the monthly Amazon favorites for the month of June. Starting next month, this series will include non-Amazon favorites too and I’ll try to link them or find the closest match!

Disclaimer: Please note that these photos are the stock photo from Amazon; they are not mine. Also all links are affiliate and if you purchase the item through my link, I do receive a small profit but it does not change the price or experience for you!

Now on to the favorites!

I want to start off with a new skin tool that I have started to use in the past couple of weeks and will be posting about it in detail after using it for a month. This item, to date, has been showing me a lot of results on clearing my skin from discoloration, redness, sub-dermal breakouts, and overall texture. It is not for the faint of heart as it does cause breaking of the skin, but my derma roller has been great! It comes in sanitary packaging and does require you to clean it with rubbing alcohol before and after use, but it has helped my skin turnover faster, sloughing off dead skin cells and generating collagen. I highly recommend this derma roller to anyone that is starting out. It is only $19.99 and currently has a $2 off coupon through Amazon, plus it is prime!

So I finally did it. I broke my pizza cutter after making homemade, vegetarian pizza almost every week. So I scoured the depths of Amazon to find this cutter wheel and it has been amazing thus far! It easily packs up so you do not cut yourself when searching through your utensils and doesn’t require the strength of the Hulk to cut! It also comes apart completely so you can get a deep clean. It is only $10.99 and comes in three different colors – blue, green, and red.

There is nothing like fresh coffee in the morning. In fact, if I did not have my morning cups (yep, cups as in 2), the world is not safe! But what is even better is freshly grounded coffee that is even more rich and robust. Recently on a Costco trip, we purchased local coffee that was roasted but whole bean. Instead of grinding it at Costco for free, we got a small but highly effective grinder that grinds the perfect amount for one carafe worth of coffee so there isn’t excess that loses its flavor. This grinder only costs $19/97 AND there is currently a 5% off coupon. It can also be used to grind spices if you are so inclined and cleans up easily! It is a little noisy but only takes a few seconds to grind it all the way so it isn’t too obtrusive.

If you get the occasional breakout, especially if you are a woman around that time of the month, then this product will be a life saver for you too! I bought this 24 pack of acne patches that are spot treatments for overnight use. They are a little thick but once you put it on, you can barely see anything at all. They work through various oils including tea tree, calendula and rosehip to pull out the bacteria and dirt and reduce the breakout! Because it is a hydrocolloid patch, it works without over drying your skin and easily peels off int he morning. And even I, a completely wild sleeper, have not taken one off during the night so I know it’ll work for you too! It is only $7.50 for 24 patches and comes in a resealable package so you do not have to use them all at once! There is also an AM version that is thinner and even more discreet if you need to wear a patch during the day.

Even if you shop organic, you should ALWAYS wash your fruits and vegetables. Between packing, shipping, and shelving, even the most green products can interact with chemicals and dirt which could have harmful reactions. This is part of the reason why I never eat a grape out of the bag and always wash my produce with white vinegar and water even IF the packaging says it has been washed. So to help with some of those harder produce items like potatoes, peaches, apples, and so on, I have this vegetable brush. It is soft enough that it doesn’t damage the item but strong enough that with a little soap, it really cleans up the produce. And for $5.99, I make sure to replace this every 3 months to prevent bacterial build-up. It is ergonomic too so it fits nicely in any hand size.

In keeping up with keeping everything clean, I recently re-purchased bottle cleaning brushes for all of those odd shaped bottles we now use. For example, our Ninja coffee carafe cannot easily be cleaned with a sponge nor can our 40oz water bottles we use for the gym. So we purchased this brush set, for only $11.98 (plus a current coupon for $2.00 off), really helps clean even the smallest crevice in the weirdest shaped bottle. We also replace these every few months, but they really last even with our daily use and our hard water! I would really recommend purchasing this set if you have any of those reusable straws or oblong bottles!

Last but not least for June is another re-purchase and another skin care item! Some of you know that being Armenian means that well, being hairy is common! But that doesn’t mean that I have to like it. I use these facial razors for derma-planing or facial shaving. No, this is not like my husband’s razor and NO the hair does not grow back thicker or darker. In fact, the hair has been growing back less frequently and in smaller patches. I will do a video on how I derma-plane but this set is only $4.80 for 6 and since I throw these out monthly so as to not incur a build-up of bacteria, it is a great deal.

I have also recently subscribed to Amazon’s new Prime Wardrobe program and will be doing a test of the items they have sent and how on point my stylist was with my wishes. Stay tuned for an update next week!

Have you tried any of these products or will you be?? If you would like to see any of these items in action, please let me know. I am working on creating my schedule for videos and want to know what you want to see! Also if there are any items you think I should give a try, comment below!

Amazon Favorites – May

Halfway through the month and I’m just posting about May’s favorites! Well…at least it is better than last month…

As always, I will link the item I am speaking about, or at least the closet item to it!

Disclaimer: The photos used are stock from Amazon. The links provided are monetized. I would receive a percentage if you purchased through my affiliate link. Please note that the price does not change from mainstream Amazon.

I have to start off with an amazing new addition to my curly regimen! When I got my hair cut recently at Maggie’s Salon in Davie, Florida, my stylist Chanel was using something similar and with some trips coming up soon, I knew I had to try this. For only $14.99, this collapsible diffuser helps me get my hair dried faster than air drying or with the DevaCurl hand diffuser (which is amazing for roots). Click here to order one for yourself!

If you know me, for the past couple of years I have used a wallet case for my iPhone. I loved the fact that I didn’t have to bring a purse with me but could go with just my phone. Yet I finally reverted back and broke out the purse, so I needed a new case. Cue in this gem. For only $13.99, this case has protected my phone and is so thin, you barely realize it is on! Even my husband got one!

In order to sleep soundly at night, I need two things – 1) a cold room but warm bed and 2) lavender. This plug in is amazing! The Mediterranean lavender is not as sweet as the regular scent but provides almost a musk like concoction. And for $12.97 for a one-time purchase, why have you not yet tried it? You will really enjoy this scent combo! Click here to try it.

Are you spending your money on organic produce when you grocery shop? Do you hate the amount of plastic you end up throwing away when you put all your items away? We really are becoming more conscientious of our produce and of the items we put into our body so when I thought about how much money I spent on organic items but then stuffed it into a plastic bag with chemicals and coloring, I realized how I was flushing my money down the toilet. I bought these and my goodness they are great and a LOT larger than you would expect. There is no extra charge and each comes with a tare tag so the cashier can balance out for the correct produce weight (no up-charge)! These can be washed too so I’m not afraid to use it for potatoes or other items! I definitely recommend purchasing at least one set for $13.99 (currently with a 5% discount coupon)!

Have you ever walked out of the house and realized you forgot a bunch of items or forgot what it was you needed to buy at the store even though you knew you weren’t going to forget? With a lot of chaos going on right now, I needed that little extra reminder and as much as I like technology, I prefer writing it down – trust me that it really works better for memory that way! I bought this for my front door which is metal so that I, or my husband, can leave little reminder notes. It has helped a lot especially when it comes to groceries that need to be picked up that day for a special recipe. It was only $13.99 and came with the pen set which does not leave behind residue. You can purchase one too for the fridge, locker, or front door!

This is my new beauty secret! For months I have gone back and forth, debating if I was going to get this, but after having a cryofacial and realizing my skin has been a little dramatic lately, I wanted to introduce something new. This quartz roller is lightweight but firm which also helps press in my oils to seep into my skin better. I use the stone (Guasha scraping tool) for nights and the roller (which I keep in the freezer) for mornings. The instant depuffing is great while helping promote collagen production! Bonus was the mask brush so there is less waste every time I get to sneak in a little me-time. For $17.99, it is one of the best I have found on Amazon for its price and effectiveness. I highly recommend at least trying the roller! You can click here to take a look!

So what have you tried lately or splurged on? Any questions about the items above? Want to see the roller in action? Comment below!

Amazon Favorites – March

This has been a trend on YouTube and while I am still working on that adventure, I am not yet quite equipped to handle that road just yet. But it got me thinking that as an almost too avid Amazon shopper, I could make this a series for my blog! So at the beginning of the month, I will recap some of my top purchases from the prior month!

Ready to see where all my money goes?? I will link each product below with the price I paid (though please remember that Amazon prices are subject to change! Also, for the sake of transparency, each link is an affiliate link but it does not change the price or cost you anything.

First item is one of the biggest changes I have implemented to my workout routine.
I add this to my water bottle (1.5 scoops for my 40oz bottle) and it has helped me replenish my muscles to the point that I am able to go longer and harder without quitting! The science behind branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) has been increasing but I can contest that it does help.
Think of this as a Gatorade replacement but tastes a heck of a lot better and is better.
There are multiple flavors, but I am impartial to the mango and watermelon. The price changes but I bought it for $22.99.
Click here to check it out!

This one is on auto-delivery!
If you ever had some trouble falling asleep, these little gummies pack quite a punch without the groggy feeling.
The primary ingredients are melatonin, L-Theanine and other botanicals like chamomile and lemon balm. These combined help me fall asleep calmly and stay asleep unlike many other melatonin-like products.
There is some sugar in these as they are gummies, but it is minimal and I always take them before I brush since they do take time to start working.
The “sleep” version only comes in one flavor but it is not overly powerful. I bought mine for $11.89.
Click here if you are interested!

One of my secret ingredients for my daily smoothie is this amazing powder!
Let’s be realistic…getting in all your fruits and vegetable servings is not easy. So I add one scoop of this to my smoothie, plus all the other good stuff (more to come on these) and I just got 3+ servings!
This is a bit pricey but worth it since you are adding only one small scoop and it is estimated for 60 servings. I paid $29.66 for this and it is now on auto-delivery. Or you can buy the smaller one (30 servings) for $14.95.
If you are interested in upping your fruit and veggie intake, click here.

If you have never heard of dry-brushing (there will be a post on this shortly), you are certainly missing out!
Dry brushing has a number of benefits including improving blood circulation, shedding of dead skin, and in some cases, helping reduce the appearance of cellulite. I do this 2-3x per week while my skin is still dry and before I hop into the shower. And I have already noticed a difference on my legs and torso.
There are several varieties but I like that this one is a smaller size and the bristles are not too rough or too soft.
This product is relatively inexpensive; I bought mine for $9.95. You can click here to purchase yours.

Reducing our sugar intake has been a vital component in losing weight. While I personally do not consume a lot of artificial sugar, every morning I add 2 teaspoons of agave to my coffee until I realized how many calories I was drinking before my day even began!
So I had to find an alternative that was not sucralose, fructose, or another like variation. I wanted to be able to cook with it and it could not have an aftertaste (which is why stevia does not bode well with me). Which is how I found this amazing gem for $10.99.
This is a sugar alcohol with a 1:1 breakdown which means it passes through your system with minimal absorption and no aftertaste.
Those are doing keto or are diabetic can have this sweetener without a glycemic issue because it does not get absorbed.
It is now my coffee additive for 0 calories and I have even been able to cut down the sweetness to 1 teaspoon!
Click here to try it.

As a part of my skincare regimen, I always apply a toner after I wash and before I apply any serums or moisturizers. However I noticed that my witch hazel astringent was actually drying out my skin so no matter how much moisturizer I put, my skin was peeling within the hour!
So I sought out to find an alternative that did not cost a fortune but still provided benefits like skin clarification, control oil production, reduce the appearance of pores, and promote some collagen production. Hefty list for the prince range I wanted to stay in but low and behold the amazing Thayer’s alcohol-free toner!
I bought this for $6.99 and it works like a charm! It does not have an overpowering smell and does not try out my sensitive skin. It has helped actually tone my skin and even out some of the discoloration in a matter of a few weeks applied twice daily.
Click here if you are interested to try!

And there you have it! For the month of March, most of my expenses were to help me take the next step in my health journey but I am still testing the benefits of those items so they will hopefully be showcased in a future post!

So tell me… have you tried any of these products? What is your opinion? Are you using something that I should try? Comment below!

Health: Weight Loss Check-In

So I know that my heading is a play on words but so often nowadays a photo outnumbers a picture! Plus in this circumstance, the proof is in the pudding.

Okay. Enough “Dad-isms”.

I sincerely wanted to share an update on my health journey. There have been a number of changes just within the past couple of weeks!

First and foremost, while I loved OrangeTheory, the schedule wasn’t ideal for my workdays and I guess the word got out because the classes were always packed! Therefore I had to terminate that membership…for now. And since CycleBar started to become more like SoulCycle: The Teenie Bob edition, that member was also cancelled.

But locally we have a full fledged gym, similar to LA Fitness if you have seen those. I was fortunate enough to get a discount because of where I work and signed up myself and the hubster. This was one of the best moves we have made! We can go on our schedule and spend as much or as little time as we want. We can do cardio or machines or weights or participate in classes or swim… And even though we don’t have a trainer, YouTube has become a great way to educate oneself on exercises and regimens!

But more importantly than how I exercise is what I am eating. They say weight loss is 80-90% diet and 10-20% exercise and I believe it! I am not doing a fad diet or signed up for a coaching program or drinking detox anything. I am eating cleaner, more vegetarian and making myself my own smoothie every weekday!

I will update you more on the smoothies and new items that I introduced into my diet in my next post but I wanted to leave you all with photographic evidence that what I am doing is working!

In just my face alone my hair is more radiant, my skin is clear, and the shape of my face has slimmed down a lot! And before you try and call my bluff, these are both done with the same filter and in natural sunlight and yes I am wearing makeup in both photos. These are one year apart almost to the day and you can now see my cheekbones again and my jawline whereas before my face was more round that oval.

It isn’t easy and there are some days I look in the mirror and want to say it doesn’t matter or it’s not enough but that defeating behavior is what got me to balloon in weight in the first place. Down almost 25 pounds in a healthy way without giving up my vices or taking medication is arduous but doable.

And the best part is when I step on the scale, which is just one indicator in my health journey, and can say I hit my first milestone and each day gets better. And my support system has also made each workout or shedded pound that much more rewarding.

So here is to the next phase of the journey! Please let me know if you are interested is being a part of the journey too.