Don't be a stick in the mud!

On my continued quest for the perfect skin care regime, I recently took a trip to my local Ulta store when I realized my Mario Badescu Flower and Tonic mask had dried out (in the mask's defense, it was a year old...). I noticed a "buy one get one free" sale on C. Booth Deep Cleansing Volcanic Mud Mask and was instantly intrigued. I went home and immediately tried the mask out - the scent was a bit strong at first, and based on other reviews I read online, I avoided my eye area to avoid any possible irritation. Left the mask on for about 15 minutes and washed it off - my skin felt so refreshed! Not only did it tighten my pores, but my skin looked visibly brighter! This has even become my "go-to" spot treatment for pesky pimples that pop up occasionally. Even got the hubby to try it out and he loved it too. Great mask, and for $9 the price cannot be beat. Be sure to check your local Ulta stores for the buy one get one deal.


First Time Homebuyer Woes

With the $8,000 tax credit looming upon us, and the hopes of a backyard for our two pups, hubby and I have been on a quest to purchase a home before April 31st. We began our search almost two months ago and used those "mortgage calculators" you see on just about every real estate website. We determined our price range, signed with a real estate agent and hit the road.

It was probably house #40 that we fell in love with - and put an offer in.... with no pre-approval letter in hand. Mistake #1. The homeowners countered, so we budged and offered just a bit more. Mistake #2. In the "we almost just bought our first place pandemonium," my husband decided to go meet with a mortgage broker and get out pre-approval letter. WHY no one told us that this should be STEP #1 is beyond me, but that pre-approval letter was eye-opening. Now don't get me wrong, we're both professionals, both make a decent living and have virtually no debt... so the actual "getting approved" part was cake. BUT who wants to spend upwards of $3,000 a month on a mortgage?!? So reality has slowly started to set in, and we now have a more realistic grasp of what we'd like to spend on our first place.
For all of you first time homebuyers out there - this is my only advice to you. BEFORE you do the fun stuff like hitting the streets in the quest for your perfect place, drudge on over to your nearest (and most qualified) mortgage broker and get an accurate idea of what you can spend on a house (factoring in taxes, mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, homeowner monthly fees, etc). In the long run it will save you lots of energy and it probably could've prevented the ulcer I slowly feel developing!

Happy House Hunting!!


As promised, here is a sample of my groccery list. As you may know, I've been trying to make 2010 a healthier year overall and this go-to list has made groccery shopping a breeze. I've been buying organic except for anything with an outside "skin" you dont eat - think kiwis, onions and bananas.

Nuts - almonds, walnuts and pistachios
Strawberries - frozen and fresh
Blueberries - frozen and fresh
Apples - Pink Lady is my fav
Sugar free applesauce
whole wheat english muffins
Barilla plus pasta - all shapes
Roasted peppers
Sweet potatoes
Bell peppers
Skim Milk
1/2 and 1/2 (still haven't adapted to black coffee!)
Lean cuts of meat
Baby field greens
Goat cheese
Shredded low-fat cheddar and mozzerella
Red Onion

What's on your groccery staples list? I know shopping for the same ingredients week after week can get a litte mundane - I would love us to share some new ideas!!



New Year, New Me

First let me wish all of you a happy and healthy New Year!!

Over the weekend I hit up Whole Foods and Publix in a big way. I stocked up on organic frozen fruit and bought a fit & fresh personal smoothie maker (LOVE) and picked up some healthy staples to keep at my desk to help me avoid temptation at the office. My list includes:
Honeycrisp Apples
Unsalted pistachios, walnuts and almonds
Annie’s Homegrown Bunny Crackers in Chocolate
Natural Peanut Butter
Organic Strawberry Jelly
Frozen Blueberries, raspberries and sliced frozen strawberries
Genuine Health Proteins Powder – a whey protein isolate (the purest form) with no artificial ingredients, corn, egg, gluten, yeast, soy (which I’m allergic to) or wheat.

*NOTE – this is my “bring to the office” grocery list. In my next post I’ll share my healthy “at home” grocery list.

Let me just say it’s only Tuesday but I am LOVING my new repertoire of food at work! Every morning I whip myself up a quick smoothie – two scoops of proteins +, organic skim milk and whichever frozen fruit I’m in the mood for (today was blueberry and strawberry). It’s versatile and keeps me full until lunch (and if not, I can always snack on a handful of the nuts I bought!).

Tonight is my first appointment with a trainer – I joined LA Fitness on December 30th and have been trying to go during my lunch hour but so far that’s only happened twice. To motivate me, my hubby bought me the cutest Reebok gym bag!! (http://www.target.com/Reebok-Small-Duffel-Bag-Carolina/dp/B000W46XNM)