Review: Detox Foot Pads – Do They Work?


Hey Ladies!

If you watch Dr. Oz or another other talk show that focuses on health, you’ve likely heard about detox foot pads (if not, check out Purify Your Body) and the controversy they have stirred up. Well, I thought I’d give them a try and let you know what I find out!

I purchased my foot pads from a site called www.purifyyourbody.com. I chose this site because the product they sell is all-natural. While I wasn’t worried too much about side effects from using the detox foot pads on myself (or my hubby), I did feel better knowing that there weren’t any chemicals or unnatural substances in the foot pads.

detox foot padsThe pads are very easy to use. You simple apply the foot pad and then put the sticky part overtop to keep the pad in place. Then, you wear them all night while you sleep and in the morning – ta-da! – you have detoxified your body! This is the picture of what mine looked like after the first night.

Now I don’t expect to instantly feel amazing after using these because it’s supposed to take about 30 days to remove most of the toxins. So far I’ve done 5 days and I have noticed a big difference in the way the pads look each morning. They are definitely not dark brown like those shown in my first picture. Does that mean I am healthier and less toxic?…I’ll let you know in a month!

Perfect Taco Salad


I usually don’t do a lot of food product reviews but this is a fun little product worth mentioning. I love Mexican food and especially love my taco salads. I always wanted to be able to make them at home like they do in restaurants (in a big tortilla bowl) but never knew how to do it…until now!

For a cheap product, this does exactly what it’s supposed to do. There are no affiliate programs for it, so I’m not making any money off this recommendation. It’s just a good product that I enjoy using!

Is Botox Worth It?


BotoxI am getting older and, like most women my age, have started to notice some lines on my face that weren’t there even 5 years ago. What’s a girl to do?

I’ve tried a number of different cremes and lotions but have experienced minimal success. That’s why I think it’s time to do something a little more radical…okay, not too radical! I found a Botox clinic in Mississauga that offers over-the-lunch hour Botox treatments and quite reasonable prices. You can check out the clinic’s website at www.botoxmississauga.ca if you would like to see what they are all about.

Before I go for my first treatment my question to you is this: Have you ever tried Botox, and if so, what were your results like?

I am very excited to have younger-looking skin but I have also read a few horror stories online from people who had their procedures go badly. If you have any experience with Botox please feel free to email me. I would love to hear from you!

Florida Blue Medicare


health insuranceFor most of my adult life I have been insured by Mumby Insurance because I can get my CI (critical illness) insurance from them as well as my KEY Person Insurance for my husband and I. But recently I was sent the following message so I thought I might look into Florida Blue Medicare…

“I am looking for blue medicare regional ppo health insurance plans for my area of Florida. I am trying to get the best medicare advantage health insurance plan that I can for a person in my situation; by situation I mean, my medical history, age, and wealth. I really want to make sure that I get the best health insurance coverage I can, and I do not want any significant holes in my coverage. I have decided that a ppo, or preferred provider organization, would be the best way to go for me. As such, I am looking for health insurance companies that offer good rates on health insurance plans for Medicare Advantage PPOs.

After studying my Medicare coverage for a couple of weeks, I decided that it simply was not adequate coverage, and that I would need to get a Medicare Advantage plan in order to ensure that I had adequate coverage of any potential medical coverage needs. One of the biggest problems with remaining on just Medicare is the fact that they do not offer very good coverage for prescription drugs by any means, and I need to find a health insurance plan that will cover the expenses of my monthly prescriptions.

I am currently on quite a few medications, for various conditions, though none of them are that serious. I would not be able to afford my medications if I had to pay for them on my own, as several of them are very expensive, as in, in excess of 100 dollars for a single month’s prescription. In addition, most of these prescriptions do not have any generic versions that are cheaper, so I am going to have to find a Medicare Advantage plan in order to be able to pay for my for the medicine that I need.”

My Fitness and Weight-Loss Journey


medifast reviewAdmitting you have a problem is the first step in solving it. My problem is one that many share over a lifetime. It’s a “weighty” issue. It’s actually not about losing weight, it’s about keeping it off. Getting off the roller coaster. Maintaining a healthy weight. When I saw this picture taken a few days ago, I knew it was time to get back into control. The hardest part is sharing it so publicly but, if I think about how maybe I can help someone through my story, the fear that people will judge me vanishes. I’ve been given this opportunity for a reason.

Losing weight is the easy part. I’ve done it probably over 20 times in my life; before a play, before a pageant, before leaving for college, before a job interview with an airline, before getting my weight checked by said airline so I could keep my job, before my wedding, after having a kid, before my reunion, when I turned 30, when I turned 40… I’m sure some of you can relate. After every milestone, the weight came back on, the habits evaporated, the exercise stopped. Those extra 30-40 pounds just kept creeping back on.

I think my real problem is twofold. First, we moved. I used to be an avid runner. There was one year when I ran a race a month–12 in one year including a half marathon! We lived in Marietta, GA and had great sidewalks on the main roads. I was closer to Roswell Park which had great trails. When we moved to Woodstock, I found hills, hills and more hills. There were no sidewalks on the main roads so you were taking your life in your own hands trying to run on the grassy median. Instead of looking at the hills as a new challenge, I gave up. I found excuses not to run or even walk because I had to call a client, write a blog post, check my Facebook page, create invoices, you name it. Mentally, I decided to throw in the towel.

The second part of the problem was I didn’t have convenient tools for success.

I’ve tried so many things. None have worked to help me keep the weight off. They were short-termed at best. It took work counting points, calories, fat grams, carbs. I needed something easy.

Make Your Body Work and Medifast

I found it in the form of a product line called Medifast and a fitness service called Make Your Body Work. About 3 years ago, my sister-in-law Janet became a Health Coach for Take Shape for Life. She inspired our whole family to lose about 300 pounds including my husband and my dad. The amazing thing is they all kept it off for 2 years. 2 years! My husband Rob, even became a Health Coach and has helped many others in our neighborhood, church and family to realize their own long-term success. As I sat on the sidelines and watched everyone feel better, have more energy and fit into old clothes (and some rockin’ new ones!), I decided it was my turn, especially when I saw my picture.

So, I’ve started my own journey. I’ve enlisted my husband, God bless him, and the trainers at Make Your Body Work as my Health Coaches.

There is a lot of variety in the program–everything from brownies, soup and even ice-cream. On the program you eat 5 Medifast meals a day and one “lean and green.” Lean protein: chicken, beef, fish, eggs. Green: veggies (no carrots, corn or potatoes–too much starch). You stay away from alcohol, bread, milk, fruit and sugar while you’re in weight-loss mode. You’ll miss it the first week and you may actually have withdrawal symptoms such as a headache or a tired feeling. Can you imagine the body actually has sugar withdrawal similar to other addictions? That tells you something right there.

You eat every 2 to 3 hours. It’s simple and convenient. The bars are my favorite because you can keep a box in the car and you always have a meal. You can eat your lean and green anytime you please. Ex: egg white omlette with spinach for breakfast or a salad with grilled chicken for lunch or dinner (little bit of dressing).

Rob’s role will be to encourage me and guide me should I have any questions. There are even doctors and nurses on staff at Medifast for any clarification I need at any time. What other program includes a Health Coach and all that support free?

I’ll be checking in with Rob and all of you weekly to report my progress. I’ll also include some great tips about the program itself and some videos. (This is a good way to keep my accountable and on track. Blogging is pretty powerful!) Here’s to my health and yours! I hope I can inspire you to find your own journey to health.

Extreme Makeover: Hair Edition!


review: hair makeoverThis is a story about my recent hair transformation (because I know some people are going to ask, so let’s just get it out there). Like most women (think Madonna), I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my hair since I was 14 years old. I’ve had it dyed every color under the sun except blonde. (I’ve just never been able to go there with my dark Italian features. Bad idea.) I’ve also had my hair every imaginable length. I loved it very short but it was time for a change after 10 years. I’m lucky to be living in an age where we have OPTIONS!

Matrina’s Studio

I’ve tried to grow it out many times over the past 10 years but it always got to a point where it just didn’t work and I couldn’t style it into anything that resembled anything other than a shaggy cat on my head. I would go back to short and start the awkward growing-out process 6 months later.

So, this time around, I knew I needed a more permanent solution while I was waiting for my real hair to grow out. After looking for about a year, my stylist told me about Matrina Joy in Alpharetta. I finally found someone I could trust to do great hair extensions. We had a consultation and we decided I would “grow” my hair to 14 inches long from a shaggy bob that stopped about chin length.

Extensions

Matrina worked for 5 hours to add 250 wefts of Hairlocs to my hair on a Friday morning. After she was done, she blended it with a straightener. We also added some cool purple peek-a-boo highlights around the bottom.

Warning: Adding long extensions to short hair isn’t for the fainthearted. There’s usually a tell-tale “line” where the short hair stops and the long hair begins. You have to do a lot of straightening to get that line to blend in and even then it doesn’t really go away. Matrina did her best, but due to time constraints, we couldn’t do much more to fix it.

When I went home and tried to style it the next day, the trouble started. I just couldn’t get it to look right without having to put it in an updo or ponytail. I thought it was me. I thought I just forgot how to style long hair and I was pretty upset that I couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t want to have to straighten it every day. I’m just a clutz when it comes to styling tools and always end up burning something, usually myself. I thought, “Dang, I’ve made such a big investment and now I’m stuck in a ponytail every day for a year!”

My gut told me to go back to my original, awesome stylist, Erin Foster. She worked her magic and created new layers in between the short hair and the long with her razor. It was scary to see her cutting into the gorgeous long hair I purchased just a week ago. Then she colored the top to match the darker extension color all around. It worked! Now I can air-dry my hair without having to do a thing and it all blends perfectly and looks amazing. It even looks good after a couple days without doing anything to it. I’m so glad she figured out the secret formula and made me feel great about my decision.

The Final Result

Some of the reactions I’ve received:

My mom paid me the highest compliment when she told me I looked like I was 17 again! She’s not one to throw compliments around so I knew she was serious.

My husband was in shock. I’ve never seen him with his mouth wide open with nothing to say. The effect was priceless!

I’ve been told by friends my hair makes me look thinner–always a bonus!

I love my new look but there is a small downside. It definitely takes a different approach to care for it. You have to be very careful when you brush it because it’s easy to pull the extensions (and your own hair–ouch!) out. You also have to condition it and use sulfate-free shampoo and products. I have to braid it at night when I go to bed so it doesn’t get tangled in the morning. You also have to go back every 3 months to get the extensions pushed back up as they grow out.

The upside is I can straighten it, curl it and do everything I want to it because it is real hair. (I’ve been telling people somewhere a Russian or Italian girl is rockin’ a cute new pixie.) My new hair is thicker than mine ever was and I can change colors easily if I want to add some new highlights. My original hair is actually protected under the extensions while it’s growing out. No more haircuts to pay for, just a little color on the gray along the hairline. Easy.

I love the Hairlocs Extension method and I’m glad I made the personal decision to go for it. I think my husband is right (Yes, honey, I do admit it sometimes!), long hair looks best on me. He never made a big deal about it but he always hoped I would grow my hair back. He’s pretty happy.

At the end of the day, it’s about how you feel when you look in the mirror. I love my new style and it’s brought me a lot more confidence. I might change my mind in a year, but I’m thankful I have the freedom to do so. Life is about taking risks and having some fun. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve made a drastic change to your own style that had an impact on your life. I hope you’ll share! In the meantime, here’s to great hair days for at least the next 12 months!