Aesthetics-Where to start

In an ideal world, we’d all have had a top notch skin care routine and regular visits to the med spa since our mid 20’s but to be honest, most 40 somethings weren’t taking selfies all day as our face morphed into our mothers so we didn’t notice the need for such things until one day, we saw ourself in someone else’s picture and thought “DAMN!” I need…….something??? The question though is, what?

Rough dehydrated skin,
no lips, no brows, unhappy selfie

There are so many factors that determine how our skin ages from genetics and lifestyle to air pollutants and climate. The way we’ve protected it in our youth plays a factor and for the most part, if you’re an 80’s child, you didn’t use protection at all you used baby oil and fried yourself. We all wanted the glow but unfortunately that abuse shows up later on our skin along with any other abuse we’re now in therapy for.

So to answer the question, where to start?

Botox

My answer will always be botox (or dysport or jeuveau or xeomin) If you want the quick fix, the biggest bang for your buck, then a neurotoxin placed correctly in the forehead and eye area, will relax and soften those lines or prevent new ones forming. It’s the best place to start. Botox is charged by the unit and ranges from $9-12 per unit. Patients are getting between 20-60 units and occasionally more but I would plan for around 40 starting out. It lasts around 12 weeks for most people but your lines don’t just reappear on day 90 so some can stretch out visits. There are also coupons and incentives from the manufacturers so ask about those but don’t settle for the closest groupon, still look for someone recommended and experienced, they might even price match if you ask.

Borrowed image

Consultation

This should really be number one but I say skip straight to botox then ask questions. Don’t be afraid to consult with an experienced Aesthetician. Most of us are fluffy, feel good people, it’s why we do what we do. I know it’s scary to walk into a med spa,

“my first time was hilarious. I had some questions about laser hair removal and before I knew it, I was in the back room with a couple of disposable razors trying to get rid of my 70’s situation. Feeling fresh and clean, she started my treatment and it wasn’t until she flipped me over on my face did I realize I even had hair back there. Like a pro, she grabbed a razor, finished the job and voila, I was a believer.”

Most of us already know we want and need all the things but it’s usually our budget that determines what is actually possible. Most great spas offer complimentary consults and you can ask all the questions you like. Be straight and tell them you’re just getting started, you’re overwhelmed and you have a limited budget. Take notes if you like so you can plan for future treatments. The larger spas often have more equipment and treatments available so they’ll give you more comprehensive information on your options where as a small place with only one laser is going to tell you there’s is the best and while that may be true, start with all the info at least, then shop around for the particular service you need.

Some place’s specialize in just one thing like hair removal or injectables while others have a wide range and can take care of it all. Most places offer package deals or memberships with reduced pricing or incentives to bring friends and shop more. Some get you in and out at the speed of light and others take their time to make sure you’re comfortable. There are many options so get a feel for what would work for you.

Facial

If you don’t want to go the consult route, most places will offer a signature facial on there menu. It usually includes a thorough cleaning, some exfoliation, hydration and protection. If it’s a great facial it will also include a skin consult under a lamp where they can advise you on home care and treatments for your concerns. This is generally less like a sales pitch but don’t be afraid to as questions, you’ll get great info that you can take away and while you may be offered products, you can say you’ll have a think about it because you will after all. The best facial includes massage and something extra like a foot scrub or hand treatment and you should feel generally relaxed at the end.

Late night in Lake Powel, AZ getting our hydration on

Homecare

Armed with the information from your consult or facial, you can build your homecare routine. This will have a huge impact in the long term and will also increase the positive effects of any treatments you’re getting. Don’t waste your money on a treatment if you’re not going to take care of things at home. It’s like going to the dentist twice a year but not brushing in between visits. Whatever is sitting on your skin at bedtime is absorbing in whether it’s dirt and makeup or a delicious serum. Even half ass home care is better than none but ideally, skin needs to regularly be:

  • Exfoliated
  • Hydrated
  • Protected

all of which can happen at home and then the spa trips become about the repair and prevention with an occasional pamper, fluffy thing thrown in.

Skin Better Science-award winning treatments for home care.

I’m going to do a series of what treatments work for what skin concerns but for a quick glossary of services you’ll hear about and to consider:

  • Basic Facials or Targeted facials- $50-150 (all skin types)
  • Hydrofacials, microdermabrasion, dermaplaining- $80-200 (all skin types)
  • Chemical peels $75-200 (various skin concerns, mild to aggressive)
  • Lasers $200- $2,000 + (various skin concerns)

So take a selfie right now and file it away as a “before” picture then ask your best looking friends where they go for things because the chances are they’ll get a referral perk and you’ll be close on their hotness heels before you know it. A year from now your selfie game could be so much stronger or at least your trauma caused by others taking pictures of you will diminish.

Botox, fillers, brows, hydro & vampire facials with excellent skin care regime

The youngsters call it a “glow up”

Feel free to ask questions.

Back to School

I’ve had a child or 4 in school for the past 24 years! It seems like yesterday that my first born was entering William Harding School as a “rising 5”. I can see him in his little uniform, combed hair and gappy teeth, all smiles and excitement. Back then we walked to school, up the road and under the train tunnel, lunch box swinging and always with my second son in tow.

On my actual yesterday, I dropped off my last baby for her very last “first day of school” and found myself quite emotional and not only because it was 6:45 AM.

Holy cow, 24 years is a lot! 24 years of, uniform shopping, permission slips, field trips and registration papers. 24 years of late night assignments and parent teacher conferences. We’ve gone from, sign up to register on day one only, to paperwork every year, to everything done online. My kids have taken classes from Art, Theatre and foreign language to Radio Broadcasting and Digital Marketing. We’ve gone from talking to a teacher twice a year at parent night, to online daily updates of all grades, assignments and upcoming info. I no longer dread that face to face time because I already know exactly what’s going to be said. For the most part, I got the same message, “They’re awesome! I love having them in my class but they need to turn their work in on time.” Grades and performance became less of a draw for me as I realized that raising good humans was my ultimate goal and in that , I feel successful. My kids are all damn good people.

I always thought graduating high school was a given and I used to harass my kids about getting good grades. I paid rewards for A’s because money bribes seem to work in my house but have since been told I’m cheap now and should up the stakes. I’m stoked to have 3/4 of my kids graduated because the truth is, it’s a lot of work and if you struggle with a learning difficulty or any mental health issues at all then school is not even a place you want to be.

Curtis Riverton High School Class of 2009

In a school with almost 4,000 students, 800 graduated with my first son, it’s hard to not feel completely alone in a crowd. It’s like being in London and knowing the chances of bumping into anyone you know is slim to none. My daughter attends a much smaller Charter School, that’s still a publicly funded school but with a parent advisory board that controls a specific curriculum. The number of kids that could graduate this year is under 100 and the principle will drive the school bus to meets and competitions when needed. Whilst they still have teams and clubs that most all kids can attend, they don’t have the massive football stadiums and state of the art auditoriums. They also don’t have 40+ kids in a class room or uber competitive tryouts and auditions that leave incredibly talented kids no longer playing the game they’ve loved for the last 10 years because there’s just too many kids.

A lot has changed in 24 years in the education system but learning how to learn is still an absolute basic life skill needed.

I love that education, whilst provided mostly for free, by the government, is very much in the hands of the student and parent now. There are many options for learning both in traditional massive facilities as well as at home from your own PC. I mean, your kid can just roll out of bed or into the closest school, they’ll even bus them there if it’s over walking distance but there are a lot of kids who are just lost in that world.

My four kids have experienced it all, The 5A largest in state school, the private school, the charter school with additional specialty tutoring and the online adult learning. In the end, each worked out for them.

As an experienced school Mum I will say, get to know what’s out there, get involved, volunteer. I promise you , there are so many options and they all want your child to succeed. Figure out how to support your student, and be the best advocate for them. It makes “back to school” days so much better.

Shout Out to Providence Hall High School, Dyslexia Center of Utah and South Point Academy. You changed my kids lives for the better.

Let’s talk Hormones

I think there’s an unspoken rule that retired men leave home to golf for extended periods just to escape the “crazy” wife. The golf buddies share a knowing nod and console each other meanwhile the women, who’s tried to look hot her whole life is now, literally on fire, with pain, bloating and mood swings that make her want to curl up in a ball or kill someone. It makes me wonder how lesbian couples make it through these years together when the odds are that 50-100% of the couple, is ready to punch you in the face at any given time????

If you ask me though, and I’m going to tell you my opinion anyway, this sluggish, weight gain, loss of interest blah blah feeling, can happen way before retirement. I think the first time I went to a GP with the above symptoms was in my mid 30’s. They did one thyroid test, told me I was fine and I went home thinking he knew best and continued feeling crap with no explanation. Maybe I was just busy and tired. What I didn’t know was, there are multiple hormones to test and the “fine” range is so vast that you can feel crappy at the bottom or fabulous at the top of the “fine”range and who doesn’t want to feel fab? We call it “OPTIMAL”

So fast forward 10 years and imagine my excitement when I discovered that the afternoon slump” the “can’t be bothered to go to the gym” and the “don’t touch me, I’m sleeping” can all be addressed with a blood test and a few hormones. When testing is done by the right people, the results tell you all sorts about yourself. Like I need an iron supplement and some Vitamin B. You may choose to not change anything but the info is powerful none the less.

my regimen

Of course, all I want is everything so I followed instructions for all the things and can testify the my new “balanced” restoration of hormones not only makes me feel like I’m regaining my youth but I don’t have to deal with the crappy pre or menopausal symptoms either.

I know someone’s likely screaming at the computer

“But Nat! HORMONES GIVE YOU CANCER”

Well I ask you “do they though?” go do the research.

Certainly there’s risks and side effects to all medicine, and at a specialty clinic, you’ll be monitored for all of them, but since 100% of my direct relatives have died due to cancer of some sort, I’m pretty sure the odds are against me anyway and I’d rather have a flat belly, good energy and a banging sex life (yeah I said it) whilst not sweating through my sheets and strangling my husband because of course it’s his fault (jk) than the 0.00000001% chance of possible increase risk of cancer.

January 2017

So if you wanna chat about it, leave me a question in the comments and I’ll add it in.

Just remember I am not a doctor but I work with docs who specialize in this and I’m happy to share my experience.

WHAT TO WEAR -FOR A NIGHT OUT

When on a very rare occasion I have a night out or event to attend, I get so excited that I finally get to do something fun that visions of a packed nightclub enter my head. I can almost feel those thumping beats and the sticky heat of my body, dancing the entire night away and getting hit on by sexy men AND women. (Close eyes, Pause for visual, smell the beer breath and cologne….ummm nostalgia) then I cry a little before laughing hysterically. Unfortunately, reality crashes me down to earth like that first, cheap drink induced, vomit session of my youth and reminds me that my almost 50 year old Mum bod, may be willing but isn’t stepping foot in one of those clubs anymore and it’s going to take some work before I’m even comfortable anywhere outside my house. So here’s my tips for still having a life after 7pm.

Step 1- Say Yes and get excited about it.

You might be inclined to make an excuse and bow out but I encourage you to say yes and let the panic ensue. You were invited for your stella personality, not your dress sense and you could always drop out last minute if you really can’t get yourself together but you might also end up having a blast and remembering you’re far from dead yet. It’s also quite fun to play dress up, we’ve been doing it since we could get our own itchy clothes off after all.

Step 2- Shop your own closet.

I have plenty black and white tops that work day and night.
A jacket adds coverage if you need to hide any wobbly bits.

Chances are you have an item or two that can be dressed up fancy for a night out.

Black Pants, Skinny jeans, something leather, something sheer, heels? Dig deep, this isn’t an everyday look so how you wear it will take it up a notch.

Did you find something? or are you going shopping? (that’s the fun part)

Stick to your signature style

I’ll explain this in detail in another post but basically look at where you are most comfortable and confident and stick with it. If you’re a girly girl and dresses are your jam, don’t go throwing on a military jumpsuit and if you’re like me and feel like a drag queen in too many thrills, then keep it simple and you’ll be confident in the look.

Step 3- Try on and take Pics

Imagine your clothes in a store and try them on. How do they look together? Mix and match and add accessories.

This is where I take pictures. As you can see in most of the ones I show here, my hairs not done, and I’m not heading out but adding shoes and a bag can make or break a look.

I have many outfits I chose not to wear after seeing the pictures. Or that changing part of the outfit made it look better.

Time to Shop

If you feel at this point that you need something, it’s time to shop or borrow. The event will decide where you will shop. If it’s a funky theme party or a place you’ll likely never go again, then don’t be afraid to keep it cheap.

“I was invited for a girls night out dinner at which we were celebrating a friend who was overcoming cancer and I was told to sparkle! Not my usual jam and not likely my future jam so I went to Forever 21 for cheap and disposable options. That’s right, one wear, fall apart not forever anything 21. Amazingly I found a fun sequin top for $8 which paired with some black skinny pants and heels worked perfectly. I’ve actually worn that top three times now so that was a steal.”

Alternatively, you may find this is a great excuse to splurge on an item that you could wear on repeat forever and never have the “what can I wear” convo again.

  • Sexy Silk Blouse
  • Leather jacket or pants
  • Black Blazer
  • Beautiful Clutch Bag
  • Sexy Heels

Step 4- The Finishing Touches

Once you’ve decided on the basics, you’ll add some accessories that’s what take’s it up to a “Night Out” look.

Even basic skinny jeans and a t-shirt or tank top can work if you throw in some strappy heels, a clutch and one statement piece of jewelry. (Large Cuff, Statement Earrings or fancy necklace) A bold lip color goes a long way but I personally have tried this and even though it looks great, I just don’t like it on me. Once your hair is done and your make up’s on, it’s time to start focussing on the fun night ahead and the great people you get to be around.

In the end, you’ll know when you have a look that you’re confident in. Your beloved friend or 8 year old “honesty police” daughter might tell you you look great but only you’ll know when you do. When you’re confident in your look it is beautiful and radiates and that’s where you want to end up.

So Remember……

  • Say yes!
  • Stick to the signature style
  • Shop your own closet
  • Try on and look at your pictures
  • Add a few details to take it to night out worthy
  • Be confident
  • Have gratitude for friends who love you and want to hang out with you.