Archive for the 'share your story' Category

Mustachio!

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Ms. Ponnay, you seem to have some extra facial hair growing on your upper lip

“Secret Agent Josephine, you seem to have some hair growing on your upper lip.” What?!! Gasp! How did you know! How could you say such a thing?!! Shocking!

The truth is I do have mustache hair on my upper lip. Not a lot, just a little. But I am a brunette after all, and such things cannot be ignored. Or maybe they could, but a long time ago a friend in high school introduced me to facial bleach, and I have never let a little hair go unnoticed since then.

Part of me wonders how my life might have turned out if she had never shared her dark secret with me.

So what does one do when one is faced with unwanted facial hair? Well, I’ll tell you!

I bleached for years. It was a pain. I hated hiding out in the bathroom while I waited for the chemicals to work. The excuses I’d make when someone would knock wondering why I was taking so long…that was fun. Then there was the burning and skin irritation. It was such a pain.

Speaking of pain, I tried waxing. That was REAL pain. Ugh. I’ve tried it all. Over the years my vanity has taken a backseat to the rest of my life, and I’ve turned to using one of those tiny battery operated nose-hair shavers on my upper lip. It doesn’t do the best job, but it’s quick and efficient, and I don’t have to think about it that much. But no, it doesn’t make me feel very feminine. Honestly? I feel like a man using a razor and I hate it.

olay

So you can imagine my interest when Olay came out with their New Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo. I was intrigued.

I’ve been a fan of Olay forever. My mom used Olay all her life, and so have I. I think I started using their face moisturizer when I was thirteen, and I still use it to this day. I’m not a huge multi-step-beauty-routine kinda girl, but this is one product I swear by. It’s gentle, it’s pretty, and it works. Believe me. I live in the desert; if I didn’t use it my face would crack off. I decided I would do this review in photos to show you how easy it really was.

here, let's fix that

First you apply a thin layer of Skin Guarding Balm. It feels like chapstick.

massage, massage, massage...

Then you massage it in for twenty seconds in a circular motion.

massage some more

Massage, massage, massage…

now it's time for the chemicals

Now it’s time for the chemicals. I’m skeptical. Will it burn?

small "grape sized" dollop

Apply a “small grape-sized dollop” of Hair Removal Cream, the directions say. Does this look like a small grape?

like so

Done. Bug stops by to admire…

ho ho ho

I set the timer for eight minutes. Eight minutes is kind of a long time. Time for some Groucho Marx impressions.

waiting is boring

Hmmm…hmmm…hmmm…so far no burning!

let's make up a rap while we wait

How about we make up a rap while we wait for this mustache-ridder to work?

Yo yo yo! Mustache you gotta go! Drop to the flo and give me fo! Uh…I think I’ll keep my day job.

captain honolulu?

I’m much better at making faces.

heh heh heeeh heeeh heeh

Heh heh heeh heeh heeh..

is that the timer I hear?

Finally! I hear a timer ringing!

all gone! but still ugly

Wipe it off with a tissue and tah dah! No hair! What? Still ugly you say?

why that's much better

There. Much better with lipstick.

there

Mwa! Totally kissable. I mean, if I had anyone to kiss that is.

ready for my close-up?

I’m ready for my close-up! Except I’m not very good at taking hand-held close-ups with my 50mm lens.

what?

Here’s my shot. You can’t really tell because my freckles kinda make my face busy but my upper lip is as smooth as a baby’s butt. Trust me.

us

Or ask Bug. She’ll vouch for me.

okay

And that’s all! I’m happy to report that this Olay product does not dissappoint. Just like my old favorite face moisturizer, I feel fresh and feminine, and it was easy. No mess, no fuss, and best of all, no irritation. I’ll probably use this from now on, and maybe I’ll even pass it on to Bug someday.

So who’s brave enough to admit they have a mustache too? Anyone? Anyone?

Don’t worry I’m not going to make you admit it in the comments, but if you would like to be entered for a chance to win an easy $50 gift card, courtesy of BlogHer and Olay, leave a comment below telling me who your favorite mustachioed character is OR maybe a beauty routine that your mom passed onto you like my mom passed on her love of Olay to me. I’d love to hear your story.

Rules: This sweepstakes runs from 1/3/2012 – 2/3/2012. No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here.

Be sure to visit the Promotions & Prizes page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers reviews and find more chances to win!

While we’re on the subject of looking good, you might want to check out the Looking Your Best posts in the Life Well Lived section of BlogHer.com. There are some great tips and expert posts!

Working out SAJ style (degree by Degree)

Monday, June 20th, 2011

walking-in-crystal-cove

A long long time ago I was in shape. I actually remember a time when I liked the skin I was in. I’m not counting when I was eight and didn’t realize my skinny bones were something special. This was in my late twenties and early thirties. I ran every other day and walked the days I wasn’t running. It was the perfect routine. When I was too tired to run, it was my walk day and after my lazy walk day I wanted to run again. It worked out great. I actually enjoyed getting up at the crack of dawn to spend an hour with myself and my running shoes and my thoughts. I remember the early morning smells, the beautiful sunrises, the birds chirping…It was a good time in my life.

Unfortunately, It lasted only about two years and I’ve been thinking about those years ever since.

kid-squat

I spawned a tiny human and I stopped running. I tried to work her into my work-out routine but it’s been less than successful.

This last year I moved to the desert and everything went even further south. What was left of my work-out ethic went to a screeching halt except instead of screeching it sat in a chair silently and got rounder and fatter.

SAJ takes ballet

Miraculously, I’ve joined a gym out here in my desert wasteland of not-working-out and things are better but it’s still a constant battle. I haven’t found the perfect routine yet but I’m trying.

My dream plan is to sweat every day. It doesn’t matter how. I can spend and hour hacking at the clay-like soil in my garden, I can jump rope, I can run with the dog, I can take aqua aerobics or belly dancing at the gym…I can even run around my backyard like a crazy maniac, so long as I’m doing something and breaking a sweat.

So far I’m meeting my goal about half the time. I work out twice a week at the gym (I finally found a class that fits me and is at the right time in my day) and I run around my backyard the other half. Really. I do. Ask my neighbors who think I’m crazy. I can’t worry about what people think anymore. There is always an excuse not to work out. Always, always, always.

I thought I’d share a little video of my backyard track. Who knows, it might inspire you to look for your own alternative way to sweat or maybe you’ll join my neighbor and laugh at me, that’s okay. I’m doing this for me.

Backyard Work-Out from secretagentjo on Vimeo.

So when I heard that Degree with motionSENSE (The only anti-perspirant formula activated directly by movement, not moisture) is challenging women to “Get Into the Move,” I signed up. Why not? It’s free and I need all the help I can get. Not only is their new deodorant incredibly effective with it’s new motion-sense technology (think freshness beads that magically work when you move your arms instead of waiting until you actually sweat) but they have this really cool ap on Facebook where you can log in your motions and get points for them. Anything from walking your dog to running a 5K counts and you can win prizes too! It’s like Weight Watchers with real life incentives.

motion-miles

How does it work you wonder? Well, if you’re on facebook already it’s just as easy as playing farmville and a whole lot more productive if you ask me. You know how I feel about farmville. By registering for the Degree Get into the Move Facebook app or on mobile devices (m.degreewomen.com), fans can start earning motionMILES, virtual currency redeemable towards chances to win thousands of prizes. These motionMILES are earned for various ways women move, including checking in with Facebook places and logging activities. Earning motionMILES is easy – eligible activities include going to the gym, taking Zumba® or yoga classes and various other activities women already do, like grocery shopping or catching the bus. Fans can also earn motionMILES by answering daily trivia questions on the Facebook application, inviting friends to “Get into the Move,” and even logging in daily.

That “other” box means that mad dash I made down the street after my dog and the ice cream truck can totally count for points.

So then what? You wanna hear about the prizes?

spa-doll

Once earned, fans can use motionMILES for a shot at winning instant prizes by spinning the prize wheel or by entering weekly and grand prize sweepstakes. Prizes include a surfing trip in Hawaii, designer shoes, gift certificates for Zumba classes and much more. Fans can also choose to donate motionMILES in a dollar amount to one of two charities: The Challenged Athletes Foundation and Girls in The Game.

In two weeks I’ll check back in here and let you know how it goes. In the meantime, leave a comment below and tell me what you do maintain a healthy lifestyle? Do you have any tips or tricks that stick? I can use them, please share! And when you do you’ll be entered into a sweepstakes to win one $100 Visa card from Blogher and Degree. The contest will end July 18th at 5 pm PST.

For more chances to win this contest check out BlogHer’s round up page and visit the Prizes and Promotions section

Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry
methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment
on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on
this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about
an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be
selected.

Visit the Official Rules here.

I’m on the prayer diet.

Monday, March 28th, 2011

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Slim·Fast.

prayer diet

I’m going to be 40 in a few years and I can tell. I see the tiny lines in my face. I notice my terrible posture sneaking up on me more and more when I catch myself unawares in mirrors. My hair is thicker and wiry and the sneaky grays are poking out with a vengeance. It takes me longer to make myself look presentable in the morning. Gone are those carefree days when bedhead looked cute on me. Time is marching on and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

Except one little thing—one big thing, really: I can stop gaining weight. Did you know Americans gain an average of two pounds every year? I’m a complete statistic. I’m exactly 20 pounds heavier than I was ten years ago. (I probably should be thankful, since it could be a lot more, but still.) It’s just life. I had a kid, I stopped exercising regularly, I kept eating the same as ever and here I am: slightly fat. Not terribly, but enough to not feel healthy and hate getting dressed in the morning because nothing ever looks right.

So I’ve come up with a diet plan for my new life as a forty-year-old. I have until my 40th birthday to get the details worked out. But this is my idea: I’m on the prayer diet.

I know, I know, you’re going to think I’m some kind of bible-thumping born-againer who thinks prayer can answer everything. Well, I sorta do because I’ve had some pretty big prayers answered in my life but that’s beside the point. I’m not thumping any bibles. I don’t even have any references handy. My idea probably isn’t even scriptural. I’ve just come to the conclusion that my addiction to food is not under my control. And it’s probably not going to be based on my past track record. So I’m going to put it under God’s control.

Before I eat, I pray. I pray this: Please God, can you make it so I’m not so hungry that I gorge myself on food that my body doesn’t need?

It sounds silly I know. But it’s working. If something happens while I’m eating, like my daughter wants the other half of my delicious bagel that I just smothered in slices of fresh avocado, I give it to her. I tell myself that this is God’s way of telling me I wasn’t supposed to eat that other half anyway. Then I quickly drink a glass of water so that I don’t sit there seething over that other half of bagel I wanted so badly. If I trip and stub my toe on my way to the pantry to eat a cookie, I tell myself that God made me stub my toe. I’m sure this is probably not very Christian to think this way but it’s working for me. Crazier ideas have sold millions of books so I’m sticking to it.

Now, you don’t have to be a Christian to adopt my crazy idea. From time to time I’ve doubted that prayer really works. I’ve even gone so far as to think that prayer is just a way of fooling our brains into thinking in a different patterns. Why does meditation work? Because it’s an exercise that stops your brain from doing it’s usual circles of fretting. Prayer does the same thing. Christians leave their problems with God once they’ve prayed about them. You could say I’m leaving my diet to God. Alcoholics in AA take the first step of admitting they have no power over alcohol; maybe it will work for me too when it comes to food.

So if you’re not a Christian, do whatever it is that you do. Turn around three times and snap your fingers, I don’t care. Just do it before you eat and do it with meaning. I believe that if you really believe in this, it will work. It will change your behavior and possibly change your eating habits. At least it will make you think about what you’re eating and give your willpower a second chance.

You’re probably wondering what Slim-Fast has to do with my “prayer diet.” Not much other than the fact that Slim-Fast contacted me to write something about dieting right after I dreamed up this grand plan. Coincidence, you say? Or divine providence? According to my diet rules, I’m going with the latter. I think God wants me to drink Strawberries N’ Cream Shakes. But then again Slim-Fast didn’t mail me any so maybe I’ll just have half a chicken sandwich.

I write this partly in fun… but I am practicing this in my real life. Maybe not the stubbed-toe part but praying about things that I cannot seem to control.

Feel free to chime in on my crazy idea or even rebuke me for mixing church and plate! (Okay, bad pun.) But if you do, you might win a Slim-Fast gift pack! Everybody likes to win free stuff, right? All you have to do is comment below. If you really really want to win you might want to check out Blogher’s Promotions & Prizes section for more chances to win!

Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry
methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment
on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on
this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about
an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be
selected.

Visit the Official Rules.

Visit the Official site

Morning Traditions

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

This is sponsored content by BlogHer and Kellogg.

As part of a share-your-story program for Kellogg’s Love Your Cereal, I’m writing a series of weekly posts about breakfast routines, nutrition and all the million-and-one reasons why we should love cereal!

This week’s topic is: Do you have a yearly morning tradition that your family participates in? Maybe everyone cooks a special breakfast on Halloween weekend?

pumpkin breakfast

You know, we don’t. But I’m going to start one! I think it would be really nice to have a special breakfast for every holiday. Since fall is upon us and gourds are starting to show up in the grocery store I thought it would be really yummy to make pumpkin muffins and pumpkin spiced lattes. Right now I’m visiting some friends in Texas and when I told them my idea they were up for trying it out the next morning.

making muffins!

The family that makes muffins together stays together…or something. We had a lot of fun mixing things in the kitchen.

glop gloop

Canned pumpkin can be very gloopy. Maybe next year I’ll try the real thing.

pumpkin muffin batter M is for muffin

We baked them up in muffin tins and then attempted to dribble some glaze on top. I think our glaze recipe needs some work.

Meredith likes the pumpkin latte

Then we made pumpkin spice lattes which are basically just steamed milk with some sugar and pumpkin spice added to it, served on top of coffee. (More milk than coffee for the kids and more coffee than milk for the grown-ups.) They were delicious!

mmmm pumpkin muffins and a pumpkin latte

I could do this once a year or maybe more…

Do you have any breakfast traditions? Maybe you have a better recipe for pumpkin muffins for me? Share your story for your chance to win $100! Check out BlogHer.com Kellogg exclusive offers page for 24 other chances to win too!

To enter, leave a comment below. For a second entry, you can:

· Tweet about this post with a link to it (and put your tweet URL in a separate comment below)
· Blog about this post with a link to it (and put your blog post URL in a separate comment below)
· Sweepstakes ends 5 PM EST on November 1, 2010.

Official rules here.

Mom’s Breakfast Club was started to help educate moms and families about kids’ cereal and share the scoop on their nutritional benefits and ingredients. To learn more about the program, visit www.loveyourcereal.com.



Last week’s winner is,

betty

Congratulations Betty! It just shows you it pays to tweet! Watch your email box, Blogher will be in contact with you shortly.