My Skincare Secrets

January 22, 2015 · 12 comments

This has been a long requested post, and I apologize for taking so long to put it together. Finally, a post with a roundup of my skin care products and tricks!

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I don’t consider my beauty routine ultra glamorous, high maintenance, nor complicated. It’s taken a lot of trial and error. And what hasn’t failed me through the years, I’ve stuck with.

“The Secrets,” a.k.a., my Skincare Routine

I’m a huge proponent of no makeup unless it’s really necessary. I am fairly certain my skin stays clearer by sticking to this rule, and I notice when I tend to wear makeup more, I have more resulting skin issues.

The skincare rules I live by:

  • Never exercise in makeup – There’s no excuse for it if you’re praying for clear skin! Makeup remover wipes are my best friend (details and link below).
  • Never sleep in makeup – Duh. Do you want a dirty pillow? I’ve read so many articles explaining how clogged pores become overnight. Gotta get that stuff off before you hit the sack.
  • Don’t wash your face in the morning – Did you know washing your face before you go to bed and when you wake up is detrimental to the natural oils in your skin? When I wake up, I put water on my face and reapply moisturizer.
  • Moisturize even if your skin isn’t dry – No matter what your skin type, your skin needs moisturizer. It seems natural to skip it if you have oily skin, but that actually causes an overproduction of oils, causing breakouts.
  • Clarisonics are incredible – I love the way my skin feels when I’m good about using my Clarisonic Mia I got for my birthday a few years ago (thanks, Mom!). I recommend the Cashmere Brush Heads
    as replacements. Oh, and don’t forget to change out that brush; it gets reeeal gross.
  • Sleep and H2O do wonders – I always have some sort of breakout if I’m low on sleep. Drinking a lot of water and getting a decent amount of sleep makes my skin look so much happier.



  • Essential Oils: Thanks to a suggestion from my friend Brittany, I’ve been putting Rosehip Oil on my face at night (and during the day if I won’t be wearing makeup). I find it does wonders for elasticity and a natural glow. I highly recommend it!
  • Moisturizer: Olay Regenerist Moisturizer With SPF has been great for my skin. This is what I put on my face before makeup, generally in the morning.
  • Tinted moisturizer: Ever since being diagnosed with melanoma, I’m very into the faux glow. I use a teeny tiny bit of Clinique Clinique Self Sun Face Tinted Lotion. I find it’s perfect for a slight glow. Just make sure to only use a little, or you’ll be in the Jersey Shore territory.
  • Toner: I really love Botanics Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz. The rosewater scent alone is to die for, and I really notice a difference in the clarity of my skin when I use it.


*Note: I haven’t used my toner, serum, and regular moisturizer as much since beginning my rosehip oil obsession. It seems to do the trick for all three of them. Every once in a while, though, I’ll use the toner and serum, and I use the regular/tinted moisturizer pretty regularly in the winter.

Face Wash

Face wash is pretty generic to me, but I’m a fan of the following:


Makeup Remover

I’m very anal about removing my makeup before taking or teaching a barre class. I carry around handy Neutrogena Make Up Remover Facial Wipes in my bag for a quick removal.


Every once in a while (maybe once a month)? I’ll use a face mask in efforts to replenish my skin. My favorites include:



What skincare products do you swear by? What are YOUR secrets? Tell me.

*This post contains affiliate links. As always, thank you so much for supporting Life of bLyss!


I love talking about the atrocities of The Bachelor with my friend, Bryan. He dignifies my girl crushes and he gives a decent male perspective on the whole thing.

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So, as Bryan says, I’m pulling a Chris Harrison and giving him the Jimmy Kimmel reins for this week’s Bachelor Recap.

To be completely transparent, there will be no shower scenes involved. All clothes are staying on for this takeover.

Take it away, Bry.

Long time reader; first time poster.

Alyssa is pulling a Chris Harrison this week, and while I’m certainly no Jimmy Kimmel, I will try and provide a little different perspective about last night’s episode. Here are my thoughts:

ABC is having financial issues – Apparently having Jimmy Kimmel on the show isn’t free and wasn’t in the show’s budget. In addition to instituting the “Amazing” jar (every time someone says the word “amazing”, they have to put $1 in the jar), helicopter/plane/yacht trips were canceled, extravagant date excursions were traded for a Costco trip and farm work and a wedding reception was crashed to feed Chris and Whitney on their date. Side note: Why doesn’t my Costco have an inflatable ball I can roll down the aisle and make out in?

I didn’t hate Kimmel hosting the show – He certainly took a lot of pressure of Bachelor Chris  having to the carry conversation, and the viewer’s attention, during the date with Katelyn. He asked the question that Chris certainly wanted to know about the fantasy suite, and Katelyn’s answer locked in her spot. I’m also really surprised how much praise Chris gave Katelyn for her performance at Costco. Bro, going to Costco is a fundamental adult life skill.


Jillian scares me – I’m all about a girl who knows her way around a gym, pure barre studio, etc., but Jillian needs to lay off the WOD’s. In the Hoedown Challenge she was breaking the corn cobs in half because she didn’t know her own strength and then hurdled the pig fence like she was stepping over some Lego’s. Chris needs to be mindful of her strength should she get too close to his manhood and also make sure that when/if she’s eliminated, he has an exit strategy. It’s nice to know Jillian isn’t letting the show stop her from getting in her Double Grace’s (Crossfit reference, for all you junkies out there).

The Black Censor Box needs to go – The casting department has done their work to assemble a solid sample of attractive women. If you want to keep your male audience, get rid of the black box. I don’t need any help shading my own eyes, but give me the option to make the decision on my own. I’m a big boy. Thankfully the black box wasn’t always at the ready, ahem Jade. A special mention needs to be made of Jade’s athletic ability in those stilettos. She might give Jillian a run for her money in the Lingerie Football League.

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Mackenzie doesn’t know what show she is on – Really Mackenzie, you’re worried that Chris is kissing other girls? Is it possible you haven’t seen the show before; I know you’re only 21? Chris swapped spit with at least seven girls on this episode. He’s been given the green light by Katelyn to test drive everything before he buys it and he’s wholeheartedly accepted that policy. If you’re worried about him kissing other girls, you might want to stay out of the pool and hot tub. I don’t think it’s possible to put enough chlorine in there.

Ashley S. shares her drugs – We didn’t get much airtime with Ashley S. last night. K-Dashley (Ashley I.) decided it would be a good idea to mix Ashley S.’s ludes with some alcohol before the pool party. Maybe she needed a little pick me up once she found out that she wouldn’t be able to “get her Kardashian on” that night for the cocktail party. Whatever the reason, the result was not ideal. Kind of like a summer rain storm while the sun is shining, K-Dashley tried to explain to Chris through tears and laughs that she didn’t like the amount of time she was getting with him. When words, blubbering, giggling didn’t work, she just resorted to making out with him. Chris initially liked the fact that she stopped talking, but then realized K-Dashley’s make out style mimics Jillian’s corn shucking technique.

Jeulia needs to go back home and get some family time in – Man, that story Jeulia shared about her husband’s depression and suicide was intense. I don’t know if the best time to share that was with a pool party in the background, but such is reality tv. That being said, with a little baby at home and her world being turned upside down, she might be better off at home surrounded by family and a support group of friends who can help her right the ship.

[On a serious note, I’m involved with Comfort Zone Camp, a bereavement camp that helps kids who have experience the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver. One in seven children experiences a loss by the time they are ten years old. CZC hosts weekend camps where the kids are matched 1:1 with a big buddy who acts as a dedicated mentor for the weekend. During these weekends, the children learn that they are not alone in their losses and that they have a tremendous support system to lean on. If you’d like to get involved or want more info, check out or please contact me.]

For the record, wedding crashing isn’t wedding crashing when everyone signs waivers – Nice idea, bad delivery. It did make me like Whitney for her ability to think on the go and be a fun date. I hope the present they brought to the wedding cost more than the money in the “Amazing” jar.

**Bonus Vocab for the Week, via Bachelor Chris: “Roll the Cob” – v. : to talk idly about something that neither person will likely remember

Well, it’s been real. Thank you, Alyssa, for letting me stand in this week.


What were your biggest takeaways from this week’s ep?


The Power of Positivity

January 19, 2015 · 44 comments

My sister has breast cancer. Again.

If you recall, when Amy was 36, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy, figuring it was the safest course of action for her future. My friend Gracie posted a great breast cancer awareness series this past October, and Amy was one of the post features.


Amy was declared cancer free in May of 2011. We were all so overjoyed and relieved. After a year of my dad having prostate cancer and my having melanoma, it was one more big hurdle cleared.

Over Christmas break, Amy found another lump, even though she’s been cancer-free (so we thought) for three years.

She immediately went to the doctor who ordered surgery, putting her under until they biopsied the lump and knew what it was. I felt the lump over Christmas — it was really big, but since she had had her double mastectomy, had been declared cancer free, and seemed otherwise healthy, we weren’t too worried.


On December 30, Amy went under the knife, and her lump came back as cancerous.

My family was devastated. There were so many questions. “How can there be more cancer if there’s no breast tissue?” “How was she cancer free before?” “Why Amy?”

In a double mastectomy, 5% of the breast tissue is left to literally hold you together, so there is always some breast tissue left. And in a needle biopsy, which was used to determine whether Amy was cancer free, some cells can escape the needle (yeah — WHAT?). So, it seems as though Amy should have gotten chemo the first time around.

393881_2419256204188_468884644_nChristmas 2012, Amy’s first long run since her double mastectomy.

We have since learned that Amy is positive for HER2. This essentially means that her cancer is the most aggressive form, so she will need both radiation and chemotherapy.

The news has lead to a bit of a personal struggle for me. My sister is the type of person everyone strives to be. She is so strong, so faithful, and so compassionate. She constantly is worrying about others rather than herself (so much that we make fun of her for it ;)). So why Amy?

Maybe God tests those he knows can handle it. My sister was a college All-American lacrosse player, and the papers deemed her as “stalwart.” That’s now my favorite word for her, because she truly is one of the strongest people I know. She can handle this. And I know her positive thinking will help her along the way.


I called her after we learned the news in a ridiculous ball of emotion, and she was the one cheering me up. I told her how silly that was, but that’s her — always taking care of other people, assuring me she’ll be okay. And it’s her positive thinking that is getting my entire family through this mess. The power of positivity is a too often overlooked.


I’m sharing this with you, one of the most supportive communities out there, to ask for some extra prayers for my awesome, loving, generous, wonderful sister and her family. She’s the best there is, and she definitely deserves the best. I’m praying hard for a strong, stalwart 2015.


The Birthday of The Century [VIDEO]

January 15, 2015

YEAH, IT WAS. Or at least of my almost-three-decades. We balled so hard… the only balling I’ve been doing this week has been from my bed. My real friends have been replaced by Prednizone, tissues, and nasal spray. The end is near. Or I’m really overdramatic in my old age. I have an upper respiratory/sinus […]

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The Pump Up Playlist

January 14, 2015”

Since running has taken a back seat in my workout regimen lately, I’ve needed a little extra push of motivation when it comes to pounding the pavement. I know Chloe needs the exercise, but on work days, since I teach barre so often, my only time to run is generally late at night or early […]

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The Birthday Post: What I learned before 27

January 8, 2015

I realize this may be a bit redundant to my New Year post, but I’ve gotta have some sort of retrospective writing for my birthday, right? As of 5:32 p.m., I’ll be 27. And I’m really thankful there isn’t a blizzard outside like there was this day in 1988, because I’ve got some special peeps […]

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The Bachelor’s Back.

January 6, 2015

Crazy Girls. Alcohol. Bad prom dresses. Attitudes. Ah, Bachelor season. You’re in for it, Farmer Chris. Hopefully you won’t regret missing harvest for the first time in your life. This premier was SO. LONG. Honestly, with how early I get up, I wasn’t sure I would make it until the end. But predictably, I couldn’t […]

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26 Things I’m Thankful for from my 26th Year

December 31, 2014”

My 26th year was a tough one. Although I’d thought I’d seen the worst of it, for me, 2014 is what I’ll affectionately dub “a rebuilding year,” as the sports world likes to call it. But, where there’s an end, there’s a new beginning. And I’m lucky to say I’ve had a lot of new […]

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Twelve Things Tuesday

December 23, 2014”

1. I am blasting Hanson Snowed in from my office AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT. It is, and will remain, the best Christmas album I have yet to own. I love you guys, Straight No Chaser, and I’ll always adore the Glee holiday tunez, but nothing gets me in the holiday spirit like […]

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The Holiday Cooktini Swap

December 22, 2014

I have felt like a madwoman since being sick last week. It’s been the busiest week I’ve had all year, I think, and I’m thanking the good lord above I’m back up to speed so I could keep up with all the holiday fun. On Thursday, we had our Pure Barre holiday party. Then, on […]

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