My Skincare Routine for Dry / Sensitive / Acne-Prone Skin

Skincare can be tricky. There are so many factors that go into finding the right products for your skin. On one hand, you might be unsure of your skin type. On the other, you might be completely overwhelmed by the sea of products on the market and not know where to start. I know I used to [and still] fall into the latter. It has taken me years of research [and frustration 🙃] to find products that work for my dry, sensitive, acne-prone skin that are also somewhat “clean.” In addition, I knew I needed a simple routine so that I would actually follow it. [I’m still not great at washing my face every single night and I’m trying to get better and turn it into a habit.] I mean I love an extensive, luxurious facial like the next girl, but for day to day…#AintNobodyGotTimeForThat.  

SKIN TYPE

Let’s start with skin type. I have dry / sensitive skin that is prone to redness and acne on my chin and upper cheeks. I think it’s so critical that you understand what kind of skin you’re working with before starting to try different products. A moisturizer that works wonders for oily skin could prove a nightmare for dry skin. Once you know your skin type, you can start exploring the different products that are available.

If you’re struggling with figuring out what type of skin you have, you can find a dermatologist in your area that subscribes to the “Skin Type Solutions” methodology. It was developed by cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Leslie Baumann, and is a science-based approach that diagnoses your skin type and then gives you a list of products that have been tested and proven effective for your skin. [This is no an ad and I’m not sponsored by Dr. Baumann.  I found her and approach online through my own personal research.]  I ended up seeing one of the doctors in Dallas who uses this method to confirm my unique skin type and also give me some direction on the products I should be using for it. He diagnosed my skin and gave me a list of recommended products.  [I was nursing at the time so I didn’t end up using the eye cream or retinol but am excited to try them out one day in the future.]  

For the most part, I was on the right path in terms of my skincare routine, which was very reassuring.  At the time of my appointment, I already knew I had started to figure it out because my skin redness started to calm down, the acne on my chin reduced significantly and my skin was glowing and hydrated after each time of using my “lineup.”  I share the products that I use both morning and night below.  

If you’re having a hard time determining your skin type and what products to start with, finding a doctor that follows this approach in your area is a great place to start!

SKIN CARE ROUTINE

Now onto the fun part…to all my girls with dry/sensitive skin, I have the dewiest / glowiest [yes I realize these are not real words, but stick with me here…😛] skincare routine just for you. I think it would even be great for normal skin that gets dry during the fall / winter months and needs some extra TLC. [Oily gals, I’m sorry to leave you out of this one but I don’t think this routine will give you what you need because it’s all about bringing hydration and moisture back into the skin, specifically with products formulated for dry / sensitive skin.

MORNING ROUTINE

Below is my morning skincare routine in the order I use the products:

  1. Eminence Organic Coconut Milk Cleanser: I found this cleanser through Annie Lawless’ post about her dry skin routine.  It is so rich and creamy and hydrates my skin after every use.  It’s one of the first cleansers I’ve used that does not strip my skin of its natural oils and does not leave it tight or dry [the worst feeling!!] It is specifically formulated for dry skin and it actually works! Bonus: it’s made of organic ingredients and is not formulated with any of the bad stuff [i.e. parabens, phthalates, etc]! 
  2. Belli Beauty Acne Spot Treatment: Although this is not the strongest acne treatment on the market because it’s safe for pregnancy and nursing, it works great on my skin.  The second I stop using it, I see my redness flare up and some small pimples start to form.  I use it on my chin, upper cheeks and forehead, almost like a serum post-cleanse.  [I blogged about it here.]
  3. FAB Ultra Repair Sleeping Cream: Another Annie Lawless find! I love this brand and all of the products that I have tried from it.  They only use clean products [there are 1300 products on their list that they exclude] and are known to cater to sensitive skin.  This cream is so moisturizing and my skin drinks it up.  
  4. Pura D’Or 100% Pure Organic Argan Oil: To seal in the moisture, I apply this argan oil.  I think that if I had to pick one product that has been the most effective for my skin, it’s this one.  The argan oil is what really seems to clam down the redness on my chin and cheeks. It is also so moisturizing and once I’m done with this step, my skin is dewy and glowing!
  5. EltaMD Sunscreen for Sensitive / Acne Prone Skin: I have used this sunscreen for years, per my dermatologist’s recommendation and I love it.  It has never irritated my skin and is a great last step before applying make-up.  [It doesn’t pill and has worked well with any foundation I’ve ever used.]  

NIGTHTIME ROUTINE

Below is my skincare routine at nighttime:

  1. Garnier Micellar Water or Neutrogena Hydrating Wipes: Micellar water and wipes were all the rage as the first step in a double-cleansing routine for several years.  Then they got a bad rap from beauty editors and bloggers for not being the best for skin cleansing.  I personally use them to clean off my eye makeup from the day.  I’m sure I could use the oil in step 2, but I don’t personally like to rub oil over my eyes.  Therefore, these hydrating wipes do a great job without irritating my skin.  I will sometimes follow up with the micellar water on a cotton pad to get the final remnants.  
  2. DHC Cleansing Oil: Ahhh, when I put this oil on my face, I sometimes want to just leave it on because it feels so soothing on my skin! Of course I do not because this is the oil I use to remove my makeup from the day. 🙂 It is so hydrating, so soothing and does a wonderful job of getting off all of my makeup.  I remove it with a face rag.  
  3. Eminence Organic Coconut Milk Cleanser: I follow up the oil with the cleanser and use a rag to remove the face wash as well, to get any last traces of makeup off my skin.  Steps 4 – 6 below are the same as above!
  4. Belli Beauty Acne Spot Treatment
  5. FAB Ultra Repair Sleeping Cream
  6. Pura D’Or 100% Pure Organic Argan Oil
  7. Laneige Lip Mask: At night, I apply this lip mask and it has the consistency of a super glossy, thick lip gloss. I love it because its so nourishing and I still feel a very light layer on my lips in the morning when I wake up.  

WEEKLY ROUTINE

  1. Fresh Sugar Face Polish Exfoliator: I use this every Sunday night to exfoliate my skin for the week.  If I’m ever experiencing a lot of dry patches for whatever reason, I might use this a second time throughout the week as well.  It’s mad with brown sugar, strawberries, plum seed oil and grapeseed oil, and is free of parabens and phthalates.  It’s such a gentle, yet effective, exfoliator that leaves my skin dewy and glowing.  
  2. FAB Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration: While this is not something that I put on my skin or neck, I use this cream on my body whenever my hands get crackly or my knees/elbows/feet need some extra TLC.  It’s so rich and creamy and does wonders for very dry skin.  I usually put it on at night before going to bed.  

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You might’ve noticed that I excluded any toners, serums and retinols from my routine. I have personally tried various toners over the years [even those that say they are hydrating], but they do not work for my skin.  They tighten and dry it out and I have decided that they are not for me.  

I don’t use a serum at the moment because of pregnancy but I do hope to incorporate a Vitamin C [or other targeted serum] once I’m done with nursing.  Similarly to the serum, I will bring in a retinol for anti-aging purposes post-nursing!

Have you tried any of these products and have they worked for you? Or do you have any other favorite items that are effective for dry / sensitive skin? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Shop the Post: Eminence Organic Coconut Milk Cleanser // Belli Beauty Acne Spot Treatment // FAB Ultra Repair Sleeping Cream // Pura D’Or 100% Pure Organic Argan Oil // Laneige Lip Mask // EltaMD Sunscreen for Sensitive / Acne Prone Skin // Garnier Micellar Water // Neutrogena Hydrating Wipes // DHC Cleansing Oil // Fresh Sugar Face Polish Exfoliator // FAB Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration // Robe (old, same brand shorts pajamas, same brand pants pajamas

Photography by: Angie Garcia 

How to throw a Dr. Seuss-Themed 1st Birthday Party

Hi y’all!

My son recently turned 1 and we threw him a Dr. Seuss “Sam I Am / Cat in the Hat” 1st birthday party. The party theme was my husband’s idea so we called him the Creative Director / Chairman of the Board [I bounced ideas off of him] and me the CEO [who executed the vision] 😉.

I had so much fun planning it but it definitely got stressful at times because I just wanted everything to be perfect! [Who knew that measuring tables and buying the right-sized tablecloths can be so time-consuming?!] It ended up being a birthday / housewarming party because we hadn’t had all of our friends and family over to our new home yet.  The party was wonderful and it was so special to share the joyous occasion with everyone we love. 

If you’re looking to host a Dr. Seuss-themed party, I detail exactly how I set everything up, the vendors that I worked with and all of the decorations that I used.  

PARTY SETUP / DECOR

Here’s how we set up the decor:

FRONT YARD

I worked with Jose from LCJ Balloons to create the balloon clusters lining the walkway to our home. I originally was going to buy regular helium balloons but he let me know there was currently a helium shortage in the US [who knew?!] and that we’d have to go with “frame balloons.” I had seen these balloon clusters on Pinterest and wanted the same look. So he suggested I go to hobby lobby and buy wooden sticks to which he could attach the balloons. I did just that [see pic below – I got the small, rectangular ones] and then we spray painted them red and turquoise. It was such a festive way to greet the guests and set the tone for the party.

FRONT DOOR

I got the door sign below from Lulu’s Custom Design and used a red and white striped ribbon to hang it to the door.  [They don’t seem to have the original ‘Oh the Places you will go’ door sign that I customized, but I bet if you asked them for this design, they will make it for you.]

DESSERT STATION

The dessert station [aka our kitchen table in disguise] in our breakfast area was probably the most congregated area throughout the party, along with the kitchen itself.  In addition to kids wanting to grab a cupcake as they made their way through the house, it was truly the heart of the party in terms of decorations.  Jose set up a beautiful balloon arch behind the desserts that was the focal point inside of the house.

For dessert, we had a cake, cupcakes, cookies and Russian chocolates. [My family and I are Russian so these chocolates from Euro Deli make it to every birthday party/dinner/special event.] Nina’s Treats made them all and they were both beautiful and delicious. I used these white plastic trays for the cupcakes and these dessert plates.  I also got this tablecloth and this red and white striped runner.  

FOOD

We catered BBQ from Sonny Bryan’s.  It was delicious and they do a great job! We definitely got too much food, so my lesson learned is to order for about 85% of the RSVPs.  There’s usually a handful of invitees that don’t show up, some don’t eat and the others just graze.

I used these cups, straws and plates.

INTERIOR DECOR

For the inside of the house, in addition to the cake setup, I had a photo banner from here [no longer sold on Etsy so I found another one I like] with a picture of my son starting from Month 1 through Month 12.  I also displayed a cardboard cutout of Dr. Seuss, a garland for the mantle and balloons [these too] throughout the house. [I had the balloons filled with helium at Tom Thumb, our local grocery store.]  We also placed two of the cocktail tables that we rented inside so that people could nosh while standing and socializing.

OUTSIDE

Under the covered patio we had two tables that we joined together. I decorated them with turquoise tablecloths, red and white striped runners and flowers.  We also had cocktail tables with red tablecloths tied with a burlap ribbon where people could stand and eat.   We have a mantle outside that I decorated with this ‘Happy Birthday’ garland.  [I don’t see the exact one I bought on the Etsy shop’s site but she makes custom signs, so you can just show her the image if you want the exact one.] We sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and did the cake out here to avoid lots of messy frosting on the floor. [I must say, I think my son had one lick of cake and that was about it. We definitely didn’t have the full on smashing that you see with some kids.  Ha!]  We brought out the high chair to which I attached red and turquoise balloons and a ‘ONE’ sign.  Behind the high chair, I had this garland.  I unfortunately didn’t have the photographer take a picture of the high chair setup before we started the cake, but I have linked all of the items above.

For the backyard, I rented a life-sized Jenga and Connect Four game, along with a kids table and chairs for drawing.  I printed out Dr. Seuss drawings that the kids could color and had little mason jars filled with crayons [inspo from Joanna Gaines, of course. ;)] I also used mason jars as flower vases tied with blue polka dotted ribbon [this was one of my favorite little touches at the party.] The tablecloths were white and red-striped plastic ones from Party City but they no longer have them in stock.  This is a similar option.  

I bought a baby pool and filled it with plastic balls, which was a huge hit for kids all the way up to ages 5 – 6.  We also had cornhole for the adults.

Jose made a beautiful number 1 balloon with a Dr. Seuss hat on top of it that we displayed. 

PARTY FAVORS

For party favors, I got these Dr. Seuss bags and filled them with these Dr. Seuss goodies. 🙂 Another lesson learned was that I placed these in the dining room and NO ONE remembered to take them on their way out.  I thought I would remind our friends and family to grab one when they left, but of course I was too busy playing hostess to even remember.  So for the next party, I will definitely be placing these by the door so that people remember to take one on their way out.

T-SHIRTS & HATS

I also got myself, my husband and my son matching ‘Sam I Am’ t-shirts. [Unfortunately ,the shop is no longer available on Etsy.  Here’s one option I found that allows you to print the decal for your t-shirt.]  I also got my son this onesie as a backup to the t-shirt and it is so soft and nice.  My husband was also super excited to wear a matching hat with our son so we got them these hats [dad’s and son’s].  

I hope this helps you if you’re trying to throw a Dr. Seuss-themed party! 

Pregnancy Wardrobe Staples

Y’all,

Finding clothes that fit, look good AND make you feel good during pregnancy is not easy.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s one of my least favorite things to do! And I am someone that loves curating the perfect ensemble.  There’s something about feeling put together that makes you feel confident and ready to take on the day / meeting / grocery trip 😉 / whatever it may be! 

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How Pilates Strengthened My Core For Pregnancy

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Hi friends,

When I was 8 years old, I was diagnosed with scoliosis.  My mom has a significant curvature in her spine and my dad has a minor one, so it was no surprise that the genetics didn’t fall far from the tree.  In 8th, 9thand 10thgrade, I had to wear the dreaded plastic backbrace.  I resorted to  buying clothes that were far too big in an attempt to hide it.  I also feared that I would be made fun of for it. 

CORE STRENGTH

Why am I sharing these intimate details of my youth? Just to tell you that I spent my whole life avoiding any exercise that could potentially “hurt” my back.  As a result, I ended up with an extremely weak core.  I didn’t understand until much later in life that I actually needed to strengthen the muscles in my core [my back, stomach, pelvic floor, glutes, etc.] to reduce potential back pain.

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Travel Guide: Chatham and Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA

 
We recently travelled to Chatham, Cape Cod for a week long vacation with the family. Chatham is a picturesque New England town with the most charming downtown area full of shops and restaurants. My hubby and I also got to sneak away to Provincetown for a day and a half to celebrate my birthday. ☺️
 
Here’s what I recommend checking out if you are traveling here:
 

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