Tag Archives: vegetables

Jessamyn’s Six Tips for Jealousy Inducing Skin

Like I mentioned in my Stages of Beauty Product Review, I am frequently complimented because of my (allegedly) smooth skin. In my eyes, my skin is not very smooth. But nevertheless, everyone seems to think I was born with really great skin.

Unfortunately for me, I was not- I come from a long line of women (and men) who have suffered at the hands of the environment, time, and other external influences with the result being that their skin does not look like a baby’s backside.

Because of traumatizing experiences during my adolescence, I have developed an irrational paranoia about my skin. Though this  paranoia manifests in some rather unorthodox and (probably) unnecessary habits, there are a few habits which I think are absolutely necessary for an individual to have and maintain clear and smooth skin.

Some of these steps may seem obvious, and some of them will remind you of reading teen magazines in middle school, but trust me: when combined, these six tips are absolutely fool proof.

water glass1. Water is Your Friend: I’m not saying other beverages are illegal or satanic. Ok, maybe I will say that from time to time (I’m liberal and I’m loud- so sue me). But no matter what other liquids you enjoy, you can’t expect to have fresh and vibrant skin without drinking a lot of water. That whole 8-8oz glass equation? Yeah, that’s real life. You need to do it- it will also help control rampant midday hunger pains. I’m sure you’re probably wondering how you can manage to fit that much liquid into your diet. It’s simple- invest in a 32 oz water bottle, fill it up at the start of the day, and aim to drink the whole thing by lunch. Then, after/during lunch, re-fill your bottle and sip the contents through the rest of the day. See? Boom goes the dynamite- you’ve just ingested 64 oz of nature’s kool-aid. But whatever you do, DON’T buy disposable water bottles. They are, in the words of The Office’s ever-wise Gabe Lewis, the “scurge of the earth”. It really is worth it to buy a reusable bottle- they are very affordable nowadays, and they are super handy. Inexplicably, I’ve managed to acquire a mini-collection of nalgene bottles. But if you don’t have time to gradually accumulate products, check out this nalgene model.

smoking and drinking2. Put Down That Cancer Stick and Cork Up Your Wine- Ok, I’m not an idiot and I was born in America’s tobacco capital: I am well aware of the prevalence of smoking among young adults, ESPECIALLY those living in the Old North State. Because no matter what your parents or DARE coach said, smoking does have a certain ‘cool’ cache. Especially when you’re young and hanging out in seedy yet bad ass locales. Same goes for alcoholic goodies- if they didn’t look cool and weren’t fun, most adults wouldn’t imbibe so frequently. But here’s the thing- if you overindulge in both of these common vices, you can kiss clear skin good-bye. Because as much as you don’t want to admit it, smoking and drinking will shoot your skin straight to hell (not to mention the rest of your body). I’m not here to be the hypocritical morality police- god knows I’ve got enough vices and bad behavior to make a school girl blush. But I have seen too many beautiful girls smoking like chimneys to not make an internet plea. Even if you don’t care about your vocal cords (or your liver…or your gums…or every other precious internal organ), think about your cheekbones. And your teeth. And your bone structure. And your eyelids. Think about how all of those lovely features are going to be riddled with stains, blots, lines, and other disfigurements. And it won’t have anything to do with age. You’ll be a 35 year-old with the face of a 45-50 year-old. And there’s no skin care regiment to fix that sort of damage. So do yourself a favor, and lay off the unnecessary (and premature) damage.

fruits and veggies3. Eat Your Fruits and Veggies- Popeye had the right idea. So did whoever said ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. Increased intake of fruits and vegetables (especially a wide array of colors and types) has a profoundly positive impact on skin.  By integrating a wide variety and LARGE quantity of fruits and vegetables into your diet, you will see noticeable results within a week or two. Honestly, when I think my skin looks especially bright and ‘glowy’. It’s usually because I’m stuffed full of a veritable cornucopia of vegetation. However, this is another area where people can’t seem to figure out how to reinvigorate their diets. There are dozens of ways to do it, but here are three of my favorite ways:

  1. When you leave home in the morning, toss three different fruits in your bag. That way, when you get the midday munchies, you have a healthy and skin brightening snack on hand. I eat a lot of oranges, apples, and bananas, mostly because they are wicked portable. But don’t be afraid to slice fruit on the go, or pair your fruit with a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter (I’m partial to almond butter).
  2. Green Monsters are the way of the future. The vitamin intake you can get from one green smoothie will blow your mind, and you can fit a day’s worth of fruits/veggies into one beverage. Plus, they taste freaking delicious and are really versatile. You can throw together  a green monster with whatever fruits and veggies you have on hand. I’ve actually already written about this topic- check out my tribute to Jack Lalanne’s Power Juicer and the magic of the green monster.
  3. Make a point to add extra vegetables into your evening meal. Start small: spinach topped with special seasonings. Try adding an array of chopped bell peppers to your pasta, or just try out a new-to-you vegetable. Better yet, find a fun recipe for your least favorite childhood vegetables- braised Brussels sprouts, perhaps? Cauliflower topped with earth balance and old bay seasoning? Make your childhood nightmare into your new favorite side dish.

yes to carrots eye makeup remover4.  Remove Makeup Before Bed- I know, it sucks. You’ve been out having the time of your life, you watch the sun rise with your best buds, you stumble home at 7am and you’re ready to fall face first into Egyptian cotton and down feathers. However, before you can go into a vampire coma, you have to….REMOVE YOUR MAKEUP AND WASH YOUR FACE?! SAY WHAT?! But, um…yeah. You do. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my female family members, leftover makeup+your skin+bed friction does not equal happy fun times. It equals mascara tears, perma-lipsticked lips, and (the worst part) facial bumps that make your face look like the exterior of  a black truffle. And let me tell you something about truffles- fun to eat, NOT FUN TO LOOK LIKE. Do yourself a favor, take 15 minutes before bed, and give your face a good wipe down. I use two different makeup removers: Boots Sensitive Eye Makeup Remover and Yes to Carrots Eye and Face Makeup Remover. I like them both for different reasons, and I use them interchangeably. It’s really important to use a remover that’s not harsh on your skin (say no to toner– as a makeup remover, that is), and make sure to wash your face afterward. Both of these products can be found really easily- you can buy them both at Target and Boots only costs about $5-6.

neutrogena sunblock5. Wear Sunblock- For the love of god almighty,put on some freaking sunscreen. I don’t care if you’re ebony, ivory, or somewhere in the middle. Wear it. Even when it’s not sunny. Because here’s a fact of the universe- just because you can’t see the sun doesn’t mean it’s not beating the crap out of your skin. The sun is obviously really awesome- who doesn’t love vitamin D? I certainly do. But unless you want a side of skin cancer with your breakfast, you’d better lather up before you head out. Even in the winter. This is not just for girls– year-round sunblock application needs to be a genderfree rule. However, if you plan on wearing makeup (or don’t like blotting sunblock grease from your forehead), buy a dry-touch sunscreen. I really like Neutrogena’s sheer dry-touch product– but I’m cheap and it’s expensive. Therefore, I buy the Walgreens knock off– in my opinion, it’s just as good as the real thing. And it’s both oil-free and water resistant- very important traits.

vaseline brand lotion6. Use Separate Face and Body Lotions- Surprisingly, skin on your face is not like skin on your feet. Or your butt. Or your back. Due to evolution, it does different things, is exposed to different elements, and needs to be taken care of differently. Because my skin is so dry, I refuse to use body lotions that are not SUPER thick and creamy. I have a test- if I pump some lotion into my hand, overturn my hand, and the cream slides to the ground, I know not to use that product. I only use body creams that are thick enough to literally defy gravity. However, my face doesn’t need quite such a thick formula. I prefer to use a much lighter face cream, and I can definitely tell the difference. Don’t just buy one lotion and think you’re perfectly ok- invest in your lotion options, and I guarantee you’ll see a difference.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t talk specifically about face wash. After spending the last decade trying out different products with mixed results (some good, a few bad, and some REALLY F****** ugly), I’ve decided that the best face washes vary from person to person. For example, I usually swear against scented products on my face- but I use Neutrogena’s Pink Grapefruit Face Wash on the daily and I think it gives me the best results I’ve ever had.

neutrogena face wash

My only real advice is to do research on your skin type, and try out different products. If you can afford to do so, talk to an esthetician and get their advice. But if you rely on the internet and your own wit, trial and error is the best response.

ALSO, how’s this for exciting: Stages of Beauty wants to make sure their products are accessible to all ladies (regardless of financial means). Therefore, to help out, their offering all Jessamyn Not Jasmine readers a 20% discount on all online Stages of Beauty purchases made from until 12/31/2011. Just enter my name (JESSAMYN) in the promo code box during check-out. Smile

Basically, the key top having skin that makes everyone jealous is to take care of yourself. Treat your body like a temple, inside and out. And all of these tips (especially the dietary habits) will result in a stronger and healthier total physical package.

What are your skin-care rituals?



Filed under Uncategorized

The Couch to 5k Challenge: You Woke Up At WHAT time?!

As I mentioned earlier, I have been on a metaphorical ‘roll’ today. I don’t usually need to wake up quite so early, but when my alarm started blaring at 5am, I rolled out of bed without a hint of reluctance (ok, maybe there was a hint. Actually, it was more like a generous dash of reluctance). Anyway, today was the first day of my Couch to 5k Challenge adventure, and I wanted to make sure I had my game face on before I hit the gym.

First day verdict? I’m not going to lie: I still don’t like running….yet. In general, I find that when I’m running I can’t find a good point of focus- my mind is zooming around and I start to think ‘I can’t believe I’m running/how long have I been running/how much longer do I need to do this/etc’. I think I’ve spent the last 23 years translating these th0ughts as “I don’t have the right body type for running and I suck at this”. However, after my experience this morning, I just think I get bored really easily and this tendency to get bored results in self-deprecating thoughts. All in all, the run wasn’t so bad. I was definitely breaking a sweat, and I think there are few things which feel better than breaking a sweat from effort that you want to exert (as opposed to breaking a sweat from standing in the sun wearing all black- that definitely doesn’t feel good). At this point, I think I just need to work on distracting myself from the task at hand. Getting inside my own head and thinking crazy thoughts is becoming my Achilles heel.

I was very proud of myself for not quitting, even though there were a couple of moments when I wanted to start walking a little sooner, or lower the treadmill speed. I kept my breathing relatively in check, and when I was struggling to focus, I just tried to train my thoughts on my breathing. And actually, simply thinking about the constant passing of air through your own lungs is pretty therapeutic. With that as my guiding light (and Missy Elliott providing the soundtrack, natch), I think I might actually look forward to Friday morning.

Before bed last night, I threw together my version of Danica’s Crockpot Steel Cut Oats, only I scaled down the recipe a little. The original recipe creates a giant pot of steel cut oats- Because I doubted both the capacity of my crockpot AND how many containers of steel cut oats I wanted to parcel out into my freezer, I decided to make two cups of oats instead of the original three.

steel cut oatmeal

This was a great decision- when I checked the pot this morning, it was packed to the brim with steaming oats and peaches (I didn’t have any blueberries on hand so I omitted them- personally, I’m not a big fan of blueberries. If they are not in liquid form I’m kind of weirded out by the texture.)

I really enjoyed the oats. Cooking them overnight insures that they are cooked thoroughly, and you don’t end up with any chunks of undercooked grain. I added a teaspoon of both Smart Balance and brown sugar to my serving of oats, and the whole bowl was still only 4 WWpoints+ .

I also ate two egg whites (1 WWpoints+), and I drank a giant Green Monster.

1192011 Breakfast 022

My mom turned me on to green monsters over a year ago, and I can personally swear by the health benefits. Some people claim to be really turned off by the texture, but what’s really happening is just a case of old-fashioned food color prejudice. It’s a tale as old as time- we’ve been taught from childhood that green comes in a solid, usually leafy, form. You don’t DRINK green. But let me ask you two questions:

(Imagine me dressed as Billy Mays. Go ahead, I dare you.)

Do you like the taste of fruit juice?

Do you like cold, delicious, fruity smoothies?

Then you, my friend, are about to become a member of the Church of the Green Monster! Yes, there are vegetables in your drink- lots of them, in fact. But guess what? YOU CAN’T TASTE THEM AT ALL. Do you know why? Because you can’t TASTE a color- Ok, I’m starting to channel Billy Mays a little too much and now I’m not making sense. What I’m trying to say is that just because a certain vegetable (say, spinach) has a very dominant color, it does not have a more dominant flavor than say, apples. So if you put the flavor of apples and spinach in a blender, you’re going to have a really delicious glass of green apple juice in no time.

The great thing about a Green Monster is that everyone has a different way of preparing theirs. Some people like to make something akin to a smoothie, and they’ll add a dairy product (yogurt, milk, etc). Some people are looking for a specific mix of vitamins, and so they’ll choose fruits and veggies based on what they need on a given day. There are two secrets to my green monster:

jack lalanne juicer



Since I don’t have a super blender (feel free to buy me a vitamix anytime you feel like it), my juicer is basically the best thing since sliced bread. A couple of years ago, my mom inherited a Champion juicer– that meant I got to inherit her JACK LALANNE POWER JUICER.

Y’all, Jack Lalanne is a beast- the guy is almost 100 years old, and he does one armed push-ups on the regular. He claims that juicing is basically the elixir of life. I’m not going to lie, and maybe I’ve been drinking the Jack Lalanne kool-aid, but I think he’s right (actually, it would probably be the Jack Lalanne radish and beet juice- dontchathink?) The Jack Lalanne juicer is so strong that you can put an entire orange in the shoot, and it will juice it whole. Did you hear me?


Anyway, if you want really fresh and smooth Green Monsters and you have a lackluster blender, an excellent juicer is really helpful. I didn’t say this juicer was cheap (let me be clear- I DEFINITELY DIDN’T SAY THAT), but it’s worth every penny.

My second secret weapon to the best Green Monster is Boku Superfood. Boku contains way too many excellent ingredients to list them all here (including spirulina), but just know that even one scoop in your daily monster will quadruple your vitamin intake. Plus, a scoop of Boku is only 1 WWpoints+.

Today’s Green Monster consisted of the juice from 3 apples, 1 orange, and 1 pear, blended with 2 big handfuls of spinach and a scoop of boku. I meant to juice some carrots and a couple of celery stalks, but I got so caught up in the “I’m on such a great schedule this morning!” mood that I forgot to throw them in the juicer. Whatever- since fruit and most vegetables have a ZERO WWpoints+ value, the entire GIANT Green Monster only equaled 1 WWpoints+. Yeah, that’s right. You definitely need to get into this.

full breakfast 1192011

Anyway, my entire breakfast totaled up to only 6 WWpoints+, and I don’t know about you, but that’s a number I feel really good about.

Also, OH MY GOD, I can’t believe I mentioned blueberries and I didn’t talk about this video. After watching this clip, you will never think about blueberries the same way again*.

* I realize this makes the video sound like it’s going to show something gross about blueberries. It’s definitely not. This video is….well, just watch the video.


Filed under couch to 5k challenge, exercise, food, meal planning