“Act your age.” “Ladies don’t act like that.” Those two phrases were ones I dreaded hearing when I was growing up. I never truly understood what they meant, but now I am older, the context of those words make me cringe and upset. Why?
Because we direct them at girls. We expect them to mature faster and be quieter, more “ladylike” in demeanor. Their enthusiastic energy gets toned down, their “tomboyish” attitudes and activities looked at as something weird, or a “phase.”
There’s a famous saying, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” To me, it means not being quiet when people are hurting. To not accept poor treatment. To rise above expectations. To DO YOUR OWN THING, regardless of age. I am in my mid 40s and still like amusement parks. I listen to everything from Rihanna to Skrillex and jazz too. Wearing crazy leggings makes me happy, and yes- my hubby is 12 years my junior. Some people might think I haven’t “grown up,” but on the contrary, I’m growing in experiences. If we stop trying new things, taking risks, or sharing an opinion, then you have stopped experiencing life.
So, to my fellow “ladies” out there: Stop apologizing for your ideas. Don’t second guess yourself. Trust your instincts. Say what you mean. Be brave and DO YOU!
Fall is upon us, though living in Guam is an endless summer in flip flops! I do miss the rush of looking for the perfect sweater dress and boots! So, in lieu of doing a “Best Fall Fashion” post like I’ve done before, I present my favorite Beauty Bargains and Splurges!
I chose to review the basic three we usually use: Foundation, Lipstick, and Mascara.
You know the saying, “you get what you paid for?” I think that couldn’t be more true when it comes to beauty products. I’m sure you’ve tried a number of products over the years and it can take quite awhile to find what works. So, I’ll break down what has worked for me.
Bargain – L’oreal True Match
Hands down, True Match is one of the best drugstore brands out there. Priced at $8-10 a bottle, this gentle and lightweight foundation comes in several shades that lives up to its name, True Match. It never looks “cakey,” and has pretty good staying power throughout the day.
Splurge- Younique Touch Mineral Foundation
Initially, I bought this as a “going out/special occasion” makeup, but once I put it on, I am wearing it nearly every time I wear makeup! I have never felt anything so light and velvety before. It’s gentle on my skin, moisturizes, and doesn’t get greasy looking after a day in the Guam climate. Yes, it’s more pricey ($39), but since it doesn’t irritate or change color over the day, I am in love.
Runner Up: Clinique Chubby Stick Foundation
Bargain – NYX Butter Lipstick
Priced at just $6 a tube, this lipstick is surprisingly lasting and has a nice shine, but not too shiny. I would say that it does feel “like butter” on my lips and I like that it doesn’t dry out my lips, like many lipsticks tend to do. Lots of colors to choose from!
Splurge: (tie) Clinique Chubby Stick & Pure Romance Obsession Lipgloss
I’ve been a big fan of the Clinique line for quite awhile now, especially since I love the Chubby Stick Foundation, and I love the Chubby Stick for lips even more. The fact that it comes in a “crayon” keeps it from melting down like sometimes lipsticks can do in tubes. The color makes my lips moisturized and includes my favorite rose color – Bountiful Blush. Great for an everyday look or going out! (Retails $17).
Pure Romance is a company which specializes in beauty, bath, and bedroom accessories (and I am a consultant!) and to be honest, I wasn’t that excited about the lip gloss at first. But when I got it as a free gift, my tune changed! I’m normally not a gloss girl, but Obsessed is NOT sticky, too shiny, and it being formulated from bees’ wax makes me lips super soft! I wear it all the time, and fits great in my purse! In four colors – Charm, Crush, Groove (my fav!) and Captive. (Retails $18-20) Grab your Obsessed here: https://www.pureromance.com/melanierobinson187802
Wearing my fav color – Crush!
Who doesn’t love mascara? Even if you’re not a big fan of wearing makeup, somehow just adding mascara adds enough to wake up your face.
Bargain – L’Oreal Butterfly Intenza
Finally, I found a mascara that lengthens, thickens, and doesn’t give me a clumpy look! Plus it’s pretty easy to remove at night. Butterfly Intenza’s wand gets the baby lashes, and doesn’t dry out the lashes, either. Priced at $7, you can’t beat that!
Honestly, I don’t use any higher end mascaras! Are there any you like?
What are YOUR picks for best foundation/lipstick/mascara? Please comment:)
I am celebrating an anniversary today. Six months ago today, I decided to take control of my life.
On March 12, 2016, I was the heaviest I’d ever been in my life, 223 lbs. I was suffering from constant pain from sciatica, which created a daily need for some kind of painkiller, be it an over the counter med like Aleve or something stronger that could knock me out.
What I wasn’t sharing – panic attacks that used to plague me for years had returned. Driving around this little island made me feel claustrophobic; like I couldn’t run away. I chalked up most of my feelings to homesickness, but the bulk of the truth was staring at me in the mirror.
I was sick. Overweight. Over-medicated. Physically weak.
I have always been an advocate of celebrating the body you have and not tearing yourself down. Though I’m not ashamed of the weight I gained, I was worried that the weight I had put on was destroying my body. Things I used to do rather easily (like climbing stairs) would leave me out of breath. I was more tired than usual.
But what I failed to see until that day in March was, my panicky feelings were tied to my body crying for help. Though I was put on an anti anxiety medication, I still struggled with leaving our house, worried that a panic attack might happen. That’s the worst part – the “what if” I have an attack?
I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I decided to get serious.
To be clear: I am not advocating that anti anxiety/antidepressants are bad. However, through my experience, using medication alone to deal with anxiety was not enough. I had to make big changes to my diet and get physically strong. I needed to push through discomfort in order to make changes. Not only from a physical standpoint, but I needed to confront issues with myself. Meditation and seeing a therapist helped to quiet my ever-racing mind.
Today, I am positive that my body does not respond well to sugars and processed foods. Whenever I have given myself a treat and eat something with more sugar, my joints hurt the next day. I feel lethargic and also more prone to insomnia. So, I will eat a much smaller amount to avoid the side effects.
As I write this, I am 28 pounds lighter. My medication has been adjusted and I’m sleeping better.
My message is this: Anxiety and depression are very real. It’s not just feeling anxious or blue. I “white knuckled” through a lot of the anxiety for a long time, or I would try to distract myself by throwing myself into a lot of projects so I wouldn’t have to deal with my issues.
I know that I will need to continue to work out, eat well, and monitor my stress to keep the panic attacks and depressive episodes at bay.
The Hubby has been amazing through my journey. I really don’t think I could have got on a good path to wellness without his support. I love him with all my heart!
If you are struggling with anxiety and/or depression, don’t be afraid to get help. You’re not weak for doing so! It means you want to live a better life, and you deserve that.
Oh, I am a bad blogger! I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I posted anything, but I HAVE been busy! First off, I went home to Michigan for a couple weeks to surprise my dad for his birthday – and was he surprised! Between myself, stepmom, best friend, and aunt, we pulled off an awesome surprise party! I’m so happy I was able to do that for him and spend time with people I love. It’s hard to be so far away.
One of the things that’s hardest to do when going on vacation or seeing your friends and family is sticking to a healthy routine. When I left for Michigan on June 14, I weighed 207 (17 lbs down from my heaviest in March). I watched portion sizes, how much sugar and fat I ate, and avoided simple carbs. I did some “power walks” in the mornings to get my cardio going. Coming back, I was 205. Now I am 202! That’s 21 lbs. gone.
Though I’ve seen progress on the scale, sometimes it’s difficult to truly see it in the mirror. However, going through some pictures gave me true perspective of what I’ve done. Here I am at the start of my journey in March (at 223 lbs):
Here are my latest pics from the first week of July:
Though I look and feel healthier, I am not going to put down the Melanie in the “before” pictures. That’s something I don’t like seeing people do who’ve lost weight (“Look at how fat I was!, What a slob!, How ugly! etc.). I don’t think it’s healthy for my soul to “name call” myself. Who I was then has brought me to now, so I am thankful for that.
I’ve also put in 500 lifetime miles on my FitBit! I had to celebrate my getting these cute black sandals from JustFab.com (unfortunately are now sold out!).
Though I’m entering (what is horribly named) “middle age,” I find that the key to staying and feeling youthful is to surround myself with people who love to have fun and bring out the best in you. I am blessed to have several people in my life who do this, especially my best friend of 40 years, Debby. She may not be my blood sister, but she has been one to me in every sense of the word!
Question for you all: Is age “just a number?” Are there things you should stop doing at a “certain age?” Please comment:)
Like many of you, I love to shop. I love a good bargain for a hot style. Many of my clothes have been bought from Forever 21, H&M, and Charlotte Russe – retailers who specialize in “fast fashion.”
Trendy, of the moment, affordable style? Sure, sign me up. Stores like these are super attractive for a fashionista like me.
However, today my view of fast fashion has drastically changed, due to a documentary called The True Cost.
This film showed me how my pursuit of a $8 top is at the cost of workers in Bangladesh, China, India, and Cambodia. Many of these workers are in dangerous working conditions to keep the costs of manufacturing low. In 2013, a large building collapsed in the Rana Plaza where much of the garment industry is centered. 1,100 workers died as a result of factory managers neglecting the deteriorating conditions of the building. This event is just one of the tragedies at garment factories in these areas.
Not only are people being affected by the low wages and dangerous working conditions, but our environment is taking a hit by the use of pesticides on the cottons used in the material. Dyes used for leathers in India are full of chemicals, which end up leaking in water supplies.
I don’t want to preach to others that they shouldn’t buy from our favorite retailers, but maybe we can slow down how much we buy. Maybe we can recycle more of our clothes. Maybe we can give our business to more fair trade retailers and designers.
My mission now is to profile fair trade brands and also show looks I created from secondhand stores.
I hope you will join me! Let’s share our fair trade and recycled looks!
Are you a fan of the show “The Biggest Loser?” I was. The Hubby and I watched a few seasons together and would be motivated and inspired by the contestants’ progress. I would always marvel at the Finale episode when contestants would burst through an old picture of their heavier selves. Many of them would lose well over 100 pounds, sometimes more. The winner would stand in a shower of confetti, and be rewarded with $250,000 and lined up to do speaking engagements, book deals, and endorsements.
Danny Cahill is one of those winners. He started the show at 430 lbs, won at 191 lbs., and is now 295 lbs., six years after the win. According to a study conducted on the Season 8 contestants (Cahill was one of them), all but one have gained back significant weight.
According to the study, the main reason for these contestants regaining weight is because their metabolisms now burn several hundred calories lessthan when they started the Biggest Loser. Basically, their metabolisms were shot after losing so much weight in the span of six months.
Even before this study came out, I stopped watching the show after Rachel Frederickson won the show, losing over 60 percent of her original body weight. Even trainers Bob and Jillian looked shocked and horrified at her appearance. Thin at all costs? No thank you.
I’m on a journey, not a sprint. It’s perfectly fine for me to lose weight slowly. When I take off the weight, it’s going to be for good, not for a quick fix.
On March 3, 2016 I started my work at 223 lbs., the heaviest I’ve been. Today (May 11, 2016), I am 12.5 lbs. lighter at 210.5 and feeling much better. No, I wouldn’t win a weight loss contest, but I don’t care. I’d rather be healthy for the rest of my life.
Slow and steady works for me!
How do you feel about the results of the Biggest Loser study? Let me know!
As you are aware, I am on a quest to reclaim my fitness. The truth is, there is no “magic trick” to losing weight. It’s hard work and watching what you eat, plain and simple. However, there’s a lot more to the story than numbers on a scale. I thought I’d share with you all what I’ve gained (and lost!) during these past 30 days:
Eating REAL food makes a big difference! I didn’t realize just how much processed food I was eating until I began paying attention to my diet. I’ve dumped a lot of canned and frozen veggies from my diet and added in a bunch of fresh veggies and fruit. Watching the kind of starchy carbs (and how much I eat) has made a difference in my calorie intake. I feel a lot less sluggish and have more energy.
Fitness Apps keep me on track. What did we do before smartphones? A lot of math and calorie burning guesswork! There’s a number of fitness apps out there, but the ones I use every day is My Fitness Pal and FitBit. What I really love about My Fitness Pal is that I put in my goal weight and it automatically figures out how many calories I need a day based on my activity level. It also can get all the nutrition info on any food with a barcode! I’ve also found it has the food info on LOTS of dishes served in restaurant chains. FitBit keeps me motivated and tracks my steps/exercise, and that info is linked to My Fitness Pal, which figures out how many calories I’ve burned! Yay!
No Excuses. I decided that exercise MUST come first with me before doing anything else. To reach my goals, I do at least 30 minutes of heart pumping exercise 4-5 times a week, switching between cardio and strength training. I’ve rediscovered my inner athlete, regained flexibility and strength, and my endurance is so much better!
Planning ahead is EVERYTHING! One of the bad habits I had was letting myself get too hungry, then I’d reach for the quickest food possible (and it was usually something processed or fast food). Now I make sure to eat 4-5 small meals a day to keep my blood sugar up and the food is low calorie and nutritious.
Giving Myself a Break. I love food. I love celebrating good times with friends. To keep my sanity and stay on course, I allow myself one “cheat” meal a week. For example, last Saturday I enjoyed an 8 oz steak and mashed potatoes with friends. That is my indulgence until next Saturday. I also let my body rest the day after a harder workout.
Rewards are Necessary. When I lost my first five lbs., I treated myself to a pair of pretty sandals. Then, when I realized I’d lost 8″ off my body last week, I got some “new to me” things from the local Airman’s Attic. When I meet a goal, I am sure to give myself a reward to stay motivated!
Most of all…I am happier. Feeling lighter and having more energy has made all the difference with my depression issues. I hope to be 30 lbs. lighter by September, but I’m looking at this experience as a marathon, not a sprint, and to live my life this way for good.
I’ve been quiet on the blog lately, mostly because I’ve been busy making myself and my life over!
You know when you get the feeling that something needs to change? I’d been feeling a bit stressed lately, and as a result my rosacea flared up. Ugh! Nothing I tried was helping to keep the redness and the little breakouts down…until my friend Lisa turned me on toRodan & Fields.
Lisa suggested the Soothe regimen, which included a mild cleanser, treatment lotion, moisturizer, and a gentle SPF. After about two weeks, the rosacea has calmed WAY down. Plus, my skin is super glowy and soft! Rodan & Fields also has skin regimens for acne and anti aging. THESE PRODUCTS ARE WORTH EVERY PENNY!
I also decided to get a better makeup to keep my complexion looking fantastic, so I bought the Bare Minerals starter kit. I’ve got primer, the mineral foundation, a warming bronzer, and the finishing Mineral Veil. Here I am with just the foundation & bronzer, then a full makeup look:
ANNNND….I decided it was time to tackle my weight. I’m in my 40s dealing with back issues, and it’s not going to get any better if I don’t take better care of myself. So, I started changing my diet and made exercise a priority. After about three weeks, I am 6.5 lbs down with 3.5 inches off my bod!
THEN… I had to change the hair, of course! So I went to my favorite color, purple. I just love the hue and makes me feel happy:)
Are YOU making changes to your life? I’d love to know. I’m planning on sharing food and exercise tips I’ve learned on The Divine Mz M as well. Let’s get out of our cocoons and become the butterflies we are meant to be!
This post is a departure from my usual fashion/beauty chatter, but I want to share my journey with you. If I can offer hope to someone in the same situation, then this entry is worth it!
The panic attacks began sometime in early 2001. I was in a supermarket, just doing my normal shopping, when suddenly everything around me felt unreal. My heart started beating quickly, I broke out in a cold sweat, and I just felt….terrified. Am I having a heart attack?!! I was only 30; this couldn’t be happening.
And as soon as I grabbed on to my cart and took a deep breath, the weirdness disappeared and I felt okay again, though shaken.
However, over the next year these episodes would continue. The worst one happened while watching a play. “The Fear,” as I could only explain it as, took over me quickly and I sat in anguish, wanting desperately to leave the theater. I couldn’t understand it. What was happening to me?
I had a lot on my plate during that time. My final year of graduate school, an impending divorce, and uncertainty about the future. Perhaps all the stress was building to a climax with the panic attacks.
Over the next several years, I battled the attacks. The good news? These weren’t happening in random places as much. The bad news? They happened mostly when I drove. Talk about a BAD time to have a panic attack!
Finally I had enough. Though I wasn’t thrilled about taking medication, everything I had tried was not keeping the attacks at bay. I tried meditation, reducing caffeine, positive self talk…these were just temporary fixes. I got started on Lexapro and after a short time, the panic attacks stopped. I could drive without worry!
Something shifted this year. After about six months living in Guam, I started feeling restless, edgy. My sleeping habits got out of whack. I had a brief feeling of “The Fear” aura, which luckily, I made stop before it snowballed into a full panic attack, but I knew I had to check this out.
I saw my doc and she upped my dosage. However, now I felt….heavy. Felt like I was walking in slow motion, thoughts would come and go quickly, and had the worst time trying to wake up in the morning.
I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so down. I’m in FREAKING GUAM, one of the most beautiful islands on the planet! The sun, the beach, the laid back lifestyle – these are things I love. I have a good job I enjoy; a wonderful husband, two adorable kitties. What is weighing me down?
My doc switched me to Wellbutrin. Now….I FEEL EVERYTHING. Maybe a bit too much (I almost bawled my eyes out in a restaurant!), but hopefully things will even out as I adjust.
However, along with the meds, I realized I needed a professional to walk me through this mental maze. I have to know what exactly what kind of depression I’m dealing with, the issues surrounding it, and how to manage the tougher moments. I have a therapist now. It’s a little scary and weird to open up to a stranger, but in a sense that’s what I would do as an actor. Though, telling the truth as a character versus unloading my thoughts to a stranger is completely different!
Along with meds and therapy, I am serious now about nutrition and fitness. I’ve eliminated (or severely reduced) processed foods and watching my calorie intake. I do a lot more walking and yoga. The movement is challenging sometimes because I still have back issues, but I’m finding my way.
Clinical Depression is not just “the blues.” People who suffer from it can’t simply “get over it.” We know we have blessings in our lives. We know other people have worse situations than our own. These feelings we get don’t come from a logical place. It’s a chemical imbalance, and it’s very frustrating at times to figure out how to treat depression, since there is not a “one size fits all” diagnosis.
Thankfully, the depression I deal with is not severe. I am hopeful that the intervention I gave myself will keep this illness from getting worse.
If you are suffering, or know someone who is, don’t be ashamed to seek help.