........A Chicago area beauty blogger's foray into day-spas, med-spas, and countless beauty counters........

(Anything in BLUE or GRAY within the text is a LINK to more information)

Makeup Testers

I've seen people do some pretty nasty things in cosmetic departments; cringe-worthy things.

I've watched women of ALL ages look around Nordstrom to see if anyone is watching (I am....) and when they think no one is, grab lipsticks that hundreds of people have touched and apply them directly to their lips without letting a beauty advisor clean them first.

I saw a woman in an Ulta store pick up a lipstick from the Benefit Cosmetics counter that had rolled on to the floor and was covered in dust bunnies, wipe off the fuzz with her hand and put the lipstick right on her mouth.

The amount of eye liners I've watched go on eye after eye after eye, without women even asking to have them cleaned makes me wonder how half the population doesn't have pink eye.

People. You're dirty. Plain and simple.

The next time you think about grabbing a makeup tester to apply to your face without letting a beauty advisor clean it with alcohol, consider this:

A study of cosmetic testers done by Jefferson Medical College showed that 100% of them tested positive for E.Coli (found in feces), Staph, Strep, or a combination of all. 

What this tells us is that someone was either sick, or used the restroom and didn't wash their hands, and stuck their germy fingers right into that sample you put on your mouth or on your eye.

Process that for a minute....

Ok, let's move on....

I personally have seen too much and I don't use testers. However, if you want to try a color, I suggest not applying it to your face. Wipe it with a tissue and apply it to the back of your hands (and wash them when you're done!). 

Even better, just buy the color and if you truly hate it when you get it home, bring it back, because there's nothing beautiful about getting sick from beauty products.

Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster Serum

Words that came out of my mouth to a coworker a few weeks ago: "You don't have a wrinkle on your face. What the heck did you do?"

What she "did" was start using Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster Serum 3 days before our conversation.

So of course, seeing such a difference on her line-less 34 year old face, I purchased it the very next day at Nordstrom. Would it have as great of results for me? Was she telling me the truth or did she secretly get injections? I needed to know!

Three days later, I can tell you, the difference in my skin and fine lines around my eyes was visible! Within 7 days people were asking me what I was doing differently because my skin looked so fantastic. Fine lines were fading, and my skin had a healthy glow despite cold, dry, winter weather, and lack of sleep.

So what's so magical about this serum? Well, let's start with the the fact that it's a serum---the strongest ingredients are found in serums, and the molecules are tiny so they penetrate the skin easily. The primary ingredient is hyaluronic acid which works by drawing moisture from the atmosphere into the skin to plump it and keep dehydration lines from forming. Best of all, the concentration is 30%! That's significant since most drugstore products that list this ingredient are often well below 0.1%.

Add in peptides to plump the skin and assist with collagen production, antioxidants to protect the skin from environmental distresses, and you have skincare magic!

To use this little miracle in a bottle, after cleansing and drying your face, use 2-3 drops and pat them into the skin with your fingertips, follow with any other anti-aging products, and if your skin tends to be on the dryer side, top with a moisturizer. This product "boosts" the effectiveness of all your other products and gives nearly immediate results.

Using twice a day, you'll probably get 4-5 months out of a bottle, although I often get 6 months out of many prestige products because the high concentration of ingredients means a little bit goes a long way.

I've been using it for about 6 weeks now, and it's now my "can't live without" go-to product.

I Love This Diet Program

A friend told me yesterday that she was spending over $800 a month on Jenny Craig including both the frozen entrees and the fresh food she still has to buy at the grocery store. For one person, that seems steep for a lot of budgets. A quick calculation of my groceries every month and I don't even spend half of that.

Since my friend was telling me she couldn't continue paying for Jenny, I started perusing the internet to see what else is out there, and what did my curious eyes find? ILoveThisDiet.com.

I've never tried "I Love This Diet," but it looks like the DIY version of Jenny Craig (owned by Nestle) put together by dietitians using all kinds of grocery store frozen entrees like Lean Cuisine (also owned by Nestle), Healthy Choice, Smart Ones, and more. Each day is broken down into 1300-1750 calories depending on your weight and gender.

For a 1 time fee of $47.97 you get daily meal plans like the one posted below:

In addition, I Love This Diet sends coupons to your email address for the frozen entrees it recommends. According to the site, the frozen meals should cost around $2.00 each, and with the fresh foods and breakfast items that you still need to purchase, 4 weeks on the plan should cost under $200.

There's also a recipe guide for the days you may want to cook and a guide for eating out at various restaurants.

Of course you won't get personalized weigh-ins or chats with counselors, but if the Jenny Program is a budget buster, and you don't have any health conditions, I Love This Diet may just be the perfect do-it-yourself substitute to get on the right track for your weight loss goals.