“I’m tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. What do you want? An adorable pancreas?” — Jean Kerr

The other day I got to thinking about all of the things I should be doing on a daily basis that I’m not.  I’m not talking about doing a load of laundry each day or something like that, I’m talking about the things I should be doing to take care of myself such as moisturizing.  Actually, I have my friend A to thank for this because the other day we were all together talking about girl stuff and she mentioned that she moisturizes all the time.  I don’t mind lotion on my body but I can’t stand the feel of it on my face or my hands.  It makes me feel dirty.  So, I don’t moisturize very often.  Luckily, I have naturally supple skin so I’m not suffering too much but the truth of the matter is, I SHOULD moisturize more.  This got me thinking and asking myself what else I should be doing every day.  So, I did some research and here is what I found… the list is amazingly long.

  1. Go to sleep and wake up at approximately the same time each day (making sure to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night). 
  2. Brush your teeth (using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush) at least twice a day, or ideally after every meal.  A good thorough brushing should take two minutes and should include your tongue, the roof of your mouth (if you can stand it) and your lips (to exfoliate them).  Floss daily, ideally before bed and rinse with an antimicrobial mouth rinse (i.e. Listerine).  See the dentist a minimum of once a year (every 6 months is ideal).
  3. Use a body brush on dry skin prior to showering.  It should be used for a minimum of five minutes to stimulate lymphatic drainage and exfoliate skin.
  4. Shower – wash your bad self with a body wash suited to your skin type (oily, dry, etc).  Exfoliate your entire body once a week.
  5. Shave – under arms, legs, girly parts, etc.  Shaving is generally most effective on freshly exfoliated skin.  Always moisturize after shaving.
  6. Give your feet a good scrub with a sponge, pumice stone or foot scrubber. 
  7. Shampoo and condition your hair (daily or every other day).  Use a deep conditioning treatment every two weeks.
  8. Clean your ears!  Use a Q-tip after showering to gently remove any inner ear debris (don’t go too deep!).  Use a tissue or other thin cloth to wipe the exterior portion of the ear removing any wax/product (think hairspray) buildup.  Once a week pour a little rubbing alcohol in your ear and let sit for 30 seconds, then drain and clean with a Q-tip – this will prevent a wax buildup.
  9. Moisturize your body.
  10. Get your face ready for the day:  cleanse your face, dry your face, use a toner, and use a moisturizer with SPF.  Once a week use a Biore strip as well as a face mask suited to your skin type and needs.
  11. Apply sunscreen (minimum 15 SPF) to any areas that may see the sun.
  12. During the day if you’re not wearing lipstick make sure to apply lip gloss/balm/chapstick with SPF.
  13. Eat a healthy breakfast.  The ideal breakfast is high in protein, fiber and carbohydrates. 
  14. Sweat every day (a sauna doesn’t count).  Your body responds best to workouts done outside so get out of the gym from time to time.  Make sure to stretch after working out (not before) for at least ten minutes.  Experts recommend that you get in a minimum of 10,000 steps each day.  Invest in a pedometer and strap it on in the morning once you’re dressed.  Before you settle in at night make sure you’ve taken all 10,000 steps.  Note: taking 10,000 steps a day doesn’t count as breaking a sweat unless you actually break a sweat.
  15. Drink water!  You should drink approximately half an ounce of water per pound of body weight or 30 ounces of water for every 1000 calories ingested.  Since most people don’t really know how many calories they ingest every day, I suggest going with the water/weight ratio.
  16. Foods you should eat every day: yogurt (3/4 cup a day), red tomatoes (Substitutes: Watermelon, pink grapefruit, papaya, guava), walnuts (Substitutes: Almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts – 1 oz per day), spinach (Substitutes: Kale, bok choy, romaine lettuce – 1 cup a day), oats (Substitutes: Flaxseed, quinoa, wild rice – aim for 10 grams of fiber a day), carrots (Substitutes: Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, mango), blueberries, black beans (SUBSTITUTES: Peas, lentils, and pinto, kidney, fava, and lima beans – 3/4 cup a day), garlic (at least 1 clove a day), olive oil (1 tablespoon a day), broccoli (half cup a day), flaxseeds (1-2 tablespoons a day – they should be ground/milled and not whole), cinnamon (1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon per day), hot tea (2-5 cups a day), onions, oranges, chili peppers.
  17. Give yourself a compliment – I’m a good singer, I have cute feet, whatever works for you.
  18. Get your face ready for bed: NEVER GO TO BED WITH YOUR MAKEUP ON! – clean your face (eye makeup remover prior to a full face wash, if necessary), dry your face, use a toner, exfoliate (1-3 times weekly), use a moisturizer (start with serums first, then basic all-over moisturizers; use antioxidant-rich products) & firming eye cream
  19. Give yourself a mini facial workout to delay the aging process: raise your eyebrows as high as possible and simultaneously open your eyes as wide as you can.  Slowly lower your eyebrows and relax.  Repeat this five times.
  20. Stretch your muscles by making big circles with your feet, clockwise and counterclockwise, four or five times each.
  21. Before bed slather on a thick layer of moisturizing lip balm or Vaseline.
  22. Moisturize your body.
  23. At night use a heavy moisturizer or Vaseline on your hands and feet, then put on cotton socks and gloves (specialty ones can be found in the nail isle at your local store) and sleep with them on.  Once a week, use a moisturizing face mask on your hands and feet.
  24. Take your vitamins (women should take at a bare minimum: calcium 800-1200 milligrams a day; vitamin D; folic acid; magnesium 310-320 milligrams per day).  To determine if your vitamins are of good quality do a vitamin quality test:  soak each vitamin in 1 cup of water.  Leave for one hour.  If you come back and the vitamin is not completely dissolved, try another brand.
  25. Before bed, spend some quiet time with yourself (10 mins minimum) whether praying, meditating, taking a bubble bath, etc.

The weekly/bi-weekly/monthly things you should be doing:

  1. Give yourself (or get) a manicure & pedicure every three weeks – This requires soaking your hands in warm water for ten minutes, massaging of hands, thorough cleaning and shaping of nails.
  2. Get a facial done monthly by a professional.
  3. Have a professional massage every 1-2 weeks (or monthly at a minimum).
  4. If you have it done – get waxed on a regular basis.
  5. Eyebrow maintenance – I personally suggest seeing an eyebrow shaper (this is NOT the same as the person at the nail salon who offers to wax your eyebrows).  I recommend the Benefit Brow Bar at Ulta.
  6. Get a haircut/trim every 6 to 8 weeks.
  7. Every so often, do a 2-day detox:  eat only fruits and vegetables and drink only water.  Do not use butter or salt to season anything, instead use the following: basil, coriander, mint, parsley, tarragon, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, French mustard, anchovies, black olives, and capers.  The best fruits and vegetables to try are: grapes, pineapples, papaya, avocados, cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower), onions, garlic, watercress, tomatoes, carrots, apples, asparagus, bok choy, and beetroot.  In addition, taking a bath in Epsom salts will pull toxins from the body.

So where do I stand in all of this?  I have to go one by one.

  1. I have to leave my house at 7:30am Monday-Friday for work.  It takes me approximately an hour and a half to shower, get ready and cook a sensible breakfast therefore, I must be up by 6:00am.  I LOVE my sleep and really like 9-10 hours a night but can do with a minimum of 8.  If I’m going to get up at 6:00am I have to be in bed between 9:00pm and 10:00pm.  I’m pretty good at this during the week but on the weekends, not so much.  I really want to sleep in on weekends but I’m getting better.  I’ve found the key for me is having something to do in the morning like a trip to the farmers market, dog park, or pedicure appointment.  Then I have to get out of bed.
  2. I’m blessed with really hard teeth.  I’ve never had a cavity and I seriously hope I never do.  I had braces for five or six years so I’m used to dental hygienists poking and prodding around in there.  Unlike some people, I can sleep during a dental cleaning.  I go every six months like clockwork.  I’m good at brushing morning and night, but not so great at remembering to floss.  If I’m not fall-on-my-face exhausted I usually remember.  I rarely remember to swish with mouth wash (perhaps because it lives in the linen closet).  So, I’ve got some daily work to do there.
  3. I’ve been hearing all the raves and recommendations about body brushing for a few years now.  It’s not some fad, or at least it’s not going away if it is.  I haven’t gotten into this and frankly since I’m a morning shower person I find the idea of losing another 5 minutes sleep in the morning a really unpleasant thought.  However, on the nights when I work out I could probably do some body brushing before my second shower.  I’ll have to pick one up in the next few days.
  4. So this is a weird and I’m sure slightly awkward admission for some people to read but it’s true… I don’t use soap on my body.  Years and years ago (think 10+) I found that no matter what I used, it aggravated my sensitive skin in one way or another.  I found that just using a fresh wash cloth every day and warm water with a little bit of leftover shampoo from washing my hair does the trick just fine.  And no, I don’t smell.  In fact, my husband says my skin smells sweet all the time.  He says I smell like baby skin (since I generally avoid small children for fear of breaking them I’m not entirely sure what that means, but apparently it’s a compliment).  I do use something called BenzEFoam on my arms for a condition I have called Keratosis pilaris.  I do try to exfoliate weekly (I like the apricot scrub for sensitive skin).
  5. I hate shaving, in fact, I’m pretty sure that everyone hates shaving.  I hear my husband complain about it too so I don’t think this is a gender-specific thing either.  That being said, I shave daily.  Bah-humbug.
  6. Like most women I wear a lot of heels.  In fact, I wear heels at least five days a week, all freaking day long.  So, my feet generally look dry and calloused.  I keep a foot scrubber in the shower and I go to town on my feet with it at least once a week.  I also get regular (every three weeks) pedicures.  What is the saving grace for my feet is my wonderful husband… every night before bed he rubs lotion on them (so I don’t have to get it on my hands which would then require me to get up, walk to the bathroom, wash my hands, walk back, and end up with no lotion on my feet after all the walking).
  7. I shampoo and condition every day.  I love Redken All Soft.  If you haven’t tried it, you should!  I don’t deep condition but I need to.  Anyone have any recommendations for deep conditioning/shine treatments for incredibly fine hair?
  8. I’m completely OCD about cleaning my ears.  No joke, I clean them once before I shower, once after I shower, and once before bed. 
  9. As I mentioned in the beginning, I’m not that great about moisturizing.  I have to get better.  I will, I will, I will.  Oh, FYI, apparently cocoa butter (pure) is the best body moisturizer around.
  10. I have finally found some face products that I love.  I use Noble Formula 2% Pyrithione Zinc Bar Soap on my face each morning.  Currently I’m using Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector on a couple of spots on my face.  I don’t put anything else on my face in the mornings, including foundation/concealer/powder (which I’ve never really worn and only wear for special occasions).  When I DO wear face makeup, I use BareMinerals.  At night, I wash my face with Kiss My Face Clean For a Day Creamy Face Cleanser, wash my eyelids with Ocusoft Foaming Eyelid Cleanser because of a special skin condition I have on my eyelids, then I use Kiss My Face Balancing Act Facial Toner all over (except on eyes).  Then I dab on a bit more Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector.  The part I’m missing?  Moisturizer.  Everything I’ve tried makes my skin oily or makes me break out.  I have crazy sensitive combination skin.  I’m on the search for a moisturizer that works but so far, no luck.  Each week, I exfoliate my face with the same apricot scrub I mentioned earlier.  I’m currently not doing any face masks/treatments.  Biore strips rock by the way.
  11. I’m pale and have very sunburn prone skin.  My problem is that just like moisturizers, I hate applying sunscreen.  It feels so gross!  I’m so happy with the invention of spray on sunscreen.  However, I have found that I’m much happier being pale and wearing long sleeves rather than putting on sunscreen.  So, if I’m going to be out I usually don a baseball cap or “diva hat” and a wrap of some kind.  I’ll put it on if I have to because I seriously don’t want to burn, but I’d rather be covered up and unfashionable if given a choice.
  12. I wear lipgloss/lipstick/something all the time.  I love Burts Bees Lip Shimmer.
  13. I fluctuate on eating a healthy breakfast and eating an unhealthy breakfast but I always always always eat breakfast.  They say that something is better than nothing regardless of what it is, I can only hope they’re right.  If you read my blog from the other day you’ll see the healthy breakfast I had (and have stuck with for three days now).  Go me.
  14. I don’t sweat every day, but I’m working on it.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my work friend G and I are starting the Couch to 5k plan in November.  That requires us to walk 4 days or 3 days a week depending on the week.  The other days, I’ll have to do something else.  I’d love to get into yoga if possible but I’m concerned about being laughed out of the class.  In the meantime, I have some workout dvds at home and there’s a ton of yard work I could be doing.   As for the 10,000 steps a day thing, I’m going to see what happens when we start walking more next week.  I’m definitely not getting anything near that now.
  15. I drink an insane amount of water.  I didn’t really drink a lot of cokes growing up and I’m not a coffee or fruit juice drinker.  In fact, all I really drink is water, iced tea, and milk.  Every day I drink at least 6-10 glasses of water, most of those at work.  On the weekends, especially when we’re out running around, I tend to drink a bit less.  Either way, I’m definitely not lacking in this department.
  16. Let’s face it, this list is long and it’s not realistic to eat ALL of these foods every day.  For one, it’s too much food, for two, you’d never be able to eat anything else. 
    1. That being said, I am getting in the yogurt, flaxseed, and blueberries in every day with my morning smoothie. 
    2. I’m also getting in garlic, olive oil and onions with my morning English muffin. 
    3. I take a cinnamon vitamin each night so I’m getting that too. 
    4. I’m really not a fruit person so I don’t eat much other than what goes in my morning smoothie.  If I’m running seriously late and don’t have time for the smoothie, I’ll grab a banana. 
    5. I love tomatoes and can eat the small red and yellow grape or cherry tomatoes right out of the container.  I love to put a few drops of vinaigrette dressing on them and then chill them and eat them for lunch.  Yum yum.  I also will throw them into my version of a Greek salad. 
    6. I don’t really care for peanuts or nuts of any other kind for that matter.  The only real exception to this is pistachios.  Those things are crack in a shell.  I really should eat walnuts since they’re so high in omegas and I don’t care for salmon (the other high omega food).  I’d say I’ll work on it but some things are just too hard.  I’ve got to find a way to incorporate chopped walnuts into something I’m already eating.  The first thing that comes to mind is muffins, but I don’t really eat muffins or cookies or things of that sort.  Any ideas? 
    7. I grew up eating salad every night at dinner (thanks mom!) so I loooove me some salad.  We try to have salad at least every other night with dinner and we generally use a mix of spinach, romaine, and cabbage as our base.  I also love fresh spinach on pizza. 
    8. I don’t get whole oats regularly – I don’t like oatmeal (the texture is just disgusting).  Quinoa is sort of weird, I’ve had it a time or two and can’t really get used to the crunch.  I think it’s just a matter of familiarity though.  I do love wild rice and need to get better as serving that as a side with some of our meats and vegis. 
    9. I loooove carrots whether they’re raw or cooked.  Either way, I’m a fan.  Funnily enough, the dog loves carrots too.  If we’re eating baby carrots she’ll sit and beg for them.  It’s cute.  We go through a lot of carrots in our house.  Between salads, lunch snacks, and recipes that contain them we probably kill a bag of carrots a week. 
    10. We love black beans in our house and I try to incorporate them regularly.  It’s hard though because most black bean dishes are Mexican food-related and we really try to only eat that once a week.   
    11. Broccoli is another staple in our house.  We use broccoli cole slaw in our salads (if you’ve never put it in your salad, you should try it).  We also steam it either by itself or with other vegis (like squash, zucchini, carrots, or cauliflower) and throw some lemon juice, garlic, or parmesan cheese on it.  Delish! 
    12. As previously mentioned, I’m a huge water drinker.  It’s really all I drink.  Also, I’m extremely hot natured so the idea of drinking hot tea when it’s 100 degrees outside isn’t particularly appealing.  In the winter though, the hubs and I will usually make one cup each night. 
    13. Compliment myself huh?  We were just talking about this last night actually.  Have you ever had an “ugly day?”  You know, you wake up, look in the mirror, feel ugly, and it lasts all day?  If you haven’t, you’re one of few.  I think everyone has days like this.  I also think they’re much more frequent if you’re an overweight person.  Still, most of us need to learn to love ourselves more.  There’s always room for improvement, even if you look like Giselle, but you should still take a moment each day to admire something about yourself.  Even on your ugly days, take the time to tell yourself how great you did on that last work project, how bitchin’ you sounded at karaoke on Friday night, or whatever works for you.
    14. I can’t go to bed with makeup on.  It just feels wrong.  So, I’m good at this, sans moisturizer as mentioned earlier.
    15. I actually forget about the facial work out thing usually.  So, I’m doing right now as I’m writing this blog. 
    16. I need to start stretching my ankles and foot muscles more now that I’m walking after work. 
    17. I go to bed with a thick layer of lip balm every night.  I wake up with soft lips each day.  Yay.
    18. Man back to this freaking moisturize thing.  Considering the frequency with which this comes up I’ve really got to get better at it. 
    19. My feet get moisturized every night thanks to my wonderful, loving husband.  I love you baby!
    20. I take lots and lots of vitamins.  Probably more than is really necessary.  Off the top of my head I can remember that I’m taking the following: a women’s multi vitamin, cinnamon, niacin, Echinacea, calcium, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, flax seed oil, glucosamine & chondroitin, and fish oil.
    21. I seriously need to get better about having some quiet “me time” before bed.  Usually I go to bed still spinning from my day and I lie in bed and wait for hours sometimes for the gerbil in my head to stop running. 

Wow, ok, so that’s got to be the longest post EVER.  I’m at nearly 3,700 words already!  If you actually read all of it then good for you.  If not, I can’t honestly say I blame you.  I hope this helped some of you remember things that you need to do for yourself all day or learn some new things that you’d never thought of/heard of before.

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