Karen's Essentials

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The weather is finally start to feel like spring which makes me happy.  The change in weather also means I have to be extra diligent about reapply my deodorant .  I use natural deodorant which I love,  I don’t have to worry about any harsh chemicals that could be carcinogenic (linked to cancer).  The down side of using a more natural product is the need to  reapply during the day, so you won’t smell like raw stinky onions. As the weather heats up I keep deodorant in my purse and at work in my desk; if I shower the night before I put it on and then reapply in the morning which normally keeps me  fresh all day. If I workout in the evening I will probably be a little smelly by the end of my work out (I have worn it all day) but if freshly applied before my work out I’m good (usually).

My favorite brand is  LAVANILA LABORATORIES  in the scent vanilla coconut I love it; but it is not cheap at $14. The consistency is very dry and powdery, it feels good on my skin and doesn’t leave that  weird residue behind like traditional deodorant. I buy it from their site http://lavanilalaboratories.com and stock up when it is on sale; I also buy it from sephora  http://www.sephora.com .

I recently tried NUBIAN heritage, the Indian Hemp & Haitian Vetiver scent sold at Ulta  http://www.ulta.com . I liked it but didn’t love it. The consistency  is very soft and left  me super wet, it takes forever to dry and over time it darkened my arm pits (not cute). I also went through the tube much quicker than my usual brand. I don’t have to reapply it during the day, it smells great and the best part is the cost about $7. There are maybe 4 other scents in the line,  I may try  the other scents to test…but I like my LAVANILA so much more.

Do you use natural deodorant? Which is your favorite? Do you have to reapply? What other natural products/brands do you use?


Lavanila Deodorant

Nubian Heritage Deodorant

Well, one thing I have learned your metabolism slows way down after 50! I have added some weight training and other forms of exercise besides running to reignite my metabolism.  My girlfriend a former personal trainer,  suggested that I work the large muscle groups 2 to 3 times per week  slowly increasing  the weight and number of reps. She also said I should go slow and that I would have to work much harder than I did when I was younger to get the weight off. In my mind, I  thought I would lose the weight in about 3 months, my new realistic goal is to hit goal by  September (my birthday month.  I have never experienced  stubborn weight loss once I got going the weight would fall off pretty quickly but the last time I lost weight was 4 years ago. My plan is to keep the weight off this time by portion control, eating whole foods and exercising daily.

Have you seen any changes to your metabolism as you’ve gotten older? What keeps you motivated when the weight isn’t budging or is moving at a snail’s pace? Who is your cheerleader? I am struggling please share your tips and tricks in the comments. Tomorrow is a new day! No excuses! Can’t Stop Won’t Stop!

WIW #3

I love subscription boxes and fabfitfun box is my favorite!  FFF subscription is $49 per box and arrives quarterly (4 times per year). Normally the value far exceeds $200 this months box is worth $374. I love that there is a good variety of products in the boxes, for example, I have received luxury candles, organic skin care, makeup, jump rope, ear phones, jewelry, stationary, and even gift cards! FFF is a great value and all of the products are full sized, in comparison my other subscription boxes I only receive tester sized items. Along with the items FFF sends a great informational guide with information about each brand and their products. They work with indy brands, most owned by women, and they also support women charities both in the US and around the world. LOVE, LOVE IT! Here is what I got in my spring fabfitfun box.  I received 8  products: Deep Red REALHER lip kit, Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish set, GYPSY 05 Roundie, Briogeo Leave in Conditioning Spray (love the deep conditioner) KARUNA Hydrating Sheet Mask (4-pack), Dr. Brandt Exfoliator, Luv AJ 14k rose gold earring set. All for $49!

Here is my link if you are interested in the box if you use this link you get $10 off your first box.  http://xo.fff.me/fkfuA  I don’t make any money I will get a  credit towards my next box. Or you can go directly to their website www.fabfitfun.com  (but, no discount!).

Do you like subscription boxes?  Which ones? There are so many  and not just for skin care or makeup like Blue Apron sends meals every month or you can change the amount of times in a year you receive a box. I have tried Ipsy ($10 every month) and Birch Box ($10 every month, honestly Ipsy & BB was just ok for me, but feel free to share your favorite products you’ve received from these companies as well!). I currently get the Sephora Play Box ($10 per month). Even though the items are all travel size products it’s a great way to try before you buy. If you see anything that you would like me to review that I received in my fanfitfun box let me know in the comments.

I love the packaging

Spring Box

lip liner, lip gloss and liquid lipstick $48

Biotin gummy vitamins $5.49

Nail polish $19

Sheet Masks (4) $28

Milly Zip Pouch for wet bikinis  $45

physical exfoliant  $79

GYPSY 05 Roundie blanket $50

Briogeo Leave in conditioner $20

Magazine detailing each product

LUV AJ 14K rose gold earring set $85

Week 2 WIW I wasn’t as nervous or anxious this week I confidently got on the scale expecting to be  lighter but… I gained a pound! I am not freaked out or panicked; I know that I need to add more variety to my workout routine. I didn’t want to do what I normally do and push my self too hard and then get frustrated and quit.  My plan is to incorporate weight training and circuit work outs on the days I don’t run. I am eating pretty clean but need to be sure to eat breakfast daily.  Sleep is also so important when you are trying to lose weight and I am simply not getting enough. I have some friends who are personal trainers I am going to tap into all my resources to see what they suggest to maximize my workouts . What do you guys do when you feel the scale has betrayed you? Do you get frustrated? Discouraged? You guys have encouraged me so much through your comments and sharing your struggles so openly it has kept me going. Please keep the comments, suggestions and even questions you may have. Comment not just to me  but each other remember this is our community of encouragement! Oh! I forgot to post a before picture last Wednesday  my husband took a picture of me this morning but it was horrible. I promise to post a picture of me every week so we can see my progress. (but I have to at least look cute while I am showing you my muffin top)


Many of you may be wondering what is self-care and if it’s another chore/duty who has time for it. Self-care is taking the time to do something for yourself.  Many of us are mom’s, wives, caregivers for aging parents, employees, business owners,  ministry leaders, volunteers etc. The list is endless and daunting at times and  for many years I allowed everything to take priority over me.

When I made my vision board it helped me to see the things I wanted to make a priority, it has become a reminder to really change the rhythm in my life. Still this obviously takes planning.  Some days I am so tired I don’t want to do anything for myself  or anyone else but I am learning to schedule time for me. As I write this I honestly feel a twinge of guilt although  I know this is important. Taking time for myself makes my life so much richer, my family  happier, and I even find my prayer and study time is sweeter when my schedule is not jam-packed with stuff. Do you make time for yourself? What can you say no to or take off your plate? What do you enjoy doing? Making ME a priority along with all my other hats I wear is a balancing act but well worth the sacrifice.

Here are some examples of things I do/want to do for myself:

  • Exercising-6 weeks in and I feel energized for the day (if I work out in the morning)
  • Extended Uninterrupted  Quiet Time –  just me and Jesus
  • Visiting via a phone call with a friend (usually on my way home from work)
  • Listening to Music
  • Reading a good book, Magazines
  • Making Soap, body care products – working now to get back into a routine
  • Doing my hair amidst busy weekends
  • Makeup-making a concerted effort to create time in the morning for a fresh face of makeup
  • Spending time with girlfriends (I have an outing this weekend planned – only took us 6 months to plan but it’s progress, wooo hooo!)
  • Spending time alone – no tv, no social media just me and my thoughts (this is one of my favorite things to do)
  • Planning my week- (putting to use my planners, yes I know its nerdy)
  • Eating healthier
  • Laughing more
  • Maintaining my blog regularly

Let’s commit to taking care of our needs as well as the needs of others! How are you going to make you a priority? If you are already there please enlighten us on how you do it?