Karen's Essentials

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Weigh In Wednesday #8

Last week I worked out Monday-Wednesday for less than 150 minutes and didn’t work out again until Monday of this week. I had a crazy busy week and didn’t get it done.  I also had my husband take my measurements as another way to track my progress.

Arms-12 inches

Thighs-23 3/4 inches

Hips- 39 inches

Waist-35 inches

Bust-39 inches

I still have not incorporated several smaller meals per day into my plan (I will to by the weekend). I am walking during my lunch hour (almost 3 miles), I am either working out in the morning or the evening after work. My scale is teetering between 160.6 and 161. I had an off week last week and didn’t put in enough time, NO EXCUSES!  Today is a new day! I am not DEFEATED, determined more than ever to get this weight off!

WIW #8



Deva Curl Buildup Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum Review

Micellar Cleansing Water is well known in the beauty industry as a gentle cleanser used to remove makeup. The Micellar water has micelles (or tiny molecules that contain oil) They are supposed to attract dirt, oil and draw out any impurities without stripping the skin. I use this cleansing water to remove eye makeup the brand I use is by Garnier its cheap and it does the job without irritating my eyes or skin.

When I heard that Deva Curl (a brand made for curly hair) was coming out with a  Build Up  Buster Micellar Water that removes buildup from your scalp and hair without stripping or drying; I was intrigued. I received a few samples with my last Sephora purchase. (I don’t use shampoo to cleanse my hair I use a cleansing conditioner, Deva Curl No-Poo Decadence which I absolutely love. Periodically, I will do an apple cider vinegar rinse to remove build up from my scalp and hair (4 parts water one part apple cider vinegar) which works great, leaves my scalp  clean, my hair shiny and its super cheap BUT if it gets in your eyes it’s a wrap WHEW!

DevaCurl Buildup Buster $28

I divided my hair into 8 sections I then wet each section with a spray bottle (outside the shower) since the product has a “nozzle” it is very easy to distribute the product onto my scalp I massage it in and down the length of my hair. The product is clear with a very faint scent, the consistency is very slippery.  Because it has so much slip, I was able finger detangle each section easily. After I completed each section I rinsed my hair in the shower (this product takes the place of your shampoo or cleansing conditioner when you need a deeper cleanse to remove buildup). My hair felt smooth, my curls were more defined and my hair felt super soft, my hair felt clean and looked shiny but not stripped. I deep conditioned and styled my hair  in a wash in go that seemed to last longer with less frizz and more definition.  I have used this product 3 times and each time I was pleased with result. I will only use it once a month to remove any product buildup.  I liked it so much I  purchased a full size. I highly recommend this product. Deva Curl products are sold at Ulta, Sephora online, and DevaCurl’s website.

Would you use micellar water for your face or hair? What do you use to cleanse your hair?

Weigh In Wednesday #7

I have been on this weight loss journey with you guys for 7 weeks I am totally baffled by my progress or lack there of.  I have given this a lot of thought, research, and energy here is what I have been missing:

  •   Keeping  track of what I am eating; I have installed My Fitness Pal App on my phone. I don’t know why I stopped using it it’s a great tool and it’s free. You put in your current weight, your goal weight, and your goal date range. It will tell you the amount of calories you need to consume and you can track every morsel you put in your mouth; the app will tell you if said item is too many carbs or too much fat to reach your goals, etc. (I will also share with you what I am eating)
  • I should be eating more than 3 times per day instead eating 6 small meals throughout the day, snacking frequently (healthy snacks) keeps the metabolism going, helps with hunger and controls blood sugar. This will take more prep time but worth the effort.
  • I didn’t take before  measurements of my waist, hips, and bust, etc.  my scale isn’t moving as much as I would like but I am pretty sure I have lost inches. I am going to measure myself starting today and I will share my current measurements the next weigh in Wednesday. (not weekly but periodically)
  • Consult with a nutritionist my insurance has a wellness nutrition coach program and I spoke to my “coach” for the first time today. I hope to meet with a nutritionist soon.
  •  Get in at least 150 minutes of exercise per week.  I am currently working out 3 days per week (trying to squeeze in more) for 35 to 45 minutes which is not enough for weight loss.
  •  Go to bed EARLY! I am up very early and I average 5.5 to 6 hours a sleep per night studies show lack of sleep inhibit weight loss and can actually cause weight gain.
  • Eat less sugar that seems like a no brainer but even fruit which has “good” sugars still can slow down your weight loss. My plan is to cut my fruit in take by half and replace the fruit with veggies.

The silver lining,  my body is changing, I look slimmer, my clothes fit better and I feel great! I am still as determined to get this weight off I am learning so much about myself and about my 50 year old body.   Although I have been eating clean and exercsing it wasn’t enough. I am going to make the adjustments and keep it moving. Having said all of that I don’t have a picture, I got on the scale at 6 am this morning and I weigh 161.6 (I gained 4 ounces) I was so surprised  ANGRY I  forgot to take the picture. No Excuses! Getting it in no matter what!

How many meals do you eat per day? If you do the small meals throughout the day please share  how that’s working for you? Do you take your measurements while trying to loose weight? Do you use fitness apps that track your weight, food, activity?


Makeup Over 40

I want to share with you what I have learned about wearing makeup after 40. I have combination oily skin and I am oily in my t-zone.  The rest of my face is normal but textured with large pores on my nose and my cheeks near my nose.  I have always taken  good care of my skin but not much in the area of anti-aging (serums, night creams, eye creams) until the last few years. Taking  care of my skin has improved the appearance and texture of my skin which means when I wear makeup it looks more natural and I can get away with wearing less.

  • Moisturize your skin before you apply makeup (even if your skin is oily) believe it or not moisturized skin produces less oil. I use Clinique Moisture Surge Intense in the morning after cleansing my face. Moisturized skin also helps to prevent foundation from clinging to any dry or textured areas I may have.


Clinique Moisture Surge Intense $39 Sephora

  • Prime your skin-as you would prime walls before you painting; the primer fills in pores, fine lines and your foundation stays in place longer.  There are primers for specific needs (for a matte finish, smoothing  pores and fine lines, moisturizing, etc. I have found even with my combination oily skin I prefer a smoothing primer over a matte primer; matte primers can be very drying and can cause your makeup to look cakey. While smoothing primers smooth over textured skin and can also keep my oils at bay without drying me out. Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer is my absolute favorite a little goes a long way. I purchased my first jar in November and just replaced it last week.

Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer $39 Sephora

  • Foundation is your base and it is meant to even out your skin tone to create a blank canvas. Due to my combination oily skin I prefered a matte foundation which is normally full coverage. As I have gotten older I find matte full coverage foundation ages me by settling in fine lines and it tends to look heavy. I now opt for a light-medium coverage foundation that is more of a satin or demi matte finish. I find light to medium foundation gives a more youthful appearance to the skin.  Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick foundation is my favorite  during the week;  a stick foundation makes application easy and quick.  Some of my other favorites are: Make Up Forever Ultra HD, NARS Sheer Glow and from the drug store L’OREAL INFALLIBLE PRO-MATTE and L’OREAL INFALLIBLE PRO-GLOW (which I often mix since the matte is sooo matte) Foundation is my favorite face makeup I keep these and a few others in my rotation.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation $25 Sephora (Amber is my shade)

Make Up Forever Ultra HD $43 Sephora (Y425 my shade)

NARS Sheer Glow $47 Sephora (Syracuse)


  • Concealer is vital to cover “conceal” blemishes, under eye circles and it can also be used to brighten your under eyes to give the appearance of being awake (even if you aren’t). I am not into the drag queen super highlighted under eye that is a trend in my opinion that needs to die! After applying my foundation I use my concealer under my eyes to cover and brighten any discoloration I then immediately set with a little powder to keep the concealer from creasing. My favorite for last year or so is the SEPHORA Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer this concealer rivals many of the well known high end brands.

SEPHORA Gel Serum Concealer $14 Sephora (12 Pecan Pie)

  • Setting/Finishing Powders, I use to set my under eye concealer, put under my foundation in my t-zone to combat oil, and to smooth out the appearance of pores and fine lines. A lot of powders on the market are very finely milled and easy to blend into the skin to give the skin a flawless appearance. My favorites are: Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder Translucent, (I use set my under eye concealer and in my t-zone to combat oil. BECCA Soft Light Blurring Powder ( I use on the perimeter of my face to blur fine lines and pores)

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder $38 Sephora


BECCA Soft Light Blurring Powder $38

  • Eyebrows frame the face I no longer over pluck my brows I get them threaded once every 4-6 weeks and I just have them cleaned up. I think I look better with a fuller brow (not Insta Gram Brows really dark and unnatural) but a natural fuller brow. I use a brow pencil or powder to fill in any sparse areas of my brows very lightly, I also use a brow gel to keep them in place. I love Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder, ABH Brow Wiz (twist up brow pencil) ABH Clear Brow Gel  and ABH Brow brush. 
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow powder, Brow Wiz Pencil, Clear Brow Gel, Brow brush Sephora


  • Eyeshadow is optional for me, I used to do one shadow from the eyelid to the brow bone (this woefully dated me) this only works in my opinion if the eye shadow is the same tone as your skin. There are so many options with eye shadow both high end and drug store. To make any eye shadow  “pop” and to last all day it’s important to use an eye shadow primer. I am currently using the LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Shadow Primer, there are also some drug store options like Milani Eye Shadow Primer. I have added a few of my eye shadow palette favorites as well, ELF Mad for Matte and Need it Nude, Tarte tarteist PRO TO GO AND tartelette tease. 

LORAC eye shadow primer $20 Ulta


Milani Eyeshadow Primer $4 Walgreens


ELF (top) Made for Matte $10, (bottom) Need it Nude $10 Target


Tarte tarteist PRO TO GO (left) $20 Ulta, tartelette tease $20 Ulta


  • Mascara is something I thought was optional but I find it opens the eye and you look more awake when wearing mascara. On those I don’t  wear any makeup I will put on mascara and concealer to help me look vibrant and awake.  There was a time I would use any mascara until I tried DIOR SHOW ICONIC OVERCURL as a sample from Sephora, I was immediately sold! It is quite expensive for a mascara but it is worth every penny! There are may other options drug store and high end but this is my favorite.


  • Blush adds color and dimension to your face without it your face can look flat and one dimensional. Blush is not something I get excited about but I love how it looks if used with a light hand. I have a few  blushes that would go well with just about any makeup look. MAC Desert Rose, and LORAC buildable blush in the color CINEMATIC. 

MAC Desert Rose $26 Nordstrom


LORAC buildable blush in CINEMATIC $24 Ulta

  • Setting Sprays were a game changer for me I like to use MAC FIX + to hydrate or to diminish the look of “cake face” if you’ve used too much powder and URBAN DECAY ALL NIGHTER SETTING SPRAY to help the makeup stay in place all day.

Mac Fix Plus $24 Nordstrom


URBAN DECAY All Nighter Setting Spray $31 Sephora


I have learned I can’t do my make up without some prep work to my skin before applying and also using the right products that won’t date me or age me. I am not suggesting that you need make up or that you have to be as detailed (high maintenance) as I am. I love wearing makeup to enhance what I already have but I am equally comfortable with no makeup! You may be wondering how long does it take to do my makeup, during the week I can do a 5 minute face or up to 15 minutes it just depends how much time I have.

In the last few years I discovered primers, setting sprays  and concealers (makeup has changed drastically over the years).  What is your makeup routine? What are your favorite products? How long does it take you to do your makeup?

Weigh In Wednesday #6

Week 6 and I’m feeling pretty good! I varied my workout routine to include running, weight training and cardio (P90X); I like variety, without it I would be bored stiff and loose interest. I have to admit I am enjoying working out and I actually look forward to it. Right now I am working out 3 to 4 times per week including my runs but I would like to increase my workouts to daily.  The weight is coming off so SLOWLY but I am encouraged that the numbers are dropping ever so slowly.  I have my physical mid May and plan to ask my doctor what else I can do to help accelerate, boost, reignite, jump start or any other adjective I can think of to get this metabolism going.

How are you doing with your goals? I would love to hear what you’re doing to stay focused and committed to your get fit goals. Is anyone else in a standoff with the scale? Hang in there ladies! Can’t Stop Won’t Stop! LET’S GET IT!

(6 ounces this week) At this rate I should hit my goal next year. (sarcasm added)

WIW # 6 (had to hide my feet)