Favorite Skincare Brands

I have tried many a product and consulted many a skincare expert when searching for the best products for my sensitive skin. The trick is finding that balance between quality and cost. My opinion is that you can’t get the good stuff for super cheap. No way. No how. There’s a lot of cost and trial an error involved with this method of elimination! I have battled skin ailments such as severe acne, skin cancer, rashes and hives. Who knows what’ll be next? Hopefully nothing, but I like to be prepared. My journey has led me to putting my faith in the following products.

  • My number one favorite skin care brand is definitely Sanitas>>. Non-toxic, biogenic, cruelty-free, dye-free, no preservatives, and more. Products are made in my home state (bonus!). I love Sanitas for facial cleansers, masks, toners, serums, lotions, and really anything they make that goes on my skin. This is a brand I trust and have used for years.
  • Obagi>>. I believe in Obagi and have used these products for years as well. However, I do find myself consistently getting one item from Obagi: Sun Shield Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen in the “Cool” tone for people who have a naturally rosy complexion. I like it a lot because it counteracts the redness. It also comes in a “Warm” Shade for those with the opposite skin type! This baby protects against UVB and UVA radiation and the infrared defense buffers the skin from heat-derived oxidative stress. I use this on my face every day, especially living in the Mile High City.
  • Elta MD>>.  My dermatologist and medical esthetician swear by this stuff. Elta MD protects against UVA and UVB rays and is a product recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. The two products I consistently buy from Elta MD are the Aero Sunscreen>>, which I use as my all over body sunscreen, and the Tinted Facial Suncreen>>. Bonus for the Mama’s out there: my medical esthetician assured me this was safe for babies and I have used it on my 1 year old.

XO, Nico

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Fitness & the Holidays

Being healthy and maintaining any sort of fitness plan or diet around the holidays is like pushing a big boulder up a hill. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. What I can share with you, is what I like to do to stay fit during this enticing time of year.

Everyone has their own fitness journey and story. My attitude towards fitness dates back to when I gained a little weight right out of college. I was bartending in the evening, working an internship during the day and also in school (again) getting my paralegal certificate. I didn’t have time to work out. It was survival mode! Listen, it happens to the best of us. As a result of that time period, I have been pretty dedicated to regularly working out for the past 10 years or so.  However, that can sometimes get tough when you travel or when we rock our way past Halloween right into November/December festivities.

What I have found to be the key to keeping motivation up through this difficult time of year is to commit to your workout schedule/days. As far as the quality of the workout, if all you’ve got is just 10-15 minutes that’s fine!  Continue to workout on the days you normally workout.  The goal would be to keep your schedule, but shorten your workout if you must. You could do a 10 minute total body HIIT workout and boom! You get a gold star for the day. Maybe you normally only workout 3 days a week, so do that 10 min workout 3 days a week if that’s all the time you’ve got. Doing something is better than doing nothing. If you totally skip the workout it will be harder to get back into the groove come. Don’t brake/break the momentum, just make adjustments to your workout to get you through the rest of the year.

My all-time favorite workouts come from Lindsay Brin of Moms into Fitness. You DO NOT have to be a mom to benefit from these workouts. They are for all women! Don’t let the name fool you. Follow her on Instagram, she has a great personality and posts quick workouts all the time! Speaking of, right now Lindsay has a Holiday HIIT program that I promise you can make work for your busy schedule.

XO, Nico

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Whats the deal with Wireless Bras?

I have recently become very interested in wireless bras. It all started with some self-reflection and realization. My most favorite bras are still my nursing bras. So, I asked myself: should I get more nursing bras even though I’m not nursing? Is it possible to find an alternative that can offer me both support and comfort?

After some research and poll taking, I found the answer.

Meet, Warner’s Women’s Could 9 Wirefree Contour Lift Bra.

This is a total game changer, my friends. Not only is this bra wireless, it provides support, lift and FRONT strap adjustments. Why did it take so long to get front strap adjustments? That’s something we may never know the answer to. All I can say is that this baby is super comfortable whether you are rockin’ big or small cup sizes. Give it a try!

XO, Nico

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Proactive Pregnancy

When I was pregnant for the first time, I was very concerned about the post-natal recovery of my body. How would my body be different? What will I look like and have to adjust to? You hear so many stories from women about how things changed and they never went back. Of course, that could mean anything, right? I happen to love my post-natal body. Yes, it’s different. My old clothes don’t fit the same, my hips are an inch bigger. I can honestly say that I like my body better now. Maybe it’s the result of loving myself and respecting the miracle my body created. Maybe it helped that there were a few things I was proactive about during my pregnancy. I don’t know the answer. What I can tell you is that I believed there were things I could do before and during my pregnancy that would hopefully make my post-natal recovery a little easier. Did these things pay-off? Well, I got the results I was hoping for and that’s all anyone can ask for.

I had at least 4 top goals for my post-natal body. Now, I’m sure I had more and will likely post a follow up to this post, but hey, let’s roll with it. I knew that I wanted to stay in shape, I did not want stretch marks, I did not want my feet to grow, I did not want to have visible veins in my legs and feet. All superficial goals, yes, but I think these are goals many can relate to.

For fitness, I made myself work out every day. It wasn’t easy. There were days when it was just a 10 minute workout. Ten minutes is better than nothing! You do what you can.

I used Body Boost stretch mark butter religiously. Every. Single. Morning. This body butter is for stretch mark prevention and repair. My hope, obviously, was to prevent stretch marks. Now folks, I did not have any stretch marks from my pregnancy. It could be luck, or it could be this body butter.  Get it here >>.

If you have been following my blog you know that I was highly committed to making sure my feet didn’t grow as a result of my pregnancy. This involved being obsessive about having an arch in my footwear (and slippers). If you’re new, catch up here: Debunked: Foot Growth and Pregnancy>>.

You might also know that I was and still am a big believer in compression socks. Catch up here: Compression Socks are my Jam>>.

XO, Nico

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Packing Cubes – Pro Travel Tip

Greetings! I am traveling this weekend and in the spirit of travel, I wanted to touch on packing cubes (a total life saver, btw) and a few other packing essentials.

I highly recommend packing with packing cubes. I use these bad boys: Miami Carry on Packing Cubes>>. The price is right, what can I say? There are 3 cubes and 3 pouches in this $12.99 set. I love to organize by topic and depending on the length of the trip that might look something like: cubes of 1) Pajamas, 2) outfits, and 3) intimates (bras/undies/socks), and pouches of 1) make-up, 2) hair items (ties & hair products), and 3) cleansers (face/body/hair). It’s a good system and you would be surprised how much you can fit in a cube. Cubes are the KEY to not only efficiently utilizing all your packing space but also MAXIMIZING that space! For the Mamas out there, when I travel with my son, we share a suitcase, packing cubes are life-changing!

My trip this weekend is a short one, so I only used two of the smaller cubes as photographed below. This is a small carry-on, but as you can see, I have room to spare! I’ve fit in here a pajama cube, outfit cube, shoe bag, heat tools, throwing in my make-up pouch, cleanser pouch, small backpack/purse, and jackets. Boom! I am ready for my 4-day trip!

Other packing essentials: comfy sneakers, carry-on backpack, and smaller backpack for day trips. And Finally, my packing support buddy, Babyface Finnster. ❤

XO, Nico

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Pregnancy Pants – Help!

Being pregnant and fashionable can be challenging! I bought clothes at the popular and obvious maternity clothing spots, however, I just never really felt like my best pregnant self in any of those clothes. I believed I could do better, otherwise, it was going to be a long 9 months!

I was completely out of my fashion element, never having been pregnant before. I felt lost, my body was different, and I certainly didn’t feel like the cute pregnant lady I’d always hoped to be. My intention here is to save you some time if you are in the same predicament.

First, let me just say that Nordstrom, in my opinion, carries the best maternity and post-natal wear clothing for true comfort and style. I could go on and on about their amazingly soft tops, their nursing bras, etc., but that’s for another day.

Back to pants! I wanted, no NEEDED, my pants to have the following 5 qualities: 1) stylish and cute; 2) high quality (soft, comfy, and won’t fall apart); 3) warmth (I was pregnant in the winter); 4) not tight around the tummy; and 5) have the ability to “grow with me”. If any of these were missing it was a deal breaker. You with me?

These maternity jeans>> were my go to pregnancy jeans. I wore them all the time and loved how they looked with my shoes and tops. If you follow this link, I got the Denim option, which is more like the best jegging you ever wore.

Now, leggings>>. These bad boys are what you want for your maternity wear and also for every year thereafter on Thanksgiving. No joke. Once you’re done being pregnant, you can fold the extra fabric at the top down, and carry on!

Finally, if you find yourself hesitating to spend money on quality pregnancy pants, I invite you to consider this: You probably only need two pairs of pants, and you want to be able to wear them for nine months, wash them, etc. You don’t want to go too cheap and be stuck with pants that are falling apart on you!

If you have other recommendations for pregnancy pants, please comment below and share with us! ❤

 XO, Nico

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Compression Socks Are My Jam

I know, it sounds lame. If you read my prior blog post on the myth about pregnancy and foot growth then you know that I took my foot health very seriously as a pregnant woman and trust me…that includes compression socks. Now, I’m no doctor, so please see my little disclaimer paragraph below, but I will say that the gist of why I was consistent and crazy about always wearing compression socks when pregnant was threefold:

1) To combat swelling in the feet and ankles;

2) To help prevent varicose veins and also to stop them from swelling; and

3) To assist with blood flow (especially if I was sitting at a desk all day, or traveling on a plane).

If you decide compression socks are your jam, check out Belly Bandit, Nordstrom, and also Amazon (just read the reviews).

To be perfectly honest, I am totally guilty of wearing compression socks with my boots in the winter whether pregnant or not. I got into the habit of it a few years ago when I was tied to a desk all day and became super paranoid about veins. You know what I mean.

Here’s my disclaimer: I am no doctor. Please speak with your medical professional or perhaps a pharmacist to see if compression socks are right for you. Compression socks have different levels of compression. For purposes of this post, I am talking about your general over-the-counter compression socks which would be a level of 15-20 mmHg.

XO, Nico