Freak-Out Friday…

I turned 38 on Sunday (yay). Almost 40. Awesome. For the past couple of years I have noticed that things are changing, physically.

The Hair…

I have five to six gray hairs now, which is fine. Seriously. I only had one gray hair about three years ago, and now I have six. That rate of growth is nothing to be alarmed about. I have so much hair that you’d really have to take a mini flashlight and a tongue depressor (thinking back to those crazy elementary school lice check-ups!) and search my hair to find them. I take fenugreek and I use it topically, which is supposed to help darken hair/keep it dark. Also, whatever. I’ll dye it if it starts to become “too much” for me, but not a moment sooner than that (I like my natural hair color – plus only SIX HAIRS!).

Hair Care
Pre-Poo: Coconut oil and aloe vera for moisture ~ Fenugreek for growth and darkening…

So, I’m sorta “at peace” with my grays…

The “Puff”…

I now get bloated and put on visible, obvious water weight about a week before and during my period. My face gets super puffy and everything (incl. hands, feet, tummy) gets so flippin’ bloated!

This has never happened to me before! In fact, in the past, when I would see commercials for PMS medications I used to think “…Bloated? Water retention? Does that really even happen? Heh, heh…” – YES! It happens, young fool! This is a fairly recent phenomenon for me too – I just started noticing this last fall! I can’t even weigh myself until I am in the clear also, because that water puts on at least FIVE POUNDS. Seriously, at least…

So, what do I do about it? I don’t take a pill for it (even though I was seriously tempted one time because I had a date the next day). I like to make detox/debloat drinks. I’ve tried a couple of different recipes, and I’ve found that anything with green tea and ginger and/or turmeric works pretty well. I just make different combinations of those three ingredients and it seems to help. Iced green tea with lemon and ginger is my favorite.

They say that drinking and eating these foods/drinks/spices help:

  • Cucumber
  • Parsley
  • Green Tea
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric (the BEST anti-inflammatory spice!)
  • Lemon
  • Watermelon
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Dandelion Tea (I haven’t had this, but I know it’s a big part of Jillian Michaels’ detox, so it might be worth a try…)
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Water – Lots of water, of course!

Here are a few of the combinations I’ve tried:

Detox Drinks
Detox~De-Bloat! l to r: Black Lemonade (activated charcoal), Lemon-Ginger Green Tea, Cucumber-Parsley Green Tea and a shot of ACV with Ginger and Turmeric!

At least I get to try different home remedies and recipes, which is lots of fun for me. Especially if I get to buy a new gadget. I’ll have to think of some…

The Eyes…

Probably the most superficial thing, the thing that really irks me: the changes to my under-eye area.

Now, I’ve always had a hollow under-eye area. I have high cheekbones with chubby cheeks, so that just naturally occurs.

Young Erika Hollows
2nd Grade Under-Eye Area!

It didn’t bother me until a couple of years ago, when I noticed that on top of being “hollow” they were also getting darker (sounds familiar – “Erika and the Deathly Dark Undereye Hollows”…).

So, when I’m tired (which is every-single-morning now), I look like this:

Older Erika Hollows
ZERO MAKEUP! You can see the darkness, even with the old-timey filter…

Eventually, during the course of the day and with the help of concealer, the darkness is less obvious. But it’s jarring to me – because I’m not used to it!

I’m also not used to: Undereye dryness.

I must’ve been such a jerky youngster. I used to see commercials for eye cream and think “C’mon! These women are being so dramatic. Do you really need that?” YES! Skin changes over the years, especially around the eyes!

I used to have an oily under-eye area. I remember when I worked in a department store, at age 20, I would use the tissue paper from the bagging area to blot my face. I’d have to blot my forehead, nose AND under my eyes. NOW, I’d kill for some excess under-eye oil! The dryness is what emphasizes fine lines, so I’m learning that I have to keep that area SUPER HYDRATED. I told my mom about my issue and she bought me this:

Josie Oil
Josie Maran Argan Oil – Light – because I’m sensitive…

She said that it’s not enough to use my regular moisturizer (even though it’s a cream), I have to add an oil or serum beforehand. She’s right! My skin looks and feels so much better when I use the oil! I don’t use this only around the eyes. I use it on the dry patches around my nose, around my lips and to condition my eyebrows. It’s great! I highly recommend it. My mom got me the “Light” formula because she knows how sensitive my skin is, and I haven’t had any reactions to it. I combine it with my First Aid Beauty and it’s great!

I’m sure I’ll notice more as time goes on, but for now…

ACV Shots ~ Post-Birthday Detox!

I don’t always go crazy with the food on the weekend. I try to keep the healthy eating going throughout the course of the week, with minimal “cheat meals”. Yesterday though, it was my birthday. I didn’t go too crazy, but I did make a slightly “bad” breakfast, I indulged in a coupla slices of pesto pizza from my favorite pizzeria and I had a celebratory red velvet cupcake (okay, two) from my favorite bakery.  Not too bad, considering the damage I have done in birthdays past (have you ever nearly passed out from eating too many tamales? I have!). But still, since I haven’t had those complex carbs (wheat crust pizza?) in a while, I woke up with an acidy tummy feeling. That’s my very grown up way of saying I had acid reflux this morning. Even though I didn’t eat that much, my body is not used to the carb-sugar overload anymore. Carbs and sugar (over a normal limit), for me = acid reflux. I’ve tried to deny this for years, but those two things are the common denominator.

So, how do I counter this? I’m fighting acid with acid!

Yes! Using natural acid found in lemon juice and apple cider vinegar (ACV) and mixing it with water, neutralizes stomach acid. It helps to drink this acid-water mixture first thing in the morning because it also helps kick start the digestive system. That’s the plan for today – make a couple of ACV shots, in various flavors, for the week.

I decided to make them all in different flavors, all with different health benefits. Apple Pie, Lemon Ginger, Turmeric Lime and Mermaid (hee hee – food trends). Here they are, spices in first…

Spices Down
1/2 teaspoon each – l to r: Cinnamon, Ginger, Turmeric and Spirulina
  • Cinnamon: Helps lower blood pressure
  • Ginger: To soothe/settle the stomach
  • Turmeric: Anti-inflammation
  • Spirulina: Detox and vitamins

I then added a tablespoon of ACV, and about half a teaspoon of my other liquid flavorings.

Acid Additions
Acid Additions…

Here they are with just the ACV and lemon-limeness…

Pure - No Mix
Yeah, not gonna drink this straight!

Some people like to add still water to their ACV shots, but I like seltzer…

Sparkly goodness!

I would normally wait until the day I drink these to add the seltzer, but I’m stuntin’ for the camera today!

Today, I am having the Apple Pie…

Apple Pie Shot

Yay! The acid-tummy feeling has subsided and I actually feel more awake (probably because of the acid flavor jolt)…

Try it! Enjoy!


Charcoal Latte…

I’d like to think that I’m not susceptible to food trends. Rainbow bagels? They look stupid. Unicorn Sundae? Eww – there is too much going on there. But, sometimes something sneaks in. This is especially the case when it’s a healthy food trend. When I scroll down my Instagram feed and I see mac & cheese chips, collagen smoothies and kale-herethere-and-everywhere I realize that I too can get caught up in food fads. Take this morning for instance. I woke up and decided to make myself a Charcoal Latte.

Yup, I actually have the activated charcoal capsules already…

Charcoal Capsules

I bought them because, well, I’d heard so much about them on the interwebs. You can make a facial mask with them, they are good for hangovers, they can whiten your teeth – they must be amazing. Of course, I have not tried them for anything other than something food/beverage related. I recently made a delicious Black Lemonade for the wonderful detoxing qualities, and I’d like to think it worked. Well, I need something that works like that today. I am feeling quite waterlogged and my face looks puffy, and I have no idea why (like with most things that have started happening to my body for no reason after I turned 35). As it says on the bottle, activated charcoal provides “digestive support”, so de-bloating and detoxing. Let’s see if this latte helps…

Charcoal in the Cup
All in the mug…

I start by putting my (opened) charcoal capsule, a packet of stevia and a teaspoon of coconut oil in my latte mug. I also put a mugful of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, two packets of stevia and a nice pour of vanilla extract into a pan on the stove. I’ll just let that heat up and come to a near boil. You’ll want to make sure you really add flavor to the milk because the charcoal is flavorless. I am thinking next time I’ll add coconut or almond extract…

Charcoal and Oil
Cookies and Cream?


I added about 3/4 of the the heated milk mixture to the mug contents and 1/4 to my frothing cup. It looks pretty cool already – like cookies and cream ice cream! <wishful thinking break>…

I begin to froth in my mug to get all of the ingredients incorporated…

Charcoal Frothing
Yay! Frother!

I also froth up my milk in the frothing cup.

Again, the frother is the best kitchen tool ever. I’ll never stir with a spoon again!

Charcoal Pour
Will I get a real shape this time?

So there I go, attempting to do latte art…

Charcoal Latte Art
I have no idea…

So, this is a mustache? Something? I don’t know. I still have not gotten any better at the latte art! I will keep trying!

Grey Latte

So here we are – a lovely grey latte on a summer day! It’s so vanilla-y and yummy! Here’s hoping my face will return to normal before I have to go out into the public today!