.my skin regime.

Though I am an all-around beauty nut, I am exceptionally crazy about my skin. I am terrified of the day I may develop a wrinkle, a sun spot, or a sag that will never leave me. I am a firm believe in prevention of skin ailments – once your skin is shot, it’s shot! I highly advocate cleansing your face every night, moisturize like crazy, keeping makeup to a minimum and using sunblock daily (and clearly – staying out of tanning beds!). All of those are great suggestions, but by the time you’re 20 you need to have a solid regime which treats your specific skin type. There are some great brands out there that won’t break the bank (Neutrogena & Alba are excellent).

At age 10 my grandmother instilled in me the importance of washing your face everynight (back then I was hooked on Noxema’s minty-sting, but those days are behind me). I’ve developed the perfect routine for my skin, and I highly suggest investigating brands that you’re interested in and ask for recommendations based on a personalized skin-mapping. I personally have used Dermalogica for ten years and am absolutely hooked, though Embryolisse moisturizer has made its way into my life and I couldn’t be happier. Read on for my skin schedule.

Precleanse Dermalogica Rub this oil directly on dry skin, wet your fingers and emulsify it over troubled areas prone to congestion (nose, forehead, chin). It will turn milky. Rinse off.

Sponge Cloth Dermalogica This microfiber washcloth dries hard, but instantly softens in warm water. It polishes your skin as you rub it in circular motions, and I use it to remove precleanse, cleansers, exfoliants and masques.

Special Cleansing Gel Dermalogic This soap-free cleanser suds up quickly, and immediately following the Precleanse you will feel the deep clean.

Daily Microfoliant Dermalogica This grainy powder is gentle enough to use every day – which is great, because you should exfoliate that often! Keep your face very wet from rinsing off your cleanser (or in the shower is perfect) and shake a bit of this powder into your hand. Rub it in gentle circles all over your face (it will turn from powder to froth). Rinse off.

Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque Dermalogica Part of their dynamic Age Smart line, this mask delivers a bolt of antioxidants and revitalizes dull, stressed skin. Use once-twice weekly.

Multivitamin Power Firm Dermalogica Prevents and corrects fine lines around the eyes. Honestly, Dermalogica makes four eye treatments and I’ve enjoyed each one, though I think this MPF may help a bit more with prevention. The Age Smart line is great for many skin ages – including young! Antioxidants are beneficial at any stage of your life.

Antioxidant Hydramist Dermalogica My favorite toner of all time. Toners are vital as they lock in your moisturizer and help your skin hydrated all day. This Hydramist fights free radicals and is so refreshing. Highly recommended

Lait Creme Concentre Embryolisse Known as the 24-hour miracle cream, this lightweight but crazy moisturizing lotion has changed my life. Apply in light, upward strokes and let penetrate for a few minutes. I have turned numerous people on to this product – it is great for all skin types!

Clearly, I am a Dermalogica fan. It’s developed by the International Dermal Institute, it’s fragrance-free, and it’s amazing. Every high end spa I have worked with has sold it, and it truly has something for everyone. Make sure you get the correctly recommended products and your skin will transform. I also highly recommend their Environmental Control deodorant and Body Hydrating Cream.

*Remember to apply these products to your face and neck and chest. These sensitive areas need special attention to prevent signs of aging!

Advertisements

.run.run.run.

I ran my first full marathon 10 months ago. That’s right, I actually ran – without stopping – for 26.2 miles. It’s not even been a year, but I am already exhausted thinking about it. I trained hard for five months, and I was able to totally kick that marathon’s ass.

I have enjoyed running for the last 15 years (admittedly in waves of love and loathing). My peak was around 4 miles-ish. I was approached by a friend to try a full marathon. Though I pleaded to complete a half instead, I eventually agreed to the grueling 26+.

I ran with Team In Training and it was an incredible experience. Though some may find the team camaraderie a bit forced, I found it simply necessary. You bond with these people for months, raise thousands of dollars together, and push each other to the ultimate limits. I absolutely appreciated my team support, and only wish I would have embraced it more in the moment.

Having gone on to run much more after the marathon (next race – half marathon in 2 months!) I have unlocked a magic key to training and competing while remaining injury free.

1. Sports Massage Therapist I saw Nathan at Nathan Freebody Massage, who specializes in athletes (and largely, runners). Words can’t describe how invaluable these sessions were for me. I saw him consistently (about every 3-4 weeks) during training. I wore my running clothes during the sessions and explained where my aches and pains were. Nathan would focus on my legs the entire massage, explaining the muscles as he worked. He showed me stretches, explained my IT band, and emphasized the importance of foam rolling (see below). He is not only delightful to chat with, but extremely knowledgable and wicked good with his hands! If there is one thing you do during training for an endurance event, see Nathan (or someone local to you)!

2. Foam Rolling It sucks, I can’t lie. But you gotta do it. Purchase an inexpensive foam roller (I went to Lombardi Sports, though they are easily found at any sports store). Rollers come in a variety of sizes, but I suggest going large. For runners it’s most important to do your legs (oh, the painful thighs!) but with a large roller you can even do your back and shoulders. Just lay it on the ground, throw yourself on top of it, and roll around until your muscles beg you to stop. At least 5 minutes a day. It’s definitely one of those “hurts so good!” remedies, and it’s absolutely necessary.

3. Bikram Yoga This is strictly a personal recommendation. Strength training is absolutely vital for endurance sports, and every individual is different. For me, committing to two Bikram sessions every week was the perfect compliment to running 20 miles/week. I happen to love torturing myself for 90 minutes in a 106 degree room, though I understand everyone may not (insert: my boyfriend). The combination of sweating out the toxics and sinking deep into difficult postures is euphoric to me. It paired so well with my running because it mixes strength training and stretching. Your muscles become flexible as they warm up and adjust to the heat, and you’re able to do some serious stretching that is not possible when you’re not baking yourself in a steamed room. It also focuses on leg and back strength, both of which are vital to runners. Give yourself three sessions and see if you’re hooked.

4. Ice Bathing Yes, it’s as bad as it sounds. But there’s a reason every athlete does it. My suggestion is to do it immediately following a long run. Climb in the tub with your running clothes (and socks!) still on. Fill up cold water around your legs. By the time it’s creeping to the top of your shin, you’re numb. Once your legs are submerged (but not higher than your lap) dump in a bag of ice. I would try to increase it two minutes, every session, starting with 10 minutes. I would ice bath once a week. By the end of training  I was soaking my legs for 20 minutes at a time, and it actually felt kind of awesome. And I *luckily* never developed any cramps while running, which I attribute to the ice!

5. GU This powerful substance delivers a punch of carbs, protein and sugar to keep you going when you need it most, recommended one pack for every 45 minutes of exercise. I personally prefer the “gooey” substance that has the consistency of toothpaste (not as gross as it sounds, I swear!). There are fruit snack-like gummies, but I find those get stuck in my teeth. Pomegranate Blueberry is my favorite flavor, though their Mocha Coffee isn’t half bad either.

6. Perfect Playlist This has nothing to do with training, but definitely raised my spirits during the race. I emailed 20 friends and asked them each to send me at least 2 songs that made them think of me (preferably upbeat). I downloaded all the music on iTunes and didn’t listen to it until race day (though I knew who sent what song, and memorized it while downloading). Every mile brought a new refreshing tune, which which makes running much more enjoyable, but also made me think of the person who sent me the song. It was a sweet, thoughtful way to think of my loved ones while competing, and I plan on doing it for every marathon in the future!

My marathon ended at the Pacific coast, where I plunged my burning legs in the icy ocean (then proceeded to drink copious amounts of champagne). The morning after I saw Nathan for a massage, then I bounded out of his office pain-free. Many other marathoners struggled to walk for days, but the list above saved my legs (and my sanity). Try it yourself and see if it improves your endurance!

.and the living’s easy.

Currently marveling in 21st century luxuries. Smart phones, thermal clothing and baseball entertainment. I’ve been fortunate to attend many SF Giants games this summer, and I have turned into a bona fide fan (much to my boyfriend’s delight). It certainly doesn’t hurt that we have amazing access to seats behind home plate. Here’s a photo of my view current view. I highly recommend that every San Franciscan invest in:
-at least one Giants ticket this summer (nose bleed section is still 100% fabulous)
-Wordpress’s stellar (free!) app
-Many layers of light, warm clothing. For every day of your life in freezing glorious SF. Vests and baseball hats strongly encouraged.20120813-210532.jpg

.ode to the olympics.

Tonight’s Closing Cermonies couldn’t help but be bittersweet (bitter that it’s over, sweet that USA won 46 gold medals and the fact the Spice Girls made an appearance). I first attributed my immense interest in the 2012 Olympics to personal athletic growth in the last four years. Completing my first full marathon in October 2011 gave me confidence to know I can train for events I never thought possible (though watching the runners do 26.2 earlier this afternoon was painful! How do they run a 5.05/minute miles for hours on end!?). The thought of training that hard for years – just to be judged in an instant – is crazy to me! Every sport I watched, from gymnastics to track to swimming to diving to beach volleyball, blew me away. I firmly believe Olympians are superhuman.

After watching the games for 16 days, I realized I was not the only one paying attention more than ever. Everyone I knew was watching daily, talking about it, knew athletes by name. The commraderie amonng teammates was visible. So was the patriotism. The Olympics this year came perfectly on time to lift spirits worldwide. Though not completely hitch-free, the overall crime was low and every performance was stellar (atheletics, musical entertainment and beyond).

Between Wills & Kate’s wedding last year and the Olympics of 2012, I more in love with the U.K. then ever. Though I originally wanted to focus this blog on my favorite British beauty products (Mason Pearson hair brushes?! Butter London nail polish?! Anything my favorite (faux)-Brit Gwynnie Paltrow can’t live without?!) but  I shifted direction. In honor of the one, the only Olympic games of 2012, below is my list of Top Five Impactful Moments.

1. Olympic fashion From uber-trendy nails to Stella McCartney uniforms, athletes brought their A-Game to the catwalk of sports in Londontown.
2. Missy Franklin The pride on her parents’ faces as their only child won gold melted my heart. Her wholesome sweetness perfectly sincere. I adore her and she deserves the spotlight.
3. Oscar Pistorius Only 26 years old and so accomplished. He fought for his right to compete over the years and became the first amputee to compete in the Olympics. Incredible!
4. Women’s Volleyball Players’ Bodies Seriously a workout inspiration if I’ve ever seen one. More motivating than three hours on Pinterest.
5. This poignant photo from HuffPo reminds us of the spirit of the games. It’s been an amazing journey.

.best sf veggie burgers.

As a 20-year vegetarian, I have had my share of veggie burgers. By my share, I’m talking hudreds. Thousands, maybe. Every grill out, every American resturant, every sporting event (if you’re lucky). Even at home (warming a burger on the skillet is an easy dinner, albeit terribly boring).

Having lived within the same 10 block radius for over four years, I’ve tasted every burger within the Geary Street/Van Ness Avenue/Embarcadero triangle. Below are my can’t-live-without bites in the 94109.

  • Bullit 2209 Polk Street Perfectly prepared veggie patty with high quality, fresh topping. My personal favorite: The Easy Rider (sprouts, avocado, pepperjack). Utterly satisfying. A wide selection of sides, from tasty mixed greens to a sinful tator tot bar, perfectly compliment my favorite burger.
  • The Plant Cafe 3352 Steiner Street Their original Plant Burger is made with lentils, beets, mushrooms, cashews and bulgur wheat – and is completely vegan. It’s an earthy, hearty, chewy burger and it’s absolutely delicious. A must try.
  • Polker’s Gourmet Burgers 2226 Polk Street Polker’s makes crazy delicious burgers with any combination of ingredients you can imagine, and you can choose a veggie patty for any of the options. The patty is admitedly mediocore, but the toppings are scrumptious- especially when paired with one of their thick blueberry milkshakes. Personal recommendation: Spicey Habenero Burger (warning – it’s hot!!)
  • Pearls Deluxe Burgers 708 Post Street The juiciest, messiest veggie burger I’ve found yet. The total opposite of The Plant Cafe, but sometimes a girl needs a options.