My Secret Weapon: Wellness Booster

It seems like my kids have been home sick more days then they have been at school. My youngest has missed about eight days since December, and my oldest six. We are talking two rounds of tummy bugs and viruses, and at least five colds.

I have only been down for one (that’s ONE) afternoon out of all of them. And I’m the one cleaning up the puke, wiping the runny noses and snuggling in bed with fevers. (Although to be fair, my husband does a lot too.)

What’s my secret? Easy! Lots of hand-washing, and  Wellness Booster from Boneys! As soon as ANYONE in the family gets sick or whenever I feel on the brink, two capsules in the morning, two with lunch and two with dinner until the sickness leaves the house.

There is nothing funny in there. Just good stuff like echinacea, ginger, pomegranate, tumeric and other goodness. I promise it works!  




When I first heard of BEAUTYCOUNTER, I thought it was just another pyramid-schemey skincare company, a la Rodan & Fields and Nerium. You know, where hard-selling stay-at-home moms flood their Facebook feeds with dramatic before & after pics, pressure you to hold “socials,” and the worst…try to recruit you via social media when you haven’t had a legit conversation in years! (To be fair to Rodan & Fields, I did try Lash Boost and…gasp…I loved it! Who knew? Check out my review here.)

Regardless of how well the products perform, the high-pressure sales approach (from friends, no less) makes me throw up a little in my mouth. It even prompted me to write an angry post on my other blog, here. (To be fair, many of these ladies keep it classy, and have toned down their approach over the last couple of years.)

But imagine my surprise, my horror and shock, when one of my nearest and dearest friends told me she was becoming a CONSULTANT for BEAUTYCOUNTER. How could she? My friend is an artist. She’s a surfer. She is a natural beauty, nothing fake about her. She sent her kids to Waldorf, for goodness sakes. How could she turn to the dark side?

Well, turns out, BEAUTYCOUNTER (based nearby in Santa Monica, CA) has a legit mission.

The BEAUTYCOUNTER story, in a nutshell, for you BEAUTYCOUNTER virgins:

  1. There are about 10,000 chemicals commonly found in personal care products. Only 10% of those chemicals have safety data.
  2. The U.S. has not passed a major federal law to regulate ingredients used in personal care use since 1938.
  3. The EU has restricted or outright BANNED more than 1,400 ingredients used in personal care . The U.S. has only banned 11 ingredients to date. Eleven!
  4. Chemicals linked to breast cancer, learning disabilities, infertility and other health issues are ALLOWED IN THE PRODUCTS THAT WE USE EVERY DAY.
  5. BEAUTYCOUNTER’s mission: to get safe, quality products in the hands of everyone.

Well, that seems…nice. Scary, yes, but nice. So BEAUTYCOUNTER has identified 1,500 really harmful or potentially harmful chemicals (1400 of them are banned in Europe, they added another 1,000 for good measure) and creates all of their products without these dangerous substances.

Cool that they actually care?

All this is fine and dandy, but who cares how safe the products are if they don’t perform? The product could be super safe, but if it sucks, its going straight to the trash.

After all, I already have my products. I’ve got my NARS. I’ve got my MAC and my Smashbox and my Murad. I’ve got my skincare routine down. My makeup works great. I think I’m looking good! Yeah, I’m sure there are a few shady ingredients in there, but you’ve got go somehow, right? At least I will die pretty. I’ve always considered myself a “beauty-over-safety” person anyways.

But what if…what if…the BEAUTYCOUNTER products actually worked as well or BETTER than my department store brands? And what if the price was comparable? There was only one way to find out. Buy some products from my friend and see if they worked. Weeeee, shopping!

I picked some things I was running out of. Eye cream, tinted moisturizer (no way could it beat my NARS), concealer, a face mask for good measure.

Here’s what I tried, and here’s how it worked. (And please keep in mind I have rosacea and SUPER SENSITIVE SKIN that erupts in zits when approached by unfamiliar substances, so I was pretty sure at least one of these products would make me break out. Read on to find out which one.)

1.Touchup Skin Concealer Pen, $32. This product is a dead ringer for a similar product by YSL which I own, priced at $38. (Strangely enough, the YSL version isn’t technically a concealer, its supposed to be used to brighten and highlight your face. But everyone uses it as a concealer anyway.) The BEAUTYCOUNTER version is indeed designed as a concealer and it works great. It’s perfect for hiding my dark under eye circles and random redness in my face. And how can you resist the click-pen and brush applicator? This product is a win for me.

2.Eyeshadow Duo, $34. My friend-turned-Beauty-Counter-rep actually gifted this to me, and I was like, “Okay, thanks, whatever” and then I tried it. I was surprised by how much I LOVE this eyeshadow combo and I wear it pretty much…every single day. I got the amethyst/oyster combo. According to the Beauty Counter website, “The satiny powders contain Porcelain Flower Extract, a Thai bloom known for its antioxidant benefits, to help moisturize the delicate skin around the eyes for a flattering, luminous effect.” Ok. And it looks really pretty! It get compliments on it all the time!

3.Protect All Over Sunscreen SPF 30, $32. I put this on my neck, chest, shoulders and arms (and my legs if I’m in a running skirt) every morning before I go for my run. It goes on easily, no major white streaking, smells good and I haven’t gotten burned. Most “organic” and “non-harmful” sun blocks I have tried are a DISASTER to apply and streak white goop everywhere. Not this one. Another win. What?

4.Nourishing Eye Cream, $35. I use this on my eyes at night. I thought I was hydrating pretty well with the cheapie Neutrogena cream I had going on, but I guess not because my eyes look a lot better! It’s made with aloe and organic coconut oil and doesn’t mess with my contact lenses. I like it!

5. #3 Balancing Facial Mask, $48. It’s a hefty price tag for this charcoal face mask so I was hesitant to invest, but I’m glad I did. I’ve been using it a few times a week for the last few months and my face feels better. Definitely smoother, pores smaller. Another win!

6. Rejuvenating Eye Cream, $58. This is my favorite! Again I hesitated when I saw how expensive it was, but this stuff works. I put it on my eyes every morning and it soothes and de-puffs, and makes me look like I’ve slept, even when my children have been night devils and I’ve had to sleep on the floor in their room to get them to quiet down and go to bed. This product is made with “skin-conditioning wild algae and caffeine.” Maybe that’s why it makes me look awake? Love me some caffeine.

7.Dew Skin Moisturizing Coverage, $45. This was the product I was most anxious about. I’ve been using my NARS tinted moisturizer for years and love, love, love it. I wear it every day, even when I work out, just to give me a little coverage and a happy glow. I was pretty sure that this BEAUTYCOUNTER product would a) make me break out or b) not give me enough coverage. I put it on after applying the concealer and was pleasantly surprised. My skin looked…dewy! It glowed, really. And super happy and youthful. I had to add more product than my NARS to get the coverage I wanted, but once I added a little more to my nose and cheeks I was delighted with how it looked. I have been wearing it around all day for the last few weeks, and do re-apply (just as I would with my other product) in the afternoon or the evenings if I am going out. And…the clincher…it didn’t make me break out! (To be fair, I will probably alternate this with my NARS when I need a little more staying power or if I have a lunch later in the day I want to look fresh for.) But this product is unique in its dewy, hydrating fresh glow and I can see myself rocking this in the summer with a tan, nude eyes, and coral lips.

So yeah, you can see that I really, really like these products. I was SO ready to NOT like them, because liking them requires change, and I fear change. But my plan, for the time being, is to slowly replace my old products (once I run out of them, let’s face it, makeup isn’t cheap) with BEAUTYCOUNTER products.

Haven’t tried the mascara yet but it’s on my list! Will it work as well as my MAC?

And just so we are clear here, at the moment, I am not a rep or affiliated with BEAUTYCOUNTER in any way. But you know what? Maybe, just MAYBE…given enough time… I too will turn to the dark side.

And if I do, I SWEAR you can PUNCH ME IN THE EYE if I spaz out and try to peddle my products to you. (And I can cover it up with my Beauty Counter concealer to show you how well it works.)

Thanks for reading this, and peace out! And if you’re tried any BEAUTYCOUNTER products please let me know what you think!

I Tried It: West Pac Noodle Bar

What do you do when you wake up New Year’s Day with a hangover headache and two misbehaving spirited children on your hands? You say a prayer, drink some water and head to the new noodle bar for some ramen and beer.

Lucky for you, the new noodle place is West Pac Noodle Bar. It’s already packed to the gills with chopstick-wielding diners and beer-sipping day drinkers, even though it just opened to the public a mere hour ago. More than 24 taps pour local craft beers including the Modern Times Fruitlands Passion Fruit & Guava (just the ticket!)

The energy is vibrant, steamy and fun. It’s loud enough to drown out your children, but not so crazy that you can’t have a conversation. The décor pops: thoughtful and edgy with lots of Asian flair. A trip to the bathroom reveals some surprising cat art (well Hello, Kitty!) and some street-style graffiti.

Onto the food. (Obviously, we have a theme here: “West Pac” references a naval deployment to Western Pacific waters. This includes travels to Japan, Thailand, Singapore and Hawaii. So the full menu will be sort of a “Best Of” Western Pacific cuisine.)

The soft-opening, limited lunch menu is small but packed with tasty offerings including pho, ramen, and…my favorite…poke! I was delighted to see some gluten-free options like the Skinny Noodles. You can also order your poke over mixed greens instead of rice for a no-carb option. (I see myself taking advantage of this as I prepare for a trip to Miami next month. But this was not the time to deprave myself of carbs.)

This is a casual, walk-up eatery so you order at the counter. We got the Ramen with chicken, the skinny noodles, and a spicy ahi poke prepared Volcano-style (that’s with wakame, pickled ginger, jalapeno, sweet onion and nori.) All dishes came out hot and tasty, and they even let my youngest order a side of rice for $1.

The ramen was comforting and yummy, (love the soft boiled egg!) and the skinny noodles were tasty and veggie-packed.

The ramen with chicken.
Skinny noodles

But I’m really a sucker for the poke. I love the volcano-style prep (you had me at jalapeno) and the nori was a nice touch. I can see myself coming back and getting that again in the very near future.

Poke over rice, volcano-style.

And I definitely want to try out the happy hour menu, which will reportedly feature $1 dumplings (how can you resist?) as well as $5 drafts and sake specials. (Happy hour coming soon, set to run 3-6pm.) I also see myself trying my hand at a sake cocktail, preferably with passion fruit and guava.

The consensus? Tasty offerings, fast service and a fun, playful vibe. West Pac Noodle kicks up the Coronado dining scene a notch with a novel, adventurous approach.

Also, there is something ridiculously fun about watching your kids eat noodles with chopsticks.

Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!

I Tried It: Mobile Massage by Harmony Zents

You’re crazy busy. You’re stressed out. Your body feels tight and sore. What you need is a day at the spa, but you don’t have the time (and you don’t want to be that spendy.) How can you spirit yourself away to the land of la-la and get in a happy groove, without adding additional stress to your plate?

Don’t worry your pretty little head about it; I have the answer. What you need is a mobile masseuse! That’s right. You need a trained, local, amazing masseuse to show up at your door with a luxurious, heated spa table (complete with super soft linens), spa-quality products, essential oils, and relaxing spa music.

Enter, Harmony Zents Mobile Massage Therapy. (And let’s get something straight right away. The masseuse’s name is actually Harmony Zents. Like, she was born with that name. Did she pick the right career or what?)

I was lucky enough to try out the massage service a few days before Christmas. I was frazzled and tired. My kids were going crazy. My husband was working like a spaz. I had just finished buying Christmas gifts for 15 humans of various age, interests and size. They were all stacked up inside their Amazon boxes in the garage. When was I going to wrap them? Did I buy enough cinnamon rolls? What about champagne?

Then Harmony shows up with her magic massage table and my life changes. And I didn’t even have to leave my house!

“Clients like having a masseuse come to their home because they are able to save time, and it’s less stress,” says Harmony.

Less stress indeed. There’s not much I had to do to prepare. I did spend some time (like, two minutes) lighting a few Christmas candles, and regulating my kids and husband to other parts of the house. But I didn’t have to rush out of my home and I didn’t have to find parking.

Harmony brought her super nice, super comfy massage table that is HEATED. I asked her to set it up in the living room right by the Christmas tree (because…pretty!) The linens were really soft and comfy (she says she only uses really high-end spa-quality items) and she brought her own soothing spa music with her so I didn’t have to mess around with my Pandora app. I could see how this set-up would be winner with lots of women, and moms in particular!

“I have a lot of moms that get massages when their children are napping,” she says. “They love being able to stay relaxed and not jump back into the real world right away.”

While Harmony was setting up I filled out a short form (any medical issues she needed to be aware of, what sort of pressure did I like, what areas of my body were bothering me) and then it was time for the massage!

Harmony turned around while I undressed (next time I would probably put on a robe instead of having to deal with taking all my clothes off, and I would close my blinds should a neighbor walked by, but there was no time for details.) I stripped down to my bottoms (yes I am a prude) and hopped onto the comfy, heated table.

Harmony is no massage newbie. A 2006 graduate from the California Holistic institute, Harmony is considered a seasoned therapist with more than 15,000 hands-on hours of massage therapy. She’s worked in massage in both the spa and medical industry.

“It’s important to have a massage therapist that is educated and licensed,” said Harmony. “And I believe it should be an experience, not just a massage…as in luxury sheets, spa products and complimentary essential oils.”

All of which Harmony provides.

“And it’s really important to have a therapist who communicates clearly and really listens to what their client wants.”

I requested moderate to heavy pressure, and told her that I am always tight in my hips and my neck is always “off”. I also have scoliosis which means that my body is on a tilt and a little wonky, which she picked up on right away.

Harmony gave an amazing, relaxing full-body massage and definitely knew what areas of my body to target, and could tell which parts needed attention that I forgot to mention. I found that even though I was in my living room, and my children were still in earshot (as was my husband, who was on a business call) I was able to totally check out and relax into the moment. She also spent lots of time on my hands and feet (which I love!) and I didn’t feel overly-drenched in massage oil when it was done, so no pressing need to shower.

I emerged feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and so much better. My stress and anxiety dwindled into nothing.

“Massage has been proven to lower cortisol levels and increase oxytocin levels,” says Harmony. And we all know what that means…less stress!

“Upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress-related,” Harmony says on her website. “And nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high, uncontrolled stress.”

Harmony believes that for these reasons, receiving massage therapy on a regular basis is a must-do. It should not be considered pampering, but essential for maintenance on mind, body and soul.

“Most people don’t realize how tight they are until they get a massage,” says Harmony. “When you receive a massage often, you’ll get in tune with you body and see what needs to be stretched and rolled. Massage will help prevent tightness and possible injuries.”

Moms in particular see many benefits from frequent massage.

“Moms are always busy taking care of everyone and everything,” says Harmony. “They need to take a little time out to just relax and unplug for an hour. If a mom is broken, she can’t take care of her tribe as effectively.”

Amen to that! Harmony says she loves her job and it definitely shows. She has a great eye for detail, knows which parts of your body need the most attention and doesn’t talk your ear off during the massage so you can really relax.

“I love what I do because I can see my clients as their health improves, and their pain levels decrease,” says Harmony. “It’s very rewarding! And I love how my office changes every hour.”

Speaking of, Harmony doesn’t just do massages in people’s homes. She will also go to hotels, and even massages people on their yachts! (I asked her about the space on smaller, less yacht-ish boats, and she says many people will get massages on the boat dock. Sweet!)

“Many people also like getting their massage outside in their backyards, if the weather is nice,” says Harmony.

Harmony runs special pricing for us islanders. It’s $95 for an hour and $135 for an hour and a half. For active-duty military (that’s as in active-duty military, not non-military spouses) she only charges $50 an hour. (Her fees increase if she has to travel off-island.)

She also offers special packages for Coronado clients, which can bring the price as low as $70 per hour of massage. Harmony does gift cards, and will put them in the mail or drop off in Coronado. Check out her website for more info or call/text 858-900-7450

By the time my massage was over and Harmony left, I felt much better. My body was happier, my mind was de-cluttered and I felt ready to take on the rest of the pre-Christmas prep. My mind, body and spirit were in perfect…harmony.

I Tried it: Lash Boost by Rodan and Fields

My friends know how I feel about the hard-selling, Facebook message-stalking, desperate creepiness that seems to be the hallmark of pyramid-schemy companies like Nerium, Rodan & Fields, some oil companies, etc. (See my post from my other Questionable Parenting Blog, here.)

But after finding success using Young Living Essential Oils, as well as makeup and products from Beauty Counter (more on that soon), I feel less bitter towards these companies and some of their methods.

In particular, I found myself curious about Lash Boost from Rodan & Fields, the product whose before and after pictures seemed to litter my Facebook feed on a daily basis (from multiple sources, at that.) What is UP with this product? Does it really work? Does it really make your lashes THAT long?

Lash Boost before & after stolen from the Internet.

Some backgrounder: Many of my friends have started going to salons to get their lashes “filled,” the process by which eyelash extensions are used to enhance the length, fullness and thickness of natural lashes. Prices for these lashes vary place to place. Here in town, a beauty salon charges $130 for a full set of lashes, and $50 for the “fill” every four weeks or so.

My lashes are already pretty long, but not super full anymore after years of accidently pulling them out when I put my contacts on and off. I wear tons of mascara, but what if I could make them even longer and fuller WITHOUT getting eyelash extensions?

Enter Lash Boost. Rodan & Fields claims Lash Boost gives you “the appearance of lush, longer-looking lashes in as little as four weeks…the nightly eyelash-conditioning serum features a unique proprietary formula that improves the appearance of lash volume for lashes that are 100% real, 100% yours. In weeks, you’ll be wondering if you need mascara at all.”

I doubted I would ever give up mascara, but okay, worth a try.  So I contacted my nearest R & F representative, and she gave me the scoop.

Rodan & Fields sells Lash Boost for $150. Ouch! But what if it worked? Would it be worth it?

You are supposed to apply the serum to your lash line nightly (before any sort of eye moisturizer). That’s when the magic happens.

After a few weeks of diligently applying the serum, I noticed my lashes were…growing. They were longer…weren’t they?

After about six weeks, my lashes were noticeably longer. No one else commented on them, but I noticed. Check it out.

Yes I am wearing mascara in this picture, and no, I have no plans to give it up. But I also don’t have any plans to go the lash-implant route either. I would say I am pretty satisfied with the results!

(And no, I didn’t take any before pictures because I didn’t feel like it. Sorry.)

I will continue to use this product until it runs out, and yes, I might just buy some more. Although my lashes didn’t seem much fuller, they definitely seemed longer. And that works for me!

For more info, see the Rodan and Fields website, and if you don’t have a rep, reach out to my gal Allison Gibba Logan. She’ll give you any info you need to get started and won’t stalk you on Facebook, I promise. 🙂

Thanks for reading! And if you’ve tried this product and have any feedback, please share!