Less Stress, More Facials.

Anyone else love a good facial? Let me introduce you to the Cadillac of facials, the Hydra-Facial. You know when you get a facial, the first thing you do afterward is feel your skin and you’re so excited because of how soft and smooth it is? Imagine that except you can also immediately see a difference in your skin too! Sign me up, right?

A hydra-facial is a revitalizing treatment that promises long term healthy skin and isn’t targeted towards only one type of skin, it’s meant for all skin types! Yes, you read correctly, even the most sensitive of skins can benefit from this fancy facial. There is no downtime and you’ll instantly feel and see gratifying results. This treatment removes dead skin cells from the surface, extracts impurities( a.k.a dirt, oil, pimples, white heads, black heads, etc..) and cleanses, hydrates and moisturizes the new skin. So basically, this facial cleanses not just only the surface but it cleanses below the surface as well. KA-CHOWWW!! Sorry, I have toddlers who love the movie, Cars.

The first thing you’ll do is have a consultation with your skincare specialist. You will discuss your skin and your concerns and that will help customize your service, down to what types of cleanser, serums or moisturizers to use. From there you’ll be set up on the facial table, your hair will be tucked away behind a towel so your hair doesn’t get wet and the facial will begin.

Your skincare specialist will begin by cleansing and exfoliating the skin. A ‘deplaning’ tool will be used to help open up the pores and sweep away the uppermost later of debris and dead skin cells.

After that, we did a minor acid peel. The peel used in this treatment is usually a glycolic or salicylic acid. These typically don’t leave the skin feeling like it’s on fire, for me, it just gave a tingling sensation. Glycolic acid is the holy grail of exfoliation meaning it removes the outermost layer of dead skin. It will leave your skin brighter and noticeably fresher! It’s also used to treat signs of aging, discoloration in the skin and scarring. Salicylic acid is super beneficial for helping to dissolve skin debris that clogs your pores and causes acne. Together, these two form the perfect team for glowing skin.

The next step is every pimple poppers dream..well..kinda sorta. Instead of manually removing all the ooey goodness out of pores with the tips of your fingers or an extractor, a special tool is used to basically vacuum the skin. The sound this little tool makes kind of reminds me of the little suction tool that’s used inside a dentists office but I assure you this little fella stayed on the surface of my face. Getting back to every pimple poppers dream, the best part of this whole enchilada..there’s this little secret cup attached to the backside of this machine used to do all of these magical things. This cup, stores all of what came out of your skin. Mine actually wasn’t that bad but I googled some and I saw some that looked like it came straight out of a gumbo pot. Not the meat of course, just the juice, ha ha.

Lastly, the serum application. This step infuses antioxidants, collagen and hydration back into the skin using a vortex-fusion tool.

Your skin will be glowing immediately after the treatment is over. Generally there’s little to no redness following the facial, my nose was a little red but by the time I made it to my truck in the parking lot, the redness had subsided. I definitely recommend this facial for anyone who is looking for a facial with immediate results. You can get this treatment once a month with results that last typically 5-7 days or longer. I’m at almost the two week mark and my skin is pretty much looking the same, just saying.

Interested in a facial with immediate, fresh and glowing results? Call Louisiana Skin Care of Louisiana at (337) 456-3282 to schedule today!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the office of Dr. Kevin J. Duplechain,

What does it mean to really live?

Last night was the first time ever that my husband and I ever had the house or the night completely to ourselves, kid-less. I was kinda shocked because both of my kids voluntarily left to stay at their grandparents. Mostly shocked at my youngest because she’s such a homebody. But none the less, it happened and I was looking forward to lots and lots and lots of undisturbed sleep. But that didn’t happen.

No, it’s not what you’re probably thinking. I’d like to keep this post as PG as possible, ha ha. I actually had a nightmare that felt like it lasted all night long and it would not stop.

In September, it will make ten years my mother passed away. It’s nothing out of the ordinary for me to have dreams about her. For the first few years, I have only dreamt of her being sick, looking sick and not speaking to me. Every time she would visit me in my dreams, I wanted a visual of the real her, I wanted her hug, her laugh, her smile and her voice. It wouldn’t be until about two years ago that she would start to appear more normal in my dreams but she’s never happy in any of them.

Before I go into the debilitating nightmare I had last night, I will share one of my last dreams of her.

We were in my grandfathers house, this is where majority of my dreams take place. Not just of her, just..all of my happiest childhood memories are there so I guess that’s where my subconscious takes me. In this particular dream, my husband and I were upstairs asleep with the girls. The girls were restless and we were tired of struggling to get them to sleep so we came downstairs. On the way downstairs, I could hear sobbing. I came around the corner and into the side bedroom. (In real life, that used to be her bedroom.) As I’m walking in, I see my mother sitting at the edge of the bed, gripping my Erin Condren Life Planning Calendar to her chest and she is sobbing so hard. I walked up to her and asked her what was wrong and she would only shake her head. (Remember, my mother doesn’t speak to me in my dreams..) I asked again and again and she would only shake her head, until finally she started repeatedly telling me she was sorry. I told her it was okay and she held up my calendar to my face and said,” No, Christen, I’m so sorry, I changed everything. I’m so sorry.”

When I woke up, I was so overwhelmed with emotions I didn’t understand. In my dream, I knew she wasn’t alive but she was right in front of me. I was happy I heard her voice, finally. I was upset because it was just another nightmare that I had to wake up from. I was crippled at the details of the dream itself. She was gripping my calendar and she said she changed everything. Was this a real message from her? Was it just my mind playing games with me? No matter what the real answer is, I like to believe that it was really her coming to me and apologizing for how her orchestrated death truly altered the rest of my life.

My dream last night had somewhat of a crippling affect on me this morning. You know how sometimes you’re in the middle of a dream and you wake up and you try to go back to sleep to see what happens next? But that never happens? It happened to me last night. I was in and out of this dream all night long.

In last nights particular dream, I had already dealt with my mother’s death once. Only, she wasn’t buried and in the ground. My mother’s first death was everything about her fading out to nothing. Her smile was gone, her charisma had vanished, she wasn’t present anymore, she lost all love for people including her family and her life. She was basically a potato. She was alive but she wasn’t living. If that makes any sense.

When I heard the words,” Your mother died again” in my dream, it shattered me. The pain I felt was the same as the day I actually did watch her die. As I held her hand, as I watched the monitors numbers drop lower and lower by the minute, as I sunk to the floor, as I lost all feeling in my entire body inside and out and began to cry to the point I couldn’t breathe anymore. I felt that same hurt in that nightmare.

When I got up this morning to my husband already being gone to work and my children away at their grandparents, I was just as alone as I felt in my bad dream and on the real day she died. I got dressed, I got in my truck, I went to the gym..and in between sets, I had an epiphany.

How many of us suffer multiple deaths? I know you’re probably thinking, um..we only die once lady. Hear me out, I’m talking hypothetically, how many of us only have a pulse but no passion or purpose? How many of us stop living because life gets too hard, we go through the motions or handling all of the things is too much to bear? How many of us settle because we are too afraid to pursue the steps that it takes to get us to the next place in life? How many of us quit because we can’t take the heat?

How many of us can actually answer that question honestly and say I am still living up to my absolute best potential and I am showing up every single day? Not for her, not for him, or any of them..but for you. How many of us can actually say with pride that you have the ability to push with stride when things get hard?

Are you even living? Who is really living before they punch that clock one last time? I don’t know about you..but I want to live.

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15 Non-Candy Easter Basket Ideas For Kids

I remember being little and being so flipping excited when Easter would come. I would wake up to that HUGE Easter Basket completely wrapped in cellophane from top to bottom and completely filled with every jelly belly, chocolate rabbit and peep that God ever created. Weren’t those the days y’all? My living room floor was the equivalent to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

Now that I’m a mom, I find myself being a little more reserved with the whole candy thing. Don’t get me wrong, my kids LOVE candy just like any other kid but my Easter baskets are probably a little different from others. I’d like to share some non-candy ideas but still equally as exciting for kids! (or at least mine love it!) I will also be sharing what candy we do get for our baskets!

1. Kickee Pants

Or any set of pajamas, really. My kids are obsessed with pajamas and it’s probably my fault that I started getting them Kickee Pants or some kind of bamboo fabric pajamas since they were born. A new pair of pajamas have pretty much always been a staple in our baskets and the girls love them! One of the places I love to shop for their pajama’s and clothes is Melodi’s Belles & Beaus in Lafayette, Louisiana. The owner is super sweet and always helps find the perfect outfits for all of her customers!

www.shopmelodis.com

 

2. Bubbles

Because…bubbles. What child doesn’t love bubbles? Mine are pretty much obsessed and this is a super cost efficient filler for your little ones basket. There are so many options that range from the Dollar Store, Walmart, Walgreens and the dollar bins at Target. You can even find them with really cute Easter looking graphics on them to really seal the deal.

3. Stuffed Animal

This year I got those little wind up bunnies out of the dollar bins at Walgreens. They hop around when their wound up. I didn’t go all out on stuffed animals this year because my kids have enough already but I know those little nuggets will make my toddlers happy.

4. Stickers

What little person isn’t obsessed with stickers? This is a super cheap and effective way to keep your child entertained for hours, no doubt. Supply some construction paper or a clean arm..or leg and you’re totally set.

5. Hair Bows

Bows are life when you’re a little girl. I love to get my bows from a couple of Etsy Shops. Bows by JoJo and ArdenShaw Handmade. They’re both crafted by hand by some really sweet and beautiful mama’s. I will link their profiles below so you can get your orders in before the Easter Bunny comes!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BOWSBYJOJOW

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArdenShaw

6. Cup Labels

This may be more exciting for us parents. I’ve always struggled with keeping up with which cup belong to which kid and also always having to rewrite their names on the bottom of their cups. Until Personalized Labels happened. This is definitely an Easter Egg I found on Etsy also and I will link their shop down below. This has helped SO MUCH with sending the girls to school. Not to mention, the girls can keep up with which cup is theirs because of the color and little custom shape I had put on their labels. I LOVE these!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/3DKoalaLabels

7. Crayons/Markers/Sidewalk Chalk

Let those babies color! Throw in a new coloring book if you’re feeling extra fancy!

8. Bath Bombs/Bubble Bath

My girls are obsessed with all things bath related. Bonus points if the bath bombs have a little toy inside. We get the little bath bombs and bubbles from Target often, but the girls swoon over Prim Bath and Body products. Those are the most colorful, beautifully scented and well constructed bath bombs in Acadiana and I love to support local and my friends. Plus, they don’t stain my bath tub and my skin feels softer than a newborn after I get out of the tub. Yes, I enjoy them just as much as the girls do, maybe even more! Prim is located in Grand Coteau, Louisiana.

www.primbathandbodyco.com

9. Tooth Brush

Might not be as exciting for some children but my kids freak out every time they get a new tooth brush. You have to change them out regularly anyway, why not make it a gift from E.B?

10. Sun Glasses

If your children are anything like mine, they practically live outside when the weather is nice. Aubree is always blocking out the haters with her shades. You can find sunglasses relatively cheap anywhere. Walmart, Target, Dollar Store, Home Goods/Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack or even Amazon. Prime Dat!

11. Summer Gear

I actually got this idea from a friend who does this every year. She always gets her kids their full line up of swim wear every year. The goggles, swimsuit, towel(monogrammed if you want to be extra), sunblock, pool toys..all the things you might need for Spring Break or the upcoming Summer season. You’re going to buy it all anyway!

12. Play-Doh

This is perfect for those days you’re stuck inside, whether it’s a rainy day or a sick day. It’ll undoubtedly keep your kids happy and busy for hours.

13. Slime

It’s all the rage these days. My kids don’t even know what it is yet and I would like to keep it that way for as long as I possibly can. No shame for the kiddos that love it, my kids are just accident prone and I don’t want to have to cut it out of their sweet little curls just yet. But none the less, it’s a great basket idea! You can find slime in decorative eggs at Walgreens!

14. Confetti Eggs

My grandparents are probably going to hate me after this holiday is over. I found some breakable confetti eggs at Walgreens a few days ago and I snagged them up for my kids and my niece and nephews. They come in an egg crate of 12 and supposedly you throw them down and they break and confetti comes out. Sounds a lot like those little poppers from the Fourth of July but Easter Edition..and a lot less racket..maybe a little messier-ish..heavy on in the ish.

15. Rain boots

Every toddler in America is obsessed with rain boots or at least every toddler I know has some kind of deep obsession. Maybe it’s because we live in the south and it doesn’t matter what season it is, rain boots are always a staple in someone’s daily attire. Maybe it’s because we are all raising some country kids, who knows. But rain boots are a great additive and if your little isn’t into those, go for the next size up in their favorite kind of shoe or flip flop!

What about the Easter Candy?

So where is the candy option, lady? My kids need some kind of sweets in their baskets!!Don’t worry, I didn’t forget. We always get our chocolates from a local place in Lafayette called Lolly’s Chocolates. Their chocolate is fresh and downright delicious. All of it, whether its a chocolate dipped strawberry, chocolate covered oreos, pecans, marshmallows or just plain molds…they’re amazing! I think my favorite will always and forever been the almond clusters. I discovered this place the day after I had Ally. I was in the hospital and they came to the Mother’s Suites and they were passing out chocolate covered pretzels and strawberries. They’re truly an amazing local company! They also have locations in New Orleans and Mandeville, Louisiana.

Happy Easter!!!

 

Aging Gracefully

They say diamonds are a girls best friend..and then Botox and Juvederm happened.

I can finally say that I am the proud owner of a smoother forehead and some full, even lips. If you know me personally and you’re like everyone else who already knows..yes, I got injections. Yes, I know I didn’t need it but I wanted it. I’ll dissect that a little bit by telling you that in High School, I was the back spot on the cheer leading squad. One day when the flyer was doing a liberty, she lost balance, fell and I got kicked in the lip..since then, I have had a lot of scar tissue on the left side of my bottom lip. With that said, my lip appeared much plumper on the bottom left while the rest of my lips were thin, uneven and less full. My forehead and crow’s feet..that’s just the result of sun exposure, age, collagen breakdown and more than likely, hormones.  Here are a couple of before photos so you can see what I was working with.

It really isn’t that bad but let’s be honest, we are all our own worst critics and it was definitely something that bothered me! So, I went in for a consultation at  Dr. Duplechain’s office next to Laser Skin Care of Louisiana. We talked about my skin and my concerns. I will not lie to you for one minute, I was so nervous. He will more than likely remember me as the lady who has sweaty palms because I was literally sweating bullets when I first arrived. There is no one in the world more afraid of needles than I am. He and his staff made me feel incredibly comfortable and confident about the procedure.  We began by taking a few different photos of my face in different positions. I scrunched my forehead, opened my eyes and lifted my eyebrows as high as I could, smiled and frowned. Ultimately, the idea behind doing this was to monitor the changes in my skin and to see where majority of my existing expression lines and wrinkles were. We decided that we would do a few units of Botox in my forehead and a some of a syringe of Juvederm into my lips to even them out. So the next step after that was to numb my face in preparation for those needles..que the sweaty palms again.

The Nurse then applied topical anesthetic to my forehead, between my hairline and my eyes and my lips for about 10 minutes. It was a really interesting sensation! Dr. Duplechain returned and he further explained the structure of the face, what muscles did what and what he recommended for the characteristics of my face, which were to ultimately smooth my forehead, smooth out my crows feet and even out my lips. My main fear that I expressed that I didn’t want to end up on Botched or look too plastic. Dr. Duplechain was incredible at calming my nerves and assuring me that he would address my concerns without over doing it. One of the things he prides himself in, is his work. One of the things he said to me was that he would never allow me or any of his clients to leave the office looking unnatural, that’s not his goal.

The first injections were done on my forehead and on the temple area with Botox. To be honest, I could tell he was poking me but I felt zero pain. Which is crazy because I am a total pansy when it comes to pain. Not to mention, the needle is super small but he worked quickly, efficiently and even gave me a few breaks in between to breathe. The concept behind Botox is actually quite intriguing. It works by temporarily relaxing the muscles that contribute to fine lines and wrinkles. By keeping those muscles relaxed, wrinkles do not form. This was important to me because my fine lines were beginning to bother me in general, not to mention, it doesn’t matter what brand of makeup I wear or what steps I take to eliminate the problem..it always settles into the creases.

Next up was lips. Now, before I dive into this..anyone else a cheek biter? No..just me? It’s a horrible habit I have had..honestly for as long as I can remember. So, with that said, I have smile lines leading from my nose to the outside corners of my mouth, the left side being a little more superficial than the right. The goal wasn’t to eliminate the line but to just smooth it out some.  This was definitely the most painful part of the entire procedure. I wouldn’t call it downright pain but I did have to take more breaks and breathe through it. What’s great about Juvederm is that it actually has a numbing agent in it. So not only are your lips numb from the outside, but the product being injected numbs as it goes inside. I only had one injection site that I thought I might actually levitate from the chair but I braved it out. Juvederm is perfect for filling lines and wrinkles on the face, adding volume to the cheeks, chin and under-eye area, adding fullness or shape to the lips or correcting your nasolabial folds( laugh lines or in my case, those “cheek chewing” lines.)

I felt so rejuvenated after my appointment. I’ve never had injections before so this was something completely foreign to me. Just looking in the mirror after we finished to see my lips even literally choked me up. The Botox would take up to five days to relax the muscles in my forehead, by day four, I was already starting to see it! Just compare the top collage to this one, it’s insane just how much change I have seen in my face in just a week!

Dr. Duplechain’s office is located by Lafayette Surgical Specialty Hospital in Lafayette, Louisiana. He is one hundred percent committed to his patients satisfaction. Not only does he have decades of experience but he is also a part of the National Education Faculty for Allergan injectables, including Botox and Juvederm, and he frequently lectures nationally and internationally. If you’ve had injections on the brain, you should definitely give Laser Skincare a call at (337) 456-3282.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the office of Dr. J. Kevin Duplechain