With Good Things



Apparently I am on a “slippery slope” of natural oils. It started with the sample of Argan oil that I received from Sephora, moved through the oil cleansing method, and has brought me to extra virgin coconut oil (EVCO).

I read about EVCO online and the “miracle” properties it has to cure everything from dry skin to thyroid issues to killing viruses. While I haven’t had the opportunity to test every one of these claims for myself, I have applied EVCO to my skin and face and can tell you that the (skincare) claims are true. I purchased a jar of EVCO from my local health foods store, and for the first day or so only tried it to moisturize my hands & feet.

I finally built up enough courage to try EVCO on my face, and I am so glad I did! The oil is solid while in the jar (kind of like a paste), but as soon as it touches your skin, it melts to a clear oil that you can massage into your skin. I apply about a pea-size amount my face at night after I cleanse (using the OCM) and massage it for about 30 seconds. My face is still oily-looking when I lay down to sleep, but when I wake up in the morning, it has completely absorbed, and my skin feels smooth like a baby’s bottom!

It also has helped clear up my acne, heal a mosquito bite, and removes waterproof mascara like a dream. I am slowly trying it for other things, and can’t wait to see what other things EVCO can cure!

What do you use EVCO for?



After having such amazing results with Argan oil, I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks researching oils for skin treatments. I’ve stumbled across several articles & blog posts about the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM), a.k.a. “washing” your face with oil. Acne.org describes the OCM this way:

“Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principals of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to desolve a non-polar solvent like sebum/oil, is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition: other oils. By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables and fruit that heal, protect and nourish your skin. When done properly and consistently, the OCM can clear the skin from issues like oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, whiteheads and other problems caused by mild to moderate acne–while leaving your skin healthy, balanced and properly moisturized.”

Sound good? Me, too. I had to try (and right away)!

  1. Choose Your Oils
    It seems that the most popular combination of oils used for cleansing is castor oil (CO) and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). The CO has anti-inflammatory properties while drawing out oil, dirt, and grime, making it the staple of a cleansing oil mixture. The EVOO acts as a caring moisturizer to heal and nourish the skin. You can also choose from grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, apricot oil, or jojoba oil instead of EVOO.
  2. Create Your Blend
    Because Castor Oil can actually be drying to your skin, those with dry skin will want to use less CO in their mixture. You’ll want to experiment with different ratios of CO and EVOO, and maybe even incorporate more than two different oils and/or essential oils for added benefits. Here are a few ratio suggestions to get you started:
  • Oily Skin: 75% CO, 25% EVOO
  • Normal Skin: 50% CO, 50% EVOO
  • Dry Skin: 25% CO, 75% EVOO

I am starting out by mixing just enough for each use to see what works best for me, before I mix up a bottle. Tonight, I tried 1/2 tsp. CO with 1 tsp. EVOO and 2 drops of orange essential oil for a great pick-me-up scent.

  1. Cleanse
    You’ll want to do this primarily at night, and those with oily, acne-prone skin may want to start out only a couple times per week to ensure no breakouts. Ready? Let’s do it!

Take your oil mixture and massage it gently over your face, continuing to massage for up to a couple minutes. Let the oil dissolve the makeup and impurities from your skin. Then, use a wet washcloth (with the hottest water tolerable to your skin) to steam your face before wiping it clean (you may need to rinse and repeat for best results).

Ta-da! My makeup (even my trusty waterproof Covergirl Lashblast masacara) was completely gone, and my skin felt clean, but not dry or tight. I am currently using a couple drops of Argan oil as my nighttime moisturizer that I applied after cleansing. Since this is my first night trying this out, I’ll have to update later to see if I break out or have good/bad results over time.

Update: I’ve been using the OCM for almost a month now, and I am still loving it–and as a bonus, my skin is less oily! I’ve made a couple of tweaks to my routine: I’m using 2 parts CO to 2 parts EVOO, and I have added a couple drops of lavender essential oil and tea tree oil to control and soothe breakouts. I am also using coconut oil an eye makeup remover (I don’t want to put tea tree oil near my eyes), and Argan oil as a moisturizer.

How do you use the Oil Cleansing Method? Please share!



I ran the 5K as part of the 7 Bridges Marathon on October 16! My official time was 41:21; while not my all-time best, a great time considering I’d never run the route before, and there was a LOT of uphill terrain! (My new Reebok Realflex running shoes made a difference in my form and time.)

A big THANK YOU to my husband for supporting me (and taking this great pic), and to all my friends for their support and advice to help me achieve this goal!

Next goal, 10K? Anyone?



So, I’ve taken my Couch To 5K program to the next level: I signed up for a 5K! I will be running the 5K as part of the 7 Bridges Marathon on October 16–only a few weeks away!

In an effort to help me improve my running time, I bought a new pair of running shoes: Reebok Realflex running shoes. Let me say, they are amazing! My old running shoes feel heavy and stiff, but these are super-light, flexible, and feel like you have clouds on your feet! The first day I wore them, I could feel a difference in my form, and I felt like I worked ALL the muscles in my feet.

Today was my third run in the new shoes, and while I can’t confirm that the results were 100% due to the new shoes, I was able to shave off a little over 4 minutes on my previous best time for a 5K run! Whoo-hoo! I still have to walk a little every few minutes, but I’m definitely getting better, and can’t wait to show up on race day!

Anyone have any race day best practices or stories they’d like to share?



Wow, we made it! We are officially runners! Who would’ve though this day would come? Here’s the final week’s workout:

Week 9:
– Brisk 5-minute warmup walk
– Jog for 30 minutes with no walking
– 5-minute cool-down walk

Let’s run!



I’m currently on week 8 of my couch to 5k journey…and I still haven’t learned to breathe properly. I am prone to side stitches, and I’ve learned that maintaining regular breaths keep them at bay. However, I am having a hard time balancing the side stitches without running out of breath.

I find the longer my run, the harder it is to take a deep breath. I was able to compile a few tips for better breathing when running:

  1. Slow down before trying to change your breathing.
  2. Take longer, deeper breaths.
  3. Exhale more fully to allow for deeper inhalations of oxygen.
  4. Breathe to music.
  5. Try a cadence (inhale 3 steps, exhale 2 steps, etc.)

I’ll be implementing these tips when I take my run tomorrow…does anyone have any breathing tips to add?



Can you believe we are almost there! This is the next-to-last week and we will be through the entire C25K program!

Week 8 workouts:
– Brisk 5-minute warmup walk
– Jog for 28 minutes with no walking
– 5-minute cool-down walk

Who’s ready to do this?



I cannot live without Urban Decay Primer Potion! I’ve used it every single day for years. It is the ONLY thing that keeps my eyeshadow from creasing during the day (even in summer humidity).

I put a dab on my eyelids before I apply foundation, and then again on top of the foundation. Then, I dust my face (including my eyelids) with loose powder to set, and then I apply eyeliner and eyeshadow.

At $20 a pop, UDPP can get a little pricey, but one tube of this seriously lasts me close to a year. I’ve even gone so far as to cut the tube open and scoop out the remaining product into a small, lidded container in order to use every last drop.

What do you use to keep your eyeshadow from straying?

**Update:  I now wear powder mineral foundation, so I only have to apply UDPP once: over foundation, but under eyeliner/eyeshadow, still with flawless results.  Either way, liquid or powder foundation, I feel like some type of powder on your eyelids before you apply UDPP helps avoid creasing.



Wow, it’s time to actually just run! No more intervals…it’s time to build our strength and stamina for that 5K! I’m glad I have the day off to tackle this 25-minute run.

Week 7 workouts:
– Brisk 5-minute warmup walk
– Jog for 25 minutes with no walking
– 5-minute cool-down walk

Who else out there is having success?



So the last day of week 5 was so challenging! To be honest, I didn’t run the ENTIRE time that I should have. I ran for 10 minutes, then walked for about 1-2 minutes, and then ran the remainder of the 20 minutes. I’m so proud of myself!

Week 6, Day 1:
– Brisk 5-minute warmup walk
– Jog for 5 minutes, walk for 3 minutes
– Jog 8 minutes, walk for 3 minutes
– Jog for 5 minutes
– 5-minute cool-down walk

Week 6, Day 2:
– Brisk 5-minute warmup walk
– Jog for 10 minutes, walk for 3 minutes
– Jog for 10 minutes
– 5-minute cool-down walk

Week 6, Day 3:
– Brisk 5-minute warmup walk
– Jog for 25 minutes with no walking
– 5-minute cool-down walk

I found that now that I’m running longer, I’m struggling with my breathing. What are your running tips?