Best Skincare Line for Women who Sweat

At the end of last year, I was contacted by FRÉ Skincare to try their 123FRÉ skincare resilience set that was created specifically for women who sweat. I was a bit hesitant as I’ve had some skin sensitivities over the past couple of years causing several trips to my dermatologist. After reading about the products which are hypoallergenic, dermatologically tested, while at the same time vegan & cruelty free, I found they use a specialized Argania Active Complex. The amazing benefits of Argan Oil include combatting skin damage and signs of aging while strengthening the skin to work against extreme climatic conditions. Plus, the company gives back to the environment by planting an Argan Tree at the end of each year for each 123FRÉ set sold to empower the women workforce of Morocco. I decided I had to give it a test run myself.



My typical routine used to include store bought cleansing creams, toners, and moisturizer, not necessarily for any specific skin type, match of brand, or price tag. Most of the time I have clear skin, but this would ebb and flow depending on workout training schedules, hormones, or what I ate. I was never 100% confident my skin would be clear with my old skincare routine. That led to a lack of self-confidence because I wanted my outer appearance to appear healthy, equally to my effort in improving my fitness. I realized I probably wasn’t making the same effort for my skin by just using random products that were on sale that month.

In December, I began the switch and started daily using the baseline products from the 123FRÉ skincare line. This would be a good test too as I had begun my training for the Paris Half Marathon, so I would be running 4 times a week, strength training 2 times a week, and having an active recovery rest day including yoga. 7 days of sweat to see if FRÉ lived up to it’s mission to provide healthy, glowing, blemish free skin for women who sweat.



The first line of defense is the Purify Me cleanser. It’s lightly beaded formula makes me feel refreshed after a long day by gently clearing toxins. Next is the Revive Me Serum. This is like an illuminating light with a little clean up crew in a cream form. I can see my face glowing and my fine lines becoming finer. Lastly, the Protect Me moisturizer with SPF built in. It’s like an armour shield for my face. It hydrates my skin while creating a natural protection barrier from harsh elements.



After 2 and half months of use, I’m thrilled with my skincare routine. I’m glowing and my confidence has escalated! I’ve even had the amazing opportunity to become an ambassador for Fré Skincare because I’ve loved what the line has has done for me personally and can’t help but share it’s incredible benefits onto you!


Left: Before, Right: After using 123FRÉ


I completely recommend 123FRÉ skincare if you’re looking for a simple solution to keep your skin hydrated, protected from the signs of aging and environmental damage, and you want CLEAR COMPLEXION with an awesome natural glow. An added bonus, the 123FRÉ set will last over 3 months, which means you can enjoy luxurious natural skincare for a cost of less than a dollar a day!!

So, don’t miss the unique opportunity to start 2018 with healthy, strong skin, that reflects your healthy, strong lifestyle! And as an added bonus FRÉ skincare is having a unique opportunity to enjoy a special 1+1 for Valentine’s Day. Order a 123FRÉ set for yourself and get a second one FREE for someone you love!

Head to Freskincare.com and order 2 sets and pay for only 1 using my code WANDER. Offer valid for the next 48 hours (February 7-9th, 2018)

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Close Out the Year with Self Love

As the holidays approach, media and marketing will sell you on thinking it’s the most wonderful time of the year (and hoping you spend that pretty penny too). While I hope nothing but good cheer for all, sometimes this time of year brings forth heartbreaking reminders of those we’ve lost, failed resolutions, being stuck in careers, relationships, or unsatisfied life choices, or just simply feeling lonely. I’m here to remind you that even though these times may play havoc on your emotions, you’re still amazing and now, not just January 1, is the perfect time to practice some self-love.

I’ve come up with some practical ways for you to bring back that lovin’ feelin’, woah that lovin’ feelin’:

De-stress Monday’s

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There’s an account on Instagram I follow called @destressmonday and they also have a webpage here. Stereotypically, Monday’s are the “worst” but the account gives you little reminders to breathe, smile and think positively, not just on Mondays but for everyday of the week.

 

Start Saving Weekly to Give Yourself a Present/Trip

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Chanel Boutique in Paris

It may seem ironic to put away money when you know you probably should spend it towards the gifts for others this holiday, but how can you be your best for them if you don’t take care of yourself once in a while? Practicing some budgeting and rewarding yourself for making the means to grab something you really love or a getaway you’ve been craving for is not selfish, it’s making a goal, being diligent, and taking pride in your work. That’s an achievement!

 

Pay it Forward

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Be Kind from Momentum Jewelry

If you are feeling slightly guilty for thinking about yourself, which you SHOULDN’T, you can always give back to those in need or just do random acts of kindness. Smile and hold a door open for someone, buy the person’s coffee behind you, volunteer at the local food pantry, give to charity. There are literally millions of ways to help and be kind and in the long run, you’ll feel better because you brightened someone’s day!

 

Listen to Inspiring and Interesting Podcasts

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This American Life Podcast

I might get a little heavy here. Personally, losing 3 family members over the past 5 years actually makes the holidays suck, to be brutally honest. My mom was the champion of Christmas with the decorations, several little ceramic villages, lights, dinners, pies, and presents. She made the holidays feel lively, animated, and she made everyone around feel loved. This will be my 4th Christmas without her. It doesn’t get easier, but I know that by holding everything in could be disastrous. When I’m out on long runs, I like to listen to podcasts to pass the time, like This American Life with one episode in particular talking about a way to speak to loved ones who have passed and reconciling with others who are still here. The first act is discusses a documentary in Japan about the Wind Phone. It’s a non-working, old, rotary phone in a white phone booth box on a man’s garden that over 10,000 people have visited or used. It’s popularity began following the 2011 Tsunami and became a way for friends and family members, of those lost or taken from the disaster, to find a way to speak to their loved ones and grieve peacefully. I did end up watching the documentary here at this link, but be forewarned if you’re human, you’ll probably cry. The second act is about two elderly brothers, in their 80’s, who held a somewhat unknowingly grudge and hadn’t really spoken in about 20 years. The son of one helped to reconcile them, knowing time was not on their side and helped guide them to have an adult conversation about their grievances which helped to take some ‘weight’ off their shoulders. Both stories are healthy reminders to allow for time to think about your loved ones who are no longer here and to not wait to reach out to those who still matter to you while they are still here.

 

#12days12ways

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Brady the Cat, named after the GOAT Tom Brady

On a lighter note, because there are only 12 days left until Christmas there’s a hashtag going around called #12days12ways. It’s a reminder to reflect back and document, however you wish, 12 ways your life has changed positively over the past year.

Here are mine:

January: Got to celebrate the new year with my friend Liz, who visited us in France from NYC

February: Watching the Patriots win the SuperBowl

March: Spending a week in the Swiss Alps snowboarding

April: Completing my 9th Marathon in Rome, Italy and during that same week watch Julien crush his PR in the Paris Marathon

May: Completing the Luxembourg night half marathon, the hottest race I’ve ever done in my life

June: Growing my influence in the running, fitness and wellness community on Instagram and having my hard work, “little hobby”, get recognized with sponsorships and ambassadorships from companies like Under Armour and Nordstrom

July: Getting a new kitten and fur baby, Brady

August: Visiting my one of my oldest friends Dorothy, in Rotterdam, Netherlands while at the same time being lucky enough to have her on this side of the pond with me

September: Twofer, sneaking home on a super discount flight for Labor Day weekend to go on, one of my best friend’s, Katie’s sailboat and completing my 10th marathon and 3rd World Major in Berlin

October: Having my Dad visit for a couple weeks and then all of us flying back to the US for 3 weeks, 2 weddings and an east coast adventure

November: My birthday in Budapest, Hungary with my American bestie here in Metz, Carmen

December: Having Julien’s family embrace and welcome me into their home for Christmas this year

Here’s to ending the year on a positive note and feeling optimistic for what is to come!

 

RE-FOCUS

Needless to say this month has been exhausting. Battling sinuses, rib fractures, and fevers left me feeling depleted and frustrated. The first time ever in my marathon training I thought, “What if I can’t run”? It brought on a whole new level of anxiety and I wanted to get to the bottom of why I was questioning myself and succumbing to fear.

I’ve heard of professional athletes receiving not only physical therapy but psychological therapy as well when they are out from an injury. I can understand this as the sport is their professional livelihood and when one feels like they can’t provide, he can fall into emotional turmoil. But what about the rest of us? I’m certainly no professional and barely fit into amateur status, where in reality I’m a hobbyist. I do sports for the health aspects and for the fun of it. Yes, I enjoy tormenting myself physically to a certain threshold of sweat and pain. I like competing, not for the sake of winning or achieving a personal best each time, but to give myself a pat on the back for once again setting and pursuing a goal I set and I’m pretty damn proud when I achieve it. So when I felt the feelings that I may in fact fail, my whole being physically and emotionally went off track. I even contribute this irrational fear as a reason to why my body’s immune system became weakened.

Here’s what stress physically does to the body:

  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation and nausea
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
  • Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear
  • Cold or sweaty hands and feet
  • Excess sweating
  • Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
  • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth

And here are some emotional reactions to stress:

  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated and moody
  • Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
  • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
  • Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless
  • Avoiding others

NO FREAKING WONDER I FELT LOUSEY!

Here are some action steps that helped me reduce stress:

  • Keeping a positive attitude.
  • Accepting that there are events that I cannot control.
  • Practicing relaxation techniques daily through meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga.
  • Eating healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Learning to manage my time more effectively.
  • Getting enough rest and sleep.
  • Identifying the sources of stress.In my opinion, I had one too many commitments (moving, learning new environment, establishing new career, trying to make new friends, parties, traveling, training for a marathon and cross-training, etc) and felt fatigued and irritable.
  • Talking it out. Ahem, my blog 🙂
  • Taking time for myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t recognize the symptoms before my breaking point in which point I was forced to take time to nurture myself. In hindsight, rest days are OK and ESSENTIAL for self-recovery and optimal physical and emotional function.

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After I “allowed” myself a full week’s recovery (also while enjoying a fabulous Valentine’s weekend in Paris), I’ve decided to put my rebuilding energy into re-focusing my purpose and recognizing my accomplishments to date!

Here are my steps to re-focus my goals:

1.    Go back to my original marathon goal and either recommit or alter to make it more realistic. The biggest reason for failure is setting a lofty goal that is not measurable. My marathon finish goal time is 4:30.

2.    Schedule my workouts for the remainder of training over the next 7 weeks. Physically putting my workouts into my calendar will help me stay committed and focused.

3.    Be sure to get enough sleep and integrating a bedtime ritual each evening. For example, I will begin to commit to not using my cell phone at least 1 hour before I go to bed.

4.    Reassess my social commitments. See where I can ask for help, and where I can start to say No.

5.    Am I still loving it? If I’m not loving what I’m doing, then I won’t follow through.

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Do you recognize your symptoms of stress? What are some of your tactics to treat it?

Knots and Trigger Points oh my!

Have you ever received a massage and been told you have knots? And they hurt when they are pressed? Or you have a vague pain in your arm, leg, or face but can’t pinpoint the source? What is the Deal?!!

You’re more then likely suffering from muscluloskeletal pain referred to as a trigger point (often interchangeable with knots). As a physical therapist and masseuse I hear these complaints, a lot, from every single human I tell what I do for a living. Amiright fellow PTer’s?

What is a trigger point? 
A motor (movement) dysfunction within muscle in which there is increased density in the muscle belly. Usually a localized tender spot but can be associated with referred and, sometimes, persistent pain. It is said they can be found anywhere on the body, differing between people and in intensity.

There are different types:
Active: current triggering of pain locally and/or referred
Latent: point that is only tender with compression which may or may not be associated with referred pain
Secondary/Satellite: cascading trigger points created in referral zone from primary trigger point

How are they formed? 
No definitive cause is attributed to trigger points however over exertion, overuse, repetitive wear and tear, posture, trauma, flexibility or structural issues, and nutritional deficiencies are said to play a part.

Treatment
There are many methods from conservative to invasive techniques (dry needling, injections, etc). As a physical therapist and masseuse, I opt for the conservative approach always as a primary option, like coming to see me!

Often massage (manual or tool assisted, such as Graston), stretching incluiding active release or muscle energy techniques may be done by a professional (like myself) along with alignment, postural, and functional restoration exercises individualized for patient to correct dysfunctions that cause repetitions of trigger points. And be forewarned that these trigger points may require some pain for gain in particularly with the manual focus.

My first recommendation is to talk to your PCP to get a referral for PT to be sure your source of pain is indeed muscular and not myocafascial or neurological and to get individualized education on your specific pain. Or seek out a specialized deep tissue massage therapist, like myself. Have you noticed a direct correlation to my shameless self promotion yet? 😂

For my Luxembourgish community come visit me at LuxChiro: Luxembourg Chiropractic and Wellness Centre 239, Val des Bons Malades, Kirchberg, L-2121 Luxembourg
You can book your appointments with me directly online by clicking this link LuxChiro

What can you do?
Come see me, of course, but if logistics make this difficult there are self help tools you can use to try to manage your symptoms on your own at home.

Here are just a sample of therapeutic tools you can have on hand at home to begin with self-massage but, again, I highly recommend seeking out the advice of a specialist prior to starting.

Foam roll
 

Theracane
 

Tennis/lacrosse Ball