Modern with an Em

Skin Deep September 10, 2008

I may be young, and I admit that I have yet to go through that mid-life period where your body and skin start to change and aren’t exactly how you remembered. However, I take pride in taking care of myself (my skin in particular), and I often get complements on my smooth, clear complexion. Now, I’m not trying to brag or make other people feel bad about themselves. Instead, I’ve decided to share some of my favourite skin care products, and the best tips I’ve ever been given (most of them from my mother, who also has great skin. I suppose I have to thank the genetic lottery, too).

Tip #1: Stick With Your Own Type!
– The first step in skin care is identifying your skin type. The easiest way to do this is to take a mild soap and wash your face. After 2 – 3 minutes, examine your skin. If your skin already feels very tight, you have dry skin. If your skin is already very shiny or a little greasy, you have oily skin. And if none of the above applies to you, you have normal skin. Always try to choose products that are tailored to your individual skin type, because they will do a better job of addressing your particular skin care needs than something that is directed towards all skin types.

Facial Cleanser: The Body Shop Grapeseed Facial Cleanser

Note: I attempted to find this product in the Body Shop Online Store, and was unable to locate it. Please contact your local Body Shop store to ensure that it is still available.

If you have Normal-to-Dry skin, this is the perfect cleanser for you. It’s not too harsh, and it is very hydrating, while still leaving your skin feeling refreshed and clean.

Tip #2: Don’t Confuse Your Skin!
– Some of us love having the newest, coolest things, and the same can go for skin care. However, if you switch your skin care products too often, you risk messing with the natural balances within the skin. Skin is a living, breathing organ, and if you are always switching things up and not letting it get used to any one product, or if you change products as soon as it does get used to one, you are most likely going to have some kind of backlash. That being said, if you have used the same product for years and years and find that your skin isn’t looking as fresh or healthy as it could (or as it used to), it may be time to find a new product.

Facial Scrub: The Body Shop Grapeseed Facial Scrub

No surprise here. I love the cleanser in this line, but I love the scrub even more. It is incredibly hydrating for an exfoliator, and it removes all of the dead skin cells without being too rough on the new skin underneath, mainly due to the fact that it contains finely ground nut shells instead of microbeads or bits of pumice stone. No redness, no dryness, just super smooth skin.

Tip #3: Don’t Overdo It!
– When using scrubs or exfoliating products on your face, or when using a product containing salicylic acid, use only 2 – 3 times per week, unless directed by a doctor to do otherwise. If you overdo it, you will end up with dry, red, peeling skin.

Moisturizer: Dove Energy Glow Brightening Moisturizer with SPF 15

I love love love LOVE this moisturizer. L-O-V-E. For starters, it has a unique pump top that at first I found really strange, but have since come to love because it allows me to easily control exactly how much of the moisturizer comes out, and even if the lid comes off, there is no chance of any spillage. As for the moisturizer itself, it is a dream. It is thick enough to hydrate my dry skin, yet doesn’t feel heavy, unlike a lot of other creams I have tried. It keeps my skin moisturized all day long, includes SPF 15, and somehow manages to make my skin look bright and luminous in a subtle, natural way. To top all of that off, it makes your skin incredibly smooth. My boyfriend once had to use it in a pinch, and commented immediately on how much softer and smoother his skin felt, without any prompting from me. Coming from someone who often has a face full of stubble, I would say that’s a huge complement to Dove.

Tip # 4: That’s (Not) Hot.
– The sun is hot. Sun damage is not. The biggest and most important thing you can ever do for your skin that will have the greatest long-term impact on the future health of your skin (aside from proper hydration) is to wear sunscreen. Every day. No exceptions. Whether it is sunny, cloudy, raining, snowing, or even if you’re only going to be outside for the 30 seconds it takes to get to your car, wear sunscreen. To make it easier to remember, try using a daily moisturizer that already contains an SPF of at least 10, if not 15. That way, you will only have to put one lotion on your skin, instead of having to apply moisturizer and sunscreen independently of each other. Even if you spend all of your outdoors time in your car, you are still at risk for wrinkles and skin cancer. A recent study by the St. Louis University School of Medicine showed that people who spent a considerable amount of time driving are more likely to develop skin cancer on the left side of their body, including their head, neck, hand, and arm. Protect yourself! Your skin will thank you.

Tip #5: Don’t Overdo It (Again)!
– Please please please refrain from wearing pounds of makeup every single day! This is one of the most common mistakes that I see. Covering up bad skin with a lot of makeup all the time is only going to make the problem worse, resulting in you needing to cover it up even more, becoming a vicious cycle. Buy good quality products that address your skin’s individual needs, and if you are unsure of what those are or if you find that nothing is working for you, see a dermatologist.


Stick it to ‘Em

Filed under: Fit and Fabulous,The Modern Mom — modernwithanem @ 1:43 pm
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Alright, so… I’ve been slacking a little bit lately when it comes to this blog. I apologize. Unfortunately, sometimes life gets a little too busy, to the point where you barely have time to keep yourself looking presentable.

A number of new and innovative products have come along to make our makeup routines quicker and easier, including lipglosses that come in a tube and twist to bring the gloss into the applicator tip, so that they can be applied more easily (example: Revlon Lipglide), and a number of powders and bronzers that have the powder right in the handle of the brush (example: Sephora Brand Radiant Loose Powder In A Brush). And now, nail polish is following suit!

Enter Nic’s Sticks, a new line under the Nicole by O.P.I division of O.P.I (manufacturers of, arguably, the best nail polish EVER). These nail polish pens are about the size of your average magic marker, and make applying the season’s hot new nail colours a breeze. Simply shake the pen, pump the polish by pushing the buttong on the end a few times until you see the polish appear on the brush tip, and the apply! It’s as simple as that. And the best part is, they come in 24 great colours and are super portable, making it easy to touch up those inevitable chips before you head out to that party or boardroom meeting.

Nicole by O.P.I


Walking On Air August 27, 2008

Filed under: Fit and Fabulous — modernwithanem @ 10:18 pm
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You can afford to have a little more bounce in your stride, especially now that you’re bouncing less on top (Say Hello To Your Breast Friend). If you are gainfully employed and, unlike myself, have $300 to blow on a pair of shoes, give your feet a treat with a pair of Cole Haan shoes featuring Nike Air technology.

Yes, I am serious.

With 180 shoes in various styles and colours, as well as a line of men’s dress shoes, the Cole Haan Nike Air Collection is guaranteed to put the spring back in your step, with every style of flats, heels, and boots to accommodate all of your footwear fantasies.

My choice for the upcoming cooler weather is the Jena Air Mary Jane in Pinot Noir suede and patent leather. Pair them with opaque or patterned tights and a knee-length skirt for a chic and sexy look for fall.

Cole Haan Nike Air Collection for Women at


For the Modern (Green) Mom August 22, 2008

I was just visiting a site called (very informative!), and I came across a post for the new Wee Generation Diaper Bag. The bag is a “green” diaper bag, with fabric made from recycled plastic water bottles, which is a GREAT idea!

The not-so-great part is that these bags tend to run about $200 US, plus shipping.

Luckily, I came across a cheaper alternative not too long ago when shopping for a shower gift for my VERY pregnant best friend.

Introducing Fleurville Re-Run Messenger Bag (runs about $75 US), for all of your baby-related needs! (Also comes in tote, hobo, and yoga bag formats, as well as binders and meditation pillows!)

These diaper bags are both mommy- and eco-friendly, with the following wonderful features:

  • Re-Run exterior, made from ten (10) 600-mL recycled water bottles
  • adjustable shoulder strap
  • contrasting lining, making it easier to find things
  • 2 external side pockets with magnetic closure
  • internal fleece-lined sunglasses/iPod pocket
  • earbud pass-through badge on flap (the Fleurville symbol)
  • 3 elastic-topped interior pockets
  • Re-Run changing pad
  • Fleurville see-through wipe case
  • carabiner/key-clip
  • PVC-free
  • Teflon-free


Natural Beauty

Everywhere I go lately, I hear: Go Green! But what does that even mean? For skin care and cosmetics, it means organic or biodynamic (a system of farming beliefs and practices in which sustainability and self-sufficiency are key) ingredients, no chemicals, no animal testing.

Sound too good to be true? Well, let me introduce you to Saffron Rouge.

The staff at Saffron Rouge hand-pick all of the products available on their website, based on purity, quality, and effectiveness. You won’t find any chemical preservatives, petroleum, or diluted ingredients here. These products are guaranteed ALL-natural, unlike many cosmetic companies that tout their products as natural, when they only contain one or two natural ingredients.

The website itself is easy to navigate, and lists all of the products under categories and sub-categories, making it easy to find exactly what you are looking for. There are clear pictures of each product, along with a detailed description, name and location of the manufacturer (so you know exactly where in the world it is coming from), and a list of ALL of the ingredients contained in the product.

The downside is that you will be paying a bit more than you would at your local drugstore, but you get the security of knowing that your skin is being exposed to only the most natural of materials. With a wide product range including every form of face care (cleansers, exfoliators, masks…), all of the cosmetics you could ever need (even mascara!), aromatherapy, body and sun care, bath products, hair care, and special lines for both men and babies, Saffron Rouge is the modern-day organic lifestyle holy grail.


Mac and Cheese Revamped August 21, 2008

For all of you moms on the go with limited time, who don’t want to feed their kids something out of a box that involves powdered cheese, this one is for you! It’s quick and easy, it encompasses all of the major food groups, is filling and kid-friendly, and is a great way to use up your leftovers. You can substitute any veggies you like (or that your kids will eat!) Bon appétit!

The Modern Mac And Cheese


3 cups of whole wheat penne (you can substitute your favourite pasta, but fatter noodles work best)
1 cup of chicken, cubed (or whatever you have left over in your fridge. You can substitute sausage or ham, as well)
1/2 cup of mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup of red pepper, diced or sliced
3 tbsp. pesto sauce (store-bought works great)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup to 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (put in as much as you like!)


  1. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add pasta to the pot and reduce heat, boiling on medium-high for 7 to 9 minutes, or until pasta reaches desired tenderness.
  3. Strain pasta and drain all water from the pot; return pasta to pot, but do not return to burner.
  4. Add olive oil to the pot and mix pasta until coated.
  5. Add pesto sauce and stir until pasta is coated evenly and thoroughly.
  6. Return pot to medium-low heat and add chicken, mushrooms, and red pepper.
  7. Slowly add grated cheese while continuously stirring pasta. Continue stirring until cheese melts completely.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4 – 6.


Say Hello to Your Breast Friend

Filed under: Fit and Fabulous — modernwithanem @ 8:07 pm
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The other day, my boyfriend turned to me and asked, “Are you wearing a bra?”
No, I was not. Granted, I didn’t feel that it was necessary to, as it was 10 p.m. and we were in the privacy of our bedroom.
Then he said, “Well, try not to do that too often. I don’t want you to end up with those African boobs you see in National Geographic.”

As funny as his frank honesty was, a new study shows that we women may need to be a little more concerned about sagging than we think. In a study of 70 women with cup sizes ranging from AA to JJ, it was shown that our girls do not just move up and down when we exercise, but instead, move in all directions, making a figure-8 pattern. Unfortunately for us, sports bras have been made to address the up-and-down motion, not side-to-side or in-and-out.

Until now.

Enter the Shock Absorber bras. Launched in 1995 in the UK, these bras are designed to address the ins and outs (and side to sides) of breast movement during all kinds of exercise. These bras have been shown to reduce breast movement by 74%, whereas a normal bra only reduces movement by 38%, and unsupported breasts move an average of 14 centimetres! There is even a visualization feature of their website comparing the differences (based on your cup size and activity level), as seen below:

There are a wide variety of bras available within the product line to meet your individual needs, based on the size of your chest and the intensity of your exercise regime. All of the bras are designed to be stylish as well as comfortable, and address not only your cup size, but also your band size for even better fit and support.

For more details and your own personalized bra recommendations, check out

Shock Absorber bras are available online at,, and