Beauty At Any Age When You Are 40

The beauty council logoIMG_9921
IMG_9922
It’s been a couple of weeks off blogging (I went to Peru on vacation YAY). Although my busiest season has kicked off finally, I wanted to add my two cents with this topic, I have so much to share! There is no makeup look except for the selfies with makeup vs the no-makeup face. With beauty, I feel this is all skincare and looking after our faces first. No amount of makeup will look good, if your skin is not on point. I see faces from all age groups and ethnic groups when I get hired to do their makeup, to be honest my most favorite looks are largely clean, no-makeup makeup applications (see my IG account). My job as a professional makeup artist gives me insight on what works and how different age groups have different needs as far as makeup and skincare go.

I want to talk about my age. I am 41. So, how do I achieve beauty at my age? All starts with daily rituals, the maintenance and the no-no’s. My skin is mostly dry combination and a little on the sensitive side. When I reached mid 30’s is when I made some drastic changes because I started to notice dullness, sun damage, dry spots plus the monthly breakouts more prominent and this really bothered me. In my 20’s it was the 1990s and makeup/ beauty was very different then, burgundy lips, thin brows, all very grunge music inspired, nothing like the last 15 years I’d say. In my mid 30’s, I stopped going in the sun and started wearing more spf, (at the time I was in Singapore in hot/ humid weather, lots of UV rays). Living in the tropics and in Asia really influenced my views on sun tanning.

DAILY RITUAL MUST HAVE’S

TONE – For toners, I have been a faithful Dermalogica Ultra Calming Mist user since my mid 30s. This toner helps my skin tremendously, it is gentle enough for the occasional redness and sensitivity and adds that extra cleanliness step post makeup and dirt. Toning is an extremely important step if your skin has issues and most especially if you wear makeup/ sunscreen or other products during the day. To give you an idea how much I value toning, I carry toner in my makeup kit and will use it when I notice uneven texture on a client.

CLEANSE – My skin is dry so I have to use cleansers that are gentle and non foaming, mostly soap free and creamy in texture. With cleansers, I rotate a few, I love CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, Cetaphil and also Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel. If I am tired and literally on my deathbed, I use Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water to remove my makeup and spray myself with toner and moisturize. (Note, that this is not an every day occurrence but I do not ever not cleanse at night).

EXFOLIATE – A very important habit in your skincare game, exfoliating really gets rid of potential blackheads, whiteheads and generally creates a smooth skin texture that glows. I exfoliate at least three times a week and I’ve been using Glam Glow Youth Mud, it is amazing and leaves my skin softer than ever and any other product in the market.

MOISTURE TONS – At 40+ we lose a lot of elasticity, and this starts to happen after 30 years plus. I am saying this with 100% realness, this is when you have to do your homework and go anti-aging full blast based on your skin type EARLY on, ideally with good habits in your 20’s. Our skin loses its tone with age as collagen wears down, resulting in fine lines, for some this happens sooner depending on your genes and ethnic group. Because I have dry skin, I use oils like the Josie Maran Argan Milk and organic oils as well as moisturizers like Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate, Dr Haushcka Day Rose cream (aka the J.Lo cream), these last two are my absolutely most favorite hands down. Whenever I do my makeup, I really don’t do primer unless it is hot/ humid, 80’s degree summer, I do moisture, lots of it. At night, I also do serums and usually I apply my serum before moisturizer and I concentrate in my dry areas so that my skin soaks it up. When I look for a serum, anything with Vitamin C, grape seed oil, Hyalorunic Acid will grab my attention faster than a designer bag on sale. Also, I do overnight treatments at least once a week maybe twice, sheet masks and deep moisture treatments like the Glam Glow Thirsty Mud, in the winter these are musts.

MAINTENANCE
FACIALS/ PEELS – This may come as a shock but am a total believer in both a peel and a regular every two months facial. If you ask me, a peel is probably my favorite thing after a facial. In Asia, I started doing both and this where I learned and gained a wealth of knowledge on the skincare and beauty anti-aging process. I developed an amazing friendship with my esthetician Chris in Singapore, she took care of my skin for six years and taught me everything I know. When you do a facial, think of a car going for its much need fine tuning/ tire rotation/ oil change, lots of long term benefits for ultimate performance. Chemical peels are my favorite because I feel the results are incredible and the pain is minimal, a good and experienced aesthetician would be able to diagnose and best advise you. After a peel, the new skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin that slowly peeled off. I usually break out a lot after my peels, all the dirt and gunk does come up in my case, by the 5th day after a peel I start noticing the glow of new skin. My last peel was at SKN Lab in Madison NJ this past March and Beth the owner of this salon and esthetician, did a fabulous job on giving me the right peel.

BOTOX – Yes, I do Botox. This little injection has been my buddy since my late 30’s and I get it done every six months. Usually, I do my forehead and frown line. I am happy to share that my experience has been positive, it is a personal decision and I feel it helps. Injectables soften the lines and if you see my photos, I don’t look frozen. I feel that if you start younger say late to early 40’s, the lines won’t be as deep.

SPF 30 OR MORE – Sun damage is real. This is part of the reason why I started doing peels and avoid the sun like the plague. I love that now there is an awareness of the dangers of sun tanning and sun beds with some states banning the use of tanning beds. In the 1990’s and even the 80’s, nobody talked about Melanoma and how this obsession here in the West has made things worse. For me MyChelle Sun Shield Unscented SPF 28 is my latest rave and also Dermalogica has some outstanding sun care products as well as Juice Beauty CC cream SPF 30, these are my go to products as well as an SPF 50 hat, sunglasses and umbrellas.

SUPPLEMENTS, H20 + WATER BASED FRUITS/ VEGETABLES – This may be unimportant to some but diet and our daily intakes do matter. I have blogged and talked about my love for oral supplements like Hyaluronic acid, love anything with this word in a sentence. Also, since about two months ago, I am all about the Neo Cell Collagen + C tablets, I take a couple of these a day and so far I feel it adds to my overall health. As far as foods go, I will not eat fried foods or fast food, I don’t drink soda or anything fizzy, and for every alcoholic drink I may indulge in, I make sure I drink one full glass of water. There is nothing worse than hungover skin, I have had clients showing up hungover and miracles need to be performed but sometimes it is impossible. I love avocado, tomatoes, strawberries, and Vitamin C and Vitamin A – if you want good skin, these need to be part of your diet and gallons of plain water.

NO-NOs – This is a list of things I avoid, #1 is cigarettes or anything that requires lighting up, I hate it and can’t stress how bad and horrendous it is for the skin/ overall health. Add to that list of no-nos is sleeping less than 8 hours a day, especially now that I reached the big 4-0, mama gets tired and lack of sleep really makes my skin look like sh***. I drink alcohol very moderately and favor wine over hard liquor most of the time. A glass of red wine or a rose in the summer? Yes but I pace myself. I do have a sweet tooth and love my coffee so don’t think I am an absolute bore. I have weaknesses, what I listed re the biggest no-nos and ones every dermatologist or aesthetician will advice you about (no cigarettes, slow down on the alcohol, no sun and get your beauty rest).

Feel free to ask me questions, ANYTHING.
Hope you enjoyed my very real talk, this is how I am embracing my youth these days :)
This is a collaborative effort so check out what my friends below have to say!

DISCLOSURE ***Some products in this post have been given to me as press samples, some were my own purchases AND all the treatments I talked about I paid for with my own money***

 Loading InLinkz ...

How I Am Saving This Spring With Walmart Family Mobile

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MarchIntoSavings #CollectiveBias
Walmart Family Mobile NanoProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 presetClose up shot woman using iPad and iphone 4s in officeWalmart Family Plan SavingsWalmart Family Mobile Aisle
Spring time is finally slowly arriving here in the North East. I am excited as the weather gets warmer and family trips are planned ahead. March also marks the beginning of soccer season for my son, art classes once a week and the usual weekly juggling of texting/ calling for work updates and bridal season. March is a time when we can put some savings into place so that we can enjoy the rest of the warmer season. I really like my current smart phone but needed to make some room for savings ASAP as we have plans to go away in April. One of the ways I decided to save money for my family is by changing my monthly mobile plan spending. I looked around for an affordable Unlimited Talk Text and Data/Web plan that would allow me to keep my unlocked phone and found the best deal with Walmart Family Mobile. When I went to my local Walmart, I was advised to pick up the Nano starter kit for just $25 and this worked with my unlocked phone without any issues. The total cost of my new mobile plan is $29.88/month with Unlimited Talk, Text & Data service, including up to 500MB of 4G LTE data. I was done looking.

One of the reasons why I like this new plan by Walmart Family Mobile is the fact that there is no annual contract and it is a postpaid plan, it is simple and easy to set up. With the new 4G LTE the network spans to cover more than 280 million people nationwide, this is fantastic for a pre-paid plan. With my former mobile plan, I was averaging between $90 monthly for the same exact service and coverage! Let’s do the math here, it is a $60.12 savings every month which a year would amount to $721.44! The numbers don’t lie, it is an exceptional savings which for a family of four, is one plane ticket to Europe to see our family there and or a trip to Peru.

If you are a parent with teenagers and kids in college, this is a perfect idea to get an unlocked phone set up for them using Walmart Family Mobile. Adding an extra line gives you a savings of $5 less per line. You may also choose to do Unlimited Talk & Text or Unlimited Talk, Text & Data, or mix & match on the same plan to fit your needs. I highly recommend going this route to start saving money, it is a great options for families and simple to set up.

For me the benefits of this savings on my mobile service, allow for a much needed family vacation. We are headed down to Peru in a couple of weeks and couldn’t be more excited as this is a trip long overdue for me (it’s only been seven years since I haven’t travelled to see my relatives in Lima). What are you excited for this spring season?

My Body Care Routine Featuring Softsoap Fresh & Glow Body Wash

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreshAndGlow #CollectiveBias
Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 preset
If there is one thing I love for sure is a good body care routine. Good body skin texture is refreshing and makes me feel better no matter what season we are in. After long hours of work on set doing makeup and riding the subway home, I always look forward to my shower time. Like my face skincare routine, I take great pride in making sure I also do the same with the rest of my body. I tend to favor heavy hydrating body washes because it works well with my skin type (mostly dry). The new Softsoap Fresh & Glow body hydrating body wash is just what the doctor recommended, it is made with Milk Protein Almond and Coconut 100% Real Extracts. Having a hydrating element in my daily shower is key to having supple body skin year round. What I love about Softsoap Fresh & Glow body hydrating body wash is the subtle scent of coconut, it is like the scent of a vacation, invigorating and sweet. The knowledge that my body skin feels radiant, hydrated and soft as it can, makes me a happy camper.

The next step to my body care is exfoliation. I exfoliate religiously 3-5 times a week, it is the second most important step to making sure my skin does not feel dry or scaly. Exfoliation is crucial during the winter months when the air is dry and we are indoors with heating on, we get rid of extra skin and impurities through exfoliation. I use a loofah with Softsoap Fresh & Glow Exfoliating Fruit Polish, it works especially well and leaves me ready for deep hydration after. The formula has Apricot Seeds, Orange & Kiwi 100% Real Extracts, and it also smells like fresh fruit.

After exfoliation, it is good practice to apply a heavier body cream. Since Softsoap Fresh & Glow Exfoliating Fruit Polish takes care of getting rid of dead cells, using a good moisturizer (or body cream if your skin is dry like mine) is like the finishing step to comfort and protect our skin all over, focusing in the drier parts like elbows and knees. Once all this is done, I am ready to and relax after a long day, pure bliss. Both Softsoap Fresh & Glow body washes are available at all Walmart locations!

Osmosis Pür Medical StemFactor Serum Review

Stemfactor Growth+Factor+SerumOsmosis Pür Medical StemFactor is a new serum I’ve been testing. My dry skin has had the worst winter ever dealing with super cold temperatures. All of February, I had to double up on my moisturizing, exfoliate more, cleanse and remove my makeup with mostly oil-based agents to avoid more drying up further. I liked the idea of trying out Osmosis Pür Medical StemFactor Serum, the ingredients and formula sounded lovely and like they would agree with my face. And so they did! This serum absorbs very fast into the skin, it is meant to treat aspects of skin aging and hyper pigmentation.

Serums are like an additional barrier of help for the skin, most are used in addition to a daily regimen. Typically, I use a serum as the “extra” in my skincare (cleanse, tone, moisture + serum, as well as exfoliate 2-3 times a week). I know this sounds like a lot of steps but if you are serious about your anti-aging care like I am, it is very simple like brushing your teeth and showering. Osmosis Pür Medical StemFactor serum helps by promoting collagen and elastic production. As we age, we lose collagen and elasticity, and this why the extra step is so important.

My recommendation when applying Osmosis Pür Medical StemFactor is use your favorite heavy moisturizer first on a cleansed face. Once moisturizer is on and feels like it is starting to absorb, I’d apply a thin layer of Osmosis Pür Medical StemFactor using my fingertips in a drum-like motion to perk up and give a nice flush to the face. This should be a routine every day, no excuses especially if your skin is dry and you are looking to amp up your anti-aging habits. It is never too early or too late to start!

Ingredients:
Adult Stem Cell Derived Conditioned Media, Phosphatidylcholine, Harmonized Water, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Essential Oil Blend.

Osmosis Pür Medical StemFactor Serum retails for $125

**This product was given to me for editorial consideration, all opinions and views are my own. There may be affiliate links within this post

Tips On How To Handle Stress


Bach Rescue PastillesProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
As I write this post, I am already stressing on what is coming up today (dinner, homework, blogging, cleaning my brushes for tomorrow’s job). It is non-stop with me as a working makeup artist, blogger, wife and mom of two but it wouldn’t be “me” without all this. In this day and age, there are many ways to lessen your stress factor, some people relax by slowing down, some exercise, and others do activities like gardening, cooking, knitting. For myself, how I get rid of stress takes some slowing down combined with the homeopathic route.

How do I de-stress while on the subway heading to work? I use RESCUE pastilles. RESCUE pastilles are homeopathic, gentle and non-habit-forming with no side effects. I carry these lovely yellow tins in my bag. They work by slowly disintegrating in your mouth, I take two usually and let them do their magic. RESCUE pastilles take effect in about five minutes, the taste is fruity and not too sweet. What I love is that they are completely safe and make me feel at ease.

I am often asked on how I handle the stress of dealing with brides and clients in general? My answer to this question is simple. Stressful situations don’t make nervous, I feel very much at ease and calm when I handle my clients and brides. What I do after is how I best handle this grind. So, what happens after a long day of work or on the weekends when I am not working? I try to spend time doing nothing. This may sound a bit blasé but it works very well. I switch off from my social media and enjoy watching documentaries, fashion or art related.

Other ways for me to de-compress from daily stresses include walking in my neighborhood which is nice, I live in area surrounded by parks and green. Sometimes I like to visit my local coffee shop in Maplewood and take my tablet which is loaded with magazines and books. I love to read about fashion, photography and beauty, see what other artists are doing, this gives me great inspiration. When I am inspired and rested, I feel good and motivated to keep going in this creative field I am in.

I also wanted to share that RESCUE pastilles are available now in the US at CVS, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Sprouts and wherever you find natural products. RESCUE pastilles are $9.99, and now there is a coupon offer on the RESCUE site, definitely take advantage of it.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Easy Vegetarian Lent Tostadas With Jalapeños Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #VivaLaMorena #CollectiveBias
La Morena Jalapenos and Chipotle SauceProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetVegetarian Jalapeno Tostadas La MorenaJalapeno Veggie Tostada La MorenaLa Morena Jalapenos Veggie Tostadas Recipe
Today marks a week since Lent started for us Catholics, a time when we observe and give up meat at least once a week. I created a super easy (and meatless) idea for a traditional flavor veggie Jalapeño tostada using La Morena jalapeños stuffed in cheese. Lent is period that marks the six weeks before Easter and it is a big tradition across many countries where Christianity or Catholicism is practiced. Growing up, we had meatless Fridays or sometimes another day during week. I always remember my mother using traditional flavors for us as kids, and this entailed vegetables, fish and spicy foods because in Peru this is part of our daily diet.

In keeping with my own tradition, I came up with this creation using La Morena jalapeños for an easy Lent meal/ snack. For this recipe, you can add as many veggies as you like and if you are vegan, of course there are dairy-free options too. I used regular Queso Fresco (a creamy, soft, and mild unaged white cheese), very popular in Spanish speaking countries. La Morena offers a wide range of jalapeño flavors and chipotle sauces, I really loved the sauce in La Morena’s jalapeno stuffed with cheese in red sauce, it is super yummy. My local bodega carries a lot of La Morena and Latin American foods, it is a real short distance from my house, so lucky!

For the Lent Vegetarian Tostadas recipe you will need:

– Tostada shells, toasted
– Fresh tomatoes seasoned in virgin olive oil
– 3 oz of Queso Fresco (I used Mexican Queso Fresco)
– 1/2 spoon of salt
– Pepper
– One can of La Morena 13oz Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños in Sauce

Using a cutting board, I started by slicing La Morena 13oz Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños, fresh tomatoes, first. For the Queso Fresco, since it is a very soft type of cheese, you need to cut it and slice it in small squares separately. Place all your veggies in a bowl, mixing them together with the sauce that comes in the cheese stuffed jalapeños, this I promise adds an amazing flavor kick. You can either have these fresh as they come or if you wish, you can heat up the tostadas with the cheese first. For those wanting some heated tostadas, I suggest heating up your conventional oven to about 450 degrees for about five minutes, once the oven is hot, put your tostadas for a minute maximum, keeping an eye that they don’t overcook. Voila!

What I loved about using this combination of ingredients is how easy and simple this is to prepare, dinner or lunch is served in less than ten minutes. My husband and I are Catholic so when I told him this was our meatless Lent option, he was totally into the idea. Jalapeno peppers are more than just garnish. They are high in nutrients that may help you boost weight loss efforts, improve immunity, promote heart health and fight free radicals from environmental and dietary pollutants. I chose tomatoes not only for their juicy flavor but also because they are great for our skin. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that works as a sunscreen from within. The antioxidants are rich in tomatoes, making it an anti-aging product as they help in fighting cellular damage. I hope you give my little recipe a try.

I’d love to hear about your traditions! Also La Morena has a giveaway, be sure to enter to win some fabulous prizes.

La Morena Lent Giveaway

Goodbye Dry Scalp With Head & Shoulders Moisture Care


Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with m3 presetHead&Shoulders Moisture Care collection scalp sootherHead and Shoulders Moisture Care CollectionIMG_9072
Most my readers know my dealings with dry skin. That being said, my scalp is no stranger to flakiness and dry spells as well. I suffer from very dry scalp, even in the summer, seasons do not make a difference with my skin. I went from living in very hot humid weather in Singapore to seasonal hot and very cold northeast USA. After trying various products, I seem to have found a great solution to this scalp issue, the Head & Shoulders Moisture Care collection, and I am happy to report it is fantastic for dry scalp treatment.

I have been using the Head & Shoulders Moisture Care collection for several weeks now. What I like about this line is that it is made for textured hair (aka mine, porous from color, Keratin treatments and years of heat and styling products). As with skincare products, in hair good ingredients are vital to addressing issues like dry scalp, dandruff, or oil. Ingredients in the Head & Shoulders Moisture Care shampoo/ conditioner and scalp treatment include vitamin E rich almond oil, coconut essence and dandruff-fighting ingredient zinc pyrithione. My biggest problem is dryness from using styling aids and constant blow drying as well as naturally having very dry skin/ sensitive to heat and cold. What I do for my scalp is try to lock moisture in and a lot recovery and repair.

How do I care for my hair? First, I don’t wash everyday because this really makes me more flaky in the scalp and completely strips the natural oils. What I do is shampoo 2-3 times a week and this does help. I can’t do daily washing and because my hair naturally is very wavy, it would mean I’d have to blow dry it making things even worse. With Head & Shoulders Moisture Care collection I am finding that its formula releases zinc pyrithione (ZPT) over time and this is what is helping locking in moisture in my scalp, a total win in my book.

Head & Shoulders Moisture Care comprises of a shampoo, conditioner, a scalp treatment (my most favorite of the collection) and also a co-wash, short for conditioner washes. Co-washing is a technique has emerged as one of the alternatives to traditional shampooing and conditioning on days women wish to omit shampoo. In other words, this is perfect for those wanting to wash their hair gently.

I also mentioned the scalp treatment being my favorite of the collection, and I have several raves on this. Again, it is all in the formula and ingredients which include peppermint oil complex and Vitamin E that cools the scalp and improves moisture balance. Also, the scalp treatment is very soothing and can be used anytime, on wet and dry hair. This scalp treatment can be used between washes to immediately provide relief and provide moisture before washing the hair again.

Head & Shoulders is available pretty much at most large grocery stores, drugstores and online. The Head & Shoulders Moisture Care Collection ranges from $4.99 to $12.

Get Ready With Me featuring Black|Up Cosmetics

IMG_9064The beauty council logoToday, I am taking you through a get ready routine with me using all Black Up Cosmetics and nothing but. It’s been a few years since I discovered this pro-quality brand from France. My first Black Up product was a lipstick and it was definitely a favorite among many brands I get to try and test as a makeup artist.
IMG_9068IMG_9072
For this look, I created a couple of options, one using a nude gloss and another look with a pop of color pink lipstick. First, I prepped my skin with a moisturizer and used Black| Up Mattifying Fluid Foundation in 01 (a great match for yellow/ olive undertones). Because we are experiencing such cold weather here in the northeast, I had to balance out the moisture for my skin while using a mattifying product. Needless to say, for someone with oily skin, this foundation is heaven. (I have combination leaning towards dry skin, sadly). Once the foundation was set, I used my Black| Up Neutrals palette 01, a combination of shimmery and mattes. On my lid, I applied a rather shimmery pearly color and on my crease, I went ahead and used a generous amount of a matte brown. The result? A super soft smokey eye! As far as the shadows go, the mattes are definitely my favorite, the pigment is solid, colors build nicely and pretty much no fallout.
IMG_9073
For a pop of color, I applied a double layer of purple eyeliner, this eyeliner is a true stunner! (See images). Because I planned to use a very colorful set of eyes, I purposely kept my cheeks soft and simple. Under eyes, I went over twice with the Black|Up concealer quad (The Magic Quad concealer palette Number 1) and the Black|Up radiance concealer (it is like a fine point pen, works super well when mixed with the cream concealers, which carry a thicker, paste-like consistency, good for color correcting, illuminating and blemishes).

I hope you enjoy the looks I created. My absolute favorites from Black| Up are the concealers, eyeshadows/ eyeliner and always the lipsticks. Quality in this brand is outstanding and I carry a few of the Black| Up lipsticks in my own makeup artist kit, they are fantastic, sheer and lovely bold colors. The Black| Up bold pink lipstick I paired my look with is a satin finish lipstick in Rouge 21 shade.

OFFER FOR OUR READERS Black| Up is offering 20% off their products from 2/12 until 2/28 using the code LOVE1

DISCLOSURE Black|Up Cosmetics provided me with PR SAMPLES for review, all opinions are my own. There may also be affiliate links within this post.

Check out what my friends from the Beauty Council created too!

 Loading InLinkz ...

An International Valentine’s Day Love Story

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #YoursandMine #CollectiveBias
CraigNorahPeruCraig NorahAn International Story YoursandMineAn intl love story YoursandMineYoursandMine
My husband and I met in New York City through an introduction from a mutual friend of ours who knew him through work. At the time, I was very much living the single PR girl life in New York. He was based in London (UK) working on a project that would only last a few weeks here in the USA and had no plans to relocate. We went on several dates while he was working in New York then later travelled to meet in Miami and Mexico City. By the end of the third month of us dating in two different cities, we decided we no longer wanted to be doing a long distance romance so why not just get married and be a couple forever. Our engagement was short and I had my best friend help me plan my wedding in less than six weeks. By the time the decision was made, I moved to London to get married there in a small, intimate ceremony with less than ten people and a sit down dinner as our reception. Our wedding was perfect. Of course, with most of my family being all over the USA and Peru, we also planned a 2nd wedding celebration in Miami right after our nuptials in London.

Fast forward eight years later plus two lovely children, we have lived in three different continents Europe, Asia and now back in the USA as a committed married couple. Married life can be an everyday challenge. One piece of advice that I would love to offer is to keep your sense of humor in any loving, monogamous relationship. One of so many things I love about my husband apart from his British accent, is his dry, witty and sometimes quirky sense of humor, he makes me laugh constantly. We have things in common like dining out and wine, and do go out at least once a month alone on date nights as well as humor each other with notes, silly jokes and gag gifts frequently. For Valentine’s Day, I usually get an array of gifts, sometimes a card and since he knows I am not a roses type of girl, he’ll buy a giant Bird of Paradise flower plus something humorous and unexpected.

This year I plan on surprising him with a romantic bag with several gifts that will humor both of us. Luckily, I was able to put together my gift while perusing Walmart. In a marriage or committed partnership keeping the humor and romance alive are the two of the most important things, in my opinion. I know my husband well enough to imagine how much he’ll love and smile when I give him his romance box. Balancing romance and humor is what keeps relationships going the distance. In my gift, I have our favorite libation, a Valentine’s themed dry erase board just for fun, new socks because who doesn’t need that??! Also, there is a card which I do every year and a very special K-Y® DATE NIGHT pack from Walmart for those intimate moments.

Date nights are important! I’d suggest trying a very unique deal coming soon. What does it entail? It is a $50 value one free meal for two people from PEACHDISH.com delivered to your door for a cozy night of cooking together, a $5 VUDU movie credit for you to stream right at home and the pleasure of K-Y® Yours+Mine Couples Lubricants.

For more ideas on how you can celebrate romance this Valentine’s Day, check out K-Y.com.