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Mom to Iris. Wife to Todd. Our little family lives at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We love it here and I love sharing little bits of our life.

© 2014 sarahfortune.

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Category : Health & Beauty

Skin Care – An Update!

So for those of you following along, I wanted to give an update on my advanced skin care journey with NWA Center for Plastic Surgery‘s skincare center. It’s now been almost seven months since I started getting serious about caring for my skin. Since then, I’ve had dermaplane about once a month, Botox about every three months, various peels, and a new obsession with SkinMedica products. Once my skin had adjusted to my new routine, my esthetician introduced me to the Nordlys laser. I just had my third overall treatment, plus Fraxel laser on my nose, so I’m excited to share the end result once those treatments are complete! Spoiler alert – I can already tell that my overall complexion is smoother and brighter… stay tuned!

A Beginner’s Guide to Jazzercise

Some of my most popular blog posts have been the ones about my journey with Jazzercise, and some of my most commonly asked questions from friends and folks online is about Jazzercise. Since I was a beginner myself not that long ago, I thought I would answer some of the questions I’ve gotten, as well as some that I had when I first began:

What do I wear?
Sorry to disappoint, but the neon leotards and spandex left with the 1980s. For your first Jazzerise class wear whatever you are comfortable in, but remember you’ll be jumping and moving around, so you’ll want something that gives you flexibility and support. Personally, I wear cropped leggings (even in the winter because you truly work up a sweat), sports bra, tank top, and sneakers. You’ll see a wide-range of outfits though. Some people are head-to-toe is cute workout gear, while others keep it ultra-cas in a t-shirt and shorts.

What do I bring?
Just water and yourself! Some people bring their own mats and weights, or even a towel or extra cushion to put down on the mats that are provided. At my center, there are almost always enough mats and a range of weights to choose from. While you use weights in every class, mats aren’t always needed. You’ll occasionally use exercise balls and resistance bands, but those are provided as well (and no prior experience is needed).

Okay, so there are weights. What do I start with?
If you are already familiar exercising with weights, then you probably know what’s best. But if you are a newbie like I was, I started with 3-pound weights and then after about a week went up to 5-pounders. Currently I go between 5 and 6-pound weights depending on the class.

So there are different types of classes?
Yes! That’s what helps keeps it fun and what helps keep it a well-rounded workout. Each class format is a different mix of songs/workouts, with some being more focused on cardio (Dance Mixx) while others are more focused on strength (Strength 60). You can read more about the different class types here. And you can always find out what classes are happening and when via the Jazzercise app or by searching for your center on their website. For example, here’s my center’s schedule!

Is it really a good workout?
As with any exercise, you’ll only get out as much as you put in. Overall though, people (like myself) are surprised to find out how much of a challenge each class can be. The classes are typically an hour long and are a good “one-stop-shop” for your daily exercise.

I can’t dance. Does that matter?
Anyone can Jazzercise. I don’t consider myself a dancer in the least, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have fun trying. Plus, one of the many things I love about Jazzercise is that it’s helped with my coordination overall. You’ll learn that each routine is choreographed to work specifically with each song, so you can feel (and hear) when you’re about to change movements. And if you count in eights, it will be easier to stay on track. None of that truly matters though – The environment is made to make you feel comfortable so that you can just do your thing and make it your own workout. It’s a no-judgement zone.

Do they still dance to 80s music?
While I think a throw-back class would be awesome, Jazzercise definitely keeps it fresh with what’s popular on the radio (my fave routines are the ones to Bruno Mars). That means we get to learn new routines pretty often, so even if you are brand new to Jazzercise, it’s likely that the veteran next to you is learning something for the first time too.

I have an old injury. Can I still try it?
Absolutely! While there is a lot of hopping and lunging that can be tough on the knees, instructors give low-impact options for each workout.

How many calories do you burn?
I wear an Apple Watch and I find that I burn approximately 450 – 550 calories per class. I discovered this blog, which has some good insight into the amount of calories burned for each class format.

How do I get started and how does it all work?
Once you sign-up (you can pay per class or join for 3, 6, or 12 months), they print you out a little card with your name on it. Before each class, you pull your card so that they can scan it. This helps keep track of how many classes you attend in a year. They usually announce during class when you hit a milestone, such as 25, 50, 75 or 100 classes. And with the new app, I think we’re going to see a transition to scanning your phone instead of the card, so that’s exciting! Jazzercise also announces great deals a few times throughout the year, so be on the lookout for a joining special – that’s how I got hooked.

Any questions I missed? Feel free to ask or share your insight below! The Jazzercise community is a warm and welcoming one, so if you are curious the best thing to do is just give it a shot and keep in mind it usually takes at least a few classes for it to “click.” You can read my previous posts here and here.

PS – This is not a sponsored post. I’ve just enjoyed sharing my Jazzer-journey!

Botox Q&A

I’ve gotten asked a lot of questions about my first experience with Botox, so I wanted to share a few of the common questions I’ve received. For those of you that haven’t been keeping up, yes I tried Botox for the very first time this past fall (courtesy of Northwest Arkansas Center for Plastic Surgery), and YES – I fell in love. Hopefully my answers here will help those of ya who are on the fence!

Did it hurt?
After my very first injection I was like, “That’s it?! That’s WAY too easy.” And it was. My NWACPS nurse injector (AKA my new best friend, Annie) first gave me a little ice pack to numb my injection areas, so it really just felt like tiny little pinches. Bonus: I got to keep the reusable ice pack. We keep it in the fridge and Iris uses it as her “ouch pouch” whenever she gets hurt.

Does your face feel any different?
If anything, it feels little tighter – but in a good way. Overall, it’s not very noticeable though.

Where did you get the injections?
Where my lines and wrinkles have started to form – My crows-feet, forehead, and in-between my eyebrows.

Can you really tell a difference?
Absolutely! It’s subtle, but smooth – just like real-life photoshop. Now when I’m outside in the bright light, I don’t look like I’m scowling. When I smile, I don’t have drastic wrinkles by the corners of my eyes. And since I no longer have bangs, all you see is a smooth forehead!

Can people tell that you got it?
If I wasn’t broadcasting it on my blog (and to everyone I meet), I think it’s safe to say that no one would look at me and think, “Botox!” But once I point it out, I think the difference is pretty clear (see the before and after photos below). I’ve said this time and time again, but I love NWACPS‘s approach to Botox. They start out small because you can always add more later, but you certainly don’t want to over do it! As for right after the injections, I had little dots on my forehead, but they were gone by that evening. In fact, I got my injections on my lunch hour and went straight back to the office. Keep in mind that the effects aren’t instant though. I didn’t start seeing results until after about four days and after about two weeks it should be fully set.

How long does it last?
For me, it started to slowly wear off around the three-month mark. You can probably make it stretch more towards four months, but it’s actually more beneficial in the long-run to get another treatment when you notice it starting to fade. Since it prevents your muscles from moving, it’s also preventing some of those new wrinkles from forming! You may even find yourself needing less injections.

Have you tried any other injectable?
I have not, but I have asked about fillers. One day I might give them a try, but (thankfully) my face is still pretty full and youthful according to Annie – she’s my best friend for a reason. 😉 And that’s why it’s so important that I’m taking such care of my skin now (beyond Botox) through an advanced skincare routine – so that hopefully the need for other treatments will be a lot further out. It’s all about preservation!

Would you get Botox again?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES. In fact, I’ve already gotten my second round. In a perfect world I would go every three months.

Okay, okay – I get it. You love Botox. But what about some before and after photos?
Oh I love a good before and after, so here you go. These first photos are from my very first visit to NWACPS:

And here I am recently (about two weeks after my second round of Botox):

If you live in Northwest Arkansas and are thinking about it, I will forever recommend going in for a skincare consultation at Northwest Arkansas Center for Plastic Surgery. Not only is the consultation free, but they work with you based on your personal needs and budget (not to mention they are the sweetest bunch of people you will ever meet).

New Skin for a New Year

Nearly everyone vows to take care of their health as part of their New Year’s resolution – exercising more, eating better, but what about taking care of your skin? Last January I started working out regularly and, one year later, I’m still going strong. So now that exercise is a normal part of my routine, 2017 is the year I pledge to take care of my skin.

Thankfully, I have a head start as I’m entering the New Year with a fresh skincare routine, which I thought would be fun to share. I will say that the best part about my routine is that it’s tailored for me. If you’ve been following along on my skincare journey, you’ll remember that I met with Krissa, my lovely esthetician, at the Northwest Arkansas Center for Plastic Surgery’s Skin Care Center a few months back (see that post here). They give free consultations and help guide you in the best direction not only for your skin, but for your time and budget.

A solid three months in and I can honestly say that my skin has never been smoother, softer, or glowy-er (that’s not a word, is it? It should be). The only downside is that when I do have an imperfection, it’s so much more noticeable because now my face is such a fresh canvas… but that’s an amazing problem to have. You can check my updates via previous posts here and here. As for my personal skincare regime, I have pretty sensitive skin so everything that NWACPS has done for me has been with that in mind, including the products that I use. Take a look!

Morning:
– I start with washing my face with warm water and SkinMedica Sensitive Skin Cleanser.
– After rinsing and patting dry, I apply a few dabs of SkinMedica Redness Relief CalmPlex. This cream smells like cinnamon and has a slight tingly feeling that my face now craves every morning like a strong cup of coffee. The main perk is that it helps pull out the redness that I get oh-so easily, especially along my T-Zone.
– From there, I apply a penny-sized portion of SkinMedica Replenish Hydrating Cream. If the cold weather has dried out my skin, I may add a little more. I’m kind of picky when it comes to facial moisturizers, but I’m in love with this one – it hydrates, soothes, and smooths all at the same time (and a little goes a long way).
– Lastly, I use SkinMedica Total Defense & Repair as the final step before makeup. With SPF 50, this goes beyond UV protection and also defends against infrared rays.
– About 2-3 times a week I also start my routine with Theraderm NuPeel. I apply about a nickle-sized portion to completely dry skin. As I scrub, it gently removes dead skin cells. Basically it’s an easy, natural facial peel that you can do at home.
– Throughout the day I apply Theraderm Anti-Aging Lip Complex (in the winter months this helps keep my lips from becoming chapped as well).


Night:
– Wash again with warm water and SkinMedica Sensitive Skin Cleanser, cleaning off any makeup I wore that day.
– About three times per week I also wash with AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser. This step gently scrubs away dead skin, improving skin tone and texture.
– Next comes the GOOD stuff – TNS Recovery Complex. Orange in color, and a bit odd in smell, you can tell this really works. It rejuvenates, reduces appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and enhances skin texture and tone. It dries very quickly, so I spread it out as fast as I can savoring every last drop. Again, a little of this goes a long way.
– Finally, I once again coat my face in my favorite SkinMedica Replenish Hydrating Cream, then off to bed I go!

Maintenance:
– At the center of every good skin routine is a good core of maintenance. I’ve been getting Dermaplane once every month and, as you can tell from my previous post, it’s one of my favorite things. Not only does it leave my skin soft with an incredible glow, but the procedure is actually very relaxing. Dermaplane removes the peach fuzz from the face, while also creating a good foundation for other things, such as peels.
– Speaking of which, I’ve also done a couple of lactic peels, some very light and some a little stronger. I love that NWACPS eases me into things so that we can see how my skin will react. Over the last couple months my skin has become less sensitive, so I’m able to try out the stronger stuff. Yeah!
– For tougher spots to treat (like my nose), I’ve had microdermabrasion treatments instead of Dermaplane. Having the option to combine both in one sitting is great (once again, THANK YOU KRISSA!).
– One word: BOTOX. I’ve gotten it once and, three months later, I’m set to get my second round this week! While I know it can be a little intimidating to try at first, I can tell you that it is worth it a million times over. At 36-years-old, I have wrinkles that have started to form where I don’t necessarily like them (my furrowed brow, crows feet, and forehead). Botox has subtly smoothed out these lines and will also help in preventing new ones. Done and done!
– Last month I also added something new to the mix – laser! At NWACPS they used a machine called the Nordlys Hybrid Experience, which is a less painful form of laser. I must admit, I was a tad nervous to try this because I had no idea what to expect. My nerves were all for nothing though, because the pain level was completely bearable (at most it felt like a rubber band snap) and there was no recovery afterwards. The round that I did was to remove brown spots under my skin’s surface and my next round will be to remove the redness (which I have a ton of). Overall, this will give a more even look to my skin, making it look even better overall!

While this may sound like a lot, I actually only spend about 5 minutes every morning and night, plus I look forward to each face wash (and of course to each appointment). Because my skin has already changed since beginning my new regimen, I’m sure that means my routine will change as well – and that’s why I’m so happy to have professionals helping me along the way. I highly recommend at least starting with a consultation and, if you’re in NW Arkansas, NWACPS can’t be beat. Dr. Stacey and everyone who works there is so warm, welcoming, and helpful. I’ve asked a gazillion questions and I love that they’ve explained the process to me every step of the way. And while I am loving the results that I’m seeing, what’s even better is knowing that it will have lasting effects that I’ll see as I grow older.

This post is in partnership with NWACPS, however the words and opinions in my blog are truly my own.

I Jazzercised for a Year and Here’s What I Learned

Well, I did it. Today I met my goal of 150 Jazzercise classes in 2016! That’s a total of 150 hours of exercise – the equivalent of almost four full work weeks (yes, I’ve done the math). And as a mom that works full-time, runs a blog on the side, and travels whenever and wherever I can, I feel very proud to meet my goal.

So how did I get here? Looking back to my first Jazzercise post where I made my confession, it all started when I noticed that a Jazzercise location had opened near my office. Before I knew it, I posted an update at my six-month mark. And now here I am, dancing my way to the end of my first full year. So in honor of hitting this milestone, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned in my first 12 months of Jazzercise.

A Jazzercise class is as much mental as it is physical. This was one of the first things I realized in class and one that has stayed true even a year later. While I find myself feeling more confident to let my mind wander mid-routine, I’m usually jolted right back to the present moment when I’m not sure what is coming next. I never knew how much I needed a mental break from my day until I began taking these classes.
It gets easier, but never easy. When I first started, I was told to give it a month and then you’ll have the basics down. From there on out, learning a new routine isn’t as difficult and you can really concentrate on the workout, rather than just trying to keep up. If you give it your all, every class is a tough, yet rewarding workout.
It’s addictive. With the combo of music, dancing, and endorphins, it’s pretty easy to get hooked.
You’ll have ‘off’ days. And that’s okay. For example, I had four great classes in a row this week and then for no good reason this morning (my 150th class, actually), I felt like I was off a few more steps than normal. Just like anything else, you have good days and bad days, but with Jazzercise it doesn’t matter. Just by showing up, you’ve completed the hardest part.
It’s not stuck in the 1980s. Expecting bodysuits and leg warmers? Sorry to disappoint, but Jazzercise has evolved with the rest of us. Combining modern dance choreography, kickboxing, and Pilates to the tune of top 40 hits, I’ve noticed that many of my fellow Jazzercisers are way younger than I am. In fact, they are offering free classes to girls 16-21 years old in 2017 as a part of their GirlForce program.
I’m still a terrible dancer. But I sure have fun pretending otherwise!
Just when you think you have it, they throw in new routines. New routines mean new moves to learn and new songs to dance to, so the workouts are never boring. Jazzercise likes to keep you on your toes. Literally.
It’s never too late to start. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’ve never been a regular exerciser. So when I decided to finally devote some time to my health in my mid-thirties, I felt a little intimidated. Jazzercise has perfected the recipe to make a newbie feel comfortable, yet still challenge a veteran. I’m sure that’s part of what keeps such a diverse crowd in the audience. A crowd where no one ever feels out of place.
I’m still learning. After a year, I still feel like I’m pretty new at this and have a lot more to learn, which keeps it fun and exciting. The average Jazzerciser sticks with it for seven years, which gives me hope that even years later – I’ll still feel the same way.

PS – This is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to share my honest journey.