A Cleansing Oil Worth Getting Off The Couch For: illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil

Saturday, September 30, 2017
I am absolutely horrible when it comes to removing my makeup (and sunscreen!) at the end of the day. By the time I'm home from a long day at work I just want to become one with my couch, watch four hours of YouTube and then fall into a deep hibernation without having to ever move. I totally would too, if it weren't for those meddling skincare kids and their cleansing mantras always in the back of my mind. "Wash your face, or turn into some sort of horribly acne-riddled, wrinkle monster!" they say. "Stop being so lazy and take care of yourself!" And so I trudge upstairs and begin my nightly struggle to keep water from dripping down my elbows as I cleanse.

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Until recently I didn't have much to say about my nightly cleanser. They were just... fine. Some came in cuter packaging (Heimish All Clean Balm, SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick), some made my face feel every so slightly too dry if I used it every evening but were otherwise great (CosRx Low Ph Good Morning Gel Cleanser), and some were just sort of unremarkable (Clinique Take The Day Off Balm). Nothing to write home (or to you guys) about. But then I met The One.

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I bought illi Total Aging Care cleansing oil off Amazon on a whim after reading Fiddy's review over on Fifty Shades of Snail. (She's great, you guys should check her out.) She did not exaggerate. This cleansing oil is fantastic.

Let's start with hands-down the best part; the smell. Normally I'm not a big fan of fragrances. They tend to always go a little too far in whatever direction they're striving for, whether that be a florally, girly scent or a "we believe tea tree oil works miracles" smell. But this. How can I even describe it? It's natural -- florally but with a hint of something darker. Something that keeps your nose interested. Please don't ask me how many times I took a big long sniff of this product while attempting to write this. It's embarrassing.

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But what's a great smelling product if it doesn't actually do anything? Luckily, this cleanser has none of the annoying traits of my previous cleansers. As a person with often-dehydrated skin, I find foaming cleansers a bit too harsh. The balms and low pH products I tried either stung my eyes a few minutes after using them or hardly could remove my mascara. The illi Total Aging Care cleansing oil has not once left me feeling too dry, doesn't sting my eyes at all, and completely removes my mascara and other makeup without having to tug at my eyelashes at all. It also emulsifies lightly when I add water so I can actually tell it's working and that it's all washed off.

Best of all, this product just feels luxurious without completely breaking the bank. I've had my first bottle for about half a year and it's still just under half full. I only use one to two pumps whenever I wash up, so it will go a longgg way. And sometimes, just to add a bit more pampering to my everyday life, I do a little facial massage before washing the cleansing oil off. The smell, the elegant packaging and the relaxing massage all add up to just about the perfect way to end a long day.

My Current Workout Routine

Sunday, September 3, 2017
Earlier this summer I took an accidental exercise break. Well, really it was more of a break from the typical gym routine I was used to. I went on two week-long vacations and instead of body weight exercises after work in a gym, I was walking and hiking over 25,000 steps a day. When I came back it was definitely hard to go from fresh air and beautiful views (Yosemite National Park is amazing you guys) to a freezing cold, windowless gym. To top it all off, I had just wrapped up another round of Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide. After almost two years of the same workout plan, I was getting a bit bored and feeling unmotivated. I loved Kayla's workouts, but now that I was at a comfortable weight and had a reasonable amount of strength built up, I wanted to add some more definition.

To give myself a kick in the rear and rededicate myself to my fitness, I searched out a new routine, with more weightlifting. I know that I am most motivated when I have a routine to conquer and a little external push that comes from checking days off a list, so pre-planning was essential. In the end I decided to take a little out of a few different guides to create my own unique plan. Here's what I ended up with...

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

A few years back, I had started Jamie Eason's LifeFit weightlifting plan but never quite finished it. But I distinctly remember how much definition I was starting to see in my arms, an area I had always struggled to workout properly on my own. So I looked it up again and I discovered that this time they even had a free app. That sorted that.

Jamie's plan has you lifting 4 to 6 times a week, which just wasn't realistic for me. I still wanted some workout variation so I wasn't about to devote every day of the week to this one style. Instead, I decided to just work my way through the program, but not at the same rate. I lift every three days a week and just pick the next workout on the list. So far, workouts have been broken up in muscle groups. One day might be legs, then the next chest and triceps, followed by back and biceps and finally, delts and abs. I'm already seeing that arm definition again, and I'm only a few weeks back into the program!

Tuesday, Thursday

When doing the Bikini Body Guides (BBG), two days a week were always reserved for LISS (low impact, steady-state) or HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio exercises. I really liked this because it meant I could incorporate anything from a session on the bike at the gym while reading a book to a long walk around my neighborhood. I've kept these sessions in my current workout routine, and they remain pretty flexible. Sometimes I just do a quick 30 minutes of cardio at the gym, other times I might even design my own outdoor HIIT workout, or an old BBG workout might pop back in. The flexibility keeps me from getting bored and lets me choose a workout that feels right for my body at the time.

A beautiful evening walk on a path around the outskirts of the city.


This is definitely the bonus workout category. I never plan formal workout sessions over the weekend, but a lot of times I just end up doing a lot of active recovery things. Chores, yard work, helping family with their projects, even sometimes just long shopping outings all totally count in my mind. And sometimes I'll find myself rolling out my yoga mat for a quick practice with a YouTube video. It's important to rest so your muscles can grow while they heal, but it's also important to remember not to turn into *too* much of a couch potato on your days off.

Ok, so maybe he was getting a bit more exercise in that I was but you get the idea. Somebody had to play with the dog!

Armed with a plan, I've got a renewed sense of commitment and I've been hitting the gym with a lot more motivation. Now let's go get sweaty!