Beauty Secrets I Learned On My Own…When I Was Broke

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By LaRain Lebreque                                                                 

 Chip Clip LipYeah, there are those lip plumpers out there that can be pretty expensive and can really blow your lips up like a bicycle pump, and although they tell you to use them at night so the swelling will be down by the next day, I always wondered, “yeah, but what if it’s NOT? I still gotta go to work today and walking into the office looking like I’m wearing a pair of wax lips ain’t one of the things I wanna have to WORRY about today.” But…

Image result for images of wax lipsyou can use the clippy things you put on open potato chip bags {to help keep them fresh}. It’s a much more subtle and safe way to plump your lips and you only have to do it about once or twice a week for 20 to 30 minutes. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t do it longer than that since we don’t want our lips to fall OFF. Word of warning though. The chip clip will leave marks on your face for a few hours so do it on a day when you don’t have to go out or be seen by anyone who doesn’t love you unconditionally.

Moisturizer Madness!   When I lost my very excellent job as first tier consultant due to corporate downsizing, I found myself suddenly not able to spend $18.00 every seven or eight weeks for a ridiculously small bottle of my favorite moisturizer. Actually, when I got right down to it, the only reason it was my “favorite” was because it was the only one of the top brands advertised to give amazingly youthful results that didn’t smell like a perfume factory or cause my face to burn with every application.                                                                              Image result for images of dry skin face  

Anyway, I did the only thing I could do at the time and turned to my moisturizing body lotion.{Yikes!}  It happened to be a common body lotion brand with vitamins added. I wanted to cry when I first had to use it but I realized that salty tears running down my face were not going to help the moisturizing process AT ALL. But the bottle was reassuringly large, (10 oz.) and a fraction of the price, so I bravely applied it night after night.  Imagine my surprise (my JOYFUL surprise) when the dreadfully anticipated signs of using a cheap body moisturizer on my face did NOT occur! And although I’m not broke anymore, I still use it because I consider myself fortunate enough to have found out for sure what I’d always secretly wondered about. Namely, Is the beauty skin care industry SUCKERING us out of our hard earned money? 

Smoke No Mo’….Yep, I finally had to face what we ALL know is the obvious truth, that not only are cigarettes bad, bad, BAD for your health, but they are ergo, bad, bad, BAD for your looks. And I mean BAD by way of all Five Senses: They make you Look Bad, Smell Bad, Feel Bad, Sound Bad (we’ve all heard the VERY unattractive gravelly voiced female) and Taste Bad (my boyfriend now kisses me on the lips much more often than he did when I tasted like an ashtray).

Image result for cartoon images of unattractive cigarette smoking women I always said I’d quit after this project was done or that stressful time was over, or after my vacation; but then I suddenly couldn’t AFFORD them anymore, and I was forced to face the fact that I’d run out of excuses and this was the end of the road for Ciggy-Butt-Puffin’ LaRain.  

I gotta say though ladies, and this is the God’s honest truth, this was the Most Wonderful Consequence that came out of me losing my job. First I cut way back on smoking, then finally quit altogether. Yeah, it was hard, it was hard as NAILS, but then I started to feel SO much better, and yes, LOOK so much better too. For this I will always be eternally grateful because if I hadn’t lost my job, I’m sure I’d still be smoking, still making excuses, and still robbing my own self of my health and my looks. If you smoke, quit, because believe me, IT IS SOOO WORTH IT!

Water, Water, Water… It’s not enough to moisturize our skin from the outside. We must do this in tandem with hydrating our bodies from the INSIDE as well. This means water, ideally, 8 eight-ounce glasses per day. I knew this fundamental beauty tip from before I was broke, but then I could afford expensive designer bottled water. But tap water does the trick too, and that trick is, to keep the body sufficiently hydrated and flushed free of toxins. You may think it’s extremely hard to have to try to gag down 8 glasses of JUST WATER per day, but if you do this, your body’s own NATURAL THIRST will return and you’ll find yourself craving water, stopping at every water fountain you see and unwilling to go into a 2 hour corporate meeting without your trusty water bottle. If you don’t want to spend money on bottled water, then just buy one or 2 bottles and refill them with tap water, chilled, or room temperature, whatever you prefer. Soda, juice, punch or tea isn’t the same as just WATER, The Life Giving Liquid!  If you need to add something to it, sweeten it with pure, all natural HONEY, {also a great beauty nutrient!}Image result for images of water

Clothes-Pin Nose  Here’s another Yikes!-Moment for you…Cartilage continues to grow as we age. To our immediate beauty concerns, that means ears and noses! Well, actually, our ears grow longer and our noses droop, helped along by gravity. I first heard about using a clothes-pin on the nose cartilage from a celebrity who said that as a child, she hated her ethnic wide nose and tried everything to make it smaller. Then a college friend of mine said she tried it in adolescence, when her family members commented on the fact that she was losing her cute, pert little upturned nose!  So I tried it myself, {all you need is a clothes pin}, and yes, I can tell a difference. But it’s along the same premise as lip plumping, namely, you don’t want to overdue it. You don’t want to cause any circulation problems so 20 minutes, once or twice a week should suffice. I always did like my “snub nose” and now I can keep it! 

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The Veg Has The Edge  O.K. Girls, this one is a major life-style change (even more major than quitting smoking) and it’s definitely not for everyone. Becoming a Vegetarian is one of those things I always did have on my “somewhere in the future” agenda, like sitting down and trying to write the Next Great Novel, or learning another language, or daily Zen Meditation. And since I was no longer going to business lunches and could no longer afford to go to a restaurant and order the Rib Eye Steak Entree smothered in Shiitaki Mushrooms, or the Lobster Fritatta, this seemed like as good a time as any to start. Hell, at that point, I really couldn’t even afford a flank steak from Save-A-Lot.

I didn’t do it cold turkey of course, (no pun intended), but within about three months, I was a full fledged vegetarian. I was not a vegan, because I still enjoyed ice cream, cheese and yogurt; vegans shun ALL animal products, even dairy. But I didn’t eat any animal that was ever alive once, including fish and seafood like clams and scallops. Eventually, I even stopped eating eggs. One of the most amusing things to me nowadays, is when people find out I’m a vegetarian, they invariably ask, “Well, what do you EAT??”  I always laughingly reply, “Everything else but meat!”

I can honestly say that after two years, I feel much better, look much better and the Battle of the Bulge is no longer even an issue for me. As a matter of fact, any digestive problems such as constipation or bloating are non-existent for me. As I said, it’s a lifestyle choice, and it’s not for everyone. Most people say to me, “Wow, I could never do that! I like my meat too much!” To Each His Own, I always say. But ladies, if you’ve ever thought about it and might want to try it, or are just curious, there is an article on this very website under the Cooking, Food and Wine category entitled “How To Become A Vegetarian And Still Enjoy Beautiful Food Made Quickly And Easily”!Image result for images of vegetables with faces





Hasten The Waistline  Needless to say, my “Curves” membership had to go. Although it wasn’t all that expensive {relatively} to belong to the gym, I was forced to ridiculous lengths to trim every dollar of excess spending. But I didn’t want to have to pay for it in excess pounds and inches! Luckily, I used to teach an exercise class and I could concentrate on an “hour-glass-figure” enhancing move that literally only take minutes a day. The only equipment required is a pair of 3 lb. weights. {You can get them at K-mart for a few dollars.} Holding a 3 lb. dumbbell in each hand, spread your legs about two feet apart, toes pointing slightly out. As you lift your right arm straight above your head, simultaneously lift your left heel off the floor, {while keeping your left toes ON the floor}. Then, same with your left arm; lifting the left arm weight straight up while lifting the right heel off the floor. Soon, you’ll hit a rhythm with it. A variation that will bring about that hourglass shape even faster, is to reach your arm up over the head in an arc, and another variation is to point your arm out to the side at a 45 degree angle, like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. When you can work yourself up to 40 repetitions with arm ARCING over the head {with simultaneous opposite heel lifts}, followed by 40 repetitions of arms STRAIGHT above the head, {ditto}, followed by 40 repetitions of arm at a 45 DEGREE John Travolta angle, {again with opposite heel lifting action,} you will begin to see and feel that hourglass shape emerging in a matter of weeks. And if you can do this TWICE a day, morning and evening, it’ll happen even faster. *But safety is always first! If you’re not used to exercising with weights, take it slowly and work up to it comfortably at your own pace!Image result for cartoons of women doing weight exercises







VitaMite  I used to take a plethora of supplements every day. I’d take anywhere from 5 to 9 tablets, capsules, or caplets, whatever form the vitamin, mineral, herb, hormone, or exotic plant extract that was all the rage that week, came in. Among other things, I took massive doses of vitamin C for it’s phenomenal healing powers, lecithin for brain food, and dutifully swallowed powdered barley green three very yucky times per day. When I was taking all that stuff, I felt very healthy and noble, like I was doing my body a favor. And while I may have received some healthful benefits from it all, I deep down suspected that the good feeling I was experiencing might have been the good old “placebo effect.” My doctor confirmed this. When I asked her if it was O.K. to take all the stuff I was taking in combination, after she checked it out, she’d say, “Well LaRain, it won’t hurt you but you’re probably wasting your money. All you need is a good multivitamin / mineral tablet per day if you’re not getting a completely balanced diet all the time.”

     Needless to say, when I suddenly found myself without an income, I was happy to follow her advice. And ladies, the generic multivitamins or “off-brand” multivitamins are just as good as the popular name brands; to confirm this, all you have to do is compare labels. {The FDA makes sure of this.}   Image result for images of vitamin pills on spoons    

The Gift That Keeps On Giving  O.K., let’s get down to a fundamental {but often overlooked} beauty secret. One of the greatest gifts that God gave to womankind is the Orgasm!  I am not being facetious. As a student of the ancient Chinese art of Qigong, I believe that regularly experiencing this God-given wonder is essential to balancing our Qi {chee}, which is the life force, or vital energy that flows through all things in the Universe, including each one of our bodies. We are formed by two kinds of Qi: Yin and Yang. Examples of yin are woman, water, earth and spiritual life. Examples of yang are man, fire, sky, and the physical body. To have a healthy, beautiful, fully-functioning human being, yin and yang energy must be in good balance. And although experiencing orgasm is far from being the ONLY way to balance yin and yang, I think we can all agree that it is a FANTABULOUS way.

You may have noticed that I didn’t equate “orgasm” with “sex.” This is simply because not every woman experiences orgasm with sex, or even regularly HAS sex. If this is the case, a trip to Walgreen’s is in order. There you can get a tasteful, pretty vibrator {mine’s lilac} with several different attachments for about 45 bucks. If you don’t have one you will soon find out that it is WELL worth it. I’ve had mine for years and the only extra expense is the AA batteries which you can get at the Dollar Tree. Keep that Universal Energy Free and Flowing!!  

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Inner Beauty = Outer Beauty  I went to high school with a girl named Debbie Yoklik. She was conventionally pretty, big brown eyes, turned-up nose, shiney black hair, but she was incredibly stuck-up, and she always walked around with a look on her face like she was perpetually smelling rotten eggs. Consequently, though boys always sought her out, I always thought she was extremely UNATTRACTIVE, and I got such a bad vibe from her, I steered clear. I was not alone. She had few friends, and they consisted of a similarly stuck-up small following.

Smiles are free. Attitude towards life, whether pleasant or unpleasant, is what YOU make it, and believe me, it affects your looks. A pleasant smile, a free and open attitude, a confidant posture and happy walk can make all the difference.

In his famous book, “The Power Of Now”, Eckhart Tolle talks about slowing down the aging process by fully inhabiting the body, by feeling it from within. He calls it the Art Of Inner Body Awareness. He says:

“Whereas the outer body normally appears to grow old and wither fairly quickly, the inner body does not change with time, except that you may feel it more deeply and become it more fully. If you are twenty years old now, the energy field of your inner body will feel just the same when you are eighty. It will be just as vibrantly alive. As soon as your habitual state changes from being out of the body and trapped in your mind to being in the body and present in the Now, your physical body will feel lighter, clearer, more alive. As there is more consciousness in the body, its molecular structure actually becomes less dense. More consciousness means a lessening of the illusion of materiality.”

“When you become identified more with the timeless inner body than with the outer body, when presence becomes your normal mode of consciousness and past and future no longer dominate your attention, you do not accumulate time anymore in your psyche and in the cells of the body. The accumulation of time as the psychological burden of past and future greatly impairs the cells’ capacity for self renewal. So if you inhabit the inner body, the outer body will grow old at a much slower rate, and even when it does, your timeless essence will shine through the outer form, and you will not give the appearance of an old person.”

Ladies, I highly recommend this book, “The Power Of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, not just in the interest of physical beauty, but for Beauty’s sake in all aspects of this Wonderful Life!Image result for images of eckhart tolle

Eckhart Tolle with The Dalai Lama