West University Massage Envy Spa® Review + Your Chance to WIN a FREE Massage!

Disclosure: I was provided with a free massage session for my blog work on Massage Envy’s Healing Hands for Arthritis campaign. This is my review of the West University Massage Envy Spa® location.

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I FEEL AMAZING.

Why? Well, I just finished a massage session with Bert of Massage Envy’s West U location in Houston, TX. I, seriously, owe this masseuse a HUGE thank you. I’ve been experiencing neck pain lately and a lot of tension due to everyday stress, I’d assume. After getting this massage, I’m highly considering signing up for a membership because physically feeling this good on the regular sounds like an investment worth making.

I’ve had a couple of massage therapy experiences before and this was by far, the best. Massage Envy takes care of you from the moment you walk in, until your last step out the door, their focus is your relaxation.

It had been a while since I’ve had a massage (2 years exactly) so I wasn’t really sure what type of massage or pressure would we best for me. I met with their delightful store manager, Justin, who was SO helpful. I let him know about my health background of having two vertebrae removed during my brain stem surgery a few years ago. He was very precise about asking all the right questions to help tailor a fantastic massage for a newbie like me who had no idea what to really ask for up front. My therapist, Bert, took all of this information and worked his MASSAGE MAGIC. Seriously, the guy has miracle hands as far as I’m concerned.

Aroma Therapy Meets Massage

Justin suggested trying their new aroma therapy massage treatment enhancements which are infused into your massage oil during your session. I’m really glad I did. I opted for the Lavender Garden scent which promotes restful sleep, reduces inflammation, and calms the mind. YES. PLEASE. I was so relaxed that – to be honest with you, at times during my massage, I found myself trying hard not to drool! The other scent, which I also got to smell, was Mint & Rosemary and it’s supposed to “increase circulation and enliven your body and mind” – next time maybe.

My massage session lasted a good 50 minutes and I opted for the full body, Swedish with a focus on neck, shoulders, and back. From start to finish, the massage was on point. Turns out, I like a quite a bit of pressure and Bert got it just right. On another note, I loved the ambiance of the massage room. The relaxing soundtrack of waves hitting the beach was perfect… it just so happens that I’m leaving for a cruise vacation in a few days and this was just what I wanted to hear. There’s also different levels of lighting and whatever your preference is – they will cater to you.

I was really pleased with my experience and if you’re in the Houston area, I absolutely recommend giving this location a shot! They offer a number of different massage options from sports massage and deep tissue to prenatal and geriatric. I was also surprised to find out that they offer Murad® Health Skin facials, too.

Just in case you need a little encouragement…

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7 Benefits of Massage Therapy

  • Stress Relief
  • Pain Management
  • Give yourself some “ME TIME” and RELAX. Let your mind wander.
  • Improves posture and circulation
  • It’s healthy for you & lowers your blood pressure
  • Great option for a creative date night!
    • The West University location offers couple’s massages. I love the location because it’s in a shopping center with plenty of great options. Grab a meal at one of my faves, Vietopia, or indulge in a sweet treat from Paciugo or Bite Macarons right next door.
  • Pamper yourself for a good cause, make an appointment for September 17th, & $10 from your one-hour massage or facial session will benefit the Arthritis Foundation. Learn more here.

Enter to Win a FREE Massage Envy Spa® Gift Card to Any Houston Area Location:

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For more information on Massage Envy, visit their official website. – Stayed tuned to all things Massage Envy Houston on Twitter by following: @MassageEnvyHOU & liking their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/MassageEnvyHouston - They are known for hosting many great Facebook giveaways for their fans. Thank you, Massage Envy, for giving this girl one heck of a great massage!

Healing Hands for Arthritis + Your Chance to Win a Massage from Massage Envy Spa®

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Massage Envy Spa®. I have been provided with a complimentary massage session in exchange for exposure on my blog. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Massage Envy is back this year with their Healing Hands for Arthritis campaign and I’m thrilled to be taking part in it. In partnership with the Arthritis Foundation, Massage Envy Spa sponsors a one-day, nationwide fundraising event at all of their locations. $10 from every one-hour massage or facial sessions will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation, as well as,10% of all Murad®, Wyndmere, and BioFreeze product sales.

Arthritis runs in my family so this is a cause that is very near to my heart. I’ve seen my grandma suffer from the pains of arthritis ever since I can remember. My mom has been recently diagnosed and well, I wouldn’t be surprised if I, myself, take on some of the symptoms one day. Oddly enough, I have already begun to experience some routine neck pain which may or may not be related to my brain stem surgery in 2012. I had two vertebrae removed from the very top of my spine so they could get to my brain stem. (Who knew you don’t really need them?) Tiger balm has come in VERY handy for me when dealing with neck pain.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that affects more than 50 million American adults (that’s one out of every five adults). A common misconception is that this condition only affects older adults. This is false! 300,000 children are affected. There are different types of arthritis but all are associated with painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. It’s always been difficult to see my grandmother complaining of how painful her joints are and seeing how her hands have changed over the years. 

This is actually one of my favorite photos of my grandma and I — and so fitting for this post!

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Prevention & Treatment of Arthritis

I love seeing Massage Envy Spa team up with the Arthritis Foundation. It’s a wonderful partnership because massage is known to actually alleviate and control symptoms of arthritis. I have fond childhood memories of staying over at my grandmother’s house and giving her neck massages and back rubs. It ALWAYS helped her pain go away, at least for a little bit.

Aside from prescription treatments, staying active with exercise and a healthy diet can help arthritis suffered. Diet is closely linked to inflammation and one way to fight inflammation is to eat less processed and fried foods. Focus on a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits and healthy fats like nuts and avocado. For more information on making a better life with arthritis, visit Arthritis Today.

Pamper Yourself for a Good Cause!

I encourage everyone to make an appointment at your local Massage Envy Spa® location on Wednesday, September 17th, in support of the Arthritis Foundation. Click here to locate your nearest location or make an appointment online.

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Win a FREE Massage at any HOUSTON Massage Envy Spa® Location!

Massage Envy’s PR team has been kind enough to sponsor a FREE 50 minute massage for one lucky, Houston-area readers! For your chance to win, enter the Rafflecopter below.

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Included as #25 in Top 100 Social Media Power Influencers of 2014

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Last week was a really great week for me! Not only did I celebrate my 27th birthday, I was also included in this super-mega-amazing list compiled by social media rock star/GURU, Eric T. Tung. I ranked #25 on Houston’s Top 100 Social Media Power Influencers for 2014!

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I would like to say thank you SO MUCH to my readers, followers, and supporters. Your comments, likes, RTs, follows, and shares truly mean the world to me. Fostering community online has always been something I’ve been passionate about.. starting WAY back when with LiveJournal, MySpace, AIM… etc. Look just how far we’ve come!

So once again – thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Also – I do apologize for my lack of consistent blog writing over the last few months. I have been working full time for the Epilepsy Foundation Texas since January and have been struggling just a bit with finding balance between my blog life and work life. Fellow bloggers, do you have any tips for me on this subject?

In the meantime, stay in touch with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, & Pinterest – I’ve got the micro-blogging thing down PERFECT! ;)

An Open Invitation To Houston Bloggers

I’m really excited to be attending this month’s Houston Bloggers Meeting. Join us tomorrow for blogger chat, great networking, and some sweets and treats provided by Blog Elevated & Barry’s Pizza!

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BA STAR Eye Shadow & Primer Product Review

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BA STAR Makeup and my blogger affiliation with BrandBacker. I was given free products to test in return for my honest opinions and feedback via my blog. All thoughts are my own.

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BA STAR Makeup is known as one of the top cheer & stage performance make up and beauty products. They offer many options for specialized make up kits, shadow palettes, glitter, stickers, and other on stage accessories.

I’ve had the chance to test one of their eyeshadow palettes and their eyeshadow primer.

My BA STAR Make Up Look

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This was my favorite look to create with this particular palette. I first used the BA STAR shadow primer all over my lid up til my brow bone and even a little bit under and around my eyes. I used purple on my lid, then the brownish color over my crease and blended, then I used the white to brighten just under my brow’s arch. I finished the look with black eyeliner and mascara.

Spicy Natural Eye Shadow Palette

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I wasn’t able to choose my palette colors so I’ve really only been able to utilize the purple, white, and brown of this set. Definitely, not a fan of the yellow or rusty oranges – but to each their own. I wasn’t impressed with the applicator brush (just not the best quality, so I used my own). Make up went on fine and I was pleased with the look and feel of it. This palette retails at $8.75.

I have to say while I’m not as impressed with the eyeshadow palette, the primer is AMAZING.

 Eyeshadow & Glitter Glue

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I’ve been using their “Eyeshadow & Glitter Glue” as my main primer for the last few weeks. At only $8.75 per tube, this primer gives my usual Urban Decay Primer Potion ($12 ~ $20 per tube based on size) some serious competition. I have to give it to BA Star for their excellent primer. My shadow and liner stay on ALL day with absolutely no creasing whatsoever. The primer is so potent that my eyeshadow will even stay completely on over night. Of course, I don’t recommend sleeping in your make up but I’m just saying – the only way your shadow will be coming off while using this primer is with a make up toilette. LOVE THAT!

 Shine On Or Off Stage With BA STAR Makeup

Stage make up needs to be dramatic, of course, but without a good base to tolerate sweat, moisture, etc., your whole look is at risk of smudging, smearing, and running. The LAST thing you want to be worried about when you or your little one is performing!

To explore their full product offerings and request samples, visit the BA*STAR official website. They do offering group discounts for large-scale purchases for your cheer or dance teams, performance groups, etc. Also be sure to check them out on Facebook for all their latest news!

Rapid Weight Loss Gave Me Gallstones: An Update On My Weight Loss Journey

Hi everybody! I know it’s been a LONG time since you’ve heard from me. Unfortunately, my blog has had to take the back burner for the last few months due to a couple of different reasons. My apologies! Thank you to those of you who have emailed and left comments wondering where I disappeared to. I assure you, I’m still around! Just very busy – with a new full-time job that I love and learning to find the right balance in life, love, health, happiness, work, friends, family, wellness, etc.

Weight Loss & Health Update

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In February, I began having gallstone attacks. If any of you have experienced these before, you know how intense and terrible the pain is. I reached out to my Doctor and was immediately taken off all protein snacks and herbal supplements. This helped a lot because I did notice the high amounts of protein were sometimes causing the attacks to happen. With me, they would ALWAYS happen at night in the middle of the night. When I first started having them they ranged in time from twenty to thirty minutes of severe pain. As time progressed, they became getting fewer and further in between but much more intense when they would happen. For example, I had a couple of horrible episodes that lasted nearly two hours and I was sore and in pain for the whole next day and after.

Bye, Bye, Gallbladder!

Yesterday, I underwent gallbladder surgery. My surgeon and his team removed my gallbladder which was inflamed and full of stones. It was no wonder I was having such incredible pain.

So what caused my gallbladder problems?

In short, my rapid weight gain over the course of recovery from brain stem surgery (in February 2012 – taking steroids, being able to swallow again after losing that ability, depression, and not controlling my eating, lack of activity and exercise) THEN my rapid weight loss when I committed to change my life for the better. I dropped my first 50 pounds in three and a half months. I’m not surprised my gallbladder decided to bail on me. I was confusing the heck out of it. Luckily, for me, we don’t need our gallbladders and now mine is gone forever.

Weight Loss is a JOURNEY…

And there are MANY bumps in the road. This particular one was very unexpected but as I’m sitting here recovering from my gallbladder surgery with four fresh new scars to add to my collection, I’m ready and eager to continue my journey. I have a re-invigorated motivation and drive in me to regain my health and get back on my plan! Currently, I’m on a medical hold from dieting but I have my post-op follow up scheduled for next week. If all goes well and I get the OK from my Dr., I will be back on my weight loss grind in no time. I, fully, plan to bring back my Weight Loss Wednesday series and update frequently, no matter how busy I am. So please, stay tuned!

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I can’t begin to tell you how much your support means to me and how grateful I am that you’ve taken the time to read my blog and follow my story.

For more of my weight loss journey, please follow me on Instagram at: @xtineds

 

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