Flawless Skin with At-Home Chemical Peels

Beneath the Make Up: Flawless Skin with At-Home Chemical Peels 

Chasing youth is a messy, expensive – and sometimes painful – business.

Fortunately, achieving flawless skin has been exponentially less painful – at least to my budget -since I traded Obagi and in-office chemical peels for ASDM Beverly Hills.

Click here to visit ASDM Beverly Hills

Chemical Peel

ASDM Beverly Hills products in my OTC skincare arsenal: Glycolic acid (30% and 50%), salicylic acid (20%), eye cream, melasma serum, Tepez Cream and Skin Fading Lightening Lotion (not pictured).

I could wax poetic about ASDM’s entire product line (except its eye cream – although more expensive, I prefer and HIGHLY recommend -even to prescription retinol- StriVectin-AR Advanced Retinol Eye Treatment for combating under eye fine lines), but instead will concentrate on its affordable, complete line of professional, low pH, skin chemical peels.

ASDM Beverly Hills offers a complete line of professional, in-office medical grade chemical peels.

I will never again spend $500 on an in-office chemical peel package!

Quick Guide to Chemical Peels
For acne-prone, oily skin. Helps to control sebum production, kill acne causing bacteria and deeply cleanse pores. Produces pseudo-frost and is self-neutralizing.

Glycolic acid is a naturally occurring fruit acid known as AHA (Alpha Hydroxyl Acids). Glycolic peels help to rejuvenate skin by loosening the bond that holds dead skin cells on the epidermis. This stimulates new growth of skin and removal of old, dead, dull skin. Requires neutralization; I mixed equal parts baking soda and water.

Gentle, moisturizing peel. Increases collagen production, resurfaces skin, improves skin texture. Reduces the appearance of uneven skin. Varies in its requirement for neutralization.

Typically used for more advanced photoaging changes, including wrinkles. Causes visible whitening of the skin, referred to as frosting. Self-neutralizing.
*ASDM does not sell TCA peels; however, I use TCA 15% Gel Peel with Salicylic Acid 5%  and love it! It’s an extremely light peel; however, you can apply several layers to get a deeper peel.  Also, do research further into TCA peels if you decide to go that route; there’s evidence of carcinogenicity in animals.  Glycolic, lactic and salicylic are definitely safer!

My Experience
I initially ordered 50% glycolic acid.  ASDM Beverly Hills accidentally sent me 30%, but corrected the mistake 2 hours after I notified them via email by shipping me a bottle of 50%, and allowing me to keep both.  A+++++ customer service.

I started with the 30% glycolic acid.  I followed the instructions in A Practical Guide to Chemical Peels, Microdermabrasion & Topical Products, then applied ASDM’s Tepez Cream.  A Practical Guide makes the entire process simple and stress free.  READ IT! I’ll even share it with you for FREE! :)


I did not peel the first time, but noticed a marked improvement in my skin.  My skin appeared more even, red marks reduced and my pores were hardly noticeable. You can apply the peel with either a chemical peel fan brush or cotton face pads; I’ve used both.

I peeled slightly after performing a 2nd 30% peel, and peeled heavily after performing the 50% glycolic acid peel.

Although you shouldn’t do more than 1 peel every other week, I’ve been doing 1 a week… I don’t recommend it, unless you don’t mind looking like a crazy red faced snake.

When I performed the 30% peel on my mom and brother’s girlfriend, neither peeled after the 1st round. My brother’s girlfriend peeled after the second.  Both noted extremely smooth skin and smaller pores after the first treatment. You will probably NOT actually peel after 1 treatment. It may take 2-3. However, you’ll notice results immediately.  Remember, results are progressive, so commit to doing a series of 6 peels.

As for the salicylic acid, I don’t have oily skin, so I use the 20% salicylic acid as THE most effective spot treatment whenever I feel a blemish on the horizon!  I’m a picker and use it BEFORE I pick.  It brings all of the gunk to the service, at which time I extract it all with a professional blackhead & blemish remover kit.

One of my favorite Internet Facebook friends (we met through a creeptastic Internet TROLL back in the day and bonded over a mutual love for all things makeup and skincare related), Brandi from Chicago, used the lactic acid peel and said:

“I did the lactic last week I’m doing the glycolic sun. It was pretty gentle. Only slight peeling on my chin not bad at all. Cleared my pores out like crazy! I passed it onto my mom bc I want something a bit more harsh…”

After trying the glycolic, she said:

“So I left it on for 2 mins for my first glycolic and am going to up it every week now. I haven’t peeled and my skin literally looks flawless. I was only red that night and haven’t peeled at all which I’m sure I will the longer I leave it on. I think I’m going to order a higher strength because I only got 30% to start so in going to increase my time for my next 2 and then move to a higher strength. My makeup even looks smoother. It’s insane. I’m loading on moisturizer at night before and after to prevent super dry skin but my skin is looking more even now which is great. You have me obsessed!”

Photo Evidence
I broke out HORRIBLY while vacationing in Costa Rica (I had to wear a hat every single day!) and had little marks ALL over my face. I looked like I was recovering from the chicken pox! After almost 2 months and at least 6 peels, I can finally leave the house without makeup!  WHOO HOO!

chemical peel before and after

Please note: the last photo looks unnaturally flawless because I took it in my bathroom, with amazingly flattering INDOOR light.  The first 2 photos are in unflattering OUTDOOR light.  I have no foundation on in any of the photos, and did not use a filter or enhance any of the images in anyway.  Although, I did have chapstick on in the last photo!  You can definitely see my progress. My skin looks pretty great in the middle photo, during afternoon outdoor daylight.

Overall, I feel like I definitely achieved in-office results at-home with ASDM Beverly Hills’ chemical peel line.

PLEASE write me and share your experience with ASDM’s products if you decide to give them a try! Also, do a better job of documenting your progress, because they will give you a free product if you take before/after photos and share them.

Lastly, be sure to use the promo code DISCOUNT15 for 15% off. If you have any trouble getting the discount, send them a simple email and they will correct your bill before they ship your order.


Unemployed & Homeless

I apologize for being MIA!  I’m a hopeless multi-tasker.  We spent our anniversary in Costa Rica and since getting back, my husband and I have spent every waking second securing his post-fellowship employment (accomplished) and our future housing (getting there).  If things were left completely to Josh, we would be unemployed, homeless and living in my parents’ basement… or a mobile home.

In fact, I usurped control of the house hunt after catching Josh browsing mobile homes online.  “We can live here… in this mobile home for FREE… while figure out what to do… Then we have a home on wheels instead of wasting money on rent…” he suggested after I shot down moving into my parents’ basement as a housing solution.

In the beginning, Josh and I defined “dream home” differently.  Josh wanted an underground bunker on 100 acres.  I wanted a waterfront property featuring a wall of windows in the great room. Josh had to have room to play ping pong.  I required a 1st floor master.  Josh believed all above-ground homes required a safe room.  No, seriously…  A safe room.  He also requires vaulted ceilings.  Judging from his distaste for 8 foot ceilings, you’d think he was a retired NBA player, not a 5’7” Jewish doctor.

We made an offer $40k over the appraised value of a home FSBO next to my parents.  The house is on the peninsula of a private lake, and featured ALMOST every single thing on both of our wish lists; it had a safe room!!!  Although it lacked a large master closet, wasn’t on several wooded acres and the finishes weren’t as modern as we like, it was as perfect as we were going to get without building.  I know.  I’ve been looking.  For a year.


So… it looks like we are building.  We had a meeting of minds and are on the same page as far as the house goes.  In fact, today we gave the green light to put an offer in on 2.5 heavily wooded lakefront acres, contingent on the ability to build a boardwalk and dock.  He can have his home in the woods on a few acres, and I can have my great room with a wall of windows overlooking a lake.

Fingers crossed!  I really want to take credit for both of our visions coming to fruition.

I’m trying so hard not to get too excited.  This entire process reminds me of getting married.  Possibly not being able to get rid of it if you need to… probably going bankrupt if you have to walk away… Feeling trapped.  You have to take a leap of faith based on the information you have and pray it works out.

Thankfully, I’m deliriously happy being married to Josh.  I love him more than ever and rarely want to smother him in his sleep with 1 of the 7 pillows he requires.  Hopefully, we will be just as happy with our decision to say “We Do” to a home, so we can focus on filling the house with a kid or 2…

… Because I refuse to bring a newborn home from the hospital to a mobile home.  Or my parents’ basement.

Anyway, I have a ton of great beauty finds I need to share and promise to share my latest skincare obsession within the next few days… Hint: I found THE BEST medical grade at-home chemical peel line, which I tested on myself, my mom and my brother’s girlfriend.

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#1 Travel Essential for Your Vacation Packing List

Getaway Glamour: Packable Wide-Brimmed Travel Hats

Seemingly a no-brainer and the #1 travel essential on my vacation packing list, a wide-brimmed hat hides humidity ravaged hair and offers glamorous SPF protection. Rather than running through DTW sporting a snowsuit, fanny pack AND wide-brimmed sun hat in the dead of Winter, or smooshing it and ruining its shape, I usually wait until I arrive at my tropical destination to purchase an inexpensive, easily crumpled hat, which I leave in my hotel upon departure.


I have no idea what our first hotel in Costa Rica will have in the way of sun hats, and couldn’t chance looking like a crocodile hunter when I was hellbent on recreating Sydney Fashion Blogger, Antoinette Marie’s, glamorous tropical style (above), so I searched the deepest corners of the Internet (ok, just Amazon…) and discovered….

PACKABLE, CRUSHABLE wide-brimmed sun hats perfect for travel!


Maybe I’m late, but I didn’t know these existed.

These hats retain their shape during travel, which can be up to two days, come in a variety of styles and colors and can take you from the beach to a romantic dinner.

Skeptical of the quality of these crushable, packable wide-brimmed hats, I ordered a variety of styles and colors from Amazon.

One arrived today and I am so excited with the quality that I had to post a review comparing it to a hat I purchased for twice as much in Greece. I can’t wait to receive my large black 8 inch brimmed hat, so I can slip on a plunging v-neck black swimsuit and channel Antoinette Marie. I purchased a plunging Michael Kor’s similar to Sydney Fashion Bloggers swimsuit, and will include look-alikes in SHOP THE LOOK section below; however, if you can’t live without Marie’s exact swimsuit, it is made by Constantina and Louise.  Next week I will post a comprehensive Travel Essentials: Packing for Beach Vacation.



How To Turn a Clutch into a Designer Fanny Pack

Rather than attempting to the traverse mountain ranges, volcanoes and pothole-scarred roads of Costa Rica during our upcoming trip, we chartered a domestic flight that challenged me to keep my baggage under 30 lbs. Consequently, I’ve been VERY creative when it comes to packing versatile items that can take me from hiking the jungle to repelling down a waterfall.

Lululemon and Da-Nang cargo pants. Pieces by Free People that can be worn as a shirt, dress or swimsuit coverup. Water shoes with tread for hiking. Dry-fit gym clothes galore. Well, under 30 lbs. “galore.” Actually, I really need to weigh what I have packed so far…

Anyway, I felt pretty good about my packing list, until our travel agency sent over its own list of essentials, which included:

A strap-on money holder/pouch for traveling/touring. Handbags with straps are not recommended.

So… a…  fanny pack? I haven’t had one of those since 3rd grade. You’re probably envisioning what immediately came to my mind…




Luckily, thanks music festival attendees’ progressive street style –  think Coachella and Burning Man – modern fanny packs are actually cool and available by almost every high-end designer.


But let’s be real. Anyone who spends $800+ on a FANNY PACK is a moron. Actually, anyone who buys a fanny pack is a moron.

Especially when you can make one for FREE!

Get ready to have your mind BLOWN; creating this perfect travel or music festival accessory is insanely simple!
photo 12

Grab your favorite fold-over clutch and a belt.

photo 13

Place your personal items in the clutch and then the belt inside the fold.

photo 15


Louis Vuitton Fanny Pack

I used a Louis Vuitton Monogram Denim Amelia Clutch I purchased from Bagborroworsteal.com and a white belt.  My clutch has a zippered pocket in the back to allow quick access to my ID and cash.

If you want to get a little more crafty, you can thread your belt through cuts in an old wallet.



What appeared to be a fashion obstacle, inspired a creative way to reuse an old clutch. I’m thrilled with the look of my DIY fanny pack and excited I’ll be able to walk around without worrying about my purse getting caught on tree branches, or swiped by petty thieves. In fact, I think I’ll rock this through the airport for quick access to my phone, passport, cash and ID. And Josh is ecstatic I’m finally using this overpriced piece of denim.