Friday, October 28, 2011

Sephora Friends and Family Sale–My Beauty Purchase Plunge

Despite being on a pseudo beauty buying ban, the Sephora F&F Sale is the one event with the power to make me take a temporary break. I swear I had no choice!

I behaved myself pretty well and held back from purchasing any new cosmetics. We can chalk that up to part self restraint and part that I know Sephora will probably come out with some excellent sets for the holidays that I know I won’t be able to hold back from.

But there was one item that I finally had to get. I think part of me has always known that I would eventually give in and buy one, and that day has finally come.

This is what I got.

Clarisonic Mia™ Skin Cleansing System with Boscia, Dr. Brandt, Dr. Dennis Gross & Peter Thomas Roth - White ($199 Value)

*image from Sephora.com*

(I tried to take a photo of my actual box, but it’s so big that I couldn’t make it look right. Finally I thought ‘Don’t be a hero, just take the photo from Sephora’ : P)

That’s right. I am now part of the legion of Clarisonic owners – granted I got the Mia.

I’m a little embarrassed to say that I spent longer than probably necessary trying to decide which  color to get (there are about 10 different colors available on the Sephora site right now), but this one came with the most stuff so it seemed the best deal. And even though the other colors are pretty, I figured the novelty of them would probably wear off for me pretty quickly. At least white will always look clean and sleek, right?

This particular set comes with:

- Clarisonic Mia™ One Speed Brush
- International pLink™ charger for worldwide use
- Deep Pore Brush Head
- 5 Dr. Dennis Gross Step 1 & Step 2 Extra Strength Alpha Beta® Peel Treatments
- 0.25 oz Dr. Brandt pores no more® pore refiner
- 1 oz Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense Lotion SPF 30
- 5 oz Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel

It just arrived yesterday so it’s still in the ‘let this fully charge before using it’ stage, but I have to say – I’m pretty freaking excited about it. One of my only skin qualms is that the pores on my nose never look as refined as I’d like them to, so maybe this baby can give them a run for their money.

I’ll be sure to share updates on it after it’s gotten a few weeks of hard use!

If you’re interested in getting this particular set, I would look at it soon as it is marked as limited edition on the site.

Have any of you made any exciting beauty purchases lately?

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Self Induced Makeup Rut

Ok, so obviously I still haven’t found the school-online balance that I whined about not having in my last post.  Sorry.  Slap on the wrist for me.  And on we go -

In my last post I also mentioned that I was making a serious attempt to work through some of the excessive amount of stuff I’ve somehow managed to accumulate, so I thought I’d share the products that will hopefully soon be worked out of my stash – and I’m actually making progress!

For the better part of the last two months (since I moved in August), these products have made up the large part of my everyday makeup routine -

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1. Smashbox Photo Finish with UVA/UVB SPF 15

This mini came in the Sephora Sun Safety kit that I got a few months ago (no longer available), so I thought I should finally use it up.  The reasons that it’s been ignored for so long is that the SPF is lower than I usually go for (I prefer 30+) and I don’t wear foundation (this is a foundation primer after all). But still, I’m incapable of just throwing something away. This little tube lasted me around 2 weeks, so a tiny bit goes a long way. I noticed that my cream blushes did blend out more easily with it and my skin looked slightly smoother, but certainly not enough for me to start using it regularly. And it’s officially empty! Stash reduced.

2. Bare Escentuals Feather Light Mineral Veil (now called Illuminating Mineral Veil)

mineral veil feather light

This mini came in the same kit as the Smashbox primer. Now I’m all for a good setting powder, in fact I don’t consider my makeup done until I’ve used one, but I’m still a bit on the fence about this.

I’ve heard a few people say that they use this as an all-over setting powder; but, as you can tell from the new product name, it’s “illuminating” i.e. it’s got shimmer. Granted it is extremely fine shimmer, but it’s still shimmer. I’m always a bit wary of getting too much shimmer in a look, so the idea of using a shimmer product all over your face freaks me out a bit. It might look gorgeous in the particular light you apply your makeup in, but then make you look like a disco ball when you get outside in bright sun. I’ve been using it like a typical highlighter on top of my cheekbones to use it up, and it does work as a pretty, subtle highlight; but I’ll just return to using an actual highlighter once I work through this.

3. Paula Dorf eye shadow palette

Paula Dorf palette

I can’t definitively remember where I got this, which probably means that I found it for ridiculously cheap at T.J.Maxx or the like [although I did find it for sale on beauty.com (in the link) if you just fell in love with the photo and have to have it; though I wouldn’t pay that $35 for it  - just sayin’].

I’m not sure what made me pick this one up two months ago and decide it was the palette that I’d work through first – maybe because I think the packaging is unnecessarily bulky for the amount of shadow in it – but I did, and I am making definite progress on this baby. This went from being almost pristine two months ago to three hit pans and the two on the left are being worked down.

But I will say, I’ve been surprised at how long this has lasted.  I honestly thought I’d be able to work through this relatively quickly since the shadows are small, but I have consistently used this every day I’ve done makeup since the beginning of this project and none of them are gone yet. Note to self – reevaluate how long I think the eye shadow I own will last me before justifying buying more.

The shadows are nice quality and the packaging is cute and very travel friendly. If I ever stumble across the brand on a good deal again, I’ll definitely give it a look, but I’m not so in love with it that I’ll go out of my way to chase it down.

4. Revlon shadow in White Whisper

Don’t let being in a pan fool you; this is a Revlon shadow. I went through a phase where I wanted all of my shadows to be in uniform pans, so I went through a mad re-pressing project over a few weekends Never again!

I can’t seem to find this online anywhere which makes me think it may have been discontinued. However, it does make a lovely under-brow highlighter. It’s not shimmery, but it’s not a bland matte. So if you think you’ve got it stashed down somewhere your collection, it’s worth digging out and giving a look.

5. Stila Convertible Color in Peony

Stila Peony annd Urban Decay Rockstar

I’ve written about this before (and a drugstore dupe). It’s one of my favorite blushes ever. It blends out beautifully, the color just seems to work on my skin, and a little goes a long way so this product lasts forever. If you want to see more of my rambling about this, go check out that post.

6. Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil in Rockstar

Urban Decay Rockstar swatch

I wish I could say that I’d worked this down from a full-sized pencil, but this actually came from a set of minis so I’m not quite so impressive. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned these pencils somewhere before as well. They’re beautiful and smooth enough not to pull the eyelid when being applied. Despite being a purple, this shade is so dark that I think it’s acceptable to be worn as a neutral so I’ve used this almost every day.

Though there seems to be a good bit left, this thing has been getting progressively more difficult to sharpen so I think it’s nearing the end of its life. Yay!

*****

Phew! For being a relatively short list of products, it took me long enough to talk about them all.

Although I do slightly miss the variety of using different products every day, there has been something very nice about not having to put much thought into what I was going to use on busy mornings where I’m still half asleep (most mornings). Sometimes when a makeup collection gets so big, having to make these decisions every day gets to be a bit much (I’m sure some of you can relate). Perhaps once I finish up with these I’ll start choosing products to focus on for the week or something similar to get back some of that variety while still taking out some of that daily decision process.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Have a Blog?

A brief update and lessons recently learned.

I know that at this point it probably seems that I have completely forgotten that I have this little space on the internet. I haven't. If you've read my ramblings from a couple of posts back, you'll already know what I've been up to. If you like my rambling and haven't read it, you can check it out here; but if you're in a hurry, here's the short version -

 I've moved. I've started graduate school. I'm a stress ball.

I had hoped I would have found a bit of free time by now, but I haven't managed to fall into a good rhythm yet so everything is still pretty hectic. However, still having part of my heart sitting with the online beauty community, I wanted to take a moment to check in and share a few quick things that I've learned over the process of moving and starting school.

 The deep life lessons -

1. I have a lot of crap.
  There is nothing like having to pack up everything you own to show you just how much stuff you've accumulated. Wrapping every bit of makeup and perfume in bubble wrap doesn't help either. As much as I love makeup (and stuff), this has shown me that I really do have more than I need.
  Although I had already been trying to be more diligent about working through things and more discriminating in new purchases, this has magnified it. I've actually done approximately the same makeup every day for the past 3 or so weeks in an effort to work through a few items. I am determined to shrink this stash!

2. Graduate school is no joke.
  This might seem like an obvious statement, but geez! Perhaps I was a bit ambitious in choosing my courses, but I'm starting to feel like graduate level professors just don't expect you to sleep. And I thought undergraduate was hard...

3. Neither is Zumba.
  I wanted to find a convenient way to get in a good workout at home since I don't really have time to devote to a gym anymore, and I wanted something fun as a distraction from coursework. I've seen a lot of great reviews for Zumba (both for the DVDs and classes) over the past few months, so I ordered this set from Amazon. Holy hell! It's a lot of fun, but by the end of the 1 hour workout, I'm disgustingly sweaty and have easily gone through 2 bottles of water. I've only gotten to do it a couple of times so I can't speak to any personal results, but I can see this easily being enough to stand in for your cardio needs if you go hard at it. And it's more fun than a treadmill!

4. A clothes steamer is both a wonderful and terrible thing.
  In an effort to save space while moving, I packed all of my clothes in space bags. While this did save a lot of space, getting all of the wrinkles out has been a huge pain. I would have gone through bottles and bottles of that wrinkle release stuff by now, so I opted for using a steamer to be a little more environmentally friendly (no discarded bottles). So over the past few weekends, I'm spent a few cumulative hours with wrinkly clothes and steam (and managed to burn myself a few times). So while the steamer has worked magnificently, once I actually get through everything (and this has shown me I have too many clothes) I'd be happy never to see a steamer again.
 
5. I really love the online beauty community.
  Even before this life change, I could have said that I enjoyed this community, but I didn't really realize how much. I've been a bit sad the past few weeks over not having the same amount of time and proximity to my friends and family, but I've also found that I feel sad to be out of the beauty loop on here, too. There are both bloggers and vloggers that I consistently followed, and now I have no idea what's going on with them (or what products they're loving right now : P).
  So, while I don't know when, if ever, I'll be able to work this community into my life the way I would like to, please know that the desire for it is there. I greatly appreciate my fellow beauty lovers who make time in their lives to maintain their own bits of the interweb as well as you readers who take the time visit mine.


So, on the current to-do list.
 - find a school/work/home/internet balance (wish me luck on that one)
 - figure out some things to make in a slow cooker so I can get more food variety without a ton of work
 - find someplace that makes decent sushi (!!!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July Birch Box

 

Birchbox July 2011 - 3

Birchbox July 2011

Birchbox July 2011 - 2

Sunday, July 10, 2011

If You Don’t Like It, You Can Bite Me–Tarte’s True Blood Palette

If you were following me on twitter this time last year, you’ll already know that I’m a little obsessed with True Blood. There’s really no question about what I’m doing Sunday evenings. So when Tarte released their new True Blood themed palette – with colors that the lead makeup artist from the show helped choose – my interest was definitely piqued. I managed to hold myself back for a few days, but we all knew how this would end…

Really, I have almost no self control when it comes to some things.

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Firstly, can we talk about this packaging?

From initial promotional photos, I thought the laces and texture were just images printed on the packaging, but no! There are legit laces and varying textures on this.

 

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This obviously has no bearing on the quality of the products inside, but still – how cool is that?! I guess I’m easily entertained : P

But onto what we care about – the shadows. Bring on the photo overload!

 

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And the swatches…

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the light, fairy, dusk

 

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dawn, werewolf, waitress, nocturnal

 

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charmer, glamour me, stake

 

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bayou, telepath, the true death, immortal

 

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moss, legend, “V”

All of the shadows are very smooth and soft, however I don’t think they’re the most pigmented I’ve ever tried. A few of them – namely ‘the light’ and ‘fairy’ seem to be more about the sheen they create rather than the actual color in the pan. Most of the others needed two swipes to get solid color, but still – they can obviously be built well. And as a side note, ‘dusk’ is actually more pigmented than it appears in the photo – it’s closeness in tone to my skin did it no favors!

My personal favorites are ‘waitress’, ‘moss’, and ‘V’. But I do have to warn you, I learned today that there is major glitter fallout potential with ‘waitress’!

 

This also comes with a black liner, mini primer, and mascara that are stored in this little drawer.

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It’s not the most practical way to package it as far as space goes, but it seems pretty typical of these sorts of palettes. It’s meant to be cute, not practical! Duh, Caitlin. I haven’t tried any of these yet, though, since I’m already working my way through some other things.

 

This set is my first experience with Tarte products, and so far I’m pretty pleased. It costs $52, and if you divvy that up just among the 17 shadows, it breaks down to only $3.06 per shade. I’d say pretty good value for money if you’re interested in trying out the brand. I think I still prefer some other brands for shadows to them so Tarte won’t become one of my go-to’s, but I am still glad I got this to try them out.

 

Is anyone else watching True Blood this season? Team Bill or Team Eric? Personally, I don’t trust either one of them!

 

*This is limited edition, so if you’re interested then you’d better get on top of it!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Upcoming Changes and Some New Stuffs

Putting yourself on the net requires a sort of strange balance. You want to share enough to get to know and form friendships with other people but not enough to be a safety hazard (or enough to bore people to death). Just like in everyday life, we pick and choose which bits to share and which ones to omit. Well, dear readers, over the past few months, there has been a huge omission on my part.

In most cases this would not be a bother; in fact it would be expected. However, results of this omission are affecting my performance on this blog and will probably continue to do so. Though I know that I have a very small number of consistent readers, I value each one of you and would hate for any of you to think that I am losing interest in this blogging process or worse, already have.

If you’ve followed me on twitter for the past few months, you know that I’ve had to go out of town a few times recently and have seen a few stressed out tweets. If you only stay with me on here, then you still know that I’ll be moving soon. The source of the stress and reason for moving has been taking up most of my time, and soon you’ll understand why.

So what’s the change?

Graduate school.

Between studying for tests, working on applications, and going on interviews I have been a ball of stress since the end of last year. Luckily though, as you can tell from the moving, the stresses were not in vain. I will officially be a hardcore studying, paper writing, group project(ing?) student again starting next month.

My most recent trip was to visit with my academic advisor to sort out my classes (already getting stressed over them!) and to find an apartment (thankfully that went smoothly so I officially have somewhere to live!).

I still have a lot of preparation to do for the move and I have no idea what my schedule will be like once classes begin (anyone remember how much time homework takes?), so this blog will probably continue to be updated less often than I would like for awhile. But at least now you all know that I haven’t forgotten you : )

 

And now for a few things I’ve accumulated over the past couple of weeks – this is a beauty blog after all.

polishes 1

polishes 2

Current nails – Blue It

 

Sally Hansen Blue It

Both Wet n Wild polishes are from recently released collections – not the core set of shades.

polishes 3

polishes 4

New Milani Baked Blushes

blushes open

blushes closed

I hope all of you have a happy and safe 4th!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Most Recent Read – A Summer Recommendation

There is a time and place for deep, introspective literature, and other times we just need fun and playful fluff. The last few weeks I’ve needed the latter.

And this is what I went for.



The basic synopsis is a smart, New York girl working in banking gets sick of her job and quits on a whim. Then, as only would happen in a book, she falls into a job at a hot PR and event planning firm. Madness ensues.

The overall feel to this is very similar to that of The Devil Wears Prada – and for good reason, check out the top right corner of the photo if you didn’t catch it already. In fact, the two stories are extremely similar. But it’s all in good fun. I think what makes it work is that it’s a relatively normal girl getting pushed into a more intense, extravagant, over-indulgent environment. There’s love, enemies, frenemies, and the conflict between personal and professional life.

Told you they were similar.

There’s no deep meaning to this and I felt parts of the end were a bit forced, but if you need a fun, basic read; this would make a good option.

What are you reading right now?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

June Birch Box

I know it’s a bit late, but I thought some of you might still be interested in seeing what I got this month.

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The schpeel on their theme of the month -

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And the product breakdown -

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I don’t think it’s the most exciting lineup of products they’ve done, but that Laura Geller ‘blush’ (though I’d say the shade I got is a bronzer) is full sized. Crazy, right? So that product alone already more than made up the cost of the entire box. Not too bad!

If you’d like to see my other posts on Birch Box, click here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Top Scent Picks for Summer

I’ll be moving in a few months and, in an attempt not to push things to the last minute, I’ve been trying to wade through my belongings and find things that I can manage to live without for awhile and go ahead and pack now.

For some things, this is easier said than done. I have a relatively large perfume collection (we won’t talk numbers yet, but it’s well into the double digits), and though I have to admit that it’s excessive, I love them. However, I had to be strong and suck it up. I can live with fewer for a bit.

After a lot of deliberating, I’ve managed to whittle down my collection to the bottles that will get me through the season while the rest are being lovingly boxed up. There are a few others in addition to these, but I thought it’d be best to focus on the ones that are still available and easily accessible.



1. L’eau d’Issey by Issey Miyake

This fragrance carries multiple floral notes including lotus, freesia, peonies, carnations, and lilies combined with more woodsy sandalwood and cedar . I can’t distinguish any of these, but they blend together in a lovely way. This scent makes me think of a field full of wild flowers. Despite so many notes, it comes across as very crisp and clean. It smells neither young nor old; it just does its own thing. I don’t own anything else close to it, and I love it for that. This would be a good scent for someone who wants something ‘different’ while still playing it safe.

2. Miss Dior Cherie by Dior

This is my sweet fragrance. There isn’t anything that’s really exceptional about the notes, but what makes it stand out to me is that it has the right amount of sweetness. To me, a lot of the sweeter scents that girls swoon over seem overbearing and sickly sweet (I’m talking to you Aquolina Pink Sugar). This scent just walks the line of the sweetness tolerance. It wouldn’t be safe to wear on the extremely hot days (too much heat might take it over that line) but it will be nice for cooler days or in the evening.

3. The Beat by Burberry

  My first ‘real’ perfumes came from Burberry, and I still have a soft spot for their releases. What sets this one apart from its Burberry cousins are the citrus notes. While the others center more around vanilla notes, this one gets a kick from bergamot and mandarin that makes it fresher and lighter in comparison. I will say that it doesn’t seem to last as long as my other Burberrys, but that isn’t surprising considering it’s working with lighter notes.

4. Love Spell by Victoria’s Secret

I know. I know. A lot of eyes probably just rolled, but this scent is pure nostalgia for me. This was the scent in high school that all of us seemed to love, and I think anyone could still pick it out of a crowd. On top of that though, I still think it’s a nice scent. It’s a slightly sweet, fruity floral and seems to wear well on everyone. And an interesting side: every time I’ve been complimented on my perfume by a guy, I’ve been wearing this.

You probably know that VS also sells multiple other items with this scent (lotion, body splash, etc), but I only go for the perfume. The scent from the others fades too quickly. I can’t always find it on the site, but I’ve always been able to get it in-store.

5. Parisienne by Yves Saint Laurent

Sephora describes this as the fragrance of ultra-femininity and sensuality. The first point – probably – but I don’t follow the second. Though the description mentions notes of blackberry and sandalwood, all I get from this is a soft rose. And I’m good with that. Though to be fair, rose is one of my notes. This scent comes across too lightly to qualify as sensuous, but I think ‘feminine’ is fitting. I think this would act as a good transition fragrance – for a girl who is over smelling like cotton candy and sweet tarts looking to smell more sophisticated without making the jump to the heavier ranks of Shalimar or Chanel No. 5. This lightness is also what makes it safe for hotter days.

Though I have some other LEs, rollerballs, and (a lot) of samples to supplement, these will be my primary scent choices for the next few months. I know that even this is more than many women feel the need to have a time, but it’s a huge cut back for me. I guess we’ll see how well I get on with it.

If you had to, what’s the smallest number you could comfortably get your perfume collection down to?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Working in Some Gold for Summer

Though it’s not yet officially summer*, it sure feels like it. The days are long, temperatures are rising (a lot!), and kids are starting to get out of school. This is when a lot of us start thinking about getting a little golden color whether through a real tan (bad idea), faux tan, or even just a bronzer. I am not one of these people.

I am one of those few perpetually pale, forever china doll-esques, of the world. I made peace with my skin color a long time ago and the idea of trying to maintain a faux tan now seems like it would just be more trouble than it’s worth for me and I don’t much care for bronzers.

So what’s a pale girl to do when she still wants to add some gold?

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Do some nail painting – obviously.

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This is OPI’s Glitzerland. Though I’m breaking this out for summer, it was actually released last fall in the Swiss Collection so you may not be able to find this particular one anymore.

But good news if you’re interested in this shade – I’ve found something else very similar.

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Here it is next to Revlon’s Gold Coin. Though it was originally released with the Revlon Heavenly Metal collection, I’ve since seen it worked into the permanent displays at drugstores so you should be able to get your hands on it. Though I think the texture of them is a tad different – Gold Coin’s shimmer looks more flakey while Glizterland’s is finer – they are still similar enough to make me feel silly for owning both.

So now I don’t feel quite so left out of the gold summer surge. Are you planning to work any gold into your life for the summer?

*Summer officially begins June 21st, but I’d say that it’s hot enough to qualify now!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

10 More Things That Make Me Tick

 

I’ve been tagged to do another ‘facts about me’ post by two lovely Canadian beauty bloggers – Liz (Beauty Reductionista) and Tracy ((Beauty Reflections).

For this I am supposed to share 10 new facts about myself (who chose that number? that’s a lot!), so let’s see how this goes.

1. I am a (pseudo) closet gamer

Not closeted because I’m trying to hide it but because I rarely do it (other things tend to get priority in my free time) so people never guess, but I really do enjoy videos games. It all started with the Super Nintendo and Gameboy when I was around 4 or 5 (I still have both somewhere) and has grown to owning a GameCube, PlayStation 2, Wii, and Nintendo DS. A part of me is still a bit miffed that I never got to have a Sega or Nintendo 360 and my cousins did : P Not that I could compete with the best, but I’ll beat any ones butt at Mariokart Double Dash!

2. I love movies, but hate sitting in theaters

When I was younger I really enjoyed going to movie theaters, but now it makes me terribly antsy. Maybe it’s a need to always be multi-tasking, but I feel extremely unproductive sitting in a dark room full of noisy strangers eating stale popcorn. I started using Netflix as a college junior (with little free time and little money); and now, 4 years later, I think it’s one of the best things ever. I’ll still go to the theater for a film that will benefit from a large screen, but I generally stick to the Netflix. It doesn’t hurt that a one month subscription is about the same price as one movie ticket. Maybe I’ll save enough money to retire early!

3. Summer and I don’t mix

Besides summer vacation, I never enjoyed the season. While the blooming flowers are beautiful and all that, they also spur on my allergies. In addition, it’s hot, humid, and there are bugs. I would be perfectly happy to live in a state of perpetual fall or light winter. Until then I’ll enjoy my summers from behind a window – yaknow – where there’s air conditioning.

4. I can’t snap to save my life

I somehow managed to muster one when I was 5 or 6, and it hurt like hell. I’ve never managed to do it again.

5. I have no patience for high maintenance hair

While I love makeup’s small details, I really can’t be bothered to devote that much time to my hair. I get it professionally cut 2 or 3 times a year (long layers wear well over time), and it takes me under 10 minutes to dry and style it. I style it pretty much the same way every day because I like it, and it works. That’s enough to keep me happy.

6. And speaking of my hair…

I don’t dye it. I get asked at least a couple times a month by complete strangers if I do (and yes, it’s a bit awkward). But I am a natural blonde. I had it highlighted once early in high school, and I thought the process took far too long for the results so I’ve never bothered again. Many of those inquiring strangers go on to tell me about the hassles they go through to color their own hair and I always want to go, Why bother? Is your natural color that terrible? But to each their own. If it makes you happy – go forth and color!

7. I listen to songs over and over and…

Yea, I’m one of those people. I make a point not to do it around others, but I’ll put new songs on repeat if they’re catchy enough. I actually have to make a point not to do this to songs I really love so I don’t wear them out. I don’t listen to some of my favorite songs for months because of this habit.

8. I am a big time animal person

 I have a huge soft spot for animals and feel the need to take care of them. I don’t think I’ve ever not had some sort of pet in my life, and I don’t think I’d ever feel right without one.

9. I love rollercoasters

I have no interest in sky diving, cliff diving, or even diving into a pool; but any adrenaline rush that comes from some car that straps me down to the point where I can’t move and throws me around a huge metal track  – I’m all for it!

10. I have a weird interest in Egypt.

Although it’s not as intense anymore, I was borderline obsessed with Egyptian history when I was young. I almost never went to the children’s area in bookstores; I was the 5 year old checking out the world history section. What can I say? I was a weird kid. And even though it’s calmed down a lot, but I’ll still stop to watch a good  documentary on it.

Rather than formally tagging anyone, I’m just going to list some other lovely bloggers that you should know about if you don’t already. If they want to do the tag as well – fantastic :)

Firstly, the two lovelies who tagged me (and have already done the tag themselves)

Liz (post here) and Tracy (post here)

Other beauty bloggers:

Everyday Makeup Blog

15 Steps, Then a Beauty Blog

Will Work for Makeup

And two fashion blogs if you’re in the mood

Pandora’s Box

mariannan

 

**If this wasn’t enough ‘about me’ goodness, you can go back and read this post for 7 more facts.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Random Personal Discovery–A New Treatment for Acne?

In general, I am one of the last people to try to dish out advice on how to handle acne outbreaks. I’ve always been lucky in that I don’t ever get many spots so I just don’t have the experience to preach on the subject. However, I stumbled upon something a few months ago that I thought some of you may be interested in.

Back in the beginning of March I had an unfortunate experience with a sample of some Kinerase lotion. After only one day of use, I was left with painful spots (the kind that stay below the surface) all over the sides of my nose and my chin. It was terrible!

I threw everything I could think of at them – astringent, face masks, acne treatments, steam, I think I even tried putting straight alcohol on them in an attempt to dry them out. Through all that they didn’t seem to be improving or to be making their way to the surface (I just wanted to pop them all and be done with it!)

After exhausting all the options in my arsenal, I decided to try something completely different. I had nothing to lose.

For years I’ve had a small bottle of tea tree oil sitting in my bathroom cabinet. I get fever blisters almost every time I get a cold and this oil to help get rid of them. It’s known to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties so I thought Hey, maybe this will do something.

 

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Not expecting much I washed my face for the evening, put drops of the oil on the bad areas, and went to bed. The next morning, the spots were almost gone. Encouraged, I did it again the following night and all the spots were healed by the second morning.

I was ecstatic, but didn’t think that isolated event was enough proof to warrant singing the praises for it on here. So, as an experiment, I’ve tried using this on all the little spots (mostly body, but a few face) that have come up over the past couple of months to see if I’d keep getting results. I always apply it in the evening to freshly cleaned skin, and I’d say that 4 out of 5 times the spots have healed by the next morning.

Description and Application

Despite being an oil,  nothing about its consistency or feel suggests it. It actually feels closer to water than an oil and soaks into my skin very quickly. I’ve also noticed that about 30 seconds after I apply this on a spot, I’ll get a slight tingling sensation, but it feels like it’s happening under the skin. It’s a bit weird at first, but it makes it seem like it’s working.

If you want to apply it straight (like I do), my particular bottle comes with a rod applicator that I just dab on any spots and then pat around the area with my finger so that the extra doesn’t run. The nature of the product means that it will sanitize itself, but you could easily use a q-tip if that makes you uncomfortable.

 

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However… (pay attention)

As I said, I use this stuff straight and have not had any irritation from it; however some recent product experiences have showed that I may in fact have the skin of an armadillo. After I initially discovered this use for it, I googled it and found many people use it for acne (too bad I can’t take complete credit), but I also found that the straight oil can be extremely irritating to some people’s skin.

If you want to try this oil, PLEASE do a spot test first on say your wrist or under your jaw. This way if you find that you do have an adverse reaction to it, it will be in a small spot that will be hidden until the reaction calms. I’ve seen some sites suggest that you mix a solution with as low as 5% oil to 95% water, so you can do some experimenting with different concentrations if the straight stuff is too strong.

I’ve seen tea tree oil sold in some random grocery stores (it’s always been in the cosmetics isle when I’ve seen it), but any health food store should carry it, though I’d suggest calling ahead to check so you’re not left running around town searching for it.

If any of you try this out for acne, please let me know! I’d love to know if it works for others as well as it has been working for me.

*Kudos if you read this whole thing… long post. I need to work on being more concise!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

China Glaze’s Lap of Luxury–Another ‘Meh’ Shade

I am just not having good luck with polishes lately. I’m generally good at choosing polishes for myself, now two ‘meh’s in my last 3 choices.

Lap of Luxury was a shade that I purchased online without ever seeing it in person. From the description and the few swatches I found online, it seemed like it would be a nice way for me to walk the line of, without actually being, pink. In the bottle it looks like a lovely muted rose. I thought it would look classic while still being a bit colorful. But somehow it just seems off on my nails.

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I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. I’m just meh. It actually reminds me a bit of a poor color choice that someone would make in their bathroom : / On the plus side, it only needed 2 coats for opacity.
No strong opinion one way or the other on this one, but I’m hoping these swatches might help someone else trying to decide whether or not to get it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May Birch Box

Sorry this is a bit late! My internet has been out for most of the week, but I thought some of you might still be curious about what I got from Birch Box this month.

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Stila Eye Shadow in Barefoot Contessa
- full sized – $18

Bvlgari perfume sample of Mon Jasmin Noir
- full sized – $80
- sample worth – $2.40

Archipelago Pomegranate Soap
- full sized – $12.50
- sample worth – $2.02

AHAVA Mineral Hand Cream (already love this)
- full sized – $20
- sample worth – $4

and a Tiny Prints card.

The total worth of this box is $26.42 (not including the card), but most of that is coming from the full-sized Stila shadow. I happen to love the shade I received, but it could be hit or miss for others depending on how they feel about the shadow they get.

I'm pretty happy with the contents of this month's box, but I think they've done better in other months.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pomega5 Revitalizing Concentrate

Since a quite a few skincare oils came in my last post, I thought I should take a step back and share a few thoughts on an oil that came through this blog awhile ago through a Birch Box post.

Pomega5 Daily Revitalizing Concentrate

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product page here

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A full sized pack is $48 and comes with 30 little capsules of oil. According to Birch Box -

Each ampoule has 60 percent Pomegranate Seed Oil, which is rich in Omega 5 fatty acid, an antioxidant-rich ingredient that spurs cell renewal, encourages collagen production, and soothes skin, and much more. There’s also anti-inflammatory Calendula Oil, hydrating Rosehip Oil, and detoxifying Grapefruit Oil.
Pomegranate Seed Oil is especially good for combination skin because it firms skin, minimizes pores, and calms any redness.

The first thing I noticed upon trying these is the scent. There is a definite medium-strong citrusy herbal smell to them. It doesn’t bother me at all, but I am not scent sensitive. For anyone who is, though, you may want to cross this off as a possibility.

Both the Birch Box and Pomega5 sites say that this oil should soak in quite quickly. I have combination-dry skin, so I didn’t think it should be an issue, especially on the drier bits. A few nights using it I was very studious and did my nighttime skincare routine very early in the evening so I wouldn’t have to trudge through it right before bed. Five hours later when I actually got in bed, it still hadn’t soaked in. Each time I worked it farther down, working all the way down my neck with it, thinking there was just too much of it to all soak into my face, but that never helped. You’re actually meant to use this both at night and under your makeup during the day. There’s no way I could use this during the day.

This is also part of why I’m not a huge fan of this capsule system. It may seem very convenient, but only if the right amount of oil is provided in each. If it’s more or less than you actually need? Tough, that’s how much you’re using. Unless you want to throw out part of a capsule, but I think they’re a bit expensive to be doing that.

I also didn’t notice any positive results from using them. In general I already have pretty good skin so there’s not a lot that could have changed, but my drier patches didn’t feel any more moisturized than they normally do, and I do have slightly larger pores on my nose that weren’t helped by this (though the description says it targets that issue).

The price is also a bit steep. As stated earlier, it is $48 for 30 capsules, but if you' use them as directed you’ll be using two capsules a day. So you’ll be putting out $96 a month for these babies.

Though this did nothing for me, looking at the page on the Pomega5 site, the few reviews that have been written on it are all raves so it’s obviously working for some. Perhaps if you have very dry skin it would work better, but I obviously can’t say for sure. I’m definitely not turned off by the idea of using oils (obviously), but I do know that I won’t be going back for these and will be sticking with the oils where I can control how much product I get out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sun Safety, Glass Files and Lots of Oil - Sephora Acquisitions

I swear, despite knowing exactly what will be in the box, coming home to a box from Sephora is the best. This particular order was actually spurred by an email I received from Sephora pushing a particular product (who says email marketing doesn’t work?). I don’t think I’ve addressed this on here before, but I am a sun safety freak. With very pale skin and a fear of skin cancer pushed into me at a young age, I have worn sunscreen on my face every day since I was about 13. I know – dang. This has made me something of a sunscreen connoisseur. I want no stickiness, no tackiness, no sunblock smell, and a higher SPF. Needless to say, many have not passed my test. But I still get excited about trying new ones and the possibility of finding my perfect product.

In comes the product in point.


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A kit specifically designed to let you try out various sun protection products! And turn the box around and there’s more!

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Be still my beating heart. Twelve sample sizes (generous enough to get a good feel for them), a mini brush to apply one of them, and a tote bag for $25. The site says it has a $147 value. I am always a tad skeptical of their cited values because they often just calculate the cumulative value of all the full-sized products and state that. After a bit of playing in Excel though (I do love a good spreadsheet), the actual value of the 12 samples (based on the amount in the sample and calculated against the full sizes) is $107.93. I don’t know how much to add in for the bag and brush, but it would come pretty close to the $147. So this is definitely value for money if you’re interested in trying these sorts of products.

And of course, never willing to pay for shipping if it’s at all possible to get around, I had to get up to $50.

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Josie Maran Organic Argan Oil Moisturizer ($14)

I’ve been using another one of her products for awhile (promise to write about soon) and have heard a few people rave about the straight oil, so I thought I’d give it a shot. One thing I really like about her line is that she offers a few of the liquid products in smaller bottles so you can give them a try without breaking the bank (the larger size of this is $48).

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balms duo pack (limited edition) ($10)

This is another product I’ve heard a few girls rave about. After looking into it I got really interested because it has SPF 25 and has no petrochemicals, parabens, or sulfates (among other things). One tube runs for $7.50, and I was about to get the single in Lemon & Chamomile when I saw they had this set (these are full-sized), so this was definitely a better deal.

Sephora Collection Glass Nail File ($8)

I was still short for free shipping, so I tried to think of something I needed or wanted that was low cost. I’ve heard for years that glass files are better for your nails, but I’ve never actually tried one so I did a search on them. The only one Sephora sells is their own brand, but the ratings were good so I went for it. Thank goodness it didn’t get broken in transit!

And the freebies -

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- Pequi Oil Treatment (.5 oz) with code PEQUI (code is still active if you’re interested)
- Hampton Sun Priven Bloom eau de parfum
- L de Lolita Lempicka eau de parfum
- Prada L’eau Ambrée eau de parfum

I'm really excited to try some of these products. If there's anything you're particularly interested in seeing a review on, let me know and I'll do my best to make one.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Murky Polish for Summer

We knew it was going to happen. I’ve been trying to go outside my comfort zone lately and break out the brighter colors, but eventually I was going to have to give into my namesake polish – Zoya’s Caitlin.

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It’s a gorgeous dusty purple-grey cream polish. I’m happy to have my name on it.

The first thing I noticed on application is that it dries quite a bit darker than it appears in the bottle. This was a pleasant surprise for me (I do love my darks), but if you’re interested in this because you want the bottle shade, don’t get it.

Two coats was all I needed for opacity. It did seem to dry faster than the Zoya glitters I’ve tried, but it still does seem to take longer than other polishes. Make sure to carve out a chunk of time to apply this stuff.

When I first saw this, I really thought it would just fit into my other murky, muddy shades – that is until I compared them to each other.

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These are Sephora by OPI Metro Chic, Zoya’s Caitlin, and Revlon’s Stormy.

Next to these truly muddy shades Caitlin looks almost bright! It’s like Caitlin is a purple with some added grey while the other two are greys with added purple. Because of this added pop of color, I’m seeing this as a summer appropriate murky. A little extra pop to be season appropriate but still shady enough for those of us with lower thresholds for bright colors.

My only slight disappointment with this is the wear time. I’ve worn two other Zoya polishes so far – both glitters – and they’ve had amazing wear time, not really showing any damage for at least 5 days. (I did a post on Rica here). I took the Caitlin swatch photo on day 2, and you can see that the tips had already started to wear a bit, especially on my index finger. Though I don’t have enough experience with them yet to say this definitively, I’d guess that the Zoya glitters are just much stronger than the creams. I think that’s a common pattern for polishes in general, but I’d hoped Zoya’s would perform better. I may be wrong though. I have one other of their creams that I’ll try out later and see how that goes.

Overall I really love this shade. I think it’s classy and work-appropriate while still being a little interesting. This gets two polished thumbs up from me.
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