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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