Friday, May 30, 2014

Under Construction

Lately it feels like I’ve been treating my blog more like a personal journal/wishlist of things I want to buy, so over the weekend I plan on doing some actual blogging with more in-depth reviews and better photography. 

I also think I’m going to utilize the scheduling feature and try to have a post up every day just to see if I can. The last time I tried daily blogging, I blogged live. I posted at weird times. It just didn’t work out well. So I am going to try to be a proper blogger and answer the stack of skincare questions I’ve been e-mailed. 

I’ll be back Monday. Is there anything you’d like to see addressed?


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

20% Off Beauty At UO

While checking my e-mail, I discovered a happy surprise in my inbox! Urban Outfitters is offering 20% off of all full-priced beauty products until June 1st. I’ve been eyeing up a pore refining mask on there, and though it’s already one of the less expensive items, I’ve hesitated in buying it. Not anymore!

What will you be buying?


Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

Today was Memorial Day. I considered not posting anything at all, but I couldn’t let the day pass without mentioning one of many good, kind men who dedicated their lives to protecting the men and women of this country.

His name was John Michael Hayes, and he was a Marine. He didn’t die in combat, but in a car accident. His last act was to swerve so that his side of the vehicle took the impact, sparing his passengers. 

He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sale Scavenging

It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the States, and that means it’s sales time! I’m always freezing cold, but bringing a nice blazer I want to protect from being wrinkled isn’t always practical. I’m thinking about this Nike “Gym Vintage” hoodie (on sale at Nordstrom for $36.85) to throw on when I go into frigid grocery stores. 

My only problem is that I want one in every color! I’m leaning toward the green…

What are you planning on buying during the Memorial Day sales?


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Trying A New Dye

Once upon a time, there was a girl with strawberry blonde curls. 

Then she developed asthma and had to take medications that turned her hair the color of bath water and straightened it. 

And then? It went gray.

I’ve tried a lot of different hair colors through the years — and reviewed a few of them on my blog — but I have never found one that I like well enough to stick with that A.) Wasn’t a limited release color, or B.) Didn’t get discontinued. (I’m looking at you, Revlon. Still pissed.)

My newest find is the Vidal Sassoon Pro Series in 6R Light Auburn. I’m not 100% sold on the idea of keeping it as my forever and ever color, but it’s here to stay for the time being. This was my first time using anything from the new Vidal Sassoon range, and it’s safe to say it won’t be the last. For those of you who are newbies, here’s a rundown of what to expect.

- Thicker dye formulation means it won’t drip down your face
- Doesn’t leave hair feeling tangled once the dye is rinsed out
- Scent isn’t as overpowering as most
- Natural looking color results after the first wash but doesn’t fade drastically

- Looks darker and like a solid block of color until you’ve washed your hair once or twice

Immediately after coloring. Ignore my allergy eyes!
Seeing as how every boxed red dye looks much darker than it really is the first couple of days after application, the con is negligible. 

I can’t say what the lasting power will be overall, but some dyes don’t even hold up a full week without losing their vibrancy, and this one definitely has. 

After one week.
How many of you ladies color your hair at home?


Monday, May 19, 2014

Don't Envy Me

After one week of applying OPI’s Nail Envy as directed… my nails are actually in worse condition than when I started. I’ve been careful to apply cuticle oil to my nails every night, and I use lotion each time I wash my hands. I don’t know if I just need to give it more time to work or if it’s just stopped working for me. 

I did see an improvement to my nails when I first started using Nail Envy as a base coat, but now that I’m following the directions and not using any nail polish, it’s not helping. I’m at my wit’s end, and I’m annoyed that it hasn’t helped at all. I’ll give it another week, but I’m dubious at best. 

So… any other suggestions? I’ve tried Sally Hansen’s various strengthening treatments, and those haven’t helped, either. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Feature Friday: Rosacea and You

Recently I’ve spoken to several fellow rosacea sufferers who’ve asked how I got my skin so clear, so I thought I’d do a post on it. Please keep in mind that my rosacea is mild-to-moderate and that we all have different skin types, so what works well for me may not work well for you. 

That being said, these are all incredibly gentle products, so I can’t see them hurting anyone. They just may not be as effective as they’ve been for me. I also use other products in conjunction, but these are the mainstays I’d recommend to everyone. And while I received one of these products to review, I’m not sponsored by any of the following companies and genuinely love the products.

Step One: Cleanse

For this step, I often use the Earth Science ADE Creamy Cleanser, which is formulated for dry/sensitive skin. Now I do have incredibly oily skin most of the time, but because I have eczema in addition to rosacea (won the genetic lotto, didn’t I?), I always go for anything made for sensitive skin. This contains fruit oils, so it does have a mild fragrance. If you’re sensitive to that, skip this one and go to my next choice.

If my skin is particularly flaky and/or evil (say, around that time of the month), I switch to the Shiseido Ultimate Cleansing Oil, which is fragrance free and safe for all skin types including hypersensitive. Yes, even oily. Here’s the deal, oily-skinned gals: when you strip the oils from your skin, it responds by creating more oil, which makes you break out more. Sucks, huh? Avoid cleansers with stripping agents like SLSs, as they create the dreaded rebound effect.

Step Two: Treat

Like many who have rosacea, I also get good, old fashioned acne. I steer clear of salicylic acid, because no matter how awesome it is for breakouts, it eats my skin alive. I rely on La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo, which I find much gentler on the skin. Just don’t use it every day unless you only use it as a spot treatment or unless your dermatologist has given you the go-ahead. I find it too drying for all-over daily use, but that’s the eczema. It limits me.

You may have a prescription for something like MetroGel to treat your rosacea. I have a tube of it in my drawer, but while I have my flare-ups under control without the use of the prescription, I’m going to leave it alone so my skin doesn’t get used to it and refuse to respond if the flare-ups do get bad again. Sometimes oral antibiotics are prescribed, and those help, but be sure to be gentle on your stomach if you're taking them. They can lead to upset tummies and (ugh) yeast infections.

Step Three: Moisturize

One of my all-time favorite products is the Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega Mushroom Skin Relief (whew! mouthful of a name, no?), which I refuse to be without. This soothes everything from a rosacea breakout to sunburn. It’s very thick, so a little goes a long way, but I use this when my skin is especially parched. 

My daily moisturizer is actually the Antipodes Divine Face Oil*, which is a blend of avocado and rosehip oils. Rosehip oil is being recommended more and more for rosacea sufferers, and I can see why. The oil is so hydrating that I don’t need to add anything else to my face afterward, but it doesn’t just sit on the skin and look greasy. I use three drops at night and one in the morning so I don’t get too shiny.

Step Four: Protect

Big shocker, guys! I’m about to harp on sunscreen again! Seriously, wear your damn sunscreen. Your face will thank you, especially if you have rosacea. Sunburn is one of the worst triggers, meaning your face will red and sore from a flare-up on top of being red and sore from a burn. Not cool. Why would you do that to yourself? Just use sunscreen. Make it a part of your morning routine like brushing your teeth. 

I use the MDSolarSciences SPF 50, which was created for rosacea sufferers. It’s never broken me out. It’s not chalky, and it has a pretty matte finish, so you won’t look like an oil slick by noon. I just love this stuff, and I think you will, too.

As far as other tips, find out your triggers. Common ones include stress, chocolate (noooo!), red wine (gaaah, why?!), and spicy food. Basically every food I love, but thankfully they aren’t my triggers. Whew! Just pay attention to what you’re eating and drinking when you break out. Take notes. Every little bit helps.

So that’s it for now. These are just my suggestions. I hope they help some of you. 


- M

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wednesday Wants #7

Purple is quickly becoming my new favorite color, so when I was trolling the Urban Outfitters website and stumbled upon these adorable Converse All Stars, I fell in love. It’s such a light, happy shade of purple. The only problem is I have tiny feet, so the smallest size may still be huge on me. Only time will tell. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dear Nail Envy, Please Help!

I recently Instagrammed a picture of my tiny, flaking nails, and Karen from KPsays recommended wearing gloves while doing housework and using coconut oil before bed. I need to try both. In the meantime, I have my bottle of OPI Nail Envy. 

I’ll be honest. It says to use it every day and take it off after seven days to start again. Ahem. I have been using this as a base coat and then painting my nails. I always make sure to use brands with the least amount of nasties in them over the top, but that’s just not the recommended usage for Nail Envy. 

I’m going to give it a go. One solid week, one coat every day, and I’ll see if there’s any improvement after a week. In the meantime, I’ll pick up some latex-free gloves and coconut oil.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Nerd Alert!

I am a happy nerd! Agents of SHIELD is getting a second season, and we’re getting an Agent Carter series. Woot!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

April (Non-Beauty) Favorites

1.) Suja Master Cleanse: The cleanse craze has been going on for quite some time now, but I’ve never been interested until my friend Zach, who is literally the healthiest person I know, recommended I give the Suja Master Cleanse a try. It’s the lemon juice, cayenne, and maple syrup one. I replaced breakfast and lunch with a bottle of this (along with copious amounts of water) and ate fibrous vegetables for dinner. Anyway, the cleanse. It tastes delicious, like slightly spicy lemonade, and even though it’s not a listed benefit, it actually prevented the headache I woke up with from becoming a fully-fledged migraine. I also had a few under the skin blemishes that never surfaced, and I’m wondering if this helped those, too. I will definitely do a cleanse once a week. What can it hurt?

2.) Quaker Popped Apple Cinnamon: If you are what you eat, then I am an apple cinnamon rice cake. These are one of my all-time favorite snacks. I could sit there and eat half the bag. Which would be fine considering you can eat thirteen rice cakes for a little over a hundred calories. They’re crunchy, sweet, and addictive. Plus? They have ten grams of whole grains. What more can you ask for in a snack?

3.) Jim Cramer’s Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich: Remember how I said there would be nerdiness in my non-beauty favorites? Here it comes. I’m learning about investing, and this was one of the books I was given to read. I’ve read William O’Neil’s investing mainstay, and it was informative, but I definitely prefer Cramer’s style. There’s a warmth to his writing that makes you feel more like you’re watching an episode of Mad Money (okay, minus the interjections of “booyah!”) that makes a complicated subject much easier to understand. I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in learning to invest — or anyone who just wants to understand what the bejesus is going on in the financial world.

4.) The Mammoth Book of Perfect Crimes and Impossible Mysteries: Ahem. This will appeal to a much narrower audience than my normal favorites, but I love it. As a former criminology student, this kind of thing is right up my alley. I have no idea where you can find this book in the US. I’ve never seen it before. (Amazon? eBay?) My first encounter with it was when my friend Dom said, “I found something you need at a used bookshop. It’s on the way.” Two weeks later, I tore into a box and found this lovely gem. The cases are so interesting, and as someone who has a James Patterson novel figured out by chapter one, I was delighted to discover quite a few challenges within these pages. 

5.) Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: I am a nerd. I’m that chick who wants into a comic store, hears grumbling about “fake nerd girls,” and promptly shuts the critics down with my knowledge of nerdy books, movies, comics, and TV shows. I will curse the naysayers in Elvish, Vulcan, and Klingon and walk away smiling. So, yeah, I’m a huge Marvel fan, and I love Agents of SHIELD. It started off a little slow, but the actors have really figured out their characters, and the recent plot twists have me scratching my head and asking, “WTF?” in a good way.

Monday, May 5, 2014

April Favorites

It’s that time again! Is it completely nerdy to get excited over sharing my April favorites? Because I feel like it’s really nerdy. It’s about to get even nerdier since I’ve decided to start sharing my non-beauty favorites every month, too. Look for those Wednesday. And now, on with the show!

1.) OPI Nail Envy: I’m sure everybody and their mother has heard me gripe about the quality (and I use that term loosely) of my nails, so I’ll cut to the chase. This hasn’t made them grow in diamond hard, and they’re still thin, but compared to what they were, this product has made the biggest difference in my nails out of anything I’ve tried.

2.) Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo: I have the oiliest damn roots known to mankind. I have tried everything from showering every third day so my hair’s natural oils will “balance themselves out” (big, ol’ crock of you-know-what right there) to showering daily even while suffering a raging flu. Nothing helps. Within eight hours of showering, grease ball. I mainly hear everyone sing Batiste’s praises, but I have never tried Batiste. What I have tried is this nifty little can and a couple of drugstore brands. I can’t compare it to Batiste (which I will try when I finish this up), but this stuff is far superior to the Suave and Pantene dry shampoos I’ve tried. Spritz, let dry, finger comb, and so long, greasy roots. It also makes my hair very textured, which is cool. 

3.) Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation: So, being the scatterbrained goofball I am, I sort of… forgot some makeup essentials when I went to Biloxi last month. I grabbed this because A.) it was pasty enough to work for me, and B.) I’ve heard good things. Ladies, you ain’t lyin’! This foundation goes on like a dream, covers everything, so the concealer I remembered to pack was never used, and it keeps the oil at bay. It offers SPF 20, and any additional sun protection is good for me and my fellow Caspers. It’s not quite a dupe for my beloved Hourglass Immaculate foundation, but it’s as close as a drugstore will ever get. Oh, and it’s $7.99. Yeah, this wins the award for best bang for your buck. 

4.) Forever 21 Nail Color: I’ve been giving my nails as much of a break as I can in the hope that they’ll grow, but… yeah, they’re still awful, so I slapped a coat of Mint Leaves on there to test it out, and wow. This was a surprise favorite. I thought, “No way does a polish that costs $2.80 stand a chance.” I was wrong. The application was awful. It felt so weird going on, but once it dried (in under twenty minutes), it was amazing. It lasted a full week before I took it off to reapply Nail Envy and get rid of a hangnail. I have a full review here.

5.) Pantene Expert Collection AgeDefy Shampoo: I actually had the pleasure of trying this years before it was released to the general public thanks to belonging to a survey site. It asks that I not divulge information about products for six months, and it’s been at least two years. I was gutted when my trial ran out, so you can imagine the stupid dance I did in the middle of Walgreens when I clapped eyes on this beauty. It just makes my hair so shiny and smooth. Love.

6.) Josie Maran Pure Argan Milk: Reviews on the Sephora website prompted this splurge, which I wouldn’t have bought if I hadn’t had a gift card from a certain, insanely generous someone. Some women are saying it’s cured their rosacea, eczema, and a host of other problems. I wouldn’t say it’s cured anything, but it’s made the ever-present eczema around my nose less ever-present. 

7.) Bumble and Bumble Bb. Straight: No, I’m not going to include this in every single favorites list. Yes, I could. This makes my hair sleek and glossy instead of frazzled and crazy even if I allow it to dry naturally, which I’ve been trying to do more often. Just... get it. If you haven't already, go and get it.

8.) Skin and Bones Oil: Because my skin is actually demon-possessed, it’s decided to go really, really dry now that the weather is warm. I don’t even know. I use this after my Josie Maran Pure Argan Milk for added moisture. It’s a mixture of about ten thousand oils. It smells kinda freaky, like the inside of a hippie’s car, but it’s awesome-sauce. One application of this, and the pesky dehydration lines on my forehead are much less visible. 

Huh, I didn’t make it to my usual ten products this month. I’m sure I’ll make up for it next month with an overabundance, plus there’s my non-beauty faves coming up. 

Until then! X

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Feature: Forever 21 Beauty

Forever 21 is a great place to find trendy items you only plan on wearing for one season at a fraction of the price you’d have to pay at a department store. They make fairly indestructible jeans — I’ve been wearing them for years, and out of the many, many pairs purchased, I’ve only had one quality control issue with a seam that was easily repaired — and great basics. 

So when I saw they were carrying their own beauty products, I got excited and nabbed a few items so I could test them. (I try things so you guys don’t have to waste your dollars. I’m awesome like that). The first product was a nail polish in the color Mint Leaves. 

When I first applied it, I thought, “Oh, God, why?!” It was thick. It dragged across my base coat. It felt hard to work with. I was ready for a complete mess. 

Then it dried within fifteen minutes (wow), leaving a smooth, even finish (double-wow) for the whopping price of $2.80. After five days of wear (with a topcoat, and pardon my stubby nails), I can say that this polish offers some serious bang for your buck. 

Well done, Forever 21!