Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 favorites: skincare

It's 2014 favorites time! I'm splitting up my favorites into two installments, one skincare and one makeup. It won't be terribly exciting makeup wise because as I explained in my last post, I pretty much used the same makeup for most of the year in order to use things up. Still, I will do a post on it to explain what items made it and why I liked them.

Shu Uemura Skin Purifier Porefinist
I have tried a few different oil cleansers and so far this shu version has been my favorite by far. It has a very watery consistency which makes it very easy to rinse off and it also is very effective at removing all my makeup. Two thumbs up. I'd repurchase for sure. I think once I finish this I will try out a balm cleanser to see if I like balms or oils more.

La Roche Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cream
I bought this months ago and I still have more than half of the cleanser left. It is the gift that keeps on giving. I really enjoyed this cleanser this year for a few reasons: you don't need much product to get a nice lather, it cleans thoroughly, and it doesn't leave my skin overly dry after rinsing off. It also doesn't burn my eyes if I open them which is somewhat of an important aspect of a cleanser to me. This is probably my second favorite foaming cleanser I have tried so far with the Clarins Cottonseed beating it just a bit more due to the better scent and richer lather.

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads
These really caught me by surprise. I didn't think these would cause such an impression on me but they have. When I run out of these I plan to repurchase and not even bother trying to find a replacement as these work very well. I notice a difference when I stop using them when I am away for a weekend and don't bring them with me. My only wish for these is that they were more saturated in the formula, but it is a small complaint.

Puritan's Pride Retinol Cream
Another item I was completely surprised by. My mother gave this to me to try and I took it graciously but promptly ignored it once I got home since I was being a brand snob. My skin was parched one day during the beginnings of winter so I remembered this tub and used it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this absorbed quickly and didn't leave my face greasy. I woke up with nice, supple skin. I think my skin reacts very positively to retinol as I have noticed blemishes on my face heal quicker when I use this cream.

Clarins Lotus Oil
Another bandwagon I tried this year and happily hopped on. With use of this I noticed severe reduction of oil production during the day. I am almost out of this and have a Dr. Hauschka oil to try after so we will see if all oils are created equal or not.

2014 was a good year of skincare trials. I liked almost everything I painstakingly researched and picked out for myself. I actually made a little video of myself getting ready for bed, or my nighttime routine, using all of these products which I will put in another post probably after the new year. Until next time, where I will talk about my makeup favorites...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

my daily 10 minute face

I am not sure if you all have noticed but I haven't been feeling very inspired to do any makeup related posts. This is simply due to me being stuck in a very fixed makeup routine. 2014 is coming to a close and it was very much a year of me trying to use up as much of my makeup collection as possible with very little purchases. That being said, I thought I would show you just what products I have been using for my daily face. It is a quick, simple look that takes less than 10 minutes for me to apply. I stick with a thin base, a matte neutral eye, not much eye liner (shocker, I know), and a sheer lip.

For foundation I have been using Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation, which I am a fan of. It is pricey but it gives a really nice base that gives decent coverage while looking very skin like and natural. It doesn't cover major blemishes on its own though so for that I go in with my trusty Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage which is something I have been using for quite a while now. For under eye brightening I like the ever popular Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer. This tube is on its last legs and once it is out I plan to repurchase as it really does a nice job at such a cheap price point. To set everything in place I have been using Maybelline Dream Matte Powder dutifully. I smashed up all the stuck product on the pan so I can use every last bit.

My current bronzer of choice has been theBalm Betty-Lou Manizer. This has a bit of a sheen to it but it isn't noticeable if applied sheer. The only makeup product that I actively switch up every few weeks is blush (got to spice it up in here) and currently my choices are Mac Vintage Grape and NARS Gilda. If I am feeling fancy and have some extra time, I will also swirl some MAC Lighscapade underneath my eyes and along my cheekbones to help with the brightening effect.

To start out my eye look I curl my lashes with my Kevyn Aucoin lash curlers. I like how this has a big opening so fitting my lashes into the space is a breeze, but I think the Shu Uemura curlers curl better if I am being honest. Next I apply a wash of Mac Groundwork Paint Pot all over my lid and under my lower lash line. From there I use my Smashbox Filter Eye Shadow Trio. This trio is almost finished you guys, I'm almost done with the mid-brown shade and the biggest hurdle that is left to tackle is the darkest brown. I use a mixture of both shades to apply in my crease and under my lower lash line.

Next I take the dual ended Urban Decay 24/7 liners in Zero and Whiskey. Now if you know my liner rep by now, you know I can't stand Urban Decay's 24/7 liners. For some reason they all smudge and never last on me. But as I mentioned at the start of this post, I am on a "use up everything" mindset so I'm dealing with it. I apply Zero on my upper waterline and then I use Whiskey on the outer portion of my upper lash line, which I then smudge in with my finger. Lastly I give my lashes a single coating of mascara, my current choice being L'Oreal Manga Mascara. I like this mascara, but it isn't my favorite L'Oreal offering.

For lips I either smear a dab of Aquaphor and run out the door or I'll apply a dab of Revlon gloss on my lips and work it in with my fingers. I've been trying to use up Pink Pop and Coral Reef so I switch between the two depending on my mood and blush choice.

Full look with all products mentioned. I applied Revlon Pink Pop on my lips and Mac Vintage Grape on my cheeks. I really like the effect of smudging my liner into my lash line, it makes my lashes appear fuller in an inconspicuous way.

This is what my makeup routine has been like for a good portion of this year. A little boring but seeing all the pan and progress makes me very happy. I also love how quick I am able to do this look since I have been doing it over and over again. I can't wait to be done with these products so I can come up with a new routine to get into.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! I plan to do a 2014 favorites post before the year's end so look out for that soon.

Friday, November 21, 2014

thoughts of the week

1. My cousin showed me this Reddit feed of horrifying implications in the Harry Potter universe and it kept me entertained for HOURS. My personal favorite discussion is when the relationship of Hagrid's parents comes up. DELETUS FETUS omg.

2. Speaking of HP, I bought the Dumbledore's Office candle from the Frostbeard shop on Etsy as a Christmas gift to my little sister. I wanted to try out more scents (Slytherin and Winterfell look promising) but perhaps another time.

3. This makes for a good conversation with friends. I tested my co-worker and sister and it was interesting to see how much different their opinions were.

4. I'm bringing up Taylor Swift. I bought her newest album and have listened to it so many times I'm not sure what my play count is. It's a fun album, I enjoy her pop sound. My favorite song is Wildest Dreams at the moment.

5. How neat is this moss graffiti tutorial? If I had a brick wall I would definitely try it out.

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6. I have always been a firm no-Christmas-anything-until-after-Thanksgiving type of person but for some reason I have gotten the holiday spirit so early this year. My apartment has already been decorated with lights and garland. Christmas music has even been playing. No regrets.

7. Into the Abyss and The Act of Killing are my Netflix films I recommend watching. Into the Abyss takes a look at a death row inmate and his accomplice and the repercussions of their crimes. The Act of Killing follows around the most prominent Indonesian gangsters who explain how they have killed their countless victims. Both documentaries really made question human emotions since the main focus of both films deal with apathetic people and how they deal with their demons.

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8. Winter is upon us here in the Midwest which means my poor hands have been zapped of all moisture and painfully dry. Any recommendations for the best unscented, heavy duty hand cremes? I say unscented as I work in a lab environment and no strong scents are allowed. Perhaps something simple from Neutrogena or Eucerin?

9. Pitch Perfect 2 trailer. YES.

10. Dining etiquette around the world.

Friday, November 7, 2014

battle of the exfoliation pads

Toning is something I have really come to love in my skincare routine. If you have kept up with my skincare routines in the past, you know I like having two types of toners on hand: one that is moisturizing in the morning and one that is exfoliating for night time. I had finished up a container of Peter Thomas Roth Max Correction Pads and wanted to try something new so I ended up replacing them with First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. So how do they compare?

Both are at similar price points with PTR being a bit more expensive than FAB ($30 versus $36). They both contain the same amount of pads (60) which are housed in screw top containers. They also have the same type of pad texturing, with one side being smooth and its reverse having a bumpy pattern.

PTR is the stronger of the two as it took about a week for my skin to acclimate to its effect and I have pretty resilient skin. It also has a high alcohol content, with it being the second highest ingredient listed. The Peter Thomas Roth Max Correction Pads have 10% glycolic acid and 1/2% salicylic acid as their exfoliants. The pads have a scent that is sweet and fruity. They are very saturated in that the pads are soaking wet. I felt one pad was a waste and too much for my whole face so I cut them in half and used half a pad for my whole face.

FAB is very mild but effective. My skin had no reactions and didn't need to adjust. They have a more "green" approach with their formula and do not contain any alcohol. The First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads have lactic and glycolic acid for their exfoliants. The scent is not very nice, it reminds me a bit of not so pleasant liquid multivitamin my mother used to make me ingest as a child. The pads aren't very saturated and are drier than the PTR. I need to use the full pad to cover my whole face, cutting them in half was not an option.

I like both of these offerings. I think Peter Thomas Roth is focusing more on acne and pore minimizing concerns whereas First Aid Beauty is zoning in on resurfacing the skin to attack scarring and hyperpigmentation. If I had to pick one, I think I would go for First Aid Beauty's take. They are milder yet surprisingly very effective. I noticed a difference with both pads but I felt like the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads gave me quicker, noticeable results and kept large blemishes away the best. The Peter Thomas Roth Max Correction Pads are a good product; I still saw improvement just at a slower pace. The only things I felt the PTR pads did better FAB were the scent and the saturation of the pads. PTR gave me more bang for my buck as I was able to double the amount I had by cutting the pads in half. I am unable to do this trick with the FAB pads as they have just the right amount of liquid in one pad for your face.

I wouldn't recommend Peter Thomas Roth Max Correction Pads to the sensitive the name implies they are at a max state formula wise so some stinging and dryness is expected in the beginning until your skin gets around to its effect. I skipped every other day using them until my skin could handle it. I didn't have to do this for First Aid Beauty's Radiance Pads. These would be better suited for sensitive skin types that still want some exfoliation in their lives.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

NOLA 2014

Back in September my sister, cousin and I took an impromptu trip to New Orleans. We all had never been plus we had heard the city had renowned food spots, booze happy streets, and a rich history that the residents took pride in. I mostly took pictures with my iPhone as tugging around a DSLR around became tiresome and there was so much to soak in, but here is what I have to share about my time there.

The place we stayed at was Hotel Villa Convento which I highly recommend. It was within walking distance of a lot of areas we planned to see and the staff was really helpful and accommodating. The room we stayed in was really clean and nice at a really affordable price.

We were told we had to try the Hand Grenade drink at Tropical Isle. It apparently is considered a dangerous drink as people will consume a lot of it without noticing it contains a lot of alcohol since it has no lingering after taste. I can vouch for the latter, but we practiced self control and didn't order many.

I loved the old buildings with their intricate wrought iron balconies with bushy greenery to spruce up the scene. And almost all the shutters around were painted in fun colors. Such a nice sight to see.

How could we turn down something listed as The Seafood Tower on a menu? Impossible. We picked that out at Pier 424 Seafood Market which felt a little "chain-like" so it definitely isn't a must try if you are in town. We also tried out Imperial Woodpecker Snoballs which was refreshing and not too shabby to look at. But again, not necessarily a MUST TRY unless you are a huge shaved ice fan.

I definitely recommend checking out Carousel Bar; it revolves as you sit! It was very neat. It spins slowly so you don't really notice it until you've been chatting up for a while and suddenly you are on the other side of the room. We had our first Sazeracs here, wowza that's a strong drink. If you like stiff drinks be sure to try it out. I personally needed to chase every sip with some water.

French Market was a couple streets away from our hotel so we stopped by to check it out. It was fun to see all the different seasonings, sauces, and other fares they had to offer. We walked away with some Cajun spices to take home.

Royal Street had a lot of street entertainment during the day. It also is the location of Cafe Beignet. We had some beignets and a muffaletta for the first time. The beignets were okay, I'm not a huge fan of the massive amount of powdered sugar. I did enjoy the muffaletta, though I have a sneaking suspicion that if you don't like olives (I love olives) you won't enjoy this NOLA sandwich. We didn't bother making it to the infamous Cafe du Monde this trip since we had our fill of fried dough.

So far, New Orleans has had the freshest seafood I have ever tried. The shrimp were always succulent, huge, and sweet. The bottom picture is Mr. B's Barbeque Shrimp at Mr. B's Bistro and it is by far the best shrimp I have ever had the pleasure of eating in my life. I was skeptical as this dish was heavily raved about in my food research but the hype is so real you guys.

A few thoughts on NOLA:

+ The weather is the strangest thing. It is hot and humid but it would also be stormy and rainy randomly for brief periods before clearing up and being sunny like nothing happened. And I thought the Midwest had wonky weather!
+ Everywhere you go there is ice cold AC blasting even if their doors/windows were open. I think they do this to entice you inside their business as the heat was pretty intense.
+ We didn't get to visit a lot of areas that I wanted to make it to. I definitely plan to go back to visit the Garden District, check out some jazz clubs, and to get a tour of the cemeteries.
+ If you are a seafood fan, make sure you plan to visit during NOLA's crawfish season. I didn't even know crawfish season was a thing, but it is and we missed it and were very bummed.
+ Bourbon street was not really our scene at night time. It would have been when I was in college, but I'm a bit of a grandma these days and it felt too "frat like" for my taste. We visited all the Bourbon street places during the day when we had most of the place to ourselves.

Friday, October 10, 2014

thoughts of the week

1. I tried out this tasty quinoa thai chicken recipe recently and have logged it away as something to make again.

2. I recently booked a trip to Mexico for early December. It will be my first time visiting the country and I can't wait. I'll be staying in Playa del Carmen so if you have been, let me know of anything to check out!

3. It has been over 2 months since my sister and I have started Crossfit and we really love it. It somehow makes us feel sore after every class even though the movements don't seem all that intense at first. I give credit to our awesome trainer; he always knows our limits and when we are ready to move up a level while never making us feel intimidated or overwhelmed. I highly recommend it if you are in a workout rut. A little warning though, it can be rough on your body. I currently have callused hands and bruised up thighs from all the gymnastic and bar bell work.

4. Vampire Diaries premiered last week! Finally, I basically wait my whole life for this show to be airing. What did you guys think of the premiere? I loved it and have really high hopes for this season to surpass the disaster that was season 5.

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Elena's poor desperation :(

5. How trippy is this cake? I mean who thinks up of this stuff? Geniuses, that's who.

6. Fall is hitting me at full force causing me to pull out some of my favorite fall blushes. NARS Sin and Mounia come to mind. Why did NARS discontinue Mounia? It is such a delightful shade.

7. JK Rowling always knows how to stir up HP fans with her cryptic tweets. I didn't get my hopes up that it had anything to do with HP but it was a nice to dream a little...

8. I kept seeing people talk about the film "What Maisie Knew" which is based off a book. I watched it recently on Netflix and I wasn't really moved by it. Though I do think the character lead was a fantastic little actress. Whoever was the stylist for her in the movie should get an award. All her outfits were so awesome.

9. I'm running low on my Clarins lotus facial oil and PTR exfoliating pads so I thought I'd switch it up by trying out Dr. Hauschka Clarifying Day Oil and First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. Once I break them open and give them some love, I'll be sure to do comparison posts.

10. Key and Peele hilariously depict how texts can completely be taken out of context.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

013 items used up

This round of items used up features a couple impressive shiny pans and key staples that you can obviously tell I rely on due to the multiples. Documenting empties is always an interesting thing to me; I notice which products have firm places in my routine.

Regis Moisture Shampoo: Hair, always my least favorite topic. I rarely buy the same hair care twice in a row and I prefer huge pump bottles so I don't have to worry about it running out any time soon. I really have no favorites, but this Regis Shampoo is an exception. It smells clean, lathers up well with little product, and is sulfate free. I usually can only find this in Walmart hair salons believe it or not.

V05 Ocean Refresh Conditioner: I use this on no shampoo days as well as for shaving. It is dirt cheap and effective, albeit watery so if you are looking for a rich conditioner this is not it. I don't particularly revere this scent but I couldn't find my favorite one (Tea Therapy Calming Chamomile) so this one had to do.

B&BW Hawaii Passion Fruit Kiss: This was a free item after using some voucher I got in the mail. I have no thoughts on it. It was pleasant enough to use up but I wouldn't rush out and get a full sized bottle.

TBS Satsume Body Butter: I have been using this for years and will always repurchase it. Not greasy, the scent lingers for hours, moisturizes well and sinks in quickly. All I could ask for in a body moisturizer. I've lost count on how many times I have repurchased.

B&BW Berry Vanilla: An old scent that I stocked up on years ago. I think this might be the final bottle. Thank goodness. I enjoyed it initially but it is one of those types of scents that after using countless bottles of it, it became very tiresome.

Caress Passionate Spell: Currently my choice of body wash. If you have followed me for some time, you know that Caress is my usual brand pick for body wash. Inexpensive, doesn't leave my skin squeaky clean (a feeling I hate), and the scents they come out with are interesting.

Shu Uemura Anti-Oxi Refining Oil: I stocked up on cleansing oils from Shu last year during black friday. I ended up picking the pink bottle, Porefinist, and this one to see if they were any different. This is thicker than its pink counterpart, a feature I don't care much for. Shu still makes the best cleansing oils I have tried so far, but I think I will stick with Porefinist from now on.

Boscia Cleansing Oil: A good cleansing oil to try out if you are new to the game. It has more natural ingredients if that is something you are concerned about. It also has a thicker feel to it making it take a few more splashes to the face to completely get off.

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip: The best non foaming cleanser I have used so far. It is gentle but still felt like it gave added benefits to my skin. It is quite expensive though, which holds me off from immediately purchasing it again.

LUSH Grease Lightening: Some people really love to use this as a spot treatment. I did not like using it this way. I used it on the oiliest spots on my face and it really helped keep the grease away. I would repurchase.

Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover: My favorite eye makeup remover, as you probably could tell. I buy a few bottles at a time and dump them into an empty Bioderma pump bottle. This won't be for everyone as it leaves a slightly oily feel behind, but I double cleanse after so it really makes no difference to me. It is the only remover I have tried so far that completely takes off all the mascara and kohl liner I use.

Blistex Lip Medex: Staple night time lip soother. I should probably stop mentioning it on the blog now as it has made countless appearances...

Giorgio Armani ETK liner: My favorite kohl liner I have ever used, though the most expensive. I would repurchase but I'm determined to use up my current fistful of liners I already own from other brands first.

YSL Teint Resist: A discontinued item which is a damn shame. Every time I used this I felt I had a good makeup day. It had the perfect finish (satin), lasted throughout my day, controlled most of my shine, and gave the perfect coverage for my tastes. Very sad indeed this is gone for good.

MAC MSF Natural: A repeat purchase. I enjoy this powder, it doesn't have the best lasting power but I always enjoyed wearing it.

Stila Bronzer: I have had this bronzer since the dawn of time and I feel SO PROUD that I freaking finished it. I even smashed up the side sticking pieces at the end and used the powder. I liked this but it leans a bit orange so I think a majority of people would want to avoid it. It was matte and easy to apply though so I had no complaints using it up.

Proof of my pan work. Rejoice, ya'll.

Friday, September 19, 2014

current makeup rotation

On top of my makeup storage desk, I keep a little scalloped vanity tray (from Urban Outfitters a while back) full of my daily makeup items. I do this not only for aesthetics, but also so I am able to routinely pluck out a few items from my collection to actually give some love to. I have found this trick has made me use up products much faster and consistently. It also allows me to fully appreciate and have a complete formed opinion on what I'm using on a weekly, sometimes monthly, basis. Here is what I currently have piled inside:

I am switching between Revlon Coral Reef and Pink Pop glosses, depending on the type of blush I chose to wear that day. These used to just sit and sit in my makeup drawer untouched. I think I ignored these for so long because I felt the colors were too bright and not appropriate for daily use. I found a way to remedy that though: I apply a dab along the middle of my bottom lip and then use my pointer finger to pat what I placed on my lips all over to dilute the color. It is much more sheer and wearable this way.

For foundation I have been wearing a thin layer of Revlon ColorStay. I randomly picked this up due to nostalgia as this was my foundation of choice in high school. I was happy to see that I still enjoy this foundation. It has great longevity and a natural looking finish. It also is easy to control the coverage due to its high pigmentation. It is quite thick though so its pour-the-product-out-of-the-bottle design is a failure on Revlon's part.

To cover blemishes I am still using my trusty Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer. For under my eyes I have been using Maybelline Age Rewind in the corrector shade. I think almost everyone enjoys this product and for good reason; it is cheap and effective. As for highlighter, I have been diligently using MAC Hush Cream Color Base. I adore this product and would repurchase it. It feels like the gift that keeps on giving, I have had this little pot forever and still haven't finished it.

I have been setting my face with NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Powder. I like this powder very much. It blurs out my pores well and adds a nice satin finish to my skin. For bronzer I have been using theBalm Betty-Lou Manizer. I recently finished up a bronzer and was going to treat myself to a luxurious replacement as a reward but then I decided I really should use up what I have. I don't mind Betty. It isn't matte so if overdone it can make the skin have too much of a sheen. I stick to applying sparingly and it works just fine. I have swatches of it in THIS post.

As for blush, I'm greedy and need at least two different options if I want to stick to a routine. Currently I have been in the mood for softer colors. CARGO The Big Easy is, like its name implies, extremely easy to wear. This is one of those shades you can just swirl, brush on, and get out the door. I love it for a very natural cheek. If I want something still soft but more noticeable, I go for Estee Lauder Peach Nuance. This is a discontinued item which is unfortunate since it is a very wonderful shade. I have a hard time making peaches work on me as they tend to make my skin look dirty, but this one works very well due to the blend of colors I can customize.

Neutrals mattes are all I have been wearing lately. I have been sticking to a very natural eye. I first apply MAC Groundwork all over my lid and then I blend in some of the mid brown shade in the Smashbox Filter trio into my crease and all along my lower lash line. If I feel like really emphasizing my eyes I'll fluff in some of the darker brown shade into my outer V. The MAC quad I have had forever and I pull out if I want to add some more dimension. The shades I have inside are some of my staples: Brule, Cork, Brun, and Tempting.

If you follow me on Twitter you might remember me complaining about L'Oreal Butterfly mascara. I initially did not care for this mascara at all. I thought it wasn't dramatic enough and did nothing for my lashes. I actually really like it now! I should have known I would eventually come around since like every other L'Oreal mascara I have tried, they get better the longer they are open and used. This isn't the best for volume but it is noticeably great at fanning out and elongating my lashes. For liner I have been adopting a very relaxed attitude about how I apply it. I first put Urban Decay Zero on my upper waterline. I hate Zero, which I have been over before, but using it on the upper water line has been proving to be a great way to use it up. I then pencil in Whiskey along the middle to outer corners of my upper lid, which I smudge and fade into my lid with my finger.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

001 book challenge

Over a year ago I challenged myself to read more often. At first I wanted to read the TIME 100 top novel list, but I changed it to picking whatever books that fit my mood to be more realistic. I've been pretty slow in this challenge, but as long as I'm reading something I'm fine with my pace. Here are the books I've managed to read:

Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout: This is an all fluff, no substance teen novel about a human girl that befriends her incognito alien neighbors. She also falls for the bad boy brother alien. If you are in the mood for quick entertainment and don't mind some cringe worthy descriptions, this is for you. I enjoyed it but got bored continuing the series because it felt repetitive.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: I liked this novel. It's a sweet romance story with characters that aren't your typical main protagonists. I didn't care much for how the book's ending, but let me know what you think about it if you've read it. I enjoy Rainbow's style of writing... so much that I read another book by her (below)

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: My coworker was reading this and I noticed it was also by Rainbow so I borrowed it to knock out. It has an interesting story line about a man who has a job reading through flagged content emails at a corporate office for security reasons. He begins reading flagged emails between two girl friends and ends up falling for the personality of one of them. I liked this book more than Eleanor & Park. Again, I enjoyed Rainbow's style of writing and feel we share the same humor. I laughed quite a bit at a few parts.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: A teenage girl that's part of the most popular clique in her high school gets in a car accident and ends up living the same day before the accident over and over again. The main character irritated me quite a bit but I was still able to get into the story. I know a lot of people didn't like the ending of this but I thought it was the most appropriate one.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: I finally got around to reading this popular book. I've been meaning to ever since it started making headlines. This is one of those books you absolutely can't discuss without giving away spoilers which is a shame because I had a LOT to discuss about after reading it and no one to talk to haha. I'm very very intrigued on how the upcoming movie version will carry the story out!

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead: A quick read if you are in the mood for supernatural YA. Another book where the main character was a bit overbearing but I liked the overall world and setup. I would like to finish out the series eventually. The writing isn't the best but it still has some entertainment merit.

I don't know if you picked up on it, but I've been on a YA kick. Any suggestions on what to read next is always appreciated. I was able to get some great suggestions on twitter that I made note of, so thank you to those that helped me out!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

003 thoughts of the week

1. My sister and I purchased a Groupon deal for 20 Crossfit classes. When I go I'll let you guys know if I make it out alive. I don't consider myself to be technically "fit" so I'm absolutely petrified.

2. J.K. Rowling wrote a short story on our beloved characters in the perspective of Rita Skeeter in the future and it is amazing. Albeit, a humongous tease that leaves me wanting more insight into the adults lives of HP, but I know that it should be left to our imaginations as to not taint the series. But seriously, Luna in a robe made of flags?! My heart.

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3. Lazy Sundays mean Netflix binging. My recent pick was Parenthood. I have watched this show before but I tapered off and stopped. I felt like watching emotional TV and Parenthood always fills that void. Those damn Bravermans. I'm still early in the series so no spoilers!

4. This past weekend I tried out Rosie's Bulhao Pato Clams and it did not disappoint. It was insanely tasty. A recipe worth saving and trying for sure.

5. What do we think about Bill Gates backing microchip birth control? Honestly a microchip in my body freaks me out (I, Robot anyone?) so I'm firmly passing on this in the future. Can't deny it is a little bit neat though.

6. I watched "The Cider House Rules" the other day. It was a nice film and Charlize Theron is a beautiful goddess...BUT it was very hard for me to concentrate on emotional scenes because the soundtrack is also used in the Pure Michigan commercials. TAINTED.

7. Am I the only one that thinks Jason Segel is looking mighty dashing? View pictures of him at the premiere of his newest movie and decide for yourself. Yes to scruff!

8. Have you guys seen the Sia Chandelier music video? How about Jimmy Kimmel's take?

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That wig though

9. This woman tried Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop Diet and documented it. It is hilarious and a must read for a good chuckle. I like clean eating but I'm not sure I can do Gwyneth level eating.

10. These J Brand Coated jeans are on sale and I would 100% purchase them if they had my size. I have been lusting after their coated jeans for quite some time but I'm only willing to stomach the price at a generously discounted price.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

lengthy skincare chat


I have had a few thoughts about a few skincare items I have been using as of lately that I wanted to share. I've hit a nice little groove of good skin days for the past few weeks and I believe it is due to my routine so here is what I have discovered.

Yes, yes if you are a Caroline Hirons reader, foaming cleansers are the devil and all that. I like CH, she gives great skincare advice and insight to the naive but I also am a firm believer in something she has said herself: if something works for you, by all means keep using it. That is how I feel about certain foaming cleansers. Balms and oils are wonderful and all, but nothing gets all the crap off my face quite like a gentle yet thorough foaming cleanser. I picked this La-Roche Posay item up after reading about it so many times on Sandra's blog and I quite agree with her, this is a kick ass cleanser. It is gentle yet cleanses well without over drying. It requires the SMALLEST amount to get a nice rich foam and lather. That always impresses me. It reminds me a lot of Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser, one of my favorite cleansers I have ever used (I miss it too, I probably will get it after I use this guy up). The only difference is the Clarins smells fresher and cleaner. This La-Roche Posay version doesn't really have much of a scent to it. I think this would be best for combo to oily skin as it will balance out your skin nicely. I think normal to dry types will find this too stripping.

I know, I did a review on this already and I mentioned it in my night time skincare routine post but I wanted to say one more thing about this: I think this works best ONLY on problem areas and not all over. At least for me. I traveled away over July 4th and I left this behind. My oily areas stroke back with an oily vengeance but my chin area, which has been super prone to hormonal cystic breakouts, was clear as day. I came back from my trip and started using this up again and my chin started getting clogged up and hormonal again. It might just be a coincidence but I've been experimenting by applying this only to my oily areas and skipping out on my normal patches. I have noticed significant clearing up on my chin. Just something to keep in mind and something I found interesting.

Speaking of my chin area, let me go into more detail. I haven't had to really deal with bad breakouts in a long time ever since I did the Accutane deal back in high school. Yes I got a few bumps and spots here and there during the hormonal times of the month but nothing that I couldn't zap away with some La-Roche Posay Effaclar Duo. But the past couple months my chin area has been a nightmare! Small bumps, hormonal cystic acne, you name it. It was very frustrating as my normal remedy of Effaclar Duo had no effect on them.

I bought these pads to chemically exfoliate my face at night and to also clear up pesky spots. This worked very well for me. It cleared up my chin in no time. However, it is a VERY strong formula! It took some time for my skin to acclimate. The first time I used it, my skin was in bad shape and quite vulnerable. I swiped a pad over my chin and went to bed. The next day all the spots were dried up and gone, BUT, it left my skin so dry! It was peeling and quite unattractive. I had to rescue my chin with some Avene Soothing Moisture Mask to repair the damage. If you do want to try these out and have sensitive skin, I would be very, very cautious. My skin is used to it now so now it clears breakouts in a breeze without leaving peeling skin behind but I took baby steps to get there. I also cut the pads in half to extend the life of the product. I find half of a pad is more than enough to cover my face.

Quite a lengthy chat! In summary: La Roche Posay Foaming cleanser is kick ass and recommended for combo to oily skin. Very great at balancing and will last you a while. Very similar to Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser. Clarins Lotus Oil is best for application on only your oily areas, if you have hormonal patches try to skip those parts as I believe it exacerbates the problem. The Peter Thoomas Roth Pads are really great at clearing up stubborn breakouts but are quite strong so if your skin is prone to peeling I wouldn't risk it unless you are desperate. Phew. Any skincare bits you have been enjoying lately?

Monday, July 14, 2014

current blush rotation: brights


For me this summer has been all about obnoxiously bright blushes. If you have been a reader of mine for a while, you know I am a huge fan of outrageously pigmented blushes. Yes, they do require some extra time and tenderness when it comes to application, but to me the extra effort is 100% worth it for the effect and longevity. I have been completely uninterested in subtle blush hues and instead very much obsessed with my bright choices. My current blush rotation:


Surprise, surprise NARS Desire makes the rotation cut. I've professed my love for this blush for ages on my blog so I'll try to keep it short and sweet; a shocking, bright pink that always manages to flatter my warm skin tone no matter the season. Can turn a bit ruddy on some skin tones so it isn't for everyone but I always recommend people to try it on. A staple shade for me.

Desire in action. MAC Angel on the lips.


Laguna is an extremely underrated blush that NO ONE ever talks about. This is unfortunate as I love this shade. I would say it makes my top ten favorite blushes (a list/post I am scared to do because it will make me confront my blush problem). It looks like a cheeto orange shade in the pan but on the cheeks it sheers out to the most lovely peach shade. This is coming from a gal who has a hard time working peach blushes.

Laguna in action. Burberry Copper Lip Mist on the lips.


Lovers of Exhibit A would describe it as cherry tomato red while the more mean spirited might go as far to call this "clown cheeks red". This shade is another favorite of mine. I think this is the scariest blush to look at in the pan which is quite contrary to how it looks on the face. Really great for minimal makeup looks as a light dusting on the cheek bones gives the most natural flush possible.

Exhibit A in action. NARS Dolce Vita on the lips.


If I'm being honest I would have to say that lately Bella Rosa has been my most reached for blush out of all my bright choices. I find myself saying, "Kelly, you really should show some love to your other blushes today" and then next thing I know, I'm reaching for this little pot five days in a row. Such a drugstore gem that shouldn't be overlooked. There are more pictures of this HERE when I gave it its own post.

Bella Rosa in action. Revlon Pink Pop gloss on the lips.

NARS Exhibit A, CARGO Laguna, Milani Bella Rosa, NARS Desire

All shades are matte, which is something I prefer with such strong colors. I use a NARS Yachiyo for application. I have mixed feelings about this brush. It applies pigmented blushes so wonderfully since the tapered shape and flexible handle helps with precise control BUT it sheds on my face like crazy. It is also expensive. If I could turn back time I wouldn't have purchased this due to the shedding. When it reaches the end of its life I plan to invest in the Hakuhodo version.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

012 items used up


Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Bar Soap
I liked this and I mainly bought the bar version to see if it would last longer than its liquid counterpart. It didn't so I will be sticking with the liquid versions of the soaps from now on. Still, this was nice and worked the same. Liquid is just easier to handle.

Dove Purely Pampering Shea Butter Body Wash
This made my skin feel nice and hydrated but it was a drag to use because I didn't like the scent at all. It got boring to use. Wouldn't repurchase.

Organix Kukui Oil Conditioner
I think I have told you all before that I have some kind of sickness when it comes to the Organix line. I don't particularly like any of the lines but whenever a new one comes out I have the need to try them out. I didn't care for this one. I think it made my hair fall out more than normal.

Pantene Smooth and Sleek Conditioner
I have never been a fan of Pantene. It just does nothing for my hair. Pass.


Clarasonic Deep Pore Brush Head
I'm not sure if I can really tell the difference between all the brush heads if I am being honest. Right now I have a "normal" brush head on my device and it feels the same as this "deep pore" one. Maybe I need to use them side by side to tell hah.

Neutrogena Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover
My favorite drugstore eye makeup remover by far. Perhaps even favorite one overall? Everything else just doesn't take all the mascara and kohl liner I wear and this stuff does. It does leave a slightly oily residue behind but it doesn't bother me since I wash my face right after removal.

Kiehl's Clarity Activating Toner
I talked about this in my night time skincare routine. I finally finished it and good riddance! I didn't think this was a life changing product. In fact I don't think it did a thing for my skin. I don't recommend it.

Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner
This is becoming a staple product in my routine. I already have repurchased a new bottle. It is soothing, non-drying, and slightly hydrating. It doesn't clog up my skin but rather refreshes it. It's very affordable too. You can find it in health stores like Vitamin Shoppe and GNC if you were wondering.

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion
HG forever and ever.

Pai Camellia and Rose Cleanser
I really enjoyed this and turned to it a lot when my skin needed some TLC. It has a short shelf life though so I probably won't get it again until fall/winter time when my skin needs the extra dose of hydration and soothing care.

Sibu Balancing Cleanser
I did a review on this and feel the same still: it's a good balancing cleanser that is affordable. I would repurchase in the future.


L'Oreal Voluminous Original
Just seeing this empty tube is making me miss it. This is one of my favorite mascaras ever. Yes it is very wet when you first open it, but once you let it thicken up a bit after a few days it is so good. I'm talking noticeable volume in one coat good. It will always be a mascara I turn to.

Revlon Pink Ice Gloss
I worked so hard to use this up! It felt like such a victory using up the last possible amount of product. This was a nice color, perhaps too much sparkle for my taste though. I don't think I care too much for the formula of these. They don't wear very long and they leave the dreaded lip ring.

L'Oreal Lineur Intense
My favorite liquid liner I have tried so far. I have repurchased countless tubes of this. It applies precisely, lasts long, and it is a rich black.

Revlon Nearly Naked in Shell
I did a review on this product as well. I loved the finish and look of this on my skin but it did not last on my oily skin. If you have normal to dry skin this would be a good option for a natural looking foundation.


Seche Vite Top Coat
I like this because it works well but there are two complaints I have: 1. it thickens up and it hard to use with time 2. it shrinks on the nails over time which you can visibly notice. I did buy the Restore to remedy the first issue but I don't want to have to have to revive it every time I want to use it, you know? I think I am done buying this top coat for a while.

OPI RapidDry Top Coat
This didn't work as well as the Seche Vite but it also didn't dry up quickly. Still, I won't be repurchasing.

LORAC selfTANtalizer
I really enjoy this. It gives instant dark results, comes with a mitten, and it also leaves your skin subtle sparkly when in the sun which I think is a nice effect. It isn't orange and it leaves a nice cupcake scent behind at first. It does, however, still have the dreaded fake bake scent. I have found if you mix this with a scented moisturizer that the scent is covered up so that is how I have been using it. Would repurchase and already have!

Friday, May 30, 2014

002 thoughts of the week

1. For memorial weekend I went home to visit my parents. To help pass the time, my older sister played old performances on blast and it made me feel extremely nostalgic. I mean, listen to the harmonization in THIS and the greatness that is THIS. They just don't do entertainment right anymore *grandma grumble.

2. I had no idea who Iggy Azalea was last week but I came across Jimmy Kimmel's translation for old people video which made me laugh and also firmly cemented the rapper's name in my brain. Now I feel like she's everywhere I turn and I just wasn't paying attention before. I previously hated Fancy, now it is embarrassingly a guilty pleasure.

3. I almost gave up on The Originals because I really can not stand Hayley (the worst) but I heard the finale was good so I forced myself to catch up. And it was worth it because the finale was really great. I might have cried. That damn wooden toy scene, ugh.

 photo woodentoyoriginals_zpsd9f27ff3.gif
All the tears...

4. NastyGal was having a 50% off already marked down items so picked out a few things. I've never shopped at the site before so we shall see how it goes. The things I am most excited about are THIS sparkly thing and my very first maxi dress.

5. Did you guys see The Lonely Island's When Will the Bass Drop video?! If you are a fan of EDM you will 100% understand and laugh forever like I did. If not, you probably won't think it's funny. Andy Samberg's face could convince you otherwise though.

6. My recently watched Netflix movie is Dogtooth. I picked it because an internet list told me it was compelling. Holy hell this movie was fucked up. I didn't understand what was going on at all but it did make me think for a couple days after I watched it. I don't know if I necessarily recommend it because it is a strange, strange movie with no concrete resolution or explanation.

just to give you a preview of the strangeness

7. Emma Watson's face. Her makeup is always something to be mesmerized by.

8. Chrissy Teigen answered some questions on her twitter for Cosmo and she mentioned one of her favorite beauty tricks is using LORAC self tanner mixed with moisturizer. I was intrigued so I bought it during's 20% F&F sale and tried it out. In short, I love it. Mixing this product is such a genius idea since 1. you extend the product usage without significantly decreasing the integrity of the tanner 2. it kills off that God awful self tanner smell. Maybe I'll do a full review on this when I get more use out of it.

9. My parents are donating a king sized bed to me in a couple weeks and I am so excited. I'm also overwhelmed with the choices of bedding there are as I have no idea what kind of look I want. I need bedroom inspiration.

10. The weather has been so gorgeous lately that I am so antsy to get out and do some outdoor activities. Just a few things on my list: kayaking, canoeing, visiting a fish hatchery, picking strawberries. Bring it on summer 2014.

please don't let my summer become this haha.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

007 what I'm eating/fitness routine

As a fellow foodie, I am always fascinated by what other people choose to consume and what recipes others find worth sharing. I'm that person who does NOT find it annoying when when people post pictures of their meal, I truly enjoy creeping on their chow. If you feel the same way, these posts are for you. It's time for another installment of what I've been eating. I also wanted to briefly cover my fitness routine for some insight.


When I wake up I am rarely ever hungry and I hate forcing myself to eat any type of meal. I try to stick to something light to get some nutrition in my body since I do my workouts in the morning. Working out on an empty stomach is no bueno for me, I get light headed and feel nauseous when I do so. I usually opt for a protein shake, something I REALLY had to adjust to. I used to be very sensitive to the taste of the protein powder and despised it but now I can't even taste it.

If you feel the same way about protein, I suggest gradually adding protein powder to your shakes. For example, when I first started out I started with only half a scoop. I continued this for about two weeks and then moved on to 3/4 of a scoop and so on and so forth. Also, bananas are your best friends. They cover up the protein taste and thicken up the shake. For my shakes I add a mix of almond milk and water, a heaping scoop of mint chocolate protein powder, half of a very ripe frozen banana, ground flax seed, wheat germ, psyllium husk, and a little pro-biotic powder. Flax seed and wheat germ should be easy to find at health stores or places like Vitamin Shoppe or GNC if you want convenience but if you want more bang for your buck suggest looking for a bulk retailer online. Psyllium husk can be found anywhere, I get mine at Walmart for cheap. It looks like THIS.

As for actual food, to be honest I rarely eat in the mornings. Like I said, my body is still processing being up so the last thing I want to do is to eat. If I am up for a while and don't have places to be, I will eat steel cut oatmeal that has been soaked in almond milk overnight. I'll add honey, cinnamon, and some walnuts to make it tasty. This is the only way I will eat oatmeal! I hated oatmeal before I did this combination. There is also my favorite snack of greek yogurt with fruit, honey, and some kind of granola.


Lunch is when I first start feeling hungry. I bulk up on vegetables, incorporate a lean meat or seafood to feel fully satisfied, and I always like to finish off with some kind of fruit. Any salad with chicken is a common choice with me. Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and feta with balsamic is my go to and fail safe choice. Sometimes I'll switch it up and bulk up on vegetables a different way, such as shrimp ceviche. Soups I'll do now and again, pictured here is Ina Garten's roasted tomato basil which I highly recommend trying out. I'll also meet up with friends for lunch and do pho. Sandwiches I'll do on occasion depending on my mood and how quick I want to throw something together. Pictured is a turkey bacon BLT I made up (wheat bread, red onion, tomato, turkey bacon, avocado to replace mayo) which I extremely enjoy. I thought I was going to hate turkey bacon but it has the same flavor as bacon! It does not have the satisfying crumbly fat texture though.


Dinner I stick to the same philosophy of bulking up on vegetables and having some kind of lean meat. I am also a firm advocate of carbs as I feel like they give me energy and keep me full longer. My favorites are sweet potato, quinoa, and brown rice. I tried out THIS recipe for a creamy avocado spaghetti squash dish which is pictured in the middle and I would not recommend it. It just made me want to eat guacamole and I don't think it complimented the squash well. I won't strictly stick to healthy choices, if I crave pasta I'll whip up the classic one pot pasta or if I feel like white rice I'll make it and eat it with a stir fry or boiled meat and vegetable dish.


My body is to the point where if I go overboard with anything unhealthy I feel sick which is surprising to me since I never thought I would get on that level. Even so, weekends I tend to indulge and not hold back on anything within reason. I drink beer, I try out restaurants in my area, etc.


This is about a 4.5 month time gap. I started out the first two months doing 1 hour gym sessions but I found that was too hard on my body and I was constantly sore/in pain so the last two months I switched to 30-45 minute workouts. I run and do weights about 4-5 times a week. My current workout starts off with a 15 minute run which usually ends up being 1.5-2 miles depending on my mood. After that warm up I do weights, I switch off between arms and legs every other day. I just use the weight machines provided at my gym.

I'm not a health expert and everyone is different but this is what has been working for me. I do have a pretty decent metabolism, which I am very thankful for, so keep that in mind. I think what helped me most was jump-starting my physical activity as I was never, EVER, EVER physically active before. Getting my ass up and around was a tremendous lifestyle change. Diet of course is a big factor but I don't like focusing on it and I don't like depriving myself since food brings me great joy. I still eat chips, pizza, burgers, pork belly etc just not as often as I used to. I would say I also eat less than I did before which was very hard for me in the beginning but my body adjusted with time. Had a few hangry moments in the beginning!

I also think shakes or some kind of supplement is a defining factor in my change as I don't believe the food we have access to has the proper and full nutritional value our bodies need. I don't see the protein shakes as meal replacements, I see them as a boost in covering all the nutrient holes I have in my diet.

If you have any questions about anything, feel free to ask. I'm pretty open about everything so don't be shy!

Friday, May 23, 2014

making things work part II

I've been on a "get through piles of the products you own" mission lately. I haven't bought any new makeup and skincare that hasn't been essential which is really a special feat for me. This action has brought out a bit of creativity in me because I have a few items that I don't particularly like but I wanted to still use up. So here I am, documenting my little tricks. This is a sequel post to THIS one.


I have talked about all these products before on my blog. Three of the four pictured are products that I have expressed my distaste for because they didn't meet my expectations or because they didn't work well with my needs. Determined to get some use out of these products, I thought of different ways to use them up.

I did a review on Maybelline Baby Face Pore Eraser and found it to be pretty worthless for my oily skin. It did smooth out the appearance of my pores but it also left me hideously oily when used alone. I figured since it did a good job smoothing, I could try out mixing it with the amazing product that is the Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner. Worked like a charm. I get oil free, smooth results while using up two products at once.

Avene Soothing Moisture Mask as a hand treatment.

Avene Soothing Moisture Mask and my face just did not get along. It felt greasy and left my skin very congested and clogged. It was, however, particularly nice if I used it strictly on rough patches of my face which got me thinking...what if I applied this to dry areas beyond my face? I recently gave myself mild chemical burns on my hands at work which left my poor hands cracked, scaly, and overall uncomfortable. It doesn't help that I am required to wash my hands extremely frequently which further exacerbated the dryness. To experiment, I applied a thick layer of this mask onto the tops of my hands, let it soak in as much product as possible, and then massaged in the residue for good measure. Holy cow the results were stunning. My scaly, cracked skin disappeared and returned to normal. I can see why dry skinned people love this. I think if you have eczema you need to try this out, it could be your godsend.


Another product I have taken to apply elsewhere is Dior Amber Diamond highlighter. I am in the minority when it comes to this product as I have never been impressed with it on my cheekbones. I don't find it to be special or something that stands out. I have been using it as eye shadow instead, and this is a much better use for it. It isn't super frosty so it isn't too over the top but it does give my lids a pretty neutral sheen when blended all over the lid. All I have to do is add a little transition matte color to my eye socket to finish up. And tons of mascara and kohl liner, but that's a given.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

night time skincare routine 2014

My routine for the evening has changed product wise compared to last year, but the overall philosophy is the same. At night I like to focus on thoroughly removing my makeup of the day and treating my scarring concerns. I double cleanse in the evening, first with a cleansing oil and then with a lathering cleanser.


OIL CLEANSER: Boscia Makeup Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil
This is a repeat purchase, I think I have gone through about 3 bottles of these. I like it but I prefer Shu Uemura more. This is a bit thicker than Shu and takes a few rinses to get off. Still, it cleans off makeup well and helps keep my skin hydrated. I've noticed when I skip out using oil cleansers, my skin gets a few rough patches. Never again. The ingredients in the Boscia would appeal more to the natural junkies compared to the Shu since Shu is mostly mineral oil (which I have no aversion to).

SECOND CLEANSER: Ole Henricksen On the Go Cleanser
I have only been using this for 2 weeks or so I don't have a real opinion on it yet. So far it is decent but not the best cleanser I have tried. It has a vitaminy citrus scent and squeezes out as a thick gel. I actually hate the set up of dispensing the product, it is thick so squeezing it out of the nozzle is a pain. It cleans well and doesn't irritate my skin. I think this wouldn't be a good idea for dry skin though, it is ever so slightly stripping.

TONER: Kiehl's Clarity Activating Toner
I'm about done with this and I can say that this is nothing special. There is no noticeable difference in my scarring nor in the healing time of the redness after a blemish makes its way out. It doesn't sting and it doesn't make me break out but it is absolutely not worth the retail $42 USD. I'm glad I got this discounted or else I'd be quite irate with this. Skip it!

FACIAL OIL: Clarins Lotus Oil
I did a review on this HERE. I feel the same way as my review: I'm now a believer in facial oils and their benefits. It has dramatically helped with my sebum production and overall balance of my skin.

MOISTURIZER: CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion
It ain't HG for nothing.

For my night time routine, I am only unhappy with my toner choice. Luckily I'm almost finished with it so I can move on to better things. I already picked up its replacement: Peter Thomas Roth Max Correction Pads. I've actually tried these before in the past but I forgot how they fared.

Monday, May 19, 2014

morning skincare routine 2014

It has been about a year since I shared my skincare routine. I thought it would be a good idea to do a little update. Like last time, I will talk about my morning routine first and do an additional post about my night time routine. If you were curious, HERE is the post I did last year.

A brief summary on my skin type and skincare philosophy: oily, acne prone, scarred, and not all that sensitive. My main concerns are controlling oil without over drying as well as working at diminishing the appearance of my hyperpigmentation and scarring. I prefer to have a morning cleanser that is mild and usually non foaming just to wash away the night's oil production and residue from the lotions and potions I applied the night before. I also am a firm advocate of oil cleansers and second cleansing at night. I am not obsessively concerned with ingredients but I do read what is in what I purchase and tend to pick items that have a higher percentage of the beneficial ingredients rather than the fillers. I like having two types of toners on hand, one to hydrate and one to mildly exfoliate. Now on to specifics:


CLEANSER: Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip
This is quite expensive, $45 USD, but the price per use for this ends up making that price tag manageable. I am about 9 months in using it and I still have enough left for a good solid 2 months I would say. I like this cleanser. It doesn't feel stripping yet it cleans thoroughly. It claims to tighten pores and smooth out skin but I don't see much of that. It is very balancing which is what I'm looking for in the mornings. I would recommend it if you have the funds. I would think about repurchasing as I think this has been the best non foaming gentle cleanser I have tried so far (I have tried Cetaphil, CeraVe, and Dr. Hauschka).

TONER: Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner
This is actually a repurchase for me. I enjoy this and think it will be a staple in my routine. It is inexpensive, alcohol free, and soothing. I thought about trying another type of toner in Thayer's range but I ended up coming back to this.

TREATMENT: La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo
HG and can't live without it. When I don't use this my skin is very congested and my pores get very clogged up quickly. A thin layer over my problem areas fixes this in a snap and the effects don't diminish over time.

TREATMENT: LUSH Grease Lightening
I bought this having very low expectations for some reason. But I love this. My skin seems to really respond well to tea tree oil. My skin is noticeably less oily during the day when I use this. I would repurchase and recommend it if you have oily skin or any oily zones in general.

MOISTURIZER: CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion
You guys are probably sick of me singing praises of this by now. Another HG product. I have been using this close to 10 years now and haven't had the guts to switch out or explore any other options. Why fix what isn't broken? Moisturizes, sinks in quickly, not greasy, unscented, easy to find, list of pros goes on. If you have dry skin this isn't the best option as I think it will be too light for you, but if you have combo to oily skin you MUST try this out.

I use these products in the order I described them. I am very happy with the state my skin has been in with this current routine. The only complaint I have is trying to battle hormonal acne in which case certain products really won't have a huge effect as the problem lies within the body.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

milani flamingo pose

I would say that I have become fairly confident in wearing bold lipstick out in public without feeling self conscious. The main reason I don't regularly wear the stuff is mostly due to the maintenance rather than feelings of doubt. A girl has to eat and drink. Even though I say this, I do get rather nervous when it comes to wearing bold pinks. Remember when I tried my hand at fuchsia (yes I had to look up how to spell this correctly...again)? I don't know what it is about it. Maybe because I have never really been a fan of pink in general or perhaps it reminds me all too much of Barbie.

Either way, I have been determined to try and overcome my bold pink lipstick fear. I tested out the waters with the reddish pink Revlon Strawberry Suede and have come to really love the color. After I got used to that, I picked an outrageously pink color to get the ball rolling: Milani Flamingo Pose.

BAM...just look at that color. It is much brighter in person. It takes me a couple minutes to get used to all that color radiating from my lips. Not for the timid and all for the ones who want to call attention to their lips. It is a pretty color but I still prefer my reds and plums over this.

I have absolutely nothing close to this color. It is an almost neon punchy pink so it isn't surprising that I couldn't find anything similar to what I own. Milani does lipsticks decently. They glide on easily enough and aren't extremely slippy so it won't melt off. They have rich pigmentation and don't excessively accentuate any rough patches. I don't find it to be the most moisturizing but it definitely isn't the driest I've come across. This particular shade leaves a pinkish stain behind once it fades away or even if it is wiped off which I find quite nice. It does have a strong melon scent which I think is too artificial and sickly. I wish it wasn't present but it doesn't linger for the entire wear.

L to R: Milani Flamingo Pose, Revlon Fuchsia, Estee Lauder Rubellite

All these shades would be beautiful cream blush shades, no? Fuchsia is obviously more of a cool pink with some purple shot through it, Rubellite is almost frosty and more of a tamed ruby.


So all in all I'm still not used to these punchy bright pink shades, as indicated in my uncomfortable face above. But that doesn't stop me from trying. I wish this shade looked as kick ass on me as it does on Viola but then again she looks good in all damn lipsticks shades, even blue ones. The more I apply it the less shocking the color seems on. Maybe NARS Schiap will be something I'll wear one day. Still terrified.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

001 thoughts of the week

I thought I'd start a series called "thoughts of the week", an idea I completely copied from Jessica. These are some of my favorite posts that I look forward to reading on her blog and my philosophy when it comes to blogging is to always put out content I would want to read myself. So here's to the first installment! I'll try to make this a weekly thing, perhaps even on the same day. Look at me, all trying to be routine-y.

1. I have been quite engrossed with Mindy Kaling. I actually have never seen anything she has been in (I never watched The Office, don't throw stones at me), but in the past I would see her frequently popping up on my twitter and tumblr feed. I was finally prompted to read her book, "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)" after seeing a friend post about it. It wasn't boring and I read through it quickly yet it is not the funniest I have come across. Still, I love reading about the beginning struggles of the successful and now I have the urge to start watching her show.


2. Speaking of reading, my birthday is next week and my boyfriend surprised me with an early present, a Kindle Paperwhite! I was actually very taken aback he got me this since I mentioned it only in passing this past November. I guess guys really do listen...sometimes :P Any recommendations are welcomed. My GoodReads account in case you wanted to get an idea of my reading patterns.

3. I ran across this article earlier this week about a family who stopped eating sugar for an entire year. I personally think it is a bit of an extreme measure. Although, I do agree that the general population consumes more than their fair share. Thoughts?

4. I liked this post about preservatives and why they are necessary in most of our beauty products. I don't understand how they got such a bad rep, perhaps because they sound too "chemical"?

5. Already thinking about what to try next after my great success with Clarins Lotus Oil, something like Sunday Riley's Artemis looks promising. The price is slightly nauseating.

6. My sister is one of those fickle purchasers that refuses to finish up products and buys a new replacement halfway through its use. Her recent pickup was Victoria's Secret True Escape lotion which I initially dismissed because Victoria Secret scents remind me of a mixture of over-tanned college freshmen and strippers. I randomly slapped it on the other day and couldn't stop sniffing myself. It is quite fresh and light but also has a bit of warmth and sweetness to it. Squirt some on the hands next time you are in VS and let me know what you think.

7. Game of Thrones is back \o/ But I haven't been able to watch the premiere due to school so no spoilers!

8. This weekend I am going to see Hardwell and I am very excited. The only thing that makes me wary is the venue is 18+ so the likelihood of me wanting to murder a majority of the crowd is extremely high.

9. Recently I watched the cult movie Heathers for the first time and was highly, highly entertained. It is on Netflix so if you have an account you have no excuse, go watch it. Be ready for high fashion 80's blazers with exuberant shoulder padding, frequent monocle use, and witty dialog.

 photo heathers_zpsb9ddebe7.gif
Oh yeah, there is a lot of profanity too ha.

10. Louis C.K. hosted SNL and then Anna Kendrick followed and I haven't been able to watch either yet. Only a couple more weeks of school...

Monday, April 7, 2014

box of neglect round 3 - lipstick edition

Remember my Box of Neglect challenge? I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't, it has been over a year since I have done anything with this series. That box contains a lot of tough cookies that made me feel overwhelmed in picking out what to test out next. I apologize and will do better, pinky promise. I'll back up this promise by attacking the lipsticks in my box. I have about two handfuls of lipsticks lying in the dusty box, waiting to be played with so here is the lipstick edition, round one.


Man this lipstick is a throwback. Remember when NYX round lipsticks were all the rage? I bought this in the beginning stages of my obsession with makeup. I don't remember why I picked this particular shade, probably because someone on YouTube I followed at the time recommended it. Anyway, I have never worn this out of the house. I have only applied it on a Saturday and pranced around the apartment all day to get a feel for it. It is one of those mature, browny shades that I find outdated. It isn't exactly unflattering but it also isn't the best shade for me. The NYX round lipsticks are very creamy and slippy so application is easy and hydrating, however, this causes the lasting power to be weak.


L to R: NYX Frappuccino, NYX Thalia, MAC Blankety, Revlon Mauve it Over

I think Frappuccino would be most flattering on olive skinned or deeper toned ladies as it would look like a natural nude without the corpse look. For us people on the paler side it looks very mature; office appropriate and non offensive. I thought it would be most similar to Revlon Mauve it Over but it is actually darker and more terracotta. NYX Thalia is more mauve and less brown. MAC Blankety is not even similar as it is paler and has no trace of red in it.

It should say something that I completely forgot about this lipstick's existence in my collection. It isn't a horrible shade but it is one that I can't see myself reaching for often or even a shade I would be in the mood to wear. Back in the BOX it goes.


When I look at this lipstick now I can't help but wonder what the hell I was thinking when I bought it. It is the weirdest and most unflattering shade for me. It looks like the type of shade you would get as a cheap GWP. I remember I distinctly bought this because of Holly Ann Aeree when she was first starting out. She mentioned it was one of her top nude lipsticks. Ahh to be naive and just buy something because it's flattering on a YouTuber that does not have similar skin tones to you. This is my only Rimmel lipstick and probably the last since I dislike the formula very much. It doesn't glide on easily and accentuates dryness, as you can see in the above picture.


L to R: Rimmel Birthday Suit, Revlon Nude Attitude, Revlon Soft Nude, Dior Incognito

Thankfully I seemed to learn my lesson by not going out and buying anything similar to this shade. It is an almost bronze brown in comparison to the other nudes I have. Another shade I completely forgot I owned. It won't be missed. BOX


Maybelline does surprisingly well when it comes to lipsticks. They are creamy without being too messy and feel very comfortable. Pink Please was another Holly Ann Aeree pushed purchase but luckily for me this one works. One of those nice, soft medium pinks that works on almost everyone. I like the satiny finish.


L to R: Maybelline Pink Please, Maybelline Born With It, MAC Angel, NARS Mayflower

I thought for sure this was going to be almost the same shade as MAC Angel but it isn't as pasel, it is also darker with a richer payoff. Born With It is sheerer and paler. NARS Mayflower is rosier and sheerer. I think I'll keep this one around, it photographs nicely and wears comfortably. I was pleasantly surprised I didn't own a shade similar to it seeing as it is a fairly non-unique shade. DRAWER

BOX: 2