Looser Curls with My New Hair Hero!

Friday, December 28, 2012

My new hero, the Curl Controller, whose packaging will resemble that of the Enhancer (R).

The above picture is a reminder of how flat, short and spirally my curls are without the Controller.

By now, it should be no secret that I work for Aveda, a company focused on natural skin, hair and body care solutions.  Now, I'm not going to go parading around every single Aveda product just because I bought it, or was given it to try, but as this is essentially my online beauty diary, I just have to share this one product that I've been itching to talk about for weeks!  This coming Sunday, Aveda will be launching two new curly hair styling products; a spray aimed at tightening the curl, and a liquid gel that gives you a looser curl.  For the sake of this blog post, I will be focusing on the latter, because it has quickly become a staple in my hair styling routine.

The Curl Controller, as it is formally called, is made with aloe and wheat protein, and works to lengthen the curl pattern without weighing the hair down.  The product itself is very light and has a rather thin consistency.  I use it by applying to wet/damp clean hair after I've applied a leave-in treatment (Mixed Chicks is my l.i.t. of choice!), and following up with some hair oil and John Frieda's Frizz Ease hair spray.  It is recommended that you whip your hair into a loose braid to enhance the curl lengthening process, but I usually just end up plopping my hair up on top of my head in a cotton t-shirt for about fifteen minutes.  Starting with the Be Curly Style Prep and finishing with the new hair spray is also recommended for getting looser curls, but I haven't got the Style Prep as of yet, so for now I'm making do with what I've got.

Either way, I love this product because it allows us girls with kinky or spirally textures a chance to walk on the wavy side!  I've used this every time I've washed my hair for the past three weeks or so, and I can't get enough of it.  It's like a bunch of beachy waves in a bottle!

This product is available in Aveda stores for $21 USD.  Even if you're unsure about it, at least go test it out, or ask for a sample in store.  Not that this should make much of a difference, but it even smells divine!  Definitely not a bad deal.

Let me know if you end up trying this, and do let me know what your favorite curly hair products are?  Or your favorite hair products in general?  I will be in need of a new super moisturizing conditioner pretty soon...

Some Recent Purchases feat. Origins, MAC, Lush and More

If you've been keeping up with my blog posts, a lot of these products will be nothing new, but I do go into a bit of detail here, so give it a watch if you're so inclined.  I'd love to hear your feedback!

Products mentioned:
Origins Clear Improvement mask
Origins Never A Dull Moment face polisher
Ole Henriksen Walnut Complexion Scrub
Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch primer
Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette
MAC Creme in Your Coffee lipstick
Lush Floating Island bath melt
Cinders bath bomb
Rose Jam bubbleroon
Angel's Delight soap
Twilight bath bomb

What I'm wearing:
Clinique Even Better foundation in Golden Neutral
Naked 2 Palette: Suspect, Snakebite and Busted
Maybelline Line Stiletto liquid liner
MAC Kinda Sexy

Happy early New Year to you and your's!!

Project "Pore No More!"

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wait, but so blogging though, like how do you do that again?  OH MAN JUST KIDDING.  But no really though, extended absences suck.  Maybe not for anyone reading this, but I personally have missed the blogging game like no other!

Now, onto more important business, like the nature of this post.  I was debating whether or not to call this post "Ultimate Pore Fighters", just because that sounded crazy intense, but I went for the current one simply because I haven't fully tested out these products yet, and I didn't want to give you any misleading information.  All you really need to know is that I have enlarged pores on my cheeks, clogged pores on my nose, jaw and between my eyebrows, and that I want that to change.

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch face primer:  I love love love Kate's, or gh0stparties', videos and blog, and she forever goes on about her love for this primer.  I believe she and I have similar  skin types, and that is combination/oily skin.  I tend to get oily down the center of my face, especially on the nose and on my cheeks, plus, the pores on my cheeks are enlarged, so I bought this primer for two reasons.  One; to keep my makeup from sliding off and going patchy throughout the day, and two; to help fill in the pores and lines on my face.  Now I could be using this wrong, although I'm not sure how I would have managed that, but I'm sorry to say that this product has done neither of those two things for me.  I do seem to have a much more flawless base to start with, but my pores are still clearly visible through my foundation, and I have even had creasing issues between my brows and foundation build up around my nostrils.  I had such high hopes for this product when I bought it, but seeing as I've only used it for a little over a week now, I will continue to work with it, and see if I can't figure out a way to make it more effective.

Ole Henriksen Walnut Complexion Scrub:  This is by far the harshest product I think I have ever used on my face, but it's so amazing!  It is essentially a manual exfoliator that foams up slightly when water is added to it, so it becomes a sort of cleanser/exfoliator duo product whose goal is to clear the pores.  There are, I will say, very sharp pieces of ground up walnut shell in it, so although it is marketed to all skin types, I would definitely not recommend this if you have sensitive skin as it would probably be too harsh.   I've only used it twice now, but each time I scrubbed my face with it, it offered me immediate results in the form of a more glowing complexion and fresher feeling and looking skin.  I only use it where I really need it (ie, spots where my pores are especially clogged), because you need to massage it in for about 2 minutes or so, as per the directions.  I will warn you, your face will probably be very red and/or hot afterwards due to such deep pore cleansing, but the softer skin you get shortly after that is so worth the (slight) discomfort.

Origins Clear Improvement face mask:  OK, but this face mask though.  It's actually the best face mask I have ever tried ever, and I find it's ideal for my skin type.  It's main aim is to clear the pores, so it's best to start by opening up your pores with a hot cloth about a minute or so prior to painting the mask on your face (I use an old foundation brush to apply this one, as I just find it's more manageable that way).  While the mask is on, you'll feel a definite pull on your skin, as you're supposed to allow the mask to dry.  What I love so much about this mask is the instant gratification it provides.  You can actually see the junk that it's pulling out of your pores as it dries on your face.  Call me crazy, but I think that's flippin amazing!  Once it's dry, I just wash it off with either a wash cloth or some cold water.  It's really important to close up the pores after this mask because it will remove almost all the oil from your skin.  This can be achieved just by splashing some cold water on your face.  You'll need a moisturizer immediately following this mask, so you should close the pores simply so that none of the moisturizer and its oils go back into the lovely pores you just cleaned.  I swear, you use this mask once, and you're hooked!  At least, I was.

Phew!  Well that's all folks.  Hopefully I didn't lose you amidst the barrage of information!

All the best,

Wet 'n' Wild Comfort Zone Palette: Not So Comfortable...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

You know those times when you're just waiting around a train station and you've got a significant amount of time to kill, so you just start perusing newsstands and drugstores nearby and spending money that you probably had better uses for, but now there's just no getting it back?  Well that was me last week.  In the thirty minutes I should have spent twiddling my thumbs in the NJ Transit waiting room, I instead chose to pick myself up some magazines, a rehydrating sports drink (ahem), and of course a few drugstore makeup items.  In my groggy head, I somehow worked it out that I would be better served picking up an eyeshadow palette, rather than the Advil I so desperately needed.  But, what's done is done, as they say.

When I got home and had taken my photos (call me anal, that's fine), I cracked the palette open for personal use, and discovered that the colors are really quite pigmented.  You don't need to swipe a ton of times at all to get a very strong color payoff.  Quite unexpected in a drugstore makeup palette, but then this particular item does have its fair share of hype around it.  The colors are varied enough that you could easily create a day or nighttime look, and all for under five dollars!  The defining colors are definitely my favorite of the set, as I have no other shadows like them.  Especially that reddish-blue one on the bottom right (though it shows up more red on the lid)!

Now onto the bad news.  I've discovered something that will keep me from ever using Wet 'n' Wild eye makeup ever again.  I'm allergic.  Because of course, that's just how my life goes.  I have had very little luck with drugstore makeup in the past, so I don't know why I thought it would be different this time.  I always lose when I can't test out a product.  So if you have particularly sensitive eyes, steer clear of this palette.  Otherwise, lucky you!  Before I started tearing up from the actual shades themselves, I discovered the shadows to be very blendable, highly pigmented, and very versatile.  All around a great palette, as long as your body doesn't reject it!

This Wet 'n' Wild palette is available in most US drugstores for $4.99.  I bought mine at Duane Reade.  If you're at all interested in some of the other eye palettes that Wet 'n' Wild have to offer, I would direct you to Estee's blog post.

Now I'm off to go get my Christmas tree!

Mini Lush Holiday Haul + Review

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oh man, you guys.  So a new business has opened up just around the corner from where I work, and I'm sure you can only guess what it is.  Yes, Lush understood my need and opened up shop about 100 feet away from me because they knew that my money would soon become their's.  Holy hell, this is the worst place they could have come, for my wallet's sake really.

But regardless of my already super tight budget, I made a visit.  I mean I couldn't very well just ignore a store that opened a mere two days ago, could I??  I had just cleaned the bathroom yesterday, and realized that it was missing something festive, and that my soap dish was empty (whoa now, I had liquid soap, before you go getting any ideas!).  So off I went to Lush on a mission.  I met some really really nice new people, and out I left with more than I planned on taking with me.

My first stop was of course for some soap.  I love that the whole store seems like a little marketplace, and that they cut your soap like it's cheese.  Three years on and I still can't get over it.  I picked up some holiday edition Snow Globe soap which, I kid you not, smells like citrus heaven.  I realize that I use the word heaven to describe most scents, but it's a one hundred percent accurate description, honest.  I cut it in half so that both bathrooms could smell like Lush (and omG they do).

I also couldn't leave without a Twilight bath bomb (that big pink guy up there), as it's one of my favorite products that Lush do.  It has been a while since I've had one, so I forgot that this isn't the kind of bath bomb you can just split in two (unless you like ruined surprises).  Later on, I ended up just chucking the whole thing in the bath after an unsuccessful attempt to break it apart, and my bath water turned a beautiful light purple color.  Eventually, my entire bathroom smelled like lavender (there were even a few bubbles!), and all was right in the world.

Last, but not least, I bought the Christmas Eve bubble bar.  I haven't used this one yet (Keep in mind, I just bought these not even 24 hours ago. This is me showing restraint.), but it smells absolutely wonderful.  Would you even expect anything less?  It's not as strong as the other two, but I can tell I'm going to have a nice few baths when I use it.  It smells a bit floral, but it's hard to put my finger on the exact scent (jasmine, I'm told).  I'm already counting down the hours to my next bath!  I'm even planning what to buy the next time I visit...

Here you can find Snow Globe, Twilight, and Christmas Eve.  Enjoy!

If I Only Had the Coin...

It's the season for giving, so I've been spending quite a lot of time figuring out what my family and friends might like for the holidays.  This Christmas, I'm going a little more all out than usual (I usually don't), as it's been a pretty tough year, and I think everyone could use a nice pick-me-up, even if it's only short-lived.  This means I've been buying quite a few things for others recently, although I've still been making little purchases here and there for myself, just nothing too extravagant.

I built this wish list with an unlimited wallet in mind (which I should never have, for my own good) full of little gems I've either discovered whilst doing some virtual online shopping, or through reading other beauty blogs (*cough* Emma Hardie *cough*).  As you can see, I've gone a little eyeshadow mad lately, but eyeshadow is the one makeup item I feel I can never have enough of.  That, and lipstick.  I mean, who doesn't love options?

And of course, I just had to throw that ginger bubble bath from Origins in, because as you might know by now, ginger is my ultimate favorite scent.  Funny story, I actually walked past an Origins store recently and did a double take, because this beautiful gingery scent was just wafting out.  But when I went inside to ask what that amazing, zesty ginger smell was, the girl behind the counter said condescendingly, "Um, it's ginger?"  Thanks for that, yeah.  Meant the product, but it's cool.  So I had a look around, stuck my nose in a few jars, and then left empty-handed and in a hurry.  But that Origins visit introduced me to their wonderful line of ginger bath products, so not a total loss.

What do you think, anything good up there?  Anything you've tried and liked...or hated?  I'm open to any and all feedback.  As you can probably tell, I'm not the most well-rounded of individuals when it comes to hobbies, but hey what can I say, beauty products excite me.  Not the worst thing to be obsessed with, really.

Ginger Sparkles at The Body Shop!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

On my very first foray into the fragrant world of The Body Shop, I came out with a few stunners that I couldn't help but wax poetic on in my latest haul and favorites videos.  It's safe to say that I am properly hooked by the zesty Ginger Sparkle range that The Body Shop has brought out, just in time for the holidays.  So much so that I couldn't keep them to myself any longer, and have decided to dedicate a blog post solely to the scent!

Now, let me start off by saying that if you are a fellow ginger lover like me, or if you really enjoy fresh or citrusy scents, then you really shouldn't pass up an opportunity to smell anything from this line.  As I've tried to describe it before, this gingery fragrance reminds me a lot of the freshly sliced ginger that comes alongside wasabi with any sushi order.  It's fresh, zingy, and almost floral.  The lasting power is not great, but I've simply fallen in love with this fragrance, enough to excuse the fact that I have to reapply the hand cream more often than I'd like to maintain the scent.

Available from The Body Shop in this line are a few gift sets, a hand wash, some lip balm, bath crystals, body polish, and of course a body butter.  I purchased the shower gel and the hand cream (which no longer appears on the website??), and I have to say, they are my two favorite items that I received in my entire Body Shop order.

The hand cream, if you can locate it, is definitely a no-miss item in my eyes.  It's moisturizing, sinks in quickly, and isn't all that greasy.  I find the effects to last for about an hour as well, plus it smells like ginger.  Can't go wrong!

And as for the shower gel...we'll just say that I have probably three or four other shower gels in my shower (I know, I have a problem), and for the last three weeks, I've smelled exclusively like ginger post-shower.  It seems that no matter how much I may want to conserve my Ginger Sparkle shower gel, I can't help but reach for it every time I grab my loofah!  It isn't the most moisturizing of shower gels, but the scent lasts on my skin much longer than any other gel I've ever tried.  I think the body butter would be a great accompaniment to the gel for some after shower moisturization, and it's definitely been added to my ever growing Christmas list!

Well, I'm off to revise my letter to the North Pole...

A New 'Do

Friday, December 7, 2012

It was a slower day at work today which meant my coworker had time to do my hair!  Now I'm not sure if you've noticed by now, but about 95% of the time, my hair is super curly and often times pretty frizzy.  So when my hair is anything but that, I feel it's my duty to document it.

It was originally curled around the front like in the picture above, but a few hours after I got home, the curls fell out and became almost pin straight, despite the fact that I had about half a can of hairspray in!

And then I did this.

I feel so much more confident with straight hair (above picture excepted), I don't know what it is!  I definitely think I'll be investing in a proper hair dryer soon and blowing it out more often.  It's funny, I always feel like my hair is super short; and then I straighten it.

What do you think, straight or curly?

November Beauty Favorites!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My November beauty favorites are live!  I've been having a ton of fun over-lining my lips, drying out pimples, spritzing my face with weird smells and lengthening my curls.  Watch me talk about this, if you like (and make sure to watch the end if you wanna know just how derpy I am)!

What are some of your favorites this month?

A late addition, but suuuch a good song.  It seems I only have my sister to thank for my music taste these days!

I Got Naked...2!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Foxy, Half Baked, Booty Call, Chopper

Tease, Snakebite, Suspect, Pistol

Verve, YDK, Busted, Blackout

Oh, how I love Sephora (and a good pun)!  I took advantage of a coupon they sent my way recently which gave me $15 off if I spent fifty dollaz.  I went in thinking I would come out with a few new Tarte Amazonian blushes, but as is custom with Sephora, I came out with something completely different than what I had gone in for.  I soon realized that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to take the plunge into the world of the Naked 2 palette, so I snapped it up, took it to the register, and payed a price that I was much more comfortable with!

The colors are versatile, and I could see many of them lending a helping hand to either a day or night time look.  They are easily applied, and most are highly pigmented.  I would have loved to have more matte shades, but it seems that matte finishes are not Urban Decay's strong points.  I can't wait for Christmas parties to start, as I can definitely tell I'll be getting some use out of the darker shades on nights out!  As it stands right now, I'd have to say that Busted and Half Baked are shaping up to be my favorite shades of the bunch.  They are unlike any eyeshadows I own and are just so interesting to look at, not to mention the color payoff is pretty excellent!

As for the palette itself, the packaging is beautiful, hefty, and simple.  It even comes packaged with a brush that's halfway decent, and I've used it to apply an entire eye look in one go with no problems.  I've never owned the original Naked palette, but when I compared the two in store, Naked 2 seemed much more my speed with more matte colors to choose from, what seemed like more attractive shades, and sturdier packaging to boot.

I can already tell that I'm going to get a ton of use out of this palette, and am already planning my next eye look with it for tomorrow!  But as you know, in the world of makeup, everyone's always on the lookout for the next best thing, and I have already staked out my next neutral palette purchase: Stila's In The Know palette!  But that's another post for another day.

The palette retails for $50 USD and is available online and in Sephora stores.

Do you own Naked 2, and do you think it's better than the original?  If not, what's your favorite neutral eye palette, or one you've had your eye on for a while?

Our Family Christmas Traditions, Actually

Monday, December 3, 2012

Well, the holiday season is upon us, and with it comes happier spirits, colder weather and usually some serious overindulgence!  Whether the month of December brings you Christmas, Hanukah, or Ramadan, every family's got their own holiday traditions, and each family celebrates them a little differently.

Mine is notorious for starting things last minute.  I'll wait until the night before to start a 2,000 word paper, my sister will start straightening her hair ten minutes before she has to leave, and we rarely if ever start our holiday shopping more than 5 days before Christmas.  The point is, we're a very laid-back family, as far as time is concerned.  We're not the kind of family to have their Christmas tree up  and strung the day after Thanksgiving, and we definitely don't do Black Friday sales!  But we do have a few traditions that have become sacred over the years, and have remained intact since I can remember.

The Christmas traditions for us start with the tree.  Every year, ever since my little sister could walk, we've always picked out our Christmas tree as a family.  We pile in the car, somewhere around mid December, scarves and gloves in hand, and head over to the nearest tree cutters'.  After scouring the place for a good twenty minutes or so, we eventually decide upon a tree as a family that will be suitable for our, what seems like, several hundred ornaments.

Which brings me to our next tradition: tree decorating!  A few nights following the purchase of our fragrant pine, we dust off the ornaments and the decorations from the attic, turn up Nat King Cole, drink too much eggnog, and decorate the tree with heaps of incongruous, yet very merry, Christmas ornaments.  My dad gets to hang the golden airplane, my sister likes to hang the blue hippopotamus, my mom hangs her childhood ornaments, and I tend to put the star on top of the tree. 

As the days count down to Christmas eve, my sister and I like to make sure we're prepared for our newish Christmas eve tradition.  We used to buy break-and-bake holiday cookies so that Santa and his reindeer wouldn't go hungry, but now we see to ourselves first.  Once the cookies are baking and the eggnog is poured, we head down to the den, snuggle up in warm blankets with the pups, and turn on Love Actually.  It is, hands down, our favorite holiday movie.  The message is meaningful, the dialogue is witty, and literally every actor in England makes at least a cameo.  The movie is unflawed, to put it mildly.

And then, it's to bed.  Unless you still have presents to wrap.  Which we usually do.  Our parents' bedroom transforms into Santa's workshop for a day, and neither I nor my sister is allowed in.  Now, I must have been good in my past life, because even at the ripe old age of 22, my parents still sneak down the stairs in the early morning to deposit presents from "Santa" (I'm serious, the gift tags say "From: Santa") under the tree, and then allow us to wake them up far too early to come join us while we destroy the wrapping they spent hours making look perfect.  We tend to end the morning tradition by making pancakes or something equally as calorific, and then jumping in the car, spirits high and vested in festive garb, and heading to my Aunt's house for Christmas dinner.

Wow, I did not intend to write an essay when I started this post, but I guess that's what it sort of became!  I guess you can tell from the copious amount of writing that Christmas is my favorite time of year?  And I promise, it's not completely because of the presents!

What fun things do you and your family get up to during the holidays?

FOTD Purple Haze

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tried something a bit different today, and opted for a bit of color!  I love wearing purple shadows and liner and definitely don't do it enough.  I get so stuck in my neutral ways sometimes, but it's good to change it up from time to time.



MAC lip liners in Subculture and Stripdown | Korres Lip Butter Glaze in Laurel

What products do you like to use to make your makeup more daring?

My First Ever Haul!

Friday, November 30, 2012

So I've learned something about myself this week: I hate editing.  I mean I can't stand it.  In fact, I detest it so strongly that I've avoided doing it for three whole days!  So without further ado, here is my first ever haul video, featuring a few recent purchases, and some really nice stand outs.

What I'm wearing:
Eyes: Mac e/s in "Mystery" and "Grain"

Products Mentioned:

On a completely unrelated note, I can't believe that it's already basically December!  I mean I even did some Christmas shopping today, but I suppose that's a topic for another post..

Sick Day Pick Me Ups

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

As you may have been able to glean from some of my previous posts, I've been sick.  Nothing too terrible, just a really bad cold that has had me inside for two days, bunking off work and watching old episodes of Dexter.  I very rarely get sick, so having this cold has been more of an annoyance than I'd like to admit, but I thought I'd share with you what I did to either speed up recovery, or make it look like I wasn't sick at all (almost).

As I'm sure your parents have told you in your childhood, or almost all movies in which the main character gets a cold, you know it's important to consume hot liquids when sick.  In my case, tea was the thing to drink.  Sleepytime tea is basically chamomile tea with mint, and it does just the trick to keep my throat soothed and send me off into a seriously restful sleep.  Adding honey to it, or just eating a spoon of it on its own will help quiet a nasty cough, if only for a short while.  And you can't forget the Ricola!

In terms of the condition of my skin during a cold, mine gets super dried out.  Gross, yes, but it's true.  For areas that need it more, I've been using Boots's Super Face Balm (review) to insert moisture right where it's needed (that sounded wrong).  My new Caudalie beauty elixir (well, it's new to me) has provided some serious aromatherapy benefits, not to mention it makes my skin look a bit more healthy and glowy.  Benefit's Moon Beam highlighter also comes in handy here, by giving the skin the sheen it's been missing.  A good concealer will also be your best friend when you're sick, if like me, no matter how much sleep you get you always seem to have dark circles.  My Bobbi Brown corrector in Peach and my new Aveda concealer have helped immensely if ever I needed to leave the house.

And last but not least, the lips!  If you find your nose stuffed up beyond any possibility of even breathing through it, you've probably been breathing solely through your mouth.  This can create quite a gross situation on the lips, as soon they may become dry and super chapped.  LUSH's Sweet Lips lip scrub has helped me to slough off the dead skin, and Blistex's Medicated chap stick has added the necessary moisture back into my pout.

Hopefully this post doesn't find you as sick as I am, but if it does, I hope that some of these tips help you to feel better, rest easier, and look healthier.  Whatever the case, thank you so much for reading and if you are sick, feel better!!

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