Saturday, April 5, 2014

Products I used up: March 2014

Between all the products I have purchased over time and the subscription box services I belong to, I am on a bit of a beauty mission to use up everything I have accumulated.  I love trying new things, and I found that by joining these services (Ipsy and Birchbox to be exact) that need for new stuff is fulfilled.  Every month I will post the products I used up along with a short review and if I will repurchase.

Suave 2-in-1 plus  I hate to use the phrase "Holy Grail" because let's be honest, it's not that serious.  We're talking beauty products here, people.  But if there was a holy grail product for me, it would be this shampoo.  I don't fuss much with my hair.  I'm glad I have it but I'm perfectly happy pulling it away from my face and getting on with my day.  This shampoo cleans my hair and gives it the right amount of moisture.  My last hair care step is spraying it with protection spray after towel drying.  That's really it.

Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle (Sample) This is hands down the best leave-in conditioner, detangler, shine enhancer, smoother, everything product I have ever used. And it smells amazing. I use this every time I was my hair. It's the only product I received from Birchbox that I purchased the full size. The full size is a hefty price tag at $21.95 but worth every single penny.

Philosophy Sweet Cinnamon Icing Shampoo, Shower Gel and Bubble Bath  I purchased this at T.J. Maxx in the clearance section.  The color was a little off, but the scent...heavens to Betsy, it was wonderful.  I loved this stuff and was so sad when I finished it.  I primarily used it as a shower gel. I used it once as a shampoo.  It was fine but not something I would do often.  I would repurchase.

Clinique High Impact Mascara (Sample)  I felt the formula was really thick and clumpy.  That's probably my fault because I let it dry out.  I wouldn't purchase it but I would like to try a sample again only using it properly this time.

BareMinerals Original Foundation Board Spectrum SPF 15 (Sample)  My skin is too dry, I can't figure out how to use this the right way, and the shade was off.  For these reasons, I won't be drinking the BareMinerals powder foundation Kool-Aid.

Simple Skincare Eye Makeup Remover  I enjoyed this eye makeup remover.  It was gentle on my eyes but didn't break down mascara as easily as I would have liked.  Not sure if I'll repurchase as I'm trying out a bunch of different ones right now looking for a perfect, affordable one.  I still haven't found one that's as effective to my absolutely favorite eye makeup remover, the expensively priced ($13 for 3.38 oz.) KOH GEN DO Cleansing Spa Water.  That stuff is amazing.

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35  I received this in the Sephora Favorites Super Stars gift set at the end of October 2013.  I liked how well it worked: lots of coverage, easy to apply and blend out.  Although it lasted a long time using it 5+ times per week, I just can't justify the $39 price tag when there is other stuff out there that works just as well for a fraction of the price.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Potion Primer Anti-Aging (Travel Size) This was the first time I used an eyeshadow primer.  I liked it and would use it again however, I'll keep trying different ones until I find the perfect one.  This isn't it. My issue is oily lids and try as I might, I have yet to find one that works to keep the oil at bay and make my shadow last more than 5 hours. And as far as the promise it "measurably improves the signs of aging over time."  Well, I used it for about 4 months straight and didn't notice any visible changes.

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes (Travel size)  These are okay.  Gentle on the skin.  Nothing to brag about.  I would probably repurchase if they are on sale or get the travel size pack for vacations.

Olay Regenerist Mico-Exfoliating Wet Cleansing Cloths  These are okay, too.  They are textured so makeup removal was a breeze.  I didn't find they did any additional exfoliating, though.

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads I purchased this for one reason only.  It came in the First Aid Beauty Fab Faves to Go Kit. The kit included the Ultra Repair Cream, which I read was wonderful on dry skin (it is!).  Since I was flying and it was winter, I needed all the help I can get on my already dry winter skin.  The kit included the pads and face cleanser.  While I was using them, I didn't think they were anything special.  I used them faithfully every night for 28 nights after cleansing my face and before my treatments and moisturizer. It was a no-fuss, easy step. Now that I ran out, I noticed my skin is not as smooth and glowing as it was when I was using them. It would repurchase these in heartbeat.

Michael Todd Blue Green Algae Toner (Travel size)  This came as part of a kit I purchased back in November to bring on vacation.  The reason I purchased this kit is because I absolutely love this toner.  I own a full size of it and have even purchased a full size for my niece to use on her acne prone skin.  Since my skin is on the sensitive side, I use this every other day.  I think it works beautifully to dry out blemishes and clear up blackheads.  Michael Todd is also an organic company and I have loved everything I have tried from the line.

Philosophy Hope in a Jar Night (Travel size) I believe I got this as a 100 point perk from Sephora. I appreciated the thicker formula, my skin felt very moisturized at night. The one thing I didn't appreciate was it's odd musty scent.  I don't really have an opinion on it's effectiveness because 3+ weeks really isn't enough time to judge.  I wouldn't repurchase or use another perk for it. It's not really worth it especially since I'm sure I can find something as effective at the drug store for a fraction on the $50 for 2 oz. price tag this product comes with.

Prada Candy Perfume (Sample)  I loved this perfume.  It had a great scent..sweet but not too sweet, it was was the kind of scent that would be great on a teenager as well as someone older.  I would have loved to make this a signature scent but for one flaw.  The fragrance did not last at all.  I mean, an hour later it was gone.  Poof!  Disappeared.  And for that I'll pass.

Real Techniques Stippling Brush One of my biggest makeup issues is apply foundation so it doesn't look flaky and cakey.  After reading that I should be stippling on foundation for a flawless finish, I purchased this brush.   I still haven't mastered foundation, choosing to stick with BB creams and concealer instead.  I used this brush to stipple and blend my concealer.  I really like the way it worked.  Unfortunately, during a washing, I broke the ferrule and now the bristles are falling out.  I did not purchase a replacement, choosing instead to buy the e.l.f. Studio Small Stipple Brush for $3.  It works just as well as the more expensive brush and cheaper to replace if I ruin it again.

That's all for this month.  Check back on the first Saturday of May for April's empties.

Thanks for reading.

You can take no credit for beauty at sixteen. But if you are beautiful at sixty, it will be your soul's own doing. ~Marie Stopes

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ipsy Bag - March 2014

Destination Beauty
I just love this month's Ipsy bag.  It's a coated canvas in a bright summery print.  It's the perfect little clutch to thrown in my beach tote.  The products on the inside are nearly as great as the bag itself.

Nicole by OPI Roughles in "On What Grounds?":  If there was one disappointing product in this bag, it's this one. This is my first Nicole by OPI polish and I had high hopes for it. It's a rough, sandpaper-like texture which I do not like at all.  I'm not crazy about the color either.  I do appreciate that they sent a full size bottle. I will be passing this on to someone else. (Full size price: $ 7.99)

Pixi Beauty Flawless Beauty Primer:  I love the texture of this primer.  It glides on smoothly and has a nice sheen to it.  I have dry skin and it gave me a nice dewy complexion that held up really well under my BB cream. It's the kind of product that gives the skin a nice inner glow. This is a keeper.  (Mini size price: $ 9.00)

bareMinerals Marvolous Moxie Lipstick in Get Ready:  I just love this lipstick.  The formula is super creamy and moisturizing with great color payoff.  I also love the deluxe sample size. (Full size price: $ 18.00)

Be A Bombshell Eyeshadow Quad in Bora Bora: First of all, I do not like the packaging.  It's plastic and sturdy but it's a difficult to open.  The colors are way out of my comfort zone however they are subtle on the eyelid and buttery smooth.  What they lack in packaging, they made up for in quality. I do love the coppery shade.  It's stunning and perfect for blue or green eyes.  (Full size price: $ 16.00)

If you are interested in getting your own Ipsy subscription, click here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Image courtesy of
There are two kinds of pain:  physical and emotional.  For the longest time, I have felt emotional pain.  It’s something I welcomed. Welcomed isn’t correct, in fact it’s very  wrong and not even close to the truth.  Emotional pain is something I am used to.  It’s something I know how to deal with.  If I feel emotional pain, I eat.  I hide behind books, stories, tv shows.  Anything that is not reality.  Anything that hide the pain.

In all my years of therapy, I know hiding isn’t dealing, it’s avoiding.  It’s making something worse instead of making it better.  It’s taking a grain of sand and turning it into a beach.  I can’t keep pushing it aside, avoiding it.  Not only does it not help but I am much worse off than I was before. I now know that in order to heal the emotional pain, I’m going to have to feel a lot of physical pain.    

It’s that physical pain that heals.  It’s that pain the gathers all those grains of sand.  That pain is the lightning that turns the sand into a beautiful glass sculpture.   I hurt anyway, so why can’t I change the way I hurt.   Now is the time to take on a whole different kind of hurt.  The hurt of screaming muscles, growing stronger.  The hurt of a heart beating fast and hard, growing stronger.  The hurt of physical exhaustion because I did the absolute best I could do for thirty minutes on the elliptical’s lowest setting.  And that is a hurt I will truly welcome.

"Because if I’m going to hurt I’d rather it be from building myself up rather than tearing myself down."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I need to make some changes.  Some seriously changes.  On a scale of one to happy, I'm about a negative 3.  I don't have a lot to complain about.  I'm in a loving relationship with someone who makes me laugh and appreciates me.  My home life is good.  I've reconnect with BH.  We're spending more time together and enjoying our friendship again.  I'm mostly satisfied at work.  Although it's not my life's ambition, it's a job that pays the bills.  What I am unhappy about it my shape, but more importantly my lack of physical abilities.

I am the heaviest I have ever been in my life.  Yesterday I was talking to my good friend Ma.  I told her about my inability to move.  That I need to get to the gym and start exercising however I don't want to do that.  Why not?  Why would I intentionally go someplace where withing 5 minutes on the elliptical in the lowest setting possible, my heart is hurting.  Like I think I'm having a heart attach hurting.  And I'm sweating.  It's dripping down my face, into my eyes.  My hands are all sweaty. My arms, legs and back are burning.  Screaming at me to stop.  I just want to die because death has to feel better than this.  And this is just the warm up. Why would I want to subject myself to that when I could be home?  On the couch.  Eating a cookie.  Yeah, because that is so helpful.

So how do I go from being unhappy, unhealthy to accepting the fact that the gym is my friend.  That it's something that can be done.  Even by me.  I read that it takes 1 month to see the changes in yourself, 2 months for your family & friends to notice the changes, and 3 months for strangers to notice.  I would be happy with just sticking with it for a month.  At this point, that is my first goal.

Goal:  Go to the gym 3 times a week for on month.  Easy enough, eh? 

What is my motivation?  How about this, a truth I am ashamed actually happened.  I want to walk up a flight of stairs without having my friend ask me if I’m okay because my breathing is so labored she was afraid I was going to pass out.  It was very embarrassing the first time.

I may as well start today because it's as good a day as any.  After all one month from now, I'm going to wish I started a month ago.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Harrison Ford as Han Solo (Star Wars)

Something made me incredibly sad yesterday.  I realized that a single, childless woman is one of the worst things to be.  If you are part of a couple, someone may bestow on you flowers or chocolates, dinner or a card for Valentine's Day. Someone will celebrate you for being part of something.  If you are a mother, someone may bestow you will a meal you hopefully didn't have to cook, flowers and homemade cards for Mother's Day.  Someone will celebrate you for being part of something.

Where is the holiday for the single ladies out there who don't have children?  There are quite a few out there. There isn't a holiday that makes them raise their glasses to their freedom, to the fact that they have sole possession of the remote control, and can keep the toilet seat anyway they want.

I'm surprised Hallmark hasn't capitalized on this.  When is Singles Day?  Where is the holiday where we buy cards and send them to our singles friends.  Cards with messages like "Congrats on being single.  I'm sure dinner for one every night is awesome!"  Or "It could be worse, you could be married to my douchebag husband."  "Kids:  Ruining stuff every day of your life."  The inside of that card would read, "Lucky you."

Like all things, there are several ways to look at it.  I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who enjoy their solitude.  Who live complete lives with friends and family, who don't see the fact they are childless and single a curse.  There are also the people who only see the emptiness in being single.  They focus more on what they don't have than what they do.

Where do I fall?  I'm not exactly single but I'm far from married.  I like my relationship with J.  I love being part of us. Our lives are starting to intertwine, orbit around each other in decisions we make.  I like my life as it is.  Right now.  I know I'm not ready for anything more serious than what we have.  I also know that I am going to stick around and see where this goes.  I don't have a timeline, I'm just following my heart.

I'm fine with not having children of my own.  Motherhood is a big responsibility and I am amazed anyone is willing to take a stab at it.  Good moms are selfless, they put their children first.  I don't have that in me.  I'm pretty sure I wasn't born with a biological clock.  I don't have a maternal bone in my body.  I love J's kid.  I think she's great but she has a mother and that ain't me.  I am perfectly happy in the role of Dad's (self-proclaimed) cool girlfriend.

What strikes me as crazy is that in all the years I was with the man, I struggled to feel part of something.  Even when we were engaged, I felt alone.  Single.  Solo.  Just me against the world.  With J, the feeling is completely different.  I'm actually having a hard time remembering single.  I feel more a part of J in the short time I have known him that I ever felt with the man.  And that means something.  I think I'm stepping further and further away with solo each and every day.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I have had people say this to me and unless asked if I actually have children, I simply say thank you. Sometimes it makes me sad that I will never be a mother. In my heart I know that my not being one is exactly how it should be.

I am very thankful I have a good mother. She's funny, loving, honest. She drives me batshit crazy, as she should.  So here's to you, Mae.  I love you.  I am becoming you.  I am so thankful you are mine.