Friday, December 20, 2013

Hearts and Darts December 20, 2013

I haven't published a blog post since JULY (insert horror face emoji here). Looks like I need to up my blog game. I'll start with my hearts and darts of the week.


  • Flavored sparking water: I picked up a sparking water in strawberry lemonade at Target last night. YUM. It's probably not the best thing to drink but it tricks me into thinking I'm drinking a coke and it's delicious.
  • My sister living with us: My little sister is currently staying with us over winter break. She's became the workout partner I've desperately needed.
  • Flannel and plaid shirts: I am OBSESSED with men's flannel and plaid shirts. I pair them with black leggings and riding boots. I'll throw in a scarf if I want to do something different.
  • Flat tires: I got my second flat tire in less than a month the other night. I'm bringing it in today and crossing my fingers that they can fix it instead of me having to purchase another tire.
  • Christmas: I am not in the Christmas spirit this year. I have no idea why either. We didn't even put up a tree this year. And it's warm. And I haven't purchased any presents. Just call me Scrooge.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Back-To-School Prize Stash Sweepstakes (GIVEAWAY!) Week 1

I'm very excited to share with you a sweepstakes I helped create for my company, Top Flight paper. Top Flight produces and manufactures paper products like school supplies and office supplies. Top Flight is hosting a two month sweepstakes that will randomly choose one winner each week to win a $25 gift card and collection of school supplies. You can enter once a week to enter to win each week's prizes. Each entry will automatically put you in the winning for the grand prize-- $100 gift card and a large variety of Top Flight products.

Here is this week's prizes plus a $25 gift card:

The giveaway is open to residents of the 50 United States. All you have to do is head over to Top Flight's Facebook page or here for mobile users and click on the Back-To-School sweepstakes tab. Enter your submission form and that's it!

Each week will accept entries between Monday
at 12:00 am EST-Sunday 11:59 pm EST.

**The giveaway is hosted by Top Flight, Inc., not Facebook.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Incognito Bachelorette Party

This past weekend one of my sorority pledge class sisters had her bachelorette party in Nashville. I headed there Friday night to stay with three of my best friends at one of their childhood homes. It's been quite a while since we were all together so I was ecstatic to see them all! 

We started the night with dinner and the best margaritas I have ever had at Rosepepper. Seriously, if you are ever in Nashville you have to stop by. I'm not a huge marg drinker but I could have downed at least 2 pitchers. Thankfully that didn't happen.

We then headed to a marina bar in Hendersonville for another drink before heading home. While we were at the bar I sneaked a picture of a girl in the bathroom with no shoes. No wonder people think we are all rednecks and barefoot....

The next day we woke up to a home cooked breakfast from Melissa's parents (so sweet and so yummy), went shopping, and were completely lazy until we had to start getting ready for the actual bachelorette celebrations.

I ended up wearing a brand new dress Ashley got at Target and Maybelline's Vivid Colors lipstick in Vivid Rose. That stuff is BRIGHT and will not budge. I'm in love. There will be a blog post soon with lots of photos and swatches.

Now on to the bachelorette festivities....we started with dinner and drinks and a lingerie shower for Brooke at a restaurant in Green Hills. I'm pretty positive everyone in the restaurant got a show with some of the gifts she received.

When then put on our masks, which were part of the Incognito theme, and headed downtown for lots of drink, dancing, celebrating, and embarrassing photos and videos that will never be shared on social media or the internet. 

I had an amazing time catching up with sorority sisters and friends that I never get to see anymore. I had an even better time going out with all the crazy girls. Seriously though, 25+ girls in Nashville, Tennessee is a funny, chaotic sight.

The best part of the weekend--I get to see them all again in two weeks for Brooke's wedding!

Now on to the Rated G photos that I can share....

Sue and me

Ashley and Sue
Ashley and me

Melissa, Ashley, and Sue with the cookie cake Melissa's parents bought us:)

I LOVE this lipstick.
The crew before dinner.
Ashley and me at dinner.
The bride to be with her cat toy Ashley and I bought her....long story....
Sue, Melissa, and me at Honky Tonk.
My favorite photo of the night! Like how I am magically wearing a necklace I wasn't wearing before...perks of being with sorority sisters. Thanks, Liz!
Everyone at dinner!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Battle of the Cleansing Waters

I've never used the cult classic Bioderma but have always been intrigued by cleansing waters/toners. I am currently on the last bottle of my holy grail makeup remover--Clean & Clear Makeup Dissolving Foaming Cleanser. I know I can purchase it from Canadian online drugstores or Amazon for a jacked up price, but I am on the hunt for something that lives up to what it does. Two pumps of this magical water into foam product will remove every stitch of makeup on my face, including all my eye makeup. I've been able to find random bottles at close-out stores but the luck has run out. That's why I decided to look into cleansing waters. I currently own three different cleansing waters/toners and would one day like to try Bioderma. 

I want a cleansing water to be able to remove all my makeup including mascara. I also would use it for a gentle toner after washing my face in the shower or in the morning before I put on my makeup.

I put the following cleansing waters to the the test after a day of wearing sunscreen, heavy duty makeup, and Benefit's They're Real Mascara which is a pain in the ass to remove.

No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Water for Normal/Oily Skin: You can purchase this at Target in the U.S. I am currently using a sample size I received at a college trade show. It retails for $8.49 for 6.76 oz. This cleansing water removed all my makeup and didn't leave my skin feeling tight but it felt as though the moisture had been stripped. I didn't even try to remove my eye makeup with it because the water is heavily scented to smell like roses. I don't like when face products are heavily scented because I'm always worried it will break my face out. I would not purchase a full-size of this, but I do think it does a good job of gently removing makeup.

Boots Expert Sensitive Gentle Refreshing Toner: Ingrid, AKA MissGlamorazzi, instagrammed a picture of this stuff and said it was a dupe for Bioderma. Since I've never tried Bioderma I can't compare, but I really like this. It is $4.19 for a 6.7 oz. bottle and can be purchased at Target in the U.S. There is no detectable scent and it removes everything including the They're Real Mascara. The key it to soak a cotton square with the toner and hold it to the lashes for about 10 seconds before gently swiping across the eye. Again, my face felt very "neutral" after using this. It wasn't moisturized but it didn't feel tight either. My only complaint--the large opening of the bottle. If the bottle fell off my sink or vanity the toner would go everywhere. However, for such an inexpensive price I wouldn't mind that much. I would definitely repurchase this.

Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water: This was a splurge for me. You can purchase this "spa water" at Sephora or I have the 3.38 oz. which put me back $13.00 or you can purchase the 10.15 oz. bottle for $39.00. The scary thing about it? I think it's worth it! It removes every inch of makeup and mascara and leaves my face feeling smooth and lightly moisturized. My face feels so clean and my acne tends to clear up faster if I use it a couple days in a row. However, I use it sparingly because I doubt I will repurchase since it's so pricey. 

I think the obvious winner for me is the Boots Expert Sensitive Gentle Refreshing Toner. It doesn't leave my face feeling as moisturized as the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water does, but it does cost a fraction of the price.

Do you use a cleansing water or gentle toner on your face? I would love to hear your suggestions about different ones I can purchase in the US!

Monday, June 24, 2013

I like big brows and I cannot lie.

I admit it...I judge people when it comes to their eyebrows. I don't care if you are a man or woman, I still do it. It drives me NUTS when my husband lets his brows grow into unibrow territory. It drives me even nuttier when women pluck pluck pluck until they have no brows at all or the brow shape resembles a tadpole.

Filled in, well groomed brows make your face look put together even if you aren't wearing any other makeup. Taking a few extra minutes a day to work on them makes you look awake and alert. 

I used to think filling in my eyebrows was a science I would never learn.  After much trial and error I have found four products that work for me. 

My brows are pretty sparse at the innermost corners so I concentrate most of my brow product there. I also wear glasses with large Ray Ban frames every day, so my brows look better when they are filled in pretty heavily. I like to use products that can be applied quickly and still look great even when applied a bit messy.

I start and end my brow routine the same every time. I first brush through my brows with my Sonia Kashuk spoolie. I then apply the brow product I decide to reach for that day. Then I run the spoolie through my brows one more time.

My favorite brow products from least expensive to most expensive:

NYC Brow/Eye Liner Pencil in Taupe (.99): This pencil is perfect for busy mornings or when I want a very natural brow look. I simply use short strokes to fill in any sparse areas and am done. The pencil is soft enough to glide on my brows but stiff enough that it doesn't smudge. The color is very neutral when I swatch it on my hand and when applied over my brow hair but leaves a red tint on my skin were the hairs are sparse.

ELF Studio Eyebrow Kit in Medium ($3.00): I only use the dark gel part of this gel/powder duo because it's pigmented enough to hide any sparse areas and the consistency mimics a brush-on brow gel. The color is completely neutral which I really like. However, the brow powder in the duo leans a bit red on my skin just like the taupe pencil.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Brow in #15 Blonde ($20): This product is a waterproof gel that refuses to budge until you remove it with a makeup remover or cleanser. I dispense a very small dot on the back of my hand and use a stiff angled liner brush to apply to my brows. The shade is very neutral on my brows and is a bit darker than the WnW pencil and ELF kit. I love using this because it gives the end of my brows a very natural look--not like they are drawn on. I can't see myself running out of this anytime soon either.

Too Faced Natural Eye Palette ($36): This palette is perfect for traveling because not only do you have nine eyeshadows to choose from but there are also two cool matte shadows that can double as brow powders. I like to mix Velvet Revolver and Sexpresso together before applying the powders with a stiff angled liner brush. These colors combined are darker than any of the other brow products I use. Even though they are darker they still look pretty natural after running the spoolie through them.

For today's daily laugh--

What are your favorite brow products?

Friday, June 7, 2013

May 2013 Favorites

May Favorites

MUFE Mat Velvet +: Now that I finally have a bit more color to my face I was able to start using my Mat Velvet + foundation. This is probably my favorite foundation ever. It covers like a dream, leaves my face looking matte but not dry, and stays all day. Plus, if I do want to retouch it I can add some more at the end of the day and it never looks cakey. I'm not too keen on the higher price tag, but I really do think it's worth it if you have combination or oily skin. 

Covergirl Outlast Foundation: I feel like this a drugstore sorta dupe for the Mat Velvet +. It provides buildable coverage, leaves your face with a matte finish, and stays on almost all day long. However, if you have any dry spots on the face you will probably want to skip this. Whenever I have acne healing I almost always get dry patches. They look horrible when I used this foundation over them. I also find this foundation applies better when I skip a primer and heavy moisturizer. If I use either of them then I feel like the foundation never really sets unless I powder afterwards. Overall, even with its flaws, this is a great drugstore foundation.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Hearts and Darts 5.31.13

  • Watermelon chunks- Watermelon season is upon us and I love it! I've been grabbing a large container of watermelon chunks every time I go to the grocery store to snack on at work.
  • Karaoke- I love to sing! During Memorial Day weekend, my best friend and I sang so much karaoke that I didn't have a voice for two days. We might have sounded awful, but who cares?
Us singing "No Scrubs"

  • Sunscreen- I have gone on a HUGE sunscreen kick lately which is awesome in the long run. I tan very easily but have decided to take my skin in consideration, especially since numerous family members have had skin cancer removed, and start slathering on sunscreen and making it a point to fake tan regularly. I was lucky enough to score one of Sephora's Sun Kits this season, so I have lots of sunscreens to choose from now.
  • Crazies- I normally have 0% crazies in my life. However, this week I experienced one who called me a "drunk" and "immature" and pretty much told me I was poor and would never amount to anything in life. Yeah. Ok. I work full-time, am going to school full-time to earn my graduate degree, and pay all my bills. But, yeah, you are totally right....CRAZY.
  • Airing your dirty laundry on social media-I would love to rant and rave and give details about something that happens to me....example--look above....but no one needs to hear about everything unless they are the other party involved or a close friend.  Blasting info about a divorce, who cheated on you, how trashed you got last night, etc. is just plain trashy.
  • No time to read- Summer classes are in full swing and now I have no time to read outside of school. Dan Brown's new book, Inferno, has been sitting on my coffee table for days looking lonely. 
What were your hearts and darts this week?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

MAC Viva Glam Cyndi Dupe

I am kicking myself over and over again for not buying at least one backup of MAC's Viva Glam Cyndi lipstick. The coral red shade is a lustre finish which normally applies a bit sheer, but this shade packs lot of shine and color on the lips. I love it for day or night 
but tend to only use it sparingly because I love it so much.

One day I decided to search possible dupes and stumbled upon a couple of posts that said Wet n Wild's  Natural Blend Lip Shimmer in Spice #106 is a close contender. After searching my local CVS, Walgreens, and Wal Mart, I finally found it at the latter.

Here are closeups of the two products. Viva Glam Cyndi is discontinued but sold for either $14.50 or $15.00 (however much MAC lipsticks were running or run these days) and the Wet n Wild was around $1.99-$3.00 (I can't remember the exact price).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Reasons to smile.

One of my best friends surprised me with a sushi lunch and gifts the other weekend for a belated birthday present! Lauren of According To She Designs is the kind of creative I wish I was. She is an amazing jewelry maker (she made the necklace I wore in my wedding), can sew anything, and has an eye for things that can be turned from trash to beauty. Here are the things she surprised me with at lunch. 
Thanks so much, LC. I love you!

She made this cute little pouch herself!
Revlon Lipgloss in Firecracker, Essie's Shine of the Times, Essise Pilates Hotties

She also sent me home with an Ulta gift card! Please go check out her website and all the beautiful, creative jewelry and other items she has on her Etsy store.

Friday, May 24, 2013

CVS Spring Beauty Clearance Sale Haul

Thanks to the lovely G at Noveau Cheap I found out that CVS is currently marking down certain items for their spring beauty sale!   A lot of products are 50-75% off. You can find a master list on her blog here

Also, a big thanks to Lauren at According to She Designs for also sending me a picture of some items she grabbed at her local CVS.

Here's what I picked up with the estimated prices. I threw away my receipt on accident.

  • Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation in Nutmeg: This was the only shade I saw that was clearanced at 75% off. It was around $2.50. Obviously the shade is way too dark for me, but I figured I could use it to darken any of my winter foundations.
  • Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless Eye Corrector and Eye Concealer: These products are always overpriced at CVS. They were a little over $6 each after the 50% off.
  • Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Va Va Violet: I love Revlon's lipsticks! This crazy color was a bit over $2. It turns a very dark purple if you apply more than 3 layers but with a light hand it's a pretty purple shade.
  • Revlon Lip Butter in Cherry Tart: This was around $1.99. After swatching and applying, I found that this color isn't as pigmented as some of the other lip butters and I love that. It gives a light red gloss to the lips.

L-R Cherry Tart and Va Va Violet

Cherry Tart and Va Va Violet swatched

Have you picked up anything from the CVS sale yet? If so, please share in the comments!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Real Technique Duo Fiber Collection- Limited Edition

I was browsing through Ulta the other day and stumbled across the new Real Technique's Duo Fiber collection that retails for $20.00 and is limited edition. I snatched them up and referred to them as an early birthday present :). This collection is perfect for me; I love all duo fiber brushes and Real Technique brushes.

The kit comes with three brushes: a face brush, contour brush, and eye brush.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Little Sister's Graduation

Last weekend Steven and I headed to our hometown (we met at the restaurant we both worked at while we were in high school) to celebrate my little sister's graduation! She graduated from my former high school, so it was nice to be back where I spent four years of my life and see her walk the same stage I did, as well as our brother. 

Congratulations on graduating high school. You have worked so hard in your classes, college courses, and at work. I know you are going to do amazing things in Chattanooga when you get here. Steven and I can't wait to have you in the same city with us again! Love you so much.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Hearts and Darts 5.17.13


  • The Great Gatsby and Silver Linings Playbook: Steven and I watched both movies this weekend. The Great Gatsby is a must-see with the over-the-top acting, beautiful costumes, and entertaining music selection. Silver Linings Playbook kept me cringing and laughing throughout the entire movie. Go see them!
  • Little sister's graduation: My little sister graduates high school today! She'll be attending college in Chattanooga in the fall which means we will finally be in the same city again. I can't wait to head home today to attend graduation and celebrate after.
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light: Steven let me splurge on my birthday at Sephora, so I picked up one of the infamous lighting powders. I am obsessed! My acne scars and large pores look softer and my face doesn't get oily throughout the day. Review coming soon!
  • Iron pills: I was told to start taking iron pills after the doctor discovered I was anemic last week. They were fine the first week then all of the sudden starting making me nauseous and sick. I'm trying different things at the moment and hopefully the sickness will subside.
  • Rain on the weekends: For some reason in Chattanooga it has only been raining on the weekends. What's up with that?
What were your hearts and darts for the week?
 I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: Lush 9 to 5 Cleansing Lotion

Lush says this cleanser is, "Like Dolly says, 9 to 5 is quite the way to make a living. It can take its toll on the skin and leave you looking worn out. Our inventors created this one a long time ago and named it 'Orchid Oil Cleanser.' Our customers had been crying out for a liquid cleanser, so we decided to bring (the newly renamed) 9 to 5 to the LUSH shelves. This gentle cleanser is made with almond oil, dove orchids and everlasting flower absolute to remove your leftover make up, dirt and grime at the end of a long work day.

Product Review: This liquid cleanser has the consistency of a runny lotion. The term "liquid cleanser" is a bit deceiving because you don't actually mix it with water. Instead, you massage a dime size amount of the lotion onto your face and use a damp washcloth or dry cotton rounds/balls to remove. If I am wearing heavy makeup or a lot of mascara I will add a bit more and go through the entire process twice. I'm guessing the almond oil is what helps break everything down. Not only does this cleanser remove all my makeup, but it also leaves my face super soft. Sometimes I use a toner afterwards, but I rarely find traces of makeup left except around my hair line. I reserve this cleanser for lazy nights when I don't feel like taking a shower or washing my face at the sink.

Size of Product: 3.4 oz or 8.5 oz. plastic container

Price: $10.95/$21.95

Would I Repurchase? I would repurchase this for travel use. It's very convenient and removes makeup, dirt, and oil much better than cleansing or makeup removing clothes.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Review & Collection: Wet n Wild Megalast Lipsticks

If you have never used Wet n Wild products before let us please have a moment of silence.  **MOMENT OF SILENCE** You are missing out on some of the best drugstore cosmetics that are so inexpensive! I love their eyeshadows, new Coverall foundation, eyeliner pencil in taupe, and now their lipsticks!

Their Megalast lipstick line is made up of all matte lipsticks that cost a whopping $1.99 at your local Wal Mart, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, or anywhere else that carries the brand.

I currently own five colors which range from a deeper nude to a plum color.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

March & April 2013 Empties

Here are all the products I used up/decided to throw away for the months of March and April. Every item was purchased by me unless specified.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Hearts and Darts 5.3.13

  • It's finally May: I love the month of May. It's my birthday month and the weather in Tennessee is beautiful! Not to mention my little sister will be graduating this month!
  • Blue Bloods book series: I finally got around to reading all the Blue Bloods books this past month and I love them! They are young adult literature and give a new twist to other vampire series I've read before.
  • Roo cups: I feel like I'm almost a true Chattanoogan. I bought my first Roo cup! Roo cups are sold at Kangaroo gas stations during the summer. You buy a cup for $6.99 and get .25 refills for the summer. It's a pretty big deal here in Chattanooga, so after six years I finally caved in to see how wonderful they are.
  • School break: I'm free from the books until May 15 when I begin my two summer classes. I ended my semester with two Bs and one A!
  • Neighborhood sidewalks: I guess all the people in my neighborhood think it's perfectly ok to walk their dogs and let them poop everywhere on the sidewalks without cleaning it up. Just take a plastic bag with you. It's not that hard.
  • Summer wardrobe: I'm in desperate need of summer clothing!
  • Sock pile: Our sock pile just keep growing and growing. Why can't they magically pair themselves?!
What were your hearts and darts this week?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Natural Skincare: Coconut Oil and Grapeseed Oil

I have been trying to incorporate more natural skincare products into my daily skincare routine. After hearing so much about skincare oils, I decided to try two popular choices: coconut oil and grapeseed oil. I purchased my extra virgin coconut oil from and my grapeseed oil from my local Whole Foods store. You should be able to purchase 
both at any natural food store.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review: Lush Imperialis moisturizer

The Imperialis moisturizer from Lush is a great choice for those with combination to oily skin. Lush says this about the moisturizer... "If you’re not sure which moisturizer is for you, we recommend starting here. Imperialis is a finely crafted moisturizer that works with most skin types to ease and soothe irritations. Made with lavender infusion to balance the skin's sebum production, the lavender encourages dry skin to produce more natural oils and discourages oily skin from overdoing it. Orange blossom water brightens up dull looking areas and leaves you smelling gorgeous all day long."

I wasn't planning on purchasing a moisturizer when I visited the Lush at Lennox Square Mall in Atlanta the other weekend, but somehow I left with Imperialis in my expensive Lush bag. 

I have combination skin that gets oily throughout the day. I am also very acne-prone. If something is going to break my face out it normally happens within 48 hours of using the product. I normally use Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer, Origins Vitazing, or grapeseed oil as moisturizer. My favorite day moisturizer from those three is definitely the Olay. It sinks into my skin quickly, has sunscreen, and creates an almost matte effect on my skin which is helpful before applying makeup.

Size of product: 1.5 oz. I was very skeptical of the small tub of moisturizer. I figured it would only last about two or so months. The sales associate told me that it should last me at least six months! It has a shelf life of a year, so I won't be left with old product that has gone bad.  I was told to dabbed two fingers into the lotion and dot around my face. That little amount does a perfect job of covering my entire face and neck.

Product review: I hate to admit I really love this product because 1. it's a lot more expensive that my regular moisturizer and 2. Lush is a two hour drive away from me (or I can order online).

Imperialis has the consistency of runny yogurt. Kind of gross but I feel like that helps it sink into my skin quickly. I've been skipping foundation primer since using this because it leave my skin smooth and almost completely matte. Not matte as in my skin has been sucked of all moisture but good matte--soft and not a hint of oil. 

Like I said before, a small bit of this stuff goes a long way. With my Olay moisturizer I am used to using a nickel size amount of product. With Imperialis it is literally two dabs. However, I tend to apply a bit more at night since that's when I normally use face masks or exfoliating treatments.

My face seems to be less oily during the day which is always a good thing. I haven't eliminated my blotting papers yet, but I definitely use them less.

Also, my face has not been irritated or broken out at all! The only downside of using Imperialis is that there is no built-in sunscreen or sun protectant. 

Price: $24.95--way more expensive than my Olay moisturizer which is about $8 for 6 oz.

Would I repurchase: I would repurchase this but only after I complete my Olay moisturizer. My Olay moisturizer works about the same, has sunscreen, and is much less expensive, but I love the fact that Lush uses natural and organic products in all their products. I am really trying to make an effort to switch to natural skincare and Lush has so many products to try! 

If you have never stopped by a Lush store I highly recommend talking to someone and sampling new things. Their sales associates in every Lush store I have been to have been so helpful and have demonstrated every product on my hand for me. Plus, something about their products just make me feel cool :).

What is your favorite Lush product? 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Anniversary Weekend

Steven and I celebrated our 6 year dating anniversary (I will continue to keep counting no matter what people say) on April 7th and our 1 year wedding anniversary on April 14. He surprised me (seriously surprised me) by planning us a trip to Atlanta for the weekend! His sister and her boyfriend, as well as one of our friends in Chattanooga, were all nice enough to watch Munch for the weekend and Monday while we were gone. Thank you Susie, Brandon, and John!!!

Our first stop in Atlanta was the World of Coke. After our honeymoon in Cancun last year we spent a few days in Atlanta and I got to experience World of Coke for the first time. This time around was no different than the first but it was fun to walk around and check out all the exhibits, as well as taste all the Coke products! I was ecstatic to see that they had Fruitopia. That was my favorite drink in middle school! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review: Origins Skincare Must Haves

I'm thinking of 2013 as the year of skincare. I'm tired of trying to fix my skin with makeup. I want to find products that really help my skin and restore it to what it should be. I've never been blessed with perfect, or even semi-perfect, skin. I began to have horrible acne in about 7th grade. I tried just about every gel, cream, or antibiotic available until being put on birth control around 15 or so. The birth control definitely helped clear my face since the cause of my acne is hormonal. I am currently still taking birth control and spironolactone to control my breakouts. My birth control is $82 a month and the spironolactone is thankfully only $5. I am very hesitant to stop taking my birth control or even switch to the generic version because whenever I have tried one of the options my face has erupted in horrible breakouts and took months to clear up again.

At the moment I only have a few active breakout spots. Normally, my skin is clear of whiteheads or cystic bumps, but acne scarring and hyperpigmentation makes my face look as though it is broken out. I have combination skin that goes from dry to very oily throughout the day. 

I am currently experimenting with new products from La Roche-Posay, as well as the Origins Skincare Must Haves kit which I purchased from for $55 ($86 value). This is my first time ever using Origins and I am pleasantly surprised. Here are my thoughts on the five products included in this kit.  

According to Sephora, this kit has and will do the following:

What it is:
An exclusive set of five must-have Origins favorites for a bright, fresh complexion. 

What it is formulated to do:
Give your skin a refreshing boost with this collection of energizing, skin-loving essentials. The moisturizer gives skin a zing of antioxidants, while hydrating and protecting from environmental damage. The face wash carefully balances skin’s dry and oily spots for a finish that feels comfortably clean and never tight, pulled, or parched. The dermabrasion formula promises age-smoothing exfoliation without irritation, leaving you kissed with cooling aloe. The serum reduces wrinkle length and depth—especially in stubborn furrows across your forehead and around the mouth. The eye cream instantly reduces dark circles and brightens rapidly for an alert, wide-awake look. 

This set contains:
- 0.5 oz Plantscription™ Anti-Aging Serum 
- 0.17 oz GinZing™ Refreshing Eye Cream 
- 1 oz Checks and Balances™ Frothy Face Wash 
- 1 oz Modern Friction™ Nature's Gentle Dermabrasion 
- 1.7 oz VitaZing™ SPF 15 Energy-Boosting Moisturizer 

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Sulfates 
- Phthalates 

Size of products: I read quite a few reviews that were criticizing the size of the products. I think the size of each product will last you enough time to decide whether you enjoy the product or not. The only full-size item is the VitaZing moisturizer.

Product(s) review(s):
  • Plantscription Anti-Aging Serum: This serum is supposed to "help boost cell turnover to restore smoothness, radiance, and clarity, along with helping to rebuild natural collagen and elastin fibers to make skin stronger and more resilient." I am 23 years old, so thankfully I haven't noticed any problem with aging yet. I can't say if this product works or not because I don't know what to compare it to. I will admit I haven't been that diligent using it. I probably reach for it 3-4 times a week after my La Roche-Posay serum and before my moisturizer. It does sink in within seconds and makes my skin feel moisturized without the greasy aftermath than many products leave. 
  • GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream: This eye cream is supposed to reduce under eye dark circled and puffiness. This is much too shimmery and illuminating me for. It reminded me of Benefit's Girl Meets Pearl highlighter! I didn't notice any reductions of my bags while using this. I will be keeping it as a face or body highlighter.
  • Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash- This is my favorite product of the bunch. This gentle face wash is meant to help balance the oily and dry parts of the face. It has a minty smell that is refreshing in the morning and foams up like crazy when I use it with my Clarisonic Mia. You only need a pea size amount of this stuff, so I have a feeling it will last a while. I haven't tested it to remove makeup (I use a gentle face wash before to do that) but it does leave my face feeling very clean without drying it out.  I will definitely repurchase this in a full size bottle when I run out of my sample.
  • Modern Friction Nature's Gentle Dermabrasion: Another stand out product! This exfoliant used rice starch and a creamy wash to rid the face of dry skin without being too harsh. The secret to using this product is to apply it to dry skin. After working it in, you add a bit of water to help the cream lather. After you rinse it off your skin will be smooth and moisturized. A little bit of this goes a long way, just like the cleanser, so I think this is a good alternative to rough scrubs if you have sensitive or reactive skin. 
  • VitaZing SPF 15 Energy-Boosting Moisturizer: This tinted moisturizer could be a hit or miss depending on your skin color and type. On my very pale days the tint tends to lean a bit too orange for my liking. However, I always use a foundation over it so that eliminates the problem. The color works great when I use a bit of sunless tanner, though. The consistency of the moisturizer is light, so if you have very dry skin I don't think this will help you too much. If I apply too much, more than a dime size, it makes my skin get oily by the middle of the day. I'm not sure if I would repurchase this or not. I think if you have clear, normal skin this moisturizer would be a great substitute for a light foundation with paired with concealer and powder.
** None of these products have broken me out in the three months I have tried them.

Price: I think the $55 price tag is reasonable since you are receiving a full size VitaZing which retails at $35 and four deluxe samples of the other products. 

Would I repurchase: I am definitely repurchasing the Checks and Balances face wash and probably the Modern Friction exfoliant. I would not repurchase the eye cream or anti-aging serum. I'm on the fence with the VitaZing moisturizer. I'm going to see how it does in the warmer months and decide once I run out of it.

Do you have any skincare recommendations for me? Please let me know in or link your own skincare posts  in the comment section!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Random Thoughts: Too Ambitious? 80s Flashback!

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Too ambitious? Is that even a thing? I was talking to someone about their upcoming job interview and they told me about a time they were told that they were "too ambitious" after sharing their goal of being in a higher position one day. The person who told me this story is older than me, a smart business woman, and was sharing a realistic goal--nothing far fetched. The person who told her she was too ambitious was a man who had conquered her similar goal. Why do you think he told her that? Was it because she was a woman? Since when do we need to stop being so ambitious?! 

The other night I watched The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. I'm so sad I missed the 80s. I was born in 1989 which makes me a 90s child. I love their fashion, slang, frosty makeup, and music. I desperately want the 80s to make a comeback!