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! 



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Influenster SweetHeart VoxBox Review

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. Influenster turns your social influence into rewards. I've had fun with the program so far!

I was very excited to receive my first VoxBox from Influenster and I was not disappointed. Here are reviews for the four products I received in my box:

Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray
I have healthy, longer hair that get naturally wavy and holds a curl until I wash my hair. I'm in the process of growing out my hair (after getting a good 10 inches cut off in the fall) and my growing hair is starting to weight down my natural waves. I've been using this product while my hair is damp and when it is dry to give me beachy waves that stay all day long. I just shake up the bottle and spray it all over my hair. What I like the best about this spray compared to other texturizing sprays is the fact that it dries matte, not greasy like some do. It also doesn't make my hair super sticky or dry. 

I'm pretty new to Not Your Mother's products, other than their dry shampoo which I liked also, but will be picking up some of their other products soon. I'm interested in their curl cream because at the moment I only use one from Bed Head which is around $20 a bottle. I would love to find a less expensive alternative that had the same great quality.

Skinny Girl On the Go Bar in Greek Yogurt Blueberry Crisp
I'm not going to lie, I was super excited to see this in my box. I love trying out new snack bars that I can eat between meals or in class. The Greek Yogurt Blueberry Crisp flavor was sweet but not in the artificial sense that some have. It kept me full for about three hours before dinner. If you are on Weight Watchers, like myself, each bar (at least for this flavor) is 5 points. That's a bit high for a snack but not too bad. I'm not sure if I would repurchase the bars due to the higher WW points and the price tag ($9.99 for 5 bars) but I did enjoy the bar.

Secret Clinical Strength Stress Response Deodorant/Antiperspirant 
I only use Secret deodorants but had never tried the Clincial Strength line. I've never had a reason to pick up a stronger deodorant. Either way I really enjoyed the scent and lasting power of this one. It has a light citrus scent that doesn't change its scent after wearing it all day long or sweating. Since it is March I haven't been in any real sweating situation (looks like I need to work out) but it has lasted all day long which is important to me since my normal day goes from 8-5 at work then either night class or the library for studying. Another plus is that the cream formula does not stain or transfer on clothing once it is dry. I would consider repurchasing this deodorant, especially during the summer time.

Olay Fresh Effects Va-Va-Vivid Powered Contour Cleansing System

Olay says this about the system--
iberate your skin from dirt, oil, and makeup for fresh, fearless, unstoppable freshness. 

An ingeniously designed power brush to get around your face’s contours—the T-zone, hairline, and nose—for a 400% better clean compared to basic cleansing.

Fresh has never felt, or looked, so good.

System includes:
Facial cleansing brush with super-soft bristles
Shine Minimizing Cleanser

First things first, the vibrating tool was crap. I use my Clarisonic Mia almost every day, so I'm used to how well it works and cleans my face. I can honestly say that is has dramatically changed my skin texture and has helped keep my face clear. I think the Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System does a WAYYY better job than the tool you get in this kit. The only area I did enjoy using the tool was on my nose because its triangular shape really fit in the curves of my nose. I felt like the vibrations you could feel in the handle didn't reach the skin. I also felt as though I was scrubbing too hard with it so I could feel it. 

Now on to the cleanser--I really liked it! My skin is very strange. It normally starts out as dry all over and then turns to combination/oily by the end of the day. I use gentle cleansers (other than my acne cleanser that I use sparingly) and a regular moisturizer or grape seed oil after cleansing. I tend to put a little moisturizer on and add more if needed.

This cleanser foams up a lot, which I enjoy, and was gentle on my skin. I always use makeup removing wipes or a gentle cleanser before actual cleansing to remove makeup so I can't comment on how well it removes makeup. However, it did leave my skin feeling normal. Not tight. Not dry. Not oily. I found that throughout the day my skin was noticeably less oily and my foundation didn't oxidize like it normally does in the T-zone area. I will continuing alternating between this cleanser and my Origins Checks and Balances cleanser.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Soccer date.

I have an adorable 65 pound toddler who loves to play soccer. His name is Munch. He is a pit mix. He loves to sit in your lap. Lick your face. Lay his head on your's when you sleep.
 Just the usual toddler activities.

I found out this weekend that he likes to play "soccer". "Soccer"=kicking a soccer ball, letting him chase it, him picking it up with his mouth, running it back to me, and starting over. Soccer. Yeah.

Here are some photos of him having fun.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

February 2013 Empties

Another month of empties! Woo hoo!

Pantene Flat to Volume Shampoo- Worked just fine. Didn't notice any extra volume but cleaned my hair without drying it out.

CVS Medium Thick Hair Conditioner- CVS's knockoff of Pantene's conditioner. Worked well for me.

Olay Tone Enrinching Ribbons Body Wash- Steven and I both enjoyed this body wash because the cream ribbons were so moisturizing. I will definitely repurchase...with a coupon of course!

Bath and Body Works Winter Cranberry Foaming Hand Soap- I love the scent of this soap. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait to repurchase next winter.

Slatkin. & Co. 3 wick candle in Frosted Cupcake- I wasn't too fond on this scent, so I will not repurchase. Nevertheless, Slatkin&Co. candles from Bath and Body Works are my favorite!

Simple Night Cream- I loved this night cream from the brand Simple. It had no fragrance or weird ingredients that would irritate my skin. I used it as a day cream too since my skin has been so dry, but I think it would be too heavy for the summer. I would repurchase this next winter.

Lypsyl lip balm- My favorite lip balm! Way better than Burt's Bees in my opinion. I have already repurchased another tube because all my other lip balms were in pots and I don't feel very sanitary using them after I've been touching stuff in public.

Revlon Brow Fantasy in Brunette- I never used the pencil side of this brow duo but I loved the gel side. It was tinted enough to look like I had filled in my brows and it was quick to use. I'm not using other brow products so I won't be repurchasing this for a while.

Revlon Lash Fantasy Total Definition mascara- My current favorite mascara. The primer reminds me so much of Dior's primer at a small fraction of the price. The rubber brush adds tons or length and definition to my lashes and never flakes. I'm already on a new tube of this.

CoverGirl Nature Luxe mascara- I really enjoyed this mascara. It has a mousse formula so it was very light on my lashes. I used it alone for a natural look or as a layering mascara with other mascaras to seperate and lengthen my lashes.

Glam Glow Youth-Mud Tinglexfoilate Treatment sample- I received this one time sample from a Sephore online order. This stuff retails at around $60 for a tiny jar. After reading the reviews I was expecting it to tingle and make my skin look AMAZING. Um that didn't happen. My skin was very smooth but the mask didn't tingle and the day after using it my skin was flaking everywhere. Gross. I would never use this again.

Ren Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream sample- I almost wish I had never tried this moisturizer. It is so amazing. My skin has never felt so soft and moisturized without looking greasy before. I was able to skip my usual face primer because this cream prepped my skin for foundation too. I would purchase a full size but the price tag for that is $55!!!!!! Maybe I will splurge on it next time I get a gift card because it really is worth it .

Revlon Age Defying Cream Makeup samples- I tried using the pea sized samples of this foundation in different colors. The cream had shimmer in it and didn't do much for my skin so I know I wouldn't repurchase it.

What did you finish in February? Post a blog link in the comments!

February 2013 Favorites

My beauty favorites for February are short and sweet just like the month was. Between traveling and lots of studying I used the same products every day. Here are some things that I discovered this month or that really stood out to me.

Skin and body: I've really enjoyed using Origin's Checks and Balances face wash and Modern Friction face scrub. I received these items with three others in a sample kit from Sephora. The face wash is labeled as "frothy" which is right on point. I use it with my Clarisonic Mia and this stuff foams like crazy. It has a minty smell which is nice in the morning especially when I'm sleepy. My skin hasn't broken out since using this and it removes all my makeup. Plus, a little bit goes a long way. I will definitely purchase a full size bottle once I use my sample up. The Modern Friction scrub is interesting to use. I apply a quarter size amount to my dry face using my dry finger tips. Then after about 30 seconds-1 minute I wet my fingers and scrub some more before rinsing with water. It has the perfect amount of roughness and gentleness. I like to actually feel a scrub but I want it to be gentle enough not to turn my face red. This definitely does the trick.

I also discovered a new razor that I received from BzzAgent. The Schick Hydro Silk for women has 5 blades and a water activated moisturizing serum strip that keeps my legs super smooth without breaking out in razor bumps. 99% of the time I will choose a men's razor over women's but this one did just as good as my favorite men's razors!

I found the Sonia Kashuk Limited Edition Brush Couture 4 piece Brush Set at my local Target. I love Sonia Kashuk brushes, especially the ones with limited edition prints. This set comes with a duo fiber brush, large eyeshadow brush, crease brush, and angled liner brush. My favorite brushes in the set are definitely the duo fiber which I use for bronzer and the liner brush which I use for cream liner and my brows. The best part? The $12.99 price tag!

My best friend passed along her ELF Eyebrow Kit in Medium because it was too dark for her. The $3 gem has a wax and powder that are so simple to use. I normally just use the wax to fill in my brows but if I have extra time I put some of the powder over it.

I also rediscovered my favorite cream blush: MAC's Blushcreme in Brit Wit. This is the original formula that MAC no longer sells. I use my Real Technique's Stippling Brush to grab a TINY bit of this pigmented cream and swirl in on the apples of my cheeks to my hairline. The color is a dusty mauve that is extremely pigmented and smooth.

What were your February favorites?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hearts and Darts 3.1.13


  • Work vacation- I was in Kansas City, MO for the past week for a college bookstore trade show. It's always nice to get away from the office for a while. Even though I was working my company's booth it was fun to connect with my coworkers, eat lots of yummy food, and have a king size bed all to myself. No snoring husband. No purring cats. No fidgeting dog. Plus, I got to see like 1.5 feet of snow! All looking. No touching. Snow is not my thing.
  • George Strait- Tonight Steven, his parents, and I are heading to Knoxville to watch George Strait perform in his farewell tour. He's one of our favorite country singers. I mean he's a legend! We surprised Steven's parents with tickets and I'm so excited to see how happy Steven's mom will be at the show.
  • Glitter tips- A glitter accent nail is cute, but I like glitter tips a bit more. I like to use a nude polish like Essie's Topless and Barefoot as a base and some kind of glitter dabbed on the nail tips. Right now I'm wearing Essie's Like Linen and Stroke of Brilliance together. My favorite part? The glitter helps keep your polish from chipping!

  • Middle seats on planes- Me and planes just don't mix. I get terribly sick and tend to have bad luck with connections and the airlines changing my flights without telling me...which all three happened this weekend. On my way back to Chattanooga I had a flight from Kansas City to Atlanta. They changed my flight and I made it just in time to realize I was sitting in the dreaded middle seat. I'm not totally against that until the other two flyers decide to take up the arm rests leaving me awkwardly trying not to touch them. Was it so hard to give me at least one arm rest?!?
  • Sookie Stackhouse series- I just don't know if I can keep reading the series that True Blood is loosly based off. Sookie is already an annoying character on the show. In the books she is 4324234 times worse. She is so conceited and pretty dumb. Not sure if I want to keep wasting my time.
  • School anxiety- For some reason I get so nervous when I need to meet with a teacher about a paper or project, especially when they have already sent me some feedback. I am taking an individual studies class about finance in the public administration field and I feel as though I'm a bit over my head in it. I worried all week long about meeting my teacher and in the meeting he acted like I was doing pretty good. Why do I feel like I need to worry? I really have to work on that.
I hope you all have had a great week! What were your Hearts and Darts?