Friday, October 10, 2014

thoughts of the week

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

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

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

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

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Elena's poor desperation :(

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

013 items used up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 19, 2014

current makeup rotation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

001 book challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

003 thoughts of the week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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That wig though

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

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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

lengthy skincare chat

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 14, 2014

current blush rotation: brights

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

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

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Desire in action. MAC Angel on the lips.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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