Wednesday, June 22, 2011

5 ways to spend those lazy summer days

Summer is officially here! The sun is shining, the weather is beautiful and there's tons of time to do anything your little heart desires.

Here are my personal favorite activities for those lazy summer days:

1) Catch up on your reading
This is especially great on rainy days. I love to curl up with a good book and spend a good afternoon away in another world.

2) Give yourself a manicure/pedicure
Nothing says summer like a bright pink polish on my toes. It brightens my day every time I see neatly polished toes, especially since most of us live in sandals or flip flops during the summer.

3) Sunless tanning
I'm a big fan of sunless tanning, or anything that doesn't damage my skin. Take the time to apply a sunless tanning product that makes your skin glow and look healthy throughout the summer.

4) Get Active!
Yes I hear those grumbles but take the time and do something good for your body. Attend a group exercise class like Zumba or Pilates, and it will not only boost your confidence but give you more energy to enjoy outside activities. Added bonus : your body will thank you on those bikini days.

5) A New Hobby
We all know those summer months go by very slowly when you have nothing to do so why not find a new hobby? Maybe this will be the summer when you find out you are great at oil painting or maybe even an amazing tennis player!

What's your favorite summer activity?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mama Mio : Summer Confidence Challenge

I first saw this on Fleur De Force's blog and I thought this was an amazing challenge for all us girls this summer! The dreaded summer reveal is now here and we need a little boost in confidence to get us into those teeny bikinis, pretty sundresses, and short shorts.

Mama Mio has set up a confidence poll, which scores your body confidence out of 50. They've also set up an confidence challenge on twitter and facebook where they set up challenges every week to help build your body confidence. The challenges run all summer long ending the last week of August, when you will be asked to fill the confidence poll once again to see your progress! You're also entered in for a chance to win £1000 holiday voucher with Kuoni.

Mama Mio has a line of products to get you beach ready and your body toned. I'm a little skeptical myself but I find their challenges very interesting and a wonderful way to get motivated for summer.

Are you going to enter the challenge?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

We all get it more than we'd like and want it to disappear immediately...Blemishes. I have been searching for a product that will do away with these unsightly creatures, and do it in a relatively quick manner, which is why I was ecstatic when I found the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion.

I'd never seen a product like this one before and one that actually yields results. It comes in either a plastic or glass bottle, depending on what you like best. It is an acne spot treatment that dries pimples quickly. The contents are a pinkish bottom (Calamine) and a yellowish top layer (Salicylic Acid).

To use:

Just dip a Q-tip all the way down to the pink bottom and then pull it out carefully. Apply it to the affected area and let it sit overnight. The next morning...was off with a cleanser and Voila!!!! Blemish is not only diminished but is no longer red and inflamed yay! Exactly what I was looking for. The second night I applied it again, even though a lot of reviews I read said not to...well I was pleasantly surprised. The ugly monster was gone! I must say although it is an amazing product for getting rid of pimples and blemishes, it did dry out my skin a little (yes, I know that's how the product works). So I recommend moisturizing plenty when using this product.

A little tip : Do not shake the bottle! It is most effective when the two do not mix while in the bottle. I had a mini anxiety attack when the girl behind the counter tossed the bottle into the bag. Eek!!!

Mario Badescu drying lotion is my hero!

Have you tried this product?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Review : Essie Smooth Trick Deep Conditioning Cuticle Oil

Price :

Where to buy :
Target, Walmart

After years of manicures (they cut my cuticles!) and nail biting (kicked that habit a while back...but still suffer the consequences), my cuticles are unfortunately destroyed! Recently I decided there was something I needed to about these unruly little monsters, so I decided to buy this "miracle product" everyone talked about. I had high hopes for this product especially since it's been raved about time and time again on youtube. I can't say it the amazing product everyone claims it is because it doesn't do the trick for me. 

I must say, the packaging is well designed. It has a pointed end, like that of a pen, that gets in the curves of your nails to deliver the most product to the cuticle area. Also, the formula is oily but not overly greasy, which is a plus in my opinion. Unfortunately, the "smooth trick" only lasts for about a half hour. The next day, my cuticles are back to looking less than desirable.

Overall, the idea is headed in the right direction but the formula just doesn't cut it for me. So again I'm in search for something that will actually work for my horrible cuticles.

Likes :
Packaging, not overly greasy

Dislikes :
Does not smooth my cuticles

Have you found your cuticle "miracle worker" ? Do tell!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Brittanylovex's MAC giveaway!

Blogger Brittanylovex is hosting an amazing MAC giveaway! You get your choice of any MAC lipstick and eyeshadow!

There are many ways to win so head over to her blog and enter!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Check out this blogger!

I love running across amazing new bloggers, especially those as creative as Lauren of My Closet in Sketches. That's why I thought everyone should know about her. All her posts have amazing sketches and awesome commentary to go along with it. It's absolutely a pleasure to read her blog, it's eye candy to my newbie blogger eyes.

Fashion is the main focus of her site but on two occasions she wrote...sketched... wrote/sketched about her makeup routine and her skin care. Believe me after one of her posts you will be addicted! I can't rave enough about this lovely lady, so I will let her work do the talking.

Skincare Post :

Makeup Post :

Aren't these amazing!!! I wish I had an ounce of the creativity she does. 

It's your turn! What amazing/creative bloggers have you discovered recently?

Moisturize In the Summer

My favorite time of the year is back! It's finally summer! Skincare is very important during this season especially since we love going outside and basking in the sun's warm rays. We are reminded all the time about sunscreen, which of course is so very important, but what about our moisturizer? Most of us toss our moisturizer aside because we think it makes our skin look greasy in the summer and just smears everywhere. However, your skin requires moisture in the summer as much as in the winter months. Here are a few reasons why :

1) To control excessive oil
Yes this is true! It seems contradictory but if you don't moisturize your skin in the summer months, your skin with try and compensate by creating more oils, making it more difficult for skin to breathe. This excess oil can accumulate and clog your pores and takes away that natural glow, making your skin look dull and lifeless.

2) To prevent aging
Harsh UV rays from the sun can harm our skin and cause premature wrinkles and fine lines. Moisturizer prevents this especially if it has at least 15 spf added to the formula.

3) Protects from Environmental Damage
Moisturizer acts like a protective coating on the skins surface which prevents from harmful accumulation of dirt and toxic particles on your skin. It also prevents from clogged pores and then the formation of unsightly blackheads and acne inflammations from flaring up.

What to use?
For the summer months I like to use a light weight moisturizer that won't clog my pores. I like the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing lotion in level 3 for oily skin.

I also love the Origins VitaZing moisturizer. It acts like a tinted moisturizer, evens out my skin tone and has SPF 15!

For a refreshing night moisturizer I use the Korres Rose moisturizer. Soothes my skin after a hot day my skin looks bright and fresh for the morning.

Also remember to keep hydrated with lots of H2O to keep your skin healthy and glowing in the summer months and have tons of fun in the sun!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Winged eyeliner look - The tools you need

We've all seen it done a million times from the old hollywood starlets to every beauty guru on youtube, but to truly do it right you have to have the right "equipment" that work for you personally.

After a lot of research (hours upon hours of watching youtube winged eyeliner videos) and much practice I finally found what worked for me *insert children cheering*

Le Tools :

1. Pointed eyeliner brush
The first brush I ever used to try and create this look was a small eyeliner brush. I have a smaller lid so I found this helped me create a thinner and more precise winged look, although not the easiest to use. My favorite was the Sigma E05 brush.

*There is also a version of this pointed eyeliner brush by Sonia Kashuk which has a slight bend for easier use.
2. Angled eyeliner brush
This brush was a revelation for me. I could not believe I hadn't thought of this earlier! This was a lot easier for me to manage and made the "wing" part of the look a lot easier. I use the Sigma E65. 

3. Gel eyeliner
Along with the angled eyeliner this is my go-to product for the perfect winged look. This glides on very smooth and although it is more permanent than a pencil liner, it is easier to fix than a liquid liner. My personal favorite is the MAC Blacktrack Fluidline get liner.

4. Liquid Liner
I was too afraid to try this until waaaay later on in my journey to achieve the perfect winged liner look. I must say it does look amazing for a dramatic night out look or for a special occasion. All I have to say about this is practice practice practice! There is a little trick I learned from beauty guru Makeupgeek, if you make the winged liner a pencil liner then go over it with the liquid liner, you can achieve the look. I absolutely love the Maybelline Line Stiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Liner because of the felt tip, making it easier to maneuver. 

5. Q-tip and makeup remover
My hero!!! This is especially useful when the "wing" has been applied too thickly. Just take a Q-tip with a little makeup remover and just sweep it slowly along the bottom of the wing and it fixes any little imperfections. 

6. Learn from the best
I have to admit, if it wasn't for youtube I would've never been able to achieve the coveted winged eyeliner. Here are a few of my favorite guru's. Thank you ladies!

Best advice : just have fun with it. Although you may feel like this at first: "When watching (video) : oh that looks easy. When trying : How did it end up near my eyebrows?" 
Don't give up! Just practice and have fun with it!

Beautycrush's Winged Eyeliner Tutorial :

Love this version of the look by Makeupbytiffanyd :

Back to the basics :

Have you tried this look?

Healthy Color-treated hair? Can it be?

Yes it true ladies. It can be achieved!

After years of color treating my hair, bleaching it, styling it, and hundreds of other damaging procedures I finally took heed to my stylist (also sister) advice. For years I heard "You really shouldn't color your hair after just two weeks of dying it! You're damaging it!" and "For goodness sakes, use a heat protectant on that hair!" The result of ignoring these wise words...flat, lifeless and in-need-of-much repair hair (rhyming not intended).

Finally I decided, enough is enough! I crawled back to my stylist for help. Thank goodness for her because I'd probably be bald by now if she hadn't come to my hair's rescue. With her help I now have the hair I've always wanted. It's not easy and it does take time and loads of patience but it's very well worth it.

I feel I must past this on to all the girls that have my same issue. So here is my NEW and IMPROVED healthy hair least some good steps to follow to start treating your hair like it deserves to be treated.

1) Stop washing your hair everyday!!!

Yes this sounds kind of gross, especially if you have oily hair like I do, but it is a must. Every time you shampoo your hair, you are striping it of vital nutrients you naturally produce. Nutrients that keep your hair healthy. I now wash my hair only twice a week with a gentle shampoo such as the Kerastase Reflections Bain Chroma Riche Shampoo. It's designed for color-treated hair and adds moisture and softness to your damaged tresses. I can not even being to tell you how much this alone improved the condition of my hair, after two weeks of using this product my hair stopped feeling straw-like and started to soften and feel like...well like hair again.

2) Condition, Condition, Condition!

This is a vital part of having healthy hair, especially after putting it through so many treatments and heat styling. I use 3 products for this purpose. Right after shampooing I use the Redken All Soft conditioner which is especially formulated for dry and brittle hair. I leave it for about 2 minutes while in the shower and then I wash it out. Results : I can actually comb my hair without it snagging or ripping my poor troubled locks.

*side note* : Just a little trick I learned from a past stylist, when drying your hair DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT rub with your towel. This can cause split ends and worsen the condition of your hair. Also, when combing your hair, start from the bottom. Sounds crazy but if you start brushing from your ends then work your way up to your roots then it will reduce the amount of snagging done by your brush.

3) Reduce your use of Heat Styling Instruments

Yes, I know...'tis difficult but it must be done! Note I said reduce not eliminate, this is because I know it's not reasonable for the modern beauty addict to completely let go of the precious curling irons, blow dryers and flat irons. First and whenever possible, I let my hair air dry for at least 10 minutes then style my hair with a curling iron and blow dryer. I limit my use of these products to 2 times a week...3 if absolutely necessary (date night with the hubby for example). When I do (and I can't emphasize this enough), I absolutely will use a heat protectant. My favorites are the Kerastase Nectar Thermique, the Chi Silk Infusion, and the Tresemme Heat Tamer Spray. To keep my creation in place, I use the Victoria's Secret Hold Please Volume Shine Hairspray. It smells like cupcakes and perfume all wrapped up in one. It's amazing!

And there you have it girls. My little secret to manageable, healthy and down right beautiful hair! It can be achieved!

What are your secrets to lovely tresses?

Shopping, Shopping and more shopping!

Nothing says therapy like walking into a mall and being able to buy what you've been wanting for a long time...

First stop, Victoria's Secret -

Recently I found in my stash of forgotten beauty items my Pink Clean and Fresh body lotion. It was out of sheer laziness that I used this product one night, it was the closest thing to my bed. I remember why I fell in love with it all over again and I had to go get the body mist and hand lotion. It smells of light spring air! I absolutely love it and the best part is the lotion is very moisturizing without that gross greasy feeling most heavy lotion leave on your skin.

What's a day at the mall without a stop at Sephora. It was packed with beauty crazed girls this weekend but it didn't matter, I was there for one thing and one thing only (I have to go in with that mentality or I will spend a years worth of paychecks in that store!) : NARS Super Orgasm Lip gloss. I've heard almost every YouTube beauty guru rave about this product and I just had to have it. I was not disappointed in the very least. It's my lips but better and then some. I love the shimmer it adds to my lips and makes them look perfectly pouty.

I made a quick stop at The Body Shop mainly looking for their lip balms which I've heard so much about. I was between two of their lip balms but decided on the Born Lippy Strawberry Lip Balm. Not only does it actually smell like strawberries but it also makes my lips feel soft and just overall wonderful *shocker!* As soon as I applied it to my dry cracked lips (gross, I know) it made them feel soft and supple yay!!!! 2 thumbs up, 10 golden stars and all that jazz for the Born Lippy lip balm.

Ever since I saw Lauren Conrad's wine red manicure at her book signing I've been on the hunt for the perfect dark red nail polish. Well I found it! China Glaze's Ravishing Dahling is a classy wine red polish without being too blackened. Although, you do have to apply two or three coats, it's worthwhile. The end result is an amazing jelly like finish that makes your nails look *insert corny line* Ravishing Dahling!

Last on my list is the Rimmel Day2Nite mascara in Extreme Black. I've been dying to try this mascara for a long time. It's been said to be a dupe for MAC's Haute and Naughty mascara except way cheaper. I can't wait to try this! Review to come...

So there you have it folks! My happiness haul as I like to call it.

What have you been shopping for lately?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

*Drumroll Please* May Birchbox has arrived!

After a month of patiently waiting, it's finally here! My very first Birchbox! I've heard many beauty gurus on youtube rave about this monthly subscription service and I finally decided to try it out. I must say, I am not disappointed at all. For those of you asking, "What is a Birchbox?" basically it's a monthly subscription ($10/month) for which you receive 4-5 deluxe samples of the newest and best beauty products out there.

On to the fun stuff...

I opened this little pink box it smelled like heaven and I must attribute that to the first item in my birchbox:

1. Archipelago Pomegranate Soap triple milled 

Even though I am not a huge fan of bar soaps I am definitely giving this one a try. It is a triple milled (oooh fancy!) luxe soap that smells exactly as described, but also has white tea, cranberry, and chamomile extracts. It has such a pretty design and the smell is so heavenly I almost want to just put it in one of my drawers so all my clothes can smell this good!

2. Kerastase Reflections Bain Chroma Riche

I must say, although I've had previous experience with this product I was very excited to see it was included. I can definitely say this product does exactly what it claims. It's turned my dull thin tresses into silky, dare I say thicker and healthier looking hair yay! After trying every hair product out there, I am relieved to find this little gem. So 2 thumbs up for Kerastase.

3. Jouer moisturizing lip gloss - "Glisten"

I first heard about this company from one of my favorite beauty gurus out there, missglamorazzi so I was excited to try it. This is the first product I tried from my birchbox and I must say I rather like it. It has a wand applicator which is one of my favorite and has a very smooth texture and no fragrance to it which is a plus in my book. I got it in the shade "Glisten" which is a clear gloss with golden reflects. I would have enjoyed a little more product though...I'm not sure this qualifies as a "deluxe sample" since it's barely 1/4 of the size of the regular size tube.

4. AHAVA Purifying Mud Mask

Lately I've been on a face mask kick so needless to say this was perfect for me. This mask claims to give you brighter skin in just two minutes...SOLD!!!! Most of the masks I use now, although amazing, take at least 15 minutes (the hubby doesn't appreciate what he calls "jungle face") I can't wait to try it!

Finally, the treat of the month was a Tiny prints Greeting Card. I also received a Jouer luminizing moisture tint in two shades : Pearl and Golden. Can't wait to try these!

What product was your favorite in this month's Birchbox?