Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why I Wear Makeup

For my first post in a week (sorry, work has been crazy), I've decided to touch on something that a lot of my close friends have commented on.

As I have said, I used to not be into makeup. Not by a long shot. Usually, I wouldn't even try to cover up blemishes. I just hid them behind bangs, hands, or scarves.

And when I started this blog, a lot of people I know were a little skeptical. Me? Makeup? But do you even wear makeup? Why do you wear makeup? You have such nice skin, you don't really need it.

But here's the thing: I'm really self conscious. I get nervous easily, I get anxious and doubt myself all the time. That's part of living with an anxiety disorder, no matter how mild. And honestly, it makes life tough. I remember crying after my first job interview because I bombed it because of my nerves. I remember shaking so hard during the interview that the chair rattled.

For some reason, when I wear makeup, that seems to go away. I feel confident. Sexy. Strong. Sure of myself.

I'm not covering anything up. Heck, if anything, you guys have seen that my makeup is light and thin and barely noticeable. But what my makeup does is make me feel like I'm putting my best face forward.

On those days when I have the time to look awesome. Spend a few minutes on myself, rather than sacrificing for those around me...well, it's a big deal. It's something that is purely for me. Making myself happy, rather than trying to please those around me.

Makeup is something that makes me feel like I'm really me. Like I love myself more every day.

And really, that's something that's rare today. Lots of women hate themselves. They don't feel confident. They don't love their bodies, no matter what size or shape they are. They want to be airbrushed, perfect by magazine standards, not realizing that they're already perfect.

And even just a tiny amount of makeup reminds me that I am beautiful. Especially when I take the time to love myself. To look in a mirror, even when I have a zit the size of Texas, and say, "Damn. I'm beautiful!"

On those days when I don't wear makeup, I can feel the difference. The same way I can feel the difference when I spend the day wearing my work clothes (black on black) and when I have the chance to wear a bright fuchsia shirt that shows off my curves with a pair of nice pants that makes my butt look amazing.

There's something about looking your best that can change you. And when you're as anxious as I am, that's a big deal. Looking my best ensures that I feel my best.

So, yeah, makeup isn't for everyone. But it might be for a lot more people if they knew how to apply it to emphasize their natural beauty. If they could get past what my first thought was: that makeup is to cover up and hide behind.

 I want all of my readers to know that makeup isn't for hiding behind. Makeup is for helping you to take a step forward and say, "Here I am! I'm ready to take on the world!"

Thanks for reading this text post. I just felt the need to get my feelings on the matter out in the open. Feel free to let me know why you wear makeup in the comments!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

DIY Lip Scrub

Remember when I told you the internet is your friend when it comes to trying something new?

Well, this is yet another instance where  that is proven to be true.

You see, I wanted a lip scrub. I desperately need one year round because I'm the type of person that forgets chapstick. I also lick my lips constantly and never drink enough water. Needless to say, my lips are pretty much always in a state of dryness and in desperate need of exfoliation.

I found some awesome lip scrubs at Lush, but they were messy and expensive. If you have the money, they are a great investment. But the scrubs, made mostly of sugar, flavor, and some vitamins, still wouldn't solve the problem of my chapped lips.

To my rescue, Pinterest! I searched until I found one that used items I had in my pantry. After all, what's the point of saving money by making a DIY if you have to spend an arm and a leg on the product to make said DIY?

You can find this recipe anywhere, but here's my version.

You'll need: Coconut oil, honey, and sugar (I used turbinado sugar). Seriously. That's it.
First, you will need a small container. I've heard of people using baby food jars, washed out tea tins, and the like. I choose to make my lip scrub in much smaller batches. Here, I re-purposed an empty sample container from (well, would you look at that) Lush. 
Here is the completed, refrigerated product.

And a pile of the sugary (delicious) scrub on the tip of a nail.

My recipe, you ask? My method? Well, to tell you the truth, I didn't really follow one. Sure, the first time I did. But I thought it was way too much scrub for me, there wasn't enough sugar, and there was way too much honey.

So I played around a bit until I got it exactly the way I wanted it. I added the sugar first, then the warmed up coconut oil, then the honey. I kept working in small increments until it was just what I wanted.

And that's okay! You can find a recipe and then tweak it to your liking. That's the great thing about DIY: it's completely customizable. Hate coconut oil? Find another oil that you do like. Want some vitamin E? Sure, break a caplet in there. Add some flavor extracts, some color. Whatever you know will work with your body, your skin, your preferences. 

In the end, that's why makeup is awesome. There aren't really hard and fast rules (well, not really). It's all figuring out what works for you. 

Isn't that the best?!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Birchbox February 2013 - Beauty Protector

I've been looking for a heat protectant spray for what feels like forever. I've only recently started styling my hair (and in fact, only bought my first hair dryer a couple of weeks ago), so I didn't know where to start. Like BB Creams, it feels like there is a glut of product to protect your hair on the market. Everything ranging from leave in conditioners to styling products to hardcore shampoos.

I was about to purchase a spray from Birchbox when this awesome little solution rolled into my mailbox.

 This is a long list of uses, but let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start).

Detangler? Yes. It's as simple as that. I rarely condition my hair, and I only wash it once every couple of days, so it's great for detangling when I haven't conditioned.

Thermal protector? Sure seems so. I used it a couple of days ago when I used my brand new blow dryer, and my hair didn't feel frizzy or damaged at all. Which is nice, because I love my hair and I treat it like it's some diamond from another planet. Seriously. One day I'll tell you about my hair care routine.

Alright, the list is too long for me to go over every item. But it definitely makes my hair shiny. It's not greasy in the slightest. It doesn't weight my hair down. So yeah, it seems like all of the important ones are taken care of.

But my favorite part? It smells amazing. Like fresh coconuts and just a hint of something beachy. It's fresh, not heavy, clean, not sugary. And it doesn't overpower my perfume. I just notice it every now and then when I turn my head.

I have noticed one thing, though. If you don't comb it through very well, you're bound to wind up with some "crunchy" spots. Some spots where you hair is really stiff. It combs out, though, so it doesn't make me want it any less. You just have to be careful with not spraying it too concentrated.

And just cause I took the pictures, here are some of my hair with this stuff in it. Freshly washed, not conditioned, and not all the way dry. And no, I'm not wearing makeup. I just got out of bed and got showered to write these blog posts.

Thanks for reading!

Birchbox February 2013 - Dr. Jart BB Cream

I have been looking for a BB cream everywhere. I'm super into Korean culture, so several years ago, I started looking. But at that time, they were nowhere to be found. Now, it seems like the market is over saturated with this miracle product. Every company has their own version, with its own benefits and formulas and spokespeople.

It's intimidating to say the least.

So when I got this Birchbox sample, I was super excited. Not only was it a well renowned BB cream, it's a Dr. Jart BB cream. And for those who don't know, Dr. Jart was one of the first big brands. It went from nothing to household name really fast in Korea.

I was really excited to try it. Unfortunately, I was a little let down. Not by the product, though.

The sample size was small, but adequate.

And here you see my problem. I am very, very pale. Especially now, in the middle of winter. This color was a good deal too dark for my skin color. However, I traipsed forward to eek out a decent review.

Here, you can see that even rubbed in, the color difference is very distinct. 

Despite the color striation on my hand, I left that there all day. It had good staying power, I'll give it that much. But as you might have noticed, I prefer sheerer makeup. I don't really have problem skin (and this product is aimed towards that market). So Dr. Jart's BB Cream was a little too full coverage for me. 

It was creamy, and thick, which some people might like. But it's not really up my alley. 

However, it did leave my skin moisturized and soft. And eventually I stopped noticing how heavy it felt. I can see how this would be a great product for someone who wants full coverage makeup without looking greasy or cakey. After all, the cream gave my skin a nice matte finish. And it blended in nicely.

I just wish I could have tried it with a color that matched me. 

Thanks for reading!

Birchbox February 2013 – Color Club Wild Cactus

Right out of the box, I knew this color and I would become fast friends. Birchbox revealed it as a potential spoiler, and I am so very, very glad that I got it. No picture can do this color justice.

Color Club describes this on trend color as “a rich emerald” but there’s more to it than that. It’s got this blue in it that’s just marvelous. And it goes on smooth and perfect in two buttery coats. No bubbling, no pooling, no visible nail line. Just bright, pigmented color.

I really wish this picture did more justice. Unfortunately, my camera had trouble capturing the accurate colors, and even my editing tools couldn't get the jewel tone right. This is very, very washed out. Here is a more accurate representation of the color:
Bottle image courtesy of Birchbox.

And even that in the bottle picture isn't quite right. You're just going to have to see this for yourself, cause the color is fabulous and wonderful in every way. 

I’ve already put his beauty in my Birchbox cart, because there’s no way I can go without this color. It’s already one of my favorites, and this polish…well, it’s my new favorite. And I have a lot of polish.

In addition, I've had several customers at work comment on how beautiful the color is. This is an eye catching color that is sure to be awesome all year round. 

I’m so happy I could faint.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Birchbox February 2013 - Juicy Couture

Juicy Couture Perfume - Couture La La

Birchbox describes this scent as "a stunning mix of mandarin, red currant, lily, and orange blossom." And you know what? It is stunning.

Ok, as you guys have probably noticed, I’m super picky when it comes to perfume. My skin is finicky, for starters. It amps certain notes and then completely masks others. So I’m always a little hesitant when I try “mass market” perfumes. Especially this one. I saw all of the floral notes and was worried that I would smell like baby powder (which is how floral and I usually end up together).

But this perfume…this is a real winner. Even with my weird body chemistry, it smells fabulous. Mellow and sweet and subtle, with a touch of something that seems a little like amber and vanilla had a love child. A really great lovechild.

The smell is not cloying. It is delicate and feminine, which is exactly what the description on the package proclaims.

Props to Juicy Couture for making a mass market perfume that doesn’t make me want to run for the hills. In fact, I could see myself running out of the sample and buying a full bottle.

This is a great scent for spring. And oh man, Valentine’s Day. Perfect for Valentine’s Day.

It is womanly without being over the top, and young without being childish. Romantic. Sweet. Sexy. I'm absolutely impressed. 

Hooray for delightful scents!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Polish Review: China Glaze Pull Me Close

Now, this isn't my first time working with China Glaze's Magnetix line. I have two of the polishes, and really like them. Even without the magnet art, they are nice metallic colors.

However, on a recent trip to Sally's Beauty Supply, I happened to see the new Magnetix II magnet. So I picked it up (on sale, might I add) and decided that today would be a fine day to give myself a manicure.

Here's my review of the new magnets and an official review of Pull Me Close.

Pull Me Close is a nice magnetic blue-toned grey polish. The color is slightly streaky, but manageable. The formula is what you would expect from China Glaze: pretty awesome. You can get near opacity in one coat, but I would recommend two for using the magnet. It makes sure there is a nice base so there are no bald patches. 

As for the magnet...I'm impressed. As some of you who are into the nail polish world will remember, China Glaze got slammed for its first magnet. The little U-shape has three magnets, which is awesome, but they were really, really weak. You would have to hold your nail steady under the magnet for upwards of 30 seconds, and sometimes even longer. And even then, the design wasn't really as eye-catching as we were all hoping. 

They seem to have solved that problem with the Magnetix II magnets. These aligned the metal in the polish in about 3 seconds, and the designs, as you can see, are very distinct. The designs are also something that I haven't seen a lot of in other brands. The circles look fabulous in person. Just as stunning as in the pictures, and maybe even more so. I can't stop staring at my nails. 

I know, without a doubt, that I am going to get tons of comments at work. With the ripples looking 3D, the effect is undeniably gorgeous. 

China Glaze really renewed my faith in them, and I know I'm going to be picking up more magnetic colors to use with this new set of magnets.

Fun fact: If you go to Sally's they might still have more of these magnets. I got this bar (which usually runs at around $3.99) for $.79. Seriously. 

Thanks for reading!

Old Polish Review: Zoya Shawn Ombre Manicure

Today is going to be an old polish review from my Tumblr, but it's pertinent to today's story (I'm a creative writer at heart, so there're going to be a lot of stories).

That right there is my first ever ombre sponge manicure.

The base is Zoya Shawn, a delightful forest green creme. This polish color was one of the first I bought from Zoya, and it's what got me addicted to their brand. The formula is smooth and perfect and self leveling. The color is rich. I got tons of compliments on this color whenever I went out to run errands. People were amazed at how distinctive it was.

Then, I added to the style of the manicure by putting drops of China Glaze Champagne Bubbles on a makeup sponge and dabbing it onto my tips. It created an excellent effect that would be great for the holidays, or St. Patrick's Day, or really any other time (because it's just that pretty).

This manicure was really a big part of me stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new. And you know where I learned it?

The internet.

I'm here to tell you that while the internet can be full of mean weirdos with nothing to do but offend other people, there are high points as well. I saw this style of manicure on Pinterest and saw how easy it was. It seemed a lot better for me to handle than the drops-of-polish-on-paper-and-then-sponge style. Which, by the way, I still haven't mastered. At all. It always blends into one awful color.

This, however, was fast and simple and something that I have repeated over and over again with different color combinations.

The internet is your friend for trying new things. It really is. Because when it comes down to it, there's probably someone out there who has done what you want to do and made a video/wrote a tutorial about it. And following someone's instructions is easier than going wildly into the great beyond with no navigation system whatsoever.

So, go find a tutorial on something you're interested in. Recreate it. See if you like it. If you do, CONGRATULATIONS! You've just took one step beyond your beauty bubble. If you don't, then at least you tried and you still stepped outside of your comfort zone. No matter what, you're more knowledgeable than you were before, and knowledge is the enemy of fear!

Thanks for reading!