New Theme, New Focus

I changed things up a little bit peeps. Now that I have a little more time on my hands to focus on some things I’ve been neglecting (my workouts, my blog, my sleep), I wanted to play around with the look and format of things. I’m looking forward to getting some ideas down on paper/laptop screen so much so that this post seems like a waste of time. Like why don’t you just get to it instead of talking about what you’re going to do? Because I’m stalling. But seriously, I’m planning on sharing some super interesting things I’ve learned that maybe someone else will also find interesting and we can do a digital high-five because of shared interests. Or not, it’s cool. Just smile and nod.

Seriously, feel free to send me suggestions or questions or like a “hey, do you know anything about this product or skin thing or what causes this other nonsense because I’m not sure and maybe you would know since you have some education in some stuff?” Or just a topic idea for me to research since I enjoy researching and browsing articles and soaking up as much information as possible so I can be the most badass esthetician ever, eventually.

And because I want to give real, reliable information that’s not just based on my personal opinion or experience, but based on legit things…you know, like science…so as not to spread myths and folklore and old wive’s tales and otherwise nonsensical nonsense. Yeah.

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Product Review, Re-Review, and Recommendations

I need to begin this post by saying how stupidly busy I’ve been the past couple months, going to school full time and working part time and trying to complete basic life tasks in the leftover time. I’ve finally made it to the last 5 weeks of my esthetics program and I’m happy to say the part time job is no more. I knew it wasn’t going to be a good fit in terms of moving into an esthetician position (from the reception position I had), and who wants to feel stagnant? Not me. Now I have more time to practice makeup outside of school, update my resume, and start looking at where I can work for reals as soon as I graduate. I’m so antsy to get out there and want to get as much experience as possible, and I feel like I have a few opportunities just around the corner. Excitement!

Getting to the point of this post, I had an awesome workout today – the first awesome workout in a few months. While I know it’s not great, I went to my gym with a good amount (read: a lot) of makeup on. I don’t mean in terms of crazy eyeshadow and lipstick, just concealer and foundation. My skin has been especially angry ever since I was on antibiotics and the other meds for my wisdom teeth removal, so I just like going out the door with more coverage.

This brings me to my re-review of L’Oreal True Match Foundation – the bomb dot com guys. I did 30 minutes of strength training, maybe 10 minutes of ab work, and then a 20 minute run plus cool down and I swear you couldn’t tell a difference in my makeup. And I’m not one of those women who don’t sweat. I was sweating just getting ready this morning in my bathroom, so you can bet I sweat while lifting weights and running. Oh, and I sat in the sauna for a few minutes to top it off.

Anyway, I can vouch for the longevity of this makeup. And I wasn’t even wearing my next item to review – Urban Decay’s All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray:

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As many people have heard, this stuff really works. It was especially useful for me when I would be in school and work from 9 am until after 9 pm and needed everything to just stay in place and not melt off halfway through. Steamers are not friendly to makeup and hair.

Next up is Lush No Drought Dry Shampoo:

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You probably know you shouldn’t wash your hair everyday, but for my oily scalp I need help even making it to day two. This stuff has the yummiest grapefruit and lime smell, plus it’s made with cornstarch which is super absorbent. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve always liked using baby powder over any store-bought dry shampoo I’ve tried, but when I heard about Lush’s dry shampoo, I put it on my birthday list. Now that I’ve been using it for a while, I know it’s a better option than baby powder and way better than anything I’ve tried from drugstore brands. Not only does it really freshen up my hair, but it gives me added volume when I shake it in my hair and don’t brush it out (for those of you who have more volume than you want, you can brush it out).

Finally we have Bioelements Restorative Clay Mask and Oil Control Mattifier:

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I’ve mentioned before that Bioelements is the skincare line we use at school, so I’ve become very familiar with it. As someone with oily, breakout-prone skin, the Restorative Clay mask is helpful to me. Clay is an awesome ingredient for sucking up oil and debris in skin types like mine, and paired with the Oil Control Mattifier, I’ve seriously seen a significant difference in the oiliness of my skin. With a mask you might already know that you can use that once a week or so to get its benefits, but this Mattifier product was something I had never heard of before school. You use it everyday under your moisturizer, so I cleanse, tone, apply the Mattifier, moisturize, and do my makeup as usual. I swear to you, I noticed a big difference the first time I used it.

This article explains the top reasons for oily skin, and also explains the science behind this Bioelements Mattifier. I should be a brand rep for Bioelements (I’m not), but I really love the line and this product because they (and it) are effective.

As a sidenote, that website I linked to (skininc.com) is an awesome resource for basic and in-depth, reliable info on the skin and other related topics. I’ve found so many interesting and informative articles and I’ve been thinking about sharing them, along with other things I’ve learned, on this blog. Maybe that way I won’t make crazy long, review/explanation of product posts… oops.

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Random Thought #10

The more you try to deny the pumpkin, the stronger the pumpkin gets.

It’s pumpkin-flavored-everything season, and I hadn’t had a single pumpkin thing until last night, when I tried to make a pumpkin smoothie. Since that was a fail, I used the rest of the pumpkin to make pumpkin bread. Yum! Then today my mom brought me a pumpkin cupcake with creamy cream cheese frosting that was A-MAZING. Amazing.

Now it’s all I can think about. What else can I pumpkin-ize and how soon can I get it in my belly?

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BH Cosmetics Birthday Haul!

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I was starting to slowly build my makeup kit. Emphasis on slowly. Well I took advantage of my birthday over a month ago and stocked up on some awesome things from BH Cosmetics! I’m loving everything and still working on trying everything out and playing with all these new colors I’ve never used before, but I still have a long way to go. I DO know enough about the quality to speak about the products overall though, so let’s get to it.

BH Day and Night Palette: I’ll just start by saying what everyone knows if they’ve used colors from BH Cosmetics before; they’re very pigmented. Eyeshadows, blush, lipsticks, all very pigmented. Beyond that, I wanted this palette for the mixture of matte and shimmery colors that are a little more bold and useful for, obviously, a day or night look, beyond 88 Matte Shadow Palette shown below. The colors are just really pretty to be honest, and that bright, bright pink in the middle IS actually that color on the skin.

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10 Color Professional Blush Palette: I wanted a variety of blushes and was just feelin’ these colors over the Glamorous Blush Palette. I’ve probably tried half of them so far and I could see myself using them all on different clients for different looks.

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28 Neutral Eyeshadow Palette: Although I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and get some very different colors, I also wanted a solid neutrals palette. This is a mixture of matte and shimmery.

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88 Matte Eyeshadow Palette, BH Party Girl Palette, and 6 Color Contour & Blush Palette: I also wanted to get one palette that had the varying shades of the same colors, like the 88 Matte Palette has. I’m loving the Party Girl Palette for the same reasons I love the Day and Night Palette, and I really needed a contour palette as well.

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Creme Luxe Lipstick in Berry Bite, Moody Merlot, Pop Cultured, Te Amo, Toasted, and Naked Peach (not pictured, oops!): Surprisingly long-wearing! I love how the lipsticks go on (very opaque) and I love that they actually have staying power. I was surprised to try out one of the darker colors for the first time and even hours later after running some errands and drinking, the color didn’t fade. I think it finally had to come off when I ate a giant, messy burger for dinner (my last meal before getting wisdom teeth out), but I was impressed. And for a couple dollars, come on.

Now that I feel like I’ve stocked up on some solid BH Cosmetics products, and have a good starter set of brushes from Crown Brush, I’m looking towards trying out Makeup Geek. Come October I might fill out my brush collection a little more and try some eyeshadows and/or pigments for sure. After seeing so many positive reviews and seeing their prices, it would be stupid not to, right? Right.

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Life and Wisdom Teeth

You’d think if it was so common for people to feel like they have so many things to do and so little time, that we would eventually adapt and come up with better ways to manage time.

Having my two wisdom teeth out last Saturday has forced me to really do nothing and not think about things I have to do. Has anyone else had this surgery? I had never had any type of surgery or been put under so I had no idea what it would be like or how well I recover from these things. Now I know, apparently I recover slowly, because I still have a lot of pain and my face is still super swollen. Plus this liquid diet is getting old, and branching out to tiny, tiny nibbles of a muffin today was more painful than I thought. You never notice all the muscles you use in basic movements until it hurts to use them.

Anyway, I really just wanted to write a quick post and not completely neglect my blog. If anyone has any suggestions for how you balance school/work responsibilities, relationships, basic maintenance/bill paying-type responsibilities, plus trying to have time for yourself and keep up with a blog, I would love more ideas. (As long as you include sleep into your schedule too…before the surgery my sleep was extremely lacking!)

I’ve had a little list of fun posts I want to share, as soon as I can set aside some more time to get to them!

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Mini Ulta Haul Review

Talk about delayed posts. Every time I went to get this one done I’d either get interrupted or fall asleep or just not get to it because of school/work. Mostly work. I blame work. But here we are, and I’m plenty experienced with the products I bought like a month ago in order to give a review. Let’s get to it.

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Starting with Loreal True Match Super Blendable Makeup (W4). I’m really liking this switch from the Neutrogena I was using before. It is most definitely “super blendable;” that’s the best part about it. You can use so little, and if you keep buffing it around you’ll get a really nice, even coverage without feeling it.

It took me a couple uses to notice that you really only need a small amount for your whole face, and I’m needing the coverage right now since my skin’s going through this phase of insanity (trading out the harsh skincare regimen I was using before starting esthetics + getting facial treatments that bring everything to the surface + stress from making a big life change/being a type A person = hopefully some good before and after pictures?)

The same product in concealer form gets just as positive a review; I decided to get a shade lighter than the foundation and use it as a highlighter. It definitely does the job well.

Then we get to the Maybelline Eyestudio Gel Liner, that apparently is everyone’s favorite. My only complaint about it is that it’s not as super opaque black as I’d like when it dries. Anyone else notice that? Or are you just using more? I use the brush that came with it and the positive is that it’s super easy to apply.

I’m gonna go ahead and skip to the NYX Studio Liquid Liner, because I need to compare this to the Maybelline liner. They both have their pros and cons. Where Maybelline lacks, NYX excels, and vice versa.

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Pro: The NYX liner is SUPER opaque; like perfectly opaque. It also seems that once it’s on, it’s ON, and won’t rub off (only bad if you make a mistake!). Con: the formula is kind of sticky? or something, because if (when) it gets in my eyelashes, it makes them stick together. Obviously this is more user error than anything, but I try to get it right up to my eyelashes because any skin that shows through, even between my eyelashes, really seems to show through. I think Maybelline creeps in there and is like “hey I’ll take care of that for you,” and NYX is like “yeah you missed a spot, better take care of that.”

Also I just really need to practice a steady hand with the liquid liner; any and all mistakes show up easily.

Moving on! There’s a NYX Lip Liner in the top picture that is the bomb dot com. It seems to make the lip color stay better when I line my lips and then fill them in a little too. I’m also loving the NYX Matte Lipstick, more than the Butter Lipstick for sure. I like the matte look, but it’s also a lot more opaque than the Butter.

It may look like I got three of them from the pictures, but I really have two: Couture and Spirit. Couture definitely is a pink, although they’re both on the nude side. Spirit definitely has yellow undertones, and with the yellow undertones in my skin, this one comes off as more of a true nude on me than Couture.

And finally: NYX Baked Blush in Journey. Sometimes I just like to use this because the packaging is fun. Not to say I don’t love the blush; I do, and it makes me a little brighter than the BareMinerals shade of blush I’ve been using for quite a while.

Overall, loving everything, but I definitely want to practice/play with the liners more. If I master this liquid liner thing, everyone will hear about it for sure.

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It All Starts with the Brushes

I’m so busy, as we all are, but I’m trying to add another thing to the mix of school and work. I feel like I need to be doing something else that will help my career before I finish my esthetics program because 1. it’s a good idea, and 2. it will make me feel like I’m moving even faster towards my goals. I’m starting to build my makeup kit guys! Obviously, I started with brushes. I had done some research and originally thought, oh I need some really nice, expensive brushes that will be a huge investment, and then I realized, no, there are high quality brushes that don’t cost a whole paycheck. So I ordered from Crown Brush, an awesome company that makes some great brushes and delivered mine two days after I ordered them.

Here are my first picks (because I know I’ll eventually order more and may even want duplicates of some):

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As you can see, some of them have numbers on them, some don’t, but they are all within the Infinity and Syntho series, plus the brow brush on the left which is in the Italian Badger series. I literally searched through every series and set that they make (via this landing page), and ended up picking them one by one rather then ordering a set because I know I have exactly what I need (starting out at least!). They are SUPER soft and luxurious feeling, and I can’t wait to work with them more.

I’m also taking my phase one practical in a week, which means a hands-on test (where I perform an eyebrow wax, basic facial, and makeup application in front of my instructor) and a written test the following day. I’m definitely bringing my brush set to use on my model for the makeup application, so I want to play with them before the big day. Wish me luck!

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Random Thought #9

Does anyone else feel like you’re going along in adulthood, being an adult, stable in your sense of self, and then all the sudden something happens and you’re like, “oh cool I’m 12 again”? I love when someone or something comes along and reminds me of how I felt as a preteen who doesn’t fit in and can’t relate to anyone. Thanks for knocking me down a few rungs; back to making the climb.

On an unrelated note, at what age are you supposed to have it all figured out? 30? I think I have a few years still…

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SkinStore + BioElements Shout Out

Happy early 4th of July, American readers! Today I felt the need to share an awesome customer experience I just had. A little background: in my Esthetics program we use BioElements exclusively for skin care products. After using it and having it used on my skin in the program, I love BioElements! I’ve been wanting to order a set of products to replace my current skin regimen, so I’ve been shopping around on the BioElements site, and other places that sell their products. Yesterday I came across an awesome deal on SkinStore.com, and could not pass it up.

I have pretty oily skin, and the BioElements Starter Kit for oily and very oily skin had exactly what I wanted (knowing my skin and knowing about their whole line of professional and at-home-use products). This included the Decongestant Cleanser, Equalizer toner, Beyond Hydration moisturizer, and included a free, full-size Measured Micrograins exfoliator. Both BioElements and SkinStore offer you three free samples, and both sell this set of four products for about $95 (which saves you about $40 if you buy each individually). The difference was that I found a promo code for SkinStore that was 20% off your purchase, and it ended today, July 2nd, so I didn’t even hesitate (JUNE20 for anyone who wants to use it today!) PLUS I got free shipping and there was no tax!

The EXTRA awesome part about my SkinStore order was that I placed it at 11:44 am yesterday, I received a notification that it shipped at 4:01 pm, and the FedEx guy delivered it to my door this morning at 10 am! (I have this week off of school so I’ve been home during the day.) Now that’s fast (and that was the free, ground shipping option too!). I opened up the box super excited to start my new skin regimen earlier than expected. Here’s what I got:

IMG_4412There’s the box that the set comes in; there are Starter Kits for other skin types as well (Dry/Very Dry, Sensitive, Combination…)

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Here are the four BioElements products I’m starting with. Yes, a lot of their products come in glass containers. Wish my clumsy hands luck! I haven’t dropped anything in school yet so I’m hoping I’ll be okay.

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And here are the three samples I got, with a product booklet from SkinStore. The samples are Whish Flawless Post Wax & Shave Serum, MyBody Calm After the Storm Soothing + De-puffing Eye Cream, and Reve de Miel Face Cleansing & Make-up Removing Gel.

I had never heard of any of these samples before SkinStore, but I noticed their full-size versions are pretty darn expensive. I’m super excited to get started with my new products and try out the samples, especially after such a positive customer experience with SkinStore. I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

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My Three Variations on Easy Chicken

How convenient that I’ve made three different chicken dinners recently, after having made three different sausage-pasta dinners. This calls for a post! Now that I have little to no time to cook and eat, I try to eat less “empty filler” foods and stick to the necessary things, like protein and veggies. Ain’t nobody got time to waste on empty calories…or hours of cooking. The only problem I’ve run into is that I’ll start marinating chicken, and won’t get to actually cooking it until two days later. Is that really a problem?

I’m a huge lemon fan, and a citrus fan in general, so I’ve just been staying stocked on lemons and limes to flavor things. First up, we have some lemon and thyme chicken. TBH, I just saw that I had thyme and hoped that it would be okay on chicken with lemon. According to about three minutes of research, there is nothing recommending that pairing. Okay then! Either way, I just used a little EVOO, lemon juice from an actual lemon, salt and pepper, and later added the thyme, and that’s about it. I roasted the carrots with a little lemon juice too, and it was good! Does that sound weird on carrots? I don’t know.

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Next up is an old stand-by I probably mentioned a few months ago. I love me some Wishbone Italian dressing ever since moving out and having to find my own marinade, and it’s the easiest thing ever. I’ve also been adding this simple spice mix that has red pepper flakes for a little extra something. Again, now that I’m typing it, they don’t sound like an especially good mix, but it was. I just like to throw stuff in. That veggie mix I made from fresh (not frozen) veggies is green peppers, broccoli, and carrots. (I’ve been loving green peppers now but sadly, I got awful heartburn when I ate this for dinner and ate the leftovers the next day.)

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Last but not least (because this might have been my favorite) is the cilantro lime chicken. If it looks like I used a lot of cilantro, it’s because I did. My pico de gallo also has a lot of cilantro…I can’t help myself! Again some EVOO, lime juice from an actual lime, salt and pepper, and cilantro for the marinade. The wild rice was really good with the chicken, and I squeezed extra lime juice over everything before eating.

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And now for a question. I don’t have a grill, and probably won’t get one this year. I’m getting less excited about this chicken in a pan thing, and would love some suggestions. I was thinking one of those grill pans, but are those much more of an improvement, aside from appearing to have grill marks? When I’m not using the community grills out by the pool (which is 98% of the time with my schedule), what else can I do to get some variety here?

Sincerely,

Experimenting with Chicken

 

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