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Monday, March 16, 2015

Trying to Say Goodbye

If you are a regular reader here, you may have noticed a lack of post for the past… month? I’m not sure how long it has exactly been, but it’s been some amount of time. Normally I would chalk it up to forgetfulness that seems to plague me, but this was sadly something much harder to get through. 


A little over a week ago, I watched my beloved cat, Hope, pass. I have tried to type out what happened, about her health really taking a sharp and sudden turn for the worse, in what felt like the blink of an eye, but I can't get two sentences in without being a mess of tears. I'm a mess of tears now. What I want to say is how much I loved her and how devastating it is to not have her waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs when I get home. I hate that her dishes sit in my doorway, her scratching post where she liked it, and I can't bear to put them away. She was my baby for 17 years, and now I am faced with this big unknown of what life would be like without her. I hardly remember a time before her, so what now?

I am so grateful that she is not suffering, and I am beginning to get back into the swing of things but I appreciate your patience. For anyone who has lost a loved one, because pets are so much more than animals to those who love them, my thoughts are with you. Please give your pets a big hug from me and I will be back to chat with you guys soon.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Frustration Free Brush Cleaning

I don't know about you, but I HATE cleaning my brushes. It used to be a hour of my day, once every week if I didn't put it off- which I almost always did- and then I would be unable to use some of my favorite tools for a full day. On top of that, my hand would get all pruney and my sink would need to be cleaned. Who could enjoy that? 

This annoyance was completely eliminated when I made an unbelievably simple switch. I went from washing all of my brushes in one go, to washing two to five every night. It has become one of my steps in my evening routine. I pick out a few brushes that are in need of a wash and get them nice and clean. I no longer have to worry about not having a dry brush ready for use the next day, so no more excuses for dirty brushes.

To wash my brushes, I run them under warm water, being sure to have them facing downwards to prevent moisture from getting into the ferrule and growing mold or breaking down the glue. Then I grab Dr. Bronner's Magic solid peppermint soap, working the brush hairs back and forth or in circular motions depending on the bristles, rinsing and repeating until the water runs clear. After that, I blot them with a paper towel with a bit of jojoba oil on it, to condition the bristles. I leave them to dry overnight on a roasting rack, aka a cooling rack with an incline, so my brushes are tilted while they dry, to keep that moisture buildup at bay. A roasting rack isn't necessary as you can put a pencil under the ends of your brushes to elevate them, but picking one up from a thrift store is great for any brush hoarder like myself. 

With any luck this variation of brush cleaning will help you get into the habit of making sure your brushes are always bacteria free and feeling fresh on your skin! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Quick Thoughts on Empties

I’m pretty sick of having this bag of garbage filling up beside my vanity, so it’s about time this stuff goes in the gin for good. But, I've gone ahead and tossed everything that I don’t have something to say about, other than meh or it’s fine. If I felt only so-so about it, you won't find it here.

Flo+Theo Body Butter in Orange Harvest smells amazing and feels great on the skin. It also makes a very funky sound when you did it out of the pot. I will definitely be a purchase I will make when I need a real treat.

Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Mask is fine. If you have inconsistent or not to intense acne I would say go for this. If you suffer from lots of congestion or deep pimples, there are far more effective masks on the market.

Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque is going to turn a lot of people off based on sent. It’s pretty grandma. I don’t mind the smell one bit, and it makes my hair feel amazing. 

Juice Healthy Beauty Volumizing Shampoo is not something I would recommend who dyes their hair. I bleached my hair and went red. After about two washes with this shampoo the color went to nothing more than a tint, and my hair loves dye. I went brown, three washes later, gone. I've never had this issue with dye before or since, so no thanks on this.

Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum is in that category of products that changed my skin. I absolutely love this guy.

Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream says it’s shade matching but it’s a cream bronzer for me. I really enjoy this product a a way to warm the face, especially in the summer. I went ahead and got the full size, but it was on sale. It’s not something I’d spend full price on.

Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant in Pure Vanilla is my everyday deodorant. It keeps me smelling nice and doesn't irritate my pits. I’m still hunting for a baking soda free deodorant with even better ingredients, but I've repurchased the mini size. 

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Moisturizer in Sand is very shiny with minimal pigment. I didn't mind that for a very long period of time because I got a lot of my pigment from powders that mattified as well. But, I've sort of fallen in love with the look of foundation with minimal powder, so when I finish my second tube of this I’m not sure I’ll get it again.

Nature’s Gate Sunless Tanner is my version of a healthier self tanner than the traditional ones on the market. I break this out only around my birthday and on the occasional day that I look down at my pale legs and the reflection of the sun blinds me. I plan to pick up a more natural one in the future. 

Suncoat All Natural Nail Polish Remover Gel is a cool concept. A gel that takes the place of the traditional liquid and cotton swab. However, over time it softened and shredded my nails. I didn't even get this thing completely empty, so I think that says it all. 

Honeybee Gardens Pressed Mineral Powder in Malibu is something I really miss now that I used every little bit up. It was okay in the summer, kind of broke down on the skin, but fantastic in the cooler months.

Overall, I feel like I really liked more than what I didn't. It made for some good trash I suppose.  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Petit Vour: January Box

Petit Vour is a monthly subscription service working with vegan and cruelty free brands to bring you four to five sample or full size beauty (makeup, skin, body, & hair) products for just $15.00 a month.



The first Petit Vour box of the new year was kicked off with The New Luxury in collaboration with Emily, from the My Kind of Life blog. The result is another pink box filled with gorgeous treats!

I feel like Petit Vour reads my mind. I've been eyeing the 100% Pure brand for a while, filling up a few virtual shopping carts in never to be closed tabs. Opening up the box to see 100% Pure French Lavender Hand Buttercream was just what I needed to convince me that this brand is one to invest in. The buttercream is thick, but not greasy in the least. The lavender is so soothing at the end of the day to really help care for my skin in this winter weather. 

Another bit of mind reading was with the EVOLVh Leave-In Conditioner. I always leave the shower and realize I've forgotten all about conditioner. Spray in, leave on conditioners are so much easier for my memory. This one has made my hair feel soft, the couple times I've used it, though the smell isn't my favorite though. 

Modern Minerals En Pointe Eye Shadow is the second eyeshadow I've received from the brand through my Petit Vour subscription. It's a warm, rose gold, bronzed tone. It's not a shade I would reach for usually, but I'm trying to find ways to work with it. I think I will enjoy this color when the season gets warmer, it might even make a good blush topper for a really sun kissed glow.

Last, but most certainly not least, is the RawSkinCueticals Rose Creme Cheek Color. I'm not sure if "rose" is a fitting color name, because this guy goes almost pure lavender once applied. Don't get me wrong, I love that. I've been interested in trying out some purple toned blushes, while I was thinking plum, lavender has been a surprising hit. I've gotten a few complements while wearing this, so I'm very happy. 

Another great collection of products! 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

How to Beat the Cold Month’s Cold

I’m pretty sure my workplace is one hazmat suit away from being a quarantine zone. Everyone is sick and the tissue supply is running low. Children are crying and noses are running. Minus the over exaggerated wasteland that is my office, it really does seem to be the season of sniffles, and there are a few things I have been swearing by to help keep me breathing out of at least one nostril. Sure, good food a drinking plenty of water help more than anything, but when I need quick reliefe

Badger Balm Sore Muscle Rub is meant more for aches and pains than a cold, but it’s perfect for both. This is a better for you version of Vicks Vapor Rub. Applying it to the bottom of your feet can help alleviate your cough and applying it to your chest really helps to de-stuff, thanks to the menthol and eucalyptus.

Mint and eucalyptus essential oils are fantastic for colds. Eucalyptus for sinus pain and coughs, and the peppermint for any headache you may be stuck with. I add a few drops to a warm Epsom salt bath, which helps with any body aches, and take deep breaths. Breath in to the count of four, hold for seven, and then out to the count of eight. I also keep a roller ball of peppermint oil with me at all times to apply to my temples or just to sniff, when my head is really throbbing.

I don’t know anyone who can get by without throat drops when they’re sick, and I just stumbled across Jakemans Throat & Chest, in the honey and lemon variety, which have proven to be fantastic at not only relieving my soar throat but clearing my nose up as. I feel almost human after one of these.

I've been slathering myself in is Out of Africa 100% Pure Raw Wild Crafted Shea Butter. This guy is a dream for that raw skin that happens around my nose when tissues leave it red and puffy. I like this over anything else, as my regular lotions tend to sting the sore skin.

Last but not least, I've been mixing up a lemon, cayenne, and ginger “tea.” I put it in quotations as all it really is is hot water, a squeeze or two of lemon, a dash of cayenne, and a slice of ginger when I have it on hand- no actually tea. I got this recipe from a friend who uses it as a detox drink in the morning, but I save it for sick days as it packs a bit of a punch.

As an extra bonus, I've fallen for this YouTube video all about yoga to relieve headaches. Absolutely worth checking out if you are feeling all stuffed up.


What are your must haves when you're feeling run down? 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Makeup Declutter Pep Talk (And A Push)

Having a small makeup collection is an amazing feeling. When I sit down at my battle station, I am excited to apply my makeup. I never have to waste time searching. I don’t debate on using a product I hate, just to use it up, over a product I enjoy. Basically, decluttering my makeup has been the best beauty decision I've made. I’m guessing you are reading this because you want to feel like this. Let’s take this on in two parts, a pep talk and a push to get you going. 

Remind yourself that you don’t have to get rid of anything you love. For some reason, the idea of a declutter makes some think that they will have to give up the things they enjoy. Not the case. You can go ahead and ignore expiration dates (ew), let lipsticks you never wear collect dust, and let nail polish settle on the shelf. If you love it, if it brings joy to your life, you don’t have to part with it. 

If you are afraid you might accidentally give up something you love, put together makeup bags- for work, school, date night,, whatever- and set those aside. 

Also, don’t worry if you can only part with one item today. Tomorrow you might be able to get a whole bag full of products. Decluttering is best done in waves anyways and always remember that some progress is still progress. 

Alright, with the pep talk over lets get into the push. 

  • Makeup is a consumable not a collectible. These aren't stamps, they don’t get better with age, your grand kids will never want to inherit your lipstick. Use it or lose it.
  • Your storage should define what you keep, not the other way around. You don’t need to go out and buy that nine drawer Ikea storage system, you need to let go of your old mascara.
  • If it’s not cruelty free, it can go. Sure, I have some non cruelty free items that I am still working on using up, because I’m not Moneybags McGee, but if you have a drawer full of eye shadow why keep one that's hurt kittens? Kittens, man! Think of the kittens!
  • Check expiration dates. I always hear arguments against expiration dates. It’s not that old. It still smells fine. I’m really sanitary with my products. Fine. Enjoy your pink eye. I bet the zombie apocalypse will start with a rank lip gloss.
  • Part with the items that break you out. This goes without saying, but if your skin is freaking out when you apply a thing- stop using that thing! No, you can’t save that for a special occasion. It breaks you out!
  • No one needs dupes. A dupe is meant to act as a substitute for a product that is no longer made or to expensive for your budget. It is not meant to sit in a drawer next to the product it’s a replacement for. Pick your favorite and pass along the dupes.

Now, go forth and conquer your clutter.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Nail Care Basics


As long as I’m in a well ventilated room, there is nothing I dislike about painting my nails. Put on an episode of Game of Thrones or Say Yes to the Dress and I am happy to veg out with my lacquers. As it is such a pleasant experience, I thought I’d put up my whole routine- maybe I can even convert a non-polish obsessed reader!

The first thing I do is clean off the old polish with Zoya Remove+. A cotton ball with a pump from the very cool dispenser bottle on each nail for thirty seconds breaks down most colors. If there is any yellowing or if my cuticles need a good taming, I use the multipurpose- and appropriately named- Sparitual Cuti-Clean Cuticle & Stain Remover. The amount of yellowing that lifted from my fingers the first time I used this was sickening, so now I’m never without it- though I only use it once or twice a month.

To shape my nails, I swear by glass files. If your nails are brittle and prone to peeling, switching to etched glass and file in one direction. Sure, I break out the nail clippers and cuticle scissors on the occasion, but a little filing is usually all I need. After that I wipe my nails clean with a bit of rubbing alcohol. I avoid wetting my hands while I paint my nails, as it softens the nail and can cause the polish to lift. So in place of a wash I reach for hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol to clean the surface without adding moisture.

Just like I apply serum to my face, I like to use a nail treatment before I apply anything else. I swear by Nutra Nail Naturals Nail Strengthener, but it can be hard to find. I’m trying out Nutra Nail Mineral Collection Iron Strength, though it’s no where close to the amazingness of the original. I apply two coats of my strengthener of choice and make sure to cap the nail- meaning paint the tip of my nail. Capping your nails is the key to a long wearing manicure. I cap everything from my treatment to basecoat, color, and top coat.

I go to the lovely Zoya Anchor Base Coat next. It does the job of keeping my nails stain free, even with the darkest of colors. Then I go for my colored lacquer. I’m a big fan of Zoya, but I’ve got a collection from Debora Lipman, Julep, Butter London, and Milani as well. Anything that’s 3 free at least, if not 5.

The big factor in polish application for me is that I don’t want to have to apply more than two coats- ain’t nobody got time for that. I’ll be posting about my favorite one coat wonders as well as top polishes shortly, so keep an eye out for that, if you need a great polish.

To make sure I get the cleanest application I can, I grab a detail brush and a bit of nail polish remover for cleanup before I go over everything with my top coat. The short, flat bristles are made for getting the mistakes that happen right along the cuticle, though I found it at a local craft store. Gotta love a repurpose! After all the mistakes are gone, I finish off with Zoya Armor Top Coat. I am often asked if I get gel manicures, and I think its all thanks to this shiny top coat.

My big tip for hurrying up the drying process is to apply an oil to the nails. Oil gives it a superficial dry topcoat, so it won't stick to things but it will still squish or get pillow lines- the bane of my nail polish application! I like to use jojoba oil, as it’s inexpensive and sinks in quickly, but many brands carry a version of nail oil.

Once my nails are 100% dry I apply a hand cream, I’m currently using Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Hand Cream. It smells more like lemon tarts than apple to me, but I love it. I’m also currently testing out the Barielle Pro Nail Strengthener Cream, most certainly not natural so read the ingredients and make your own call. To really give my hands a treatment, which they sure need after the drying out they get from nail polish remover and the like, I apply the creams extra thick and sleep in 100% cotton gloves. You look kinda ridiculous, yes, but even in the coldest months it keeps my hands soft and flake free.
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