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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Wardrobe Revamp: Style Icon Inspiration

I'm taking on a new project of downsizing my wardrobe. I love the idea of a minimalist style with a capsule wardrobe but I am so far from where I would like to be. The first step in getting down to this ideal is to pick my style icons. Those fantastic women I can ask "would she wear this?" when shopping or deciding what needs to say and what must go.

Starting with two timeless women, who have proven to create a style that is still relevant, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly are absolute inspirations to me. The clean silhouette, simple dresses, femininity, and casual attire inspired by menswear are all things I very much want to emulate. Skirt heavy, fitted but not tight, and not a whole lot of fluffy extras. These women are feminine and beautiful and never let the clothes they wore outshine their own beauty. Everything I want in my own closet.

When it comes to modern women I did a little thinking and, keeping Hepburn and Kelly in mind, found myself searching two big names. Zooey Deschanel and Zoe Saldana. Deschanel emulates the feminine and fun side of the classic style I love. Saldana encapsulates the clean silhouette and stunning simplicity. I love the pops of color both of these women dabble in and I feel that some days I want to dress like Zooey and some days I want to lean more towards Zoe, so they are absolutely my two sided style personality. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cruelty Free Tag

Cruelty free is really subjective, if you are cruelty free you'll be nodding your head in agreement. If you aren't cruelty free you might be raising an eyebrow. It something that sounds so simple, you either test on animals or you don't. But, with third party testing, suppliers, parent companies, and the company themselves to look into- it's all a bit daunting and confusing. That is why I am so pleased to have passed my one year cruelty free mark! It's been rough with the loss of some mega brands, but honestly my skin looks better, I have more money, my products are higher quality. Stopping to take the time to consider what I am buying has been the best thing for me. My standards of cruelty free have changed over the year, but as they improve the more passionately I have stuck with them.

I thought a fun way to celebrate my year long journey would be to do this cruelty free tag I saw a while back.

Q:What is your favorite cruelty free brand?
A: Juice Beauty is my absolute go to with everything face. Their acne line really saved my skin in check. Also, their makeup is some of the only stuff I can wear without reacting in hives or a burning sensation which kept me from wearing traditional cosmetics.

Q: What brand did you love until you found out it wasn't cruelty free?
A: Before I went cruelty free all the makeup I had tried burned my face, so I didn't love anything. It wasn't until I went cruelty free and found Juice Beauty, that I fell in love with makeup on myself. There are brands I am sad to have lost since going cruelty free, NYX being the biggest hit- I am going to freaking miss their Soft Matte Lipcreams.

Q: What is a cruelty free drugstore brand you like?
A: I'm going to go and say my favorite brand I get from VitaCost (aka one of the only place I can shop cruelty free at drugstore prices) would be Deep Steep. Their rosemary and mint collection is heavenly, not makeup but oh my gosh is it good.

Q: Have you found a nail polish that is cruelty free?
A: Why yes I have, I have fallen in love with Zoya. The best part about Zoya is that they are consistent in their quality. With all but their lightest shades, I'm happy with the opacity in two coats.

Q: Have you found a perfume that is cruelty free?
A: I have. I received a sample of Harvey Prince's Hello from my Petit Vour subscription box and just purchased the full size. Very refreshing, perfect for summer, so glad I ordered it just in time for fall. Ah well, I'll make it work all year round.

Q: Why did you want to become a user of cruelty free products?
A: Initially it started as a way to force myself to cut back on spending. I have a shopping addiction and last August I left my job, so I needed to break my bad spending habit. I have stayed cruelty free because I have all these ethics and standards. It's awesome. I feel really good about my change, no matter what got me started.

Q: And how did you find out about cruelty free options?
A: Youtube, blogs, and instagram. Hashtag! Honestly, an instagram search #crueltyfree and you'll come across so many bloggers and shops that have good ethics. Overall, the internet is the best thing ever so use it to your advantage.

Q: Do you eat meat?
A: Yes. I know there will be lots who think that I must be crossed off the cruelty free list because of this, but here me out on this. When I go to eat a burger, I know what I'm doing, an animal died for my meal. When you buy a lipstick, you aren't going into it knowing that a kitten was force fed toxic goo. I think it's bullshit (pardon my language) that an animal should suffer for something as trivial as makeup. That being said, my cruelty free journey has put me on the path of being very conscious of what I eat. The more I learn the better choices I find myself making.

Q: What is your favorite fruit and/or veggie?
A: Pomegranate seeds! Yum. On the vegetable it has to be potatoes. Fry 'um, mash 'um, put 'um in a stew.

What made you go cruelty free?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Morning Skin Care Diet

Years of fighting my skin, scrubbing it raw and dousing it in anything that swore to rid me of blemishes, has taught me to focus on quality not quantity. Sure, I can go crazy with a mask every now and then, but my daily routine is nice and light. The morning is just for refreshing my skin, making sure it gets a nice drink of water, and clearing away any buildup from overnight.

I start by dampening my konjac sponge, the one I'm currently using is the Eco Tools' Deep Cleansing Pure Complexion Facial Sponge, and splashing some water on my face, neck, and decolletage. Then I take a small dollop of manuka honey- aka the nectar of the acne fighting gods- and lightly work the honey over my face with the sponge. The combination so gentle on the skin, but it feels like a deep clean in the best way. I splash a little more water over my face and cleansing is done. I use Juice Beauty's Blemish Clearing Serum on my most congested areas and then go into locking in some hydration.

If I'm wearing makeup I use Juice Beauty's SPF 30 Tinted Moisturizer in Sand, to give a little extra umpf of color, and from there go into my makeup. When I go makeup free, I have been reaching for a sample I received in my Petit Vour subscription box, Pelle Beauty's Nourish Facial Oil. My dehydrated skin has been drinking it up. After that I like to treat my eyes to a tiny dab of Juice Beauty's Green Apply Nutrient Eye Cream to make sure I'm fighting back wrinkles as I make my exit through the last of my 20's. Then, if I am planning on doing anything more ambitious than video games on the sofa all day, I apply Hang Ten's Classic Body SPF 50 over my face. I've just been working through a sample of this, and it was not until I just looked it up that I realized it may not be for the face. Oh well, no breakouts to report. 

So that's it. It's simple and quick and very, very kind to the skin. 

What are your go to morning essentials?

Monday, August 4, 2014

The All Natural Face: Cream Blush

There is something about the ease of a cream product in the summery months, it gives that nice hydrated glow. Heck, in winter months too because oh gosh does my skin love the extra moisture to soak in. I've been afraid of conventional cream products, that always creep in ingredients that break me out and that ain't cute no matter how dewy your cheeks are. A few months back I ordered four of the Cream Lip and Cheek Color's from the All Natural Face and they very much filled the empty spot in my makeup collection for cream blush, without acne side effects.

The four shades I ordered are all matte, as my naturally oily skin gives me enough shine to make me not want to add any more shimmer. I find each of these colors to blend beautifully, wear all day, and not melt down to my jaw line. There is not a single disappointment in the bunch. Though, the times I have used them on my lips I couldn't stand to breath in the smell. I must note these are unscented products, they just smell like natural stuff and I'm chalking my reaction up to me just being weird. But! I didn't buy them for my lips, though the colors are just as lovely on the lips as on the cheek, and with a minty balm on top I'm fine.

Suntan is the perfect taupe, brown for my fair skin's contouring needs, plush with a bit of extra blendy-blendy I can work it out to a soft natural almost tan.

With the other three, which are the blushes of this blush mix, are freaking gorgeous on my cheeks. I love each one because they make me feel completely different. Dusky Rose as my grown up plum-ish, mauve-ish, brown-ish color. I feel like an adult doing taxes and drinking black coffee with this on. Peachy Rose is my ballerina peach, making me feel like I'm on a train to New York on my way to an audition I'm going to kill. Terra Cotta is my funky orange, going bold and bright. This is my kick ass and take names color. I can't help but feel cool with this one on.

I have skipped showing an "on cheek" example, mostly because blush never seems to show up well enough on my skin, so forgive that, But... These colors are just what I wanted, and I think I've worn at least one of them everyday since they arrived. Overall, a great product that I will absolutely purchase more, just don't tell my wallet.

What are your recommendations from The All Natural Face?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Butter London's Cream Tea

Butter London is a company that prides itself on high fashion, trending colors. They are also a brand free of formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, phthalates, and parabens. The polishes do result in a pricey cost, at around $15 depending on the retailer. I picked up Cream Tea for a steal, at Marshalls, for $6.99 as it was on the way out of the line. While the product is no longer available, I still wanted to share my thoughts and findings to give you a good idea of what the Butter London brand puts out. 

It caught my eye, first for the price, and, second, due to the color. Since switching to cruelty free cosmetics and formaldehyde free nail polish, I had not picked up a basic white. Though, this is an off white it was close enough for me. In this photo set I applied three coats of Cream Tea in total, over Zoya's Anchor Base Coat and finishing it up with Orly's Glosser Top Coat

(Right to left, top to bottom: One coat, two, three, top coat, three days of wear, packaging)

This polish really needs more than three coats to go full opaque, but- as they say- aint no body got time for that. It's so disappointing to work with, but when I want a almost complete white base for some nail art on top, this does just fine.

When it comes to wear time I will say it holds up well. Polish usually begins to chip on me next day, so three days of minor chipping is a win in my boat. It is just a question of whether or not you feel like the time to apply is worth it. Personally, I'm still on the hunt for a two coat white.

What is your go to white that's cruelty and 3 or 5 free?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Petit Vour: May Reflections & June Reactions

Oh my gosh, Becky. Look at that box. Petit Vour is a $15 a month luxury beauty subscription service, which highlights high end cruelty free and vegan products. It is a box I am quickly falling in deep, deep love with.

May was my first Petit Vour box. The first product was Aromi Lip Gloss in Rouge. I'm not a gloss fan, and the metallic color in the bottle wasn't appealing. However, when applied the color looses some of the metal sheen and turns into a color that is surprisingly flattering. Bonus, it smells like a rice crispy treats. It is still a gloss texture, but I'm willing to deal. The Deep Steep Hand Cream in Bergamot and Grapefruit was the biggest surprise from the box. A hand cream, meh. Until you feel how quickly it sinks in! I'm sold on the formula, though I plan to pick it up in the rosemary and mint scent, as I have already collected a few of products in that scent. Another surprise was with the perfume sample from Harvey Prince in Hello. Perfume samples in subscription boxes are about as happily received as foil packets. However, the scent of this one was beautiful. I definitely see myself pick this one up. Last but not least, Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster. I'm not sure if I see a difference in the brightness of my skin, but I have been looking for a serum to help me age gracefully and so far I have not reacted negatively to this. 

June was a pure surprise box. The most exciting thing in the box has to be the NCLA 5 Free Luxury Nail Lacquer in Lets Stay Forever. The polish is a robins egg blue, not a color I would go out and purchase but it's beautiful on. The brush, however, is in rough shape, though its large size carried so much potential. There are quite a few bent bristles and how annoying for a luxury product to arrive damaged. With the Tay Rosehip Balancing Cleanser with Seabuckthorn Oil I was sold as soon as I read rosehip and seabuckthorn, my two favorite oils. It's a creamy concealer and smells like a ritzy spa. This next product I thought was a perfume sample but wound up being a facial oil. Mun No. 1 Aknari smells heavily of rose, one of my least favorite scents. I know! Call the beauty blogger police! It makes me gag, so I'm not going to be putting this on my face. The last two products in the mix are Evolvh UltraShine Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner in very good travel size. I'm planing to save these for a vacation in August. I want these to be amazing, because the scent is so pleasing and I need to have results to justify my want to splurge on them.

So far, this subscription is wonderful. I'm so pleased to get cruelty free products that aren't full of chemicals and I am already excited for next month.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

DIY Peel Off Egg Mask

There has been a bought of neighborhood vandalism, resulting in a missing light fixture and an egg coated car. While I am turning into an old woman, concerned over kids these days, I have found myself thinking about eggs. What a waste, smashing them into your neighbors car in a search for self during ones rebellious youth. They are incredible, edible, protein packed suckers. But, the real reason I'm talking eggs on here is over a DIY mask I first spotted on pintrest. 

Lets start with the recipe because I always hate reading, and wanting, the benefits of a DIY mask, only to find out I need two gold bricks, and a can of not-sold-in-stores voodoo. 

1 Egg White 
For those icked out over raw egg, as long as I am mindful of the freshness and quality of the egg, slapping some on the skin is not a concern to me. It doesn't feel horrible, actually quite cooling, and there is no smell.

1 Tissue - separated into two thin sheets
1 Bowl
1 Face Brush - optional, but so worth it

If you aren't on a vegan diet, my guess is you can round these things up pretty quick.

Now that that is out of the way, lets talk benefits. I've heard that egg on the face can help tighten pores, leave the skin glowing, and feel super soft. My skin did feel very soft after this treatment, but what I was hoping for with this particular mask was that of a pore strip. If you have followed me for a few posts, you might know I hate my blackheads and love the satisfaction of ripping them out of me. Dramatic, I know. After going cruelty free, I had to ditch the traditional strips and go on the hunt for something new. This mask has defiantly filled that gap.

You simply dip your brush into a small bowl of egg whites, and paint your face. You can concentrate this in areas of congestion, or apply it all over. While your skin is still wet with egg, layer a thin sheet of tissue, and re-coat with egg. You can repeat the steps if you like, but I didn't have to much trouble peeling the mask off with only one layer. Then, you simply wait until the mask dries to a hard finish and gently peel off. After, I like to steam my face in a hot shower, to remove the excess egg and reward my skin for the damage that a drying mask can cause.

What I found, from using traditional strips, is a pimple retaliation after use. In comparison, the DIY version just took out the gunk without building up any nastiness. The strips I once used, that I think must share similar recipes to glue, really rip out the gunk. The thin texture of the DIY tissue makes the clogs harder to see and perhaps, as it is just egg causing the stick, less comes out overall. While I do believe less is being yanked out, I do think it causes less stress to my skin- which I think plays into the lack of pimples popping up after use.

My final opinion of this mask is, as I hinted above, a good one. I am very exited to incorporate this mask into my routine.