2013 Resolutions

I haven’t done resolutions in a long time.  Lots of people do resolutions which they do not follow through with.  I know I have been one of them.  You think of all the things you SHOULD be doing and add it to a list, and then you think you are going to magically start doing them.  That’s not how it works.  Something called effort needs to be utilized.  And focus.   And planning.

Behavioral scientists have shown that incorporating new behaviors into routines and habits are instrumental in making sure that the new behavior sticks.  I know the quickest way for me to start doing anything consistently is to just do it, over and over again.  When I stopped going to the gym, it took a very long time to start back up again.  It wasn’t until I started forcing myself to go 5-6 times a week for about two months – even if I was phoning it in – that I got to a point where I no longer needed to force myself to go the gym.  Now, I feel like I need to go if more than two consecutive non-gym days occur.  I am still not at the fitness level I was before, but I have more energy and I am not phoning it in.

So, lately I have been incorporating new new behavior into my daily routine.  I want to incorporate new habits in to the old.  2013 will be about making sure those new habits don’t die a quick death, and that they become a non-negotiable part of my day – like brushing my teeth, washing my face.

With that, here are my 2013 Resolutions.

1. Drink more water. 

  • I actually read from blog My Lucite Dreams that there is an app that reminds you of when to drink water.  This is pretty cool.  I don’t like water unless it’s the summer and I am working out.  That’s about it.  I need to drink more water.

2. Start running again.

  • I have never been a “runner” but a few years ago I joined Road Runners and I became addicted to the outdoor runs, even when I felt like puking at the end of a strenuous run.  I felt accomplished.  I now get winded after running more than 5-10 minutes on a moderate (for me) pace on a treadmill.

3. Incorporate free weights, plyometric exercises, non-machine based toning exercises.

  • When my fitness level was at its peak I was doing tons of non-machine based exercises, like squats, walking lunges, planks, and using light handweights.  I stopped.  But I am building my way back.   I have started doing light squats and walking lunges at home while walking to the kitchen and back to my bedroom.  Thank you long hallway.

4. Network, network, network.

  • I am reaching out to people on a regular basis now.  I want to make it a weekly requirement.  At least one a week.

5. Go to more professional events – BY MYSELF.

  • It’s simple, sign up and go.  DO NOT PLAN to go with anyone.  This is the surest way to NOT GO when they cancel on you at the last second.  The expectation is going with a “partner in crime” and then you realize you are going solo, and then you don’t end up going at all.  When I sign up to do things on my own, I go.  The expectation is that I am going on my own. I have mentally prepared myself for the extra work of generating conversations with virtual strangers.  Going with partners in crime means you get lazy and expect someone else to carry half the load.  Not going to fly.

6. Simplify skincare routine.

  • My skincare routine has become ridiculous.  I still have a ton of products to go through but I can at least stick it out using them for longer periods of time than just a few weeks.   While my skin is not what it used to be, I still need a targeted skincare routine that is consistent.  While this becomes difficult having so many products I want to try, I do have more leeway in the winter to stick it out because my skin is generally clearer than in the summer.

7. Use up last bit of product in almost finished bottles.

  • I have a number of half finished, or “just a few uses away from finished,” bottles of skincare.  My goal is to use this stuff first so I can clear it out.  I have way too many bottles of cleansers, mosturizers and sunscreens that are almost done.  I will use in a consistent order so I can start discarding bottles as soon as possible.

8. Do not buy a new foundation unless you have sampled it for a while first.

  • I have actually started doing this.  I have a crazy amount of samples now to go through.  I don’t need as many bottles of foundation.  I already have an insane number for the average person, but likely not compared to a makeup hoarder.  Believe it or not, my makeup stash pales in comparison to the stuff I see hoarded on makeup stash youtube videos.  Scary, I know.  I would like to burn through a bottle, or two, before I buy a new foundation.  However, I still have a couple of bottles I haven’t posted yet.  🙂

9. Maintain peachy-pink blush ban.

  • I know, I know.  It is the most popular blush shade for bloggers.  It was my go to shade for many years, but this is why I need to enforce the ban.  I am a blush addict, but I do not need to have more peachy-pink.  I haven’t touched a peachy-pink blush in over a year, almost two I think.  I am all Nars Orgasm’d out – my preferred blush from college to early grad school. (Keep your mind clean folks!)

10. Learn how to shade my eyebrows.

  • I have been practicing shading my eyebrows.  It really does “finish” your face.  Ever since that Sephora beauty associate did my eyebrows I have been obsessed.  I felt glamorous.  I swear she gave me elegant Arizona Muse eyebrows.  I have not been able to duplicate the look, but I am trying and I will get there.

11. Maintain sample packet usage.

  • This is going well.  I have made serious headway, but I am still not even half way through my samples.  I am still only going through my samples at the gym, but it is my preferred method.

12.  Read two books a month.

  • About two years ago, I went on a book buying spree.  I used to read a ton of books, but then I stopped for a very long time.  I decided I need to go back to those days – hence all the books.  But I haven’t even read through half.  I want to go through my book stash until I finish reading all of them.  Considering I can finish a book in a couple of days (speed reader), two books a month is safe even if I am busy.


  • This isn’t a makeup or skincare exclusive resolution.  This is pretty much anything and everything.  Basically, I only ever end up wearing /usingsomething if I love it, which means buy what I love (higher quality/effectiveness), buy less.  The DREAM is tightly edited everything including skincare.  My skin can’t break out FOREVER! – Can it? (Yikes!)

14. Move on sooner.

  • Why am I wasting time thinking about anything that upsets me?  So, not the point.  MOVE ON – SOONER!

15. Consistent and steady wins the race.

  • With whatever it is, consistency is key.

Any resolutions similar to mine?


Skin Saviors of 2012

Best of 2012

I used a lot of great skincare and makeup products over the years, but some products for whatever reason become absolutely necessary for a certain period of time.  I started blogging in the summer when my skin behaved the absolute worst.  Since it’s my first time blogging, and my first “Best of Year” post, I decided to focus on the absolutely NECESSARY and FOOL PROOF products of 2012 that worked on my wrecked and ravaged SPECIAL NEEDS skin. 

1. Tazorac

Without this my skin would have taken weeks to remove spots and extra months to reduce the pigmentation level of the post-inflammatory acne spots left behind.  Instead, hormonal acne eruptions were brought down within days, post acne hyperpigmentation marks reduced greatly in a few weeks.

2.  derma E Cleansing Enzyme Mask

Tazorac is not the most effective on cystic acne where the infection point can TAKE forever to really migrate out into the superficial lapers of the skin.  This sucker forced out the gross stuff into visible white points within a few days of consistent use.

3. Decleor Rose D’Orient Serum

No moisturizer I have ever used has ever successfully soothed and moisturized OVERLY tazorac’d skin which is raw, hyper sensitive, and peeling pre-sunscreen and post foundation use.  Without this extra layer of protection, my skin would have been burning and irritated on contact from sunscreen and foundation use, and it would not have prevented my sunscreen and foundation from balling up with my skin peelies.  This was a great duo purpose product.  However, I must say Hourglass’ No. 28 Primer Serum may end up being the cost effective version of this product for 2013! 

4. Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream, SPF 35 or SPF 40

I use alot of different sunscreens, and many are great, but when my skin is super sensitive, irritated, dry and peeling and most things make it burn on contact, I need SPECIAL sunscreens that won’t melt away in the heat, but will still not irritate my skin.  I used up a few bottles of this even after I was introduced to it over this Spring.  Honorable mention goes to Josie Maran Argan Oil Daily Moisturizer SPF 40 for winter Tazorac’d skin.

4. Lancome Maquicomplet Full Coverage Concealer

Seriously?  Without this my cheeks and jaw line would have looked ravaged!  This was my face tarp for those days I did not want the world to know how really wrecked my skin was over the summer.  No matter how dry, peeling and red – this covered it up without adding to the problem with no application issues despite my SPECIAL NEEDS skin.  Creamy, opaque and blendable.  Even not being the “best” skintone match – it WORKED.

5. Edward Bess Compact Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in After Sunset

You’d think I would have avoided blush on my cheeks during the difficult times my skin experienced.  NOPE.  I am a naturally light, green-tinted, yellowy sallow color – I need blush – ACNE BE DAMNED.  But powder blushes became an issue, as did certain formulas and textures for cream blushes on my tazorac’d, wrecked and ravaged skin.  The exception?  Edward Bess Lip and Cheek Rouge in After Sunset, which was wonderfully blendable, and did not dry, or pull, on my skin, or accent peeling.  It also did not feel unpleasantly tacky during super hot, humid summer days.  An honorable mention goes to Becca Creme Blush in Turkish Rose for being a close second.

5. Rodial Glamtox Cleanser

Even when not the best, oil cleansers generally can get the job done.  But when you skin is being blitzed with tons of exfoliative, stripping and drying agents, and you are applying non-budgeable asian sunscreens, concealers or foundations, and blushes, you need a SUPERSTAR product that does it ALL and will NOT require a second cleansing product to degrime the skin.  This 1) deeply cleaned my skin, 2) gently without irritating it, 3) or drying it out, 4) rebalanced dehydrated skin with moisture, 5) while not leaving an oily film,  6)  and did not create further breakouts.  BONUS –  it does subtlely brighten your overall skintone the longer you leave it on.  This product is a STAR and I will not be without it.  I purchased this bad boy in the beginning of 2012 and I am just about a month away from buying my third bottle.

These products were the absolute BEST for my SPECIAL NEEDS skin in 2012!  What makes them even more amazing is that my skin doesn’t have to be wrecked in order to benefit from these products.  They are star products.

Liebster/Tag Award (x4)

Sweet! A Liebster mention and a tag! Becca over at NARCISSISTA.ME and Satine over at Randombeautythings have tagged me, and if you haven’t already, please do check out their blogs. Love the tongue in cheek/humorous take on Becca’s beauty adventures ( I am taking notes) and I certainly don’t have the patience to explore Youtube for beauty vloggers, so Satine’s recommendations have been helpful and given me some new music for my workouts (seriously, I have downloaded songs featured in some of her vlog recs that I never would have heard otherwise).

Now, I have been adding facts like loco to my “about me” page, so I feel like I am only a few Liebsters from giving you guys my social security number, but I’ll refrain!  🙂  Here are 11 6 new tidbits about myself:

1. I am a chronic nailbiter.  Only getting my nails done gets me to stop, unless I wait too long between salon visits. 

2. Current nail status: bitten down to quick.

3. I loved reading Calvin & Hobbes and Bloom County (Opus and Bill the Cat) comic strip books.

4. I used to have a weird thing with re-arranging my bedroom for many years, which I later found out reflected some Feng Shui principles. 

5. I hate walking barefoot anywhere.

6. I loved watching the canadian series: Friday the 13th Series. 

Keeping with the six, answering 11  6 of Satine’s questions from RandomBeautyThings:

1) What is your favourite way of spending free time?

Gym.  No lie.
2) Can you play any instruments?

Sadly, no.
3) A talent you think you have?

I can read people – as long as I am not invested in the “reading.” 
4) What would you change about your personality? And your body?

I am a ruminator – ughhhh.  I hate my legs.  😦
5) The nicest compliment you have ever received?

Got asked by a colleague to join them in their business endeavor.  I declined because it wasn’t a direction I wanted to go in, but I was flattered.
6) Your biggest idol?

Hillary Rodham Clinton is my rockstar.  Visciously kicked down, graciously got up – over and over again.


Oooooooooooof.  I know I should put some blogs, but I have either done them before, they have been done before by other bloggers, they are known to bloggers who do follow my blog, or they are very well known.  I am bad on this one.  I have linked the Liebster/Tag pages of the recommenders who did nominate/tag 11 other bloggers earlier.  Please check out their pages.  Also,  why not take a peek at other major blogs’ follow pages, that’s what I do.  Even though I no longer follow as many blogs as I used to, I still occasionally peak new blogs based on these recommendations.   

Once More With Feeling…

I didn’t have an EXACT idea of what direction I wanted to take when I went to graduate school.  I had a general idea of what I wanted to do but not specific enough to have a course of action that would be helpful.  There was too much ambiguity.  My course of action meant being very busy with tons of internships and classes in all the subject areas I thought I should know.  Being busy became a substitute for having a plan.   It wasn’t until I randomly scheduled a class to fit into a specific schedule that I found the area I wanted to work in, but not what I wanted to do.  Unfortunately, it was near the end of my academic career.   This didn’t really leave time for fine-tuning, or exploring.

At the end, I had a schizophrenic transcript and internships.  My internship experiences – and I packed in a ridiculous amount – ended up being in areas I did not want to follow up with.   I scrambled after school and took the first opportunity that came my way instead of intelligently planning my next steps.  Sure, I was employed quickly but not in anything I wanted to do.  Brain numbed and pointlessly strenuous wouldn’t even being to describe this position.   As it was no more than a half year researcher position, I moved on eventually to an UNPAID internship…in exactly what I DIDN’T want to do, related to the same thing as my last researcher position.  I was scrambling remember?  I had a path now – not in anything I wanted.  An externship, a short term project role and a post-grad internship had led me to an area I had ZERO interest in.    So, when I go to recruiters and they focus on this aspect of my resume, I cringe inside.

Realistically, I don’t have a concrete post-grad connection to what I want to do.   This makes the submission of my resume for these roles like throwing a stone in a black hole.  I ain’t never hearing back! 😦  While my most current work experience is adaptable and represents key experience in various deparments and functions – I do NOT have the TITLE or the FIELD they want.  Bummer.  In this instance, you need a hiring manager who can see adaptability.  This went out of style circa 2008.  Deal with it. 

The “scarier” the times, the more inflexible and exact people become about their hiring requirements.  It is now about hiring the person who has EXACTLY the same background, using the same skills set, in the same exact way, in the same industry, of another similar company.  The only other OUT is finding someone high up in the company who can VOUCHE for you regardless of your background.  I have a number of colleagues who were able to get positions because of this, despite not meeting the “requirements” for the position.  (BTW, they are all doing fantastically well.  So much for the necessity of those “requirements.”)  They only prove the importance of networking.  Their relationships proved invaluable.  Networking is an absolute necessity.  Business is about building relationships.  But that’s only part of the work you need to do. 

At this point, I know I have to redirect.  Start over.  However, I refuse to go back to school, although I know some people who did, but there is no way I am adding MORE student loans!  I am making do with what I have.  Ultimately, I decided that I needed to start making serious connections within the field I want to work in.  This is VERY difficult if you are NOT currently a student, or are several years removed from graduation. 

Having said that  – I am still luckier than many folks in the same predicament.  I at least have work experence of any kind.  I went to a recruiter not too longer ago and he said he keeps getting resumes from folks who just graduated, and he can’t do anything with their resumes because they have no experience.  OUCH!  How exactly are they supposed to get experience if they can’t GET experience?  Unpaid internships, BABY.  That’s foul, but it was what I instinctivey knew when I graduated – I needed any job of significance.  The fact that it wasn’t paid did not matter.  For those out there just graduated from college or higher – keep this in mind.

So, here I am plotting.  Reverse engineering my career.  What the hell is that?  I am going to plot my career going backwards.  Instead of figuring out what I need by building up, I am going to figure out the steps by researching backwards.  This means identifying the business,  then companies, and then individual position I want.  I have a industry and type of companies in mind.   Now, I need to isolate the business practice areas that have low entry costs (but low competition, as well) that naturally match up with my interests and/or skillsets.  Score!  Found two!  Always better to have multiple options of equal value to work on. 

Back to the reverse engineering.  Once I isolated key areas integral to the business, I focus on the various roles connected to that area.  I need to work my way down to the very basic, entry level position.  How amusing that I discover these “entry level” positions require 1-2 years experience.  No matter.  I am on a mission.  A search through job descriptions helps me fine tune what it is I need to know and do, as well as prerequisites.   I know the most difficult part will be convincing the gatekeeper to let me into that first role, which from the looks of it while likely have to be an internship of some sort.  OUCH!  You have to pay your dues, regardless, where ever you are. 

I’ve done the basic career plotting.  I need to go back to more targeted networking.   This type of networking is more fine-tuned because you have an agenda connected to getting a specific type of experience, or knowledge.  I find the more fine tailored the information you are seeking, the more willing people are to giving it.  What has this netted me so far?  I got an informational interview with a senior executive at a major multinational conglomerate  (utilize those alumni connections folks!) and another from a board member of an industry professional group with actual know how in the field I want to break into.   From the senior executive, I was able to get invaluable advice and a career retrospective about how they ended up in their position, as well as two other senior executive contacts  that I could reach out to using the executive’s recommendation as an introduction.  Their experience is more general, but they may be able to provide contact information for someone within the same area I am trying to redirect my career towards.  The goal is to create an advice chain that could present me with the right “opportunity” – whatever that is.  From the other contact with field experience and academic know how, I am getting a primer on what I need to know in order to break into the field I want to, as well as a meet and greet, and potentially more contacts.

I am just getting started.  When it comes to your career, you have to be proactive.  Everyone knows there was a paradigm shift with the labor market circa 2008.  Those of us who have graduated since that shift, from whatever level of schooling, have to work with what is out there.  But I don’t think that means you throw your hands up in the air.  If you are not where you want to be, where ever that is, you need to be a risk taker and figure out a way to put yourself where you want to be – even in crappier times.  Some folks are lucky and were able to figure out early on where they wanted to be, and maybe that career already had a well documented path.  But sometimes you don’t know and it takes you longer to figure it out.  Maybe, it is not a well documented path.  Maybe, too many people want on that path and the barriers are high.  Doesn’t matter.  You need to try.  Otherwise, you are one of those people who hates your job.  Maybe, you are phoning it in or are doing the bare minimum.  Or maybe, you are giving 110%, but you are always left drained because the effort to do your best at something you would rather not be doing. Whatever it is, try to shake it up and get to where you want to be. 

I am not keen on STARTING OVER.  Frankly, I feel like a bit of a dumbass.  When you are in your thirties, it’s basically your ego that holds you back from whatever action you need to take to be where you want to be.  Well ego, it’s been great knowing you and I know you will be sulking in the corner somewhere, but I have to do me, and hiding behind “it’s the market!” isn’t going to cut it any more.  Neither is continuing to go down a path I don’t want that makes my stomache drop just thinking about it.

How convenient then, that it is the end of the year, and that I will be going hard into the new year with A PLAN, meeting new people and putting myself out there with a direction in mind?  Awesome timing.  Even better when I saw this article about two weeks ago, which pretty much affirmed what I was doing.  I don’t know if my new course will pan out the way I want it to, but at least I know I tried.  If there is one thing I have picked up on on the tons of studies down with professionals it is that many regret not taking the chance, or making the change – whatever that is.  I want to make sure that I am not one of them. 


Hada Labo Shirojyun Lotion + Shirojyun Moisture Milk

Hado Labo

1. Hada Labo  Shirojyun Lotion, 5.7 oz for $19.99 + Shirojyun Moisture Milk, 4.7 oz for $19.99

I first heard about this product from blog Drivol About Frivol.  The blogger has sensitive, dry skin that she is constantly trying to quench with some serious moisture.  Why would an oily skinned, acne-prone girl jump on this?  Well, as I have mentioned before, I use a lot of stripping, exfoliating, and drying agents on my skin.  I don’t tolerate blemishes on my skin, so I nuke them – fast and furious.  It means that my skin requires moisture to restore the moisture balance in my skin without clogging it.  I usually use Decleor’s Rose D’Orient Serum to soothe and moisturize my skin before sunscreen and makeup application, but that stuff is EXPENSIVE.  I’m not using a drop; I am using substantially more and coating my face with it.  I wanted a cheaper alternative that wouldn’t burn my skin that I could alternate with.  Yes folks, when you have stripped too much of your skin and disturbed the pH balance it will burn on contact with most anything.  This includes: Skinceuticals B5 Gel, Avene’s Hydrance Optimale Rich Hydrating Cream, Cetaphil’s Cleanser, and La Roche Posay’s Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser.  I had to get this stuff, but it was a Japanese brand and I wasn’t going to go through the trouble of finding an ebayer who sells it. (I’ve gotten lazier about procuring hard to find asian products).  I sat on my desire. 

So, I was super excited when I went on Drugstore.com, to buy some bulk toiletries, and I saw they had an international brand sale.  Out of curiosity, I decided to look through all of the products and there it was Hada Labo.  SCORE!  I purchased the Shirojyun Lotion and Shirojyun Milk.

The Hada Labo Shirojyun Collection is focused on deep hydration using hyaluronic acid and brightening for luminous skin with a vitamin C derivative and  botanical brightening agent.  Botantical extracts and skin conditioners are added to improve the long lasting feel of moisture on your skin that deeply penetrates and doesn’t just sit on your skin.  While I did not get the cleanser, I picked up the lotion and the milk.

The Hada Labo Shirojyun Lotion is the first step after using the cleanser.  When I read the description, I thought it would be a typical japanese super watery toner.  It is not.  It is a tad viscose – way thicker than the much thinner and very watery (and annoying to apply) SK-II Lotion.   I patted this on some serious parched, tazorac’ed skin and it instantly quenched and mositurized my skin without feeling like a heavy cream and it did not evaporate leaving dry, parched skin.  It penetrated my skin and kept it moisturized for a very long time.  I had a particularly bad dry patch just under my jawline and connected to part of my neck where my skin does not get oily.  The retinoids I used had migrated south while I slept.  This kept it unbelievably moisturized and silky smooth.

The brightening agents in this lotion are the arbutin and the magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.  I have not noticed any reduction in dark spots on my face, but I also don’t use this every day.  It is dependent on how dry my skin is, although I expect to use it more often as we get further into winter.

Ingredients: Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, Arbutin, Disodium Succinate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Methylparaben, PPG 10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Sodium Hyaluronate, styrene/VP Copolymer, Succinic Acid, Tremella Fuciformis Polysaccharide

I, also, picked up the Hada Labo Shirojyun Milk.  I don’t expect to use this as often as the Hada Labo Shirojyun Lotion for obvious reasons.  However, I will make an effort to use it during the winter and spring because I will not be able to use it in the summer.  I think for my particular needs the Hada Labo Shirojyun Lotion is all I require for now.   The milk has a thicker consistency than the lotion but it is still not thick, or feel heavy.  It is not that milky, but it is also not like a cream either.  It is more like a gel-cream.  It penetrates deeply and moisturizes the skin providing great hydration that doesn’t feel thick.  It provides a cool refreshing feel to my tazorac’d, superficially dry skin.  It also contains arbutin and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.  There is a serum and a cream that you can use before and after the milk for the driest skintypes but these would be unnecessary for me.  At most, all I would require for the driest, coldest weather would be the lotion and the milk.  The milk did not appear to break out my skin, or increase oiliness.  In short, it is a great, inexpensive moisturizer for colder days where I am still using strong retinoids.

Ingredients: Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Triethylhexanoin, Isopropyl Palmitate, Arbutin, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Carbomer, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Methylparaben, PEG 20 Sorbitan Isostearate, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Triethanolamine, Xanthan Gum

As I mentioned before, I picked these up from Drugstore.com and it was totally worth it.  I don’t think I need to pick up the Shirojyun Milk next time around, but I will be definitely picking up the Shirojyun Lotion again.  It is  a cheaper and very effective alternative for naturally super oily skin that is getting tazorac’d on a frequent basis.

One more thing – there is absolutely NO ENGLISH on the labels.  It is ALL IN JAPANESE.  The plastic wrapper has an english label with the ingredient and instructions for use, but clearly you don’t keep the wrapper. 

Kristen Stewart’s New Style Direction

KS Lace

I mentioned in one of my earliest posts how much the Bella Swann character irritated me from Twilight.  I don’t know if I was transferring when Kristen Stewart as Bella Swann started irritating me as well.  Plausible.  But then I saw Snow White and the Huntsman.  I just did not think she was a good choice for the role.  Then again I think she has a pretty distinct personality that peeks out in all of her roles that I find annoying.  I can never really get lost in the character.  I just think there is sullen, awkward Kristen Stewart acting.   However,  Kristen Stewart’s new style direction since she started promoting Breaking Dawn Part 2 has been really appealing to me.  While I used to think of her as a cute, but still kind of plain girl, I can see she is turning into quite the beautiful young woman.  The styling she has received lately in fashion magazines has been highlighting what I suppose I missed early on, that she takes great pictures.  So, I must admit I am thrilled at her styling choices (or her stylists – don’t care). 

There is a little bit of sauciness and sexiness coming out in her choices.  If this was meant to distract from some earlier summer time indiscretions – so be it – it has worked!  I love her usage of color and bold styling choices.  My favorite look is from a Leno appearance and the dress is from Peter Pilotto.

KS Bright 2 Peter Pilotto

But ALL of her promotional appearances have been great too.  I think neon brights look great on her, as well as smokey all black ensembles. 

KS Pink KS Red Lip

KS Black Subdued

However, despite the awesomeness of her new style direction, it won’t justify the fact that I think she will be the new Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Renee Zellweger for fashion magazines.  So annoying to have the same actress on all the covers multiple times a year. 

But if you really can’t get enough of Kristen Stewart’s new focus on being fashionable then head over to this tumblr site: http://kristenstewartfashionstyle.tumblr.com/

Origins Halo Effect: Instant Face Illuminator for Face

Origins Halo Effect

1. Origins Halo Effect: Instant Illuminator for Face in Golden Potion, 0.5 oz for $19.50

I picked up Origins Halo Effect in Golden Potion a while back when I picked up their Origins Plantscription foundation.  This is a great starter illuminator for someone who is curious about using illuminators but is afraid of using something too obvious.  This is NOT obvious.  It is a subdued inner glow that you would not naturally ascribe to cosmetics, even if you ARE in the know.  I think this is a great place to start for newbies and for those at the office place, who would like to integrate a more “made up” natural face at the office.  You can apply this to naked skin, preferably on top of sunscreen for a hushed, subtle warmth on the skin.  You can mix this with foundations for the same, or with moisturizers.  You know the drill.  While I have no problem using illuminators on my oily skin, I do tend to shy away from using my non-Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheers during the summer.  My skin is just toooo greasy.  I don’t need to strobe light glow!  I need to wrap myself up in blotting papers.  However, this is the only one I would consider safe to use during the summer.  It is very watery with fine opalescent shimmer and a pink-gold veil of barely there warmth.

Origins brand literature describes this as a lightweight pearly potion that contains rosemary to soothe the skin, sage extracts to smooth and a citrus scent to uplift.  While I could detect a very mild scent to this product, I could not really tell that it was a citrus fragrance…so, it is a VERY mild scent.  This does not irritate my skin, or cause it to break out, and while I did not save the box, or pay attention to the ingredient list – it is ORIGINS.  Can’t be too bad compared to other cosmetic brands out there.

There are two shade options for this: Pink Potion and Golden Potion.  When I was consulting the beauty associate, she suggested I get the Pink Potion, but I decided against it because I am not cool undertoned, at least not in the summer.  So, I went with the Golden Potion.  Here is the thing.  I have many variations of golden undertoned illuminators.  This is more of a pink-golden illuminator.  Part of me wishes I had picked up the light silvery-pink version out of curiousity, but I figure, perhaps, later down the road, I will.  Not for a while, though. 

I like this product, and while I can’t say for sure if it is a repurchase because I haven’t gone through an entire bottle yet, and it will take me a while, considering all the other highlighters I do have, I do think this is a great value buy for someone trying to incorporate a subtle, more made up face.  Some of these highlighter products can cost three and four times as much as this product and may be too potent (and therefore) unncessary for someone who just wants a subtle glow.  This stuff is pretty goof proof.  Can’t say that about some of my other illuminators – HELLO Rouge Bunny Rouge Sea of Illumination – YOU NEED TO BE CAREFUL with that one!  While Golden Potion is a great pick for most neutral and warm toned ladies,  I highly suggest the Pink Potion (silvery-pale pink) for blue-toned, or VERY FAIR ladies.   The Origins beauty associate was a very fair asian woman (with flawless skin) and it looked amazing on her!

Here are the swatches:

Origins Halo Swatch Text

Vichy Laboratoires Normaderm Triple Action Anti-Acne Hydrating Lotion

Vichy Norma Derm

1. Vichy Laboratoires Normaderm Triple Action Anti-Acne Hydrating Lotion, 1.7 oz for $23.50

I think of Vichy as the other french skincare drugstore line.  La Roche Posay is better well known and it has a far more extensive product line.  However, I like both lines.  I am all for acne treatment products.  While I didn’t really use drugstore acne treatments in my mid twenties, when all I needed was my retinoid rx and glycolic acid lotions and face washes, these are different times.  I need everything now to handle the CONSTANTLY fluctuating state of my skin.  *Shakes first at adult hormonal acne*

What I like about Vichy’s Normaderm Triple Action Anti-Acne Hydrating Lotion is the fact that it can be used on sensitive skin and it provides soft, silky but matte moisture.  This is not an irritating product.  This product was specifically formulated for sensitive, acne-prone skin.  No matter how irritated my skin is I can put this on and I feel no irritation.  Brand literature for this product says that it “clears and helps prevent new blemishes, [provides] 24 hour hydration [and creates] an instant matte-effect, using salicylic acid acne treatment hydra peeling technology.”  This products key ingredients are salicylic acid combined with glycolic acid and lip-hydroxy acid (LHA), which are powerful micro-exfoliating ingredients.  For those who care, this is also paraben free.

I really enjoy this product.  It is soothing and works on even my most irritated, dry skin.  But it didn’t make my skin oily.  My skin feels fantastic.  I generally use this on weekends, before I go to gym, run quick errands outside, after the gym, freshening up.  I have purchased this product three times and I think it is pretty much on my repurchase list.  This is not the best for super humid, hot summers, or super cold, dry winters.  Also, my biggest issue with this product is that even though it doesn’t feel thick on the skin, it is actually kind of thickish on application.  Therefore, it can be difficult to layer any sunscreen on top of this, if you also used another serum, below it.  I have to be spare with the other skincare products I use when I use this, as well as be careful with how I apply a sunscreen on top so it doesn’t result in pilling, or lifting of the serums/sunscreens.

If you have dry, sensitive, or normal to oily skin, this is a great, gentle find and it can be combined within Retinoid Rx products for tougher, resistant oily skin types.  However, this IS NOT a fix for moderate to severe acne.  This really is suited for very mild acne.  However, I think anyone who suffers from acne could use this as a protective moisture lotion that won’t clog their skin.

Ingredients: Salicylic Acid (1%)Water, Glycerin, Alcohol Denatured, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Isononyl Isononanoate, Nylon 66, Pentaerythrityl, Tetraethylhexanoate, Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Ammonium Polyacrylatedimethyl Taurate, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycolic Acid, Silica, C12 13 Pareth 23, C12 13 Pareth 3, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Isohexadecane, Divinyldimethicone Dimethicone, Sodium Polacrylate, Perlite, Poloxamer 338, Disodium EDTA, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Acrylates/C10 30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Polysorbate 80, Fragrance

Essential Oil Experimenting

Essential Oil

Reading about how other people create their own natural skincare products got me curious.  Could I do the same?  I have no problem mixing and matching skincare products within routines and what not.  But to actually prepare the stuff I am going to put on my face?  Eh.  But I decided to jump in to see if it would awaken my inner chemist.  So I bought a bottle of hazelnut carrier oil and many smaller bottles of essential oils I know are good for oily, acne-prone skin with a few with superior moisturization and regenerating properties.  Let’s just say my first mixing adventure was interesting. 

I have no idea how much of what I am supposed to use.  I figure that there has to be more of the carrier oil than anything else.  But as to how that breaks down in increments compared to the drips and drops of other essential oil, no idea.  One thing I did learn – spare the lemon oil!!!!  AYEEEEEE!  Another?  Pepperment oil is dangerous in more than the tiniet increments.  But now I have a whole 2 ounce bottle full of my zany mixture. 

I first had to spend some time looking at the best carrier oils for my skintype.  Normally that would mean something like grapeseed oil or jojoba oil.  However, this seemed a little dull.  I was stuck between the camelia carrier and the hazelnut carrier only because they sounded more interesting.  Also, they are known for great skin conditioning properties.  However, the camelia oil seemed a little too much for my oil acne-prone skin, so I went safe with the astringent propertied hazelnut oil, which despite literature that says it leaves an oily film behind – I felt none other than velvety skin.

I took no precise measurements as I dumped steady drips and drops of lemon oil (hold that sucker!), cedarwood oil, rosemary oil, naiouli oil, and thyme oil with a bit more of neroli, ylang ylang and frankincense.  I took no care to avoid sensitive parts of my face as I slapped it on after having thoroughly cleansed my face.    Which is how I felt a burning sensation near my eyes – oh you lemon oil!!!!  You pay when you are the adventurous sort. 

But despite that first initial burn around my eyes, my concoction easily melted into my skin.  What I had created was deeper penetrating than the store bought serums that tended to have a thicker consistency, and so took longer to absorb in to my skin.   What I did not like was how my little mix ended up being a little cloudy.  Also, I miss that golden yellow hue…which begs the question how did they achieve that color?  Preservatives?  Colorant?  Cold pressed formulation?  I don’t know.  I didn’t delve too deeply into researching this – or at all ….  🙂 

What I have learned from this is that I like shiny.  Wait – I already knew that.  Efficacy is wonderful and important and necessary.  But the feel of luxury are sooooo imporant.   I don’t always have to have this.  Efficacy trumps all, right?  But efficacy and luxury are nirvana.  The sweet spot.  Luxury is subjective, of course.  For me, this includes efficiency/speed, less prep, less steps, appealing colors, interesting shapes….SHINY…Ok, we have covered that. 

I don’t think I will ever jump on the I made my own face mask, face wash, moisturizer, hair mask bandwagon.  This seems like the opposite of luxury to me.  Sounds like WORK.  However, I do have these mini bottles and I will get to creating – the sloppy way – but I figure since I can use it on my face, body, hair and nails…these will go quickly.  Also, I don’t see why I can’t use these as little boosts for my store bought masks, moisturizers, acne treatments, or face balms.

*The essential oil products are from Eden’s Garden, which I purchased from Amazon.

Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Suede Lipstick

Revlon Cover 2

1. Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Suede Lipsticks in Fashionista, Muse and Socialize, $10.99

Revlon’s strongest beauty forte are their foundations, lip products and nail polishes.  So, I could not help but be interested in picking up the new Colorstay Ultimate Suede Lipsticks in a few shades.  I actually had more in hand and then found out out how much they were – more than their regular lipsticks – and I put a few back.  I think I should have just walked away, overall.

Revlon Bottom

So let’s just get this out of the way.  It did have a strange sueded-gloss feel to it.  They have sheer to medium opacity and they are not the most pigmented lip shades out there.  It will take many swipes to get the full color pay off on your lips.  For instance, there is no doubt in my mind that the advertisement with Olivia Wilde and that deep dark berry color, Backstage, took many swipes and presses of tissue paper to achieve.

Revlon Open Out 2

Fashionista, a medum to deep brownish red color and I had to heavily press the bullet to my lip AND add many swipes to get a deeper color. 

Revlon Inside Out

I thought Muse would be more of a loud, bright fuscha-ish pink.  It is more a muted purple tinted, medium pink.  I thought Socialite would be a more pigmented nudish pink with a little color intensity but it is a medium toned yellow-pink which is not very flattering on green-tinged skin.  This is a better shade for very fair to light, yellow and peach toned blondes.  I can’t imagine this color working on anyone else…but then maybe this color strongly reminds me of Paris Hilton.  As a matter of fact, I think this IS Paris Hilton’s favorite shade of yellowy pink she is often seen wearing…She was probably the inspiration behind this color.

Revlon Swatch 1 text

I was most surprised with the fact that Fashionista didn’t really work on me.  I think if this had more pigment it would have worked.  Or maybe it’s me and my green udertoned skin.  I can see this shade working very well on yellow and beige undertoned gals for a russet, lip bitten look.  Or on darker toned ladies for a flush of color.  It is a pretty color.  Just not on me.

Revlon says this soft suede lipstick offers moisture with shea butter and aloe.  Have you ever tried naturally made shea butter?  Epecially, the hand mixed kind.  It can feel kind of lumpy and unevenly textured.  Oddly, the texture of these lipsticks felt uneven.  There was a very moisturized glossy-suede feel to it but also kind of uneven.  It wasn’t a even silky feel on application.  If you look at the swatches closely you can see that there is uneven clumping of the pigment. 

I would compare these unfavorably to L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Caresse Sticks.    Sure, Revlon’s Colorstay Ultimate Suede Lipstick offers more pigment but I found the silky feel and even color saturation of L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Caresse Sticks to be much better.  I may have gotten a few bad shades but I don’t really like the pigmentation, texture, and uneven feel of these lipsticks.  If you price compare, Revlon’s cheaper Super Lustrous line is WAAAAAYYY better in quality.  At $10.99, these are too expensive and I feel like they should be knocked down a couple of bucks for it to be a solid value buy.  This collection did have a very wide range of shades to pick from but many seemed best suited for fair to light medium ladies with peach, pink, or yellow undertones.  Although, I can see some medium caramel ladies working with these shades too.