Saturday, October 8, 2011

I've Moved!

I know it's been awhile since I posted on this blog. But I have not forgotten! Instead, I have started my own YouTube channel!

You can find me on

Since I don't want to completely abandon my other interests such as fitness, I have also started a blog by the same name. I hope if you have enjoyed this blog you will follow me with my move!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer Vacation

I am posting again, to explain my past and future absence. Over the past month, I have finished classes for the semester (I had 9 papers, tests, projects, etc. due for my 4 classes over a period of 2 weeks), gone home, come back and started a new internship.

My internship has been incredibly rewarding, as well as time-consuming. Unfortunately, as it is in the cosmetic industry, continuing to write this blog while interning would be a conflict of interest. So I will be taking the summer off, and hopefully returning in the fall as I love to share what I've bought, what I'm loving and what I'm aiming for.

I hope everyone has an incredible summer. Stay cool and do all you can while the sun is out!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

No-Buy: the Beginning

Many of you have heard of lollipop26's "Project 10 Pan" creation (aka torture.) Laura created this project for makeup addicts like myself (and probably yourself) to help control the continual shopping urges. Participants stop purchasing new makeup (or skin care, hair care, etc) until 10 products they already own are used up.

That's not what I'm doing.

While I think that is a great idea, I know myself too well. I would "accidentally" waste product, try to give it away, etc and in the end, come to hate it. Perhaps when I come to having a healthier relationship with my products, I can attempt this. In the mean time, I am putting myself on a No-Buy, which means no new products for two months (this is my arbitrary time limit). Here are the rules:

 -If I run out of a product, I can repurchase that product only if there is nothing else in my collection that satisfies that need. For example, if I run out of mascara and do not have any more, then I can repurchase it.
-Limited edition items are exempt from the no-buy rules. If there is a item I have to have, then it is acceptable as I will not be able to purchase them later. However, this rule is not to be abused. (Note to self.)

-Birchbox items are exempt as I have a monthly subscription. However, purchasing full-sized items from the Birchbox website is not allowed until the end of my two months.

-Skin care is a little trickier. I would like to include this in the no-buy, but if I run out of an item that is working for my skin, I will repurchase despite having other products that have the same function (in about every category). My skin is fickle and I am trying to maintain a consistent skin care routine.

-If I do feel that there needs to be a new skin care item purchased, I must wait at least a week to see if I really need it. 

I am hoping that this gives me a chance to focus on what I have, not what I want. Also, it's a great way for me to save some money.

Here are a few items I have purchased recently that I look forward to using:

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss in "Coral Reef"
A great summer shade, very pigmented

Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in "R.S.V.P."
I have used this almost every day since I bought it. It's beautiful.

Essie Nail Polish in "French Affair"
I loved "Nice is Nice" so I had to pick this up too.

LaVanila Roller Ball Perfume in "Vanilla Grapefruit"
The smell of this is divine. A full-sized bottle may be my first purchase after the no-buy.

 As you can see, I have a lot of new things I'm loving, as well as some old favorites. So Sephora, see you on June 28th. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Garden Review: Week 4

I'm of two minds about the product for this week. Yes, I was able to control myself and only test one product. Amazingly.

Creamy Cleanser (unscented)
If you thought of a basic milky cleanser, this would be it. It is the least drying of the three cleansers I ordered in my sample pack. It is a white cleanser with a "slippery" feel to it. There is a faint smell to it which I don't care for, but am willing to look past as it is not too overpowering.

*Picture will be added soon*

I took this on vacation with me and my skin has finally started to look great. My skin tone is more even, I have no breakouts and my "chin bumps" are starting to lessen. However, I feel like there are many factors that may have added to this, not just the new cleanser. First of all, I have stopped putting any oils directly on my face and I think my skin is appreciative of that. While I needed the extra moisturization during the winter months, I think my skin is now only suffering from dehydration. The oils have become unnecessary and perhaps a bit too heavy. Secondly, I cut down my skin care regime as I was traveling; I only used this cleanser, the Strawberry Hydrating Mist and the Majik Coconut Revival Cream (plus some eye cream) while I was away. Whenever testing new products, I always come back to the conclusion that simple is better and this trip proved that yet again. GoW has so many products that all do so many great things, that I think the layering of products is the norm. However, I feel that most days I only need to do the classic "Cleanse, Tone, Moisturize." I love the direction my skin is moving in now.

This cleanser is a little on the pricey side in my mind for something fairly basic. Because of this, I am going to spend this week using the Burt's Bees Radiance Cleanser, which is a creamy cleanser that I have used in the past. I know that I love my hydrating mist and moisturizer and that these are unique products, but I am not sure that I need to order a basic cleanser from GoW to use with it. The Burt's Bees Cleanser is $10 for 6 oz while the Creamy Cleanser is $14.30 for 4 oz. That is a moderate price difference, especially since I feel that I need to use quite a bit of the Creamy Cleanser each wash. If it turns out that this cleanser does significantly contribute to the look of my skin, I do not mind paying the price. But being able to use a less expensive and more easily accessible product as a cleanser and turning to GoW for their unique products is an ideal situation.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Never Again: Parabens and the Revlon Temptress

About a year and a half ago, my skin freaked out. I had more acne than I ever had in high school and my skin was just not happy. I started using a Lorac foundation I had lying around, but quickly realized that this was only adding to the problem. I switched over to the Clinque Perfectly Real Foundation which is a beautiful, easy to use foundation.

I had read up a lot on parabens. Parabens are preservatives used widely in the cosmetic industry. They are found in many liquid formulas, but also in pressed products as the binding agent needs to be preserved. But they have caused quite the stir in past years due to health concerns. There are arguments for both sides of the debate, I will let you do your own research and decide. When I thought about how much of our makeup and skin care we accidentally ingest or absorb, I decided it would be a small change to make. On top of that, many products that contained parabens just weren't right for my skin, while options without them were gentler and more healing.

So I switched my skincare and I started to see improvements. My skin cleared up except for three large spots that never seemed to go away. Or they would clear up and new ones would occur. It took months for me to realize how much the Clinque foundation was taking a toll on my skin. My mentality was "Clinque is all green and lab-coat-y. They must make things that are good for me skin." Right? Wrong. I stopped using the foundation and those spots cleared up.

Reading the ingredients list will really open your eyes. Companies are great at marketing and not all of them live up the image that they present. (Another ingredient that is good to stay away from is Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, which is the agent that causing foaming, but is incredibly drying.) For example, Lush seems like a natural solution. Almost all of their liquid products contain parabens and many contain sodium lauryl sulfate. I love Lush and use their massage bars frequently, but I have restricted my use to their solid items.

Every now and then, something tempts me away from my paraben-free regime. There is no doubt that Revlon Colorstay is one of the most popular drugstore foundations out there. Perhaps included in the general popular foundations category, as well. And every time I walked down the cosmetics aisle, it called to me. "Isabel, here I am. Your solution to the most flawless, perfect skin. You'll wonder how you lived without me." (This is what most products say to me...) I caved while CVS had a Buy One Get One Half Off deal. I put it on right when I got home and my skin did look pretty amazing. The next day my boyfriend, who can always tell when I'm wearing foundation, took no notice. It was that good. And my skin's reaction? Nothing. Nada. The same as usual.

For two days.

Then, my chin started getting more and more bumps. I started breaking out and I knew I had made a mistake. My skin cannot handle products with parabens and it never will. It's a long, hard diet. In a lot of ways, it is a lot like my gluten intolerance. It is in most things, there are few side effects of eating/using it for a little while, but ultimately, it has bad side effects. If you are having problems with your skin, I would try a paraben-free diet. There are many main stream options out there. Origins is paraben free, Neutorgena has a new "naturals line." Covergirl Natureluxe is an option for paraben-free foundation.

As for me, I am saying "Never again" to parabens.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What I'm taking: Carry-On Edition

So I'm off on a weekend trip with my fam and I quickly snapped a picture of what I'm taking along with me:

-Naked Palette
-Josie Maran Tinted Moisturizer
-Milani HD Advanced Concealer
-Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden
-Josie Maran GoGo Mascara
-Mac Mineralized Skin Finish
-Josie Maran Blush/Bronzer in Flushed/Contoured
-Mac Studio Finish Concealer 
-Benefit Powderflage
-L'oreal Lineur Intense
-LaVanila Rollerball Perfume in Vanilla Grapefruit

-Tarte Blending Brush
-(my new!) Beauty Blender
-Lowell Cornell Brush for lid color
-Sephore Blending Brush
-Mac 187SE
-Sonia Kashuk Blush Brush
-Eco Tools Blush Brush (I use it with bronzer)

Happy weekend everyone! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fitness Journal: Running

I have not been to yoga since the last horrible one. I felt uninspired and cramped and grumpy. Cardio was missing from my routine. I finally gathered myself up and went to the gym. And you know what?

I liked it.

Let me preface this by saying, I have never been super athletic. I played soccer for years, but not well. In gym when we had to run the mile, I ran a 9:30 mile and was gasping for air by the end. Running sounded as god-awful to me as it did to most (sane) people. 

I started the Nike running program last year which is fantastic. I needed a pair of new running shoes so I investing in the Nike+ shoes and the little doodad you put in your shoe. The walk-to-run program I participated in took 12 weeks and took you from walking for 15 minutes to running 20-25 minutes straight. It took me a few times to really commit to it but I finished it in the end.

I also suffer from shin splints when I run on concrete. All of these obstacles have held me back from running. But a week or two ago when I got to the gym and started running I felt great. My stamina was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be and I had no shin issues the next morning. Since I have started running some more my energy levels have been through the roof. I never believed that this was true; I always felt miserable and exhausted after running. Sometimes after running in the evening, I laze around for the night. But in the morning, it is easier to get up and I drink less coffee. I'm almost in disbelief that I feel this way about running, but I plan on trying to continue running as long as possible.