beauty

Christmas Nail’d IT!! (Round 2)

Second round of my Holiday nails, holllaaa! Just red, gold sparkles from Butter London, white and green.

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Christmas Nail’d it!!!! (round 1)

Here are my first round of Christmas nails, went a little simpler for early in the season. Super easy to do with a SALLY HANSEN Longwear metallic dark red, and a white thin brush!

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Halloween Nail Art

Couldn’t decide which kind of Pinterest Halloween nail art to do.. SO I BASICALLY DID ALL OF THEM.  Hope you like and maybe this can inspire your own!

Also for the very best nail tutorials – check out Naildecor on Instagram. She does THE COOLEST DESIGNS, and somehow manages to get it all in 15 seconds of video! Completely obsessed with her posts.

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UPDATE: My Experimenting with Apple Cider Vinegar

A few posts ago I declared my suspicions about the BFD with raw apple cider vinegar. I really wanted to understand what all the hype was about, so I decided to try it out (consistently) for myself.

Many of the recipes and recommendations I was reading suggested consuming it in some form every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I could not do that. It definitely got easier to drink over time, but every day was too much for me.

Instead I focused on using it three (sometimes four) days a week for the last month – either taking a shot of it mixed with water and juice, or using it on a salad.

MY RESULTS (thus far)

  • I can not confirm or deny any effects on my immune system, thus far. I haven’t gotten sick, but it’s also summer and I normally would not be getting sick.
  • I can however confirm there may be a slight change in my skin and breakouts. As I’ve mentioned many times I suffer from (really AWFUL) hormonal breakouts that have never been an issue in my life before the past few years. I am willing to try anything and everything, but it’s hard because I also have sensitive skin. The inside out approach (as I’ve mentioned before from reading Eat Pretty) has been especially helpful, including ACV. My usual breakout at that-time-of-the-month was not as severe as I’ve come to expect (though this could also be because of other dietary changes as well). I also really liked using the ACV-based toner recipe I mentioned in my previous post!
  • I will say I think the ACV has helped in my digestion, and although it may have been a placebo effect, the ACV did assist in my feeling fuller, quicker, when consumed before a meal.
  • Also felt like consuming it before a meal helped in my mood and energy (and possibly slight weightloss too!
  • I would say it assisted in “detoxing,” (remember, when people tell you they are on a detox, it usually just means they are pooping a lot).

I did not try using ACV as a hair cleanser, so I can not speak to that. And overall I liked the results, and I think had I been consuming and using it every day my results probably would have been even better. I think I will continue using it  the way I have thus far though.

Anyone else have results like these from consuming apple cider vinegar consistently? Better, or worse than my experiment?

Thanks for reading!

Returning Beauty Products

Racked has done a great recap of places you can return beauty products. I feel like I am constantly buying and trying new items for beauty and skin care, but in the last few years I’ve definitely made a point of shopping at stores where I can return if I want to. They’re so expensive it’s downright crazy to buy something anywhere where you can’t easily take that $40 cellulite-fixing-lotion that never works, back.

http://racked.com/archives/2014/07/11/beauty-return-policies.php

All I know is I have a full basket from my Body Shop phase that I am definitely cashing in on ASAP.

The only additions I would like to make to the list, from experience, is somehow there is no mention of Target?? Target takes back EVERYTHING – used, unused, opened, unopened. If you have the receipt or it was purchased on your Target card and they can look it up, you can get the money back. If not, you’ll likely get a store credit (which in my case might as well be actual cash anyway). And did I mention they take an-y-thing?

And second, Sephora will also take back anything, even if it’s used, and even without a receipt. They will just give you store credit (which again, in my case, might as well be cash)

 

Happy returning! Thanks for reading!

When Chocolate Attacks

Despite my love and adoration for the wondrous and delicious substance that is chocolate (of the dark or milk variety, I’ll take it basically however I can get it), I have to admit, to the world and to myself, it really doesn’t love me. My relationship with chocolate is much like that of an immature or borderline abusive boyfriend, in that he keeps screwing me up, and I still keep taking him back when I’m at my weakest (dark, I know, but it’s the truth!!).

Of course I’m referring to the effects of chocolate on my skin. I don’t know what happened in the last few years, but suddenly, I can’t enjoy half a Snickers bar (who the am I kidding, I mean a whole, king size Snickers) without some kind of blemish, breakout, or single zit right in the middle of my forehead within 24 hours. I keep blaming my hormonal breakouts on the fact that I am at “baby making age” and my body is a little out of wack. But in reality it probably has more to do with what I’m putting in my body, like when I can’t resist bingeing on my secret stash of stress-chocolate in my desk at work.

Sometimes the things we love, hurt us. I’ve learned this the hard way, and I’ve been searching for the products to remedy this as best I can for my sensitive/combination skin, and this time from the outside (for the inside, see my mention of the lovely book “Eat Pretty,” in a previous post). Here are some of my favorite items that have helped me keep my chocolate abuse off my face.

1. Boots No. 7 – Beautiful Skin, Rapid Spot Rescue

I bought this stuff completely on whim because it was on clearance at Target one day, and I’ve been using it almost nightly, since. Usually I don’t believe that any “spot treatments” really work, but this one has proved me completely wrong .When using at night I’ve seen a very visible difference in the morning, and it’s an awesome feeling to have something that I know will work in my arsenal.

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2. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel pads

I know what you’re thinking – “those are a lot of intimidating words for one product name.” You’re not wrong, ALPHA BETA PEEL? My skin is red, blotchy and dry just hearing those words. But trust me, they are just words, and a “peel” does not mean your skin will be sliding off of your face. I have the most sensitive skin you can ever find, EVERYTHING makes me break out, but not these. The first pad has helped smooth, refine pores, and clear up my skin, and the second pad helps moisturize. I even have mild rosecea from time to time and this has help calm that, not enhance it in any way. They do smell chemical-y, so trust me I’m as surprised as you are about how gentle they really are. I use one or two a week when I’m looking less glow-y and dull than I should! If you don’t believe me, read the reviews for these at the Sephora link above. They’re expensive, but boy are they worth it.

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3. Josie Maran Argan Milk – Moisturizer

After all the drying up of skin and pimples using the aforementioned products, I usually need a bit of moisture. I was given a small sample bottle of this, and really wanted to hate it so that I wasn’t compelled to buy the full size. But I have to say – it does everything it says it will for my skin. I’ve seen Josie talk about her products on QVC a few times and she’s very convincing, but I have not had nearly the success with the actual Argan oils, as I have with this product and the whipped Argan oil lotions. Both are hydrating, healing, and create the exact dewy effect they promise. The Argan Milk has minimized my pores, helped clear break outs and helped fade scars, in just a few days I’ve seen such a nominal difference. The Whipped lotion has done the same for the rest of my body but especially calmed a patch of eczema on my thigh. For someone like me, who breaks out from EVERYTHING, these have both been a real godsend.

What products do are you swearing by right now?? Let me know, I’ll probably want to try that too!

Thanks for reading!

Beauty is skin deep…?

Earlier this year I mentioned how I switched up my skin care routine, and had (fully) discovered all that Sephora has to offer. Since I’d gone most of my life without acne, until the last few years where I’ve been experiencing hormonal breakouts, it’s been a struggle to know what direction to head in. I started with Clinique, which for my sensitive/combination skin has been going relatively well. However, once I started searching, I haven’t been able to stop. It seems as though every time I even breathe near a Sephora, they are giving me more samples for similar skin care items, and I want to try them all in my quest to find that miracle product.

Similar to this post I read a few weeks ago from A Pretty Penny, I am realizing that simpler is better. After my product scouring, and weeks of researching brands, ingredients, and the latest technology to clear my skin and make it look younger (and I’m only 25!), I’ve settled on doing nearly nothing chemically (surprise!) based to keep it looking good. Here are my latest tips for the sensitive, combination skin, hormonal acne sufferers like myself !

1. Always  be drinking water

It’s a tried and true skin helper because improper hydration is the cause of many skin ailments. Plus, adding detoxing ingredients like lemon, mint, or blueberries, or enhancing the hydration with water-soaked chia seeds, makes it hard to get too bored!

2. Do not wash with hot water

Maybe this is just me, but my mind set for everything is – hot kills bacteria, the hotter the better! NOTE TO SELF: This is not true for skincare. Washing my face, and really whole body with warm or nearly cool water has made a world of difference – less blotchy, less dry. And when it’s less dry, there are less steps to take to make up for how dry it is (ie. moisturizers, serums, heavy lotions).

3. Using real, natural, leaf derived aloe vera


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Not only has using true, natural aloe vera been great for moisturizing, but it is unbelievably healing! That means that the scars, scabs, and marks from current or previous breakouts are healing, as I am moisturizing. I’ve been using it at night when the skin does it’s best repairing, and it’s literally worked wonders. And not just the healing and the moisturizing, the aloe has been my miracle product in terms of pore minimizing too! I have oily skin around my t zone and nose, and using the aloe under make up has kept my pores from looking huge all day.

There are a few options for obtaining natural aloe (not, NOT the stuff in the gel form, from the bottle that you use on sunburn, as it’s very little aloe and a lot of thickeners and preservatives!) –

– First, my local Whole Foods has large, aloe leaves for purchase that look like this, and you can then extract the aloe vera following a video like this (from the adorable Kibby Miller, check out everything she does!). You can also buy aloe vera plants for your house, which I have, but you won’t get nearly as much as you would if you can find those huge leaves. Once fully extracted, the fresh aloe should be stored in a sealed tight mason jar as pictured, and in the fridge for the few weeks you should have it. I use a little bit on my face every morning and evening, and now I’ve been using it on actual sunburn!

– You can also buy a product like this Aubrey Organics Aloe Vera, also at Whole Foods or on Amazon. Not exactly the same as extracting from the leaf yourself, but still has the same effects from what I’ve seen!

4. This lovely new book I picked up, “Eat Pretty” by Jolene Hart

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I saw Jolene speaking about her book “Eat Pretty” last weekend, and I had to know everything! I think it’s easy to forget that the things you put INSIDE your body completely effect everything that comes out of it – be it skin, mood, hair, etc. This book has all the different parts of our diet that we don’t even realize are connected to most issues we have, simply because they are so ingrained in our lives (like caffeine and sugar), it’s just easier to find surface level solutions instead of working from the inside out. So far it’s been incredibly informative and has helped me on my journey to wellness and clear skin!

 

Thanks for reading, hope this helps for anyone struggling with my same issues! And don’t worry, I still have a few not-so-natural products I’ve discovered in my recent searches which I will detail here very soon.

Post in the comments any of your go-to natural beauty tips, or let me know if these have worked for you!