Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Knowing your skin type

One of the most important things (in my opinion) to do before you begin building your makeup collection is to learn what your skin type is. It'll make it that much easier to choose foundations, concealers, powders and skin care.

Finding out what type of skin you have also takes a lot of trial and error. For me personally, I have combination/dry skin. My skin is super oily in my t-zone (mainly my nose), and is normal to dry on my cheeks. Up until the last year or so, I always assumed my entire face was oily because my nose was, but over time I've learned that I don't need as much coverage or powder over my cheeks or it can start to look cakey.

So how can you tell what skin type you have? A very basic version is that if your skin doesn't get too oily or dry, your skin type is normal. If your entire face becomes an oil slick after a few hours and you're prone to acne and large pores, you have oily type skin. If your skin gets oily in the t-zone and is normal or dry on your cheeks, I would say you're combination. Skin that has rosacea or reacts to skin care and makeup is sensitive. If your entire face gets tight or has dry flakes, your skin type is dry.

Some things to remember or look for when trying to learn your skin type:

1. Know the return policy of the store where you're buying products from. Drugstores, such as CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid have a great return policy. Basically, you can return any product you don't like whether or not you've used it. If you're buying from makeup counters or high-end boutiques, ask the associate what their return policy is before you leave.

2. If you have combination skin, you may need to buy more than one product for each need. I.e., you may need to buy one lotion that mattifies your t-zone and one that hydrates your cheeks. Or look for combination products that can do both.

3. If going to Sephora or a make-up counter, get some advice from the associates. They go through trainings with their company about products, so they have more knowledge than the general consumer. Also, ask for samples of the products to try at home before you make the investment.

4. Do your research. I almost never purchase a product without looking up reviews. On Sephora's website, reviewers are asked to share their skin type. You can put more weight on the reviews that have a skin type similar to yours to decide if the product might or might not work for you.

5. Consider your climate. I live in the Northeast where winters are brutal and summers are hot and humid. You may want to have different products for different types of the year. I keep products on hand that are more moisturizing for the winter months, and lighter for the summer months.

Sometimes, you just have to try a product to find out if it works for you. If it doesn't, keep your receipts so that you can return it and try something else! Learning your skin type off the bat will help you to avoid wasting money on products that don't work for you.

That being said, there is no golden rule for this. Try some products out and have fun with it!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Favorites!

I've had the luxury of having time off before starting my clinicals to finish my grad degree - so I was able to finish the loooong laundry list of things to do in our house. I'm happy (and relieved) to say that we're finally completely settled in!

1. This beauty was finally delivered this week and has settled into our living room nicely! It's from Pier 1, here's the link for the same style chair in a different print. The print I got isn't available.

2. Fall is my all-time favorite season. I could live year-round in 50-60-70 degree weather. Being that I live in New England and the weather is so unpredictable, it's been in the 80s the last few days. Thankfully fall temps are returning next week!

3. 'Nuff said. These didn't last too long in my house.

4. Sunbathing in the mudroom!

5. I'm so exciting to start my clinical next week! Stay tuned for some of the work I'll be doing while I'm there.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

DIY Makeup Brush Jars

Last year, I started saving old Yankee Candle jars to "use to make something" on a rainy day...which came and went, and over a year later, I've finally put them to use! I knew that I wanted to make some kind of makeup brush holder for my 30+ brushes that I have. So I decided to use ribbon, some leftover rhinestone-esque "ribbon" I had leftover, and bright green flowers. When we moved, we decided to keep the whole house in the same theme and color palette. Throughout the rooms, there is grey, black, white/cream and accents of green (I feel like it unifies the house, especially since it's one story).

To get started, I poured boiling water in the jars to get the leftover candle wax out. Once it cools, most of it has either floated to the surface, or is easy enough to get out of the bottom with a knife. After washing and drying, it looks like this:

Don't mind the mess. I prefer to work in chaos.

 The first step is to choose the ribbon you want for this project. Since everything else is black, white and green in my house, and I have black and white print totes in my closet (where my vanity is), I decided to go with black and white polka dots.

I then took the ribbon and measured around the cup to get the right size.

The seam where it will overlap doesn't matter, because depending on the size flower you choose, it will end up covering it up. I used craft spray adhesive to glue it to the jar. I sprayed a light layer on the back of the ribbon, and carefully but quickly wrapped it around the jar. It still leaves some room for adjustment if you didn't affix it right the first time. It should end up looking like this:

I wanted to add a little sparkle to the jar, so I used this leftover roll of "rhinestone cake ribbon":

This was leftover from a cake my mom had made when my vovo turned 80 this past December. You can find something similar here. I like it because it doesn't have actual rhinestones, so they won't ever chip or fall out. But it adds a cute little shine and detail.

I then used a green flower that I bought from AC Moore. It was originally a lot larger than what I wanted, but it had an extra layer that I was able to pop off.

I then snipped off the stem so that I could glue it to the glass.

I then used a hot glue gun to glue the back of the flower to the seam of the ribbons. And it ended up looking like this!

I'm super happy with how it turned out. I plan on getting glass beads or something similar to put in the jars, like how Sephora has their makeup jars, so that my brushes will stand up on their own.

Check out Dear Creatives for more DIY projects!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Long time no see!

Like I alluded to in my last post - trying to find inspiration (or time) to write while I was finishing up grad school was darn near impossible. The good news? I'm done with classes! The program that I'm in isn't technically done since I still have six months of clinical to finish, but my days of writing papers and completing assignments are over! I couldn't be more excited!

More exciting news is that Matt and I bought a house! It's been very busy around here. We closed on August 6th, moved in two weeks later and have spent the better part of the last month painting, staining, cleaning, moving and building! We're just about done, and I'm grateful to have a dedicated room for an office. It'll be nice to have room to spread out and keep things organized.

I have some great posts planned, including a fun DIY project and my makeup/vanity setup. I recently bought a drawer specifically for my collection and I can't wait to show it! My photography is somewhat limited as I mostly use my cell phone or cheap-o digital camera. I'm planning on investing in a high-quality Canon or Nikon within the coming months. Any suggestions are appreciated!

Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

All work and no play...

So, who would have thought that being in graduate school and working full-time would eat up so much of your life? For the past month or so, I haven't posted a thing. I'm working on making a better schedule so that I can update at least 3 times a week (I would say that's pretty doable for how tight my schedule is). Thanks for understanding, hang in there! :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Spiral Curls"

Disclaimer: I only wash my hair once a week, twice if it gets too oily. My hair is super dry, and my roots take about 4 days before they get oily. I consider myself lucky in that regard, because I get so bored when doing my hair! After I wash it, I'll either blow it out with a round brush, or run a 1 1/4 inch curling iron through it. Every once and a while I'll wear it up, but that's the extent of it.

I was browsing through my YouTube subscriptions when I came across this how-to by michele1218 (who is my favorite YT guru, you should definitely check out her channel!). I also have a 1 inch and a 3/4 inch curling iron, both of which I hardly ever use. I decided to bust out my 3/4 inch and copied her tutorial. My iron has a clip, but I used it like it was a curling wand.

It came out great! The technique takes some getting used to, and I could definitely use more practice. But it gave a more "natural" curled look. If you're getting bored with your everyday hair routine, try her tutorial!

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 2013 Birchbox!

Have you ever heard of Birchbox? It's a subscription service where you receive deluxe samples once a month. And it only costs $10! I've gotten the chance to try some products that I've really loved through it. It's so exciting to see one in my mailbox each month!

This month, I got quite a few products that I was already in the market for, which is great. Now I can test them before deciding what to purchase!

The first is Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo. I've been in the market for a clarifying shampoo to use once a month, but one that won't strip my color-treated hair, or dry it out. This shampoo is 100% vegan, sulfate and paraben free and gentle on hair. Can't wait to try it out!

 The next item was theBalm cosmetics Hot Mama eyeshadow/blush. To me, it looks exactly like Nars Orgasm (you can't really tell from the picture) which is my all-time favorite blush. Even though it is cheaper and just as pretty, I probably won't replace this for Nars in my collection. This size would be nice to travel with, though!

The third item is Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream. I currently use a Josie Maran tinted argan daily moisturizer, which doesn't work as great in the winter as it did in the fall, as far as moisture goes. But, it has SPF 40, and I prefer daily lotions with a high SPF. This may be good to try for a night cream, since it doesn't have SPF.

The next item is LASHEM Measurable Difference Lash Gel Serum. My lashes aren't pathetic by any means, but I definitely want thicker, fuller lashes! I've been in the market for a serum. I used to use the one by wet n wild, but it ended up giving me a stye along my lash line (eww...). I'm excited to try to see if this works, but the full-size is $69.99 - which I wouldn't pay unless there were dramatic results.

The perfume sample I received was Harvey Prince Skinny Chic. It says that it's a blend of green apple, mint and lotus blossom - and you can definitely smell the green apple! It will be a nice scent for spring.

The last piece that came was the Birchbox fold-out poster with 25 ideas "for maximizing your individual happiness."

That's it! I'm pretty happy with mine this month. Do you have a Birchbox?

Friday, January 11, 2013

High Five for Friday!

This week was back to reality, big time. It was the first five-day week after vacation (I can't believe how whiny that sounds...) and I return to school this week. For those of you who don't know, I work full-time and go to school full-time. I'm an occupational therapy assistant and am a year away from receiving my Masters degree in occupational therapy (I just did a little happy dance!). My program is unique in that I spend every other Friday night and all day Saturday on campus, and the rest of "off-campus" time is online and independent work. It sounds like it would be easy, but rest assured - it's not! I plan on doing a separate post about my schooling in the future to explain more. Long story short - this has been a very long week! (and it ain't over yet...)

That story ^ was getting to the point that my favorite thing from this week was my girl's trip to Foxwoods over the weekend. So my HF4F is dedicated to that! We went on Saturday and stayed overnight at MGM Grand, which is a gorgeous hotel. I highly recommend.

1. The ceiling lights in the lobby. Gorg.

2. Gratuitous bathroom shot after getting ready.

3. Snowy view from our room.

4. 4 person drink from the Scorpion Bar!

 5. Amidst shaking our bon-bons!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Grapefruit and Orange Juice

I have a juicer that I use pretty regularly (even though it's a total pain to clean...). Usually I'll throw in whatever I have in my fridge to make some kind of juice. I like things more on the sweet side, so I try to use more fruits than vegetables. I like making my own juice because you can have anywhere from 5-10 servings of fruits and veggies in one glass!

Last week, I did a one day "cleanse" to jump start my New Year's resolution (which is to generally eat healthier). I drank homemade juice all day long - and after one day, I definitely felt a difference! It was a good way to get me going on the right path. It definitely isn't for anyone, but for myself, I like to do a one day cleanse when I haven't been eating so great.

One of the combinations I liked was grapefruit and orange juice. It's great to have every morning, doesn't have added sugar like store bought juices, and provides a lot of vitamins (that are especially important when you work with germy kids all day like I do). I'm not normally a fan of grapefruit because they're bitter, but mixed with oranges, it becomes less tart.

1 ruby red grapefruit
2 medium sized oranges

Peel the oranges and grapefruit and process through the juicer. Tada! The hardest part about this recipe is the clean up, which is well worth it if you're becoming more health-conscious. If you prefer it even less bitter, try juicing just a half grapefruit and adding an extra orange. Or add 1-2 packets of stevia to the juice once you're finished.

It goes great with oatmeal, enjoy!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Top 12 of 2012!

There where a few standout products for me in 2012. I made a list of my favorites (in no particular order) that were both beauty and non-beauty related items. I didn't include links for where to buy them, but I'll talk about where I found them in the description!

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo in "Bad to the Bronze" - This is my favorite "lazy day" shadow. I just swipe some all over my lid with mascara and it makes a very put-together look! It's also a great base when doing a bronze-y look. It does tend to crease, so I always use a primer. I got mine at CVS.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12hr Blush in Exposed - Another great "lazy day" shade! It's a mix between a bronze and rose color. It can be used as both a blush and a bronze or contour color, and adds a nice amount of color if you're going for a more intense eye look. Tarte is carried at Sephora.

Tazo Zen tea - I don't drink a lot of coffee, maybe twice a month if that! I drink a lot of tea though. This one was one that I kept reaching for all year! It's a great pick-me-up in the morning, and it's great iced in the summer. It's a green tea with a mild mint flavor, which I really like. Target has a great selection of Tazo teas.

Clarisonic Plus - scratch what I said above - if I had to chose an all-time favorite, this would be it! I cannot say enough about the Clarisonic. My skin has never looked better. Every woman should have one! I also get that annoying chicken skin on my upper arms, and the brush attachment really helps with it.

Brush Lab round brush size large - This makes my hair look like I had it done at a salon. I am by no means a hair expert, but this brush helps to make you look like one! I got mine at Ulta.

Scarves! - I'm a scarf addict (this is a small sample of my collection). My favorite this year has been big, chunky infinity scarves. I wear them to work, when out running errands - anywhere! They can add so much to an outfit.

Lush Tea Tree Water Toner Water - I used to swear by witch hazel until I found this. I always use a toner after washing my face, and this has really made a difference. I've noticed a reduction in the amount of breakouts I've had, and my face doesn't get as oily as it used to. Plus it smells great!

Cooking Light subscription - I love to cook, and I try to cook as healthy as I can. One of my resolutions was to get back on track with eating healthy, but I get tired of grilled chicken and brown rice. This magazine has a lot of great ideas for healthy, easy meals that don't get boring!

Tweezerman angled tweezers - I pluck my own eyebrows instead of getting them waxed. This little baby gets I kid you not. You can find Tweezerman at Sephora.

Alex and Ani bracelets - These bracelets have really exploded in New England (I'm sure elsewhere as well) over the past year. I have a pretty little collection growing. I love how dainty the bracelets are, the meaning behind the different ones, and the possibilities for stacking/mixing them.

e.l.f. eyelid primer - This gem is literally $1 at Target. And it makes my eyeshadow last all day. What could be better than that? I've heard it's a dupe for higher end products, but for the price and quality, I have no desire to try other primers.

Bath and Body Works eucalyptus spearmint pillow mist - I spray this on my pillows before bed at night. It really helps to relax both Matt and I and it smells so great (this is one of my favorite scents from B&BW).

So that's it! I hope you enjoyed reading this list, and maybe found some new products to try. What were standouts for you in 2012?

Friday, January 4, 2013

High Five for Friday!

I work in an elementary school doing occupational therapy. The first week back (even if it's short) after vacation is rough! I'm so glad today is Friday. Here are some of my favorites from this week:

1. Who doesn't love wise teabags?

2. Snow, finally! Last year, we had a very strange winter with almost no snow. It didn't go much below 40 degrees the entire season (yesterday was about 15 degrees). We usually get a good amount of snow from January to March. I love snow more than anyone probably should, and was so excited that we got a little storm Saturday night!

3. Next year's Christmas card.

4. Matt and I decided to collect ornaments from the places we visit. I got this little pretty on mega after-holidays sale. We went to New York City last April and it was so much fun! I can't wait to have this on our tree next year.

5. I'm heading to Foxwoods tomorrow for a girl's night with some of my friends. So excited!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cheers to the New Year!

Happy New Year! 2012 was definitely a great year. I settled in to my grad program for Occupational Therapy (now I'm halfway done!), I became established at my job, Matt and I got our first place together - definitely looking forward to what 2013 will bring!

Do you set New Year resolutions? I do every year, and last year I was proud of how far I kept them going - but I didn't follow through until the end. I definitely set some resolutions and intentions for this year. I feel like I say this to myself every year, but this year I really feel focused. Maybe it's because I can see the end in sight for school, or maybe it's because other exciting things are happening - but in any case, I want to work hard to keep them!

I plan on sending out thank you cards for gifts I got for Christmas (I intend to every year, but it rarely happens...) And with cards this cute, how could you not? (I got them at Marshalls)

Today, we had my sister and mom over for New Year's "snacks". I made a red velvet cheese ball with gingerbread pita chips (make this, you will not be sorry!) and buffalo chicken dip (probably one of my favorite things ever) with tortilla chips and baby carrots. Hope everyone had a great day!