Friday, November 13, 2009

Long Absence, and What I'm Loving Now

Yes, I have been gone a long time.   My life has been a bit wild during the past year.  My job has been crazy, crazy, crazy - I've put in a lot of hours, and it's exhausted me a lot of the time, which meant that while I've tried a lot of new makeup and other beauty products, I just haven't had the energy to write up my thoughts about them here.  I often thought, "This would make a great blog post" many times while experimenting, but then life would get in the way and the post never happened.   

Another reason is that our digital camera is super old, and as a result, I'm really unable to take decent swatch photos or close-up photos of eye/lip/nail looks - and we all know that good photos of these things are pretty much what keeps a blog alive.  This issue hasn't been resolved yet - I am still looking around to find a camera that does these things and is actually something I can afford on my shitty writer's salary.  So, hopefully photos will be added to the blog in the next 6 months.

In addition, my makeup addiction and this blog has caused a lot of friction in my marriage.  I won't go into too many details other than to say that my husband doesn't understand my interest in playing with beauty products and feels I am wasting time and especially money on this whole thing.  That friction was a part of why I stayed away from this blog (but I did keep reading everyone else's!!).   I actually debated just deleting this  blog and getting on with my life.  Then, I realized that I cannot let other people control my interests, even if I'm married to said "other people." So, to put it blunty, screw him - I'm back, baby! ;)

Soooooo............ it's been a while..... what am I into beauty-wise now??  In no particular order, here's a list of 10 things I'm loving now (and hopefully I'll be posting in detail about all of these things soon):

I have no idea why, but over the last 2 months I have gone on a huge nail color kick.  Actually, for a number of years, I did not polish my nails at all - when I was working in the laboratory, it just wasn't very practical.  All of the glove changes and chemical exposures wreaked havoc on any type of manicure, and all nail color would seriously chip within a day.  That meant it was kind of a waste of time to polish my nails unless it was for a special occasion, so I just didn't.  However, a few months ago I happened to come across some amazing nail blogs (including Scrangie, Vampy Varnish, and even though she's stopped blogging now, The Nailphile) and was really intrigued by all the amazing colors out there.  Realizing that I no longer have to deal with laboratory hazards as a science writer, I began my love affair with polish.  Hopefully I'll be able to show pics of my faves soon :)  And, to go along with my nail color fixation, I'm also loving ....

2.  KONAD Stamping Nail Art
Can we say, FUN????!!!!   I didn't know KONAD existed until a few months ago when I started reading all those nail blogs, but now I am loving it.  For those that don't know what it is, it allows you to stamp all kinds of fancy designs on your nails at home, and the result looks like you spent hours at a nail salon.  I'm still a beginner with it, but I find it's pretty easy to get started making really impressive designs on your nails with this stamping system.  I've gotten a LOT of compliments on my nails when I use my KONAD, and it's really fun to use it.  

These new lippies are seriously cool for a drugstore brand!   I think they feel great on my lips, and I get hours of wear from them.  I'm particularly loving some of their nude shades right now, but I plan on trying some bolder ones soon.  They do smell a little like Play-Doh, though - that's okay with me, because I actually find the smell of Play-Doh comforting (good childhood memories, perhaps?), but if you don't like it, you might want to open one of these lippies up at the store and have a good sniff before buying.  A more detailed review and some of my favorite shades will be coming up....

4.  MAC Smoke and Mirrors Holiday Eye Palette
I know a lot of people are giving this one iffy reviews, because it's supposed to be MAC's yearly take on the holiday smoky eye and instead, 4 of the 6 colors in the palette are more neutral/nude than smoky.   Okay, so what?  If you take the palette for what it is, instead of what it is supposed to be, I think it is great!  I find I reach for this palette when I'm rushed, when I don't know what eye look to do, when I'm going to be traveling.... the list goes on.  With the colors in this little baby, you can do an easy taupe eye for day and then ramp it up with the 2 smokier colors for night... seriously, it's all you need, especially if you've got green eyes like me, since several of the shades have a little purple lurking in their base!

5.  L'Oreal Vive Pro Nutri Gloss Shampoo and Conditioner (For Medium to Long Hair That's Damaged)
For a large part of the last 20 years, I have been searching for the perfect shampoo/conditioner for my naturally curly, frizz-prone, breakage-prone, all-out crazy hair.  I have tried everything, including brands that cost scary amounts of money, to try and tame this head of hair so that I don't end up looking like Little Orphan Annie with a frizzy, curly, red Afro.  I had gotten okay results with some of that expensive stuff a while ago, and then the recession hit and I decided to at least try to cut back just in case I ended up being laid off. So, one day I noticed that this L'Oreal Nutri Gloss was on sale.  I grabbed it... and I have not looked back!!  I'm telling you, this stuff is $2.97 a bottle at Wal-Mart, and it is AH-MAZING.  Better than that new-fangled stuff out of M.I.T. in the taupe bottle that claims to eliminate your frizzy hair if you pay them $23 a bottle (yeah, Living Proof, I DO mean you).  I've been using the L'Oreal for several months now, and my hair has never looked better, felt better, or behaved better in my life.  A full review will definitely be coming up on this one.

L'Oreal Vive Pro - Nutri Gloss Shampoo, For Medium To Long, That's Damaged Hair - 13 fl oz

6.  RoC Multi Correxion Skin Renewing Serum
I admit that I inherited pretty decent skin genes... I'm 35, but I am always carded.  I've been told I look like I'm in my early 20s.  I've even been carded for things you have to be 18 to buy!  However, I do want to keep my skin nice, because genes only go so far... and of course, I do notice a few fine lines popping up here and there.  Recently, I decided to give retinol a shot, but I certainly don't need to go get a prescription for Retin-A or whatever else!  Since RoC products are a pretty well known source of OTC retinol, I decided to go with them instead of my (expensive as hell) dermatologist.  Right now, I'm using their Multi Correxion Skin Renewing Serum and LOVING it.  It's a light, easily absorbed fluid that leaves skin feeling satiny, and since I've been using it, my skin texture has been amazing.  Also, I haven't gotten a single zit - and for most of my life, I've always developed one or two pimples around "that time of the month."  Not with RoC!  You do need to start slow especially if your skin is sensitive, because this can give you a good strong tingle at first... but skin adapts to the retinol pretty quickly (at least mine did).  LOVE IT.
RoC® MULTI CORREXION™ Skin Renewing Serum

7.  MAC Pigment in Naked
I very rarely buy a full-sized container of a MAC pigment, because I can get piggie samples at The Body Needs for about $1.50 (and those samples usually last a very long time since a little goes a long way with piggies). However, Naked is one of the two MAC piggies that I recommend getting the full size (the other is Vanilla).  Naked is just that, a skin-colored pigment with very delicate sparkle in it.  I find that it's perfect for blending the edges of a deep crease color, and it makes a perfect daytime, work-appropriate brow highlighter.  You can also use it on the tops of your cheekbones for a super-subtle cheek highlighter.  There are a million other uses too, and if you do pay the $19.50 to get a full size, you WILL get your money's worth.  

8.  Olay Daily Facials Cleansing Cloths (Combination/Oily)
I heard about these while watching Emily of Beauty Broadcast on YouTube (watch her here).  I think it was her video on her skincare routine.  Anyway, she talked about how she'd been using these cloths for years, and I was intrigued by them - I loved the idea that the cleanser was in a disposable cloth, and I figured they'd be good to have around for travel at the very least.  I bought them intending to use them on our upcoming holiday trips to visit family, but now I use them all the time!  They're great - my face feels super clean afterwards, and I haven't had a single breakout since using these.  I also love the fact that one side exfoliates in addition to simply cleaning. I love that I don't have to use an icky washcloth - I can use a clean cloth every time.  And yes, they ARE amazing for travel!
Olay Daily Facials - Cleansing Cloths Double Refill Pack, Combination/Oily - 60 ea

9.  Olay Quench Body Lotion - Ultra Moisture with Shea Butter and Vitamins E & B3

This stuff is all-around amazing.  Super moisturizing, non-greasy, smells great.  Perfection.  They have other formulas of Quench, too - I happen to love this one, with shea butter.  I tried the one with cocoa butter, but disliked the smell (I may be one of the only people on the planet totally grossed out by coconut in all forms)... but you should feel free to try them all to see which one YOU love best!   Plus, it's not expensive.... and right now it is even less expensive.  Go through all of your chick magazines from the last few months (Glamour, Cosmo, Lucky, Allure, etc) and look for the Olay Quench ads - most of them are including coupons right now for $3 off a bottle of any Quench moisturizer.  Many of the ads ALSO include a coupon for a buy one, get one free on Quench!!  And shhhhhh.... don't tell anyone, but my Wal-Mart let me stack these coupons, so I got 2 big bottles of this stuff for like $3.  How cool is that???  

Olay Body - Quench Body Lotion, Ulta Moisture - 11.8 fl oz

10.  Sally Beauty Supply
Ok, so it's not really a product, but I had to add it to the list because it's just a super cool store!  You can find some really amazing treasures here - everything from nail goodies (including nail wrap supplies to fix broken talons, rhinestones for nail art, files, buffers, polishes, manicure stuff like cuticle oils, etc) to false lashes to hair appliances to hair color to whatever else you need.  I had a really great shopping experience in my Sally's the Wednesday before Thanksgiving - it was quietly playing classic Christmas carols by Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, etc (my FAVORITES) and I browsed through their aisles for over an hour... LOL!  I find that the employees at my Sally's are really really friendly and are always willing to help out with finding things or making product suggestions.  Definitely join the Sally Beauty Club - it's $5 per year, BUT you will get a coupon for $5 off your next purchase (so essentially it is free).  Once you join, you'll get the Club discount on all the products (that's at least a dollar off China Glaze nail colors, for example), and if you spend $25 or more in one month, you'll get a certificate via email giving you 15% off any purchase the NEXT month!  These discounts are valid both in store AND online here.  Plus, they're always having sales - their Cyber Monday sale is tomorrow, and it's 20% off everything in their online store (use code 555945, Monday only).  They also send out coupons for $5 off pretty regularly.  Awesome place!

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