Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Beauty Rules I Break

Hello, dear readers,

I hope everyone that celebrates had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week. My sister, her fiancé, and her wonderful little dog came to visit from out of state. Last week was also my 20th birthday [yikes!], and my lovely friends threw me a surprise party; they really are the best!

This week I've been thinking about what to write today, and it occurs to me that there's a post I've been meaning to do for at least a month now. There have been various tags around YouTube under several different monikers centering around beauty rules that people may often preach but fail to practice.

Here is my take on the beauty rules I break:

1. You should always wash your face morning and night.
    This is something I do most of the time, but, because of my current situation, I don't always practice. I'm   at home at the moment, so I'm often doing things around the house and not going anywhere until later in the day, if at all. In that case, I'm not wearing makeup anyway, so I'll sometimes go without washing my face at night. Then, the next day, because I usually work out in the late morning or late afternoon, I don't want to wash my face beforehand. Therefore, less face washing occurs. It hasn't caused me to break out, so I can get away with it. 

2. You should always moisturize your face before bed.
    The acne treatment I use, which I'll talk about in a long overdue updated skincare post, remains slightly sticky and can get a bit diluted with an added moisturizer. If my skin is really awful, there is no way I want to dilute the medication. It will obviously leave my skin drier in the morning, but, as far as I'm concerned, the faster the breakout is gone, the better.

3. Be very, very, gentle with wet hair.
   I really should practice this one, but I am incredibly impatient. I know wet hair stretches and should be treated with utmost care, but I just don't have the time! Recently I've been getting a large knot at the back of my hair after every shower that I simply cannot gently comb out. I have to use my fingers, and breakage will occasionally occur. No amount of leave-in conditioning and detangling spray can solve this problem for me.

4. Get frequent trims if you want your hair to grow longer.
   First of all, this is a misconception. If you get regular trims, and the same amount trimmed each time, your hair is not going to grow much. Most likely, it will simply retain its length. I understand cutting off the damage before growing your hair out, but you have to go longer between trims if you want it to grow. I've probably had only two trims all year, and this is the first time anyone has noticed it growing longer, including me. I'm sure it's somewhat damaged from daily wear and tear, but I have used heat a grand total of one time all year, and I tend to wear it in braids to bed. There's no way it will grow if I get it trimmed every six to eight weeks.

5. Never, ever, fiddle with blemishes.
   I'm usually pretty good about this one, but if I have a zit right smack between my eyebrows or on my nose, you can bet that if it's not gone in a few days, I'll do something about it. Yes, I have been known to pick a pimple to get it out of my sight, if temporarily. I do know that this can cause scarring, but I've never had any permanent scars from this, so I'm going to keep right on at it when I have to.

6. Stay away from sulfates.
   Besides the fact that this is pretty difficult to do, not all sulfates are actually harmful. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the one to watch out for, and it's the one I avoid. Sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, and ammonium lauryl sulfate are actually benign and won't harm you. Therefore, I don't avoid them, despite all the claims from various beauty sources. I'm sticking with science here.

7. Never use mineral oil or petrolatum.
   This one is relatively recent, and I'm not sure where it stemmed from. Since when is Vaseline bad? Haven't we all read countless articles on the multiple uses for it? If you're unsure, you can read about petrolatum here and mineral oil here. I promise you, neither of them are actually bad for you. I use Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, for extra chapped lips and flaky skin. It also works wonders for removing long-lasting lipstick. 
8. Always use a separate base coat and top coat for your nails.
   If I can save some money and use one product to do both jobs, you can bet that I will do just that. I use the Wet 'n Wild Shine Clear Nail Protector, reviewed here, and it works just fine.

Those are all the beauty rules I break, at least all those that I can think of right now. Some of them are rules I really should practice, and others are simply myths that turned into law somehow.

What beauty rules do you break?


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mini Review: Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder

Hello, dear readers,

Today's post is a review of Rimmel London Stay Matte pressed Powder. Let's get right to it and start out with the claims from Rimmel's website:


No chance to shine with Stay Matte Powder. Goes on smooth to even out skintone. Offers a natural, matte finish. You won't go out without it!

I have this in the color 001 Transparent. I've been wearing this over just my regular concealer for the past couple of weeks, and that's all the makeup I've had on. I can say that this powder definitely goes on smooth and does a great job of smoothing out skin tone and blending with the concealer for a matte finish. I know for a fact that, at least on me, this powder looks natural because my mom couldn't tell I was wearing makeup when I had it on. She's my harshest critic when it comes to makeup, and she has no qualms about letting me know if my makeup is noticeable.

The trick to a good powder with me is that it won't make my dry areas noticeable, and this doesn't. The skin on the sides of my nose is quite flakey, especially in the winter, and that area, as my mom says, is the "giveaway." This powder doesn't accentuate dry skin for me.

As for the "up to 5 hours of wear,"I think that's brilliant advertising. Why? Because they never tell you that it's a guaranteed five hours of wear; they just say anywhere up to five hours. I'll be honest and tell you that I haven't measured the hours. I have, however, worn this out all day and it doesn't wear as badly as the other powders I've tried. Sure, after seven hours it fades on my nose and chin, but I still consider it a great powder.

As for the shine factor, this keeps my face reasonably matte, bearing in mind that I have mostly dry to combination skin that's even drier in the winter. If you have very oily skin, I can't say if it will keep you matte for an extended period of time.

A word of caution: This product does contain fragrance, which I don't normally condone, but it's a very small amount. If you want to know the ingredients, Beautypedia lists them in its review. I do have quite sensitive skin, and it hasn't been bothered by the fragrance, but if you're worried about sensitivity, there are other powders out there without fragrance. Personally, I like the scent. It's very fresh and clean.

The only other issue is that there are only three shades, all rather light. I know there are people with medium skin tones that do like this powder, but I don't think it's quite fair that so few drugstore brands cater to darker skin tones. Luckily, this one does work for those with very pale skin, a color that isn't often represented enough either.

Overall, I'm a fan of this powder. Until I find something better, of course. 

Have any of you tried this product?

To complexion perfection.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Snow White, Red Lips

Hello, dear readers,

A week from last Friday, I was shopping at Ulta with my mom. Why is this exciting, you ask? Two words: clearance bins. We had a blast searching through the clearance section, in which we've often found quite a few gems. This time I found a fantastic red lipstick for the whopping total of $0.99. Yes, you read that right.

I've been on the lookout for a great red lipstick for a long time, as the only one I have is a definite berry red. This one isn't quite a true red either, but I'm getting so much closer! It's Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick in 880 Rose Passion.

I even took my own pictures this time, with my newly charged camera! It is a slightly rosy red with a definite cool tone, but it pulls much brighter on than it looks in these photos. For some reason they uploaded less bright than they look on camera and in iPhoto. However, if you click on the photos, they show up much truer to color. The first picture with the swatch is the most accurate representation. I didn't get any decent close-ups of this on, but I did get a couple full face shots, so you can get an idea of the effect.

The lipstick is super creamy and long lasting, with a sheen but no shimmer, glitter, or frost. The shine doesn't show up in the pictures of me, as it's very subtle, but you can see it in the swatch.

Another great thing about this lipstick is that I can wear it as toned down or as amped up as I want, depending, of course, upon how I apply it. These pictures show me wearing it after it was applied straight from the tube. I also like to either apply it with my finger a lip brush, or from the tube and blotted with a tissue, to make it more wearable. 

I'm a big fan of Moisture Renew lipsticks anyway, and I'm quite pleased with this one. After all, at 99 cents, how can you go wrong?

To red lips and beauty bargains.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Metallic Fashion Shines at AMA 2011

Hello, dear readers,

In honor of my previous awards show fashion posts, I planned to do a "Best of AMA 2011 Fashion" post as soon as I found out when the awards show was airing. Eager to see the gorgeous gowns, I hurried on over to my good friend Google, only to find disappointment. In my opinion, there were very, very, few standout looks at the American Music Awards this year. 

Instead of bypassing the post entirely, I will simply provide commentary on the stars who wore the prevailing trend of the night: metallics. Metallic was all over the red carpet: silver, gold, champagne; cutouts, sparkles; short, long; you name it, you'll probably see it here.
Here we go:
Jennifer Hudson was a standout on the red carpet in a liquid silver Jenny Packham number. If she were a tween or teen star, I'd say this dress was inappropriate, but, quite frankly, that's not the case. She's definitely old enough and has worked hard enough on her body to own this dress. The cut and draping was very flattering on her curves, and I think she rocked it! I also happen to love her makeup and simple accessorizing.
Once again, Taylor Swift sparkles in a sequined gown, this one by Reem Acra. I like the draping in the skirt, and the gold is very flattering on her coloring. My only problem with her look is her choice of hairstyle. With such a slim dress, I would have loved to see her signature curls. It looks like her hair and dress were going to two different events!

Selena Gomez's slithering champagne Giorgio Armani frock confused me the most. At 19, I believe, this dress just seems too grown up. It's very glamorous in an Old Hollywood way, and her hairstyle definitely complements it; I'm just not sure she quite understood that she was wearing such an iconic style. On someone older, it would make more sense. Nevertheless, she pulled it off.

There is a lot of debate on the interwebs over Heidi Klum's choice of a lazer-cut Giles Deacon frock. Umm, is that your underwear peeking through? Personally, I believe that just because you can model underwear, it doesn't mean there isn't a time and a place for it. This was neither the time nor the place. It reminds me of a metallic paper lantern. You know the type? Not a good look. Even the most beautiful people make mistakes.


The big question on my mind: Who designed Julie Bowen's dress? I can't find the answer anywhere! In any case, the sparkle in this striped dress kept it from looking too casual. While it still isn't the most spectacular gown, Bowen's naturally small frame prevented the large stripes from making her look huge. A very good balance of covering up on top while showing a little more leg, I think. I'm not really sure what she was going for with her hair though, because it makes the look more casual. Again, the only thing dressing up the dress is the sparkles!

Sarah Hyland wore a beaded, shimmering, white minidress by Amen. At first I thought this was far too short a dress for a 14-year-old, and then I found out that she's just three days short of turning 21. I guess I'm not the only victim of underestimation when it comes to age; I'm also a perpetrator! Having found out her age, I reevaluated the look, and I actually kind of like it. It's not my favorite dress, but she's appropriately covered up, and her long wavy hairstyle and metallic makeup nicely complemented it. Overall, the whole look was well put-together.

After much researching, I've finally come to the end of my fashion review for this year's 2011 AMA awards. The carpet certainly shimmered and shone, even as it lacked pizzazz and excitement. A few great looks, some just ok, and others really strange that I haven't written about.

Search the net for the rest of the looks!

Did you watch the AMA show, or see any of the fashion? What was your favorite look?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Late Night Lit: One Down!


Hello, dear readers,

If you read my last Late Night Lit post, you will know that I had seven books to finish, each of which I've picked up and started only to put down and start something new. I'm a very sporadic reader when it comes to actually finishing books, though I have no problem starting new ones. So, the news?

I finally finished the first off my list: Harry Potter y la orden del fenix. Honestly, I thought I would finish Spring Collection first, because I tend to zoom through chick lit faster than anything else. I don't feel the need to do a review on this particular book, because I assume that 99 percent of humanity has read the Harry Potter series. If you're part of the one percent who hasn't, get to it!

The particular copy I was reading is from my local library and I had been reading it for the past two years, give or take a few months. This book has been in three different states, to visit my sister and to stay with me at college while I constantly renewed online. Don't ask why the system didn't figure it out. The only time I ever had to return it, before subsequently checking it out again, was when I renewed it a day late and owed a fine. This is also the only copy my library owns. They should give it to me as a gift, since clearly no one is reading it but me.

Reader that I am, however, finishing this book means starting another.

Harry Potter y el misterio del prĂ­ncipe, here I come!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Camera Ready

Hello, dear readers,

This post has nothing to do with camera-ready makeup, so I do apologize for the misleading title. I just wanted to let you know that I finally charged my camera! This means I'll be able to take my own pictures sometimes instead of always using ones I find on the internet. I have a long overdue updated skincare routine to post, though it's really not too different at the moment. There is, however, a story behind it. I also have an even longer overdue lipstick collection to post. It was requested around the time my blog first started.

Time to get camera ready!


Fit for the Holidays

Hello, dear readers,

As we fast approach Thanksgiving and the season of holidays and extra pounds, many of us begin to worry about the effects of holiday meals on our bodies. Newspaper articles tell us how we can cut fat here and carbohydrates there in order to have a healthier holiday. Let's face it, though: Who wants to do that? In order to allow for holiday indulgence without the guilt, it's obviously important that we're keeping fit throughout the rest of the season with nutrition and exercise.

In honor of the holiday body-conscious spirit, and to motivate myself to workout regularly again,I thought I'd share with you a bit about my workout DVD collection. If you're interested, keep on reading!

This is my favorite of the bunch!

Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home and Walk Away the Pounds DVDs have been a part of my life since I was in middle school, probably at around 12 years old. My mom borrowed a VHS from a coworker, and we haven't stopped walking since! Walking workouts may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I promise it's not just walking in place. She does other moves and varies the intensity moving generally at about 4-5 mph at the highest point. In some workouts, such as the one pictured above, she takes you up periodically to a jog. There are also workouts that incorporate stretchy bands, hand weights, waist belt, waist belt weight, and/or Pilates moves. The workouts range anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Despite the fact that it's walking-based, you will probably still work up a sweat. This is especially good if you hate having to follow particular steps and if your coordination is slightly less than perfect.

The first time I tried this one, my mom was in the basement with me and thought I would probably die before I finished it. Nonetheless, I prevailed and finished the workout red-faced, sweaty, and satisfied. Beginner's luck, perhaps! There are four workouts on this DVD: Burn & Shape, a combination of fast-paced cardio and sculpting with weights; Cardio Overdrive, low-impact but high intensity cardio combined with weights; Pump, Jump 'n Jab, the cardio/kickboxing fusion incorporating weights [this was the first one I ever did]; and finally Cardio Sculpt Fusion, lower intensity cardio with yoga and Pilates-based moves and weights. You don't actually have to use weights for any of them if you don't want to. I usually do, but on days I'm really tired I skip them. This is an excellent workout that will kick your butt unless you're already extremely fit. Even then, be prepared to sweat! As instructor Kelsie Daniels says in Pump, Jump 'n Jab, "There are no breaks here!"

No, you're not hallucinating. This is indeed a Dancing with the Stars workout. I've never actually watched the show, but I do love Latin dance. This has a five-minute warmup, four dances that are ten minutes each, and a 15-minute toning and strength segment. The dances are merengue, cha-cha, samba, and mambo. I have a bit of a hard time following dance steps on a screen, so I do indeed occasionally make up the steps that I can't follow. I figure that as long as I keep the pace, faking it isn't the worst thing I could do. The dances aren't extremely intense, and I generally don't work up a sweat. The best part, in my opinion, is the strength segment at the end, which does a lot of leg work as well as working on other muscle groups. Overall, I would say this is a good workout if you are just starting to exercise, or if you just like to dance!

If you like dancing, and you're looking for a high intensity cardio workout, this is a good DVD to try. Kari Anderson starts out fast, and she stays fast right through the final dance. There are four chapters of this workout, containing anywhere from two to five dances each. I'm sure you can navigate through and pick the chapters you want to do if you're not up for the whole workout, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet! I mess this one up even more than the one above, simply because many of the dances are at an extremely fast pace. I definitely work up a sweat with this one!

I started doing Pilates over the summer just to see what it was all about. I think I now understand the hype. This workout contains four DVDs, each with two or three 20-minute workouts. Some are Pilates and others are Pilates-based. The DVDs are as follows: Pilates, Pilates Plus, Core Pilates, and Pilates-Based Abs, Buns and Thighs workout. The Pilates Plus includes one workout that uses an exercise ball, which I didn't have at college, so I haven't done that one yet. This has a great amount of variety, in my opinion, with some workouts being less intense than others, but all working on strengthening and lengthening the body. It's also very relaxing. My one major problem is that since this is a TV program workout filmed in a beautiful beach setting, the camera will pan out to show the scenery while the exercise leaders have already started on something else. Oops. Besides that, I really like this DVD, though it might be tough if you've never done any Pilates before.

This last DVD is one of my absolute favorites. I don't know what I was doing the first time I tried it, but I absolutely hated it at first. The menu allows you to select from workouts that are less than 15 minutes and workouts that are more than 15 minutes. There are workouts that are strictly using the mat, and there are workouts that incorporate weights, an exercise ball, and/or the Pilates ring. I don't own the ring, so I can't speak to that, but I can say that I really notice a difference in my body when I do the other workouts. It's nice, too, that you can pick and choose your own combinations of different workouts, or just pick a short one when you have no time for anything else. I like to do Pilates every time I work out, before cardio, because it makes me feel stronger and gets me ready for higher intensity aerobic exercise. I definitely stand up even straighter and get a leaner look when I consistently doing Pilates. This is especially great for beginners, but I think others will enjoy it as well.

Workout DVDs are not the only forms of exercise I do. I also hula hoop to an hour of a movie or read while hula hooping and walking/doing different moves I learned from Leslie Sansone at the same time. Yes, I am aware that I'm crazy. Walking or running outside is also great, but I thought that I'd focus on workout DVDs because I tend to workout indoors more often than not. I also figure that it's much more mainstream than hula hooping, though hooping classes seem to be a small trend at the moment. Alas, I digress.

I've finally reached the end of my collection of DVDs, and I really hope it doesn't sound too much like a sales pitch. I promise I have no connection to any of these manufacturers; these are just the DVDs that I've bought or stolen from  received from my mom.

Now I have to pick which of these to do when I'm finished writing this post!

Happy exercising!


Monday, November 7, 2011

No Way This Could Be a Tag...

The Nail Polish Tag!

Yes, dear readers,

I found this tag on the Fowler sisters' website and absolutely couldn't resist. Free idea for a blog post? Sign me up! This one's very short; I don't think even I could make this too long!

Here we are, my friends:
  1. What’s your favorite nail polish company? Probably OPI and NYC.
  2. Glitter or no glitter? No glitter, generally. Though, ironically, one of my favorites is a glitter top coat.
  3. OPI or china glaze or Essie? OPI
  4. When do you start to take off your nail polish? Depends on the week, my level of boredom, etc. Sometimes I leave them on for over a week, sometimes two weeks, sometimes only a few days. If it's chipping horrendously or gets dents in it, I take it off right away!
  5. What’s your favorite color on your nails? For a while, I just used pinks or reds, but now I also really like Tiffany blue and minty colors. 
  6. Darks or brights? Honestly, it just depends on my mood and the season. I tend to prefer brighter colors, but I also love deep red. Overall, I'd probably say brights.
  7. What are you wearing on your nails right this moment? I literally just took off my nail polish before writing this, but I had painted them black and then over that I painted bronze, red, and gold. Here are some pictures:
Please excuse the weird angles; I was actually doing this for fun and didn't expect to post it on here!

Yes, I did do these by myself. I just did some squiggles starting from the bottom,
and I continued with fall colors. It reminds me of fire. I quite like it!
  8. Matte nails—in or out? Out. I really don't like matte nails.
  9. French manicures? In, but not on me. I think they look really polished, but I prefer to keep my nails short and colorful. No french mani for me!
 10. Favorite fall color? Berry red, bronze, emerald green.

Well, that was really fun! I hope you like my little nail design as well. Please feel free to do this tag; I'd love to read it. Even if I don't officially follow everyone's blog, chances are good that I periodically read it! I just don't want to have a ginormous blog roll. I hope you understand.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend where you are. 

Here's to a good week!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Late Night Lit: Books I'm Currently Reading

For the record, I would never treat a book like this!

Hello, dear readers,

It's nearly 3 a.m., and I clearly should be sleeping. Then again, who does that? It's a much better idea to write a late night blog post, in this case, "Late Night Lit." As I've mentioned in previous posts, I have the attention span of a two year old when it comes to actually finishing one book at a time. Two words: I can't.

Reading one book at a time just doesn't work for me. I thought it might be fun to share a random post, since I'm not sleeping, letting you know what books I'm reading. This includes books I just started, books I've read on and off for a couple years, and books I have with me but haven't picked up in three years. Yes, I did just say three years.

If I ever finish one of the books, I'll write a "Let's Do...A Book Review" post for it. My previous reviews can be read The Constant Princess, The Other Boleyn Girl, Twenties Girl, and Water for Elephants

Here is a list of books I'm currently working on:

Harry Potter y la Orden del Fenix, by J.K. Rowling; translated by Gemma Rovira Ortega
Spring Collection, by Judith Krantz
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
The Naming, by Alison Croggon
The Diet Survivor's Handbook, by Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel
Nation, by Terry Pratchett
The Color of Magic, by Terry Pratchett
The Cat's Pajamas: A Fabulous Fictionary of Familiar Phrases, by Ted Tuleja

It's official: I have a problem. That makes seven books, spanning from trashy chick lit to fantasy; self help to humorous reference book; children's book to fiction to foreign language.

Any guesses as to which one I'll finish first? I have a pretty good idea.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Hello, dear readers,

It's been rather a long while since I last posted. Life got extremely stressful and I had a lot going on in my personal life. "Makeover" seems like an appropriate title for this post because not only am I about to make over my life, but this blog will soon get a makeover. Much as I like the cheery colors and fun design, I also really like the cleaner look of the newer template designs on Blogger.

The only problem is that the "follow" button doesn't yet exist for these new templates. That's a bummer. As for my life, well, it's headed in a much different direction than I ever imagined. I'm withdrawing from the university I'm at, and I'm going home to work on myself for a while. I may go to community college for a semester before transferring to a new university, or I may not even go back to school until next year. In short, I need to get my head on straight and feel more comfortable with who I am before going somewhere new.

It's frightening and exciting at the same time, starting over. Once I get home, I really won't have too many more excuses not to charge my camera! I'd love to post my current nail look and my "Weekly Lips" project. No, that's not an official term as of yet, but, yes, it probably will become one.

So that's my story. Hopefully the new blog designs add a "follow" button soon so I can upgrade the design.

It's just a great time for a makeover.

Happy November!