Non-Reason vs. Realista…Who Wins?

This is when the fanatical nutcase in me comes out and I try to practice some self-control/practicality.  Who won the battle today?

Essie has put out a limited edition collection called ‘Morticia’s Nails’.  The 3 colors in the set are nothing new or unusual: Blood Curdling Red (a blood-red) Bone Chilling White (white – doesn’t really make sense for Morticia) and Midnight Tango (navy blue). 

Since this is limited edition (only 5,000 pieces were produced) the voice of non-reason in me screamed ‘grab it just because you’ll have it’ and the realista in me was saying ‘$30 for 3 bottles of nail polish is crazy’ (as it was being drowned out by the screaming of non-reason).  I wont lie – I went straight to the website, set up an account, and was just about ready to plop down my $30.  As I type this, the window is still open on my computer. 

But I started thinking (with no voices inside my head to help)…do I really need it?  After all, it is $30 for 3 bottles of not-so-fascinating nail colors (and I doubt I would ever wear the white – reminds me of having white out on my nails), is that really how I want to spend my money?  And I decided…

NOT SO MUCH!  Instead, I’m going to go browsing on my lunch over the next few days and I’m sure I can find a blood-red and navy color that will be a. satisfactory and b. way less than $30.  I’ll buy myself a frapuccino (or 2) with the leftovers…

But I know there are fanatics out there who will die over this collection, I’m sure.  If nothing else, the box is cute and collector-worthy.  After some thought, the set just wasnt doing anything for me.  However, now I’m on a mission for 2 new colors…I’ll update you when I have them!

Discuss!  Have you ever been on the brink of splurging and then your voice of reason kicks in?  How about buyers disappointment/regret if you went through with your ‘must have’ purchase?  The website I visited has an ‘all purchases are final’ rule and the thought of not being able to return this if I wasnt pleased turned me off.  Had it not been so final, maybe I would’ve pressed ‘complete order’.   

Related Links and where to purchase:

http://www.broadway.com/shows/the-addams-family/buzz/152986/bebe-neuwirth-to-unveil-the-addams-family-themed-nail-polish-with-proceeds-to-benefit-the-actors-fund/

http://www.theaddamsfamilymusicalstore.com/Morticias-nails.html

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Life Happens…

I havent posted in about a week and I am sorry for that (for anyone out there reading).  I havent been neglectful, just crazed at work.  For those who don’t know, I work as a Financial Analyst during the day and that means crazy days, nights, etc.  Summers are especially crazy in the Finance world because its budget kick-off time and that means lots of work – with no end in sight!  It didn’t help much that I was subbing at the gym too last week. 

But there are low periods and this week is one of them (at least now that I’m caught up).   

I have a few reviews coming up…

First! Whitening toothpaste…does it work, and if so how well?  Tonight I will be taking a picture of my before teeth and then test driving a whitening toothpaste (wont tell you which one now, but it’s fairly new on the market and is supposed to give office quality results in 2 weeks).  I purchased this myself, as I’ve been wanting to try it but didn’t find it in my local drugstore until yesterday (shocking for this area).  I scored it on sale too, which makes this even better.

So check in…I’ll be taking pictures throughout the two weeks to show the progression of this so-called whitening process and then on the 27th we will see the final result.  Oh the suspense… 

I also test drove a new nail polish over the weekend…lets see if these pricey brands live up to the hype!

The Many Masks of Jen…

Moisturizer, serum, makeup, sweat, and yes, baby food.  What do all these things have in common?

Most days they all land on my face at some point and every now and then my skin needs a refresher.  I exfoliate every day in the shower, I use witch hazel as an astringent, but it’s just not enough – eventually my skin looks dull, my makeup doesn’t apply as smoothly, and little blemishes start popping up.  This is how I know its time for….

A MASK!  I love face masks.  My favorite is the Arcona Tea Tree Mask.  However, at $30 for a 2 oz jar it’s not so practical anymore.  When I was working full-time as a group exercise instructor/personal trainer I pretty much lived in sweat, and using this mask twice a week kept breakouts away and kept my skin looking flawless.  Another favorite is the discontinued Vitamin C Re-Texturizing Peel from The Body Shop (loaded with fruit acids and vitamin C) which left me looking as if I just had the best sleep of my life.

Since I’ve been scaling back my beauty expenses I wanted an affordable yet effective mask.  I read great reviews for Freeman Pineapple Enzyme Mask and just had to try it.  Of course, because it’s just my luck, no Walmart, Walgreens, or CVS in my area had it so I ordered it off the Freeman site…which always brings the dilemma of ‘the product costs $4, the shipping is $8’.  Whats a girl to do?  So I took the plunge and ordered a few more products to at least justify the shipping.  What did I end up with?  A bunch!

I ended up with the Pineapple Enzyme Mask, Chocolate Strawberry Detoxifying Mask, Cucumber Peel, and Avocado & Oatmeal Mask (so that you don’t think I’m too crazy – at the time the Pineapple, Cucumber, and Avocado masks were on sale in a 3-pack for $4 and the Chocolate Strawberry was another $4). 

First up – the Pineapple Enzyme Mask I was dying to try.  The big appeal here is the pineapple enzymes and AHA (alpha hydroxy acid).  For $1.33 what did I get?

I did just as the instructions said – I washed my face, applied a decent amount but not too much – don’t need chemical burn, and waited the 10 minutes.  The first drawback was this made my eyes burn (and it was nowhere near my eyes).  It wasnt unbearable, I’ve felt worse while chopping onions, but it was a bit uncomfortable.  Otherwise, when I rinsed it off my skin was lighter (yes, the color was lighter) and brighter, and my blemishes were minimized (if only it erased them).  I also noticed my skin-tone was a lot more even, especially where I have some darker spots from my horrible habit of blemish picking.  The only other drawback was that my face didn’t feel very moisturized – it actually felt a bit dry.  I didn’t apply any night moisturizer or serum, washed my face as usual in my morning shower, and applied my everyday moisturizer.  And you know what?  My makeup applied smoothly and my skin looks fresh.  Even my blemishes looked better this morning.

Overall, I think this is a great mask and I look forward to using it again (despite the eye stinging) and will  follow-up with my night moisturizer to ward off the dryness (I’ve read you should moisturizer after a mask anyway so that the ingredients can really sink in).  My skin isn’t super sensitive, so I will probably use this once or twice a week, depending on how many times I’m at the gym, but if you have sensitive skin you may not want to use this more than once a week. 

Want some pics?  Here is my skin before:

Before

You can see my face is a bit lighter than my neck, I have redness on my cheeks, a few blemishes on the forehead, and a read mark on my chin (picked a little too much at a blemish there a few months back). 

The after:

After

If you do a face/neck comparison between the two pictures you can see how much lighter my facial skin looks after the mask.  The redness in my cheeks is faded, my blemishes are minimized, and that red mark on my chin I’ve been bothered by is faded as well.  I’m hoping that with continued use I can get rid of that red mark on my chin altogether.  I guess I’ll have to keep you updated!

Stay tuned…I plan on testing the other 3 masks as well as part of my ‘Does It Really Work’ collection.

Links:

http://www.arcona.com/

http://www.thebodyshop-usa.com/

http://www.freemanbeauty.com/Default.asp?

When Beauty Takes A Backseat

There are many times when beauty has to take a backseat whether I like it or not – these times are far and few between.  These last few days can be added to the collection…

First, I woke up on Tuesday with a stye (or however you spell it) in my eye, rendering my eyelid puffy, which is making  my eye look half closed.  I havent been wearing eye makeup for two reasons a. I dont want to irritate the eye and b. I dont want to contaminate my makeup.  Therefore, my makeup routine has been mineral powder foundation and concealer along with some bronzer and/or blush. 

Now, I’m not lucky enough to be one of those people that looks great with no makeup.  No, I NEED MY EYE MAKEUP!  No matter what I’ve done over the last 3 days, I just dont look put together (or awake) without my eye makeup.  It doesnt help that my 9 month old has been teething horribly and getting me up at least 3 times during the night.  The combo of puffy eye/exhaustion is really just creating one big mess and causing people to stare at me at work – I guess thats how I know its bad.

And because it keeps getting better, in order to avoid waking up my son the last few mornings, I havent been blow drying my hair.  Lets just say the air-dried/tousled look isnt my best.

To wrap-up this rant, my morning beauty routine has taken a backseat for the last few days and its affecting me in more ways than one.  I’m just off – I dont feel like me and its keeping me from running at 100% this week.  I think it finally caught up with me last night when I just gave up on trying to stay on top of things.  “I’ll catch up later,” I told myself.  And I will.        

Tell me, my fellow moms – does something so simple as veering from your normal morning routine put you in a funk?  Or am I the only one that feels this way?  Maybe its something else?

ALSO!  Stay tuned for my first ‘Does It Really Work’ test.  Pics to be included.

The Battle Continues…the Gym or the Couch?

If only all my dilemma’s/issues could only be so difficult…

Tuesday 6/29:

Me: cranking out work at my desk, counting the hours ’till I go home.  My phone rings…

JP (my husband): going to my parents house with the baby

This is always an emotional double-edge for me.  The one thing that makes my day every day is going home to the smiling face of my baby.  On the other hand, an evening to myself is far and few between. 

Tuesday nights are usually a gym night but last night I was planning on staying home because, well, I just wanted to spend some time with my baby.  Upon my husbands call, though, I immediately thought ‘bootcamp at 7, Pilates at 8’.  And then I really started to think…the DVR is filling up quick, my pile of unread Parenting and Glamour magazines is overflowing, and when was the last time I just sat? 

Oh the torture…should I do my body good and get some exercise, or should I relax?  I had a donut at work and felt guilty about not hitting the gym, especially knowing it wouldn’t be taking me away from my baby.  And for me, the gym is relaxing because it takes my mind off of whatever is bothering me and I get all that stress out of my body.  However, the thought of just sitting on the couch and doing nothing sounded so good I wanted to fake a reason to leave work early.

What mom hasn’t been here before?  It doesn’t have to be the gym/couch tug ‘o war, but I think at some point every mom is faced with the choice of relax and put the feet up or do something more productive.  Perfect example – lately, on Saturday’s when the baby naps, I do small chores around the house instead of relax.  Things need to get done whether I like it or not (I’ve prayed to the chore fairy and she has yet to show up).  Maybe that’s what drove my decision to…

SIT ON THE COUCH AND CATCH UP ON THE DVR!!  Yep, you probably saw that one coming.  And you know what?  I don’t regret it.  When my husband and baby walked in the door at 8 I felt recharged and refreshed.  Of course that lasted exactly 5 minutes…

C’mon moms – tell me about the last time you had a choice between relaxation and productivity?  Was it worth it?

Holla for Holo!

It caught the corner of my eye and I was mesmerized by the bottle alone – absolutely beautiful.  So pretty, I’m tempted to leave it on my desk at work.  On Friday I picked up a bottle of Milani “Hi-Res” from their 3-D Holographic collection and have been dying to glam-up my nails ever since. 

First, I kept staring at my nails all morning thinking ‘I’ve seen this before, I’ve seen this before’ and then it hit me – if you took Mira Sorvino’s dress in the reunion scene of “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion” and liquified it, this would be a purple version.  It’s a gorgeous, umm, holographic purple that comes to life when light hits.

It is a light violet with 2 coats and the micro-glitter/dust in it is a smooth finish even without topcoat.  There is no visible nail with 2 coats – this is pure color and sparkle.  The shade remains purple, but when light hits the nails at different angles the glitter comes to life – it reminds me of those stickers you used to get out of a machine for a quarter in the food store.  As for application, the color went on smooth and was not clumpy at all.

I was afraid it would be a bit child-like for work, but it’s very subtle considering all the glitter flecks (your nail really is covered).  I took pics both outside in the sun and inside under lights and just could not get the camera to catch the true beauty of this shade, but I’m also wondering if my top coat has something to do with it (I used Sally Hansen No Chip Acrylic Top Coat).  Although the polish dries shiny on its own, the top coat really amps up the shine/sparkle factor here (it also makes any drop of light super reflective).  I have two pics for you – one outside in the sunlight and one inside. 

Overall I am in love with this.  I find I keep looking down at my nails and wiggling them to see the glitter change color.  The smooth application and lack of grit (common in glitters) only add to my love. 

Let me know what you think!

I purchased my bottle of Milani Hi-Res at CVS.  You can also check out the Milani site for other goodies and where to purchase: http://www.milanicosmetics.com

              

        

Can you Take It Easy – I’m Trying to Tweeze, Apply, and Polish

Yesterday we piled into the car – me, my husband, baby, mom, dad – oh, and my makeup case – to head out to Pennsylvania for a BBQ at my aunt’s house.  I put my makeup on, plucked my eyebrows, and touched up my nail polish in the car (and no, I wasnt driving, my dear husband was). 

This isn’t the first time since becoming a mom that I have performed my makeup routine en route to an event.  Gone are the days when I could wake up and take my leisurely time to get ready.  Sitting in my shower is a tub of body scrub I bought a few weeks before my son was born and I think I’ve used twice since and I’m lucky if I can shave my legs and throw some lotion on (in steps LUSH King of Skin – great moisturizer, not greasy, sinks in well, and leaves me super soft in a fraction of th time it takes to cover myself in lotion).   Point is, getting ready just isn’t as easy as it was 10 months ago.  But I refuse to show up at a party looking like I just rolled out of bed.  So I prioritize.  I can’t blow dry and straighten my hair in the car, but I can do my makeup.  And while I wouldn’t recommend painting  your nails Viva Pink in a moving car while wearing white pants, I just couldn’t show up with my nails as chipped up as they were.  So with much effort and care, I looked a bit better and I managed to keep my white pants polish free. 

I wonder what measures other mothers go through to look great when pressed for time?  I also wonder if its moments like the ones above – flying down Rt 80 trying to not stab my eye out with tweezers – that make me a nut.  Wouldnt is just be easier to go au naturale?  It probably would’ve made the first half hour of the trip a lot more pleasant for me (and the rest of the clan considering they had to listen to me while I attempted all this).  But I can honestly say I wouldn’t have felt like myself.

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