Haul and Review – Gifts From Christina

Hello, interwebz!  Today, I want to share some thoughts and reviews on products that one of my BFFs, Christina, has given me.  She is much more knowledgeable about beauty than I am and has been really supportive of my efforts to find beauty and skincare products to help my “new” skin.  Also, I found out that her mom has eczema.  So, I’ve been swapping stories and suggestions with her mom as well.  Hooray for supportive friends and family!

Christina was kind enough to share some Kat Von D products with me.  I have never tried the brand, but have heard alot of good things about them.  I immediately smothered my mouth with the Studded Kiss Ultra Violet lipstick and loved it!  I had never worn a purple lipstick as an adult, but it looked better on me than I thought it would.  I tried the red a few weeks later and it was VERY red.  I liked it, but definitely need to do a full face of makeup to balance out the VERY red lipstick.  The third color was a nude that worked whether I wore makeup or just sunscreen.  Christina also gave me a Tattoo Liner that I tried a few times before washing my face.  I am not very skilled at eyeliner, so I mostly use it just before washing my face because I’m trying to get better at applying it.  I wore it once in public and kinda messed it up, but I managed to mostly remove and cover the mistake with alot of eye shadow.  Mostly.  Either way, I love this eyeliner because it’s a very smooth application, the brush is fine tip, and the color is rich.  It stayed through puddles of sweat in the Texas heat, and that’s the highest compliment for any eyeliner!  These products are also vegan and not tested on animals.  Wearing this makeup made me feel a bit more glamorous than normal because I knew they were designed and approved by Kat Von D, who is a completely badass!

At a time when I was using foaming face washes that burned the sore spots on my skin, Christina gifted me with Pacifica Quinoa Sensitive Super Gentle Face Wash.  Guess what!  This stuff actually works!  It calmed my skin while also cleaning it.  There is a scent, but it’s not strong or perfumey and has not bothered my skin or sinuses.  I started using the other foaming face washes on my back and chest and I use this on my face.  Since switching, the eczema on my face has calmed down quite a bit.  Yay!

In my late teens – early twenties, I used Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lotion like it was going out of style.  I was self-conscious about stretch marks all over my body from gaining and losing weight all the time.  I figured that if Palmer’s worked for pregnant women, it could work for me, and it did, but it was too rich to use in the summer.  (I don’t think they even sell it now because they have so many specially formulated products, but this may be it.)  However, they recently came out with coconut oil products.  Christina’s mom gave me a bottle of Palmer’s Coconut Oil Body Lotion to try and I love it!  I use it every night on my hands, legs, and feet.  My heels are so dry right now, even during this sweaty summer.  This lotion keeps them pretty well exfoliated and smooth and has taken care of some cracked areas around my fingernails as well.  This is definitely a must try for anyone needing deep moisturization in high-humidity areas.

Christina also gave me some Acure Ultra-Hydrating Shampoo to try on my eczema-ridden scalp.  It doesn’t irritate my scalp, but it doesn’t work quite as well as the Korean stuff that I have been using (post on that to come!)  That being said, since this shampoo is organic, sulfate free, and paraben free, it works better on my hair after I have used hair dye than the Korean stuff.  The Korean stuff I have just heals your scalp and prevents hair loss.  This stuff heals your scalp (a bit more slowly than the Korean stuff), makes your hair smell nice (light almond scent), and protects your hair (and any dye on it).  So, I’m alternating it with my Korean stuff as needed and am very grateful to have just the right arsenal of hair products at my disposal in the shower.

Those are not all of the things Christina has given me over the past few months, but those are all of the beauty products!  Thank you for reading this post and let me know if you’ve tried any of these products.  Are you as in love with Kat Von D makeup as I am now?  What do you use on your dry heels?  Any other suggestions for gentle face washes?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Beauty Haul and Reviews – Sephora, Target, Daiso, and Marshall’s

Hello, interwebs! Let me begin this post by saying that I do not have a lot of money and did not get all of these things at the same time. This is stuff that I got over the course of about two months from various stores. Also, I got all of this stuff before I went to Daiso the last time, but the pics were originally lost. With my sensitive skin, there is a lot of trial and error, mostly error, so I thought this post would still be beneficial to anyone wondering where to find skincare products for sensitive skin, how much they cost, and if they work.

This Caudalie set was actually my free birthday gift from Sephora last year, but I never used it. I still haven’t tried it, but will soon because it fits into the Korean skincare routine. I only add one new product to my skin regime at a time, so I may try these in a few weeks.

Christina gave me this gift set of Soap & Glory Heel Genius and Hand Food. The foot cream has urea, so the smell bugs me. I slather it on my feet before bed and put on socks, though, so I don’t really smell it. I really like the hand cream, even if the grape seed oil bothers my nose. It doesn’t help the eczema on my thumb and forefinger, but it doesn’t make the eczema worse either. As far as softening your skin, both products do a pretty good job. These do contain parabens and sulfates in addition to the urea, so I won’t be buying them when I finish these. I am grateful for the quick relief on my sore skin, though. They are available at Sephora, Ulta, Target, and Amazon for under $10.

After deciding to try the Korean Skincare Routine, I figured that I should stop at Daiso. Why start with the expensive stuff if the cheap products will work? I got a beauty blender because I wanted to try it when I start working with liquid makeup. I thought it might only take a few weeks to heal my skin and then I’d move on to finding the right makeup for my skin, but I was wrong. The first thing I tried was the coconut mask and it was amazing! It soothed my skin, healed some sores, and moisturized. It didn’t remove the giant pimples even though it brought them closer to the surface, making them easier to treat with other products. I use the charcoal wipes when I get home from work or any other time that my skin is itching and hurting. I start picking at my skin if I can’t soothe it, and the wipes have been good for calming my skin between washes. The concealer stick was okay. It’s the exact same color as my skin and blends easily. It doesn’t make blemishes or the circles under my eyes disappear, but it doesn’t settle in wrinkles, lines, or pores either. Most importantly, it does not break out my skin. I’ll keep using it for now, but will need to find something better later. I haven’t tried the vitamin E mask or charcoal blotting papers yet , but I’m sure they will be fine. Overall, I was surprised with how well these Daiso products worked, considering none of them was more than $3.

On a shopping trip at Target, I picked up some Biore Charcoal Pore Strips on sale ( box of 6 for $5.99) and Shea Moisture Smooth and Tame Treatment Masques on clearance. I’ve used Biore pore strips before, but not the charcoal strips. I think the charcoal pore strips I got at Daiso worked better than these. The other kinds of Biore strips worked better for me than these too. The box I got came with a single packet of Biore Charcoal Self-Heating One Minute Mask. I had tried the non-charcoal mask before and liked it, but I’m not sure if the heat was good for my eczema. My face always feels clean, but soft after those masks, though. Using the masks before the strips actually works better. I think the heat opens your pores, making it easier for the strips to grab gunk from them. I haven’t tried the Shea Moisture hair treatments yet because I prefer to use them after dyeing my hair. These were on clearance for $.64 and I couldn’t pass up such a deal! The Shea Moisture packs have no sulfates, parabens, pthalates, don’t test on animals, etc. This is more like the type of beauty products I try to buy when I’m not desperate for solutions to my skin problems.

When Sephora had their VIB sale in April, I went with Christina to check out the deals. I found a Sephora Pink Clay mask that was $8 for 4 treatments. I thought the pink clay might help soothe my skin. Christina ended up buying it for me, along with “the best beauty blender on the market” and a mo fo Glam Glo Glittermask!!! I argued with her about buying all this stuff, but she said that she wanted to treat me. I have only used the pink clay mask so far, but it does a decent job of calming my skin.

For all of the birthdays and holidays in May, I stopped by Marshalls to try to find some nice gifts at low prices. While there, I picked up a few things for myself. I bought the Jeunesse Anti-Aging Treatment ($5.99) and the Mon Amie Rose & Collagen Face Serum ($5.99) as items to try for moisturizing steps in my new skincare routine. Collagen is known for helping your skin retain its elasticity and rose oil is a mild moisturizer. I haven’t tried the Jeunesse moisturizer yet, but the rose & collagen serum works well and doesn’t seem to clog my pores. It also seems to calm my skin well. As much as I have loved that oil, the Earth Therapeutics Bamboo Natural Bristle Paddle Brush ($4.99) was a huge disappointment. That brush is trash! The bristles fell out on the first use and were not able to reach my scalp. I will admit that the brush did not make my hair frizzy, but I only brush my hair before I wash it (2-3 times a week). #CurlyHairGirlRules If it can’t even reach all my hair, who cares about pre-bathing frizz? I’m going to use this one on the cats.

Overall, I spent less than $40 on all of the products above even though they are worth more than that. It helped that Christina bought the most important things, but she also gets to enjoy all the bonus points! Have you bought any new beauty products lately? Do you try multiple new skin products at the same time or do you tend to ease into new items? Let me know in the comments section!

Product testing – Kopari Coconut Cleansing Oil

***Disclaimer: None of the photos in this post were touched up in any way. I am naturally that funny looking.***

My skin is jacked up from a combo of eczema, changes in medication, and being too exhausted to take care of myself.

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I’m trying to get back into the habit of taking care of myself, though. I have a few oils that I’ve tried for different things over the years that I like. The Aura Cacia lavender oil works well to relax me and helps prevent migraines overnight. Neutrogena body oil is good for conditioning my skin after a shower. The almond oil and coconut oil are what I use on my face, body and hair anytime they’re feeling particularly dry.

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I’m usually wary of trying new products, but my friend, Christina, is a beauty product expert. She gave me some Kopari coconut cleansing oil and I decided since this is for free and she knows her stuff, I’ll give it a try.

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The bottle says that there are no parabens or silicone and that the oil is sourced from the Philippines. So, I like to think that one of my cousins processed the extra special coconut oil.

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The directions say to start with three pumps of oil in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together before applying to your face. Then, rub the oil in for 30 seconds and the wash face with warm water. I cannot use warm water and I also do not just wash my face for 30 seconds. So I washed my face the normal way, moving my fingertips in small circles over each part of my face for 10 seconds at a time before rinsing with cold water.

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I used the hand towel that I got in my first Kira Kira create to blot away the water. Always dab, never rub!

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The oil smelled sooooo good and reminded me of the pearl eye cream my mom used when I was growing up. The oil felt light on my face, but left my skin feeling a bit dry.

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My face wasn’t nearly as irritated as it is with most cleansers, though.  I finished off with my moisturizer of choice, aloe gel, which calmed my skin down immediately.

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I still had to use my eczema ointment around my mouth and extra lip balm on my lips, but my face wasn’t burning. So, this facial oil may have potential!

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Final Word:

After washing my face with this oil every night for the past 3 weeks, I have decided that I do like it. I still expected it to irritate my skin after using it for awhile, but it never did. It pulled a lot of junk to the surface of my skin, where it is ugly, but easy to treat with aloe gel.

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Because it’s an oil, Kopari does a good job of removing makeup gently as well. When combined with my new foundation (more on that in a future post!), this stuff has been clearing up and calming down my skin. I haven’t had any new eczema show up on my face, even though it has appeared on other parts of my body where I am not using this cleanser. Overall, I like the product and would definitely buy it again. However, I’m on a very tight budget, so I would have to wait until it was on a huge sale. Until then, I cam use the almond or regular coconut oil as a face wash.

What do you think of face oils? Have you ever tried any of the fancy face oils, or do you prefer the cheaper food oils instead? Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this!

Random Saturdays – Dream Fiction

If you read my blog last weekend, you read my new experiment.  I have crazy dreams and they are very vivid.  When I tell people about my dreams, they usually ask, “What were you drinking before you fell asleep?”  The sad part is, I really don’t drink that much.  I talk about it, but I’m always too sick or too tired to drink.  So, these dreams are literally just my brain doing its own thing without the constructs of society to hold it back.  When I have migraines, it’s even worse.  Like anyone else, I’ll have dreams related to events that day or movies that I watch.  Most of the time, though, it’s just my brain having its way with me.

I also have recurring dreams.  Some of them, I’ve had since I was a little girl.  I’ll start having them when a new chapter in my life starts.  The dream will quickly go through what happened all those years ago, and then it’ll pick up and go from there.  From what I’ve read on dreams and psychology, I don’t think that’s a very common thing.  I had a psychologist tell me once that A) having vivid memories of childhood before the age of 5, B) having recurring dreams for the duration of my life, and C) dreaming in color meant that I was very in touch with my emotions.  Duh.  Then, later, I talked to other people and they don’t seem to remember much about childhood, their dreams, etc.  That seems weird to me.  Amanda and I always tell each other about our crazy dreams, we remember so much about our early childhoods, and we dream in color.  So, I thought everyone did until I became an adult and talked to people other than Amanda.

A few months ago, I wrote a little story for my T-Rex ladies that incorporated all of the in-jokes we had together.  I wrote it in text while just sitting on the couch, watching t.v.  It was just a funny little thing between friends and they loved it!  They told me that I should put it on Facebook, but I didn’t think that was a good idea.  Nobody would get our jokes.  There was some offensive stuff in there.  Meh.  Weeks later, Christina told me that she was serious when she told me that I should write more.  Meh.  “NO.  I mean it.”  She just stared at me until I changed the subject.

Still, that stuck with me.  I started thinking about my dreams and how I’d like to see movies of them so I could see how they ended instead of having to wait for my brain to work on the stories years later.  Then, I started thinking about my friends telling me to write more…

I have these never ending To Do Lists, though!  I work full-time.  There are three kids and two cats and some fish.  This house is a constant source of messiness and maintenance.  There’s cooking and cleaning.  Bills.  Books.  Email.  I spend any time when I’m not doing those things trying to sleep.  When am I going to write?

Oh.  But I have a blog.  Yeah.

I don’t write in here regularly, but if I have time to write, I might as well put some of those cool dream stories in here so that I can remember them.  Every passing day means a little more of the dream drifts away.  I have many talented friends who are writers.  Some have blogs.  Some wrote books.  Some write for online media outlets.  Some are journalists and write for the entertainment industry.  So, it’s really intimidating putting my dreams into stories and putting them online.  What else am I going to do, though?  What have I got to lose?  Like, three people read any given blog post on any given day, if that.

So, I thought I might as well give it a try.  Last week was the first one.  We’ll see how it goes.  If all else fails, I’ll just put up a buncha pics of Pad Kee because he’s the cutest friggin’ kitten ever in the world! *heart eyes*