Friday, September 28, 2012

Avoiding Decrepitness

Ahh the joys of becoming older. Now I am by far not old or elderly, not even middle aged, but that does not mean that I am not aging. I am noticing changes in my body and skin that I never saw before. Granted it could all be a number of things, but still there are signs of age. I'll also be the first to admit, I am horrible at taking care of myself, my beauty routines usually are 10-15 mins tops. Who has the time for all of that? Just a shower, lotion if I'm lucky, quick comb through of the hair, slap some moisturizer on and out the door. But lately that has changed for me as I am becoming more aware of myself and realizing this just doesn't cut it anymore. I've got dry spots, gross cuticles, horrible hair, the list goes on. I do pride myself in covering up most of the issues so people don't really notice, and I mean c'mon who's really going to walk up to you and say "wow your skin looks so terrible, what the hell have you been doing?" (There is a small percentage of people who would though.) So I have done a 180 on my beauty routine, and while it takes a little more time and effort on my part, it does not consume my whole day.

To start - my face. Oh how it has turned on me! I feel like a high school teenager all over again. It completely rebelled against me and said fuck you. My quick apricot scrub 2x a week was no longer cutting it. I started using my Mia along with actual face cleanser and not just soap, and I noticed a difference. I've been trying out different moisturizers and face creams, but my skin likes them for a few weeks and then rejects them. Now that the seasons are changing, I need to find something before the winter sets in and I am plagued with dry skin and chapped lips. 

My hair - has always been a shit storm. I die it, bleach it, fry it, and plain don't take care of it. That my friends had changed more recently. I get my hair cut about 1x a year. I want to make that a few times a year. I've always balked at going to salons and opted for cheaper methods, but I realize that it takes more than that to maintain a healthy head of hair. And before you start in on me, yes I know the dye jobs and bleaching have got to stop. They will. Trust me. I'm all for better looking hair than different colored hair. While I know there are better ways to achieve color, I am putting a pause on it before I'm bald. I will be one with my natural hair color and just get over it already. No more reds and blondes. 

My lips/skin/cuticles/nails - need more attention, period. Quick slaps of lotion once in awhile are gone. Creams, oils, balms are being looked into to find the perfect one. I'm still wary of spending money I don't have on miracle treatments, and I am not looking for one. However, if I could find something multi-purpose, then I'm all for it. Currently thinking about Jojoba, Coconut, and Vitamin E Oils. Suggestions appreciated.

I can also tell that the things I eat are taking a toll on me. It does not go away as easily as it used to. I mean my weight has always fluctuated, more or less on its own without too much effort on my part, but now? Forget about it! Even my alcohol tolerance has taken a hit. Before I could down as much liquor as I wanted and wake up in the morning bouncy as ever. Now? Don't even think about waking me up before 2pm. And I still wake up with horrible hangovers. 

All the shit I used to take for granted, I wish I could get it back. All the shit I used to do, boy it's showing up on me now. At least I can say I don't smoke, so that's one less factor towards making me look shitty. I'm going to have to struggle with genetics as is already.

Goals for not looking 85 when I'm 40 - better diet, more intense beauty routine (but still not past 30 mins) and maybe vitamins? Less alcohol binges for sure.

Any thoughts on juicing? It seems to be all the rage now. It's not something I see myself doing that's for sure. Let me know what you think! 


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

MTA Rant

I am beyond pissed off at the bus service in my neighborhood. I wrote the MTA a complaint before, and they responded, but things did not get much better. I drafted up a second complaint, but I am not even sure if I will send it. I may be the only one complaining about this particular bus line, so it may not even be worth my time. I almost want to post flyers telling people to go to the website and write up complaints, or call the number. But that's too much. At the very least though, all of you should take the MTA survey letting them know if you like or don't like service. I did. Let's hope this amounts to something. But for now I will post the mini rant I wrote on the train. I will decide later to send it as a complaint with the proper editing. We'll see.

This is my second complaint about this bus line and it will not be my last. The service seems to be getting worse instead of better. This morning on the Jamaica bound 84, the driver dropped us off at the first terminal, not the second entrance as normal. She was very rude in telling us that this was the last stop and that she didn't need to explain herself. As I was walking off the bus and towards the train station I hear her repeatedly yelling at another customer that she had to go to the bathroom and that she said this was the last stop 4 times. This is extremely unprofessional and uncalled for. We reached the terminal at 7:13, the bus had arrived at 6:55 at the _____ stop.

The service at night has also progressively gotten worse. The buses leave early and do not wait for the time they are supposed to leave. There are many times where I arrive at the Jamaica parsons station on weeknights and it is only 8:51,52 and the 8:55 bus has already left. There are other times in the late morning, early afternoon where the bus will not show up. Early mornings when I am going to work, it is always a gamble. The bus may come early, not at all, or late. After my last email, it had improved, but less than a week later it changed for the worst.

This is really unacceptable and I am encouraging my fellow patrons to voice their complaints. The MTA wants to raise the fares and state that it is necessary for their budget. Why should I have to pay more money for less service that is unreliable, subpar and disgusting at times? I'm not expecting every bus driver or train conductor to be inexplicably happy all the time. I'm just asking for dependable service, you know, what I pay for. If resolving the issue on this one bus line is something they cannot manage, then what about the other more important ones? All areas of service where the MTA operates should be treated equally. Don't put all your focus into making one borough/neighborhood to neglect others. It's a waste of time and a horrible dispersion of funding.

Obviously I went somewhere it didn't need to be, but you get the point right? I may wait for the next major incident to make another complaint as I did not have the bus number or her badge number. But knowing those things makes it more factual, more unavoidable.

Til the next time,

Friday, September 21, 2012

Multilingual? A Possibility

Quick update, I haven't posted in awhile. Sorry, wish I could say I've been busy, but I've just been slacking. I started Saturday classes for ASL, with the intention of becoming a translator. Seems fun and interesting, so I would love to see this all the way through. Also I've been listening to these language audio books, so I'm picking up some Japanese (for work) and brushing up on my Spanish. If I could embrace all of these languages fully, I'd be fluent in 4 (ASL counts as a language) and much happier. I want to make sure it all sticks and I'm trying not to be lazy this time around. I finally found something I enjoy, so it won't seem like too much work. Yay for me. :)

I've looked into translator work and it is hard, you have to go through so many tests and certifications, but once you get certified, you get money. That's my end goal - make money and not live paycheck to paycheck. Now the chances of that go up once you're fluent in several languages. If I can even master Spanish and ASL I'm golden. English, Spanish, and ASL are the top 3 most used languages in the US. I like those numbers. I'm so stupid for not getting my Spanish skills up to par earlier. More often than not (is that the correct way to use that phrase?) when I'm looking for jobs, I see them requiring applicants to be bilingual. I need to get on the ball. 

Til next time, 
xx L

Friday, September 14, 2012

Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream #27 Review

I'm behind on the times, but I have found a BB Cream I like enough to pay the full price and shipping for it, all the way from Korea. Now if you don't know what BB Creams are, I'm not going to explain too much. BB Creams (Blemish Balm/Beauty Balm) are the rage in Korea, and now have spread to the US and other areas. They are really for surgery patients to help cover and aid in the healing process, but they cover small imperfections well and have a variety of benefits. You can do your own research if you want more detailed information.

The US market has been flooded with all these "BB Creams" but they are not as spectacular as the original ones in Asia, and they do not boast the same benefits.(According to my research) I have tried a few of the US ones and this Korean one, and I can tell you there are differences. Personally I didn't like the American BB Creams I tried. They were more like tinted moisturizers parading as a BB. That's another review. But the one I found and liked was the Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream #27. You can order from the Official Missha Website to ensure you are getting the real deal and not a knock off product. There are many knock offs on Amazon and Ebay, while there are some legitimate ones too, save yourself the hassle of combing through all that crap.

So you can read what the bottle says. I got this in #27, Honey Beige and also a #23 Natural Beige. Natural Beige made me look ghostly, so I gave it to my mom who is lighter than me. Honey Beige is closer to my color, but it is still a shade lighter than my skin tone. Once I lighten up for the winter though, it will be a better fit. I don't know much about the whitening and wrinkle effects, as I need neither. But it does provide pretty good coverage for my minor imperfections. I have large pores, redness, some acne scars, and dark circles under my eyes. Nothing too serious, but enough that I want it covered up. My skin is combination - oily T-zone with some dryness around mouth/chin. My hormones are all over the place so it depends on my levels, but for the most part not too many breakouts. Using this I can feel good about myself when I leave the house, without a ton of makeup. It doesn't make me super oily and keeps it at bay, unlike other products. It is slightly thick and can be hard to blend. I use my fingers to put it on and then use a powder brush to buff it out. Initially when you put it on, it looks light, but after a few minutes it 'settles' and looks better and darkens up a bit. Here's some before and after pics.

Yikes I look gross up close. Anyway you can see the spots, redness and all that good stuff in the before shot. While it doesn't cover it completely (and I wouldn't expect it to) the BB covers up most of it and makes it more bearable. The coverage it gives me around my nose alone is amazing. This is only one layer, I have not used more than one, and you can use another layer to build on it, but at that point you might as well use foundation. Here's a full face before and after.

It's a little blurry (sorry) but you can see the redness and spots etc. Now here's after:

Voila I have less redness and look more decent. I can run out of the house with this, no problems at all. I am not conscious of my crappy skin and I'm not wearing a shitload of makeup. Win-Win situation for me.

Here are the swatches of #27. I don't have #23 anymore, I should have kept it until after the review. Oops.

- moderate amount of coverage
- no harsh/over powering smell
- does not make me break out
- high SPF (PA 42+++)
- several shades to choose from
- does not make me oily (no setting powder needed)
- does not dry me out, feel moisturized throughout day
- does not slide or melt off face, even in humid conditions
- don't need a lot of product to cover face (1 pump is even too much product)

- pump makes it hard to get all product out
- no shades for women of color
- can get streaky when not blended properly
- can transfer to napkins and it transferred to my BF's shirt when I laid down on him
- can stick to really dry areas of face (moisturize those areas first, then apply BB)
- not available in stores

Bottom line, I think its worth it. I like the way it works for me. After a 12 hour day, it still provides good coverage, no touch ups necessary. From all day in the office, even to the gym, my face still looks good. I wore this all summer and it held up in the humidity and stood up to the sweat. As for the transfer issue, I'm sure a good setting powder will help with that. (I'm still on the search for a better powder, along with foundation, suggestions appreciated!) As this is made mostly for Asian market, they don't need darker shades. They do have a shade darker than #27, which is #31 Golden Beige, but nothing for anyone too much darker than me. I may need #31 for the summer when I actually get a tan. But the Honey Beige worked for me with some light bronzer and I can go bronzer-less in the winter.

This was a lot. Whew. Until next time.

*These products were bought with my own money and I was not in anyway paid for this review*

Monday, September 10, 2012

Nair Brazilian Spa Clay Roll On Wax Review

Ladies, we all know how annoying hair removal can be. Laser removal is out of the question for the majority of us who don't have that kind of bread to spend. Professional waxing gets expensive, even with the amazing results, but not everyone is comfortable baring it all to a stranger (I know I wouldn't). Shaving and other at home alternatives can be cheaper, but the results may not be perfect. I can admit I tried several of the at home hair removal methods, and I can say I finally found one that works for me and I love it!

Nair Brazilian Spa Clay Roll On Wax is not the first at home wax I've tried, but it may be the last. After so many horrifying experiences, I was all but ready to give up. But then I saw the commercials for this, and on a whim picked it up in Rite Aide where it was on super sale. *side note - I am loving Rite Aide for the fantastic beauty sales they have* I figured why not? If this really doesn't work, then I will suck it up and go to the professionals. I will admit I left it sitting there for awhile before I tried it out. I didn't really see too many reviews specific to this product, but the few I did see were mixed. I was on the fence for a few weeks before I said F it, let's do this! 

Now before I get into it, I have dark, thick hair on my legs, slightly coarse (that's that mixed heritage coming into play) and shaving usually never lasts. I can shave in the morning and have stubble by the evening. I'm sensitive to hair removal creams and often get burned by them, no matter how I try. The previous at home waxes I used were stripless, sugar, and all purpose from Gigi (granted I should have tried other brands, but I was also being cheapy :-X ugh). None of which worked enough for me to want to use again. I ended up wasting money throwing away good amounts of product. 

So I read all the instructions, got prepared, and just went to it. Rolled on the wax easy enough, laid down the strip, and now for the anxious part - ripping it all off. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't that painful. I looked down in shock, like 'whoa, I'm not screaming in pain, but the hair's gone.' Now I know everyone has different pain tolerance, so I will break it down the best way I can. If you've ever gotten a tattoo, it's definitely less painful than that. If you've ever gotten your eyebrows waxed or threaded, it's about that pain level, just on your legs. I can't compare to professional waxing, as I've never done it. Sorry guys. I know this is not the most helpful. 

I continued on my way, maybe 30 minutes later, I was done. Or as done as I could be, I ran out of strips. While they are reusable, I had to wash them off and wait for them to dry before I could finish up. That's kind of a down side. I think you get about 10 strips, and I was able to do my left lower leg completely and part of my right lower leg. Nothing too terrible, and maybe with practice I can do both legs without needing extra strips. But if you want to wax more than just your legs that would be a problem. Not too much for me because I am not that adventurous to wax anything else myself. I did have wax leftover to use again, I can probably get 2-3 more uses out of the container before buying another one. And that's with me wasting some messing around with it. To date, the hair has yet to grow back (I did it on the 1st of the month) and there are no visible pores. My legs look and feel smooth, no stubble. I love it. Here's a quick pro/con list:

- easy to use, thorough instructions
- reusable strips that are easy to wash
- less painful, and removes hair well
- excess wax washes off with warm water
- cheaper than going to a salon
- no harsh/strong scent
- did not irritate my sensitive skin

- not enough strips (especially if you want to wax multiple areas)
- cleaning the roll on applicator can be a pain and you lose some wax doing it

Bottom line is that I like the way it works and I will continue to purchase and use it. It's great for beginners if this is your first at home wax. 

If you've tried it or not, let me know your thoughts!

*These products were bought with my own money and I was not in anyway paid for this review*

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

To Review or Not to Review

I have been thinking a lot lately about whether or not I should do reviews on my blog. I may or may not want to draw more readers and/or generate some kind of income off of this. But at the end of the day this is still my personal space to rant and get things off my chest. I suppose I can separate the two somehow, but I'm not that blog savvy. But then it also comes down to 2 things. 1 - I'd have to break my no pictures rule if I did reviews. 2 - what would I review? Beauty products? Food? Places? They're all a dime a dozen.

So I have to think about this, again trying to find my niche, my main theme, scope of where I want to go with this. I'm going to have to start by coming up with posts that will generate more hits when people search. While I initially didn't want that many readers, I may end up sucking it up.

Any ideas on what I should do? Drop me a comment!

xx L

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Customer Service

Now I know I'm not one to talk about good customer service, but I know from the multitude of trainings I have gone to over the years, that the customer comes first. Without paying customers, you have no paycheck. I also know enough that I am not cut out for most customer service jobs, at least not face to face ones. But that's me in general not getting along with people. I digress. There are a few stores where I see a decline in service, where I used to get pretty decent or great service, to now horrible service. JCP being one of the top offenders. No more than a few months ago JCP offered me great customer service no matter what department I was in, if I was looking for something, or if I was being rung up at the register. They got an A+ for that. As of my last few visits in the past few weeks, the decline is noticeable. I ordered some things online and I had to return about 90% of it, the sizes were off and it's always a guessing game when ordering stuff online - at least for me. I brought it all in to return and the woman at the register was nice when she started the return, towards the end when I was walking away, she muttered something under her breath and was very stank with her 'thank you and have a good day' I forgot an item so I went to a different register to return and it was even worse. This chic didn't even hide her irritation at doing the return and was so snappy with me I was contemplating asking for her manager. A third time which is making it the last time for me and JCP, I made a purchase (didn't want y'all to think all I did was return stuff - fun fact I hate returning things) and once again at the register the woman was rude to me. She had the worst attitude when I asked her when to swipe my card and when it didn't go through she rolled her eyes and said it didn't go through because I cancelled it. Like really? Ok. To top it off she wanted me to fill out the customer service survey and wrote her name on it. That's asking for me to go on the site and rant abt how your customer service sucks! I threw the receipt out but I wish I didn't, I could have totally rated them low across the board. Besides that fair and square pricing is not so fair and square when you break it down and compare it to older prices. They took away their coupons, so it doesn't even make sense. To be honest, I only buy stuff at JCP now when it's clearance, or I can't find it anywhere else. But it's not my go to cheap store anymore.

Here is a story with a better ending - at least for me. The man and I usually go to this spot by 71st Austin St area for brunch and it's consistently good food and decent service. The last time we went, bad on both counts. His steak was well done, with the exception of a bloody vein that ran through part of it. Our waitress/server was not so great on English and struggled to understand what fried eggs meant. Then she neglected to inform us that there were no home fries and that we were getting French fries instead. Like I'm eating eggs and french fries? I had pulp all in my mimosa, which made for a bad drink experience. No one came to fill up our water glasses, clear the table or check up on us. Not to mention the incredibly long time it took her to come and take out order. She took so long to come back for the check with my card in it that I walked up to her and gave it to her. At this point I was fed up, so I asked for the manager. She really tried to play it off, like manager? Who is the manager? Yes chic your manager, the guy in charge. He just so happened to be walking in at the time I asked her, or I'm sure she would have never got him. When she wendy to tell him I wanted to speak to him, she said something slick I didn't quite catch in Spanish, but by the look on her face I know it wasn't good. The manager was understanding enough and shocked really. I told him that we had a good enough time with the server on all our other visits and never had problems until today. He was apologetic and said he is making changes and to give him one more chance. He comped our bill and said to come back in a few weeks and see the differences. So we will wait before going back. I don't want to lose my go to brunch spot.

Will keep you updated when I go back!