Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Spring is almost here, just another month. I know we all can't wait for the warmer weather. The flowers will be blooming, and allergies will be in effect. We clean out our homes and pack up all the winter gear and get ready for the warm sunny days. I usually almost never do spring cleaning. I rotate out my wardrobe at the most. But there are still a few key pieces that stay with me year round. So those drawers are untouched. This spring, I have 2 things I want to try out - for myself.

Starting March 1st, I am following MJ Fan Girl and going on a No Buy for the whole month. No shopping, only necessities and stuff for the house. This has 2 purposes. 1 - to help me save up some cash. 2 - to let me dig deep through my wardrobe and see how creative I can be with what I already have. I want to see if I can revamp my current clothes to make fantastic outfits without the added cost. Especially for me, I buy all these accessories and never use them. So I'm going to make the most of what I have and prove to myself that newer is not always better.

I'm also going to start my own "March MadnesS: Fitness Edition" Forget about New Year's resolutions, this is about spring cleaning - for my body. Most everyone has forgotten about their resolutions, and I'm just now starting. But it works. I know the gyms will be empty! I'm not trying to be a skinny chic. Weight is not the goal here. Being fit and healthy is. As I am now, I can barely walk up and down the stairs without wheezing. Not a good look. Not to mention my craptastic weak ankle. I want, no need to work out so my joints loosen up and drop a few pounds so I can ease the pressure off my ankle. There is no real deadline or end goal. I don't want to psych myself out. Just do this in a healthy way, at a steady, comfortable pace. I'll also really work hard at weaning off the meat and becoming a pescatarian. So far I've been good at staying away from red meat, now to slow down on the chicken. It's been a little harder than expected because I not only have no will power, but the Mister is the one who cooks most of the time. I can't force him into pescatarianism, so I have to really hunker down and say no to the bird.

Any one else "spring cleaning" or have ideas/tips?

Slow and steady wins the race.
-L

Thursday, February 21, 2013

John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Color Review

 
I was about 90% sure that this hair dye wasn't going to be the color it said it was based of the numerous reviews I read about it. And I read a lot. I literally spent hours going through blogs, review sites and the company page to see if this was going to be worth the investment. Considering I usually use cheap hair dyes, this was expensive for me. About 13.99 in stores, and 11.92 at Walmart. I wasn't expecting much either as I usually have to bleach my hair for it to retain any color. I did the survey on the John Frieda website to see what color I should use, as it says not to go more than 2 shades lighter or darker. Since I wanted to lighten up a little, nothing drastic, I chose the lightest color they chose for me - 6.5PBN Lightest Cool Almond Brown. I know from experience that using the lightest color yields better results because box color does not ever give you the shade you want. A majority of the reviews also said that the colors ran way darker than the descriptions and pictures on the box. So that was also another factor for me to choose this color.

Also from reading the reviews, I knew to expect a pump that actually doesn't pump. You have to squeeze the bottle to create the foam. Don't shake to mix, tilt 5 times. Don't squeeze into hair, put on your hand then put it in your hair. If you read the instructions, its pretty easy to understand. Some reviews were complaining about the instructions and steps being complicated, but I didn't think so. If the instructions are too hard for you, then maybe you shouldn't be coloring your own hair. I'll pray for you.

Pros:
  • One bottle worked for all my hair with plenty left over - I usually need 2 bottles and my hair is BSL (bra strap length)
  • Even/uniform coverage with no spots
  • Easy use and application
  • No drips. Less mess
  • No overly chemically smell
  • Nice size conditioner for multiple uses and and a little goes a long way, it works well and I want to find this and buy it by itself

Cons:
  • Colors are really really off

I honestly should have gone with something more red tones, as in the reviews, those were the only ones that were successes. Because even this light brown should have made a dent in my hair color. It didn't. It covered my highlights and blonde patch and that was that. I know a few reviews said after a few weeks and few washes the color would fade out and be more like the color you were aiming for. So I'll come back to this in a few weeks and see.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5. Would I buy it again? Sure. It was easy to use and didn't damage my hair like most dyes do. If John Frieda ever got it together with their colors. But if not, then I'll stick to the red tones and use this if I ever go light and want to switch back to dark. Now time for the pics:

clearly JF was wrong recommending me this color. I'm dark brown!


developer, dye, gloves. pump top, conditioner
best gloves I've seen yet! will reuse these!
this is the before of my highlights and blonde spot


nice and foamy like the pictures
there still is some dye left under all the foam

after. blonde and highlights all gone. darkest brown ever.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

bareMinerals READY Foundation Review

This has been a long time coming. I cannot tell you how much I love the bareMinerals foundation. One of my coworkers first introduced me to bareMinerals years ago and I never kept up with it. I bought an intro kit, used it a few times and forgot all about it. I mean it was also at a time where I wasn't into makeup at all like that. I did like the coverage I got when I used it, but I wasn't into all the steps with the powder and it was too messy for me. Last year when I started getting into makeup for real this time, I bought a new starter kit in Matte (previously they only had 1 powder - original) and got re-matched. I liked it, but still was looking for something more, so I put it to the side for occasional use. I experimented with some other foundations that I have reviewed on the blog, but ultimately came back to BM. Then lo and behold they came out with a compact version! There were some variations with shade, I quickly learned from reading the reviews, but everyone most were praising it, saying it was better than the original loose powder. I knew I had to have it, so I went to the BE store in the mall and got shade matched again.



No matter what I did, my camera made it lighter than it is in person

 In the matte powder, I was Golden Medium, but in the compact, I am Golden Tan w30. The shades run much lighter in the compact (sorry I didn't post a pic of the loose powder to compare!) Comparison pics added at the bottom! While I probably could have gotten away with the Golden Medium, it was too pale/yellow for my taste. I wouldn't have been able to build up without looking jaundiced. So I opted for the Golden Tan, which gives me a hint of color without looking like a completely off shade. If I build it up too much, you can tell its too dark for the winter. In the summer though, it's perfect with a little bronzer. This is my go to and I love it. It's very natural, and gives me great coverage without needing to use a lot. I find that a little goes a long way with this. I've had it for a few months now, over 6 for sure, and it still looks like I haven't made a dent in it. While I'm not a heavy make up user, I have used it almost daily, and there is still quite a bit left in the pan. 

Pros:
  • doesn't make me breakout, even when sleeping in it
  • doesn't exacerbate my already oily skin, tames it a little
  • doesn't cake up, even when layering
  • compact format is easier to use, less mess, and I take it with me everywhere
  • lasts a really long time, you don't need a lot for coverage, so you use less than the powder, and there's less waste in this format!
  • has a wide range of shades for women of all colors/ethnicities

Cons:
  • does cling to dry skin, so you have to really moisturize
  • w/o primer, sinks into lines
  • transfers easily to everything, unless I use setting powder
  • uses a different brush than the powder

Best Use (for me)
  • quick everyday basis when I want to cover up red spots without overdoing it or spending too much time getting ready
  • as a setting powder for my Revlon foundation (when I want super full coverage)
I don't really have any before and after pics of it on me. :( Mostly because you can't really tell! I took some pics of it on my hand, but you could hardly see the difference.

With the brush, it's worth mentioning that you don't have to use their brush. I use my ELF Studio Powder Brush instead of the bareMinerals Precision Face Brush because I couldn't justify paying that much for one brush. Not when I had just bought a whole set of other brushes. They're both flat topped, so it works. A lot of other reviews I read said they used the ELF brush as well, so I'm good with my decision. I have not tried to use it with a regular round powder brush, but I would imagine it would still work, at the worst, you'll just get a powder cloud that you don't get with the flat topped brush. I also use the BM READY Touch Up Veil in tinted, and I use that with a regular round brush, so I get that powder cloud barely, so it doesn't count.

Overall I like this foundation and will continue to use it. It's one of the few products that I've found to really match my complexion. I've been happy with bareMinerals products, and I love their eyeliners as well. I'm definitely feeling the READY line, because lets face it, loose powders can be really irritating. I'm glad BM has taken their products in this direction and I will be glad to try more!

- L

***EDIT***
I posted the pics to include the ELF Essentials Clarifying Powder because in a stitch I needed something and this actually worked well for me and matched pretty close. You can see from the swatches in the pic below that it's a near perfect match. You wouldn't think so from the pics, but it's almost the same shade as the BareMinerals READY Foundation. The ELF powder helps with evening out some of the redness (it's not full coverage) and controls oil (for me) so I keep that around for travel. I also compared the Golden Medium powder with the Golden Tan and boy the Golden Medium made me look so pale and yellow! Why didn't I notice this sooner :| Oh well you live and you learn!

Golden Medium
Golden Medium powder on Golden Tan. Yikes what a difference!
ELF Clarifying powder in Honey compared to Golden Tan
1 - Golden Medium, 2 - Golden Tan, 3 - ELF Honey

***This post was not sponsored by Bare Escentuals, ELF, or any other company. I purchased the products discussed with my own money, for my personal use.***

Monday, February 18, 2013

Writer's Block

I've been a little stuck on post ideas. I have no idea why, but I have been working on something. It's just taking me a little longer than expected. I also want to re-do my page, so I may bring it under construction. Still deciding. But I have been getting some tips from my fellow bloggers, including MJ Fan Girl and The Single Sexy Mommy. I've gotten wonderful ideas and I appreciate all the help. I need to be more blog savvy and learn how to manage this better.

In the mean time, don't forget to check back soon.

-L

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Weird Ways to Save?

We all try to save, and for some it's easier. I can admit that I had trouble saving before. But there were several factors to that. Now that I'm on the right path, I thought I'd share a few things I've done.


I've never tried this, but I think it would a cool way to start, if you do the math it really adds up. Now I may try to do this one year just to see if I can incorporate it into my other routines.

One of the things I started doing to save that wasn't so weird, but normal, was to set up an automatic transfer from my checking to savings every paycheck. I started small, $25 a week to start. But every check (when I can) I add a little more on top of it. It make a difference. I even set some goals for myself to make myself more motivated. I'm happy to say that I've met my goals and continue to make new ones. Even if you can't commit to adding more than $20 a check to savings, it still adds up. Don't be discouraged! Start one step at a time, baby steps until you get where you want to be and/or feel comfortable to do more.

Now for the not so normal. Ha. These both get on the Mister's nerves because I'm so OCD about it. I started doing this about halfway through last year but it worked to help me save up quite a bit. No judgment here, please. I started saving up my crispy bills. Whenever I took money out the ATM, or got change back, I separated out my crispy bills from the more used bills, from the singles all the way to Big Ben. Yes I know how silly it sounds, but I hardly ever walk around with cash, so it was a good way for me to save up cash to have on hand in case of an emergency. And after I reached a certain amount or so, I would put some in the bank. I have had to use it once or twice, and thank goodness it was there! Even if it's just singles, it all adds up.

The other thing, is to empty all my change. Every night when I get home. I dump out my change and separate the quarters for laundry and put the rest in the cosmetic bag I use for change. But I also separate the quarters. I dislike the 'states' quarters, so I dump those back into the savings and use only the regular quarters for laundry. If there's any bi-centennial quarters or any other non-standard ones, back into savings they go. It may be odd, but it's what works for me. When the bag gets full, I lug it off to the bank and dump it into the change machine (thank you TD!) Whatever I get from it, goes straight into my account. Unless it's an emergency of course, in which case I keep it for what I need.

What else do you do to save money? Or so you think I'm crazy?

-L

Monday, February 11, 2013

Looking Back... And Laughing!

I was cleaning up this weekend, being 'snowed' in and all, and found some impromptu journal entries I had written on some scraps of paper. I took a minute to read them over and had a really good laugh. There's no date on them, but I know exactly when I wrote these, and the frame of mind I was in when I wrote them. They were notes to myself about the type of man I expected and not to settle. Quite complete along with a checklist. I have to say though, that while most of it still applies, I have to say that I was being very idealistic and optimistic. I won't go into details, but I had written these 'guidelines' as I titled them, after my ex and I had broken up and during the beginning stages of my current relationship when things were still rocky. Most of these things on the list applied to things my ex did that pissed me off, so I'm not listing those. But here are some of the more general ones (with my notes as I wrote them on the papers).

Standards for Guys:
  • must be educated w/some kind of degree (No GEDs!)
  • must have steady LEGAL income
  • NO baby momma drama
  • no psycho ex or OD attachment to her 
The list goes on, and there are several pages. It's pretty funny, if only I could really share them with you. I mean the ones I listed still would apply. LOL It's just the way I wrote them, with underlines and severe caps. I was on that war path, take no BS. I would ever need that list again, not that I used it to begin with. I was a rebel without a cause when it came to the Mister. He just stole my heart and we've been together since. (I'm sorry if I made you all want to gag just a little bit.)

Maybe one day in the future I will share the full hilarity that is the contents of these pages. For now, they'll remain my inside joke.

-L

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Second Thoughts...

My love affair with New York City has come to a close. I am pretty sure that my 5 year plan includes getting out of the city and as far away as I can. There really is nothing here for me (besides my grandma) and it's too stressful. My nerves are shot and I'm over it. There was a time when I thought I would never leave, but now I'm re-thinking that decision. It's too much commotion and congestion. I wouldn't be able to afford a house here, or raise kids.

I've been looking into other states, but I'm not even sure where I would move. I need something more stable career-wise before I can really put a plan into the works. But I'm taking into consideration the crime rates, the school system, cost of living, accessibility, transportation, growth, etc. I know there won't be like a perfect neighborhood, but there definitely is a better one than NYC.

As for having kids, that's on the far back burner for now. I need to have accomplished way more in life before I can even think about supporting one. I gave myself better credit than was due when I made my 'life plan." But I think its the responsible thing to wait and not jump into it when I'm not 100% ready. All things in due time.

Any of you jump ship from NYC or any big cities to a different location? Feel free to share your tips and thoughts!

-L