Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Let's Get Personal: The Routine Part 1

Sorry for the long wait! Things have been busy and I've been overwhelmed and really lazy to keep up here. As you may have noticed, I've gotten a guest blogger to take over Music Mondays for me, and it has helped tremendously. I will get better soon! So a few weeks ago I went over my back story, and the reason why I have issues with my skin and hormones. If you missed it, you can read it here. I went into some detail about my history with PCOS, and the difficulties I had with my changing skin over the years. Right now I'm at a really happy place. There are a few breakouts here and there, but nothing near to what I was dealing with before. I was actually super pleased when I went to the MAC store to get color matched and the MUA said my skin was gorgeous. I sang on the inside! Before I get to it, I'm going to let you know this is going to be lengthy and I will break it up into 2 parts. Let's get started!


This is everything I use. Looks like a lot, but it works!

My skin type is oily combination. Oily in the T zone and fairly normal on the rest of my face. A few dry patches around my mouth area and cheeks occasionally, mostly when I haven't exfoliated in a long time or when the weather gets colder. Some days - like the past few weeks (eek!) I've been too lazy to do much so I let my skin do its own thing. And it seems to work. Less stress I guess? But I still put some effort into it. Just not the whole routine. I'm also working on weaning off products so I can minimize the amount of products I use and also spend less money in the same boat.


Cleansers/exfoliants:

I use a variety of cleansers and exfoliants based on my mood, time and skin. I never used to exfoliate at at all.
No one ever showed me or told me how to do skin care, so I had to learn it through trial and error, looking things up on the Internet, and just winging it sometimes. I mean who knew you had to cleanse, exfoliate, tone, AND moisturize? Plus serums and all that? I sure didn't. I was just a basic cleanse and moisturize gal. Then one day I was introduced to St. Ives Apricot Scrub and that baby has stayed with me since. I switched to the Blemish and Blackhead Control formula and never looked back. More recently, I found out about Clarisonic Mia and once I figured out which brush head worked the best for me (deep pore) I jumped on it and have never been happier. 

Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash is one of the first cleansers I have ever used, and it is the one I always end up going back to - because it works. I know that a lot of people say it doesn't matter what is in your face wash because it isn't on your skin long enough to be effective, but I think this proves otherwise (at least for me.) I use this with my Clarisonic to get nice and clean. It suds up really well and I find that certain cleansers don't work as well with the Clarisonic if they don't lather and create a lot of soapy suds. Neutrogena + Clarisonic with deep pore brush = squeaky clean and happy face. I do this combo a few times a week, it's too intense to do it everyday and definitely only once a day.

My everyday cleaner when I don't use my Clarisonic is Mario Badescu Botanical Facial Gel. It doesn't do much in terms of the "
deep cleansing and refreshing" it claims, but it removes dirt fairly well. Makeup - not so much. It also doesn't work with my Clarisonic because of the gel formula, so I just use it on its own. Occasionally I'll use some apricot scrub when I want some massage action going on, or some exfoliation without breaking out the Clarisonic. I usually use the apricot scrub on its own once or twice a week. It doesn't remove all the dirt and makeup, but it feels SO good on my face. I don't use it on dry skin because I find that too harsh. I make sure I wet my face first and get to massaging in circles. 

PIDA exfoliating gel I use every so often. Mostly because I'm lazy and don't like washing my face in the sink. It's great for getting off dry skin though, especially areas where I couldn't leave well enough alone and picked at things. It's a good product and my face is silky smooth after using this. Its not drying at all, I just really wish I could use it in the shower and that I didn't have to use it on dry skin! You can read my review on it here.

Raw honey is more of a mask than a cleanser, but it serves the purpose of both. I put some on my skin and massage it in for a few minutes before I let it sit for 15-20 mins. Then I put a hot washcloth on top and let it soak into my skin before wiping off. My skin feels soft and supple, which makes me wonder why I don't do it more than twice a month! Hmm.. I guess I have to stop being lazy and manage my time better!



Toners/peels:

Clinique Clarifying Lotion -
Formula 2 (for Dry Combination skin) mixed with some Neutrogena Clear Pore Astringent. Clinique had recommended Formula 3 for oily combination skin, but it broke me out and didn't feel right on my skin. Formula 2 feels better, it makes my pores tighter and I feel cleaner, plus it calmed my breakouts almost immediately. I saw my acne shrink in days. I use this almost everyday. For the times where my skin is extra sensitive, I use plain ol' witch hazel to sooth any irritation and redness. It still cleans thoroughly, but sometimes if I use too much, it leaves a slight film behind and it makes my face sticky.
Oth
er times when I'm in a rush, or when my skin is behaving extraordinarily well and I don't have any breakouts, I'll use my FAB Facial Radiance Pads. I don't see too much of their claims to "exfoliate, tone and brighten." But they pick up whatever my cleansers don't pick up and don't sting or dry out my skin. I throw them in my gym bag and they're very travel friendly, especially in a carry-on bag since there's no 'liquid' per-say.

Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Formula
towelettes are AMAZING. I know some of you may have seen my Instagram posts of before and after, but within 3 uses I saw a difference in my skin. Acne shrank, red spots cleared up, my skin felt soft, I was glowing! It also really helped my oils and treatments penetrate better. Using the peels after a good exfoliation gave me the best results. I know it's pricey and also not natural, but it works. And for that I can splurge and feel ok with it because c'mon I can see real results here. Not after weeks, but within DAYS. 

I also liked the Murad Intensive-C Radiance Peel. I received it as a sample from Sephora and I was contemplating purchasing the full size before I tried the Dennis Gross pads. It penetrates without irritating my skin, and my inner glow was released. However, I'm all for quick and easy, which the Dennis Gross pads offer. I swipe them across my face and I'm done. The Murad while more cost effective, requires washing off after the allotted time. I don't have time for that!! Plus I'm saving water ;)

And I think I will cut it off here.. Next week's post will be Oils, Moisturizers, and Masks. Whew, that's still a lot! You guys must think I'm crazy, but it works wonders. And eventually I will do an update on the more simplified version of this routine.

One day, one day...
- L







 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Music Monday-Remy Shand

There are many artists in the music industry that, for one reason or another, release only one album. Two famous examples are Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and Jeff Buckley's Grace. For Lauryn Hill, her reason for leaving the music industry (as many believe) is because she wanted to focus on raising her kids. Jeff Buckley released only one album because he tragically passed away. However, these are only two examples. There are many artists who seemingly lost interest in the music industry after releasing their debut album. Remy Shand is one such artist.


I don't usually get upset with musicians, however, I am upset with Remy Shand. In 2002, Remy released the amazing, criminally neglected album The Way I Feel and then just disappeared. Granted, this album is a product of its time, but believe me when I tell you that neo-soul has never sounded better. Filled with tracks such as "Take a Message" and "Rocksteady", Remy takes the the listener through an auditory journey and doesn't let go until the end of the final track.

"Take A Message"

"Rocksteady"


The two examples that I provided above are only a taste of the blue-eyed soul that The Way I Feel provides. This album is filled with gems that unfortunately not many heard because of Remy's abrupt departure. In my mind, Remy Shand left the industry so Robin Thicke could could enter. The two share very similar styles and their falsettos are eerily similar, but I digress...

Thankfully, it doesn't seem like Remy Shand is gone for good. Earlier this year, a Youtube Page was opened under his name. This page features two previously unreleased tracks: RollerGirls and WhereAreWeGoing?. Do these two new releases tease the comeback of Remy Shand? One Can only hope. Until then, we'll have to keep enjoying his only full length release The Way I Feel.


 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Music Monday: Deadmau5 "Album Title Goes Here"

Deadmau5 (pronounced deadmouse) is a peculiar person. He exists in a world where people call themselves DJ's, yet he constantly distances himself from the title (even writing a blog post where he calls EDM performers "button pushers"). From his many posts and rants on Twitter and Facebook you would assume that he hates celebrity, yet he is the only musician that I know of who will live stream himself in the studio while he is putting a song together. Maybe that's why we, his fans, are drawn to him and his music. It's fun watching this man rant while he pieces together amazing albums. Album Title Goes Here < is one such album.


Right off the bat it's hard to classify > Album Title Goes Here < as an EDM album. You won't find your typical bass drops and you will not be pumping your fist to this album. Instead, Deadmau5 gives us a straight dance album, a 2012 Discovery if you will. Keeping Daft Punk's Discovery in mind, this album is not all electronic beats. Deadmau5 has several vocalist appear on the album to give the album a more mainstream feel. The best example of this is the nearly nine minute epic, The Veldt.




With singer Chris James on the vocals, Deadmau5 turns Ray Bradbury's 1951 short story The Veldt into a musical masterpiece. Haunting and yet oddly soothing, Deadmau5 was able to capture the perfect  feel for Mr. Bradbury's dark story.


*Note the video version of The Veldt is only 2 minutes and
 59 seconds. The fullversion can be heard on the album*

Peaking at number 43, The Veldt did moderately well on Billboard's Dance Chart. It may not be a number one hit, but I believe Deadmau5 is ok with that. He is a man who hides from celebrity and puts out music at his pace. I wouldn't have it any other way.

- JSR




Friday, October 18, 2013

Feature Friday

Hey guys, I want to introduce you to Kari's Korner! It's owned by a former co-worker of mine, Ashley Sullivan, and she designs (yes she makes her own designs) cute graphics for T-shirts, housewares, and posters. Those are just a few to name, and seriously these designs are so adorable! Parents if you are looking for something cute for your children, this is it. She has categories from "Cutie Fruties" to Holiday designs and is always coming up with new creations.

Saturn! img src
Happy Halloween! img src
Earth Day tote img src

Tell me these don't make you go aww? I've never seen a cuter Earth or Saturn.

You can visit Kari's Korner here, follow her on Twitter, and like her Facebook page!

Do you want to be featured? Nominate someone to be featured? Contact me for more info!
- L

Monday, October 14, 2013

Music Mondays: Tyler, The Creator - "Wolf"

Wolf. The album title alone grabs your attention. The fact that this album is named after a lonesome, aggressive animal is fitting because these are the themes that Tyler explores throughout this album. On Wolf Tyler looks inward more than he has on his previous albums (the controversial Goblin and the self released Bastard) and doing so has allowed him to grow as a musician. However, I'm getting ahead of myself...


Wolf is, by all accounts, a concept album. The story follows the main character, Wolf, as he enters camp and meets the very aggressive Sam. Throughout the album, we see their rivalry grow as Sam and Wolf fall for the same woman. As the album progresses, we learn how this dilemma affects them and their relationship with other characters. Now, I have to stress, this is considered a hip hop album. However, at first glance, you wouldn't think it is. An album revolving around summer camp isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think hip hop. Combine that with the quirky album packaging and it's easy to see why many hip hop fans dismissed this album. It's a shame they did because they missed out on how much Tyler has grown as a musician.



The above song (titled IFHY and performed in the voice of the Sam character) is a perfect example of how much Tyler has grown. At this point in his career, it is not strange for Tyler to bring up the topic of love. However, on IFHY he explores it in a mature tone than he does on his previous albums. Another thing that stands out in this song is the composition. Throughout the track you hear diverse melodies and chord changes. If you follow Tyler on Twitter, you know how much he obsesses over chords and melodies. The kid lives for them! This love for musicianship can be heard on throughout the entire album.

So tell me, have you heard this album and if so, what are your thoughts? Sound off on the comments!

-JSR




Thursday, October 10, 2013

Feeling Swamped

I'm not going to lie to you. I am feeling less and less motivated to keep up with the posts and making sure there is new, interesting content. I am tired and need sleep. Work has been keeping me busy lately. We are officially in busy season until the holidays. I am sorry. :(

Here are some more cute animal pictures to look at for the time being. (I will eventually finish my posts in draft mode)
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Monday, October 7, 2013

Music Mondays

I'm taking it WAYYYYY back to the 1800's with this one. Since Music 101 at Hunter, this has been one of my favorite classical pieces. It's very lively (IMO)

- L


Friday, October 4, 2013

Let's Get Personal: The Backstory

Here's the warning up front. This will be personal, more than I usually get on the blog and a bit long. Fellas you may want to click out of here while you have the chance. It also may be TMI for some of you who maybe don't want to know me that well. I tried to do this all in one post with the backstory and routine, but I had too much to say for one post. (If you want to skip straight to the routine, click here.) What can I say? I like to talk/write about myself! I mean look at the title of my blog. LOL In all seriousness I actually don't like speaking about myself, but ehh it is what it is. Ok, warning noted? Good.

So ladies (and whoever is still with me) let's get personal! A few people on social media have asked me about my routine, what I'm using/doing to help clear up my face. The light bulb went off and here's this post. I've had pretty good skin once I got over the acne puberty threw at me. Then out of nowhere last year and this year, my skin threw me for a loop. Now that I have a decent handle on it, I can say that my face looks amazing and this is about as good as it gets. I'm not looking for flawless perfection because that's greedy. And let's face it (no pun intended!) being perfect is boring.

Before I get into that I have to divulge some info so you can better understand the root of my troubles. When puberty and my first menstrual cycle hit me unawares, I was shocked and scared as all get out. My mom never had that talk with me, and I had no idea what was going on. I thought I was dying. It didn't help matters any that I didn't have any female role models to look up to or ask about this. So what did little ol' 11/12 year old me do? Why I went to my mom's then boyfriend and asked him what the F was going on. I can't remember exactly what he said to me, but all I know is that he told my mom for me and we went to buy my first pack of pads. Of course my mom was furious I didn't ask her, but we never really had the best relationship until recently. I didn't even think to ask her. My hormones went out of whack, and I was so lost. Boobs grew out of nowhere overnight, my body changed into something abnormal. None of the other girls in class looked like this! I was teased relentlessly about it and felt even more alienated.

My cycle was abnormal. I couldn't predict when it would come or for how long. I had to be sent home one time because it came when I was unprepared and my uniform was horribly stained. Oh the nightmares. My face started to hate me around that time as well. The gross acne I had to deal with was horrible. I was given some prescription treatments that tamed it down some, but not completely. My mom said it was normal that once my body adjusted, I would get used to it. Wrong! I went to Jamaica the summer of '99 for the first time since I was a toddler, which was about a few months to a year after my first cycle. I was there for 2 whole months, and for about 1 and a half of them I bled relentlessly. My aunts and female cousins were confused. They said maybe it was the change in climate and latitude. Who knew? I got back home and told my mom, and she couldn't figure it out. I can't remember all the details, but there were times when my cycle wouldn't come for months and then when it did come, would last for weeks. So off to the doctor we went. The pediatrician didn't know, and I was way to young for the gyno.

We somehow ended up at the endocrinologist where we finally got some answers. I was told I have polycystic ovaries, now known as PCOS. It basically means that my ovaries have many cysts on them that messes me up because of a serious hormone imbalance. Imagine the shock I felt at finding out I was indeed abnormal. Then tack on the fact that the doctors were saying I would have trouble having children and that there wasn't too much information about it because not that many women had it. Great.... I was mortified. The only solution to help with it? Birth control pills of course. Yup you got it. I've been on the pill for about 12-13 years. For the few times I tried to go without, it was a mess. My face immediately broke out and everything went out of whack. Going back on the pill was just as hard because it took months before everything calmed down again. This worked for awhile until the 24/25 year mark. Last year things changed and I can only attribute this to my body fighting the pill and preparing to have a baby, which I am not ready for at all.

I had to rethink and re-plan my entire routine. I was breaking out left and right with no relief. No routine or products seemed to work. I did so much research and there were many trials before I finally figured out what worked for me. While this is not set in stone, it is the foundation for what I do on a (mostly) daily basis. And I love the results I am getting! As I mentioned before, I am far from flawless, but I'm in a happy place now. Even more so that I know how to handle it. Next week I'll go over my face routine and how it's helped me.

Thanks for reading, as your reward: cute puppy picture.

- L

cute running puppies
Cute puppies? img src

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Nail Polish Giveaway Results!

Thank you everyone that was a good sport and participated! I will honestly say I didn't even know how many I had until I counted them last night. I shocked myself and may have to admit an addiction. I know I am not the only one out there! Are you ready for the magic number or do you want me to keep it a secret? Haha.. kidding. The total number of polishes I have - 100. Yep. That little ol' bucket held all those polishes. That's not even counting the 12 I'm giving away. BUT to be fair, not everyone may have included the ones on the lid of the bucket, so I'll discount those for a count of 94. Here's a better idea of what it looks like spaced out:

Same set of polishes, different angles. Grouped by color.
Here's the breakdown by color group:
  • 10 glitters
  • 1 black
  • 1 grey
  • 3 dark metallics
  • 11 shiny metallics
  • 8 brown/nudes
  • 1 olive green
  • 4 pastel pink
  • 8 dark blues
  • 2 royal blues
  • 4 pastel blues/mints
  • 1 teal
  • 9 hot pinks
  • 1 neon purple
  • 2 pastel purples
  • 5 sheers/whites
  • 8 oranges
  • 2 yellows
  • 4 reds
  • 9 dark purples
  • 6 nail art bottles

Wow and to think I still want more! I mean I am missing a few colors. ::whistling::

I'll be announcing the winners shortly, if they wish to be announced.

- L