Trying to Learn Some Small Things

About a year ago, I started following Kate at The Small Things Blog thanks to her awesome hairstyles on Pinterest. She’s got a fun, caring writing style, and I loved the way she breaks down hairstyling in her video.

Today, I styled my hair after one of her videos.

Please note! My hair is naturally curly, very fine, and there is a lot of it, and I didn’t straighten it before curing so there are quite a few flyaways. It’s also not quite the length I’m looking for yet to flatter my (fat) face. But I was really happy with the way it turned out and how easy it was after watching her videos! Also, Aquage is a MUST. It really does do all the things she says it does, plus it gives enough grip for your hair to hold the curls much better. Overall, I’ll definitely be styling my hair like this again. Well, that is as long as I find a way to keep my long bangs from looking like Farrah Fawcett hair! Ha!

Please excuse the fat face and squinty, sun-filled eyes 🙂

And, in the spirit of full disclosure and hilarity, please enjoy this crazy-eyed outtake, haha.

That puppy should go smack dab on my LinkedIn page to scare off all potential employers! Haha!

Have you tried any of Kate’s styles? How have they worked for you?


BEAUtiful: Polished and Ready

I’m nail polish challenged. As much as I say that I’m makeup or hairstyling challenged, I feel like I’ve made a lot of strides and can constantly improve. However, I cannot paint my nails to save my life. I can’t even paint a simple color because everything gets screwed up, so I go months without even trying. Pinterest does not help in this matter, because I see all of these amazing nails and I get frustrated just painting the base color!

Recently, I’ve been trying to paint my nails more with much, much failure. I’ve found a few colors that I love and are very springish (isn’t it funny how hot weather makes you want to paint your nails?) and want to use them, but darnit, they just look terrible. So off I went to the store again to try to find something to help, and I picked up a few things but I fell in love with these:

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Misbehaved! They were a little awkward to apply, and I felt like I had all thumbs, but I thought they turned out well. Although, I’m really hard on my fingers (dainty, I am not!) so I painted four clear coats on the top to make sure they’ll stay at least for a few days. The end effect was pretty cool – it seemed like a quatrefoil pattern, but once they were on my nails, it looked more like snakeskin or fishnetting.

The downsides? At $10, it’s pretty pricey especially because I know that on my nails with my craziness, they will probably only look good for four or five days (even with several clear coats on the top). Also, when I added clear coat, the strips bubbled with tons of tiny bubbles. With this particular design, it actually made the background look like gold foil, which was pretty cool, but I can see that it would be frustrating with other designs and there is no way I’d skip clear coat on these babies.

Overall, I love how they turned out and how my nails actually look decent for once! And, yes, I’m wearing my promise ring instead of my engagement/wedding rings. It’s called “I’m carrying too much baby weight and most of the time have to take my rings off by the end of the day so I wear my promise ring so I don’t get dirty looks out in public for having a baby”- itis, haha. I don’t know that I’ll always use these, but if I have an event where I should have nicer nails, I’ll use them again since I’m not a fan of artificial nails. What do you think?

Update: After three or four days, one of the nails started to peel up towards the cuticle so I had to remove them. While this was probably due to my inept application, I have to say that they were really easy to get off. All I had to do was scratch up an edge and they peeled right off. Then, I just used nail polish remover to take away any residue. It may have been due to my million layers of clear coat, but I didn’t have a nightmarish experience with them like others have stated here and on my Pinterest board.

30 Day Face Challenge: Day Ten

Before we get into the meat of this post, I’m happy to announce that thanks to your readership, I’ve broken a TBP record! As of publishing time on this post, I’ve had 682 views this month, which is 23 more than my highest month of readership ever. After two years, TBP is finally getting on track to my this-year-goal of 10,000 page views per month. Thank you SO MUCH for your readership!

Update: 711 views for the month of February! Thank you so much!

Sorry to post and run (again, still working on finals but they are almost over! woo!) but I’m here to update ten days into my thirty day face challenge.

It’s really hard to tell from looking at the terrible picture, but my skin is really starting to change. It’s going to take a few more weeks (Mary Kay says 6-8 weeks to see a real transformation) but I’m starting to see changes in the tone of my skin especially. It used to be very dry and almost flaky, but now it’s evening out and looking fresh. I’m wearing less foundation and feeling more confident about how I looked because I don’t have to worry if my foundation and concealer is going to flake off my blemishes and expose them during the day. I even switched from Normal-Dry to Oily-Combination foundation today because I had a good amount of moisture in my skin. The best part? There are times when I have forgotten to use the products, so I’ve learned that if I skip a night, my skin won’t be damned to return to the way it was. That means that I really AM one step closer to restoring my lipid layer and fixing my skin!

Getting ready for the 30 Day Face Challenge!

As I’ve said before, I have terrible skin. In my attempt to become more knowledgeable about all things girly, I researched a ton about how skin and skincare works and determined that my problem is that I destroyed my lipid layer during my teenage years when I actually had oily skin and regular acne. Now as an adult, I have “problem skin” riddled with acne scarring, blackheads, enlarged pores, uneven tone, and constant breakouts of various varieties including little red bumps all the way down the spectrum to cystic acne. I really need a total skin overhaul.

That’s why a few weeks ago at a Mary Kay skincare demonstration for new consultants I decided to sign up to be a consultant myself. The products (some of which I’m already using and love, although I was using them incorrectly) made a huge difference in the tone and quality of my skin and being a consultant gives me a discount that allows me to be able to buy the entire line of care at once on a smallish budget.

My starter kit came in the mail today with everything I need totally transform my skin and help others experience this awesome phenomenon. AND TO PROVE THAT IT WORKS, I’m going to post a 30 Day Face Challenge here on the blog. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to post pictures every few days SANS MAKEUP that show the progress of my skin using this amazing line of products. (Check out the before pic!) In the spirit of promoting good skin care, I’m also offering a Presidents Day Special – 20% off your entire order through February 24th! If you’ve ever bought Mary Kay before, you know that a discount of this magnitude very rarely happens without being the hostess of a huge party. Please note that if you pay online, I have to finalize the order and add sales tax, so I’ll adjust the amount by 20% before your card is charged. And out-of-town friends, shipping is always free 🙂

BEAUtiful: bareMinerals

I’d like to take a moment to review one of my favorite lines of products.

Yes, it’s cliché. But that’s the point. Sometimes, I stay away from products because I’m worried about popularity based on names instead of quality. Sometimes, I’m wrong, and this is one of those times.

Like I’ve said before, I have severe acne and scarring. I get cystic acne deep in the skin and even muscle tissue that leaves the pock marks known as craters and ice picks. No amount of dermabrasion or chemical peeling will ever completely correct it, and since those are considered cosmetic procedures, I’ll probably never get the chance to try them, either. I never thought in a million years that Bare Minerals would hide most of my scars. I laughed, saying, “There is no way that a powder could ever cover these things! I use the thickest makeup possible right now and it covers them, but just barely! It’s practically costume makeup!” And it’s worth buying the actual brand because I’ve tried others, including a more expensive brand, and they didn’t come close to what bareEscentuals has been able to achieve.

The following photo was uploaded directly from my phone and has not been retouched at all (which I can’t say about 99% of my photos). It was taken in natural light, and notice how few scars you can see. Don’t mind the bad teeth – lots of acid erosion/genetics (thank you, acid reflux disease and gallbladder disease) and too poor to ever get braces. Another set of procedures I’ll never get, haha.

But, seriously, look at that face. It’s actually pretty broken out under the makeup. And believe it or not, it’s not heavy makeup at all! I want to walk you through what I’ve now got down as a ten minute routine to get my skin to look amazing, and the products I use. It’s not perfect, and I’m not an expert by any means, but it’s a lot better than caking on a bunch of crap that makes your skin even worse.

Let me start off by talking about my skincare rituals.  I have very, very dry skin with normal patches on my forehead and nose and it’s extremely sensitive to any irritants, so there are a lot of makeup types that just won’t work for me at all. It is extremely rare for my skin to become oily. I have not yet found a good moisturizer that a) doesn’t cause an allergic reaction (three months into using Mary Kay’s Timewise, I developed an allergy and started getting hives), b) doesn’t make my skin oily (a lot of the “dry skin” formulas over-moisturize instead of promoting a balanced lipid layer), or c) are super expensive and thus way out of my budget. I’m open to suggestions here if anyone has any! I generally wash my face with Purity by Philosophy (about $20 and lasts between 3 and 6 months for 8 oz.) once a day, although with the recent outbreaks I’ve been having, I’ll probably up that to twice a day until I find a good moisturizer. I also need to find a pH balancer because my current toner is the same brand as the moisturizer that I became allergic to, so naturally I’m worried about it as well.

Here are my products in the order I use them. I’ll walk through each one.

***Yes, purchasing all of these products can be expensive, but I find that they usually last at least twice as long as my grocery store products, so the cost is actually less, and I usually only run out of one (or maybe two) at a time!***

  1. On a Clear Day by philosophy – This is the best acne treatment I’ve found over the counter, and it’s decently priced. You can use it as a spot treatment or all-over as it is not too drying. This tube is almost empty after six months of semi-weekly and sometimes daily use.
  2. Prime Time by bareVitamins – I fought against foundation primer for months. I thought it was ridiculous to  prime for your foundation, but this is one of the keys to smooth-looking skin, regardless of scars. Think of it as spackle for your face – it evens out all the lines and crevices without being too heavy or oily. It also helps keep your lipid layer even (and they have an oil control version for those of you with oily skin). I apply this to my entire face, making around my eyes and on my eyelids last with the remnants on my skin. One pump is plenty for your whole face!
  3. bareMinerals Original Foundation in Fair – Don’t laugh at my super light skin! Yes, I use the lightest foundation they have because I’m so freaking pale. No, I don’t tan, ever, haha. I apply the powder foundation by tapping some into the lid and using the Full Flawless Face Brush that came with my starter kit in a circular motion starting on the apples of my cheek, one side of my face at a time. By this time, I’m already amazed at how smooth my skin is looking and how light the foundation feels.
  4. bareMinerals Concealer in Bisque – Next, I apply the powder concealer using the Max Coverage Concealer Brush. I am careful to apply from all angles so I get maximum coverage that lasts all day. It is surprisingly light and almost a miracle worker. It masks any kind of color disfiguration or blotchiness. PS – I know my brushes look gross here, but I wash them about every two weeks using the brush shampoo that came with my starter kit and then let them air dry overnight.
  5. bareMinerals Luminous All-Over Face Color in Warmth – Yes, it looks dark, but it’s actually not when used sparingly. This is a great bronzer that I use all year round in place of blush. Tap a small amount (I usually only keep one of the three holes open when distributing) into the lid, work into the Flawless Application Face Brush well, and spread on the apples of the cheeks first, then any area the sun would naturally hit (a 3 shape on the side of each face with the middle prong being the cheekbone, and the T zone).
  6. bareMinerals Mineral Veil – Get the plain kind (third product) unless otherwise instructed because the color blends into whatever colors are existing. This is the miracle product that gives your face a flawless finish. You can touch it up throughout the day if you get oily and it will take away any bad shine while still leaving your skin radiant. Apply with the same brush as the bronzer all-over in circular motions. It won’t knock off the other powders,, and surprisingly, even after all those layers your skin feels very weightless especially compared to heavy correcting makeup.
  7. Finally, the eye makeup! I have light hair, eyes, and eyelashes, so I tend to stick with a more subtle routine. I apply Cover Girl Perfect Point Pencil in Espresso to the outside of the top lid only since I don’t want my eyes to look more narrow in a medium-sized stroke. I’ve been using this eyeliner since I was a teenager. I’ve tried others but I always seem to come back to this because of its ease of use and good coverage. I use dark brown because it tends to compliment my blue eyes better and it’s not as dark as black on my ultra-pale skin. Next, I apply bareMinerals Eyecolor in Queen Phyllis using the Tapered Shadow Brush, which on my skin just leaves a pearlescent shine and highlight, although I wouldn’t recommend it for skin tones more than a shade or two darker since it would read as white instead of pearl. Finally, I like to use a good NON-waterproof mascara in a dark brown color, coating two to three times on my top lashes, and barely covering the bottom lashes with one coat so they don’t look weighed down. This formula makes my eyes “pop”. I always avoid waterproof mascara because I have contacts and like to be able to remove my eye makeup easily (with Mary Kay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover). I’m not terribly partial to any one kind of mascara, but lately I’ve been buying Maybelline’s Volum’ Express in Brownish (link shows Very Black 3X). It does a decent job, but I’ll probably be moving on soon to something else. Perhaps Santa will bring me a Sephora gift card this year so I can find something? 😉

As I said, I’m not even close to a beauty expert, but this system really works for me. If any of you other acne sufferers out there have any questions, please comment and I’ll answer. If you are looking to start with bareMinerals, I’d strongly recommend going to either a Sephora store (not the one in JC Penny) or a bareEscentuals store for a consultation and buy a starter kit! You get the brushes free, which is a huge value and really does make a big difference in the quality of your makeup application. Plus, they not only do your makeup – they walk you through the application process by applying it to half of your face and helping you apply the other half! This is amazing for makeup dummies like me!

Here’s another angle of my typical makeup application. Both of the pictures were taken a few hours later, so this shows how well it holds up, too.