Friday, November 22, 2013

Anticipating Black Friday: Sephora

Every year I look forward to seeing family and a few friends on Thanksgiving. Over 30 of us usually gather around for the feast. Afterwards we play games, catch up and look through ads. Not many of us actually brave the black Friday crowd and for myself I actually have to work in the office on Black Fridays. But I do like to check out the online sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

If you take a look at what has been revealed for Sephora's 2013 it does not seem that exciting. The only thing that slightly peaks my interest is the Josie Maran set. The picture clearly show the nail wipes which were in last year's set and the tube looks like it could be the Argan Infinity Intensive Creamy Oil, Whipped Argan Oil Intensive Hand or their Aqua tinted moisturizer. My guess is on the hand cream. The Josie Moran set I bought last year came with the nail wipes (haven't used but seem great for travel) and facial cleansing wipes. I was extremely disappointed in the wipes and felt cheated, but an oil might be worth my while. More Black Friday Specials will be revealed on Sephora's Facebook fan page tomorrow 11/23. What are you interested in?

If you're interested in what I got last year then keep on reading. Last year (2012) was my first time participating during Sephora's $10 Black Friday deals. I actually got my hands on a lot of things.

Tarte MultiplEYE™ & Gifted™ Lash Enhancing Primer & Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara: A full sized primer and mascara.
Too Faced Coco Glow Duo: Deluxe size Too Faced Chocolate Soileil and mini brush
LORAC Behind The Scenes Eye Primer/Eye Shadow Duo: Full sized primer and single pot shadow
Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes Duo: Full sized Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes both Facial and Nail

A year later looking back, I didn't find any of the things I picked up to be amazing. I was caught up in the hype and bought overpriced makeup remover wipes and deluxe sample sizes of the Too Faced Chocolate Soilel for which I already have the full size and deluxe size in my Bronzed and the Beautiful Palette. (I ended up returning one and giving one to my mom). I would probably not have made most of the purchases after trying the products or considering their value. The Tarte mascaras would be an excellent deal if you like their mascara but I was not a fan. Of the bunch I grabbed, the best to me was The LORAC set.

Note: I also picked up a few other things that were not part of the Black Friday $10 deals to get my free Cinderella gift bag and free shipping.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Haul: Sephora VIB Sale

Every year in the fourth quarter Sephora fans have grown accustomed to being overwhelmed with sales hitting us at a rapid pace. The order of their sales in the fourth quarter usually go:-

Friends & Family (typically 15-20% off entire purchase)
Beauty Insider (typically 15-20% off entire purchase)/VIB (typically 15-20% off entire purchase) , Black Friday ($10 deals), another Insider (typically $10-$15 off a $50 purchase) 
Ending with an end of the year clearance.

I love watching everyone's Sephora Hauls especially this time of year. Check out what I grabbed for the first sale of the season I participated in!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dupe List: Radiant Primers

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer in Radiance VS. PIXI Flawless Beauty Primer available at Target.

I received a sample of the PIXI primer in my target beauty bag and I had a deluxe size of the Laura Mercier from a Sephora purchase I made where I redeemed 100 Beauty Insider Points. Here is what I have to share with you all.

Similarities: Finishes are luminous with a golden undertone.

Price Break Down: When I originally spoke about the PIXI primer it cost $30 for a 1.01 oz at Target. I was shocked by the price tag because it made the Laura Mercier much more appealing at $32 for a 1.7 oz. I have since checked and the PIXI primer has been reduced to $22. My initial thought was, great I should pick up that PIXI primer. But even with the price reduction that makes the PIXI primer $21.78/oz and Laura Mercier $18.82/oz. With the price reduction the higher end Laura Mercier still wins out! I never thought I would be posting a dupe where the high end is more worth it.

Screen shot from August 18th 2013:-

Screen shot from today, November 17th 2013:-

Laura Mercier website today, November 17th 2013:-

Verdict: The primers perform very similarly but with the price per oz being less with Laura Mercier, I would obviously opt for that one.

Lastly, I must emphasize that these primers look best on film. They help your skin catch light, giving a person's face more depth. However in person or flash photography they may be less flattering (very shiny) so consider this before making your purchase. I discovered this when I was less than thrilled trying the Laura Mercier but when I went to film a YouTube video I was blown away with how glowing and healthy my face appeared.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Current Skincare Update

I have been getting requests on my skincare update on YouTube. So I decided to put together a few tips on how I rehabilitated my skin.

This time last year I was constantly breaking out on my forehead for a few months. I was getting really large cystic acne which I would refer to as unicorn horns (that's how large they felt to me). They were very painful and took a long time to go away. I would cover them with my bangs and a lot of makeup. This lead to a desire to figure out the root of the problem and make some changes. Over time I have discovered that the combination of these have vastly improved my skin.

Before I get started I will describe my skin's natural inclination. I have combination skin where my t-zone has a tendency to get oily by the evening and the skin around my eyes and cheeks are drier. I can honestly say that I love my skin this year and hope I can keep feeling this way!

1.) Don't let stress bog you down. When you are stressed out your body releases hormones that affect your skin. We all get stressed out for various reasons, it's part of life. The key is to recognize it and try to mitigate it as much as you can. Sometimes things are out of our control. Sometimes it's that moody time of the month. I try to realize it and minimize the impacts when I can.

2.) Get enough sleep. This tip is linked directly to the one above. When I was incredibly stressed out last year (with my dog having surgery and other personal issues) I was severely lacking in the sleep department and my skin was most definitely paying the price. For lack of sleep the skin around my eyes suffered the most. I started noticing a correlation to lack of sleep and bags/dark circles under my eyes.

3.) Consider your diet. Each person's body reacts differently so this is really a personal experiment for you to take on. You must be in tune with your body and how it reacts to what you consume. It took a while for me to figure this one out (and still learning). What have I discovered about myself?

The first (and most impactful) was to avoid fried food (as much as I can). I love my fries but I found a direct correlation to fry consumption and getting a new pimple. I still have my cravings but try to satisfy them a lot less (my forehead thanks me for it).

The second was to avoid caffeine in my diet. I am so sensitive to caffeine that if I drink/consume just a little bit in the morning, it will cause me to have a terrible night of sleep. Not only does this go back to tip number 2 but caffeine is a diuretic which connects to tip 4.

The next was to reduce the amount of artificial sugar. Again I want to be realistic, I don't completely avoid avoid sugar.

I wondered if my diet was lacking the building blocks I needed for healthy skin. I've always heard that prenatal supplements were helpful. Though not a prenatal supplement, I decided to take a hair, skin & nails supplement. I feel like this helped give my face a glowy complexion, make my hair thicker and shinier and my nails stronger. If you're interested, I take one that can be found at Costco and is called Nature's Bounty. The suggested serving is 3 pills a day but I only take 1.

4.) Drink enough water. One thing I notice is that when my skin is tight and dry it is more sensitive.

5.) Figure out what products irritate your skin and avoid them. Personally, I try to avoid using products that dry out my skin. For me that means products that contain alcohol and benzyl peroxide. When I get a pimple I prefer to use a salicylic acid product but of those some products still irritate my skin. At first I thought it was the concentration of the active ingredient but after trying a few with 2% salicycle acid and having different skin reactions I believe it must be the other ingredients that I could possibly be causing and allergic reaction. The Alba Bontanica AcneDote Oil Control Lotion works on me for those breakout days to calm my skin.

disclaimer: I am aware that everyone's skin is different and my tips are what worked for me and my experience. I'm not a healthcare professional and I am only sharing what helped me out. This post is not sponsored and all these opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mani of the day: Zoya and Kleancolor

I have been obsessed with pink on my nails for the past year and have been searching for the perfect barbie pink. I think I may have found it in Kleancolor. Now this polish as you might be able to tell from the photos is textured. I only have 1 coat on so I am extremely impressed with this polish. The polish performs a lot like Julie G gumdrop swatches look like to me. I have yet to try a Julie G gum drop so I can only go off pictures I've seen.

Zoya in Daul (2 coats)
Kleancolor textured 3D in Beauty Fix (1 coat)

Photo I took with my camera using day lights:-

iphone photo (instagram gymba24)

I also contacted Kleancolors to see if they are cruelty free and this was the response I received. To me I believe their response and chose to believe they are cruelty free. Feel free to interpret the response in your own way.

"Thank you for your email. We can assure you that KleanColor does absolutely NO TESTING on ANIMALS during any phase of product development, nor do we ask anyone else to test for us! Due to limited budget and the desire to provide good quality products at the best prices, we are currently not at ability to join/sponsor PETA or related cruelty-free program without increasing product price. We prefer to keep low cost for our customers as return of support of KleanColor brand. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us again.

Thank you for your email, in which we greatly appreciate your support and interest with KleanColor. Below is a wholesaler and a retailer closest to you, who carry our products and may be able to assist you:

Franciscan Merchandise, Inc
1110 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015

2475 Park Ave.
Irvine, CA 92606

Please kindly note that we have limited control over items the distributor/retailer deiced to carry. I apologize for the inconvenience. I hope above information is helpful. Thank you for your understanding."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Natural No Makeup Look

The weather is changing, the air is dryer in San Diego in the fall and the day light hours are shorter. Therefore, I find myself trying to get ready for work as quick as I can. Check out my no makeup look using minimal makeup.

Products mentioned:

LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Primer
Ben Nye Luxury Banana Powder
ELF Tone Correcting Powder in Cool
Sarah McNarama Miracle Skin in Medium
Too Faced Primed and Poreless SPF 20 Bronze Tint
Physican's Formula Happy Booster Bronzer
Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Excite
Napoleon Perdis lip gloss
Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer in Medium
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour blush in Exposed

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

I decided to put on a simple skeleton baseball jersey found at the clothing store "Q" in San Diego's Mission Valley Mall. On my lips I wore MAC's Russian Red.

If you didn't know, I love to take OOTD photos from this point of view. I wore my red leather flats from Me Too.

When I got home Ralph sported a little hat and I called him Pupseinburg ;) He is the one who barks!

We had a fun time checking out the house decorations around. Check out what this house did! I found it very creepy!