Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

Boring Things I Recommend

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

This is some old school blogging today, without a meaningful lesson or beautiful photographs or some sort of inspirational truth. It’s just a list of boring things. Over the past couple of years, I have purchased or been given several items that have made me wonder why I lived so long without them. Every single time I use them, I am amazed at how much better/easier/happier my day becomes. There are many times where you buy something new, think “This is AMAZING!” and then quickly fall out of love. These are not those things. These are things I am still in love with at least six months later, so I am going to recommend some of them to you today. It’s a very eclectic list.

    1. Robot Vacuum – The only thing I asked for for Christmas 2016 was a robot vacuum and I still love it just as much today as I did the first time it cleaned my floor. The one I have is a Roomba 960, but as long as you read a bunch of reviews before you buy I would suggest looking for deals. I do super love the customer service and warranty that came with mine – I’ve had both the base and the actual body replaced for free and the moving parts that break/wear out can be replaced easily. Having a robot vacuum is not the same as having a housekeeper. I still do a LOT of cleaning, including both sweeping and mopping, to stay on top of four kids plus pets. The robot needs me to keep junk off the floors so it can suck up dirt and crumbs and hair and everything else. Sometimes I get lazy and don’t empty it in the morning so it doesn’t run the next night. All that being said, it’s SO NICE to let the Roomba vacuum my room or the kids’ rooms (I just carry it upstairs and press start) while I do dishes or put away laundry or finish some other chore. My house is at least 150% cleaner than it was pre-robot vacuum.
    2. Meat thermometer – OK, you probably already own a meat thermometer and right now you’re like “Um, I got a meat thermometer when I was 18 and moved into an apartment and I’ve been cooking meat thoroughly and to the correct temperature for YEARS,” Well in that case, you’re definitely smarter than I am. For years I’ve been pulling meat out of the oven, cutting it open to check, and then putting it back because I ALWAYS misjudged whether or not it was cooked. Last fall I finally got a meat thermometer because I needed it for Thanksgiving, but since then I’ve used it for everything. I made duck that wasn’t overcooked! I made a roast for Christmas that was delicious! I made chicken last night and didn’t poison my family! This is the one I bought based on reviews. It’s still going strong although when I eventually replace it I might buy a more expensive one. I am no longer terrified to cook meat when we have company over (if you’ve ever eaten at my house, I probably served you pasta salad and now you know why) and I feel like a real grown up.
    3. Kitchen scale – Originally I wanted a food scale for measuring portions. I still do that sometimes. Or I use it for exact measures when making macarons or other fancy baking. But mostly I used my kitchen scale to ship packages. In the past few years, I’ve joined various buy/sell/trade groups for a wide variety of stuff on Facebook. (I wrote a lot about buying kid clothes in this post, and now I buy even more in BST groups.) But beyond BUYING is RESELLING stuff that we’ve outgrown or outfits the kids don’t love. It’s truly pretty easy but the thing that always trips people up is having to go to the post office to pay for postage and send things. NOT ME. I can sell a dress, pay for postage, print a label and have it in my mail carrier’s hands within minutes. Even if you only mail stuff occasionally, it’s so much easier to do it all at home than at the post office. It also made setting up a Kidizen shop a piece of cake, so even if I don’t have time for a brand resale page on FB I can list stuff and sell it for about 50% more than what I would get if I dropped it off at the consignment shop. If you sign up for Kidizen with my referral link, you get $5 off (and I get a $5 credit too).  I am SURE there are people who are anti-using-a-food-scale-for-postage, but I’ve been doing it for several years now and never had a problem with my weights being wrong.
    4. Carbona Stain Devils Stain Removers – MAGIC. I just got chocolate AND blood out of one of Finn’s shirts. Caroline spills stuff on her beautiful boutique clothes all the time that leave “water marks”, which is what people on the resale boards call grease or oil. Carbona takes them right out, so the dress I bought for $20 because it was in play condition is now in great condition. I don’t have an affiliate link or a referral link or any connection to this company at all. I just buy the little bottles at the grocery store when they’re on sale. But they’ve gotten out marks that both Shout and OxiClean haven’t touched so if you have kids (or ever spill stuff on yourself), you need these.
    5. Face cleansing wipes – It doesn’t matter which kind you buy, although if you have a brand you REALLY love, please recommend them. I bought four packs of these Neutrogena ones and I keep them everywhere so I no longer have an excuse not to wash my face before bed. I am too old for bad skin care. I’m pretty much too old for medium skin care too. It’s time to ramp up to good-to-excellent skincare, but because I am both old AND tired I don’t have the energy for a complicated, multi-step routine. Face wipes mean my skin looks significantly better even on days where I don’t do anything else.
    6. Caffeine eye serum – OK, so I do have ONE face product I use all the time. Buy this serum from The Ordinary. I just dab a little under my eyes in the morning after I brush my teeth and I swear it makes my eye bags/dark circles significantly less noticeable. I actually love all their products because you can create a whole skincare system without spending much money, but this is the only thing I would swear is super effective.
    7. Tiny, individual flossers – I don’t know know why it took me so long to just buy a whole bunch of these and keep them in my car, but if you don’t already do this I highly recommend it. I keep this bag of them in my center console so if we’re running late to practice or ballet or whatever I can just do a quick floss at a stoplight. I cannot over-exaggerate how adult and put together it makes me feel to be able to deal with having something stuck in my teeth without any angst.

Well now, wasn’t that boring? Last night I was doubting this was even worth posting and then I realized I had used four of these things within the last couple hours and maybe someone else needs something small (or big) to buy that makes their life easier/better/happier. And please tell me what things have changed your life this year.

I Bleached My Hair And It Didn’t Fall Out

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

I am NOT a beauty or style blogger, but sometimes I do something and I want to talk about it so here I go.

I was chatting with my friend Amy about how I am old and boring and uncool (PSA: never watch the VMAs over the age of 25) and how I really needed a change. We have this chat a lot, and it usually ends up with one of us getting bangs. This time, I was complaining about how I really needed to get my hair done but couldn’t decide if what I needed was a color fix or if I should just do something fun like the pink I did a couple years ago. She mentioned bleach shampoo, which I had never heard of but from the name it seemed perfect.

Luckily, there’s an XOVain tutorial that was easy to follow and very thorough. My experience with coloring my own hair is limited. I’ve done lemon juice highlights from sitting in the sun, a couple of boxed dyes, plus the Manic Panic pink layer, but the rest of the time I either live with my natural color or use a salon. I had never even BEEN in a Sally Beauty Supply before, but I threw all 3 kids in the car to go stare at stuff in the hair dye aisle before settling on this:

bleach shampoo

I used L’oreal Quick Blue High Performance Powder Bleach, because the internet tutorial I found said blue bleach was better, plus the 1 oz package seemed easier than measuring. I used Blond Brilliance Creme Developer 5 Volume because I was really scared of frying my hair. I didn’t know much about developers besides they’re the thing you mix with the other thing when you buy a box of hair dye, so I took the internet’s advice and went with a super low level one – 5 barely does anything, 10 or 20 is average, 30 or 40 should probably be left to a professional. Since I’m naturally blond, it’s already pretty light from the summer, and my hairdresser once told me my hair “lifts really easily” I figured I’d start at the lowest and if it didn’t work I’d try again with a 10. The 5 turned out to be perfect.

I mixed the 1 oz of powder bleach with 1 oz of the developer and then a big squirt of the shampoo until it was a liquidy consistency that was easy to slop on my head. The shampoo made it a lot easier to spread around evenly than a box of hair dye and that one batch went a LONG way – I have a lot of hair and it covered all of it. I started at my roots in the front, since they were darkest and I wanted the front part to be lightest.

These pictures are: before, with wet hair, during with my sexy shower cap, right after in my bathroom’s yellow light and the next day in natural light.

iPhone Week 252

Here’s the official before and after no-make-up photos, taken by my 4-year-old:

collage

 

Looking at the pictures the change is subtle, but in person it looks really natural – it isn’t uniformly platinum or brassy. I think the biggest change is on the top of my head and in the back where my dark blond is now medium-light blond. I was on 3rd day hair when I bleached it, so my roots were extra oily, but that seemed to protect them from damage. The ends are a liiiiiittle bit fried but I am 4 months overdue for a trim so I think ANY color would have done that.

I give the whole process an A+ and I plan to do it again when my roots grow out. Maybe I’ll use a 10 developer next time and see if I can gradually bring my hair back to my childhood towhead blond. I’m still debating a fun color, especially after seeing the amazing options at Sally Beauty Supply – lavender! mint! teal! bright blue! I still can’t decide if I’m too old for “fun” hair. I mean, I still think I’m fun, but I also like going to bed before 10 pm.

p.s. I also dyed my eyebrows (!!!!!!!) which is something I’ve wanted to do for YEARS but was too scared to try. It was a piece of cake and I feel like it makes a huge difference in my face. I used a semi-permanent color and developer and did it twice in a row – 15 minutes, then wiped it off, then another 10 minutes because I wasn’t sure it was dark enough. Literally no one as has “What did you do to your eyebrows?” but people have said “You look really nice today!” and my desire to take selfies has increased 300%.

OK, that was more than enough talk about beauty stuff for a long time. Back to my yoga pants and top knot I go!

Moringa Oil Review and Giveaway

Friday, July 27th, 2012

An extremely nice PR rep I’ve worked with in the past sent me an email waaaay back in May asking if I’d ever heard of Moringa Oil and would I be interested in trying some out? Oh and did she mention it’s great for sunburns? Since I knew we’d be spending a lot of our summer outside/at the beach/on a boat I said “No but yes and yes please!”

I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting into, but this is what I learned about Moringa Oil:

Because of its potent composition with high levels of oleic fatty acid, Moringa oil spreads easily on the skin, without causing greasiness or stickiness, and readily penetrates the top skin layer. This allows Moringa’s mixture of naturally occurring vitamins A, C, E and other beneficial compounds such as zeatin to permeate skin cells below to support new cell growth and faster repair.

Rich in over 90 nutrients such as vitamins, proteins, amino acids, iron, calcium and anti-oxidants, Moringa oleifera is the most nutrient dense plant yet discovered. The health and beauty applications of Moringa oleifera, the “Miracle Tree,” extend from supporting increased energy, auto-immune health, focus and emotional balance, to reparation of skin elasticity, minimizing wrinkles and making hair more manageable.

Hey, that sounds pretty good. When I got my sample I decided to try it out on as much of me as possible. I got a bottle of plain Moringa Oil to use for beauty type stuff, but not for eating – although they do make capsules if you wanted to try it as a supplement. I already mentioned that I’ve been using it in my hair as a de-frizzer and to soften the dry ends, but here’s my full report:

The oil is a tiny bit thicker than other body oil products I’ve used, so it’s easy to pour a little into my hand and spread it on my whatever bit of me needs oiling. It absorbs well – not instantly, but it doesn’t leave me greasy and unable to get dressed for hours (although I wouldn’t put on a silk dress for a couple minutes – if I owned any silk dresses). I’ve tried it on all my rough spots and it smooths them out nicely all day. It doesn’t have a strong scent, which means it doesn’t make me smell like a a coconut or a flower and I can still wear my own perfume if I want to.

As for sunburns, so far this summer I’ve managed to mostly avoid them (yah for diligent sunscreen applications!) but I have been using Moringa Oil on my skin after long days outside. My tan looks really great and the pinkness from just a liiiiiitle too much sun always fades quickly (something it doesn’t usually do, thanks to extremely Scandinavian genes). The one painful burn I got was on my upper thigh – the kind of spot that NEVER sees the sun unless you’re sitting at just the wrong angle for too long. I put Moringa Oil on it before bed and in the morning it was much less red. I reapplied and the burn faded within 24 hours. I never peeled. I used it on Evan when he got too much sun too (no matter how diligent I am with his sunscreen he always seems to get a little pink). He never complained of pain or itching, the red always faded very fast, and he didn’t whine at all when I made him hold still so I could apply it.

I have a small bottle I’ve been using fairly often since May, but it’s still half full. A little goes a long way, like with most oils. Besides the basic oil I used, they also offer a spa collection with scents like chocolate and lavender which sounds amazing. Check out their website for tons of great information.

Are you intrigued? Do you love kind of hippie, natural beauty stuff as much as I do? Would you be interested in trying out Moringa Oil for yourself? Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a bottle!

I’m going to be out of town (for YOU KNOW WHAT) next week, so I’ll make this short and sweet. One comment per person, giveaway ends Sunday night 7/29 at 5 pm. Winner will be chosen using random.org. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was given a bottle of Moringa Oil to try so I could write an honest review. No other compensation was received and there are no hidden catches.

4 Weird Things I Put In My Hair

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

1. Honey & olive oil hair mask. You can follow the link, but the entire recipe is: honey, olive oil, mix, put on hair. Miranda and Krystal talked me into this and after I got it onto my head I panicked and wondered if I had made a huge mistake (I’ve made a huge mistake). But! It worked! It all washed out easily in just one shampoo and my hair looked really good and felt really soft. If (when) I do it again I’m going to dampen and comb out my hair well first and then spread the mask on with my hands. I didn’t do my roots, since those tend to be oily on their own but if your hair was dry you absolutely could.

2. Coconut oil. I’m not even going to bother talking about WHY I would suddenly start using coconut oil for everything, since apparently I am the last person on the planet to discover its awesomeness, but it was great for my hair. It took a little longer to wash out that the mask, but I just wore my hair in a bun for a day between shampoos and now it’s REALLY soft.

3. Lemon Juice. Well, actually lemon juice, water and hydrogen peroxide, aka DIY Sun-In. I tried to buy ACTUAL Sun-In but my Target didn’t have it anymore (because it’s 2012, Suzanne, not 1999). Truthfully, my homemade version works even better on my hair and gives me fantastic, natural-looking highlights. I wouldn’t recommend it on anyone with hair that tends to look orangey in the sun unless you want Bozo the clown streaks. The hydrogen peroxide will lighten your hair even without sitting in the sun (gradually but permanently) but the lemon works best if you’re going to sit by the pool for a while. For natural(ish) blondes the results look way more expensive than the pennies it costs to make.

4. Moringa oil. I was sent a bottle to review (and I’ll have a giveaway soon!) as a treatment for sunburns, among other things. I figured if it helped repair the sunburn I am DEFINITELY going to get this weekend that would be more than enough, but in the mean time the website convinced me to try it on other stuff. I like it on my hair as a treatment for frizz and for the days after I’ve fried it with chlorine and sun and lemon juice. I can smooth a tiiiiiny bit on my hands and then over my ponytail to help it looks polished and fancy as opposed to “frazzled mom hair”. I would definitely recommend it to anyone whose hair is thicker/coarser/less oily than mine as an everyday product.

What weird beauty stuff (for your hair or any other bit) do you recommend?

Pink for Happiness

Monday, February 27th, 2012

When I wrote out my New Year goals, I made a corresponding list of rewards for reaching certain milestones. People do this all the time, often to great effect. Once you lose some weight you can buy new shoes! Get a manicure! Take a vacation! You deserve nice things because you’ve worked so hard! So for two months now I’ve been thinking about the new tattoo I’ll get or the new haircut I’ll splurge on or the new jeans I will buy. Eventually. Someday.

And in the meantime I’ve felt dumpy and boring and unattractive. It’s really too bad there’s a law that says being overweight means I can’t have nice things.

OH. WAIT.

The idea that my pants size should prevent me from treating myself well is bullshit. Bullshit I say! It’s part of that terrible, dangerous idea that if only I weighed X all my problems would be solved. It’s putting my life on hold until I achieve some arbitrary ideal that matters exactly zero point zero percent to anyone. It didn’t work when I was 17, it didn’t work when I was 23, and it’s not going to work now when I’m 30. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to knock it off, but instead I will tell you:

You will never, ever get to a weight that will MAKE you happy. You can choose to be happy right now.

Reward yourself for surviving today. Buy new shoes because they make you smile. Buy new jeans because they make the ass you have look fantastic. Get a scoop of ice cream because ice cream is delicious. Book a massage because life is stressful and massages are awesome. Get a manicure because it makes you feel good about yourself and when you feel good about yourself you treat yourself better – both physically and mentally.

I’m not saying I’m quitting my diet. I’m not saying I don’t still want to be thinner. I’m not saying I won’t celebrate when I get to my milestones. But it’s so much easier to not eat my feelings when my feelings are happy, light and beautiful. Why not do something now that makes me feel good?

Pink hair. My 10th grade self just squeed with joy.

I am done waiting to be happy. I am doing nice things for myself today, right now. I don’t have to earn my happiness – I am choosing to love myself today.

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