Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: Indochine Natural Star Anise & Coffee Soap

I don't post about soaps normally, those of you that are eagerly awaiting for Kara's Way makeup samples boxes to come out would be happy to know that this particular one is in the lineup for the near future. (I have no idea which box they are intending to release it with).

Indochine Natural, which is part of the Dew Puff line, is a natural handmade soap. This particular scent is interesting (and that's not a bad thing). It's listed as a soap that would be liked by people who enjoy strong licorice scent which is pretty spot on. The star anise is pretty potent and if you're new to the scent in general, it might take some time to grow on you.

For me, when I was younger, my family and I used to enjoy star anise biscotti with our evening coffee. So immediately when Maria handed me this soap to try, I thought about those moments as a teenager.

You get the scent of the star anise almost immediately and it only becomes stronger as you open it. Taking it into the shower though lessens the impact of the star anise and brings out a bit of the coffee (but, the star anise still dominates). If you're not a fan of this scent right away, I caution you that it may just end up growing on you.

Ingredients (as per the label): Sodium Palmate (Palm Oil), Sodium Cocoate (Coconut Oil), Pure Water (Aqua), Star Anise Essential Oil (Illicium verum), and Coffee Arabica.

If (or when) you get this soap, you'll notice that that there's a sticker on the back over the original label. The company was originally only located in Malaysia and since then, it seems as though they've changed the formula. They are currently in a slow rebranding phase in order to become more aligned with Dew Puff. The soaps, from what we've heard, is still made in Malaysia, but can be found for retail on Dew Puff for $7 a bar. Sorry for the technical stuff, but in case you start looking into it, you can rest assured that there is actual exfoliation in there through the coffee and that you don't have to order the soap all the way from Malaysia.

The scent of the star anise in the shower kind of rises and falls, mixing a bit with the coffee. The coffee in itself offers fantastic exfoliation. Overall, I loved how this soap performed because as I mentioned before, I have very dry skin. I normally go for very moisturizing soaps but this one isn't really like that. I will admit that it was a bit drying for my skin but that's probably due to the exfoliation. While one who has even drier skin might find issue with this, for me it meant that the heavy lotions I use could finally penetrate my skin. My skin in general feels a lot better afterward.

Product: Indochine Natural Star Anise & Coffee Soap
Price: $7
Would Recommend? Yes.
Takeaway: The scent might take some time to grow on you, but if you like star anise, this will be enjoyable. It offers a good amount of exfoliation which may leave your skin a bit dry (that is, if you have dry skin) but it is great if you pair it with a heavy lotion.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Blast From Halloween Past

Ever since I was a kid, Halloween held a special place in my heart. Let's skip the variety of reasons and go right to the silly reason. It was because during a time when most nail polish companies were afraid to put out a black, Wet n' Wild stepped up to the plate and every Halloween would release black nail polishes. Since they costs about $2 (sometimes a dollar on sale), I'd buy 2-3 bottles. They were the only nail polishes to date that I'd finish.

Moving away from New York for some reason meant a reduction in Halloween makeup items. Now maybe it's because retailers have more investment in Christmas so they start moving products for Halloween off the shelves before Halloween has even hit. Some don't even get Halloween items in stock and just skip it entirely in lieu for the sweet Christmas payout. For the Halloweenies, like myself, this leaves quite the scramble. This year, a few stores had some of the Wet n' Wild lineup, but not everything.

Going through my stash I found some classics in there. 

Behold! I still have a Black Pearl nail polish, an old tube of black lipstick (old packaging!), and a MegaSlicks in a translucent shiny... white? The MegaSlicks is not officially part of the Fantasy Makers line; if memory serves correctly, this was their first venture into the glow in the dark line without focusing too much on glow in the dark. As a result, it wasn't released as an official Halloween item. I could be wrong as my memory is a bit fuzzy about this item, but I do remember buying it with some other glow in the dark products years ago (I'm talking about almost 10 years ago).

So here are some old notes I have about them because I remember buying them for an Undead Bride costume. The nail polish... well it chips easily. Years of using this nail polish has taught me that much. I recently purchased a Zoya in Raven to replace my constant dependence on this nail polish. It gets the job done if you only plan on painting your nails black once but if you're looking for a long term solution, try OPI or Zoya.

The black lipstick is quite pigmented but not enough. I wore the lipstick without any liner (this was just a test run, not the final look). I can't remember if it lasts but luckily I'll have the chance to find out this Halloween since my new costume is Edward Scissorhands. 

The "translucent" lip gloss-- well, it's not quite translucent. To me it smells like a sugary blueberries whereas my friend said it smells like Sweet Tarts. It has a lot of hints of green in it which was really hard to capture in the light. While it seems a bit odd on it's own, I highly suggest pairing it with the black.

Below you can see the black lipstick with the lip gloss dotted along the back in the center. I think that together they look amazing (but you can be the judge for yourself.

Unfortunately I can't find these products online for sale, but if you have a local store that carries Wet n' Wild then you might be able to find them there. Please keep in mind that the packaging for the lip gloss and the lipstick might have changed. All the items are sold for under $5 each.

Kara's Way: Fizz Butter Bath Bomb Giveaway

While I haven't tried the Fizz Butter Bath Bomb just yet, Kara's Way has another giveaway just in time for Halloween. (And yes, that means that you have till the 31st of this month -- Halloween (Samhain) -- to apply. They are giving away Fizz Butter Bath Bombs and all you have to do is enter the scent that you like (which makes things pretty simple).

If you aren't familiar with all the scents that Fizz Butter has to offer, then check them out here. Good luck!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Lip Glosses

As you may have gathered, Halloween is my favourite time of year. I'm a huge history nerd and one thing I love about this time of year is what it represents throughout history. So even though I don't break out all the bells and whistles, I do observe it happily from a distance.

Part of this celebration includes a bit of indulgence, like a bar of Pumpkin Sugar Scrub Soap from BubblesUpByBethie and... well, that's kind of been it. There's been a disturbing lack of awesome makeup things at major retailers. Sure, there has been an amazing amount of Halloween items coming out from indie makeup brands (and I'll list some of them out soon) but stores have been lacking. My local stores haven't had the Softlips Marshmallow Ghost & Vanilla in stock, nor the China Glaze Ghoulish Glow, the infamous Wet n' Wild tombstone nail polishes, and the list goes on. That's partially why I've been focusing a bit more on nail polish since that's my one true Halloween source for right now.

I do have an order from Shiro Cosmetics on the way, so I can't wait to post about that soon. So don't fret, once this month is over, I'll be returning to my normal types of posts. I did find one Halloween related item in Sephora though and it made me incredibly happy.

Underneath all of those samples is the philosophy Trick or Treat Duo Shine which has the Crispy Marshmallow Bars Lip Shine (a champagne shimmer) and Caramel Apple Lip Shine (a sheer dark cherry). I am extremely excited to get it (simple as it may be) but I wish retailers would stop forgetting about that Harvest Festival celebration with which we get to go wild with makeup. A palette with black, oranges, reds, purples, golds, and greens would be fantastic.

In case you were wondering though, these are the retailers that do have Limited Edition Halloween colours. I haven't tried them so I can't attest to their staying power but if you're a Halloweenie, then this might be useful to look into.
While these companies below don't have specific Halloween collections, they have items that would be of interest:
  • MyBeautyAddiction: Highly pigmented lipsticks and eyeshadows.
  • Sobe Botanicals: Highly pigmented lipsticks, eyeshadows, and not to mention, Halloween costume sets.
  • Sugarpill: Gorgeous eyelashes and highly pigmented eyeshadows. I love this brand quite a bit and I use it for all of Halloween makeup.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review: Disney Baby Daily Renewal Naturals Baby Shampoo Powder Fresh

For some reason, I thought I had blogged about this one before. Wait, stop -- give me a chance here. I know it's a bit of stretch, but if you're at all interested in haircare that is free of parabens, sulfates, silicones, and dyes, then this is your best bet.

As I mentioned before, I love Garnier Pure Clean but it flies off the shelves of all of my nearby drugstores. Not one or two, but all 4 within the immediate vicinity so sometimes I have to stockpile these when they are finally in stock. (Okay, not true, but I do have to buy a set for my place and my boyfriend's place). The last time I ran out of bottles of the shampoo and conditioner in both locations, I had to go find it at my local drugstore and while there was two bottles of conditioner left, there was only one shampoo bottle left. So I searched the store to find a bottle of shampoo that fit the bill. 

If you've tried this at your local drugstore then you know that it's kind of hard (to say the least) because haircare that fits this criteria (of being free of parabens, silicones, sulfates, and dyes) is a challenge. You can find something that matches some of the criteria, but not all. So I searched high and low (literally, the shelves are rather high), I couldn't find anything that fit so I gave up and headed to the toy section. Which is conveniently located by the baby section.

Upon quick glance I noticed quite a few bottles that touted being free of many of the items I've listed. But it became very apparent that some of these baby shampoos were actually a great replacement for my beloved Garnier Pure Clean.

Now, of course, I was drawn to this particular bottle because there's a Pooh and Tigger on the front and it immediately reminds me of my best friend. After doing a quick check, you'll note that this bottle is free of sulfates and parabens. You can find the full ingredient listing at the Disney Renewal Baby website.

So how does it stack up? Well, let's get a big ticket item out of the way. This bottle doesn't quite smell like powder -- in fact, it kind of smells like oats. It was remarkably like the Fresh Soy Face Cream.

It works very well although admittedly it doesn't lather (which is fine by me, but I just wanted you to be aware of that factor). It works well and I use it interchangeably with my Pure Clean (that is, if the Pure Clean is finished and I can't find it in store). Overall, you'll love it if you're looking for a good (cheap) sulfate-free and paraben-free shampoo. It's also silicone free and seems to be dye free as well. This has been another happy (Disney!) addition to my haircare lineup.

Product: Disney Baby Daily Renewal Naturals Baby Shampoo Powder Fresh
Price: ~$5
Would Recommend? Yes.
Takeaway: Great shampoo if you're looking for something that is free of sulfates, parabens, silicones, and possibly even dyes. It's also easy to find in local drugstores which makes it all the better.

Friday, October 19, 2012

More Halloween Manicures

Halloween is my favourite time of the year so I've been all about the simple manicures for this month (it is timed well with my latest nail polish haul). This week I did two and my boyfriend named the first one the "8-bit Lava" and the second is something I call "Halloween Night."

8-Bit Lava: Two coats of Sinful Colors Courtney Orange (30), two coats of Lucky 13 Lacquer Super Meat Boy, and one coat of Sinful Colors Black Crackle (1019). The Super Meat Boy nail polish has a red jelly base with small white square, and medium black hex glitter. The way the crackle dried exposes the white squares perfectly. At first I thought it looked like wood on a fire, but my boyfriend insists it has more of an 8-Bit Lava look -- hence the name.

This is the beginning of the Halloween Night manicure -- I wanted to test out sponging first. The base is two coats of China Glaze Bizarre Blurple (1137). I sponged on some of the Sinful Colors Courtney Orange (30) which didn't really show up so I decided to sponge on a bit of Milani Good Morning Sunshine (29). Overall, I loved the look of it and considered adding in stars but opted for another coat of nail polish instead.

I couldn't get a good shot of the end but I love the look of this one. The final coat is Lucky 13 Lacquer Cogs which is a light brown jelly with small copper square, medium gold, and large silver hex glitters. The copper squares look a bit orange in this manicure so it gives an interesting allusion to a night sky. (As I mentioned, the picture doesn't do it justice).

You can get Sinful Colors at Target or Walgreens and the normal bottles costs ~$2. The Sinful Colors crackle costs ~$4. The China Glaze usually retails for about ~$5 but this particular bottle was part of a set (and I got this bottle as part of a makeup swap). Lucky 13 Lacquers are available online for $10 for a bottle. (but this particular bottle was part of a limited edition set).

Monday, October 15, 2012

On Being at Work

Some thing I have yet to go over is the items I keep at work. Now I know that seems kind of weird, but when you spend 8 hours at the same place, you tend to keep a few items within an arms reach. So I figured that it was about time I went through some of the items I keep at work.

First of all, I have a small amount of things that I actually keep on my desk. The majority of them go into my super awesome Halloween pail from McDonald's (2011) and here they are below.

  • Avon Moisturizing Gentle Cream Cleanser - Which like apparently every Avon item I own has long been discontinued. I don't use this often but given my oily skin, it's best to keep a cleanser at my desk.
  • Hand Lotion Mixture - I wash my hands a lot throughout the day (for some reason or the other) and that leaves my hands quite dry. I not only have my one of my concoctions (which is pictured) but I keep a spare shea butter hand lotion in the drawer.
  • Mark Glow Baby Glow Hook Up - I have quite a few of these because my friend used to work for Mark. I keep them around because the hookups is a nifty idea (you can easily switch them out for brushes, eyeshadows, eyeliners, etc) and each replacement costs about $6.50. The colours I currently have are: Bubbles, Petal Luxe, and Flirty Luxe.
  • Sante Naturkosmetik Mascara Endless Lashes № 03 - Sometimes when I'm running out the door, I forget mascara. Now, normally I skip the eye makeup in general so it doesn't matter whether or not I'm using mascara, but it kind of opens my eyes a bit. Keeping one in your purse or at your desk isn't a bad idea, overall. You can read the review for this particular mascara by clicking here and the spoiler is that I love it.
  • e.l.f. Essential Shine Eraser - Oily skin strikes again. I've tried a lot of blotting papers in my time and honestly the best kind is any kind. The e.l.f. sheets get the job done and they cost $1 a packet, which beats any packet I've seen on sale.
Okay so that takes care of what's on my desk -- there's a small bag I keep in my drawer though with some items that aren't necessarily important but still good to have. Some of them aren't even makeup, but I'm still going to point them out anyway.

  • Bandages - Even though we have a First Aid kit in the kitchen, sometimes I'm a bit clumsy so it's just in good practice to have them a little bit closer. 
  • Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover - For approximately $3 and the amount of coffee that I drink in a day... well, it's better I have one of these at my desk. I've definitely spilled a bit of coffee on that white shirt or my cream coloured hoodie a few times and this little pen has come to my aid. 
  • Pill Box - I actually smiled a bit when I pulled this out to take a picture. This was the first pill box I ever bought (ever) and I got it from Claire's when I was a teenager. I don't use it much anymore (but there are some Advil's in there in case I get a headache).
  • Bobby Pins - I don't have long hair anymore so these aren't as useful, but I keep them around anyway. My hair ties are kept in another container close by.
  • Nail Clipper - I don't clip my nails at work, but since I grow my nails long, I do keep one around in case a nail breaks or if I get a hangnail. My nail file has seemingly disappeared, so that's something that should be pictured but I'll have to replace.
  • Floss - Ridiculously useful. We need not an explanation of this.
  • Capzasin - I'm old. Actually, I kid -- I've had issues with my knees even as a teenager so I keep this around since it's unscented. For the unfamiliar, this is an arthritis pain relief liquid.
  • Blistex Lip Infusion Moisture Splash - When I don't feel like getting all glittery with my Mark Hook Up lip gloss, I resort to something that it a bit toned down. This does the trick and it retails for about $3.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Glittery Take of Trine

Normally I try my best to refrain from the manicure posts but every once in a while I get really excited about some colour combination and I can't help myself. Usually I try to say something about the nail polish but then I start rambling and... well, if you're a subscriber to this blog, then you know.

Anyhow, you might have noticed in the Cinderella posts that I had a new manicure so I wanted to highlight a bit about the nail polish I was wearing. I'm a sucker for nail polish and one of the things I have a weakness for is filling my collection with cheap nail polish. After finding out that Lucky 13 lacquer had created a Humble Indie Bundle (the namesake) set and planned to donate 15% of the proceeds, I had to give in. 

For those unfamiliar with the concepts at play, there are two. One is the  actual Humble Indie Bundle, which is where a bunch of indie games are bundled and sold for whatever price you want to pay and you decide how you want the money split up. Now about the nail polish, it's by Kyoti who runs a nail polish blog and has her own lineup of polishes which are named Lucky 13 Lacquer. Basically, it's nerd nail polish which is awesome.

The picture above was a few hours after I completed the manicure and my feeble attempts to try to capture all the magnificent glitter in it. It's two coats of Lucky 13 Lacquer Trine over Sinful Colours Savage (950) and e.l.f. Royal Purple (no top coat). The pictures of my holding the Saint Valentine's Cream (which is hella old school) is 3 days after the intial manicure (which is amazing for me since manicures don't last more than 2 days tops for me).

Anyhow, I hope you take a look at the Trine colour or rather all of Lucky 13 Lacquer if you get the chance. The Trine is a "medium dark purple jelly base, small sky blue, and medium gold hex glitters" -- which basically means that it complements the blues and purples wonderfully.

You can order e.l.f. nail polishes online for $2 each and you can find Sinful Colors at Walgreens for $1.99. Lucky 13 Lacquers are available online for $10 for a bottle.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Sephora Moonlit Kiss Lipstick Set

When I saw the Sephora Moonlit Kiss Lipstick Set online, I knew that a decision had to be made. See, the nail polishes and the compact for the Cinderella set were "no brainers" for me. I wanted them and I didn't have to give it a second thought. Looking at the lipstick set, I thought to myself, "Well, 3 of the 4 of those lipsticks won't show up so the question is really this: Is the darkest colour worth it?"

After examining the colours online, I knew that 2 wouldn't be flattering (most likely anyway), one wouldn't show up (but it was similar to a limited edition Revlon lipstick I am currently using as a lip balm), but that darker colour, the Lady Tremaine in berry, that might be the winning tube. So I sprang for it and hoped for the best.

From left to right is the Lady Tremaine in berry (darkest colour),  Pumpkin which is a light pastel peach, Who Is She? is the warm rosy mauve, and My Moment which is the pink champagne glitter.

Before I start the swatches, let's review the tubes. Yes, they are flimsy and yes, they are plastic. They look beautiful but they are very lightweight and very cheap feeling. They do have beautiful etchings along the top which I absolutely love and it honestly reminds me of the kind of lipsticks my mom used to have. Although not nearly as heavy as hers and probably lesser in quality then her old fashioned tubes. I don't count the packaging against them though.

As you can see, the detailing is rather pretty and overall it's got the aesthetics to it. Practical? Sure, after all we are trying to move in a direction that uses less packaging, so overall while this was a huge complaint that most had, I don't find fault with it.

But that is your own decision. I don't have a scale to weigh it against another lipstick but my MUFE or even my Revlon lipsticks, they are way heavier whereas this one is much lighter. It hasn't caused any problems yet though.

Moving on to the colours (remember, you can click to enlarge the photographs).

From left to right is: Lady Tremaine, Pumpkin, Who Is She?, and My Moment -- which I can assure you is there but seemingly missing. I kind of knew what I was getting myself into with this set.

My Moment
So I present to you, my lips (with no lip liners). First up is the My Moment which as you can see, barely shows. Well... The glitter shows. It's not the most moisturizing tube of lipstick I have ever used in my life, but it's not bad either. It has a creamy texture and supplies a bit of moisture. Overall, it's very similar to the tube I'm currently using so that is fine by me.

Pumpkin was a tiny bit harder to work in. There's colour alright and it's a bit lighter than my lips. Overall, I'm okay with it since it's also similar in colour to lip glosses that I use.

Who Is She? (sorry that the pictures aren't lining up with the accompanying text), was way brighter than Pumpkin and came up a bit chalky on me. There was no real way to work it in without the use of another lip balm or mixing it with another colour.
Who Is She?

Finally, the one that was most flattering was Lady Tremaine (as I suspected it would be). Pardon the lazy application since I didn't have my lip brush and you know how applying lipsticks can go when you have a piercing in that general area. Even without a lip liner, it was a beautiful colour that really stood out. It was incredibly flattering and my goodness, it made it worth it.

Lady Tremaine
But here's where the tricky part lies. If you're on the fence about getting this set, then you kind of have to make that call on your own (especially if you have darker colour lips where 3 of the 4 colours won't show up. For me, it's rare to come by a berry colour that complements me well, so it works out to be worth it.

Product: Sephora Moonlit Kiss Lipstick Set
Price: $25.00
Would Recommend? Perhaps...
Takeaway: The majority of the colours in this set don't work out for me but in the end, Lady Tremaine in berry makes it worth for me. That's kind of up to you if it's worth the package or not.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Halloween Manicure

All Sinful Colors this time round: Courtney Orange (30) with every other nail painted with Pumpkin Spice (glitter, 1135), and all of them covered with Black Crackle (1019). Notice how the crackle dried in a odd format over the glitter nails (index finger and ring finger). It gives it an interesting look to see the glitter peek out from beneath the crackle.

On Travelling: Lite Camping

I'm actually kind of surprised that I haven't broken down and done the ultimate "travel" post. Well, I'm not that surprised, truth be told I'm wordy and sometimes lazy about taking photographs (especially since I can't edit them and my camera is quite unrully). During my hiatus, I went on a short camping trip and thought to myself that I really ought to write about the experience (especially since it was a lite camping trip) but I wanted to go over some basics that I took with me.

Well, for starters, let me give you a quick run down of the "camping" trip -- it was actually for a Beer and BBQ Festival (I'm setting a tone here), and we camped out for two nights. The campsite came equipped with showers, bathrooms (well, portable toilets), and firewood. Basically this meant that we didn't have to do much heavy lifting -- but because we do share the space with a lot of other people, that did mean that there were certain things that we had to walk with, I'm not going to get into the long list of it, but the items that are worth taking a gander at are below.

Warning: I didn't wear any makeup on this trip because that just would have been silly on my behalf. I did walk with my usual stuff (like deodorant, a toothbrush, and toothpaste).

First things first is the nesting wine glass ($7.50). You can judge me all you want but if you're the only one on the campsite with one, then no one is going to try to take your drink. (This holds especially true when the other wine drinker has a GoVino glass ($3) so there's no confusing the two.)

Jokes aside though, soap, bug spray, and sunscreen are essentials. For the trip I grabbed a tube of the Banana Boat Natural Reflect with SPF 50 (~$10) that was oil and paraben free. I'm not a huge sunscreen fan in general but it's something you've got to do when you're exposed to the sun for a long period of time. I found that I had to reapply it twice (which I was supposed to do) and while I didn't quite like the feel of it, I did like the comfort of knowing it was doing it's job.

I didn't use the bug spray much since insects tend to flee from me but the other campers that I was with found the Cutter Skinsations Insect Repellent to be wonderfully helpful. I always walk with a bottle when I go camping for my friends and so far, no complaints about this one.

Soap is soap and generally I'd toss in a bar of Ivory and call it a day. I did figure though that I should walk with a bar that offered some type of exfoliation though. I grabbed this bar of Yardley of London Scrub & Smooth Bath Bar Sea Minerals which smells like bergamot and lime and is 100% vegetable soap. The bar of soap retails for ~$3 and if you've got several campers and a shower, this will come in handy.

Time to break down what's in that handy makeup bag though. That bag is my camping "makeup" bag and I use that term lightly because there's no actual makeup in there but it is a bag of necessary items. A lot of these items were actually samples, which makes it easy to pull them together and toss into another bag.

  • Hand Sanitizer (while we did have a lot of water and wet wipes available, we also ended up doing a lot of cooking. This is great if you're handling meats or just any kind of food.) I grabbed a generic brand that cost about a dollar. 
  • Floss and/or flossers. I keep a small spool of floss in the bag but in my other makeup bag (that's in my purse) I keep flossers. Flossers are great for on the go and keep a small spool as a backup (or to share) is just nifty and very useful. 
  • Extra elastic hair bands -- I admit, that with short hair, I don't use these much and even last year when I had this bag with long hair, I ended up just putting my hair in a bun and keeping it steady with a pencil. Nonetheless, it's good to have them around.
  • Small bottle of lotion. Now I did walk with my purse's makeup bag and in there I keep two other small bottles of lotion as well. I tossed in this one in as extra in case anyone needed it. You should definitely have on around especially if you suffer from dry skin (which is why I keep at least two bottles around).
  • Shampoo and/or conditioner. You may not really need this but if you end up with a lot of haircare samples, it doesn't hurt to toss or two of them into a makeup bag especially since they don't take up much space.
  • Toothpaste (not pictured is the travel toothbrush). Here's where my makeup bags combine to form a super hygienic pack. My everyday bag has a travel toothbrush (so as long as I have my purse, I can brush my teeth anywhere) but I tend to not carry toothpaste in that one since I'm usually at a friend's place where I'd have to use it. 
  • Lancome Bienfait Multi-Vital with SPF 30. Well, this was tossed in by my mother (yep, seriously) who is a huge fan of Lancome and demands that I travel with the face cream because it has SPF in it (and in that way, I don't have to slather sunscreen on my face). Admittedly, this is one thing I really love travelling with especially since the other face creams I have either don't have SPF or it's very low. 
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 70. Another sample and I'm not sure that this is something I'd actively seek it (because I walk with two items that pretty much cover this area). 
I know I have a Lancome primer in the picture but that shouldn't have been in the bag. I've removed it so no need to put it on the list.

I'm prepping for another trip soon so there shall be more in the series to come!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Review: Miss Jessie's Crème de la Curl Shampoo and Conditioner

Even though I got my samples for the shampoo, conditioner, and styling lotion first, my friend gave me the Miss Jessie's Quick Curls, which I've been using with much satisfaction (and just overall happiness) so far. (You can read the review for the Quick Curls here). So that made me very excited about using the Crème de la Curl samples. (Just so you know, you can order free samples from Miss Jessie's website.)

I finally got the chance to break them out and use them. I know you can barely see the shampoo packet in this picture but I pretty much used that up right away so it's on the right and it's deflated. The shampoo and conditioners are 1 Oz. each.

The shampoo out of the packet was an interesting texture. I remember thinking that it was a lot like meringue. Very light and fluffy but still... stiff? I wasn't sure how to describe it when I was holding it and I'm still not sure now. The shampoo does not lather so it was a bit interesting to use the first time. I ended up wasting a bit of product (accident, I swear) because it was slightly challenging to get out of the packet. I liked the feel and the scent to it though as it was very light and fresh.

The conditioner was like any other conditioner in terms of texture and worked the exact same. But it did have more of a chemical scent to it. It seemed really creamy and heavy which worried me a bit. If you recall, I have waves which lean toward wurls at times. If I add something that it too heavy, it will weigh down my wurls and make my appear lifeless.

Well, my suspicions were right. My hair was a bit on the lifeless side. My hair on a normal basis is actually a bit more wavier than it appears in both pictures. These pictures are of day two by the way -- my hair gets wavier on day two and trust me, day one wasn't good.

This made me a bit sad since it didn't work out but since I have such success with the curling lotion, I'm looking forward to the last sample that I have since I'll need to pass on this one.

Product: Miss Jessie's Crème de la Curl Shampoo and Conditioner
Price: $16 per bottle.
Would Recommend? No.
Takeaway: It drowned my waves. :( This is probably not the best product if you have wavy hair but it might work out better for curly hair.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Smartphone

This year marks the first time that I ever had a smartphone. Grant it that it's a work related reason that I had to get one, that meant that I could end my tirade against smartphones. And I am very anti-smartphones because truth be told, I was very pro-smartphone. While you take a moment to wrap your mind around that, it's simple. I'm shy, I don't like talking to people and I prefer reading. Give me a handheld device now that not only allows me to have my Kindle books but toss games on it? I'm sold.

So the first few days I scoured the Interwebs to find applications that I'd like. The first two paid apps were these:

  1. JuiceDefender Ultimate
  2. Cerberus Anti Theft
  3. Antivirus Free
The first two weren't all that questionable; I tried out the free version and was impressed about a day afterward. First of all, my smartphone is a power tripping piece of electronic that drains out by half a day. I immediately installed the free version of JuiceDefender and about a day later I was purchasing it. Cerberus, that took me a bit longer to finally upgrade but that's because you install it, pay for the license and then forget about it. It works quietly and silently in it's own powerful way. Finally, having an antivirus just made sense (especially at the rate that I was downloading free apps).

Now that we have the necessary items out of the way, let's move on to some... well, necessary items that I actually really love (but maybe I don't need).

The screenshot of it (left) is from the website, but you get the gist of what it is. It's a calendar that not only tracks your cycles, but helps track your moods, and symptoms, along with your weight. I wanted a calendar that was a bit more robust in order to help me track multiple things and this one fit the bill pretty well. 

At first I was a little bit hesitant to spring for the paid version, but after a week of testing out this one along with some others, I ended up choosing this for the ability to track multiple things and... well, I could change it to purple. 

SwiftKey 3 Keyboard

I got this one on sale. So here's the thing, when I first got the phone I hate typing on it. I was used to a full keyboard and now I was going to a touchscreen that I couldn't even calibrate. The phone's natural ability to predict what I was typing was horrible which lead to many terrible texts. I saw this one on sale and figured, "Why not?" and it's been one of the happiest purchases I made.

I started off by feeding it a link to my blog and all of a sudden my keyboard knows, I'm wordy as hell. The predictive text has gotten much better as it learns and overall, I am happy to recommend this to anyone.

Now it's time for the random ones that I adore (but really don't need).

I've installed a lot of free games in my spare time and about less than 5 minutes later, I generally uninstall them. Pirates of the Caribbean seems to have held up the longest. Partially because I like pirates, I do like the PoTC series, but mostly because the game doesn't harass me every 5 minutes begging me to perform some kind of action.

No, I don't need to check into my ships and I don't want to harass other people to join me. It also doesn't stop my progress if I don't log in for a week or refuse to bother my friends. That's a winner in my book.
I'm a sucker for the California Academy of Sciences. I love that place so much that when I found out about Pocket Penguins, I had to install it. It's free, it doesn't do much except give you a view of the penguins and during feeding time you get to hear and see them in giddy action. I love this app for it's simplicity and pure joys... of penguin watching.
For whatever reason if I'm bored and the penguins aren't doing much, I end up on Sky Map. It's a simple concept -- point it anywhere and it tells you what constellations, stars, planets or whatever else might be out there... well, tells you where it is.

It's not a robust app as it's very simple, but I can tell you that as a semi science nerd, I find myself looking at it quite often. I'm sure there are more robust apps out there but for now, this one keeps me entertained. I do really wish that this app and NASA's app could be integrated into one which would then turn the NASA app into my all time favourite one.
While I admit that I do have a Disney vacation coming up, I was searching for tickers because I really like just having something to look at. I did try Daisypath for a bit but the widget wasn't working so I decided to just go with the Disney Vacation Countdown. Sure, I don't find it aesthetically pleasing, but there's nothing quite liking checking my home screen and seeing it there.

The picture on the right isn't a screenshot of my own smartphone (none of these are, they are all images from the Google Play website), my vacation is on the horizon and it's definitely a cute and happy reminder -- every single day.
I actually ended up purchasing Angry Birds Space Premium early on. I think the moment I saw the ISS and clicked it to find a video on microgravity, I decided that I definitely needed to buy it right away.

While I'm one to call it cute all day long -- it's a great "puzzle" game and to be frank, anyone who has played Angry Birds needs any real convincing.

Finally... I've got several apps on my phone and I'm not going to list them all but NASA App is definitely one of my favourites (obviously). They have videos, links to the various Twitters, pictures, and so on. It's a wonderful little app that's full of educational items which makes me happy to have it on my phone.

Cause I need it. Apparently. 


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