Friday, July 30, 2010

Ling Skincare - Kicking off a Month of Trying Something New

If you've been reading my "looks" lately then you know I've been having skin problems. Whether because I stopped a medication, or because of my catchers mask playing softball, or something funky I have been breaking out like crazy! I know you've seen it. That or the blackheads around... wellm everywhere. Just as I was getting incredibly frustrated over my skin, my current skincare routine, and wanting to try something new a friend of mine put me in touch with a representative from Ling Skincare.

Ling What?
Ling Chan
From Ling Skincare's Website
Yes, I know! I hadn't heard of them either. But apparently Ling Chan (founder) has been working in the skincare industry for over 30 years. Her skincare line is featured in high end spas. Ling Chan herself has worked with many celebrities including Winona Rider, Rosie Perez (whatever happened to her?), Naomi Campbell, and Shalom Harlow. Shalom Harlow? Love her! Sign me up!

You can read more about Lin Chan and the history behind her line on her website,

What is Ling Skincare About?
If you read any of Ling's promotional material or even browse their website you will learn that Ling Chan has brought her knowledge of Asian herbal skincare to her line along with a belief that most of the skins problems that we commonly complain about are derived from lack of hydration.

Ok, so the reason I get pimples and clogged pores is that my skin is working overtime trying to hydrate itself? Sure. Let's roll with it! After all, the Tazorac my dermatologist has put me on does dry out some parts of my face - the parts the break out all the time. Makes sense to me!


My Agreement with Ling Skincare
After discussing my skin with the Ling skincare rep I agreed to try Ling Skincare's At Home Facial - and Regimen Kit for a month (or until my kit wears out). The kit normally sells for $85 and comes with a variety of products to take you through Ling's "5 Simple Steps": Purify, Hydrate, Solve, Nourish, and Renew. We're going WAY beyond the Clinique 3 step system here folks! I hope I can keep up! The kit I received contains the following products:
  • Purifying Facial Cleanser 2.0 oz.
  • Herbal Clay Clarifying Mask 0.5 oz.  
  • Replenishing Hydrator 2.0 oz. 
  • Elastin Collagen Cream 0.5 oz. 
  • Moisture Plenish Solution 0.5 oz. 
  • Spotlight Papaya Resurface Peel 0.5 oz.
  • Ginseng Therapy Moisture Mask. 0.5 oz.
In addition the representative also sent me the following items to try:
This is a lot of products to try out in one month!

So What's My Plan?
I have never done anything like this before, nothing this extensive. So I have to make a game plan!
  • Begin with the Ling Facial - Lets be honest, this is going to be a pain in the rear doing myself. The facial has a lot of steps (and I will document them for you). But I am supposed to do this once a week. I can manage that. And who knows, I might even enjoy it. Yes, I totally intend to YouTube this one for you at some point.
  • Daily and Nightly Routine - I am going to start this as soon as I finish with the Facial. It seems to be very similar to many other skin routines that you see out there so I don't expect many surprises.
  • Weekly "Ling Skincare Diary" - Every week, maybe more than once a week if I feel it necessary, I will post on my progress with this skincare system, let you know how I'm doing.
  • Individual Reviews - As I feel comfortable and familiar with each product I try, I will do individual reviews for those of you who are curious about some of the products but not others. Most likely some of these will be take care of within my Diary entries.
Does that sound like a good plan? I hope it at least sounds fun. I think it sounds fun! Hopefully you'll at least have a laugh at me with stuff on my face. And I hope I'll get something out of it I haven't had since my wedding day - Clear skin!!!

Special Quadra Peel Promotion by Ling Skincare - August 11 through December 31
Incidentally, if you are in NYC, Ling Skincare is offering their Quadra Peel Treatment for a limited time at the rate of $95 (usual price: $175).  If you are interested, you can call their New York Locations at the following numbers for an appointment:
  • Union Square - 212-989-8833
  • Upper West Side - 212-977-2883
If you do go, please let me know how it is! As I am in the middle of nowhere Ohio and can't try it out. I so wish I could! 


Full Disclosure
The products in forthcoming reviews were furnished to me by Ling Skincare not only for my use but for review. Other than the products mentioned above I will not be compensated in any other way by Ling Skincare and will provided my honest opinion of the product. I don't sell Ling Skincare products, nor am I affiliated with Ling Skincare in any way.

Polish - Zoya Gabrielle

I am going to be honest - this particular formula of Zoya's is not one of my favorites:



However, During the 3 days I wore Gabrielle this color really grew on me.

Color
Orange marmalade packed with glitter in a sheer-ish jelly-ish base.

Application
Pain in the butt! Three coats and you can see it's not totally opaque. Also, with polishes that are like this formula I have issues with it drying sometimes. Be very careful not to make mistakes - they are hard to fix without taking off all the polish!

Wear
Tip wear appeared within one day, but no chips during the 3 day period I wore Gabrielle. I wore this over Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator topped with Seche Vite.

Bottom Line
Gabrielle is a fun color if you can stand the application.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My New Sexy Booties! Report Footwear

Look what was waiting for me from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale when I got home!





My Report "Electra" Booties! My first pair of Booties!!!

I can't wait for fall... ;)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Yes!!! MAC and Rodarte Update on Temptalia (GO LOOK)

Ok, so if you've been reading my blog in the past few weeks you know I took an interest in the MAC & Rodarte Controversy and have been trying to find places where interested people could donate to make this situation better. What you may not have known was that I was also assisting a group of bloggers putting together a petition for MAC to donate all of it's profits off of the MAC and Rodarte collection to the cause of helping women along the boarder. It seems a lot of things have also been happening behind the scenes at MAC....

A couple of days ago, I got an email from a MAC representative that mentioned a multi-year initiative was being put in place for assisting the women along the boarder (Juarez specifically). But I couldn't post anything because it came to me along with one of those "confidential" messages. Now that Temptalia has posted a press release with far more information than I ever had, I feel ok about saying this now and putting it on my blog. I'm not big and important enough to get press releases like this so thank goodness for Christine!

From what it sounds like here's the gist of it, though I strongly suggest you read the whole thing on Temptalia.
  • MAC will be putting all of it's profits from this collection to creating a new initiative.
  • The purpose of the initiative seems to be helping women in Juarez with actual on-site help.
  • They will be renaming the products of the collection (we knew that).
  • They will be changing the promotional imaging of the collection (THANK GOODNESS!)
While it may not have been the petition that we were working on that did this, I do like to think that all of us who tried to make our voices heard had a hand in this.

Now, although all of this is happening I still feel it is important to link to the petition in case you still want to sign it. I also feel it is still important to list the list of charities I have collected (with help from everyone):


Feel Like Donating Instead of Getting a Lipstick?
So far I have only found the following charities (no idea how reputable these are):

  • Amnesty International - They accept donations, but don't appear to send them to a particular cause, hence my reluctance to donate.I want to know where my money is going.
  • Mujeres de Juarez - Seem to have a petition up but I don't see a place to donate. Also could be sketchy if you follow around the links...
  • Casa Amiga - seems to take donations, but the site is in Spanish. I'm still working on looking into this one.  
  • Amigos de Mujeres - I don't think this group takes donations, but works with other organizations and channels donations to them. I have written them asking for more information.
  • Justica Para Nuestras Hijas -  A group in Chihuahua City focusing on  family members of serial killing victims
  • Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, A.C. - A 24 hour hotline for domestic abuse that also has access to a lawyer and counselors.
  • CFO Maquiladoras
If you know of any I should add for this cause, please let me know and I will add it to the list.

Thank you to everyone who had a hand in helping make this happen. 




My Nail Health and a Long Overdue Review - Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator

From Qtica's Website
For this entire review, please keep in mind that my nail growth and overall nail health is a WORK IN PROGRESS.

I have been meaning to write this review for a while. But to be fair to product and myself, I had to give it enough time to work. For a product promoting nail growth and conditioning, that can mean months.

Here is what Qtica says Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator Does (from their website):
"The Secret to strong, healthy looking natural nails. Make you natural nails, stronger and longer while preventing annoying chipping and peeling with QTICA Natural Nail Growth Stimulator. Sulfur amino acids and hydrolyzed proteins strengthen the nail by bonding and locking keratin together and creating an extra layer of nail to prevent peeling and protect new nail growth. Maintain moisture and flexibility of the natural nail with vitamins A, C and E to keep it flexible and prevent cracking. See up to ? in of nail growth in as little as 14 days."
A Side Note to Qtica -You might want to fill in that "?" in the last sentence there or re-word that sentence because it looks incomplete.  By the way, the text for your Intense Cuticle Repair Balm is also appears to have a description for lips, not cuticles.

Ok, textual errors aside, I have a story to tell you!


My Introduction to Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator
Back in February I sent out an innocent rant (I mean "Tweet") to the Twitterverse  commenting on (complaining about) the condition of my nails. They were peeling, I couldn't get them to grow.  Every time I got growth it was so slow my nails would peel before the growth came to be able to file them down appropriately. I was doing everything I was always told to do to get them in good condition and failing. As a result, my manicures wouldn't last. If they did grow, they split and peeled. You've seen it in my pictures. Some of you have commented about it in my pictures. My nails weren't always like this, but they have never been "strong". I was frustrated.

As luck would have it, someone actually read my Tweet.

A "Good Fairy" from Zoya heard my cry for help and sent me a sample of Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator. She said she thought it would help my problem. I was very appreciative but also very skeptical - I had tried other "Nail Growth" formulas before and had very little luck. Why would this be any better? If it worked, would I even want to get hooked on it? The price of $20 for 0.5 oz seemed a little high to me. Then again, if this stuff really worked for me I would pay it.  I knew that.

Fortunately, for me, my Good Fairy seemed to be fine with me pestering her - because I had a lot of questions and she answered them promptly. At the time I was using the Zoya Color Lock System because I had won it off of a Tweet contest earlier and I wasn't sure how to use the Nail Growth Stimulator with that system. Through my Good Fairy's patient coaching, I learned the following:
  • Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator Works as a Base Coat - There is no need to apply Zoya Anchor or any other base coat with this product. It can act as a base coat when needed.
  • You MUST change your polish every 2 or 3 days - Too much build up can be detrimental to this treatment. I don't know why, but it's true. Every time I've stuck to this rule my nail growth has been much better.
  • Make Sure Your Nails Are Clean and Buffed - This is the step I am terrible at. What does clean mean? For Zoya it means using Remove + first, then smoothing out any ridges or rough spots. My nails, as you see in my Naked Nail pics below, will NEVER be very clean.
  • Be Patient - Although you will see growth results, according to my Good Fairy your nail bed has to grow all the way out before you will see something sustainable. 
Did The Product Work???
YES!!! My nails did grow!
My nails have been growing like weeds. Every 2 days I would take off my polish and cut back my nails all the way to where the peeling ended. That's a lot of FAST growth! I noticed it less than a month into treatment. They say it can start working as early as 14 days on the website (though they don't say how much growth). And yes, it doesn't take long to notice a difference.

Did My Peeling Stop?
I am relieved to say that my peeling has slowed down since I began using this product. It has not stopped completely. I expect it might get better over time, change with the seasons, change with medications I am taking, etc. But it is my opinion that the Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator was not the only thing helping me achieve healthy nail growth.

A few other things have changed in my routine since I began this treatment that may have helped:
  • I began using cuticle cream religiously - Qtica Intense Cuticle Repair Balm (purchased out of my own pocket) at bed time every night. I love it, but my iPhone hates it because it's greasy.
  • I stopped swabbing my nails with Alcohol - Yes, you read that right. I had read somewhere that swabbing my nails with alcohol would help clear nails of excess oil allowing polish to adhere better. While that may be true, I believe it was also drying the heck out of my nails. I think my Good Fairy got a good laugh over that one when I told her.
  • I started eating better - My Shakeology for breakfast has some good things for nails in it, like Biotin, which probably helps a bit.
  • I stopped drinking soda - What does that have to do with anything? I would use my nails to open the top of pop cans. Using nails as tools is bad and leads to breakage. I am trying very hard to be more cognizant of nail ruining habits.
What Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator DID do for me in the course of solving  my peeling problem was allow my nails to grow fast enough that I could get rid of the bad peeling parts without losing much length. I also believe that it has helped improve the overall health of my nails. They do seem a little stronger.

Besides the price, what are the Not-so-good things about it?
  1. Your nails will stain - As a base for nail polish, Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator will not stop very pigmented polishes from tinting your nails after you remove the polish. I know some of you nail fanatics out there will take this as a showstopper, but for me I don't care too much. I generally cover my nails with a thickly pigmented polish anyway. 
  2. It can take a long time to work - I know so many people who are impatient and won't wait for this product to work for them. You do have to give your nails enough time for the entire nail bed to be renewed. 
  3. It doesn't work alone - Like most things, this is only part of the process of creating long healthy nails. If you don't take care of your nails in other aspects (like quit using them as tools to open things), your nails will still have problems. They're natural nails - of course they have problems.
Bottom Line
I think the price is a little high, but if you're like me it will be worth it. Just make sure to treat your nails kindly while you use Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator and you should be good.

The Picture Show - Danger! Nekkid Nails!!!
To really get a handle on this review you need to see where this all began. My horrible nails:

Picture Taken on March 1, 2010
Before Beginning Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator

Two Weeks After using Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator
Growth, but Nails Still Peeling

Three Weeks After Using Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator
Nails have been cut back. Still growing. Less Peeling.

Now, see my nails as they are currently:

Four Months Using Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator
Minimal Peeling, Nail Growth Good (for me)
Same Time Period, Another view
The change is not dramatic, but it is very noticeable to me. I see a very large improvement from my March pictures. 

My Personal Thoughts on Nail Length
If you go to a salon and get fake nails, "Active Length" is much longer than the length I keep my nails. I type, I play softball, I work out... "Active Length" is too long for me right now. I will never have really long nails. I probably won't ever have nails that are "active length" though hopefully I will get close. But I am happy with how my nails are growing now and I will be repurchasing Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator when I run out. This little bottle is only half empty, and I have been using it every other day since March! At least I can be confident that the $20 will last a good long time.

Thank you, Good Fairy! I am grateful to you for putting my nails on the road to good health.

Full Disclosure
The products in this review were furnished to me by Zoya for my use, but not specifically for a review. I was not paid to provide this review, and have provided my honest opinion of the product. I don't sell Zoya or Qtica products, nor am I affiliated with Art of Beauty in any way.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tribute Post To My Friend Ann - "Cancer Picked The Wrong Bitch!"

Ann As Britney Spears Halloween '99
Don't kill me Ann - it was the easiest one to find!
Warning - image far below contains nudity of a very brave woman! (and a kitty!)

This past winter I discovered that one of my friends that I have known since college had developed breast cancer. Ann is only a couple of years older than I am so this was quite a shock. I have to say, she has been handling it admirably. I don't get to talk to her much, but I catch up with her through Facebook and get to read snippits about her day and her battle with the big "C".

When I visited her back in the winter she was going through Chemo, trying to  shrink her tumor before removing any tissue. Since she is a young woman, I can definitely respect that choice. Ann didn't want to lose too much of her boobs so this was her best option. She made the most of it. She took it as a chance to accessorize - matching head scarves to shoes and what not. I tried to get her to let me do a piece on her illness and how it has influenced her fashion choices (and how she keeps it fun) but that hasn't panned out. She never sent me the pictures! You really should see her shoe closet - it'ts quite amazing.

Now after several months of waiting I get a note from her yesterday (paraphrased): "forget fashion accessories! I've got scars!" with a link to a photo gallery. Apparently, she has had her tumor removed and is now going through radiation. She is celebrating this next step of her cancer battle by posing topless showing off her scar. 

So please, take a look at her gallery by clicking the caption below her image and celebrate the incredible strength of this woman!

Ann by Aly Darin Photography
I wanted to share this with you as a I am sure we all know women who, like Ann, have had to go through this. As I have 3 women in my family who have had breast cancer I consider it not an "if" but a "when" for me. And when I get breast cancer I hope I can handle it with the same type of spirit Ann has shown me.

Incidentally, Ann takes credit for introducing me to my husband. It is her fault really. All her fault.

I love you, Ann! You rock, girl!!!

Quest For My Pretty - Weekly Weight Loss Report

Well I knew this would happen. Last time I did a Shakeology cleanse I gained 2 lbs right back immediately. Same thing this time. That's ok, though. I had my Anniversary Monster Dinner, I also wasn't able to participate in Softball due to injury. I suspect both things had an effect on my weight in a negative manner.

The Positive
On the plus side, I went to my doctor this week for my softball injury and  got some good news. I have serious "White Coat Syndrome" when it comes to that office and my blood pressure is always insane. This time it was 118/76 or something like that which is SO MUCH BETTER!!!

Weight: 190.8 lbs ( -1.9 lbs from last official weigh in, +2 from end of Shakeology cleanse)

On Measurements
Several of you have asked me about my measurements. I have to say - although I have been periodically checking them the results confuse me. They especially confuse me when it is very obvious that I have lost at least one dress size since I look at what I entered on May 21, 2010 (my real workout start):

Measurements (in Inches)
05/21/10 07/28/10
Chest4142
Waist3936.5
Hips45.7543.5
Right Arm1314
Left Arm1413.5
Right Thigh2424
Left Thigh25.523.75

So what do you make of that? I think either I was off on my initial measurements or I am off on the now because these are really wonky.

This week's goal: Bust through the 190 barrier! I CAN DO IT!!!

6th Anniversary Look and Dinner at Nicola's in Cincinnati


My husband Mike and I recently celebrated our 6th anniversary. I can't believe I have been with him that long. It doesn't seem that long. I guess that's a good thing because hopefully we'll be together for much longer. Every year we toast to making the next year better, most of the time a bit sarcastically because we've had tough years. But we're still here and we've made it a lot longer than many of our friends! Yay for us!

(I love you honey, if you're reading this... which I'm sure you're not).


Wardrobe
I chose to wear a dress I haven't been able to get into in 3 years:


Nice to know my husband still takes bad pictures of me and says they look good. Somethings don't change. Anyway, the dress is from Banana Republic and the shoes are my Kenneth Cole Reaction Broadway Pine shoes.Yes, I admit... the ta-tas are trying to get free a bit here. Maybe I should have held of on this dress for another five lbs?

Makeup 
I was wearing my Deborah Lippmann Across The Universe polish and was quite inspired by it. I tried to do my eyes to match:




Breakdown

Eyes
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • MAC Pigment in Partylicious - Inner half of eye
  • MAC Eye Shadow in Contrast - Outer half eye. Also used as liner on upper and lower lashes.
  • MAC Pigment in Later. - Used on outer third and crease.
  • MAC Eye Shadow in Shore Leave - Brow  highlight.
  • MAC Eye Shadow in Pixel - lower lid.
  • MAC Plushlash Mascara in Plushblack

Face

  • MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC15
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light
  • MAC Highlight Powder in Marine Life

Lips
  • MAC Lip Pencil in Dervish
  • MAC Lipstick in Cockatease - I couldn't help myself. Not only is it one of the prettiest limited addition MAC shades out there but the name is just... well you know.
  • MAC Pigment in Vanilla - patted on top of the Cockatease just to give it a little more shimmer (Special thanks to @MAC_Keri_B and her new Pigment video up on the MAC site for this idea).

The Food

Mike and I decided to go to Nicola's Ristorante Italiano in Cincinnati. Nicola's is a pricey Italian restaurant. But it's well worth the cash. Our wonderful waiter was named Tory - should you decide to go to Nicola's we suggest asking for him. He was fantastic. As for food...While I enjoyed everything I tried I would suggest they add a little more garlic to just about everything. And my Halibut was a little dry. But I do suggest the Boucheron Goat Cheese salad - it was fantastic! The Gnocci was also very tasty, but you'll want to split that with someone. I couldn't even get through half. And my Scallops - they were some of the best scallops I have ever had. Had they been on Top Chef they would have been in the running for "Top Scallop".

Let me leave you with some food porn...

The Bread Basket


Seared Sea Scallops

Tuscan Lentils with grilled Lamb sausage

Crispy Potato Gnocchi

Now doesn't all of that look yummy? It's the only day since I started keeping track of my calories and exercise that I've gone over. I don't know by how much. I had one big entry in my LoseIt App - "Ginormous Meal of Monstrous Proportions" and clocked it in at 2000 calories. So when I don't lose weigh this week you know why!

It was so worth it!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Polish - Zoya Dita

Do you think Ms. Von Teese has this one? If she doesn't I'd be happy to buy a bottle for her.

I picked this beautiful lady because my boss lady recommended it...



This is one of those polishes that I swear looked better on me than these photos turned out. I swear my cleanup was better than this, I swear the polish was smooth, and I swear I didn't have THAT many stray bits of Across The Universe still left on my tips. But I also  know the photos don't lie. Zoya Dita - my tips are totally not worthy of your beauty.


Color
Dita is that glamorous baby that Red and Hot Pink had while we weren't looking. She's like old-school pin-up lipstick. She's creamy and perfect in every way a creamy red should be, while keeping it modern by adding just that hint of pink-raspberry.

Application
Two coats. No issues (except the ones I missed that were my fault).

Wear
Sadly, Dita, I have to admit I had tip wear after half a day. Maybe I didn't file corretly. Maybe you didn't adhere well to my Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator, maybe you were the victim of Seche Vite shrinkage, who knows.


Bottom Line
Dita is a great go-to polish. Just please treat her better than I did. She deserves it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quest For My Pretty - Megan Elkus Turbo Kicked My Butt!

Myself and Megan Elkus - Look how drenched I am!
When  @xoreds13 introduced me to @turbomeg via Twitter little did I know what I was getting myself into. As a fitness instructor, I could expect Megan Elkus to be high energy, Gaga-loving, with an enviable body. What I didn't expect was to find an easy-going, down-to-earth, awesome chick who just loves to kicks butt (in a good way). I found out that she came from a family that all attended the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!) but that she was the only one in her family who did not (I won't hold it against her). She somehow holds a full-time job and manages to teach Turbo Kick classes on the side (how she finds time for me on Twitter I will never know). I don't know how she does it! She recently saw Lady Gaga in Cleveland and in Indianapolis in the same week! Check out her Twitter Avatar - it has her in full-on Gaga makeup! I love it!  I am so glad Ms Keri introduced me to Ms. Megan because not only was I able to get in touch with someone who teaches Turbo Kick live, but I am now getting to know this incredibly awesome person!

What is Turbo Kick?
Well the best way I can describe it is the live version of what I do in my living room every day (Turbo Jam). Megan forewarned me it's a bit faster but it has most of the same moves. What she didn't tell me was that instead of doing one Turbo per session, we would be doing FIVE Turbos during the hour that she had me.

A "Turbo" is a couple minutes of activity where you bring your intensity to the highest level you can, raising your heart rate really high, so that you can get an interval effect afterward and burn more calories.

Dear Lord, I did five Turbos in an hour! I know those of you doing Turbo Fire are used to this, but I am SO NOT THERE...yet.

Megan As An Instructor
This being my first LIVE Turbo class, as you can expect it was hard for me to keep up. But Megan was great at showing both high intensity and low intensity versions of the exercise so that we all could participate. She made sure to interact with all parts of the classroom as she was able to, so no one felt left out. It wasn't quite individual attention - that would be tough with a large class like this. But I knew if I had questions, Megan was there to answer them. Megan was having microphone difficulties the day I took the Turbo Kick class from her, which made it difficult on occasion to know what she was calling out. But the repetitive nature of Turbo Kick made the class as easy to follow as a first-timer could expect. Seriously, though... this was such a difference from the intensity I experience in my living room I don't know how I lived through it. Hats off to those of you who take classes from Ms. Elkus or other Turbo Kick Classes on a regular basis!

Overall, taking this class made me want to work harder in my living room. It made me realize what people who are in great shape are doing with this Turbo workout and how far I have yet to go. The reality was both difficult to face and inspiring at the same time. I know what I have to aim for now. I think I will be taking a class from Megan every 60 days or so to benchmark my fitness progress.

If you are in the Cincinnati/Dayton Area and Would Like to Take a Turbo Kick Class from Megan Elkus, you can view her schedule on the Turbo Kick website. You can also get a hold of the Urban Active at which Megan taught the class I took from her this past Saturday at 11:30 AM:

Urban Active

4030 Smith Rd # 50L2
Cincinnati, OH
(513) 533-4653

Friday, July 23, 2010

Polish - Deborah Lippmann Across The Universe

You knew this was coming, right?



My first reaction to this polish was that I didn't understand the hype compared to Lady Sings the Blues from the All That Jazz Trio.  I thought Lady Sings the Blues was quite amazing. How could Across the Universe be any better when it's just a variation on the theme? Well after wearing it for a while I realized I was looking at Across the Universe more than I did Lady Sings the Blues, I was thinking about it more, I was watching the way the light played on the different hexagons... I was mesmerized by this polish. Do I like it better than Lady Sings the Blues? I really don't know. But boy is this one pretty!

Color
Blue-black base with blue glitter and blue and green glitter and hexagonal sequins. The effect is very marine-like.


Application
As always with Ms. Lippmann's hexagonal sequins I have problems when they lay too close to the edge of my nail in any direction. That problem remains. The thing I didn't like here was that it took three coats for this polish to be truly opaque. You probably could do two medium-thick coats, but it's hard. I tried it both ways.  I did wait a tiny bit between coats to avoid pick up of the previously laid down sequins. You don't want these suckers moving on you between coats or it will mess up your mani.

Wear
With three coats of polish on top of Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator and two coats of Seche Vite I still have slight tip wear and the two coats of Seche Vite did very little to smooth out the texture in this polish.


Bottom Line
Regardless of the issues with this polish, this polish is a MUST HAVE if you like funky colors or are a Lippmann fan.

Like Bad Romance, this polish is sold out at Nordies. But I think it will be available later on at Deborah Lippmann. It had better be, or there might be riots in the street! This one is worth the $18.

Round Up! All Seven Days of Going "Naked" With Urban Decay and Final Thoughts

Day 1
I originally chose the Urban Decay Naked Palette for a 7 day trial because I really did want to see how many eyes I could get out of a standard set of shadows. I'm not the greatest artist in the world (especially in 5 minutes as I'm running out the door). But what could I do with this palette? Clearly it was meant for versatility. Could I do dramatic and easy-daytime eyes with it? You bet! So I decided to give a whirl. I know you have been seeing the fruits of my labor all week, but I wanted to put them all in one post for ease of access in the future.I also thought I should do a thorough review of this palette given how much experience I now have with it.

Review -  The Shadows and Liners
Here is what I think in detail about each color in this palette:
  • Virgin - Creamy off-white. I love this color. It makes a great brow highlight, inner corner highlight. It is a bit frosty, though.
  • Day 2
  • Sin - This shade is just a bit more pink than Virgin, and just a touch more frosty. I used it as a brow highlight quite often but I don't think that is the best use of it. It's great lid color if you need something light.
  • Naked - Sort of a tan nude shade. It's matte, which I was excited about. I found that I loved using this on the brow highlight rather than a shimmery color. I don't have a lot of mattes like this, that blend really well into my skin tone. This one is a keeper for sure.
  • Day 3
  • Sidecar - Taupe shimmer glitter! Problem child that I just couldn't give up on. It is disco ball glitter and has a lot of fallout issues. But I still kept reaching for it.
  • Buck - Matte Brown. This was too much of a neutral brown for me to use it as an eyebrow powder. I only used it once I think. Forgettable shade for me.
  • Day 4
  • Half Baked - Golden shimmer. You know this is an old Urban Decay favorite. I love it when it looks really golden, but in this set it was so much the opposite of naked. That being said, it is a stellar color and if you don't own it you definitely should. 
  • Day 5
  • Smog - Versatile light dirty brown with shimmer. Great color to have on hand for a medium brown.
  • Darkhorse - Awesome dark brown shimmer shade in the palette but you know what? On my eye it was really hard to see it as being different from a charcoal. Might just be my skintone. I still loved it, though.
  • Day 6
  • Toasted - Great champagne-brown-pink. Complex color. I loved it! Easily one of my favorites of the bunch.
  • Hustle - Almost brown burgundy with a bit of satin finish. I love this shade. But they put it right next to Creep and so Creep kept getting on my brush I think because I never got the burgundy color onto my lid the way a burgundy should look. 
  • Creep - Dark black-grey shimmer. Skip it. Seriously, this one is hard to control! I kept getting it all over my face. A little goes a very long way. I understand why it's in this palette but I just had such a hard time  with it I can't recommend it.
  • Day 7
  • Gunmetal - Grey Shimmer. Gorgeous color. I loved it along my lash line. For a silver-gray, it's practically perfect. 
  • 24/7 Liner in Zero - You need to have this pencil. If you don't, pick it up. It's awesome. But the Zero with this palette didn't stay put as well as my regular 24/7 Zero for some reason.
  • 24/7 Liner in Whiskey - Almost too light of a brown with a little too much red in it for me to love it. I would have preferred a darker brown than this. I had a difficult time getting this one to actually show up on me. Like the Zero in this palette, it didn't stick as well to my lid.
Mini Urban Decay Primer Potion
Yes this palette came with a primer potion like many of the other Urban Decay Palettes. I'm getting a little tired of always getting these tiny things. I don't need them. But I guess if you were buying this as a beginner it's a good thing to be exposed to. I know I haven't found a primer I like better yet. Then again, I haven't tried too many.

Final Thoughts
Overall, I really loved my Urban Decay Naked palette. My only complaints about the shadows is that some of them have a lot of fall out (I'm looking at you Creep). Sometimes the shadows are so close together in the palette it's hard not to accidentally pick up a stray bit of color form another shadow. It was especially hard with Creep, which likes to cling to everything.

I absolutely recommend this palette. The colors are very well coordinated neutrals and you can't go wrong with any color pairing. My favorite colors, as you probably could tell, were Virgin, Sin, Naked, Toasted, and Hustle.

Bottom Line
You just can't go wrong with this palette. But get the regular sized eye liners and a full sized Primer Potion.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 7 - Going "Naked" with Urban Decay: Half Baked and Smog.

Ok, finally Day 7 of using my Urban Decay Naked Palette! Here is my last look...




Breakdown
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • Urban Decay Naked Palette Eye Shadow in Half Baked - Used on inner 2/3rds of eye
  • Urban Decay Naked Palette Eye Shadow in Smog - Blended in the middle then outer corner by itself.
  • Urban Decay naked Palette Eye Shadow in Hustle - Used in the crease
  • Urban Decay Naked Palette Eye Shadow in Naked - Along brow
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil in Whiskey - lined upper and lower lashes.
  • MAC Plushlash Mascara in Plushblack

Day After: Get On Track! #Shakeology Cleanse Results!

Hi everyone!

I feel really good this morning! I had my regular shakeology (with Milk and a Banana) for breakfast. Then I ran out the door to work and realized I had to give blood. Guess what? My iron was NOT LOW for the first time in a very long time! The nurses didn't have to put it through a spinner! After a cleanse, even! How crazy is that?

Incidentally, when you give blood did you know that it's 1 lb of blood you're giving? I don't recommend it for a weight loss but I do recommend donating if you are able to do so. It's a good thing to do for your community.

Anyway, results...

My Starting Weight: 192.3 lbs
My Ending Weight: 189.0 lbs
Total Loss: 3.3 lbs

I will record this in the side bar, but expect me to gain at next week's weigh in. Last time, I gained back 2 lbs immediately due to water weight. So we shall see!

Challenge: Tomorrow is  my 6th anniversary with my Husband. Who knows what waits for food problems. I could be in real trouble!

MAC & Rodarte - Petition Update from @healing_beauty

Olivia from the Healing Beauty blog contacted me with some information regarding a petition she was putting together in regard to the MAC and Rodarte collaboration. As some of you may know, she did her dissertation on the border situation and violence against women in that area, so she has a great deal of knowledge about the Juarez and why this collection that MAC and Rodarte conceived together would be offensive and sensitive. IF you read her blog you will find a lot of good, well-researched information.

Healing Beauty does not feel that enough has been done by MAC and Rodarte to resolve the tension around the politics concerning this collection. She has put together a petition for the public to sign asking that MAC and Rodarte make an ongoing commitment to helping this cause in addition to their original donation.

If you are so inclined to sign the petition, you may do so: Rodarte MAC Makeup Collection and Ciudad Juarez Petition.

My position remains "What can I do?" So once again, here are my list of charities I have collected...

Feel Like Donating Instead of Getting a Lipstick?
So far I have only found the following charities (no idea how reputable these are):

  • Amnesty International - They accept donations, but don't appear to send them to a particular cause, hence my reluctance to donate.I want to know where my money is going.
  • Mujeres de Juarez - Seem to have a petition up but I don't see a place to donate. Also could be sketchy if you follow around the links...
  • Casa Amiga - seems to take donations, but the site is in Spanish. I'm still working on looking into this one.  
  • Amigos de Mujeres - I don't think this group takes donations, but works with other organizations and channels donations to them. I have written them asking for more information.
  • Justica Para Nuestras Hijas -  A group in Chihuahua City focusing on  family members of serial killing victims
  • Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, A.C. - A 24 hour hotline for domestic abuse that also has access to a lawyer and counselors.
  • CFO Maquiladoras
If you know of any I should add for this cause, please let me know and I will add it to the list.
Thank you to Healing Beauty for additions!

Polish - Deborah Lippmann Bad Romance

I know people have been crazy about this polish...


But I must admit I think I like Bad Romance's older sister Ruby Red Slippers a little better. On the other hand, this polish has a "MAC Young Punk Mineralized Eye Shadow" vibe to it that I am also digging. But I question if this polish had a different name, would people be linking it as much?

Color
Black base with fuchsia glitter and hexagonal sequins.

Application
This is with 2 coats.Like Deborah Lippmann's other hexagonal glitter polishes, this can be a little tricky if you start to get sequins close to the edge of your nail.

Wear
Used Qtica Nail growth Stimulator and one coat of Seche Vite (you really might want 2 to even this out). I am getting tip wear with less than 12 hours of wear.


Bottom Line
I think Gaga lovers will love it, and Deborah Lippmann is being smart by capitalizing on Gaga's popularity. But how far would $18 go toward helping you out with that Gaga tour ticket instead?

Norstroms is sold out, but you Gaga fans out there will be able to get this polish sometime in August on Deborah Lippmann

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 3 - Get on Track! Shakeology Cleanse Complete!

Well it's done. I've had my last shake of the Shakeology cleanse. I have to say... I want a cheeseburger. I didn't have cravings quite like this last time. Well ok, scrambled eggs. But I really REALLY want a cheeseburger now.

I was in a bad mood pretty much the entire day. Concentration was awful. I couldn't stand any of the little irritating things my husband does which I normally can put up with (and I gave him a good talking to about it which he won't listen to because I was angry - anger is not the way to get him to listen even when it's calm anger). That being said, after having had my last shake I feel fantastic.

I think almost everybody's body hits that natural low point toward the end of the work day when you need to have a food boost. We all get cranky. What was that Emerald Nuts thing? Robert Goulet comes and messes with your stuff at 3 pm? Well, he was messing with my stuff  until about half an hour ago - all frakking day long!

Truby1234 is handling this far better than I today, though she too expressed hunger. Maybe she's doing better partially because she didn't strictly speaking follow the cleanse to the letter (though she did very well). Truth be told netiher did I - I had real ranch dressing to dip my chicken into because I lothe the fat free stuff. It was only a little tiny bit so don't give me grief about it, ok?

TurboMeg was unable to do the cleanse. Poor girl. I think she may try it another week when she isn't quite so busy. It won't do to be dizzy constantly!

Anyway, I will weigh myself tomorrow and give a final account of how I did. Then we'll check in next week at my weekly weigh in and see how much of the weight lost through the cleanse I kept off. In the mean time, I leave Robert Goulet to mess with your stuff...

Random Thoughts - Are these essentially the same dress?

It is purely coincidence that I happened to stumble upon these two dresses back to back looking at random blogs. It is also coincidence that it just happens to be a dress on Angelina Jolie and a dress on Jennifer Aniston. But I'm seeing  themes here: strapless, short, synched...

Image from Flypaper


Yes , I realize they are two different colors, two different materials, the gathering is in two different places but I couldn't help but look at these two dresses on these two stunning women and think: Wow... there must not be a lot of variety out there if these two ladies would choose nearly the same dress.

My issue is this:
Both of these dresses are stereotypical of the actress's style. Yet I think you could swap the dresses on the two of them and you could still make the same statement. That's really weird. That doesn't happen too often with Angelina and Jennifer (in my opinion). So are the dresses just really generic?

I don't like drawing comparisons between these two women. I have a bias. So I don't like it when I'm forced to compare them simply because my reading choices put them side by side with one another (essentially). 

On a side note, I want Angelina's dress for my own. But like I said, I'm biased.

Day 6 - Going "Naked" with Urban Decay: Gunmetal

Confession: This is actually my Day 7 eye, but it's becoming my Day 6 because I went to write up my Day 6 and I could not for the life of me remember what I used. So tomorrow's post labeled Day 7 will really be Day 8.

Also, for some reason all I got were shaky images.

Breakdown
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • Urban Decay Naked Palette Eye Shadow in Sin - All over lid.
  • Urban Decay Naked Palette Eye Shadow in Gunmetal - smudged along lash line upper and lower.
  • Urban Decay Naked Palette in Naked - used above crease.
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Liner in Zero - Line upper and lower (as you ca see, not doing much good on my lower).
  • MAC Plushlash Mascara in Plushblack

Quest For My Pretty - Weekly NOT-a- Weigh-In

As you know, today is my last day on the Shakeology cleanse so I am not going to weight myself for you today. That would be a little silly. Instead I want to focus on accomplishments over the last week.
  • My friend Kristi started Turbo Jam!!! I inspired someone I guess! That makes me want to keep going.
  • Last week I fit into a dress I haven't worn in 2 years.
  • Over the weekend I put on my Gap Skinny Jeans (size 16 I think) and realized they were my baggiest pair of jeans that I own.
  • Standing in a shadowy hallway looking at myself in the mirror with my sports bra on I can see abdominal muscles forming (just don't turn on the lights - then I can't see the contrast at all). 
  • I worked the hell out of a softball practice while on a cleanse (and out-did my husband, I think). 
  • I wore my Ann Taylor Loft dress to work and really saw how loose it was in a full length mirror. Couldn't stop looking at myself because it was amazing to see it well and truly loose.
  • A dress I purchased from Target for my Japan trip last October that has ALWAYS been just a smidgen uncomfortable around the arms is not - it fits perfectly. I think I can thank Turbo Jam 3T for that one.
 I feel really good.

Actual Weight In will resume next week. I think that will give time for the Cleanse loss to stabilize and we'll know how much was water weight and how much was actual weight.

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    Day 2 - Get on Track! Shakeology Cleanse Complete

    Hi everyone!

    Day 2 of the Shakeology Cleanse is done! This is great because Day 2 is always the hardest day. @Truby1234 had a great idea of wearing dresses to work to make ourselves feel better and it worked. I'm not going to lie - I was hungry. But I didn't get grumpy until early evening today.

    It is also @Truby1234's birthday! I hear she's going to a Thai restaurant and planning on having veggies (trying to stay as close to the cleanse as she can). Amazing!

    I didn't hear from @TurboMeg today so I don't know if she resumed the cleanse. Guessing probably not. She seems like a very busy lady!

    The Blender Is DEAD
    I did have one casualty of the cleanse today - my Blender. My husband, who I've discovered makes the BEST Shakeology shakes, was making me a shake tonight and the machine started SMOKING!!! So I guess that means I am off to the store tomorrow to buy a new blender. On the plus side, I know what I like in a blender now and so I'll be able to choose a better one. Also I will get to take out my frustrations on ice with a meat tenderizer as I make my shake for tomorrow morning, Nothing like pounding something as hard as you can to get your day off to a good start, right?

    If you have recs on a good blender that can crush ice and is easy to clean, please let me know!

    Day 5: Going "Naked" with Urban Decay - Toasted and Smog

    This may be my favorite "Naked Palette" eye yet...




    Really very easy eye to do and I love it. I just didn't feel like doing anything too crazy and this was perfect.



    Breakdown
    • Urban Decay Primer Potion
      Urban Decay Naked Palette Eye Shadow in Toasted - All over lid
      Urban Decay Naked Palette Eye Shadow in Smog - Right into the crease
      Urban Decay Naked Palette Eye Shadow in Naked - brow highlight
      Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Whiskey - Line upper and lower lashes
      MAC Plushlash Mascara in Plushblack

    Polish - Zoya Kierra

    So when I went to see Inception a second time (yes, a second time), I decided to take my next door neighbor and Zoya Kierra...



    I LOVE this polish! But I am frustrated with Zoya's site because the bottle and the swatch picture are totally not representative of what this color actually is. The pics on Zoya's site are deceptively purple and this color was definitely not as blue based as those on the site. Why Zoya chose to have this color so misrepresented is beyond me - because Kierra is totally gorgeous and worth  a look at her true color!

    Color
    Maroon/Magenta with shimmer, and a hint of raspberry. Not purple, not red, but somewhere in between. Absolutely gorgeous and elegant. 


    Application
    I applied three coats here, but I think with good even coats you could make it 2 easily.

    Wear
    On top of Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator and topped with Seche Vite I'm getting great wear out of this polish, up to the standards I hold for Zoya.

    Bottom Line
    Maybe not a must-have, but Kierra is certainly drop dead gorgeous.

    Random Manolo Love - Just a little Pick Me Up For Today

    Got the "Needless Markup" email today about new fall Manolos and I had to take a peek. I just wanted to say that I find this absolutely gorgeous.

    Image from Neiman Marcus

    You know I'm a sucker for burgundy anything. But I love this shoe also because the height of the heel is sensible. Of course, I will never own said shoe - not just because the price is outrageous but because I can't ever figure out Manolo Blahnik sizing. Seriously skinny feet! Last time I tried on Manolo shoes for fun I had to go a size and a half larger than my normal shoe size just to get my feet to fit width-wise. Oh well.

    Anyway, adore and feel better.
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