February 27, 2018

Birchbox Wrap Up!

My yearly subscription to the monthly Birchbox service, has come to an end!  I will no longer receive 4 or 5 beauty samples each month, and I still wonder how I fell for such a wasteful experience!  Just a reminder, many of the samples they sent could be obtained by a visit to any makeup counter or Sephora location.  Theoretically, the service seemed worthwhile until I was flooded with an inordinate number of eye pencils, liquid lipsticks, BB/CC creams, and small vials of fragrances.  As not to completely discount some of the products I’ve been introduced to throughout the year, I’ve compiled a list of products that I believe were outstanding, but I would eventually have found them without paying to try them.  If I had stayed the course by reading reviews and trying products that fit my personal preferences, my money would have been better spent.  

benefit Roller Lash Mascara has proved to be a welcome addition in my cosmetic case.  This mascara applies evenly without flaking or smudging and is easy to remove.  What set it apart from my decades use of Maybelline mascaras was the ease of use to define a daytime natural look, no more applying and re-applying!

Living proof® hair products all proved to be outstanding. From the shampoo and conditioner, dry shampoo, and styling products, all were exceptional.

R+CO Blowout Balm and Thickening Spray were surprisingly outstanding, as well as the Badlands Dry Shampoo.  I had never heard of this product and was really impressed with the results obtained.

-Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray and Shine Spray were life changing, when going to work!  I had used the Oribe shampoo and conditioners before and loved them,  but found them to be cost prohibitive.  The Dry Texturizing Spray is well worth the money and I would buy the Shine Spray as a splurge!

The Sunday Riley, Real Chemistry, and davines were quality products that I would buy if I was to change brands.  While compiling the list I realized that there were many products that I liked, but I believe it is better to find a fit for a product you need than to be sent products that may or may not be used.

Sephora has perfected a marketing ploy, when your waiting in line, you walk through a que of smaller packaged products.  These products are there to entice you to buy!  Yet, this is actually an opportunity to try products you are interested in, without the expense of buying the full-size.  I think this is a better option than committing to a yearly subscription service. Your able to pick up the travel size, and make a decision about the quality of the product you want.  It also reduces the waste from being sent products that are of little interest or use to you!  Just a thought!  Have a great week!

February 20, 2018

Older Woman Learning A New Language!

Lately, it has become clearly apparent that I am acquiring a new language, at this late stage of my life!  At times I do peruse online sites and will marvel at the new verbiage that is being used, to describe clothing, behavior, and ways of living, with new monikers.  

Growing up I was clothed with the basic necessities that I assumed all of my peers were wearing, as well.  Another term for basic necessities I’ve learned is now called a “capsule wardrobe” or “minimalist clothing”.  There really is no significant difference when an individual wears clothes that can be used to form the basis of outfits for all occasions, so why change the moniker?  I always dressed in a minimalist fashion even as a  young girl. On one occasion, for my first high school dance, I was allowed to go to Jordan Marsh and pick out a spring jacket, being it was the end of March.  I returned home with my mother’s charge card and a red blazer similar to the one George Harrison wore on the cover of the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, it went over like a lead balloon!  She immediately put on her trench coat, now called a rain coat, and we left to find a more “suitable” item of clothing.  Little did I know on this day my mother taught me the basics of capsule/minimalist wardrobes.  She marched me through the Jordan Marsh main building towards the annex where on the bridge connecting the two buildings were many display cases containing a rainbow assortment of twin sets.  I immediately gravitated to the chartreuse twin set, the color of the liquor I now know as Midori. As we walked a little distance away, she strongly whispered; “Choose a color you’ll wear this spring into summer or get a color you can wear now and in the fall.”  I chose hunter green, being it was the color of March and would match my school uniform.  On the way home, my mother didn’t tell me to meditate, she mentioned I should think before I make purchases, and make wise decisions.  Who knew at this early age, I began to  utilize the practice of “self-talk” before making decisions.  Self-talk is a really popular thing to do these days, and I  agree with the positive motivational effects of self-talk, but I’m sticking with the compass I’ve used to navigate life thus far, plain old thinking and talking to myself. My inner voice and compass guide me and I have learned to trust them. 

Even though I am resistant to gratuitous change, I’ve absorbed and retained the changes that are necessary for me not to be perceived as an ossified fossil.  I no longer look in department stores for reasonably priced clothes, I now know they are in the contemporary department.  I no longer use the word slacks when referring to my pants or woman trousers, and no longer reach for a chapstick as a remedy to soothe my winter lips, I apply my lip treatment, what all the gals in the know use. For whatever the hip term is these days, it’s all about self-care and self-acceptance. Follow your inner voice. Follow your bliss. Have a great week!

 

January 23, 2018

Tried & True!

Late December at the end of my scheduled rheumatology appointment, I was asked if I had any questions.  I asked; “When will I be able to live my life and not think about rheumatoid arthritis every waking hour?” My rheumatolgist explained that I will not be able to lead such a life as RA is chronic condition that is present and persistent, even when you are without pain.   In an odd way, it made me feel relieved, because it validated how I live my life, even though I vehemently resent the time and energy I spend addressing the disease. Waking up, meditating, stretching, ensuring that my day starts out on a level plane is a constant chore.  Continuously  assessing how life in general may adversely affect me is exhausting.  

Yet,  on a positive note, I’m pleased as punch to have collected an arsenal of products that have not left me, nor my will behind. I have used the following products for years and they have not abandoned me.

  Sephora Collection Dark Rainbow Antibacterial Brush Set

In my Favorite Day to Day Items!  post from July 26th, 2016, I first reviewed this brush set.  Nothing has changed with this set, I find the price point of $62, acceptable for a 7 piece brush set, but the new one I just purchased from Sephora after Christmas, I picked up for $29. It is no longer available for the lower price but another version is available for $62. I find this an invaluable set, being antibacterial, it may lower my chances of acquiring an infection, due to my compromised immune system.  It is also a good quality brush set that is full, soft, no shedding, and blends beautifully.

 Atelier Cologne Jasmine Angelique Cologne Absolue 200mL and a Personalized Travel Spray 30mL

My August 16th, 2016 blog post The Heat!!! , summed up the difficulty of finding perfumes, body wash, and body lotions that agreed with me.  The staying power of particular scents no longer were the same since the RA diagnosis.  I’ve read that medicines will change your body chemistry, and encourage skin to throw off the scent of perfumes.  I don’t know if that was the case with me but, it has been my experience that perfumes I’ve used for decades, a summer and winter fragrance, no longer smelled the same since the RA diagnosis.  I was introduced to the Atelier Cologne by way of samples and found sweet success. It is pricey and for that reason I did not jump ahead and purchase this big bottle until I had used all the samples I collected at fragrance counters, and had enough confidence in the cologne and my relationship. We have been together for almost a year and have had no adverse or diminished reactions from this product. I love the smell of jasmine mixed with lemon, rather a strong scent that has a major staying power and lingers for hours.  Hopefully I will be able to have a long and loving relationship with this cologne!

  Buxom Lips Off Leash ™ Plumping 15 Piece Mini Lip Collection

A selection of 15 shimmer shine lip polishes and glassy smooth lip creams.  Mini in size, maximal in color, these lip plumping polishes pack a wallop.  In the past I have purchased a full size Buxom Full-On Lip Polish for $20.  thoroughly enjoyed wearing it, loved the color, but it was not worth the price since it only lasted a couple of weeks.   After Christmas, I purchased this collection for $29.50 and I was extremely pleased and didn’t care that a few of the polishes were odd colors.   I can honestly say that I’ve tried all 15 shades (even the ones that did not appeal to me), and loved each and everyone.  Astonishing!!!  They all went on easily and left you with a pleasant tingling sensation.  The moisturizering, non-drying formula was never sticky, greasy, or tacky.  The bonus for using this product is they contain Vitamin A & E, the reason they are so moisturizing.  

 The Buxom lip polishes were an after Christmas splurge since I had already purchased 3 new lip products early fall, and they have been a joy!  I am a fan of the Dior Lip Maximizers and decided to try Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub.  It was my intention to use this sugar scrub for sloughing off winter dead skin, but never expected this sugar scrub to exfoliate and leave my lips moisturized and soft.  Always preparing for the fall/winter climate change I also purchased the Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil.  I was enticed to purchase this lip oil by magazine ads, and it was a score!  The lip comfort oil hydrated and soothed my dry skin.  As well as nourishing my lips its fruity smell and hint of color is more than a bonus!  The final lip product, Tatouge Couture Mate Stain by YSL is a new product to market.  It received rave reviews, I fell for it, and all the hype over this product was accurate and true.  YSL states; ” A liquid-matte lip stain that offers a high-impact, ultra-matte color with a lightweight, naked feel.”  true on all accounts and it was non-drying and long wearing.  I have tried many matte stains and have yet to find one that equals this YSL product.

  Becca Beach Tint Fig  

Within the last 14 months whenever I applied make-up, Becca Beach Tint Fig was definitely in the mix.  In My Squirreling Ways!post from October 14, 2016, I mentioned that this product was recommended to me by a cosmetic rep from a store that did not sell this product. Luckily I took her advice and have no regrets.  This cheek and lip tint, (I only used it on my checks) produces a nice, natural, subtle glow to my checks.  It is a nice pop of color in every season, best of all it is enriched with antioxidants and Vitamin E and smells divine!  I especially love that I’ve had no adverse reaction from this product.  

Learning to live with the challenges of Rheumatoid Arthritis is a time-consuming physically challenging grab-bag of learning experiences.  If there is one thing that I can honestly attest, your self-image and happiness are not dependent on how this disease may affect you, self-care, whether medicinal or cosmetic is just as important!  Have a great week!

November 7, 2017

The Low Down on Hair & Skin Care!

Returning to work after the summer break, I noticed a significant change in the texture of my complexion and hair.  I attributed the change to the lack of sunshine and the fluorescent lighting in the classroom.  The products I have been using didn’t seem as if they were working quite like they used to, maybe due to external factors or changes in my skin and hair, therefore, requiring different products.  So without hesitation, I purchased a few of the products I had read positive things about.  For the past 8 weeks I religiously used these four products and found varying degrees of success with them.  The four products purchased are Kiehl products and my decision to purchase them were not only based on reviews, but price point as well.  Here are the results!

‘Rare Earth’ Pore Refining Tonic|8.4 fl.oz $21.00

Post cleanse, I used a cotton pad and gently swiped the toner over my face.  The toner did remove excess dirt from my face (sadly, my cleanser didn’t do such a good job) and did not dry out my skin, it left my skin feeling soft and smooth.  There was no burn felt after the application. even though there is alcohol in this product.  The choice to purchase this product was predicated on the claim of minimized pores and the control of shine.  It worked for me, it tightened my skin and there appeared to be a reduction of redness, since using this product.

Superbly Restorative Argan Dry Oil|8.00 fl. oz $42

Really big fan of argan oil, this product did not disappoint.  I applied this product all over after showering, it absorbed easily and quickly.  After my hair was dried, I took a dime size amount in hand, and applied from ends to root.  The dry oil added shine and control of flyaway hair.   I thought this was a pricey product until I recognized that it was a multipurpose product that is easy to use, doesn’t stain clothing, and requires a small amount of product to yield great results.

Silk Groom Serum |1.7 fl. oz. $18

I didn’t realize that the dry oil was a multipurpose oil until after purchase, that could be used in the same way as the Silk Groom Serum.  The main difference between the two products that I can tell, is that the serum is enriched with Vitamin E.  Neither of these products leave any oil residue or weighs down your hair.  I love the smell of this product and the glossy shine it leaves, but since it is double the money of the dry oil, and renders similar results, I would not purchase this product again.

Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solutions|1.7 fl. oz. $78

Maybe I was overly optimistic or just plain gullible, but I honestly thought that decades of sun exposure, age, and environmental effects on my skin could be reversed or lessened by the application of this product.  Eight weeks have passed, and the results of the daily application did not lessen or remove my dark spots and even out my skin tone.  I may need a little more time using the product to realize change but that will not happen, I’m at the bottom of the bottle and will not re-purchase.  

Purchasing the correct skin care/hair care products is precarious at best.  There is so much more involved other than looking for a quick fix to a skin or hair situation.  There are so many factors that contribute to changes in one’s skin or hair.  With the change of seasons comes skin changes, as we get older our skin changes, and environmental changes, such as pollution can wreak havoc on one’s skin. 

Castle Hill Light, Newport, RI

Have a great week!

October 17, 2017

Box of Style Fall 2017

There is nothing better than answering a knock at the door and finding The Zoe Report Box of Style. This is a quarterly lifestyle and fashion subscription box I now eagerly await its arrival. The unadorned magnetic box opens to a mini mag and six individually wrapped items. Receiving this box is reminiscent to childhood Christmas mornings, opening presents you didn’t ask for, but immediately love. The fall box did not disappoint!

 

GiGi New York Rachel Convertible Clutch: Retail Value $195

A navy clutch that can be hand-held, used with the leather strap allowing it to be worn on the shoulder or cross body, and when fully opened, used as a 13” laptop sleeve. A smart everyday bag!

La Soula Two Diamond Rings: Retail Value $176

These are adjustable bands that are made of 14K Gold Plated Brass. The sizing is based on a size 6 ring and can be stacked or worn alone. Before being sent this box, I was given a choice of metal color preference. I chose the yellow and am not disappointed. As a non Rhode Island native, I was happy to now own these rings knowing they were created by Kimberly DeTomasis, born and raised in Providence, RI.

Odeme Gold Catchall Tray: Retail Value $45

A snazzy tray that can accommodate keys, cosmetics, or anything you like. What a surprise it was to see this tray, something very different from my conservative surroundings, it really stands out on my bureau and makes me smile. It is so not me, yet fits in beautifully.

Skinesque 3-Step Brightening + Charcoal Mask: Retail Value $35

There are five mask treatments in this box. Each treatment has three steps, cleansing, hydration, & a brightening charcoal mask. I was never a fan of paper masks, but I did notice a brightness to my complexion after the first use, and have a new-found affection for them.

NUDESTIX Pulse Gel Color Lip & Cheek Balm: Retail Value $24

Love, love, love this product that I had never heard of before. A perfect fall light figgy color( PULSE), perfect for autumn. In love with the mirrored container and sharpener enclosed. I’ve used this product daily since receiving my box, and am smitten with it.

Oribe Supershine Light Moisturizing Cream: Retail Value $52

Never used a Oribe product that I didn’t love! So thrilled to find this leave-in conditioner in my box, immediately used it on damp hair and later in the week on dry hair to control fly-aways. It works, all Oribe product I’ve tried work, but they are so expensive.

When trying new things in life you are never guaranteed they are going to work out, but when it does work out, my doesn’t it feel great!  I am so pleased I gave this subscription service a try, and haven’t been disappointed in the three boxes I’ve received.  This may be the beginning of a longterm relationship!  Have a great week!