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!

 

 

September 26, 2017

Early Autumn Compilation!

 

The Definitive Sign!  Summer is over!

Thursday and Friday of last week I was off from work.  I definitely was not expecting good weather, but was pleasantly surprised on Thursday by the mild, but overcast sky!  We did have to contend with the hurricanes that have graced us with their presence, but certainly not as devastating as many other states.  It is difficult to be grateful for dodging a bullet, when so many others are in crisis!   Yet, even with the unpredictable weather at hand, the beauty of Narragansett Bay is breathtaking.  I wanted pictures of the waves and came back with pics of theses guys!

Awakening on Friday morning, I felt and heard the heat running, the first day of autumn had arrived!  It was certainly a sweatshirt and fleece pant kind of day.  Earlier in the week I had picked up new sweats and paraded around with them all day!  So as I sit and critique the August and September Birchbox products worth mentioning, I must admit these two boxes were heads above what I’ve been sent previously, in the last six 6 boxes.  

August Faves!

amika  Bombshell Blowout Spray

The blowout spray is a heat-protective mist that boosts the hair’s volume and body.  Loved it, left my hair silky and shiny without drying my hair out.

GLAMGLOW® THIRSTYMUD™ Hydrating Treatment

Hydrated my skin, what I liked best about this product was ease of use.  You apply to your clean face, leave on for 10-20 minutes, whip off, and either wash off or massage residual product into your skin.  Ingredient list is impressive, hyaluronic acid, raw honey, and ginger root.

September Faves!

Davines  MINU Shampoo, MINU Conditioner, & MINU Hair Serum

There is nothing negative to be said about these products.  It does the job, and it does it beautifully.  I’ll probably will not purchase these products, only because the price is steep, even though it may be worth it!  

Finally, I think I’ve enjoyed today’s writing experience even more than I usually do, probably because of my comfy clothes that kept me warm today!  I have shut the heat off and am ready to embrace the new season. Have a great week!  

Jeff’s Apple Pan Dowdy

What food plan is this on?

August 29, 2017

benefit sizzlin Six Review!

It’s back to school next week, and Nordstroms Half-Year Sale is behind me!  It was a great time to purchase reasonable beauty sets for a fraction of the price, to try.  The sale coincides with my major cleaning out of all cosmetics & brushes, so I have room to grow! 

I’m going back to work and arming myself with all the tools of my trade, cosmetics being way up on the list.  My makeup camouflages and allows me to feel confident and looking my best, no matter what type of day I’m having.  I constantly adjust my products by season due to climate change and facial requirements.   I know I will continue to use my Clarins Bronzing & Blush Compact and the Becca First Light Priming Filters, into the fall, yet couldn’t resist trying the benefit sizzlin Six set from Nordstroms this season.   There were six products in the set, what attracted me to the set was the inclusion of the mascara that I had previously sampled out of a Birchbox selection and loved.  To bad I didn’t take a closer look at what I was buying, the mascara was not the same but, here are my results of the sampler! 

Stay Don’t Stray is a primer that you apply on eyelids and under eyes. Primers are meant to even out discoloration on eyelids and under eye dark circles. It definitely worked, just as well as my usual product, Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion. Even though the two products yielded the same results, I will change brands even though the benefit product is more expensive because it contains sodium hyaluronate (hydrates) and the Vitamins C & E, which combats the signs of aging.  That’s all I needed to know to jump on board!  I’ll give it a serious whirl and let you know if there is a noticeable difference with the benefit product.                                                                               

The Hoola Matte Bronzer is benefit’s award-winning bronzing powder.  The bronzer was buildable and stayed on all day.  I found the small, non-closable compact a nuisance.  It only contained one natural color that would limit daily wearability for me!  It did not compare to my Clarins Bronzing & Blush Compact.  The flexibility of a bronzer of different shades in addition to a blush, makes Clarins Bronzing & Blush heads above the rest.

Being of a certain age, I remember the rage surrounding the benetint rose tinted lip & check stain.  I hoped on that wagon and thankfully, didn’t purchase the full size.  The results from trying both these cheek and lip stains, were the same, dismal.  I encountered the same challenges with the poisetint as I did with the benetint.  You must work fast when applying the product to your checks, or you will be left with streaks of color.  I couldn’t get used to applying this product on my cheeks and using it as a lip stain, failed, conceptually, I want to love this product, but it just doesn’t work for me.  I think it’s gimmicky!  

benefit high beam is a liquid high lighter that worked beautifully.  It is a long-lasting high lighter that I wore to brighten my complexion.   I liked it, but will continue using  Josie Maran  Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer.

“that gal” brightening face primer they’re Real! mascara were both serviceable products.  The face primer was no better or worse than many other less expensive ones.  The they’re Real! mascara is a lengthening mascara that I applied and re-applied until I looked as if I was auditioning for a position as an exotic dancer.  I do love the benefit Roller Lash Mascara that I previously sampled from the Birchbox.

For the amount of money I spent for this sampler, it was not worth it! I’m easily enticed by advertising, and sometimes it’s a hit or miss.   The only addition from this sampler will be the  Stay Don’t Stray primer, because it contains ingredients which combats the signs of aging.  Have a great week and a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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