Saturday, 25 January 2014

Living Room Options for Val

My friend Val just moved to Austin (tear...) and is setting up a new home. She's bought a dark grey couch (pictured below) and would like a tan rug, but doesn't know what the rest of the room will look like.

I pulled together a few options for her, and the first one is neutral and relies heavily on texture to keep things interesting:

Completely Neutral for Val

Can you believe that the two lamps and the table to the left are from Target?

The second option swings to the opposite end of the color spectrum--very colorful, with pretty pinks and blues are tempered by wood and steel.

Gallery Wall for Val

I like the gallery wall here--some of the artwork leans on a floating shelf, while other is nailed to the wall:

Gallery wall closeup

I want all the artwork!

Then, to play 'Goldilocks,' I made a board with mostly neutral  pieces accented with pretty blues:

Blue with Nature Accents for Val

I like elements of all three! The textures from the first, the gallery wall from the second, and the soothing tones of the third.

What are your favorite elements?

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Etsy Shop Love Hues Eyeshadow Sample Swatches

Remember back when I said I was going to get better about doing my makeup this year? I wasn't kidding. To that end I ordered approximately a bazillion 16 samples from the beautiful Etsy shop Love Hues. 

I couldn't find many reviews online, and loves of the shadows seemed really similar but omgwhatifipickthewrongones so I just ordered samples of....all of them. All my favorites anyway. Let's dive in, shall we?

From left: Amazon's Bow, Mystery, Castle Secrets, and Pretty Little Secrets
(heavily swatched, over primer)

(blended a bit, with no primer)

As you can see from my shitty iPhone shots, they're incredibly similar once swatched, even if they look different in the package. Here's the breakdown:

  • Amazon's Bow: the brownest and darkest of the four, this has a dark copper tint that the others lack. In certain lighting it has a slight gold/green tint. The photo on their site is pretty accurate.
  • Mystery: the lightest of the four, and my favorite. It looks nearly identical to Castle Secrets except a shade or two lighter. It's brown with a subtle pearlescent pink shimmer. The online photo is accurate.
  • Castle Secrets: Mystery's darker twin. It's sliiiightly more golden and less pink than Mystery. I think their photo online is a bit too light.
  • Pretty Little Secrets: Darker than Mystery and Castle Secrets, it's essentially Amazon's Bow but with rose undertones instead of copper. Again, their photo is lighter than in actuality I think.
  • Overall, Mystery is my favorite, although honestly if you just handed me an unmarked sample I probably couldn't tell you the difference between Mystery, Castle Secrets, and Pretty Little Secrets.

From left: Sandcastle, Lunar Muse, Chocolate Marshmallow, Duckling

The breakdown:
  • Sandcastle: this color surprised me by being a rose gold, which it didn't look like in the package. I don't think the photo on their site captures this very well--it looks much more gold than in real life (although my pics don't capture it well either--it looks like the color of rose gold metal).
  • Lunar Muse: this golden shadow is more on the orange spectrum than yellow-gold or pink-gold. It has a very slight green shimmer. Their online shot isn't as orangey-gold as it is in real life.
  • Chocolate Marshmallow: a pretty chocolatey brown, this has a veerrrrrry subtle pink undertone, especially when you sheer it out. I think their pics look more pink than it does in real life.
  • Duckling: I liked this a lot better online than in person. It's a cool-toned taupe but something about the undertones (green, maybe?) make it look a little sickly to me. The third photo they have is pretty accurate.

 From left: Teddy Bear, Spiced Cocoa, Antique Moon, Wonderstruck

The breakdown:
  • Teddy Bear: a dark tan leaning brown, this has the slightest purple hint to it. The pics online are pretty accurate, although they show as a bit more pink/less purple than I think it is in real life
  • Spiced Cocoa: the rosey pink version of Teddy Bear, this is a straightforward dusty pink with no obvious undertones. It looks in person like it does on their site.
  • Antique Moon: A grey-toned dark taupe with a hint of pink, this color needs to be put over primer or it doesn't really show up. The online photos are pretty accurate, especially the ones that aren't so heavily swatched.
  • Wonderstruck: this is a dusty pink in the bag in in shadowed lighting, I was surprised by how this turns bright gold in light and when sheered out. The online photos don't really capture that how gold it is in person.

 From left: Rose Tea, Lightening Storm, Stormy Taupe, The Girl Glows

The breakdown:
  • Rose Tea: I was surprised by the name of this, as I had to look very hard to detect any hint of pink, and only in the shimmer in certain lights--I actually wonder if they put the wrong product in the bag. My sample was a yellow-toned brown and doesn't look like the photos online.
  • Lightening Storm: a bright purple with gold and magenta shimmer, this is a fun and pretty color for those bold souls who like to expand beyond neutrals. The online photos portray it as a grape color, but it's really much more neon/bright than online.
  • Stormy Taupe: this is a cool-toned silver taupe with a forest green sheen. It would make a pretty smokey eye. I don't think the online photos are very accurate, especially the third one. It has a definite green tinge to it.
  • The Girl Glows: pink champagne, this would make a pretty highlighter or for the inner corner of the eye. The online photos capture the color to a certain degree, especially the last fourth one, but I think it's more pink than most of their photos show.

Impressions of the products:
  • If you're looking for suede or matte finishes, this is not the right store for you. If you're looking for interesting, chameleon-like colors that shift in various lighting, this will be right up your alley! These are not glittery per se, but they definitely have shimmer to them.
  • The shadows are really pretty swatched heavily or over primer, but they're equally pretty sheered out. Many of them seem like a different color entirely when worn without primer so they're versatile!
  • I liked the texture of the shadows--very smooth, almost creamy, and very fine unlike some thicker/coarser natural shadows I've used
  • These are all-natural shadows and still achieve really interesting colors
  • I'm still not very good at doing my eye makeup so I'm probably not the best judge of this, but I wore two of these shadows over primer today and they were still on my eyes by the end of the day.
  • I plan to purchase Mystery and Sandcastle and will definitely use up my samples and see if I fall in love with any others.

  • The biggest downside of this shop was that the samples are really, really tiny (see above--the bags were not full either). I'm used to getting shadow samples in baggies about twice that size, so I thought the price was a bit steep for how little product you receive. However, the full-size products are all reasonably priced, so it may be just something you have to suck up to help narrow down your favorites from their impressive and beautiful selection.
Overall, I'm pleased with my purchase and with this shop. Initially when I was looking at their products they didn't have a sample option, but I knew that they used to from reviews I read, so I asked the shop owner about it. She quickly and graciously added the sample option to her shop and was easy to work with.

If you're in the market for some new, interesting, beautiful shadows, I'd recommend checking out Love Hues.

Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Sample Pack Review

Hello all! I have an exciting set of product reviews for your today. Right around the new year I picked up this sample pack from One Love Organics--it's samples of all the products from OLO's collaboration with Beauty Bets' Elizabeth Dehn. I had a hard time finding info on the sample pack itself on the interwebs, so I thought I'd give you all a look at the products and what I think of them!

The ED4OLO sample pack includes: 

Initial impression of the sample pack: The packaging is adorable and the info pamphlet is moderately helpful. It doesn't really include any new information that you can't find on the website, but it's a nice touch to introduce you to the line. The sample sizes are actually smaller than I expected. I ran out of the mist right away--I wish they'd include a larger size of that since I didn't really have enough sample to make up my mind about the product. The eye balm is very concentrated and will probably last the longest of all the samples. I ran out of the cleanser after using it once per day for about 5 days. I'm still using the serum 6 days later and will probably run out in 2 more days or so.

To give you an idea of how much product you receive, here's the cleansing oil before I used it: much I used the first time:

....and how much I had left after initial use. The amount left lasted about 5 more uses.

Thoughts on each product in order from least to most favorite:
  • Vitamin E Eye Balm: I really wanted to love this because of all the positive reviews, but unfortunately I just didn't, for several reasons. Number one: It's SO THICK and gooey that I had to wear it only at night or I felt like my eyelids were sticking together. It doesn't rub in very well, so the oily feeling remains as long as you have it on. Number two: I must be allergic to one of the ingredients, because after I used it several times I started to get eye swelling, watery eyes, congestion, and sleepiness (very similar to my reaction to jojoba oil). I contacted Eco Diva Beauty (a retailer of this pack) to see what may be the culprit and we couldn't figure it out, but the owner Garcy did say that she's never heard that from anyone before--in fact, she said that the biggest feedback she's gotten is that people with very sensitive eyes CAN use this without problems. So I don't think my allergy should be a deterrent to anyone else trying it out. On the positive side, this did provide great moisturize for my eye area. All in all, even if I wasn't allergic to it, I wouldn't purchase this because I don't like the greasy feeling it leaves on the skin, but I've heard that some people apply it right before bed and love it in that context. 

  • Vitamin D Time Release Facial Mist: Like I said above, I don't think I received enough of this product to really get an idea of its benefits. I definitely didn't notice any adverse effects, but I didn't notice any benefits either from my small sample. The sample container does provide a nice, fine mist, not a blast to the face like some spritzers, so that's nice and I've heard the full-size product has a similar fine mist. I'm not the best judge of toners though, so if you are a toner-lover I'd still give this a whirl because you might just love it!

  • Active Moisture Vitamin C Serum: I'm in LOVE with this serum. It has a slightly-thicker-than-oil, more-watery-than-'serum' texture. I spritz my face with a toner or water to dampen my skin, then rub 2 drops of this all over my face. There must be pixie dust or unicorn hair in this little bottle because it's already worked wonders on my skin. It's so moisturizing and my skin tone has evened out noticeably--after only a few days of use! I layer this under my Devita sunscreen and not only have no problems with pilling or makeup application--my products actually apply much nicer because my skin is so smooth and moisturized! Another big bonus in my book: I have dry-but-acneic skin and this doesn't make me break out--score! I plan to purchase this and highly recommend it to anyone with dry skin.
    • EDIT 4-9-14: I bought this about a month ago and was so excited to incorporate it into my skincare routine. Unfortunately, after a couple weeks of using it, my pores became so clogged and my skin broke out like crazy! I'm not sure what caused it, but I stopped using it and am still trying to get my skin to recover :(

  • Vitamin B Cleansing Oil and Makeup Remover: This is my absolute favorite thing from this line and I will 100% be purchasing this, despite the fact that I don't generally ever pay $38 for a cleanser--it's just that good! For starters, from my perspective it is a miracle of science in that it is an oil-based cleanser (read: great at removing makeup and moisturizing the skin), but unlike most products of the oil-cleansing variety you don't have to steam your face with a wet rag to get it off! You just wash it off with water and it turns into a kind of creamy liquid that you can further massage into your face for cleansing benefits. Once I wash it all away, my skin feels clean and moisturized, not at all tight or dry, but it also doesn't feel like it has a film of oil on top like I've experienced with some oil-based cleansers. Wizardry I tell you! This is my new favorite skincare product and I highly, highly recommend it. 
    • EDIT 4-9-14: Like the serum, I purchased this and loved it for a couple of weeks, then started to notice my skin becoming congested (important side note--I didn't buy these products at the same time, so I know that the effects occurred with each product, not one or the other). I used it strictly as a normal cleanser (i.e., rub it on, then wash it off), not like a normal oil cleanser wherein you leave it on your face then remove with a warm cloth. So maybe I'll try that with the 2/3 of the bottle that's left? Or use it in the shower every so often? I'm bummed that this didn't end up working out!
Overall impressions: I am overall really impressed with the ED4OLO line. I'd highly recommend purchasing the sample pack before the full sizes, since I don't plan to purchase the full sizes of every product. I think the sample pack provides enough product to get at least a general sense of each item, though if OLO wants some advice from a random blogger I'd say increase the size of the mist sample. 

Even though I don't plan to purchase the eye balm or mist, I don't see any reason why others wouldn't love those products--they're just not for me. I am planning to purchase the serum and balm and feel that the costs of these products ($68 for the serum, $38 for the cleansing oil) are justified because not only do they work (my skin already looks amazing and I've used them for less than a week), but they have great ingredients and are so concentrated that you need very little product each time. I'm interested to see how long my full-size products last, but I would imagine that in the end the cost of these two products versus the cost of continually replacing my cheaper-but-less-effective former standbys will be about equal.

Another quick plug: after my allergic reaction to the eye balm, I contacted Darcy from Eco Diva Beauty to ask if she had any idea what may have caused the reaction. She quickly forwarded my email on to the owner of OLO, Suzanne LeRoux, who in turn quickly responded to my question of whether any of the ingredients are similar to jojoba oil (since I had an identical reaction). Although we weren't able to figure out what specifically caused my reaction, I was really impressed with both companies at their customer service and would recommend supporting them if you're looking for some natural goodies :)

Anyone else have experience with these products? Any geniuses out there able to figure out why my eyes bugged out (literally...) with the eye balm??!

EDIT 4-9-14: After playing with the full sizes of the serum and cleanser, my assessment is that the kit provides enough sample to get a general feel for the products, but in my experience I needed to use the products a little longer (i.e., needed a larger size) to realize that they don't work for my skin. To be fair, I have very temperamental skin and am constantly fighting simultaneous breakouts and super dry skin (seriously?!?!), so people with normal skin that's not prone to blackheads may really benefit from the products. Just because they didn't work for me doesn't mean they won't work for you!

Did anyone else have problems with these products? I feel like I'm the only one who didn't love them!

Monday, 6 January 2014

An Amateur's Guide to Makeup Brushes

Yesterday I shared some makeup terminology that had me puzzled when I first started reading up on makeup. A second, equally perplexing area of makeup knowledge is makeup brushes.

(image courtesy of Style'n Naina)

How in the hell are there a bazillion different makeup brushes? Can't you just get, like, an eyeshadow brush and a foundation brush and call it good? Use the foam sponge they include in those $3 eyeshadow kits at Target? Apparently not.

Many very talented makeup artists and beauty bloggers have addressed how to make sense of makeup brushes, so here are some great explanations:
  • A succinct explanation of eye makeup brushes and product recommendations can be found here.  
  • A great guide to face brushes can be found here--this guide also notes that, "Natural bristles hold and distribute pigment evenly. Opt for natural bristle brushes when applying anything powdered. Liquids will soak into natural bristles and cause them to clog or degrade. So reach for synthetic bristles when applying foundation or any cream formulas." Thank you Lauren Conrad!
  • A post by Blushing Basics with great explanations of her favorite brushes, what they do, and why she likes them.
  • This post by MaskCara outlines a makeup artist's guide to a basic brush set. Her whole blog is fantastic and very understandable and she's so sweet!
  • This post by Drugstore Princess has visual aids, descriptions of brushes, and various uses. So helpful!
(Image courtesy of Drugstore Princess)

Were you ever in a college class, like chemistry, where the professor's explanation of something complex was essentially nonsensical, but when a peer explained it to you it made perfect sense? That's the theory I'm going on for the rest of this post--that it's sometimes easier to learn about makeup brushes from someone who is, herself, learning about brushes (rather than an expert who is too familiar with the tools to break it down simply enough).

(image courtesy of 15 Minute Beauty)

In my own words, as far as I can tell, here's what various brushes are designed to do:

  • Angled liner brush: a stiff brush with bristles cut on an angle, this brush helps apply gel/cream/powder eyeliners and brow color.
  • Bent liner brush: this brush helps to apply liner directly into the lash line--it's bent for more precise application.
  • Blender brush: helps to blend multiple eyeshadow colors together so there aren't clear lines where one color was applied versus another.
  • Crease brush: bigger than a pencil brush, and designed to get color into your eyelid's crease.
  • Lash brow comb: a two-sided brush, this typically has stiff bristles on one side to brush your brows into place, then a metal or plastic comb on the other side, which can be used to separate eyelashes post-mascara
  • Pencil brush: this brush helps apply color in a specific spot, like your crease or the inner corner of your eye. The bristles are round and tapered into a point.
  • Shadow, or fluff, brush: This is a pretty basic brush used to apply eyeshadow across the lid. Also comes in an angled version to help create an 'outer V'
  • Smudge brush: this looks similar to a shadow/fluff brush but with much shorter bristles. Seems like it's stiffer than a shadow brush and designed to help smudge eyeliner for a smokey eye look or to smoosh a color into your crease area.
  • Spoolie brush: this is essentially the bristles at the end of a mascara wand, only as a separate brush. Used for applying mascara or brushing your eyebrows into place.
  • Straight/flat liner brush: the bristles of this brush are stiff like the angled liner brush but cut straight across rather than on an angle. It's also designed to apply eyeliner or eyebrow powder/cream
A beauty newbie like myself is unlikely to need all of these brushes. I'm thinking I could create most of the looks I have in mind using an angled liner brush, fluff brush, pencil brush, and smudge brush.

(image courtesy of MaskCara)
  • Beauty blender: this isn't actually a brush, but it's used to apply makeup. It's a sponge with pointed and round edges, and you wet it to apply makeup to blend away lines
  • Blush brush: used to apply blush and bronzer. Basically a compact version of a powder brush.
  • Bronzer blush: used to apply bronzer. Fluffy and round, like a blush brush. I honestly don't know the difference between the two?
  • Concealer brush: small flat brush with dense bristles cut into a curve to apply concealer
  • Contour brush: seems like this is a subtype of a powder brush; instead of a round, full brush head this has a tapered edge to help apply contour makeup to the cheek bones, hairline, jawline and temples to create shadows and 'contours' in your face
  • Foundation brush: used to apply liquid/cream foundations to the face, this brush will give fuller coverage than using a stipple or powder brush. Usually flat with a square or rounded, tapered shape to the bristles.
  • Powder brush: used to apply any face powders, but typically powder foundation
  • Stippling/kabuki brush: a flat-topped round brush used to stipple liquid/cream foundations, blushes, and bronzers onto your face/cheeks. There may be a difference between stippling brushes and kabuki brushes but I can't tell. Stipple brushes will give lighter coverage than applying with a foundation brush or powder brush.
Again, I'm unlikely to need all of these brushes, particularly since I rarely use foundation. I'm thinking it would be good for me to start out with a contour brush, concealer brush, and maybe a beauty blender?

So now that I somewhat know what these brushes do, I ordered this set of brushes (at the recommendation of a new favorite blogger Oxana on the Silk Naturals forum) and am excited to start playing with them!

Did you find this post helpful? Any major errors in my interpretation of this crazy brush world?

Sunday, 5 January 2014

An Amateur's Dictionary of Makeup Terminology

This year, in an effort to have more 'me' time, I plan to spend more time getting ready in the morning, both in preparing better breakfasts for myself and also by upping the ante with my skincare and makeup routines. I'm waiting on some makeup and brushes to arrive, so I've started reading beauty/makeup blogs to get an idea of what I'm getting myself into!

The world of makeup can be really intimidating, especially for someone like me who has spent my adulthood just doing the mascara-and-lip-product thing. I find all the beauty tutorials, websites, products, and most of all terminology totally overwhelming! Since even the 'basic tutorials' talk in a foreign beauty language that I'm only slowly learning, I thought I'd explain what terminology is new to me and what I've learned about it in case any of my readers are also similarly baffled!

(image courtesy of Indian Beauty Forever)

Thus, I present to you: A Dictionary of Makeup Terminology: 

  • Contour: to shade the face according to natural shadow lines so as to make your face appear more sculpted/to play up your best features. Usually achieved by using a bronzer or a foundation a couple of shades darker than your natural skintone and applying the product under the cheekbones, forehead, temples, and jawline.  The opposite of highlighting. Another use of 'contour' is to refer to the area of the eye where the eyelid creases. 
  • Crease: portion of the eye where your eyelid folds--essentially where your eyeball meets your skin (aka contour). Another use of 'crease' is when your eyeshadow 'creases,' or falls into your crease in an uneven manner rather than staying put over the entire lid.
  • Cut crease: when you apply a shadow to your lid, then a contrasting (typically darker) shadow just in the eyelid's crease. Used to create a 'higher drama' look. See here for a good example.
  • Dewy: a type of makeup finish to make the skin look hydrated and slightly glowy
  • Duochrome/duo finish: products with multiple colors, especially eyeshadows. So a taupe eyeshadow may be duochrome if it has green and red particles within the taupe shadow.
  • EOTD/FOTD: "Eye of the Day" and "Face of the Day" respectively. Usually accompanied by images/descriptions of how a person did their eye makeup or entire face that day. 
  • Fallout: when eyeshadow, or a particle within an eyeshadow, falls from the eyelid to other parts of your face like your cheeks. Some shadows (like very highly pigmented ones) or aspects of shadows (like glitter or sparkle) are more prone to this than others and require a primer to prevent fallout
  • Foiled eyeshadow: to 'foil' your eyeshadow is to apply it wet. This makes it apply heavier/more opaque and often more vibrantly. Here's a good tutorial on foiling eyeshadow.
  • Full (or medium, or minimal) coverage: describes the degree to which a makeup product, usually foundation or concealer, covers your skin. Full coverage makeup is basically opaque--if you have freckles or blemishes, full coverage makeup will completely cover these. Minimal coverage makeup evens out your skin tone but doesn't address blemishes or major pigmentation issues, while medium coverage makeup is more concealing than minimal coverage but may not fully cover blemishes. 
  • Highlight: use a product that's lighter than your skin tone to brighten up the area, such as the inner corners of your eyes, cupid's bow, bridge of your nose, cheekbones, etc. The opposite of contouring (in which you follow shadow lines to make portions of the face recede), highlighting works to brighten areas where the sun naturally hits your face, bringing them forward visually.
  • Illuminator: I think of illuminators as highlighters with a bit of glow or glimmer or shimmer. 
  • Interference: I can't find a great definition of this, but my understanding is it usually refers to a property of eyeshadows, as in the subtle colors seen within a shadow. Similar to duochrome, only interference doesn't have to be two different finishes. So a taupe shadow could have a purple sheen to it and the purple particles imparting that sheen would be the purple interference.
  • Mineral makeup: makeup made from minerals, typically mica for eyeshadows, and typically in powder form. Mineral foundations and concealers are popular too. 
  • Outer 'V': when doing eye makeup, the 'outer V' is the shape you draw with an eyeshadow on the outside portion of your eyelid; the V is tipped on its side with the point towards your ear, as seen in this post, which gives an excellent description/diagrams of various eye-related terms.
  • Pigments: particles used to give color to product. Highly pigmented eyeshadows are typically very bright or dark and a little goes a long way. Very highly pigmented products tend to have more problems with fallout.
  • Primer: a cream, powder, or liquid that you apply to your skin before applying other makeup like foundation or eyeshadows to make those products stick and last longer. This is particularly important with highly pigmented eyeshadows and helps to avoid your makeup from wearing away or smudging into your eyelid's creases or wrinkles.
  • Stipple: Did you ever do stipple art in elementary school? Grabbed a pen and started dotting your paper to create an image? Same concept here, but with foundation typically. Seems like lots of people use a brush like a kabuki brush to apply their foundation, dotting their face with product until it is well-blended.
  • Suede, shimmer, matte, glitter: descriptions of how shimmery/glittery a product is, typically used to describe eyeshadows. Glitter products are full-on sparkly, shimmer products tend to have smaller reflective particles so have less glimmer than glitter products, matte shadows have no glitter or reflection, and suede shadows are between shimmer and matte (slight reflective properties but not glittery at all).
  • Swatch: to apply makeup for the purposes of demonstrating its color. Like putting a strip of 3 different eyeshadows on your arm to show how they compare to each other.
  • Tightline: applying eyeliner on the underside/between the lashes for a more natural lined eye look.
  • Waterline: the portion of your eye between your lower lashes and your eyeball--the flat area where many women apply eyeliner (others apply it to the lash line itself)

I'll add to this as I come up with more things that are perplexing to my poor makeup-naive mind :) Tune in tomorrow when I talk about another mystifying area of makeup: brushes!

Side note, I'm fully aware that I'll probably look back on this post and laugh one day about how many things I got wrong, so please feel free to chime in via commenting if I am totally off-base somewhere!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Winter Beauty Regimen

It's about time I posted an update to my natural makeup/skincare regimen. These posts seem to be favorites of my readers and it's fun for me to see how my routine evolves with more experience in the natural beauty world. Last winter was the first real season I spent dabbling in natural beauty, and I had some hits and some misses (past winter beauty regimen can be found here). My biggest problem back then was using products that were too drying for my skin. Here are my new picks, which seem to be working better during this dry Utah winter:

Winter Natural Beauty Regimen 2013

(As always, clicking on the image will bring you to the product links)

My routine goes a little something like this:

  • I wash my face with Andalou Naturals Cleansing Milk. Occasionally when my skin is feeling dry I'll use Stark Skincare's Grapefruit Cleansing Balm, but the coconut oil in it makes me break out if I use it too much so it's a day-by-day thing for me. I really like the balm though--it's moisturizing and removes makeup and daily crud easily and well. I wish my skin could handle coconut oil better!
  • After my face is clean I spritz my face with water or random toner, then apply my favorite Badger Balm Damascus Rose Beauty Balm and off to sleep I go!
My routine really is pretty simple. Occasionally I'll use Aztec clay plus apple cider vinegar as a mask, but it's pretty drying so I try to keep that to a minimum. All of my other face masks developed mold over the summer so I'm on the lookout for a new favorite! Any suggestions?

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Resolutions: 2014 edition

Happy new year everyone! Last night I participated in the most mellow NYE celebration in memory--just my man, my dog, and a couple of friends. It was wonderful!

The other day I had fun reflecting on my 2013 resolutions, so I thought I would share this year's goals! Like last year, I'll include actionable goals to make these resolutions more realistic and attainable!

1. As a person: have more 'me' time!
    • At the end of 2013 I started to realize that I no longer do many of the activities I used to love, such as painting, refinishing furniture, and photography. I'd like to spend more time this year doing the things I love
    • Actionable goal: For Christmas I asked for and received a photography class from ShootFlyShoot. Not only will I learn how to better use my DSLR, but I can do the class online with my boyfriend! (see Resolution #2). 
2. As a couple: spend less time on the Internet

  • The bf and I are completely guilty of vegging out next to each other but on our laptops, in our own little web-based worlds. As much as I love relaxing and reading my favorite blogs, I love my boyfriend more and want to spend more quality time with him
  • Actionable goal: no Internet in the bedroom. 

3. As a friend: make new friends!

  • I've lived in SLC for over three years now and have always found it hard to make good friends here. I'm realizing that maybe I just need to put myself out there more and step outside my comfort zone.
  • Actionable goal: Try out events through SheJumps and Meetup. SheJumps is a cool organization whose goal is to get women active in outdoors activities. They have a Clubhouse  you can sign up for which is essentially but for girls trying to meet others with similar interests (you make a profile, post an activity you'd like to do like 'anyone want to go for a hike on Saturday?' and others can connect with you). is a nationwide site where you can join groups with similar interests--I'm in a Spanish language group, a women's hiking group, etc. 
4. As an athlete: increase my core and upper body strength
  • I've been doing physical therapy for hip problems recently and have come to the conclusion that many of my athletic aches and pains could be avoided if I had a stronger core and upper body.
  • Actionable goal: To that end, my boyfriend and I plan to do this 100-pushup workout plan. It starts you at however many pushups you're able to do currently (I'm at about 15) and works up over a 6-week period to 100 pushups. There are also plans for situps, pullups, squats, dips, etc. 
What are your goals for 2014?