Onward and Upward

Hello, hello!

It has been over two months since my last post.

2014 has been riddled with challenges. Not long after the May 1st post, my husband and I learned he would need a second surgery on his eye. Needless to say, we prepared ourselves for another procedure and 10 days of recovery. The surgery went well and recovery was unpleasant but we hoped this would be the last of surgeries for a retinal detachment. Fast forward to July 10th…

The doctor could not get a clear view of my husband’s retina, as common complications like cataracts and an opaque capsule, blocked the view. After an eye ultrasound (yes, they do those), we learned that the retina had started to detach again. We were all devastated by this news. Though we try to to really keep what is good in our lives in perspective, the idea of surgery is still scary and frustrating.

We see my husband’s new doctor on Monday. I do have some blogging obligations that I have to fill within the next week but my posts will still be sporadic.

Keep Calm & Primp On! XOXO

Has Boxes, Will Travel

Hi All!

I apologize for for my absence. I just checked and noticed my last post was almost a month ago. Shame on me! Let me give you the rundown of what’s been shakin’:

-Work has been crazy. The curriculum I have managed to put together in over 10 years of teaching pretty much had to be scrapped and replaced with a fairly scripted system. That means I have to get used to the flow of someone else’s educational vision and create PowerPoint slides, new assessments, all while doing the usual stuff. Thank goodness for my most excellent colleagues- it isn’t easy but we help each other when we can.

-I have been getting my health together. It has been easier than I thought but still has its challenges.

-If you look back to my title you will notice that I mention boxes. My hubs and I will be moving next month to a bigger apartment with a washer and dryer. I cannot tell you how excited I am about the washer and dryer. It is a little sad. We started packing this weekend and will do more packing today since I am off for Columbus Day.

I do have a few posts lined up for the coming week, so stay tuned! I have missed you terribly!

Keep Calm & Primp On! XOXO

Beauty Boxes: A Rant

I am annoyed.

This is not a good feeling to have. I think it started when I got an email from Glossybox opting out of their automatic renewal. Since I will be moving, I figured I shouldn’t have them just renew my subscription. The thing that got me was that they only gave subscribers two days to say “no thanks.” Ugh. But it was that email that sent me down the slippery slope.

There were more. Trust me.

Boxes. Blech.

I ordered one box from Blush.com. The box looked interesting enough. As I waited for my delivery, I received my Glossybox. The contents were pretty good (Sue Devvitt face powder, a Jelly Pong Pong chubby lipstick) but these were higher end products than usual. If you get Glossybox USA, they have sent us some Absolute! products. I want you to know that I have seen these in my local independent beauty supply for under $3 US, with a health warning. Yes, a health warning. I was horrified. Basically, the product is probably made where they don’t care if they add the not so good for you chemicals. And for Glossybox to keep sending their subscribers products from a company that does this really makes me angry.

Not for me.

One. Of many.

Here are some more…

Chubby stick lip stains: Though I like them and use them pretty frequently, I think I got three chubby stick lip stains in two months. Enough already.

Beach Waves Style Spray: Ummm… two full size bottles and one travel size. Why do I fill out surveys asking what type of hair I have, etc, when I never get things good for it?

Don't let this happen to you.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Dry Shampoo: I don’t really have a use for dry shampoo. I can use baby powder if necessary to cut grease.

In the words of Kelly Clarkson: Never again.

In the words of Kelly Clarkson: Never again.

Sunscreen ( especially Coola): After the giant, painful zit incident I will not use it. Ever again. I don’t want leg zits, too.

Self-Tanning Towelettes: Usually I got one in a subscription package. What the heck is one going to do? Maybe, if I combined the five different self-tanners I received, I would have a good glow.

Sunless tanning towelette and a hair tie that can't get wet.

Ignore the hair tie.

Hair Conditioning Treatments: These aren’t so bad. Until you have six small tubes or jars.

After mentioning all of this to my husband, we both figured companies just send out a bunch of samples to these beauty box places and we get them. I understand the goal is for the consumer to try new products BUT we pay for these subscriptions. I really think that the companies need to pay more attention to what the consumer actually needs- not what they have in stock. The other issue is that these companies are sending the same products, sometimes even the same brand.

I said buh-bye to Birchbox and after December, sayonara GlossyBox. I will not order the Blush.com box again, either.

Grrr…

Keep Calm (I’m not, obviously) & Primp On! XOXO

Your Face Will Blow Up!

Last week, a friend and I went into NYC’s Chinatown on a search for a few cool items. I don’t think we were looking for anything in particular but she has a penchant for Korean culture and I figured we might enjoy ourselves and find something new. After walking around a little and finding a chopsticks store, I started to think about The Face Shop and wished I had taken her to Midtown to visit at least one store that was Korean. I turned my head and the street was lit up like Times Square. There was The Face Shop!

After buying some skin care and cosmetics on KollectionK.com, I was happy to look around this store. The store had a lot of light and the saleswomen were helpful. The Face Shop sells everything from hair to skin care and everything in between. The prices were not too high either. I think there were a few over $20, which means if you want to try a Face Shop product, you can on a budget. I bought  a few products, including packet masks and the New Zealand Volcanic Clay Mask Blackhead Heating Gel Mask. I think I paid about $12-$13 US for it at The Face Shop but found it here for $15.99 US.  I was more than happy to give this a try since I suffer from clogged pores. I have huge caverns on my nose and my chin loves to get a few clogs, so a weekly mask is necessary to keep it clean.

Magma?

Magma?

It is suggested that this mask be applied to the nose but I used it all over my face, except for the eye and lip areas. It has a sticky texture but isn’t too difficult to spread on your face. During application, the fragrance was a little overwhelming, though it does fade a bit. If  you don’t or can’t use scented products, I might not try this. The mask has a gray color and warms up really fast. It is a pleasant sensation and I hope that it helps get the pesky plugs out of my face.

Gray in the face.

Gray in the face.

Can you read this?

Can you read this?

When the mask is on your face, it turns from gray to black. The black indicates that the “melting” cycle is done. I did not find it to be the color they have on the packaging but it did get to be a little darker. Removal was easy. I used paper towels and some water and added a little scrubbing action when I washing it off.

The mask did not do this.

The mask did not do this.

Told you!

Told you! This was after about 12 minutes.

What did I think? I liked the mask. The “melting” process was a plus, as it felt nice on the skin and was relaxing. Were my blackheads totally gone? No- but they never go completely away. I used nose strips after I was done with the mask and more were removed than if I were just to do the strips alone. Is it the best mask in the world? I would not say that and there are other masks that I think work better for me but if you want to try a Face Shop product but aren’t sure what to get, I hope this post gives some insight!

Keep Calm & Primp On! XOXO

HYD- Making my Hubs a Product Hoochie

My poor husband. Not only does he have to deal with my crazy, he also has to handle my love of beauty products. When I get bored, I manage to find him masculine grooming products (ahem) that I hope will convert him into a fellow PH. It hasn’t worked yet with the exception of shaving oil from The Art of Shaving. But I digress. A few weeks ago, I joined iFabbo, a company that dishes out beauty products for review. It is a great site for beauty bloggers. I was accepted into the program and went into my sample shop. I wasn’t too interested in what was available for me BUT I noticed a shaving kit by HYD for Men. I was curious and ordered it, figuring he could actually use the items. iFabbo sent the kit complimentary and it contained the three products in the HYD for Men line. The products are full size so my husband will get a number of shaves out of the kit.

HYD for Men!

 

HYD for Men wants men to have an excellent shave, while being environmentally aware and saving you some money. How, you ask? Well, they make Razor Shield,  a product that extends the life of a razor. Looking at the ingredients, it is an oil blend that lubricates the razor. The funny part about it is that the gentleman shaving does not apply Razor Shield to their face. Instead, it is applied directly to the blade after shaving. The extra lubrication keeps the blade from corroding and you get more use out of the blade. Interesting concept. The kit also included the Buffer Stick, which is an exfoliating stick. We all know that it is important to scrub your skin two-three times a week to reveal new skin and in men, help prevent ingrown hairs on their face. Lastly, was the Shave Cream, which helps the razor “glide” over the skin.

Soon to be soft as a baby's...

Soon to be soft as a baby’s…

After using the HYD Shave System for a few days, my hubs gave me the rundown. He is super honest and can be pretty blunt.

Everything on my bathroom sink.

Everything on my bathroom sink.

HYD for Men Razor Shield (5 mL $6.99 US/ 15 mL $17.99 US): “Useless. In this day and age of disposable blades, it is useless. I didn’t find my razor to be any more improved by the Razor Shield. The blade still dulled over time. It would have been better if it was dispensed with a different pump or spray. You just kind of pour the oil on. Even still, I don’t like it but it would improve the product.”

Save your razor.

Save your razor.

HYD for Men Buffer Stick ($24.99 US): “Jury is still out on this one. If it does what it says it does, I’ll like it. After a few uses, I’m still not sure.” (Mind you, I got my hubs on St. Ives Apricot Scrub and…) “The Apricot Scrub probably does a better job. It (the Buffer Stick) helps. I got a good shave and I’m not sure how long the stick is going to last. I don’t think it is very cost effective as a replacement for a scrub.” (That he knows I have a million scrubs in the house anyway…)

Scrub-a-dub-dub

Scrub-a-dub-dub

HYD for Men Shave Cream ($12.99 US): “I liked it. It went on smooth and had a cool, refreshing feel to it. It worked well. I shaved today and put a thin layer on and a layer of my cheaper shaving cream and got a good shave. It isn’t as foamy as things out of a compressed can but it improved my shave. I also liked that I didn’t need a brush.”

Creamy.

Creamy.

Soft & Smooth

Soft & Smooth

Would you purchase anything from the HYD line?: “I would buy the shave cream. Still on the fence about the Buffer Stick but probably not and the Razor Shield is a no.”

My husband does enjoy the products, particularly the shave cream and it is at a lower price point than other higher end shaving products. One thing I noticed on the website was this, “SMOOTHER FACES: A face so smooth, women won’t be able to keep their hands off you.” Do I like touching my husband’s freshly shaven face? Of course. But maybe some men that would use HYD Shave Products don’t have romantic relationships with women.

Hmmm....

Hmmm….

It’s 2013- maybe the wording should be changed to, “A face so smooth, a certain someone won’t be able to keep their hands off you.” Adding a picture of a man and a woman would be okay but by using the word “women,” it really implies that the products are geared towards heterosexual men.

And you know I’m going to shave my legs with this.

If you want your man to try HYD for Men, I have a deal for you! Click here to visit HYD for Men and enter promotion code SAVE20 for 20% off your entire purchase! Not a bad deal. A special shout out to #hydformen and iFabbo for keeping the hubs clean shaven!

Keep Calm & Primp On! XOXO

I’m Baaaa-aaaack!

Hi all! Sorry that I have been a bit inattentive. It wasn’t on purpose- unfortunately, my grandfather passed away. He had been ill for quite some time and was 86 (!) but that does not make it any easier. I was very fortunate to know him for 33 years. Pretty amazing.

My grandfather and I dance at my wedding, July 2011.

My grandfather and I dance at my wedding, July 2011.

But onto living! I have a few things lined up for the week but I want to tell you a bit about my new adventure- guest blogging for the Moody Sisters! The Moody Sisters create all natural skin care for EVERYONE. The blog launched today and it is managed by Dorene over at http://www.loveanela.wordpress.com.  I will posting every Thursday about my adventures in  trying to go (somewhat) green! Stop by the Moody Sisters Blog right now!

Keep Calm & Primp On! XOXO

If Looks Could Kill!

Top- the box and best name ever. Left:  the cute jar that looks awesome in my make-up case. Right: the product view through the jar.

Top- the box and best name ever. Left: the cute jar that looks awesome in my make-up case. Right: the product view through the jar.

Kill is my favorite word. I don’t want to scare you, my pretties, but I have used this word for years in many different contexts. I think it has positive and negative meanings and I think the word is used appropriately when discussing Giorgio Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow. Armani Beauty had an excellent deal last week- I believe 20-25% off purchases over $75. I always wanted to try the Armani cosmetics line but always deemed them too expensive. With the discount. I figured I’d order a few carefully selected items, one of which was the Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in #3 Purpura.

The eyeshadow has a kind of squishy texture. According to the Armani Beauty website, it is neither powder nor cream, rather a hybrid. I was a little confused, so I just applied it with my finger. I didn’t go too heavy, as I was unsure how strong the color would be. I was only going out to a local pub and then dinner, so it was a jeans and sweater night.

Clockwise from left: the very impressive looking shadow, swatch with flash, swatch without flash, my eye closed without flash. Center: I'm watching you.

Clockwise from left: the very impressive looking shadow, swatch with flash, swatch without flash, my eye closed without flash. Center: I’m watching you.

From the above picture, the eyeshadow looks gorgeous. It errs on a more bluish purple and the gold flecks just add some oomph! On the eye, it has a nice sheen and it isn’t very shimmery so it does not look chalky.

What I Did:

-Applied ELF Eye Primer to my lids.

-Dipped my finger into the shadow pot and starting from the inner corner of my eye, swiped it across my lid. Repeat.

-I extended the color a bit into my crease.

-Applied a generous coat of Maybelline‘s Falsies Mascara.

The Final Look

The Final Look

Mind you, I have no other color on my face. I think this look is pretty but of course, there is a downside.

Maybe I should not have primed, but I was only out about three hours and the color had faded before I got home. Not priming is pretty much against the Product Hoochie code so I thought it would be better than fine. Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow claims to have 24 hour color wear, be crease proof, flake proof, and water proof. This was not the case. I might try to apply it wet the next time I use it- that may make the color more vibrant. I also will forgo  the primer, which I will find very difficult.

Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow is $32 US. It is way more than I would normally spend and I doubt I will again. What is your favorite or go to eye look?

Keep Calm and Primp On! XOXO

Champagne Bubbly Nails!

A few weeks ago I got a bottle of Nailtini polish in “Millionaire.” I thought it was cute but it went into the polish box for later use. After seeing so many great nail blogs, I got a little inspired. Let me start by saying my nails are a mess. I stopped by my favorite beauty supply store- it’s my secret trove- to buy some good nail hardener. I’ve tried it all and I really needed something that would moisturize my cuticles and something to help my nails stop peeling. I ended up with Ruby Kisses Vitamin E and Lemon Extract Cuticle Oil and Nail Tek Intensive Therapy. As soon as I got home, I cleaned up my cuticles and applied the oil and hand moisturizer (nothing fancy). I let that soak in all afternoon. I applied some more again and re-moisturized my hands. Once I had enough of my oil dripped fingers, I washed my hands and swiped my nails with polish remover from Sephora.

Ruby Kisses Cuticle Oil and it smells like lemony goodness.

Ruby Kisses Cuticle Oil and it smells like lemony goodness.

I started with a coat of Nail Tek Intensive Therapy. It is pretty thin and I applied it pretty quickly. I waited a few minutes then applied two coats of Wet ‘n’ Wild Megalast Salon Nail Color in Deadly Dose. It is a really pretty gold and I was hoping it would be very metallic. Much to my displeasure, though pretty, it didn’t pack enough heavy metal for me. I added another coat of the Intensive Therapy on top, figuring I would eat dinner and then decide if I would add some glitter.

Not so intense gold

Not so intense gold.

That’s when I decided I needed a drink, and not the kind that I would imbibe. I grabbed Nailtini Millionaire from my polish box and said, “Eh! What the heck!” I applied one coat, took a look, and applied another coat. Millionaire added more of a glittery gold punch, plus some teal tinsel. Hence, the name Champagne Bubbly was born! It kind of reminds me of popping bottles on New Year’s while throwing sparkly confetti through the air. I topped it off with Nails Inc. Caviar Topcoat. It dries in 45 seconds. Really.

Nailtini Millionaire and Nails Inc. Caviar Topcoat

Nailtini Millionaire and Nails Inc. Caviar Topcoat

What do you think?

Don't be jealous of my gray sweatpants. The top picture is without a flash, the bottom with.

Don’t be jealous of my gray sweatpants. The top picture is without a flash, the bottom with.

Keep Calm and Primp On! XOXO

Peel off that Dead Skin!

I love to exfoliate. I love, love, love it. There is nothing like shedding that old skin off like a snake- hisssss! and bringing that newer skin to the surface. You see, ever since I hit my 30s, I feel like I’ve lost some of my natural glow and vibrancy. My skin just isn’t as radiant. As one of my dear friends would say, “Le sigh.” Over the summer I bought Caudalie’s Vinoperfect Enzymatic Peel Masque after trying it at the PH event at Brooklyn Make-Up Studio. It really brightened my skin and made me feel like a new woman. Unfortunately, it has been lost in the Bermuda Triangle of my bedroom. I will find it… soon I hope. In the meantime, I have some samples of some AHA skin masks. (Every time I see AHA, I think of the lotion from the 1980s when I think people got smart to how good they are.) I dug out the baby tube that I got from my Barneys‘ gift in September. It is REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask. It’s $55 for a 50 ML bottle and it is sold out on the REN site. Sephora carries it on their site, so if you’re interested you can check it out over there. Scurrying along…

This stuff is supposed to renew my complexion, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and make me more radiant. Let’s see…

This is the before. (Pretty... BLECH!)

This is the before. (Pretty… BLECH!)

I just realized how much I miss the little summer glow I get. What the heck is this? And I have to thank my Sicilain great grandfather for the schnoz. Thanks, Nonno,

I started by squeezing the tube. You can do this from the top, as from the bottom of the tube makes you miss all the precious product  in the top. (Note the sarcasm. Someone once told me how a couple squeezes a tube of toothpaste will tell you if you will stay married. Hmmmm…)

It says there might be a slight tingle. I hope so!

It says there might be a slight tingle. I hope so!

I started to apply. It was pretty thin, orange, and reminded me of marmalade. It was a little sticky but it wasn’t terrible to apply. I managed to spread it all over my face without any issues. The tube warns that it might tingle but I had no burning sensation. I was hoping for one, but such is life.

Orange marmalade? Nope- it is indeed the mask. That's me after I've applied it.

Orange marmalade? Nope- it is indeed the mask. That’s me after I’ve applied it.

The mask stayed on for ten minutes. I might have gone a little over but I wasn’t irritated. I removed it with a wet cloth. Below is me after. I tried to look angelic. I’m not sure how well that worked out.

Soft as a baby's...

Soft as a baby’s…

Looking at this again, I am noticing the start of crow’s feet. God help me. Laugh lines, too. Is this an FML moment?

The verdict: REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask seems pretty good. It isn’t my Caudalie mask, as I didn’t notice extreme improvement in my skin’s condition. I have another use in the sample, so I will give it another try. It doesn’t help that my skin is temperamental this time of year.

What do you do for your skin in the winter?

Keep Calm and Primp On! XOXO

October GlossyBox: Spa Luxe 2012

Since I am already awake (ugh), I figured I would do post on the GlossyBox I received yesterday. Though I love GlossyBox, the shipping is less than desirable. I had to email them- they just send them out so late! Anyway, my box arrived and as usual, I tore that thing open. Here is what I got:

October Glossy Box: Spa Luxe 2012

Alterna Bamboo Luminous Shine Mist: Every cosmetics company seems to be using the word “luminous” lately. I happen to like the Bamboo line and was happy to see this “deluxe sample” (another set of words used a lot lately. I don’t understand this concept- I need to use a product a few times to decide if I like it. Those silly packets don’t let you do that. We should get deluxe samples all of the time. Just sayin’.) This sample is .85 FL.OZ./25 ml.  It smells a little alcohol-y but that doesn’t usually bother me, except that means it might be drying. I’m not one for shine mist but it’s good to keep around. A full sized bottle (4 OZ) is $22.00. I’ll let you know when I try it.

http://www.sephora.com/bamboo-luminous-shine-mist-P285154?skuId=1333517

Nastassaja Skin Enzyme Facial Peel: I love peels. I really do and since I can now do enzyme peels at home, I am happy. I find they really do make a difference. I can’t wait to  try this one. I got a .25 OZ sample (Boo!!!) but this one has papain (papaya enzyme). I think it also has scrubbing action and I love that because it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. A 2 OZ jar is $40. Here is the link:

http://www.nastassjaskin.com/products-page/peel

Kryolan Blusher, Alterna Bamboo Luminous Shine Mist, and Nastassaja Skin Enzyme Facial Peel

Kryolan for GlossyBox Blusher in Glossy Rosewood: Kryolan is a professional cosmetics company used in theater, film, and television. I have heard of them but they aren’t very mainstream yet. Their site is fun to explore because they have a lot of pigmented stuff! This color is exclusively for Glossy Box and is full sized. It is a cream powder. I’ll give it a try and keep you posted. Kryolan Blusher is $9.00 for 2.5g. (Picture is above)

http://www.kryolan.com/en/index.php?mnu=1

Heartland Fragrances Exfoliating Loofa Soap: There was an overwhelming smell of peppermint when I ripped opened my box. I was slightly disappointed because I hate getting mints in a box that is supposed to be cosmetics but was excited when I saw this soap. Hand poured, the bright green is reminiscent of lime hard candy. The loofa is in the soap and though I’ve seen this before, it just makes it look like a summery and fun slice of fruit. A 6 OZ. bar is $8.00. This link will take you to the peppermint bar, but there are a lot of different soaps on the site! Check it out!

http://www.heartlandfragrance.com/product/peppermint-exfoliating-loofa-soap/

MODELCO Lip Duo Lipstick & Ultra Shine Lip Gloss in Dusk and Striptease (GlossyBox Exclusive): This is another full sized product. The lipstick is a dark nude and the gloss is a shimmery light peach. I love two-in-one products- more room in my bag! You can wear these together or apart. A bonus is the lip-sized mirror that is on the tube connector. Retail is $39.00

Heartland Fragrance Soap above and below. ModelCo LipDuo in the middle.

Here is a referral link to GlossyBox. http://www.glossybox.com/referal?CI=MTkwNjk=

Eventual reviews in the works. I need to get on the tutorial train, too!

Primp On! XOXO