Monday, December 29, 2008

Thanks, Allure!

I honestly thought all those Allure magazine free give aways were fake (I've never known anyone to win) but I still entered them fairly often this summer. And guess what?

That's right.I actually won something! An unmarked package came in the mail for me today. I had no clue what it was but ripped it open nonetheless and....

Tada! A Matrix Biolage Freeze Fix Hair Spray! Ha, not incredibly exciting but a nice product. It retails for around $14 and I just picked up a new flat iron so this should come in handy. I'm definitely entering more Allure contests now.

And best of all...

It's recycable! ;)

Just wanted to share. Be sure to keep an eye out for my next post where I review The Makeup Manual by Bobbi Brown (with pictures). Happy beautifying!

Friday, December 26, 2008

All She Wants Is A Little Credit

Looking to do some window shopping in the year? Take a sneak peek at the new film, starring Isla Fisher of I Heart Huckabees, Wedding Crashers and many other recent films:

Confessions of Shopaholic opens February 13, based on the novel by Sophie Kinsella. Rebecca Bloomwood is a young fashionista, drowning under huge debt accumulated by her shopping habit. Revealing just how beauty bug bitten she is, Bloomwood says, "You know that thing when you see someone cute and he smiles and your heart kind of goes like warm butter sliding down hot toast? Well, that's what it's like when I see a store." Ironically enough, she takes a job at a financial journalist and hilarity/shoe throwing ensues. It sounds like a reverse The Devil Wears Prada with a love interest as well.

Check on the trailer on Youtube

The screen caps below indicate this romantic comedy will contain plenty of drool worthy ensembles:

Anyone else spy the Sephora bag in Miss Shopaholic's hand?

Even more blog worthy is the fact that Too Faced is introducing a palette inspired by the film. It's an Ulta exclusive, priced at $29.50. It contains the whole nine yards: face, lip, and eye products. The book is, of course, girly and glamorous. The products are quite small in person so this would be a great buy for those new to Too Faced products, as a travel palette, or a gift for a beauty loving friend.

Heard any buzz on some more beauty inspired films coming out in the new year?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How To: Remove and Prevent Blackheads

There's a little something that plagues most of us with skin woes. Blackheads. Most of us know how to treat the every day pimple but blackheads are much more difficult. I've devised my own routine for removing and preventing this annoyingly stubborn spots.

First, you'll need to understand what a blackhead is (feel free to scroll down to skip to my method of extraction):

Blackheads are a precursor to acne (think of how many times you've found a pimple the next morning after spotting a clogged pore). A blackhead is essentially a clogged pore, created by excessive oil production. The oil turns black when exposed to air, which gives them their nasty color. Blackheads are also created by dead skin cells accumulated in pores mixed with building oil production.

But all we really know is that we want to get rid of them, right?

So here goes my blackhead extraction method. It's clean and simple.

You'll need:

  • A sink basin
  • Wash cloths
  • A black head extracting tool* (I've attached photos of these tools). They can found in drugstores (I bought mine in Rite-Aid) or even Ulta. I prefer to use the smaller loop end because I find it encloses the black head fully and easily "loops away" excess)
  • Soap free cleanser (optional but recommended)


1) First steam your face with hot water. I usually fill my bathroom sink basin with hot water and lean over the basin for a few minutes until my pores feel opened.

2) Next, if you're doing this removal for someone else, place two hot (but not scalding) wash cloths on her face. Otherwise, you can skip this step unless you have particularly resistant pores.

3) Retrieve a clean blackhead removal tool. I prefer to use the loop end. You can alternate or use the opposite end if you wish. Press down on affected areas. The blackhead should quickly "pop". Use the loop to clean away any excess. Clean with a damp wash cloth.

4) Repeat this steps. If the blackhead does not quickly loosen, do not press down further on the area. Do not scratch or poke at this area. Leave it alone or you'll risk the chance of scarring and/or infection. You can place a loosening mask such as the Mint Julep Mint Mask over stubborn areas and try removal again after rinsing the mask off with hot water.

5) It may help to slightly squeeze areas for an easier removal. Be sure not to sure your nails.

6) After you've successfully removed everything, wash your face with cold water to close your pores and soothe the skin. I prefer to do this removal at night as the face may remain red. Be very gentle with your skin after removal. I generally follow up with a gentle soap free cleanser and forgo topical treatments for the evening. Absolutely do not use a cleaning astringent (it will burn horribly--trust me!)

Always make sure to clean your tools and to use different tools (ie. don't share, ew!) for different people.

Now that you're black head free or nearly so, how do you stay that way?

First and foremost, I recommend visiting a dermatologist if possible. They can give you professional advice for your specific skin type. They may prescribe anti-biotics to be taken orally, which have done wonders for my skin. What I recommend is just that--a recommendation. Please consult your dermatologist first if you have one.

Salicyclic acid, a BHA, can help ease blackheads by causing the skin to shed, thereby lessening the chance of clogged pores (See the Neutrogena Scrub below for an example). I use Brevoxyl face wash, which contains benzoyl peroxide (another great blackhead/acne fighting ingredient)and its accompanying soap free cleanser. You can also find drug store skin care brands with benzoyl peroxide, such as Cetaphil.

Most of us also know to use a scrub to remove dead skin and thereby, preventing clogging. I prefer Neutrogena's Oil Free Acne Wash Daily Scrub. You don't have to pay a lot for a scrub and this one gently exfoliates without stripping your skin.

Retionids are also useful. Retin-A is simply amazing its its ability to speed up cell turn over and preventing excessive oil production. You MUST see a dermatologist to use this product. It takes time and patience to work as well as medical advice.

Masks and pore strips can also be helpful. As mentioned above, I prefer the Mint Julep Mask by Queen Helene. It's quite inexpensive and can also be used as a topical treatment for pimples. It loosens up blackheads for extraction and removes superficial ones. I am not a huge fan of pore strips--they often leave an icky residue and irritate the sensitive skin around my nose. They are worth a shot for superficial blackheads, however, and are readily available at drug stores.

Also be sure to keep your hair clean and off your face as this can aggravate skin problems. And always, always wash off your make up before bed!

I hope this helped. Black heads are so aggravating but can be combated with patience and trial and error of various techniques!

Let me know what you think of these tips by responding with a comment below. Do you have another method? Please share!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Saving for a Rainy Day

If you're like me, rain can put a damper on your day. I usually grudgingly tread to class through the puddles, trying not to resemble a wet dog too closely. But today at Hallmark (of all places) I spied some fantastic galoshes. I know these would put a huge smile on my face and others' on a rainy day. Enjoy!

Western Chief Rain Boots-

Are these not the cutest rain boots you've ever seen? They come in a variety of styles--separated in "Splashy Prints" like polka dots and stripes and "Characters" like frogs and dalmatians. They are also some nice solids as well. Prices range from $20 to $59.95. Patterns like the polka dots are easily duped by Target brands but I definitely recommend the more unusual styles.

Here are my favorites:

Sadly, the adorable horse print is pretty hard to find but you can find some on ebay or other discount sites. The Western Chief website for women's rain boots is:
I would definitely google your desired style and check out ebay, amazon, and for a cheaper deal.

Do you have any Western Chief rain boots or a particular favorite brand for galoshes? Let me know!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cougars. Meow.

Me. Ow.

I was trying to come up with fun blog ideas and it hit me: what's the number one most fascinating new development in pop culture? The cougar. Sure, Mrs. Robinson has been around for awhile but cougars, those are a new breed. Cougars conjure up a completely different image that makes Mrs. Robinson look meek and milk. Predators hunting for their prey, not with razor sharp teeth and a husky growl (well, actually...) but with the following accessories:

(In no particular order)

5. A tan. Not just any ordinary healthy glow, but a deep burnt orange color, perfected only by years of sun worshiping in the glorified tanning bed. The cougar usually gives off a powerful coconut tanning oil scent, lingering long after she makes me attack. A crumbly bronzer compact and shimmering body spray are but added weapons of mass destruction.

(Picture from the upcoming movie Bride Wars, which I'm not so secretly dying to see)

4. Speaking of mass destruction, no cougar is complete with a set of powerful devices: "augmented" breasts. No longer continue with an old-fashioned boob lift, these puppies must be lifted to mythic proportions, bolted on firmly, and stretched to the size that would make Pamela Anderson jealous. A tummy tuck often follows to ensure that the 26 whittled waist accents the 42 inch bust line on a 5'3 frame.

(Not sure who this woman is--apologies to her family and dress-maker).

3. Looking for just the thing to emphasize your tiny-ness while proclaiming you've got the best money can buy? Look no further, cougar. The Hummer is your car of choice. Sure, you're not exactly navigating through jagged terrains or high altitudes, but that Target parking lot is scary enough. Wouldn't want Grandma in the Corolla to get the wrong idea and steal your prime sparking spot. Rear view not included since you won't be using it anyway. Just cross your fingers and hope you don't mow down any unsuspecting strangers outside Kirkland's. Feel free to exchange any other mirrors or turn signals for a Route 44 Diet Coke from Sonic or an over-sized sunglasses case.

(*Matching mani and pedi not included with sticker price).

2. Let's get back to practical matters. No cougar would be compete without her stunning visage. Years of hard partying and yo yo dieting don't matter when you've got botox to freeze your forehead and lipo to alter gravity. Number one rule of a cougar: if it ain't broke, fill her up! Trout pouts are essential to the cougar's allure, layered with Victoria's Secret newest plumping lip gloss. Feel free to mix and match various products from the Wet n Wild line you've been using since tenth grade.

(Yes, that is a real person. Kim Bryant of The Real Housewives of Orange County AKA Cougar Diaries)

1. What cougar would be complete without her mane? A bleach blonde weave is necessary to attract men from behind (tight white jeans also come in handy). Roots are no problem as long as the hair extends far past the shoulders, often in varying shades of flaxen. Brunette extensions are acceptable too but must be paired with highlighting or a monotone effect. The weave is the perfect accessory to deflect men from noticing your mutton dressed as lamb appearance. Who needs age appropriate-ness when you've got Jessica Simpson's Clip 'N' Go Line!

(See Kim Zolciak of The Real Housewives of Atlanta on the left).


Favorite Non Cougar:

Diane Lane: Who doesn't love her? Well, besides that guy she's divorcing...

Favorite Cougar: Mostly because she is the craziest woman on the planet and can't give up the fact that she's no longer 20 years old. Also has the best damn trout pout any fisher man has ever set sights on.

Holiday Goodtidings :)

Major Makeup/Beauty Lemmings:

It's Christmas time...the time of giving and receiving, my friends. Since I've got my all my Christmas shopping done (except for my pups!) here's a list of what the beauty junkie in me will be dreaming of come Christmas Eve:

1. Urban Decay Sustainable Shadow Box

This gorgeous palette contains 10 UD eyeshadows and a mini version of their Primer potion in an eco friendly box. Pretty make up + artsty box + environmentally friendly makes for a happy MC. I am pretty darn sure I'm getting this beauty (Ok, I was in Sephora with my mom when she bought it...) and can't wait to experiment with the colors. I've always loved UD--they're really geniuses at marketing when it comes to attracting young, artistic buyers who want cool edgy not scary edgy.

2. Burberry Brit Perfume

Stye and size wise you really can not beat Burberry when it comes to perfumes. I'm trying to branch out on my fragrances. I usually do a sheer body splash or Escada's Into the Blue by day(which people are obsessed with...hello Marshalls) and Lancome's Tresor by night. Hopefully I'll be calling a Burberry Or just a Burberry perfume in general. They all smell amazing to me except for The Beat (too bad b/c I loved the ad campaign for that scent) and the packaging in divine. This perfume could be my newest love potion :)

3. Ugg Cardy Knit Boots

I know it's fashionable to hate Uggs but damn, these boots are cute. I love the versatility of being able to wear them pulled up or folded over combined with a classic knit style. The buttons are precious and boots just make me happy. Ugg's are ridiculously hard to find during the Christmas season (Neiman Marcus and the like limit buyers to four per household..ha). Hope to find some under my Xmas tree!

4. Gorgeously Green: Eight Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Lifestyle by Sophie Uliano

Not strictly a beauty product/purchase but definitely a handbook to appreciating natural beauty. I have been bitten by the green bug. It's a "trendy" cause but I've always secretly (or not so secretly to my close friends and family) natural sciences, the environment, and animals. I recently went vegetarian (I'm an animal with it) and wanted to decrease my carbon foot print.

5. ASPCA Membership

Ok, this one really doesn't fit the list. But like I said, I LOVE animals. I know some people think it's kooky but I just feel that animals are to be treasured and admired. As humans, I feel people should be the voice for animals. This doesn't mean adopting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle but it DOES mean respecting other creatures and in turn, your fellow man. I get hyper passionate about this subject. In general, just do good :) Makes the world go round a little better for everyone.