Closing the Waist Gap

Calling all smaller-waisted girls with a curvy bootay! If you’re like me, you hate shopping for bottoms – jeans, capris, shorts, trousers. Nothing ever seems to fit right.

[Disclaimer: I debated for awhile whether I wanted to include pictures. I mean, it was kind of uncomfortable taking pictures of my butt from different angles with intention of posting them on the internet. But, in the end (heh), I decided to include them because I know that I personally appreciate seeing pictures rather than just reading about how great something fits. I understand all bodies are different, so I thought the pictures could give you a better idea. Please don’t judge me and my round toches (that’s Yiddish for bum; pronounced took-us). Thanks!]

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s continue.

The size 2s (or 3/4s in some brands) fit great around the waist but everywhere else feels restricted. These could be my laying down and not moving pants because that would probably be the only activity (or lack thereof) that I could reasonably do in them.

If I get a pair of 4s (or 5/6s in some brands) to fit my butt’s circumference, there is that huge annoying gap either in the front or in the back because my waist is too small. Why must I always wear a belt to actually keep the extra junk in the trunk?

And wearing belts all the time for functionality rather than fashion gets really uncomfortable. Not to mention it always makes for a lumpy midsection. Exhibit A: I am in the center of the picture and my belt is extremely obvious. Side note: aren’t we cute?silly IV girls

Plus, because of my round derrière, I can’t get low-rise pants because I don’t quite feel like flashing everyone if I drop something and need to bend down. And don’t even think about sitting down. However, when I go for mid-rise, the jean designers put the pockets so high that my butt looks like it’s half-way up my back.

Not cute. Or anatomically correct.

On top of this, I am a little taller than what off-the-rack jeans in my size usually come in; I’ve bought size 7s in the past just to compensate for my height and then always needed a belt because they were 2-4 sizes too big! So I usually go for the jeans that come in different size and length combinations, going for regulars or longs depending on how they fit. And it’s frustrating because these are the pants that are never on sale!

Can you say first world problems?

Seriously, this makes me want to go around pant-less. all. the. time. But that is not considered acceptable in this part of the world. Although I have seen some questionable outfits worn by girls here in New York City: Shorts so short I see butt cheeks. Leggings worn as pants without a long shirt to cover the bum. And I saw one girl running down Broadway wearing a skirt with a see-through overlay…the non-see-through layer was mid-thigh length and the overlay was floor-length…except when she was running, she was holding up the skirt so she didn’t trip…which is smart, except she was also holding up the bottom layer…so she was totally exposed…and she was totally wearing a thong. But that’s a whole different issue.

So since it’s not my style to go without bottoms, I usually just suck it up, continue to try-on jeans, and hope to find a pair that I could deal with for an entire day, uncomfortable no matter which size I choose. Then, once I’m out of grad school, I’ll consider moving to a nude beach or somewhere that’s too hot to wear pants. all. the. time.

I know there are some brands that sell jeans made for curvy women. The problem? Well, to be blunt, as a graduate student I’m not willing to pay a lot for a pair of jeans. I’m looking at you Levi’s Curve ID (ranging from $50 to $100) and Eddie Bauer’s Stayshape jeans ($70-$80), to name a couple.

Arizona flare, Arizona skinny, dENiZEN modern boot cut
Arizona flare, Arizona skinny, dENiZEN modern boot cut

I haven’t bought jeans in over a year, so I’ve been relying on the same 4 pairs of jeans (2 flare, 2 skinny), and it’s frustrating. I have to wear a belt with all 4 of them because of the stupid waist gap occurrence.

The other day I went to Target to grab a couple things. I figured I’d look at the jeans (just look, seeing as there’s no way I would possibly find jeans that work with my body) and maybe try some stuff on. I tried modern fit, slim fit, and curvy fit. And hated them all for different reasons.

Slim fit did not give enough coverage when I bent over. Modern fit was okay, but there was that damn waist gap, even though everything else fit nicely. Curvy fit is made for girls with a little more everywhere – it doesn’t work with slimmer waists. So isn’t that just plus size? But, I digress.

AND THEN! I found a great gem. Enter dENiZEN (that’s how the brand is written, don’t ask me why) Essential Stretch Modern Boot Cut Jeans. These jeans are from Levi’s. And they’re stretchy. And they’re only $27.99!

Arizona flare, dENiZEN modern boot cut
Arizona flare, dENiZEN modern boot cut

They aren’t jeggings but they feel amazing. I got a size 4 Medium; the 4 Long was excessively long. [Update: I think I would grab a Long version of these if I were to purchase another pair. I have a 33-34″ inseam and I like my pants to be a bit long; numerous washing and drying has shrunk them in length a bit, so I would definitely go for the 4L next time.] I don’t need a belt with them, and they don’t cut the circulation off in my butt or thighs. Plus, they aren’t like some mid-rise jeans that come to my belly button and make my butt look weird. It’s a win-win!

This brand does come in a skinny jean style, but I didn’t like how they fit. They’re still stretchy, but the legs were a bit tight at the bottom. I’m not a skin-tight skinny jean gal. I am so glad I found these, and (bonus!) just in time for Back To School shopping. [Update: I’m pretty sure they’ve fixed the skinny jeans style because I now own two pairs and LOVE them!]

Not only do I like the way they fit and look on me, but I wore them to work one day and my female coworker told me my butt looked great! Plus, Tom likes them too! Approval from both sexes. Score!

Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse – Skincare Series

If you haven’t heard of Nuxe, I would suggest you look into it. This brand originated in France and holds three core values – nature, performance, and sensuality. Sounds good to me!

Nuxe has multiple lines of products, each dedicated to a different skin category. For example, they have the Crème Prodigieuse* line that targets fatigued and dull skin. The Nuxuriance line is targeted to mature skin while the Crème Nirvanesque is formulated for those experiencing their first expression lines. So Nuxe is really great for targeting your personal skin issues.

[* for those of you who don’t know French outside “yes”, “hello”, “thank you”, and counting to ten (like me) that is pronounced Pro-dih-joo. Except the j is not as harsh as we Americans would say a j. I took Spanish for 11 years, so I’m still shocked at some of their letter combinations vs. pronunciations.]

Not only do they have multiple lines, but also each line has a product for everything you want for your face. There’s also a whole line of face washing products infused with rose petal water and even a men’s line!

These products are a bit on the pricey side if you are buying them anywhere but France. I was shocked to find that it costs about 5 times more to purchase these products here in the States than it does in France. So if you’re planning a trip to France, you could totally score a great deal! If you want to plan a trip just to snag said great deal, I have a feeling that the travel expenses kind of outweigh the savings of the skincare products.

Anyway, I want to focus on the Crème Prodigieuse day and night creams. These creams are so wonderful if you want a little extra TLC for your face after a long day at work or a long night that you didn’t sleep well.Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse

The day cream comes in two formulations: one for dry to very dry skin and one for normal to combination skin. Nuxe really understands that not all skin types are the same, not just age-wise but also dryness-wise.

This anti-fatigue moisturizing cream is infused with the blue everlasting flower which, “to protect itself from its hostile environment (sun, wind, salt), it has developed exceptional resistance to stress and possesses anti-free radical and anti-oxidant properties superior to those of vitamins C and E.” Cool!

It smells amazing and feels so luxurious on the skin. My skin feels so smooth and hydrated and carries this light fragrance with it, so I feel amazing after putting it on.Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse Nuit

The night cream (Creme Prodigieuse Nuit) is very similar; after using this at night, my skin still feels smooth in the morning. And not an oily smooth like some creams I’ve found give me, but a nice still-moisturized feel.

Overall, although a bit pricey, these two products smell great and definitely give you the moisture your skin needs, especially after a restless night or a long day at work. There is no SPF protection, so a separate product should be used in conjunction to give you that extra protection from the sun’s rays.

You can check out the Creme Prodigieuse line here, or see their full line of products here.

50 Shades of Gray. And Brown.

I wish I could stop dying my hair. I really do. I mean, sometimes, it’s fun to change things up and add highlights for spring/summer or go a bit darker for fall/winter. But for me, I just go for a boring, natural brown color. Because I really only dye my hair to cover my gray roots.

It’s so disheartening when I look in the mirror and all I see are bright white hairs shimmering at the part of my hair. I know shimmering sounds fabulous, but it’s not. They only look shimmery to call attention to themselves. Attention whores.

I’m not 100% gray – maybe about 25-30% at this point. At (almost) 24 years of age, I have been dying my hair to cover grays for about 9 years. And it’s only downhill for here. Gee willikers!

It’s not just me being up close and personal with my hair, nitpicking every single strand with a magnifying mirror. Those whom I have talked to about it always tell me, “Oh, it’s not that noticeable. You probably notice it more because you know it’s there so you focus on it. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

But then, when you are talking with people, and you notice that they keep glancing at your head, you realize that it’s not just you. Or (and this one’s my favorite) when they actually point it out with an astonished, “Wow, you have white hairs!”

Yes, thank you for making my day. But I digress. Kind of. For now.

I know coloring is terrible for my hair.

I know my hair has gotten so fried and over-processed with all the colorings over the years.

I’ve tried embracing it. There are times when I’ve considered going au naturel just to save my hair from the damage. My hair is dry and pretty fine (diameter-wise, not like “damn, she’s fine!”) as it is, so all this coloring is doing nothing to help grow it out and make it healthy.

I mean, back in the 16th-18th centuries, gray powder wigs were a sign of high social rank. Although these were worn originally to cover loss of hair from disease, from shaving the head to rid oneself of lice, or to cover grays, eventually a couple kings made them cool. Here’s an interesting article about the history of donning wigs. It has no references though, so I wouldn’t use it as a source for a research paper. Go to Wikipedia instead.

Look at these studs. Dudes got some locks! And Stacy London rocks her piece of gray (yes it’s real), and she’s a celebrity!

But I hate the way I look with gray hairs. It makes me look dull and drab. And older. Not in a flattering “Hey you don’t look twelve anymore” way, either. More like “Hey, you look like a 12-year old with a 40 year old’s hair.”

And don’t even get me started on all the different hair dyes I’ve tried. I’ve used almost any brand of hair color you could imagine. Walk down the hair color aisle and I’ve probably used most of what you see. Seriously. I’ve used Clairol (Perfect 10, Natural Instincts, Nice ‘n Easy, Nice ‘n Easy root touch-up), Garnier Nutrisse Herbashine, L’Oreal (Feria, Superior Preference).

I’ve tried color depositing conditioner by Aveda – expensive, not the greatest coverage, and not nourishing at all. I use Batiste dry shampoo for dark hair – better than regular dry shampoo, which leaves white residue. I’ve gone to the salon for colorings before too – all over color as well as highlights. Blonde-ish highlights sometimes make gray hair less noticeable…until my dark brown roots grow in with gray mixed in. Gah. I. can’t. win.

This time I wanted to try something different so I used John Frieda’s Precision Foam, and I like it. I read a bunch of great reviews and wanted to try something new, so I spent the extra $3 at Target to get it. I have to say, it was so easy to apply and I made no mess whatsoever. For those that color their hair often, you know that this is amazing. I have stained plenty a floor, wall, door, and under-the-sink cupboard with those liquidy squeeze bottle dyes.

The only thing I will say against this product (for now) is the color. I did read in many of the reviews that the resulting color was much darker than the box indicated. I am so glad I got Lightest Natural Brown because it did come out on the darker side. Anything darker would have made me look gothic. It’s only day two, so I’m sure it will lighten and fade a bit once I wash my hair.

But hopefully not enough to reveal gray hairs before they grow out. Someday I’ll be able to embrace my grays. Until then, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they find a legitimate cure for gray hairs. Maybe I’ll bring back periwigs. And corsets. Fight age and obesity all at once.

Ahava Something To Tell You…Get It? {Skincare Series 1}

Okay Skincare Review Series, episode 1. How about we start with my favorite of the moment: Ahava.

Ahava LogoNot only is Ahava the Hebrew word for “love” (aww) but it is also a skincare line from Israel whose products are made from Dead Sea minerals and plants as well as other all-natural ingredients. Depending on what type of skin you have and what you want out of your skincare regimen, you can pick which line is right for you.

All products are:

  • Paraben free
  • SLS/SELS free (sulfates)
  • Allergy tested
  • Approved for sensitive skin
  • Not tested on animals
  • Produced without petroleum, harsh synthetic ingredients, or GMOs

My favorite line of products from this brand, Ahava Deadsea Plants, is heavenly. Honestly I hope heaven smells like this. If so, Lord take me now.

Our store carries all four products in the Plants line – you can distinguish them by their green lettering. Overall, the scent of the Plants line is so refreshing. It’s like…plants. Duh.

The Caressing Body Sorbet makes your skin feel so silky smooth and completely moisturized, without feeling heavy, oily, or sticky. This stuff smells so wonderful, I honestly want to eat it out of the tub. And then, when it’s on my hands, I want to eat my hands.Body Sorbet

The Firming Body Cream is similar to the sorbet, except it seems a bit thicker and smells a little less amazing. I’m unsure why that is, but I prefer the smell of the body sorbet to the body cream.Body Cream

The Dry Oil Body Mist is awesome. Apparently oils are all the rage nowadays for skincare, even for oily skin. Weird, right? I actually tested it side by side with another brand’s body oil spray on my legs. I joked with my coworker that we were going to be so oily we could just slide right home after work.Body Oil

But they aren’t like putting on baby oil where it’s just thick and goopy and makes you look slicker than the hair of a 1920s mobster. It’s a light mist that you spray on your body, gently rub so that it soaks in thoroughly, and you are left with glowing, dewy-looking skin. And it smells absolutely fantastic.

The last product, the Smoothing Body Exfoliator, does not smell the best. This would be my least favorite of the four products based on smell alone. It is not harsh or super gritty since Moroccan Argon shells serve as the exfoliators. I have not tried its actual exfoliating power since I am at work and would most likely try it on my legs. Or feet. And that would be weird to do at work. Right?Exfoliator

If you read my Hair, Skin, & Nails post (if not, do it to it my friend!) my skin is super dry and sensitive. Something else that is sensitive: my olfactory nerves. My mood will change drastically if something smells bad; like, I transform from Happy to Grumpy in a nanosecond. Although, side note, Once Upon a Time taught us that Grumpy was originally named Dreamy.

Long story short: I need intense hydration that is gentle and that smells divine and Ahava Deadsea Plants definitely provides that.

Apparently Duane Reade and Target both sell Ahava products, although they go by the name ‘Dead Sea Essentials’, are not found on their website, the packaging is much different, and the prices are much lower. This is definitely something to look into if you don’t want to splurge on the “real” stuff. I’ll admit that Ahava products are pretty pricey and not as readily available as the less expensive alternative.Dead Sea Essentials

For more information on their products, the company, or to order some shweet stuff, you can go to their website, www.ahavaus.com. Also, let me know if you’ve tried Dead Sea Essentials and what you think; I may try it out myself…

New Series: Skincare Reviews

I’ve been working at a small local pharmacy here in New York City for 3 weeks now. Along with the every day brands, we sell salon and other high-end products. We have facial cleansers, moisturizers, soaps, perfumes, candles…and we have testers for most of the products.washing face

“You mean, you get to test all those amazing products AND smell like a goddess every time that you go to work?!”

Yes. And yes.

I’ve been trying out as many of the products as I can. Shortly after arriving at work, I get a little pump of some brand and scent of hand lotion. After using the bathroom and washing my hands, I go for something different. I’ve even tried face crèmes on my hands to get a feel for their consistency, smell, and (if any) noticeable effects.

I’ve also staked out my favorite scented soaps and candles and (more importantly) I’ve been able to keep myself from blowing my paychecks on everything I want in the store. I think I deserve a present for my strength. Palmarosa Wild Mint candle by Caldrea, anyone?

No, Holliday, focus.

Anyways, by the end of my workdays, I have been able to test out at least 10 different skincare products. So I figured I could make a mini-series out of my experiences with them. I’m doing this with the hopes that it will help those looking at trying the products while introducing others to an entirely new line of products.

Who?

Oh and I’ve tried the whole ‘splash your face with water like they do on the commercials’ and found that it is a very impractical way to wash your face. Cheers to skincare!

Hair, Skin, & Nails >1 Month Update<

It has now been 4 weeks since I started taking the Hair, Skin, & Nails supplement, so I’m updating with my overall impressions after one month. As was mentioned in my previous post about the supplement, I am only taking 2 of the caplets when the suggested dose is 3 per day. So let’s see what (if anything) I’ve noticed…HSN biotin 2

My skin has been on and off with pimples here and there, and it still feels dry without moisturizer. I realized, however, that when I work out my skin tends to freak out. Since our 5k at the end of June I haven’t been working out as much with school and my new job. My skin was looking fine and then one day I decided to run, and by the end of that day I had two pimples starting to take form. To be fit or not to be fit?

Also, the back part of my scalp went through a couple days worth of itchiness and I was actually afraid that I had gotten lice! I bought Neutrogena T-Sal shampoo and T-Gel conditioner and (thank God!) it felt better by the next day and (again, thank you Lord) I have not had the itches since.

My hair seems a little bit more lively, but I’m not sure how much the supplement has to do with that. For one, as mentioned before, I have a different shampoo and conditioner combo – I’ve been mixing the T-Sal/Gel products (for dryness and softness) with some Brilliant Brunette (to help with the color).

Second, I picked up the “It’s a 10 miracle leave-in product” and have used that every time I wash my hair for about two weeks now.

It's a 10

Third, to promote shine, I started rinsing my hair with really cold water in the shower. So after my whole shower routine is done, when I’m all ready to get out, I torture myself by turning the water to cold and holding my head to it for about 20 seconds. I haven’t gotten any comments about my hair blinding anyone with it’s shine, so it may be all for nothing, but what the heck? If nothing else, it wakes me up in the morning.

Finally, and probably most helpful, I have cut down on using heat on my hair. I’ve only used my straightener to curl my hair maybe 6 days this month as opposed to every other day. It helps that it’s been so sticky and humid. Honestly, there’s no point in even trying to make my hair be anything but curly and frizzy when it’s so hot and humid. So I save time and my locks when I go semi-au natural.175875_10151496725246526_624190009_o (1)

So when I wash my hair with said shampoos and conditioners, I spray said leave-in product and squirt some mousse in my hair, comb with my head upside down, flip right-side up, and finger-comb/shake my waves out to my normal parted style. I then create a braid at the front of my hair using my bangs because they get the most out of control and awkward looking when left to air dry (seen above…kind of).

Against all these great improvement-inducing products and routines, I dyed my hair about 2 weeks back. I am now all brunette again (I used Natural Instincts #12 Light Golden Brown if anyone is wondering) because I wanted to blend my highlights and cover my grays. I let it go for quite awhile longer than normal, but a male coworker pointed it out one day so my self-conscious self took over and I caved. Ugh, when are they ever going to patent that cure for gray hair?Natural Instincts #12

All that said, I’m glad to report that I definitely notice my baby hairs are less pronounced and seem to be growing because they aren’t breaking due to heat tools.

My nails took a beating at the beginning of the 4 weeks because I had gotten gel nails done at a salon. After almost 2 weeks, I started picking and pulling at them and a few of my nails ended up really beat up. Because the top layer(s) were pulled off with the gel nail, I ended up buying acetone to take the remainder off. So needless to say they’re still recovering from that.

I haven’t felt nauseous or anything while taking the supplement, but I’ve been taking them with breakfast and dinner, so I think that helps. I have about 3 weeks left of these pills and I’m not sure whether I want to continue with the regimen or not. If I do, I will definitely look into getting a different brand/pill because these are large and horrid tasting when they don’t go down the first four tries because of their being large. Since I take 12 pills a day for my Crohn’s, I’d rather not continue to add two more huge pills to the equation.

I will update either when I finish the supplements and change over to a new kind or in another month. Or when my hair is thick and luscious enough to do a super sexy hair flip.

Until then, I’ll just keep looking like this:White Chicks

Cheers to healthy mind and body. And humor.

Hair, Skin & Nails (oh my!)

I’ve decided to try taking the Hair, Skin, and Nails supplement by Spring Valley in hopes that I will become a smokin’ hot, glowing supermodel with long, luscious locks to my tush. Alliteration aside, I guess I would settle with stronger hair with less fallout, stronger nails with less breakage, and maybe a bit of a glowy complexion. That sounds a bit more realistic.

I have heard so many girls (mostly on YouTube) who buy Prenatal vitamins in hopes that their hair/skin/nails will improve. I mean, we all hear about how pregnant women’s skin glows and how their hair and nails grow like dandelions on Miracle-gro. But honestly, I think a lot of it has to do with hormones. So instead, I’ll try this collagen support vitamin and hope for the best!HSN biotin 2

So I’ll start by giving you an idea of what I’m dealing with right now so that an update can hopefully show improvements.

A little about me: I’m a very dry person. And no, I’m not talking about my humor.

My hair is really dry, so it frizzes if I don’t put some sort of product in it. I usually use a mousse because my hair is curly but fine, so I don’t want anything too heavy to weigh it down or make it flat but I need some sort of control. I color my hair quite often because I was blessed with graying hair at the age of 16 (Proverbs 16:31 – crown of glory, holler) so that adds to the dryness.

At the moment, my hair is about 2 inches past my collarbone and is not very thick (density-wise, not diameter); I have fine hair, but quite a bit of it. I also have a ton of baby hairs around my face, so I’m hoping this whips them into shape. I also have been trying to cut down on using heat on my hair, so hopefully that will help as well. It stinks that heat makes it look so much better! #firstworldproblems anyone? Anyways, see picture (left) for current hair condition.lunch-copy

My skin is always dry unless it’s really hot and humid (causing me to sweat profusely) so I am constantly reaching for lotion. I have had bouts of eczema on and off since high school, so I try to be very conscientious of applying lotion when my skin feels dry. My face suffers hormonal breakouts around my T-zone (typically once a month, if ya know what I mean) and is sensitive, so finding gentle but effective cleansers and moisturizers is difficult.

My nails have taken a beating over the past year; I was diagnosed with Crohns disease in October, and my malnutrition showed in my nails. I had pits and ridges on every nail and was unable to grow them very long because they were pretty brittle. Since I have returned to normal eating habits, they have gotten better, although I still have some ridges and waves.

So that is the condition of my hair, skin, and nails right now. In terms of the supplement, the serving size is 3 caplets per day, to be taken with meals.  So far I have been taking them for three days, although I have only taken two caplets each day instead of the suggested three.  They are kind of large and are kind of smelly, but I’ve taken larger pills, so it’s no big deal. I’ve heard that it should take 2-3 months before full benefits are seen but I will update any changes I see after the month mark.HSN biotin pills

I looked up a bunch of reviews, from YouTube to Amazon (you can read through them here), and here’s what I found:

Good experiences

  • Many reviewers on Amazon and YouTube claim that their hair and nails grew longer and stronger after only a couple weeks. Also, skin was less oily and more glowy with fewer breakouts.

Bad experiences

  • I read a bunch of reviews where bad skin breakouts occurred; apparently the collagen found in these kinds of supplements is broken down through hydrolysis, so it is recommended by many to drink plenty of water while taking it.
  • Others complained of nausea caused by the pills; it is important to take any supplements with food. Your stomach will be producing acid to break up the food and supplement instead of the lone supplement sitting and rotting the lining of your stomach and/or causing nausea.

Unfortunately I was unable to find any proper research on these sorts of supplements, so this will be a self-study. I shall update after one month. Ready. Set. Sports Illustrated cover, here I come.