Moving with Gorilla Bins: A Review

As mentioned in this post, we’ve moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

We had about 2 weeks of buffer time between signing the new lease and actually having time to pack and move. During these two weeks, I was dreading the idea of buying a bunch of cardboard boxes and packing tape to pack all of our belongings only to unpack them and have a ton of cardboard to recycle. It just seemed like such a waste of money, plus cardboard doesn’t always provide the most stable and reliable mode of packing and transporting items, especially more fragile ones.

I did a little research and found two companies, one being Gorilla Bins, that rented out heavy duty plastic bins to use instead of said cardboard boxes. Both companies rented their bins out for two weeks and provided free delivery and pick-up. The other one was a little less expensive, so obviously that was the appealing choice since we had just dropped a bunch of money on a new apartment and we’d be hiring movers.

However, their ratings on Yelp were less than stellar:

Poor Rating 1

and…

Poor Rating 2

and…

Poor Rating 3

Yikes, not good. You can read the rest here if you want to.

Anyways, the majority of the reviews for Gorilla Bins were very positive, so I took the plunge and ordered a 1-bedroom set of bins (12 Large [red], 18 Medium [black]) plus a roll of plastic wrap, a pack of packing paper, and a mattress bag. Although our apartment was technically a 2 bedroom, a lot of the stuff was too big to fit in bins or was already in an easy to move state, e.g., comic books already in boxes.

I had delivery set for the next day after work. The next evening, I got a text from an unfamiliar number – it was the guy delivering the bins.  He told me he was about 20 minutes away – how convenient! He was very respectful, efficient in bringing the bins in, and thorough in going over the materials we ordered and how the returning process worked before leaving. It took all but 5 minutes.

Gorilla Bins 1

I immediately started packing stuff like books and candles, i.e., stuff we didn’t need anytime soon. Over the next 4 days, Tom and I packed, saving the majority of the work for the day before movers would be coming. The bins worked like a charm; everything seemed safe and snug in the bins as we stacked them all up in our living room the night before the move.

We fit most of our stuff in them with the exception of a few things that we packed in boxes we had from recent deliveries. Remember, I ordered a 1-bedroom set when we technically had a 2-bedroom, so their estimate was pretty good on how much stuff fits in a 1-bedroom apartment. We were also moving into a 1-bedroom, so it gave us a good idea of how well we would fit into our new place.

Gorilla Bins apartment comparison

Moving day came and the bins made everything SO MUCH EASIER for us and the movers we hired. Because the bins were stacked neatly, our movers were able to take them out easily and stack them in the truck first. They were then the last things to get moved into our new place.

AND nothing was broken. Sure, a competent packer (thank you very much) and careful movers are also key players in this, but the bins definitely helped. Over the next few days, we unpacked and, as the bins became empty, created two stacks of each size bin in our new living room.
We were done unpacking a few days before the 2-week mark, so I emailed GB on a Friday evening inquiring about getting the bins picked up the following day. They don’t make deliveries on Sundays, so I was hoping to get the bins out of our apartment Saturday to free up space. Within an hour, I received a response saying that they would come by the following day at the time I specified and pick the bins up.

The next evening, I got a text giving me the 20 minute alert and a GB employee came by to pick the bins up. Quick, painless, and definitely worth the money.

If you are moving in the NYC area, I could not recommend Gorilla Bins more. Their employees were all helpful and professional, the bins were all clean, and it all made our move so much easier.

Review: Circa Absolute Lash Icon Mascara

I’ve tried plenty of mascaras since I started wearing makeup. And by “makeup”, I’m not counting the crap that is sold to really young, pre-pubescent girls. The kind that makes you break out just looking at it.

Nowadays it seems that every brand comes out with a “New and Improved!” or “Never Before Seen!” mascara every week, making it impossible to choose one brand or tube. I was in Walgreens two weeks ago and needed a new mascara. I had seen the new Circa (Eva Mendes’ makeup line) display a couple times, so I figured I would give their mascara a shot. The items in the collection are pretty pricey, so why not get something that I’m sure to use daily instead of a nail polish or eyeshadow that takes forever to use up?

Lash Icon box

I grabbed the Absolute Lash Icon because it claimed to volumize lashes without clumping. That’s usually what I’m looking for – a little bit of length, but a whole lot of volume. And by a whole lot, I mean a somewhat normal amount because I don’t want to look like I’m wearing crazy fake lashes here.

The claim: “Be iconic – this instantly volumizing and conditioning mascara magnifies the eyes and emphasizes the lashes, accentuating the eye with intensity and depth. The secret lies in its unique formula and oversized brush, molded to separate, coat and curl each lash for a false eye-lash effect. Flexible and fast drying, this all-in-one adds instantaneous volume while enriched with Pro-Vitamin b5 and Avocado oil, for lashes that won’t cake, clump or crumble.”

Yes please! And for the $11 price tag, I was hoping it would do all that it said it would. I got it in the color Black Brown; I don’t exactly remember why, but I want to say it was because it was either that or Blackest Black, and I wanted a more natural-looking color.

When I finally opened it up, I found the tube itself was very substantial and quite heavy. I’m surprised, though, that it is actually the same length as a “normal” drugstore mascara, but it is a lot bulkier. When I unscrewed the wand, I was greeted by said oversized (more like SUPERSIZED) brush. It’s like a regular mascara wand was blown up to twice its size and then glued to one of those mini torture ball mascara brushes. Scary. Here are two pictures of the Lash Icon brush (bottom) compared to Maybelline’s Lash Sensational.

mascara brushes

I must say that I actually didn’t mind the first application as the brush didn’t have a lot of product on it and the formula went smoothly onto my lashes without clumping. But after that initial application, I’ve hated it ever since. I have actually been scraping the brush on the side of the tube to get excess product off before applying with a very light hand to my lashes. And it’s clump city. So then I go in with a completely clean mascara brush that I took from Sephora to separate and take off the excess-excess product. And the clumping has only gotten worse over the 2-week period that I’ve had the mascara.

After all that extra time and effort (which is realistically only 2-3 minutes, but still – ain’t nobody got time for that in the morning!), my lashes look pretty decent. It dries at a normal speed, so that’s not really anything to brag about. Feeling my lashes right now, after I’ve had the mascara on for about 3 hours, they feel flexible and not hard, which is a plus. BUT I’ve noticed A LOT of fallout and flaking throughout the day. It’s like winter hit my eyeballs – flakes for days! Not a cute look. And I can’t say that I’ve noticed any conditioning that they claim because of the amount of product I’ve been wasting via necessary clump removal and flaking!

So overall, I really disliked this mascara. I just threw it out and will start using the Lash Sensational tomorrow morning (fingers crossed that goes better). I tried to push the $11 as far as I could, but in the end it was $11 disappointingly unwell spent.

So as a quick recap:

Pros:

  • Flexible lashes.
  • Good ingredients for possible conditioning – I’m grasping at straws here…

Cons:

  • Oversized brush is SUPERSIZED.
  • So much caking, clumping, and crumbling.
  • All the flakes.
  • Coating is not uniform and curling is not fantastic.
  • No visible conditioning here.
  • Expensive as heck!

Empties (Spring 2015)

I did one of these a couple months ago, but I have used up a few products that I really want to give shout outs to, so I’m doing another one. So deal with it.

Just kidding. Thanks for reading part or all of this post! Onward!

I want to start with is the Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque (I got the 8.5 fl. oz but it also comes in 16.9 fl. oz.) because it is the bomb. This stuff is fantastic. I mentioned it in my recent post about healthy hair and (BONUS!) my hairdresser just yesterday told me that my hair has grown so much and is so healthy and shiny!

Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque

I recently realized that the brand has been re-vamped and the name is now “Macadamia Professional”, which I’m sure is just a scheme so they can jack up the price. Ulta no longer carries any “Macadamia Natural Oil” products in-store or online. I think other stores that still have any of these products in stock are discounting them heavily, and you can still find it on Amazon for a decent price.

Anyways, I use this product every time I wash my hair, which is about every 3-4 days. I use a little bit of my regular conditioner more at the roots, and then I take a glob of the Deep Repair Masque and smooth is all over, mostly concentrating on my ends. I leave it on while I shave and wash my face so that it really soaks in, and then I make sure and rinse it out really well. I haven’t had a problem with my hair looking greasy, even when I put it on my roots and it smells great. I bought a tub of Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil deep conditioner to replace my Macadamia one but have yet to use it, so I’m really hoping it works just as well. If not, I may have to bite the bullet and pick up the Macadamia Professional one.

The next item is the Marvelous Moxie lip gloss by Bare Minerals. I bought it after going to one of their stores and having them do my makeup to get an idea of what color products I should use. Mine was in the color Show Off, a nudey pink with teeny tiny glitters. I really liked the color because it was subtle but gave a hint of color and made my lips glossy. It’s a bit sticky, but I’ve had stickier so it wasn’t that bad.

I am actually really proud of myself for having used the whole tube. I don’t think I’ve ever used up a makeup product fully in my life – I either don’t like the quality to begin with so I don’t use it, I find better products/colors so I forget I have them, or they expire before I have the chance to finish them. I recently purchased a Buxom lip gloss in the color Kristen because it looks very similar and supposedly plumps your lips.

Batiste Hint of Color dry shampoo in Dark & Deep Brown is a holy grail product of mine. I’ve tried a few different dry shampoos and it’s safe to say that they don’t hold a candle to this one. I recently got a bottle of the Medium/Brunette for my friend and co-worker Amanda to try and she told me the other day that she realized how well it worked in comparison to other brands. The nozzle of hers broke (or maybe just got severely clogged?) so she used a different kind and she said it just wasn’t the same.

Batiste Hint of Color Deep Dark Brown dry shampoo

I was out at my in-law’s house last weekend and only had my travel-size Batiste in Blush, so I used it and was immediately regretting this decision. I mean, I really needed some dry shampoo because I didn’t have time to fully wash and style my hair. But, the gray streaks it left were not going away, even after extensive rubbing at my roots. I had to use some water to get rid of it, which is kind of missing the point of the dry shampoo in the first place. Also, I dislike the smell of the Blush formula because it’s really florally which is my least favorite scent.

Next up is a supplement. I’ve tried the Hair, Skin, and Nails and Biotin supplements before, but A) I hated that they required me to take 2 or 3 pills per day, B) They smelled/tasted horrible, and C) I didn’t notice a difference while taking them. I understand that it takes awhile to see the benefits, but 4-6 weeks should be enough. BUT, I found a great new version by NatureMade that A) only requires you to take 1 pill per day, B) They don’t smell or taste horrible, and C) I have noticed a difference already!

NatureMade Hair Skin Nails Supplement

I’ve been taking them for 6 weeks but started noticing a difference in week 3 or 4! The effects have mostly been noticeable in my hair; it seems to be growing faster! I was usually able to hold off on coloring my roots every 6-7 weeks, but I started noticing them more prevalently after 4 weeks of coloring. I ran out and got a new bottle as soon as I noticed my first one running low and wouldn’t you know it, Walgreens was having a BOGO sale at the time! So I got two bottles because why not?

The last two items are not so much “I loved the products so I used them all up!” type deals. The first is a night cream that I just wanted to use because I payed money for it. It’s the Botanics Age Defense Replenishing Night Cream. I disliked the smell right off the bat – it’s like really earthy and reminds me of being in a bunny’s cage, minus the poo. I don’t really see any positive results from night creams at the moment, so the smell alone is enough to keep me from re-purchasing it.

The second (and final product) is Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat nail polish. I’ve heard people swear up and down that this product is amazing, drying fast and keeping nails chip-free for days, but I wasn’t super duper impressed. It may have dried pretty quickly, but I still had chipping within 24 hours of painting my nails. I also didn’t even use the whole thing up because I think it expired before I had the chance. I went to paint my nails one night only to be greeted with a really foul-smelling Seche Vite. The bottle was only half-used and I definitely didn’t get the 36 months out of it that it claims.

Hope this helped anyone curious about these products. Let me know your experiences with them or tell me what products you’ve been using up!

Empties/Favorites for late 2014

For the past couple months, I’ve saved the empty containers of a few products that I’ve wanted to share. Now that I have a spare second, let’s do it so I can finally throw them away! I love watching “empties” videos on YouTube because it’s really informative of whether people enjoyed these products enough to repurchase them. So I’m hoping this post is also helpful in your quest for some of these kinds of products!

First and foremost, let’s talk about a shampoo and conditioner duo that I have repurchased several times now. Tresemme’s Expert Selection Keratin Smooth line helped my hair get through the spring and summer, and my hair grew a lot while using this combination. Now, I know experts say that hair doesn’t grow according to the products we use but how healthy our hair is and that we have a preset growth speed yada yada. So I think this duo helped my hair stay healthy and strong so that it could continue growing, while staying soft.Tresemme Keratin Smooth

It didn’t cut down frizziness totally, but then again my hair gets frizzy at the slightest sign of humidity no matter what products I use, so whatever. The packaging says that it is meant as a ‘once-a-week’ system to keep hair silky smooth, but it also notes that it is gentle enough for everyday use. I typically wash my hair every other day, so when I was using this duo, I would use both shampoo and conditioner every wash.

After my last two bottles of the Keratin Smooth ran out, I wanted to try something different. When a friend introduced me to a subscription service called Melaleuca (mel-a-loo-ca), I signed up and decided to give some of their hair and skincare items a try. You probably haven’t heard of this brand (unless you have and found my post by searching the name) because they don’t advertise like typical brands do. They get their name and reputation spread by word of mouth, through representatives (kind of like Avon or Mary Kay, minus the awkward parties) and through happy customers.

Sei Bella Luxury

I purchased a haircare set from a brand called Sei Bella that is sold through Melaleuca. I tried their “luxury” line and got the volumizing shampoo, moisturizing conditioner, and the hot iron prep spray. Overall, I wasn’t impressed. I used about 3/4 of each of the shampoo and conditioner (so technically these containers aren’t empty) but didn’t see an improvement or difference in my hair. And as for the heat protectant, I’ve only used it a few times because I prefer using Tresemme’s Thermal Creations Heat Tamer for a heat protectant instead.

So about a month ago, I was in the market for a new shampoo and conditioner. I picked up Tresemme’s Smooth & Silky line and let me tell you – I AM IN LOVE. Again, the bottles aren’t empty, but once they are, I will no doubt repurchase them.I was nervous to buy it at first because Tresemme sells huge bottles of shampoo and conditioner – what if I didn’t like it? Then I’m stuck with two industrial size bottles that won’t get used up? But now that I know I love it, I’m so glad I have so much because it’ll keep my hair looking good for that much longer!Tresemme Smooth and Silky

I have gotten so many compliments on my hair since I started using it; yesterday, one of my students asked to touch my hair because it “looks so smooth and soft.” I let her touch it and she was excited that it was even softer than she expected. You’re welcome? So yeah, I’ve been weirdly happy with my hair the past few months – I’ve always had a huge beef with my hair for good reasons. Since I started getting gray hairs at 15, dying my hair every few weeks for over 7 years has made it dry and unhealthy. I’ve never gotten as many compliments in the last 24 years than I have in the past couple months, and that makes me really happy. Thanks Tresemme!

Not only that, but I’ve been getting 3 days out of my hair (except when I workout, then I only get two) which helps it stay healthier. So it makes it smooth and silky without making it oily! I have finer hair, so as soon as it starts to get a bit oily, it looks flat and scraggly. But this combination doesn’t make it that way!

Enough about hair, let’s move on to a face moisturizers. I have never had luck with skincare. My skin is super sensitive and I’ve noticed that any moisturizer with some sort of sunscreen makes me break out (whether it’s meant for sensitive skin or not). My skin is also on the normal to dry spectrum (usually more dry) so I can’t go without moisturizing or it’ll become tight and flaky. Also, I’m super pale, so I need some SPF protection. Oy vey.

In the past, I’ve tried Olay’s daily moisturizer both for normal/dry and sensitive skin types; both caused me to break out. I have also tried Cetaphil’s facial moisturizer but it also broke me out. What the heck?!

So I ordered a facial moisturizer by Sei Bella (again, carried by Melaleuca) and could not have been more pleasantly surprised. The moisturizer was the Daytime Delivery Creme with broad spectrum SPF 15 – it never broke me out, it kept my skin moisturized without making it greasy, and apparently kept my face safer from the sun. Boom. Boom. Boom. All good things.Creams

Because I had such good luck with Sei Bella’s day cream, I decided to give the night cream (technically called the night firming treatment) a shot, and yet again I was so happy with it. Since running out of the both creams, I purchased a day cream that has SPF from No7 and a night cream from Botanics and again haven’t had problems with either. Woot, finally finding good products!

How about a mascara? I tried Rimmel’s new Lash Accelerator mascara and have mixed feelings. My first tube was pretty nice, and I thought I saw an improvement in my lashes after a few days. I have pretty long lashes to begin with, but I’m always in the market for a good volumizing mascara. I liked the brush because I usually prefer plastic bristles instead of the “hair” bristles.
mascara

My beef with this mascara is that it dried out really fast – I noticed an increase in clumpiness within the first two weeks, so it became unusable within three. I’m not one of those excessive mascara wand pumpers who thinks that pumping the wand in the tube a hundred times before popping it out actually makes a difference (other than drying out the mascara faster) so it was simply the formula that was on the dry side.

How about two non-beauty products? Kind of random, but these Glade solid air fresheners in Apple Cinnamon are fantastic. I am hypersensitive to smells – as soon as I smell something that I deem as stinky, I instantly get put into a bad mood. I’m sure this is normal but I don’t think the extent to which my mood swings when I come in contact with smelly odors is.

Glade Apple Cinnamon

Needless to say, I use these in my classroom to freshen the place up (especially with some of the freshmen who still haven’t quite grasped the concept of deodorant or general hygiene. I always get compliments on how great my room smells; students and teachers alike love the smell. And, they’re really inexpensive!

Finally, I have been loving the Purely Elizabeth Pumpkin Fig granola. Oooooh goodness is it tasty. And healthy! It’s gluten free, vegan, and free of refined sugar. AND I CAN PRONOUNCE EVERY SINGLE INGREDIENT! Plus, the majority of the ingredients (a whopping 9 out of 11) are organic. I picked up 3 bags at the grocery store to stock up because I’ve been eating greek yogurt for lunch every day and wanted to make sure I had enough granola to last for awhile.

Purely Elizabeth granola

So that’s it for the past couple months for new products that I’ve enjoyed and some that I didn’t enjoy so much. I hope this was helpful in giving you new ideas of products to try or products to stay away from. If you have any recommendations or similar experiences, be sure to let me know – I’m always looking for beauty and non-beauty products to try!

I tried juicing…and filmed it…

Tom and I got a juicer as a bridal shower gift (we’re getting married in 13 days!!) so I decided to finally open it up and give it a shot. I decided to go with the ‘ABC’ juice – apple, beet, and carrot. It seemed simple enough and I like all 3 ingredients.

I actually filmed my experience with juicing, and you can see it on YouTube! Watch all of my facial expressions.

I added 1 whole apple, 1 whole beet, and 2 whole carrots. At first taste, the juice was good and I was really excited to drink up! But after a few sips, it was clear that there was way too much beet for my taste. So while I would and probably will make this juice again, I will definitely try using only half of a beet next time.

The clean-up is very annoying – I think maybe if I had the luxury of a dishwasher, it wouldn’t be too bad. But scooping out all the remnants and scrubbing all the small crevices free from fruit and vegetable particles is such a pain in the ass. That is the only real downside I’ve found so far.

Do you have a go-to juice recipe or recipe website that you love? Share it in the comments below or on the video! I’ve made one other juice since this one (kale, apple, cucumber, and blueberries – I actually chugged this one and kind of felt sick for awhile afterwards) and want to keep trying new concoctions!

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.