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!

Wedding pictures!

All photo and editing credit goes to the amazing Jonathan Baek! As you can see, he did a fantastic job, so go check out his other work at jonathanbaek.com! At the moment he’s based in Queens, so if you’re in need of great photos, give him a call.

Tom, Jon, and I became friends back in college at SUNY Geneseo where we all met in InterVarsity. Since then, I have always admired his wonderful photography skills, from our IV powderpuff games to the amazing sunrise on Conesus Lake. Jon was my absolute first choice when Tom and I got engaged, especially since he has photographed a number of weddings of couples also from Geneseo.

So here’s a HUGE thank you to you, Jon – I’m so glad you were with us on our big day, not only as our photographer, but also as our friend.

Wedding Update: 10 Weeks?!

Holy cow, time is flying!

So I made a decision this week – hold your applause – to make the updates weekly now because the last 2ish months will contain the most activity. All the big things have been taken care of over the past 9 months, and they were more spaced apart. I’m realizing that everything from here on out will take more time and effort; all the little things are and will be the most time-consuming!

Well, since my last post, a lot has happened; by the end of this post, you’ll see why we need weekly updates! Most of this stuff happened last weekend, actually.

Last Saturday was crazy. My future mother- and sister-in-law spent practically the entire day together running around doing wedding stuff with me. Our first mission was to go to the bridal salon where my dress is from to get a sample of my veil to take to the hair stylist. When we arrived at the dress shop, they said I was able to take my real veil for my hair trial; so exciting!

They had called earlier that week and said that my dress was also in and that I should schedule my first dress fitting in July – eeek!!! – so we scheduled it for July 8 (my sister-in-law’s 22nd birthday…so we will be celebrating all day). I’ve been thinking about what shoes I should get to wear with my dress, but was unsure of how tall I could go without being too tall for my dress. The lady at the salon told me I could just try on my dress if I wanted, and then try on a few of the shoes they had for this purpose.

So there I was, putting on my wedding dress! It was just as pretty as I remembered. And it fit (whew)! But something just didn’t look right; I realized it was a little too poofy and stiff in comparison to when I tried on the sample. Long story short, I don’t remember there being crinoline under the dress.

poofy huge wedding dress

When I go for my fitting, I will see how it looks with the crinoline steamed flat but may just have them remove one or both layers. I also found that any shoes less than 2.5″ will work for my dress, so I’ve started hunting for possibilities so I can get them and start breaking them in.

Before going to the hair stylist’s house, we went to a kiosk in the mall to look for a pretty barrette or hairpiece to use. I ended up choosing a sparkly barrette and some little gems that you twist in the hair when it’s finished.

When we got to the stylist’s house, I told him what I wanted for my hair first. He did a loose version of it and we tested out the barrette and the veil, and they worked beautifully together. My hair looked and felt really nice and soft even though he sprayed a bunch of hairspray on my hair. I don’t think I’ll end up using those little gems on the day of the wedding, so that stinks because the kiosk charges a buttload for all of their items.

It was then time for makeup. On a daily basis, I really only apply makeup on and around my eyes. That is, of course, unless it’s that time of the month and I have more need for concealer on my face. Even though he prefaced (pun intended) my makeup trial with, “I really push brides to stay as natural as possible,” I was half expecting him to put a bunch of foundation, concealer, powder, blush, eye makeup, etc on my face. But I’m so glad he didn’t. He only put concealer on my eyes, around my nose, and on the one pimple near my mouth, and then set it with a little powder.

Heavy makeup

I was kind of nervous about how much blush he put on; I know they say to put a little more on than usual because otherwise you look washed out in pictures, but this seemed kind of excessive. He also put some blush on my eyelids and I wasn’t a huge fan. The blush was a peach color so my eyelids (and cheeks) looked very pink-y orange. I told him I think I’d like to try a little eyeshadow, so he showed me the options and they were gorgeous; I definitely want to use them when the day comes. As long as I don’t look like a clown, I’ll be happy.

I also didn’t really like the lip gloss he used at first; it was too glittery and frosty for my liking. I showed him my favorite lip gloss for everyday use and he said, “Oh, you must not wear any makeup!” because it is just a natural pink color. So he got a lip gloss that had a little more color and was more on the mauve-y side. He then said he would use a different blush that would complement the lip color better.

When we left, my mother-in-law commented that my makeup looked less harsh in the natural light versus the lights in his salon. I’m glad I spoke up about my thoughts and opinions though because I still wasn’t a fan of the super peach-y color on my fair skin.

Which brings me to the next shenanigan…

We were home for maybe half an hour before my sister-in-law and I took a trip to the tanning salon. I have been talking about going and trying out a spray tan for awhile now to get an idea of how it might look for the wedding. I didn’t want to just try it for the first time days before the wedding because what if it turned out looking ridiculous?

I could’ve ended up looking like an oompa-loompa. Or Anne Hathaway in Bride Wars. Or any cast member on Jersey Shore.

Orange

We went to the Beach Bum Tanning Salon since my sister-in-law is familiar with the place. The guy at the desk was really friendly and informative and helped me make a decision about the color. I went with the light color (duh) and opted for a bronze boost to give me a deeper undertone without making me look orange. He took me to the spray booth, explained what to do, and left me to it.

The actual spray process took maybe 3 minutes but it felt a lot faster; it was the post-spray that took a little longer. I felt kind of sticky, even though I stayed in the booth for the entire final drying cycle, patted myself off with the towel they provide, and danced around for a bit to dry off. Yes, I looked like a freak. But you get your own room, so whatever.

I left looking a little tanner because of the bronze boost, and it only got darker throughout the night. So since I had been running around all day, that night I decided to relax a bit and began addressing invitations!

I practiced my curly capital letters in order to get my prettiest writing and, since starting, I’ve become more confident and it’s become a lot easier. So far, I’m about 90% finished with addressing, stuffing, and postage-ing invitations and have about 30 extra ones in case we find more people we want to invite. I’m so glad I opted to pay a bit more for self-adhesive envelopes – best decision I’ve made so far. I have only messed up on a few of the envelopes so that’s pretty darn good!

Practice cursive writing

As the night went on, I could tell my skin was getting darker, and when I woke up the following morning, I was quite surprised by how dark my face looked. I mean, I could’ve been Puerto Rican or something. Luckily it toned down a bit once I showered, and my mother-in-law said I looked healthy and not orange. All good things!

Not only did my glow-y skin made me look healthy, it also complemented my bridal shower dress way more than my pasty skin did. My dress was a cream color, so instead of my skin matching my dress, you could actually tell where my skin ended and my dress began.

Which brings us to my bridal shower! Since this post is so long already, I’ve made a separate post for my bridal shower here!

My next missions for the following 2 weeks include:

  1. Finish addressing and mailing invitations
  2. Write and mail thank-you cards for bridal shower #1
  3. Figure out escort cards – I have the idea in my head, I just have to find somewhere to purchase them or figure out how to create them myself.
  4. Find a dress for and attend bridal shower #2 – I am so pumped to see everyone!!!!!
  5. Stay active – my last day of work is next Wednesday, so I will have a lot of free time to eat chocolate.

My Secret (until now) Obsession

About three years ago, I stumbled upon the world of YouTube beauty videos. My first video, How To: Miley Cyrus Inspired Curls by a username juicystar07 (reminds me of AIM days…to which I admit, my first username was sweetcuddler88; don’t judge, I’m sure your’s wasn’t much better).

blair fowlerAnd this was only the beginning. From here, I looked through a bunch of Blair’s other videos. These videos included makeup tutorials, Outfit Of The Day videos (OOTD for seasoned veterans), and random talk-y videos. (Blair is juicystar’s actual name, although not her birth name; just one of the many things I’ve learned over the past 3 years. Creepy? Maybe. But she puts it out there for all to know, so there.)

Needless to say, I became obsessed. I started searching for certain makeup tutorial looks, began subscribing to other beauty gurus, and even used my roommate’s face to try and recreate the looks (Note: A huge thanks goes out to Becky: for enduring my cheap and sometimes painful non-makeup brushes, and later buying me actual ones for Christmas!). They show you step by step what products they use, how they are applied, and explain everything in between. There are super natural looks and crazy dramatic looks. Colorful or neutral. The list goes on and on. And not just makeup, but nail polish, clothing…EVERYTHING!

Since I began watching, my makeup collection has grown, as has my respect for these young women who use it on an every day basis. Even more respect for filming yourself doing it and having it come out looking amazing!  I contemplated starting my own channel to create such tutorials, but I realized I’m just not as obsessed with or dedicated to makeup, the latest trends, and fashion as some of these girls are. So I’ll leave it up to them.

Three years later, I am still subscribed to Blair. Although her videos feature less makeup tutorials (I mean, I guess there’s only so many color combinations AND the fact that there are hundreds of girls like her doing the same thing now) I’m still a fan. My subscription box has grown to other beauty gurus; here’s just a few of my favorites:

  • juicystar07 – Blair with her brown hair and brown eyes (twinsies!)
  • AllThatGlitters21 – Blair’s older sister, Elle, who has blonde hair and blue eyes
  • MissJenFABULOUS – she does amazing nail polish tutorials!missjenfabulous
  • shaaanxo – she’s from New Zealand, so her accent is great
  • kandeejohnson – she not only covers fashion and beauty, but she has a super sweet and loving heart as well
  • TheStyleDiet – she has an Irish/American accent that’s simply garjuss. Her older videos feature color combinations based on your skin/hair/eye color – it’s fabulous. And she now has an incredibly adorable 6 month old named Emilia, whom I watch on her and her husband’s daily vlogs (video blogs) on SacconeJolyTV

It’s crazy thinking that this started 3 years ago. Here I was, a junior in college, sitting in my dorm room, just wanting to be pretty and learn how to have hair like Miley (this was around the time when The Last Song was coming to theaters, so her long, luscious (albeit fake) locks were everywhere). And now I am a first semester grad student, sitting in my dorm room, wanting to be pretty, and writing about it. Well, I guess not all that much has changed.

Question: What is your secret (or not so secret) obsession?