Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Hello, Lover!" revisited...

Back in April I blogged about my new Clarisonic and told you how much I loved it and the results I was already seeing after only using it a short time.  Well, it's been 5 months since that post and I thought an update was in order.

I have used my Clarisonic every day since I received it, sometimes twice a day, but mostly I use it at night after removing my makeup.  I tried a few times to not use it, but my face just didn't feel as clean and I'd cave and use it anyway.  I think I'm addicted to it.  On a related note, the Mia hold it's charge a long time... considering the fact that I use it daily, I can go at least two weeks without having to charge it.  I think that's pretty good.

Originally my Mia came with a sensitive brush head and I'll admit I was pretty happy with it...at first.  Initially I was impressed with how it seemed to make my pores appears smaller, my fine lines appear more smooth and my breakouts less frequent, but I'd say about two months after starting to use it the long-term results weren't as great as I was hoping for and I was a bit let down.  However, I still continued to use it faithfully. 

The makers of the Clarisonic recommend replacing the brush head every 3 months.  Well, being the frugal person that I am (and the fact that they're $25 a piece), I thought as long as the brush looked good and felt OK, that it was doing it's job.  Wrong.  By month 4 I was starting to experience more frequent breakouts, my skin was lackluster and my makeup wasn't looking as good nor lasting as long throughout the day.  Finally one day it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, it was the brush head.  So I broke down and placed a Sephora order (they sell a 2 pack for $40, great deal!).  I went back and forth over sticking with the sensitive brush or bumping it up and trying out the normal...in the end I decided to try the normal and, worst case, I guess I could return them (no clue if Sephora would take them back, but I was hoping).

The first night I used the normal brush head I thought I had made a mistake - it felt harsh.  But I kept using it.  About a week or so into it I started to experience some horrible breakouts...probably the worst occurrence in about a year.  I was NOT happy, especially since it was a few weeks before we were leaving for vacation - not the best time to be looking like a pizza face!  But again, I kept using it.  Amazingly, by the time vacation rolled around my skin was in much better shape and it wasn't until I was actually on vacation that I realized what had happened...the normal brush head had purged my skin - the one thing I was terrified of when I first started using the Clarisonic was the "purge" everyone talks about.  I had never experienced it while using the sensitive brush head so I think I just kind of forgot that it was a possibility.  Apparently, the normal brush head was just doing it's job and getting all the gunk out of my skin like it's supposed to.  Now, after almost a month of using it and thankfully getting through that purge period, I'm super happy with the results and I now realize that the sensitive brush head was not enough for me in the first place.  Lesson learned. 

So that's the update.  I was asked by a friend a while ago if I was still loving my Clarisonic and if I would recommend buying it.  At that time I was just "eh" about it and suggested waiting for a really, really good sale, that I didn't feel it was worth paying full price.  Today, I've changed my tune.  While I still suggest waiting for a sale (who doesn't want to save some cash?), I really, truly feel it's worth paying full price if you have to.  It may take some trial and error to find the right brush for your skin, but once you do, you won't look back.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fall Into The Gap

Ahhh, the whirlwind that is Give & Get sale time has come to a close.  I always love this sale, always find great deals, always buy too much.  30% off is hard to pass up! 

I made two seperate trips to the Gap because on the first trip I felt rushed and didn't get enough time in the dressing room.  So that required a second trip to leisurely browse and see if I missed anything.  I bought 14 items and spent $160...which works out to be $11.43 an item!  I saved $70 with the coupon alone!  Most of the things I purchased were already on sale, so all combined I think I did pretty well.  And my wardrobe is most definitely set for Fall :)

Wanna see what I got???  Sure you do!

I got two of the Oversized Striped V-neck sweaters in the navy/grey stripe, and the eggplant/charcoal stripe.  Both were on sale for $19.99, so I only paid $13.99 each with the coupon...


...a solid Oversized V-Neck sweater in a pretty green, again, only $13.99 with the coupon...

...a Vintage Cardigan in a dark grey w/ dark green stripes that you see if you cuff the sleeves, on sale for $26.99, so I paid $18.90...

...and the Cascading Ruffles T in flint grey.

The next few things I picked off the sale racks at the back of the store (which I freely admit is usually the first place I check out whenever I shop at Gap):

...three of the Pocket T's in charcoal, light grey and brown.  All on sale for $7.99, so I only paid $5.60 each!  Great to throw on w/ jeans or for that price just wear them around the house.

...a Vintage Henley T in a pretty tan color (and of course that color is no longer pictured on the website).

...and a Striped Cropped-Sleeve Henley T.

I also picked up a two basic tanks for layering and two lace-trimmed camis (which I plan to return because the "straps" are too long and I feel like I'm too exposed).  Overall, I'm pretty pleased with what I purchased in-store.  With the exception of a few things I need to return (those lace-trimmed camis and possibly the solid v-neck sweater...still deciding if I need all three and I adore the striped ones too much!), I can't wait to wear everything once the weather cools down! 

I did place an online order for a few things from Gap and Old Navy that I wasn't able to see or try on in person at either store.  I'll probably do a seperate post showing you what I ordered and then update with what worked and what didn't. 

At any rate, I'm so ready for Fall.  Ready for jeans and sweaters, mums and pumpkins, hot chocolate and warm apple cider, colored leaves and cool crisp weather.  Does it get any better than that?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In a John Mayer state of mind...

Sorry for the delay but I'm still processing just how awesome the concert was.  It was incredible to say the least... mesmerizing... inspiring.  Oh, how I wish I could rewind and relive it.  I seriously want to become a groupie: traveling from city to city, tailgating all day, and jamming out every night.  That would be the life!

Tailgating was a whirlwind, but still lots of fun.  We laughed a ton while setting up the EZ Up tent (and thank God for it, it was hot!), laughed some more when we spotted some people we "knew" from the JM message boards, and then sat there dumbfounded as we watched a few groups of teenagers get busted for underage drinking and/or smoking an illegal substance.  Good times!  Before we knew it it was time to start packing it in, freshen up (although that proved to be futile with the heat and humidity) and then make our trek to the stadium to fetch our tickets.

Once we got inside we scoped out the merch tent where I spent way too much money on Silly Bandz (yes, I said Silly Bandz, and yes, I am an adult), then hit up one of the drink stands where I then spent way too much money on a margarita.  Finally we made our way to our seats just as Train was starting their set.  I, of course, was paying more attention to where my feet were stepping while trying not to spill my alcohol (priorities), but I remember someone telling me to "look up" and all I could say was "holy sh*t!"...I had never seen a stage that close before.  This was going to be good...

Train's set was incredible and Pat, the lead singer, is a true performer.  It was great to hear Meet Virginia, Hey Soul Sister and Drops of Jupiter live...amongst others.  They definitely held the crowd's attention and helped set the mood for the rest of the night.

At intermission we quickly hit the port-o-potties (remember everyone, green means go!) - big props to Jen for cluing us in on the private potties just for reserved seat ticket holders - followed by another stop at the drink stands to spend more money on alcohol (it's crazy what they charge) before heading back to our seats to wait.  Such anticipation!

And then... it started.  I think I could have fainted.  Maybe I did, I'm not sure, everything after that seems like a blur.  I tried my best to stay in the moment while also trying to capture some of it on my camera, text the hubster, post pics to Facebook and Tweet all at the same time.  My fingers sure got a work out! 

Overall the setlist was pretty awesome, but I will admit at the end of the show I felt a bit let down over what was missing... one song in particular that he's played at EVERY show on the tour thus far (the ONE song we all assumed was a given and wanted to hear so badly), he left out at our show, go figure.  I'll explain my feelings as this:  I love so many of John Mayer's songs, some I love so much they move me to tears, there is absolutely no way I'd ever be able to walk away from any of his concerts completely and totally satisfied unless he stood there and played his entire catalog of songs.  And that's the truth...a true JM fan understands. 

But now that I've downloaded the audio recording of the show and have listened to it a few (dozen) times, I can appreciate it more and realize just how terrific it really was.  In fact, the whole night was perfect.  Thank you to my girls for agreeing to go with me to our first ever JM show way back on July 21, 2007...and then taking time away from your babies to join me again this past February 21st and once more on August 5th.  I'm already looking forward to the next time...Lord knows it can't come soon enough!  Hmm, or maybe Mayercraft Carrier 3 experience?!  Who's with me?

And with that I'll leave you with some photos, enjoy!


Chest Fever (intro)
Bigger Than My Body
Heartbreak Warfare
Ain't No Sunshine
War Of My Life
Perfectly Lonely
The Heart Of Life
No Such Thing (in fast forward)
Waiting On The World To Change
Do You Know Me
Why Georgia
Who Says (encore)
Half of My Heart (encore)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Trying this again...

Tonight is the rescheduled John Mayer/Train show and there is rain in the forecast...ok, not just rain, but "severe" storms.  And it's hot, and it's humid.  Nice.  I've been stalking future radar predictors and amazingly they show that it will be clear the whole time we plan to be there, so who knows really.  I have my fingers crossed that the radar is correct and we really do end up with a storm-free evening, but it's still in the back of my mind that we might get rained on since all the weathermen and weather websites are telling me it's going to happen.  Trying to stay positive though!  I just pray the show goes on as planned because I fear if they cancel again tonight it will be canceled for good.  That means we'll never get to experience what 7th row center seats feel like and that would seriously bum me out!  But again, trying to stay positive that all this worrying for be for nothing...I'm nothing if not a worrier ;)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Blown Away!

Another beauty related review...sorry if it seems like that's all I talk about lately, but I have to share my thoughts on this amazing "tool" I recently purchased.  To be honest, I've only been using it since Tuesday, only four days thus far, but I don't see how my thoughts on this will change so I figured what the heck - you're getting the review now!

The product: the beautyblender*cue the parting clouds and singing angels* 

I've always used sponges to apply my foundation and concealer.  It's what I started out using when I first discovered makeup and over time what I was  most comfortable with.  Every once in a while I'd try to use my fingers but I could never get it to blend nicely and look the way I wanted it to.  I even tried a few foundation brushes and again, I wasn't happy with the finish.  I always resorted back to sponges...old habits die hard.  I used to be able to pick up any old brand of sponges at the drugstore and be completely happy, but lately, no matter which brand I bought, they just felt off.  Too plastic-y.  I don't even want to tell you how many packs of sponges I've purchased.  It's embarrassing :(  But I was nearing the end of my stash of "good" sponges so I was desperate to find something, anything, that would apply my foundation as good as or better than I was used too. 

I've seen the beautyblender on Sephora's website for a while now, but I just could never commit to spending that much on a sponge.  I mean really, $20 for a sponge alone is a little ridiculous.  But again, I was desperate I tell you!  I read the reviews on sephora.com and makeupalley.com and most were pretty positive.  Worst case scenario, I return it and get my money back.  So I caved, added it to my shopping basket (amongst a few other things, of course!), checked out and then waited for my package to arrive. 

First off, it's adorable.  I dare you to not smile at it's hot pink, egg-shaped cuteness.  Second, it's super soft and squishy.  Third, it doesn't smell all gross like other sponges tend to smell.  So far, so good. 

I purchased the set that comes with one beautyblender and a bottle of cleanser, so the first thing I did was wash the sponge.  I was amazed at how much the sponge expanded when wet!  The directions say to always dampen the sponge before using it to apply your makeup...intriguing!  I squeezed out any excess water, then squeezed it again with a towel in my hand - worked great.  It still felt damp, but not damp enough to transfer any water to my hands if that makes sense.  They also say to dip the sponge in the makeup then apply, but I like to use my fingers to dot the foundation on my face, then blend with the sponge - either way will work.  All you do is bounce the sponge across your face, that's it.  No tugging, no pulling, just bouncing.  The shape of the sponge is what creates that airbrush effect.  Since it's rounded it's impossible to get any lines or streaks.  And the process goes so quickly since the sponge can cover a larger surface area with each bounce.  I would typically squeeze out a thin strip of foundation on the tip of my index finger and repeat that three times, using one strip for each "section" of my face.  One for my nose and cheeks, one for my eyelids and forehead, and then one more for my chin, jaw line and neck line.  I was able to cut the amount of foundation I use in HALF by using this sponge.  It makes me super happy to think of all the money I'll be saving on foundation, not to mention the minutes I'll be saving each morning, too! 

The first time I used it I was blown away. I just kept saying "wow"...hours later I was still saying "wow".  It's got the "wow" factor for sure!  The way it blends makeup is just amazing.  I've never been able to achieve that sheer, glow-y look before...ever.  This just makes my skin look like MY skin, only better.  I've noticed the staying power is better too, and my makeup doesn't settle into my lines as much anymore.  Less truly is more, such an interesting concept!

The cleanser is great too, but from the reviews I've read, not entirely necessary (some use baby shampoo)...I personally love the cleanser and think it does a fabulous job at getting all the makeup off the sponge (you can dilute it a bit and use it to clean your brushes too).  You're supposed to clean it between each use to keep it looking nice and germ free.  I've read of some people using it a few times between washes, so I guess it's just personal preference and how much of a germaphobe you are ;)  One reviewer said that while she cleans her beautyblender daily, she waits until right before she uses it...since you have to wet the sponge before applying makeup anyway, you're kind of killing two birds with one stone and saving time.  Whichever method or system you choose is up to you.  With proper care the sponge will last at least 3 months, but many are using it 6 months to a full year - talk about getting your money's worth!  The company will even recycle the sponge if you send it back to them so it's environmentally friendly to boot.

If you use liquid foundation, you MUST get this.  (It does work with powders too, including blush, bronzers and eye shadows, but I can't comment on that yet since I've only used it to apply my foundation and concealer thus far)  Even if you use your fingers or a brush to apply your liquid foundation and are happy, I still think you'd be amazed by this.  I'm really not sure how you'd ever go back to your old method once you get your hands on this sponge.  It's that amazing, I promise you!

2 Month Follow-up to "Putting it out there..."

Let me just say that I think I timed my "weigh-ins" during the wrong time of the month, if you know what I mean.  Not the best for my morale.  Same as last month, I'm a few days late with my update, but I did weigh myself on the correct day (the 27th) to again be sure I was getting an accurate reading.  I'm only down another 2 pounds, 4 pounds total since I started this whole "eat better, lose weight" plan.  I weighed myself a few times throughout this past month and there were definitely days where I was lower than the number I ended up at on the official weigh-in day.  But this past week I've been feeling super bloated and just overall uncomfortable.  Not sure if it has to do with the extreme heat (hello, high 90's!) or all the fruit I've been eating (hello, lots o' fiber!).  At any rate, only 2 pounds.  Blah.  I will say though that I've been fitting into clothes a bit better lately...a few pairs of shorts that I haven't worn since buying them two Summers ago fit nicely now.  So in that respect I am seeing results.  I just wish I'd see it a bit more on the scale!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Disappointment has a name...

It's heartbreak...or it was heartbreaking.  I was all set to come back and post an awesome review of the John Mayer concert, but sadly it never happened.  There was some major, unrepairable equipment damage due to some crazy, heavy storms that passed through our area Sunday afternoon and there was no choice but to postpone.  We found out the sad news about 15 minutes or so after arriving in Hershey, just as the rain was coming to an end and the sun was starting to shine.  It was tough news to take, especially since we had been waiting 3+ months for this concert to take place.  Thankfully, it was rescheduled for August 5th and while it sucks to have to wait, again, I'm confident it will be a show to remember.  John will make it up to us, I'm sure of it. 

Here's a little peek of just how bad the storm was (warning: some "adult" language can be heard)...

Amazingly enough, once the storm passed it turned out to be one of the most beautiful Summer days we've had in a while.  It was warm, but not too warm, not much humidity (if any), a slight breeze, and gorgeous blue skies.  It would have been the perfect evening for an outdoor concert!  We tried to make the best of it by doing a little shopping at the outlets then ending the night with dinner on the river.  While it certainly wasn't the night we had planned and prepared for, it was nice to spend the time with friends and I realized on the drive home that we'd get to do it all over again in a few short days.  That put a smile on my face :)

Looking forward to August 5th!!!