Monday, November 29, 2010

Homemade Facial Scrub: Aspirin


Aspirin, also known as Salicylic Acid, is a great base to use when you want to give yourself a simple yet effective homemade face scrub. Salicylic acid {a Beta Hydroxy acid} cleanses through the natural oils the skin produces (sebum) much easier, especially for those with oily and acne prone skin types. This simple and handy ingredient cleanses deep down to the pores targeting clogged pores and blackheads. Aspirin also has excellent anti inflammatory properties which helps calm and sooth pimples.


I have very oily skin and have been dealing with it more often than not. Even my lids are oily for god sake! Recently I have been slacking on my water intake so that may be the problem and not to mention that time of the month outbreaks. So I'm paying strict attention to my daily water intake while trying to do some topical control as well. This scrub helps keep things at bay especially when breakouts come out of nowhere.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Saturn Return



There's always going to be a time in your life where you come to a point when you start to question every life decision you have made by far. Whether it be career, relationships or just plain life, destiny will find a way for you to face your life for what you have made it worth. In some cases if you are fearless, you will take the initiative to renew your life, while others don' fully come around to accepting destiny and the changes it will inevitably bring.

Depending on where you are in your life, this can be life and Saturn Return meeting at the crossroads.
"The Saturn Return is an astrological phenomenon that occurs at the ages of 27-30, 58-60, 86-88, etc., coinciding with the time it takes the planet Saturn to make one orbit around the sun. It is believed by astrologers that as Saturn "returns" to the degree occupied at the time of birth—approximately every 29.5 years—a person crosses over a major threshold and into the next stage of life. With the first Saturn Return, a person leaves youth behind and enters adulthood. With the second Return, maturity. And the third and usually final Return, a person enters wise old age." -Source
Astrology is much more intricate than just simply knowing a person's sun sign. For those who are a bit familiar with astrology know that planets, their positions, degrees etc, can influence different aspects of your daily existence. Your sign is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of you being a reflection of the entire universe. One very interesting concept in astrology that has intrigued me since memory is the life changing event known as the Saturn return, perhaps the most important life stage for many individuals.

 Saturn return is when the planet Saturn places itself in the same position it was on the day you were born, (hence Saturn return) making it's way through a very critical age and point in your life. You're almost 30 or you're already there, when suddenly all these questions come at you. The first one usually is oh no I'm almost 30 what am I going to do? Which leads to more questions...Is your relationship worth it anymore? Is you career heading anywhere? Maybe you wan to start a family? Maybe end a relationship? or simply start a new life? The questions and uncertainties can become endless.



Throughout both mythology and astrology the planet Saturn has been heavily associated with depression, darkness, karma, time, death, discipline and even the devil. So it seems rather convenient this very ideal planet would want to debut right before you hit the big 30. Saturn is known for being a stern and unforgiving disciplinarian taking on the role of father figure as well. Those who are at the brink of their first Saturn return usually deal with this planet's often misunderstood qualities. When touching on the subject of Saturn you deal with discipline, responsibility and maturity. These are perhaps the three major things many come to learn (the hard way) throughout their Saturn return.

Generally throughout life, questions and life changing decisions arise, but something about Saturn being involved turns it into a near life crisis. The first phase of Saturn's return can be a rather difficult and confusing one. Some people during their Saturn return deal with traumatic events which can lead to depression and dark outlook on life. Others on the contrary can with persistence reach their highest potential during Saturn's trying times.

 Saturn being a disciplinarian, will create major shifts and changes forcing you to look inward. It will make you question every aspect of yourself so you can find solutions from within yourself, giving a higher purpose to those nagging but yet significant questions.



Crossing over any threshold can create a life of fear and paralyze you into a life you may be giving into for the sake of avoiding change. Saturn forces you however to see yourself for who you are in the raw and if you are not comfortable with who you are, the battle to accept it can turn into a very bitter and regretful life.

Saturn teaches you self development by throwing hard knock life decisions at you which pushes you towards the edge of self discovery. If you dare to deny yourself the opportunity for growth it can lead to an agonizing and consuming experience.

 
Saturn Return not only affects regular folk like you and I but throughout the celebrity world, Saturn return seems to be a very familiar life theme as well. Known as The 27 club, it is believed that many artists especially musicians have died at the age of 27, an age where not only were they at the height of their careers but also at the front of their Saturn return.

Despite all the astrology and urban legend associated with Saturn return, all life experiences at all ages can ultimately take you to the brink of pure success or failure. It all depends on how realistic you want to be with yourself in terms of mastering the many tasks life may place your way......


Read more on Saturn Return:

The Astral World

Elizabeth Spring

The27club.net

Surviving Saturn's Return By Sherene Schostak, Stefanie Iris Weiss

Image source: Beautyineverything.com



Friday, November 19, 2010

Bonafide Tree Hugger...and Loving it



I love the woods....the solitude and peace always leaves me feeling renewed. While sitting and meditating on the view shown in the pic below... a dragon fly decided to join me.


The boyfriend has family in Pennsylvania so we decided to have a nature date not too long ago in the woods. The weather has been rather pleasant despite it being November so we took advantage.


I always come across the most amazing Mushrooms when I am in the woods..... this one looks like a star, fabulous!


Quiet and romantic trail.....


More mushrooms.....

Our little spot...

I love flowing water, the smell, sound just makes me love life so much more.... a sweet escape I tell you...


A family of mushrooms! I told you I always come across the most amazing shrooms...I was so amazed to see this.



Just going with the flow.....



It is so relaxing to just take a walk throughout the woods. Talking, relaxing and taking in the sights is what made my day...


LoL my bag for the day, which I'm loving a lot right now. Thankfully the print is back in season.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

NYC Matte Bronzer, Clinique Eyeshadows + Accessories I'm Loving Right Now



I got these NYC items on sale buy one get one at my local drugstore (rite aide) several weeks ago. This came out a while ago, but never picked it up because I don't really like NYC's line too much. But since this time around it was on sale I decided to give it a try anyway.

 I have been really curious about this matte bronzer. Second to tinted moisturizers, bronzer is a must for my skin tone which loses it's beautiful brown glow during these times leaving me kind of yellow and pale..... And since I have not come across many matte bronzers (drugstores at least) I had to give it a try.



First I will start with the palette. NYC items are rather cheap and I have never done too well with any of their cosmetics. But usually most limited edition items most lines put out tend to be a little better. And since I was curious about the bronzer and it was BOGO ($5 was my total), I said why not....
The palette comes with a purple/plum and pink shade and a highlighter. This palette also came with a eyeshadow base.



The only primer I have used is UDPP, which I don't like too much since it tends to be too dry. However, I was impressed with the primer this NYC palette brought. The consistency is creamy enough for you to work with it. It's not too creamy but not too dry either. Works very well and I use it more often than my pricey Urban Decay Primer.



I never liked NYC shadows, always so chalky and sheer. But with this palette seems like they stepped it up a bit because the colors are decently pigmented.



Of course I did a look with it and these were the results. I like this primer, helped keep the shadows on all day and the colors were very pigmented and beautiful. And mind you I have oily lids so the staying power of this base held up.



Yes it is possible to have oily lids lol. Despite that the eyeshadow stayed on all day. So I hope they come out with an affordable and worth while version of this eyeshadow base.


As far as the bronzer I like it a lot. It's perfect my my skin tone. The color is matte no shimmers or shine just matte, ideal for my oily skin type, the less shine the better. I love how well it blends with my Sonia Kashuk Tinted Moisturizer too. I have been seeking out to buy another one since this is limited edition I believe. I love how it has this nice brown undertone compared to the orange tone most bronzers end up being on me, like my Milani one below. .

Milani Bronzer

I love bronzers and this milani bronzer was ok. I used this last winter and it worked well but I noticed throughout the summer that it would get a bit orange on me. I also tried a maybelline bronzer prior to this milani one but again the orange factor always had me searching for a new one.

Clinique color surge eyeshadow Quad: Spicy

Right now I'm loving my clinique eye shadows. They tend to be a bit sheer, but with a decent primer clinique always comes through for me. I love this palette because it gives me such a beautiful natural look. It has a very beautiful pink, green, beige and brown shadows that look very nice when going for that so called natural look.


Clinique Eye Shadow Duo: Posh Squah

Clinique Posh Squash is my favorite too, been using it almost everyday this past week.


Posh Squash is another pretty neutral but instead of beige I have this gorgeous peach color complemented with the brown, makes for a very nice neutral look. My camera did not pick it up too well but it definitely is a nice combination.



And here are a few things I have been wearing out these past few weekends. I have been to several birthday parties and what not and these are a few things I have been pulling from my stash.



I love bracelets, bangles....


and evil eye jewelry has been my obsession lately.....How fabulous is this ring??



I have been sooo uninspired with my earrings. I even put an ETSY shop up this past summer, but I have not had the time to shop for new beads etc or have had any inspiration to create as of late. After I get a few things out of the way I may step up my game and start creating again. I want to give handmade gifts this Christmas so I may pour my inspiration into that....


Thursday, November 11, 2010

All the Glee in a Cup of Tea

 Now that fall is officially here and the dead of winter is soon approaching the nights are going to get much longer and colder from here on end. I used to be a hot chocolate kind of girl during these unforgiving times (with whip cream and a hint of cinnamon of course) but since my sinuses tend to flare up when it comes to most things dairy (on top of trying to curb my sweet tooth) I've had to find a decent substitute. So why not substitute with a nice cup of tea?


I never used to be a tea person, not even iced tea during the summer. The after taste would be a huge turn off. I guess now that I'm getting older and less picky about food, I've come to embrace tea. When most think of tea they think herbs...all kinds of herbs. However, tea is in a league of it's own. Most "teas" out on the market are not really teas per se. Here's why.....

*****Herbal Infusions (tisanes) Vs. Tea (Camellia sinensis)*****


In order for a tea to be considered an official tea it should come from the plant Camellia sinensis aka Tea. Unless it contains this plant it's technically not a tea. The leaves and several other parts of this plant are used to provide what we know to be official tea

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Quick Hair Update


So the day I posted my review on Amal Oils I did my hair that day (sunday) sticking to the same regimen. I shampooed with dr bronner's castile soap diluted, La Plancha, and nacidt avocado with organic argan oil. This time I did not use argan oil as a leave in, I used it for flat ironing instead. I decided to flat iron since I went out that evening and wanted to wear my hair out for a change. So I rollerset my hair as usual but this time I flat ironed.


I stayed in my dryer for my usual hour reading and these were the results hot off the rollers.


Right after, I combed the curls out and wrapped my hair in a dubbie wrap.


A wrap helps flatten my roots much better as well as helps tone down the volume the rollers tend to give my hair.


I just wrapped it in a scarf for about an hour. Then flat ironed my hair with my conair flat iron. Yeah it's a cheapie but for me, it gets the job done.



These were the results after flat ironing. Pretty decent I think. I did not use a heat protectant (I know it's almost a sin lol) but I think I threw out my chi iron guard by mistake when I was doing my product cleaning in Sept. Oh well. But I did use a small amount of Amal Oils Argan oil for a bit of shine especially towards my ends while flat ironing and loved how my hair came out incredibly soft.

 

I love how nacidt avocado finally was good for something. Thanks to the argan oil of course.


So these were the results later that day. Very soft and shiny hair. I'm very pleased with the progress I have made with my hair. However, since that weekend I have been very lazy in terms of caring for my hair. I've been way too busy on the weekends lately so it's been hard trying to keep up.

So what I have ben doing is keeping it simple. I have been shampooing with dr. bronners castile soap and conditioning with hello hydration. Air drying then moisturizing and sealing with my hair slightly damp. And that's it. No treatments or deep conditioning for the past two weeks. I feel that my hair has gotten healthy enough so it can handle a weekend or two without any treatments. I also wear my hair in buns quite often especially for work so protective styling is also in the mix.

This weekend is another story. Right now I'm under the dryer after babying my hair today. I again used the same regimen and used up nacidt avocado finally. This time I put my beloved argan oil to rest and used another oil I got from sally's last year ( I'm serious about using everything!). Now I just have maybe one more treatment with nacidt Olive oil, my last DC to use up.

I have been very diligent with my hair so I deserved the small break.

As far as my natural regimen it's coming along. I have purchased a few items and can't wait to use up every product I have left to start trying out the different concoctions I have in mind. I'll share my goodies and recipes I have in mind soon.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Review: Moisturizers and Tinted Moisturizers Concha de Nacar, Sonia Kashuk, Aveeno and Aloe Vera Gel

I have been meaning to review several facial moisturizers I have been using and eliminating from my regimen. Here are a few I have tried for a while and recently have given a try.

Concha De Nacar Chamomile Vitamin E

One of my favorite skin care line and facial moisturizer while growing up has been Concha de Nacar. You usually find them at beauty supply stores or Caribbean specialty stores throughout NYC. 

I used this chamomile and Vitamin E moisturizer about two years ago until the place I usually got it from stopped stocking it. So this past summer I purchased it again after a long hiatus. This facial cream contains Vitamin E and chamomile and is very moisturizing. I did not use it much this time around because my skin was a bit on the oily side this summer when I repurchased it, but other than that I never had any complaints.

However there are several questionable ingredients (like parabens, DIAZOLIDINYL UREA and a whole bunch of other stuff). Not too much to my liking considering I'm trying to keep my skin care regimen as natural as possible. But it's been kind of hard trying to find what's right for me at this point.


Despite the ingredients I really like this facial moisturizer. It's under ten bucks great for the winter time and  it always leaves my skin very hydrated. There are also other products this line features like the bleach cream I stumbled upon last winter. Which I gave to my sister shortly after since  she was dealing with many dark spots on her forehead since having her baby (hormones maybe). I asked her recently how it turned out and she said it helped as far as giving her a smoother and clearer complexion and she liked it was a scrub as well. As far as bleaching/lightening the dark spots the verdict is still out on that one.


I have been upset lately.....


because after many years using Neutrogena's Tinted moisturizer faithfully for so long, Neutrogena decided to change the packaging (and I strongly suspect the formula too).  Unfortunately I was unable to compare the ingredients with the old one since I cut it up to get the most product out of the old design, and of course cut the ingredients away too. Not thinking much of it I used it up until August, All summer long I kid you not I was dealing with major breakouts until I finally figured out it was my TM causing my break outs all summer.

Neutrogen Tinted Moisturizer (medium)


 The damage it was doing to my skin was insane but I never gave it a thought. I had eliminated a whole bunch of things from my regimen and even thought it was health related. But then Neutrogena's TM was the last product from my regimen to eliminate (I was in denial) and lone and behold it was my holy grail causing such ugly nasty breakouts. So I have been on a whirlwind. I don't understand what happened, this TM made my skin look sooo nice for yearssss, it was the right price and perfect for my complexion and oily skin type! Then suddenly bam! nasty breakouts. I'm thinking either my skin changed or the product.... Oh well.... On to the next....


Sonia Kashuk Tinted Moisturizer (Tan)

I was in despair since I don't ever wear foundation and feel like a TM is able to help balance my skin tone without the overdone feeling of a foundation. So I went out to Target and purchased Sonia Kashuk's TM for 12 bucks. I'm not too crazy about this. It has this rather chalky feeling and kind of gives me this matte look which I don't know if I like too much sometimes...but it tends to work considering my oily skin and I like the coloring. The formula is a bit watery but for know it will do.




Aveeno Tinted Moisturizer (medium)

So in between my bad experience with my HG tinted moisturizer and Sonia Kashuks' not so fabulous TM, I went out in my product junkie mode I get into sometimes and purchased Aveeno's TM. Straight off this thing is horrible! Makes me look like a ghost, the formula is way too thick and the coloring is horrible. Did not like it and returned it after I gave it 2 chances.... the only thing I did like was that it covered the redness around my nose but other than that not an ideal tinted moisturizer for me. 




Too thick and the color is way too light.




This stuff is aight and I say aightt because I neither hate or love it. I don't have a go to cream for the evenings right now so I'm using Aloe Vera gel Straight from the plant at night or sometimes this clean and clear dual action moisturizer. It's oil free and contains salicylic acid (one of the AHA's mentioned here) which is ideal for those with acne prone and oily skin types.

When I use this at times I feel a tingling sensation which is most likely the salicylic acid at work. It moisturizes, although I feel like it just sits on my skin and it feels oily sometimes which defeats the purpose as to why I got it in the first place. So I don't know really about this one. I paid just 5 bucks for it and find it does not do too much for me. If anything my Aloe Vera Gel works better....

 I was a bit skeptical about this one, but left with no other choice I squeezed a good amount of aloe juice from this plant and put it on my face like a mask. However this time I did not rinse. I let it dry for a couple of minutes and used it as a moisturizer. Now I use it every evening and morning followed by Sonia Kashuk's TM.

 I have noticed it makes all the black heads on my nose almost squeeze them own selves out. And my complexion is much clearer. Definitely worth the try considering Aloe Vera Gel has a lot of great benefits when it concerns the skin. It moisturizers, heals and it's natural.

Not only am I getting a natural hair regimen down, but also a skin care regimen based on natural organic products. As far as my hair, things are coming along but the skin can be tricky. So I was browsing organic products and came across Derma E.





I got this free sample pack I just paid the $4.95 in shipping. They are all natural, paraben free and they have all types of serums, cleansers, moisturizers and treatments for all skin types imaginable.

They even have moisturizers for hot flashes and all the skin related stuff it entails. A microdermabrasion sample and a few other interesting products and ingredients as well. I'm actually overwhelmed since I don't know what product would work best for my skin type. I'll keep doing a bit of research on it. So far I'm liking the tea tree cleanser. Helps with my oily skin but smells too much!


So hopefully I will have a regimen I'm most comfortable with. Especially limiting the amount of products. One thing I can't do without Is a good Tinted Moisturizer. So right now I'm on the hunt.