Monday, December 13, 2010

i was a (almost) thirty year old acne victim

yep.  twenty nine (no, really.  the first time around) and STILL breaking out like a pubescent teenager.  it's horrifying, really.  because we're not talking small little blackhead like breakouts.  we're talking gargantuan, massive, cystic clusters of acne.  disgusting, bacterial acne.  the kind that you remember on THAT kid in high school.  the kind that just looking at made you want to go wash your face.  yes, my friends.  THAT kind of acne.  do you have the full disgusting picture in your head yet, or shall i get more graphic?  Just to be sure we're all on the same disgusting page, i'm going to be extremely brave (WAAAAAY outside my comfort range here, folks) and show you what i mean:

this is a good day, too.  these are immediately after my nighttime cleansing, which is really when they look their best, sadly.  i refuse to put pictures of their worst.  this is hard enough for me.

let me give you a little background on me real quick.  

i never had perfect skin.  but it wasn't horrible.  i didn't have acne, per se.  i had your typical once in awhile break out.  then, after i had my first baby (i call him bubba in my blogs), my skin got worse, then better.  when he was six months old or so, i went to work for Clinique.  working for them, i took skin physiology courses and became the counter three step leader, selling their number one skin care line.  and the line worked for me.  for a little while, anyway.  gradually, my skin got worse.  then it would get better.  i started using the Arbonne Intelligence line at some point after my second baby (blog name marti) and had AMAZING results with that.  then they discontinued it.  at some point in there, i went on birth control to help with my mood swings, skin problems, crazy cycles, and early menopause symptoms.  anyway, in the last year, i changed birth controls - from ortho tricycline oral doses to the depo-provera shot.  well, i gained weight with the depo, my skin broke out, i was miserable.  so i quit.  haven't gotten around to going back on the pill yet. BUT my skin continues to get gross.  and stay that way.  since i went off the depo at the end of august, i've not had a single clear skin day.  sometimes i can wake up mostly clear and by lunch i'm breaking out.  i've changed skin care, make up, you name it.  nothing's worked.

then in october, i went gluten-free.  skin actually got some better.  i lost almost ten pounds, all my medical problems cleared up, feeling fabulous.  but my skin.  i STILL can't get it clear.  

the other day, mom reads on Glutenista about wheat in hair products and cosmetics...

...hold on.  i have a wheat allergy.

ingredient check!!!  

nothing i use has any of the derivatives of wheat in it.  at least that i can find.  well, shoot.

a little more internet digging and i find that while MAC cosmetics has some of the most amazing color and makeup options out there and is cruelty free, that they do have products containing wheat and/or gluten.

oh, you have GOT to be kidding me!!!  i've used MAC for years.  i worked for them for a long time and i LOVE their products.  so to find out that the very powder i've loved for the last seven years may contain kernel oil was very upsetting.  no, i don't have a corn allergy.  i have a wheat allergy.  but corn contains its own gluten.  they also mention that there's the possibility of equipment contamination.  i found all this on this website, which is admittedly dated.  but then, i realized that the newest product i've been using is my concealer.  and after a few days of thinking about it, i ONLY break out in the same spots over and over and over and over.  those are the places i conceal daily.  only to break out in more clusters.  (you'd think that it wouldn't take very long to make this connection, but it did me, because i've never had sensitivity issues.)  well, best i can tell online, my concealer doesn't contain any gluten products.  (FYI - don't EVER google all the ingredients in your cosmetics.  i now don't ever want to put that stuff on my face again.  ever.)  but i've emailed MAC to find out for sure.  in the meantime, i have purchased a different brand of concealer, one whose label i checked REPEATEDLY to make sure.  i'm going to give it two weeks and see if it makes a difference.  

i have also checked the ingredient list on every product i own - from toothpaste to deodorant to soap to hand lotion.  i had no idea that i might find allergens in my shampoo.  or my concealer.  that shocks me.  and frustrates me.  because the MAC Studio Sculpt concealer is the best stuff i've ever used.  but at the same time, i'm sooooooo tired of being an acne victim.  it's not fair.  i passed puberty sixteen years ago or more.  that i should still have to deal with this is maddening.  i will be doing ingredient checks on everything from now on.  and i will be taking pictures daily of my skin to see how it's clearing up.

i should also mention that i plan to continue my regimen of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid on my face to help dry up and kill the acne.  but i also plan to NOT add anything that might irritate it.

so i will be letting you know how it goes.

what kind of weird allergy/cosmetic issues have you had?  what did you do about them?  is there something i'm missing?

let me know!  and go be gorgeous!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Guest Blogger - Carolyn Kennedy

Hi! Sarah was gracious to let me share MY beauty post on HER great blog. :) Sarah and I go waaay back- all the way to 6th grade! We were music library fairies together in choir most memorably. I won't embarrass her by taking about the Spring Choir Recital where she dressed like Jasmine from Aladdin. She's always been the fashionista of the crowd. :p (Note from Sarah - I was not alone in that!!!  Mrs. Hendrix TOLD some of us to and then neglected to tell us not to!!!)
My name is Carolyn Sherman Kennedy. I am proudly a GRITS!! I am married to a wonderful (yankee) husband named Chris for 4 years in April after a equally wonderful whirlwind courship. I found a passion in blogging- it all started to keep a journal of our first garden and our everyday life, including the ups and downs of my wide interests. I am a stay-at-home wife who has a passion for all things homemade. I love to make my own cleaners, sew for fun, read anything I can get my hands on, love British comedies and mystery shows, and cook nourishing food. We have changed our diet to include natural, whole foods, with very little refined sugars or processed foods. If your interested, the bible on the subject in my opinion is Nourishing Traditions  by Sally Fallon.  
Along with changing our eating  (I lost 7 lbs in two weeks!!) I am introducing homemade natural body products into my regime full-time. There are lots of health reasons, but the main reason is I enjoy making them, they tend to be more frugal (read= cheap!!), and I find them very effective. If you or family have sensitive skin, all this have worked for my uber sensitive and dry skin.

Plantain Tincture
Back in the summer I made a pint of plantain tincture. Aaand, since them is sat in the back of the pantry.  I read in "No Greater Joy" that a daily application of the tincture will help clear up acne and keep your skin clear. Since it is mostly apple cider vinegar, it SMELLS like that for 5-10 minutes. Some people use vodka to make tinctures, but I would rather smell like vinegar than vodka! I find any alcohol too harse for my skin. I have been using it for about a week now. I have a small area of break out on my chin and it is healing up nicely. I have no new bumps, the ones under the skin are quiet small now. My face is so smooth in the morning!! It also looks brighter, fresher.  WHO knew that the solution my my bad skin was in my backyard!

Read on up plaintain if you're like me and never heard it it. It's honestly the BEST thing I've ever used for bug bites. You can use this tincture above by lightly soaking a cotton ball and holding it to the bite with a bandaid. I made plantain salve from fresh plantain, aloe vera leaf, coconut oil (in place of petroleum jelly in recipe), and lavender essential oil. The salve is great for replacing Neosporin for all sorts of scraps, stings, bites, and skin conditions. Most people have lots of plantain growing in their lawns, if you don't treat for weeds. You can find a photo of the plant on the links above- get looking before it's cold! I always have my hubby tell me before he cuts the lawn so I can scurry around and pick the plantain. :)

Goats Milk and Oatmeal Face Scrub- from Beauty Secrets of the Bible, told to me by Stroud Crowd.
This product is made from equal parts powdered goats milk, available at Eath Fare or Amazon, and oatmeal. Roughly grind the oats in food processor or strong blender and combine with the powdered milk. Store in a tightly sealed jar.  Use just as you would any other scrub. Finally a scrub my sensitive skin can handle!

Honey Face Toner- again from Stroud Crown out of Beauty Secrets of the Bible
When you get out to shower, wrap your hair up to dry for a few minutes. Using a small dish of honey- I bought some small cosmetic jars at Wal-Mart- dip a damp finger into the honey. Go easy now! Gently rub/coat your damp face with the honey- if you're sticky, you're using too much. Just dot on your face and massage around with a warm, damp hand. Now, finish drying off and by that time your face should be dry- and not sticky! (if you've not used too much!)

Olive Oil Moisturizer
This one is easy- use olive oil!! Ok, ok- just stay with me, trust me!! I have been plauged by horrible dy skin for years. Even the prescription lotions didn't really help fix the problem. The first time I tried this I followed up the honey, when dry, with organic olive oil. I figured that if it was an oily mess I could wash my face, whereas if I tried it on my body I'd have to re-shower.

I again dipped my finger in a small dish of oil and dotted on my face before massaging it around.  Like the honey, a little goes a looong way. I finished up by using my normal rx lotion on my body. I went off and enjoyed a tv movie, but I kept feeling my face to see how it was doing. :) It didn't get oily and my skin was so soft! By then-as always- my sensitive skin was itchy and burning after the lotion had soaked in/ worn off. Here is the funny part :) I went to the kitchen for my olive oil Misto and sprayed down my arms- aaah much better! I was converted. And, no, I didn't smell like olive oil.

If you have naturally oily skin, try moisturizing. Really! When your face gets proper moisture, it will see it doesn't need to produce oil to coat your face. Natural face oil is much "oilier" than a bit of moisturizer. (Note from Sarah - very true on this!  In all my skin physiology classes, this was emphasized repeatedly.  Even oily skin needs moisture for the exact reason Carolyn just stated.)

I got a empty lotion bottle at Eath Fare with a pump. It's filled with my olive oil and a few drops of lavender essential oil.  I also have a squeeze bottle for "heavy use"- I massage some on my feet 'til they are very well oiled and pop cotton socks on ,kick back, and relax for a while. I treat Chris to foot massages with the oil also. *If you're using essential oils in YOUR oil, use care as essential oils can cause skin reactions if improperly diluted. NEVER use essential oils directly on skin!!

Earth Fare has another oil I enjoy, Sweet Almond Oil. It is light and very midly scented. It's a good alternative if you just can't bring yourself to use the olive oil. Oh, and by the way it makes a nice "sensual massage" oil. ;) it's even edible- although you're not suppose to pour it over your supper!

I got this recipe from Naturally Knocked Up. Either buy a commercial empty deodorant/cosmetic tube or empty out and wash a traditonal deodorant tube. (Roll up all deodorant, pull out, feel for "pusher" at the bottom of the deodant and pry out, wash out both parts, stick pusher back in tube and turn your bottom dail the opposite way.)

Mix 1/4 cup each aluminum free baking soda (Arm & Hammer is said to be aluminum free) and 100 % corn starch. In a warm water bath, melt 5-6 tablespoons coconut oil in a glass jar. Mix with soda and starch 'till smooth. Add 5-10 drops of essential oils like tea tree oil or lavender- both anti-septic/anti-microbial. Let concoction sit for 10-15 minutes until is starts to cool. Pour into the empty tube. This recipe filled my empty tube of Secret to the tippy top. I popped it into the fridge so it would harden faster.

*My tube isn't advancing the deodorant, but I think that's just me. I'm going to look into something else. Occasionally it gets a litte damp on top- may be helped if I'd cap mine- but, if yours does too, just blot with a tissue. 

Body Scrub
Using brown sugar, mix in olive or sweet almond oil until its "spreadable". Massage gently onto skin - avoiding delicate areas - and rinse off or follow with a soak in the tub. Be very cautious using this as the oil can, and will, make you slippery! I was very careful to step out of the tub, but about bought it on the bathroom floor! I'd advise a bath mat outside the tub/shower too. :p Luckily, I was saved by falling onto the toilet - ha.

You can also use coarse salt instead of the sugar, but I worry about anything that drys skin simply because my skin is sooo sensitive.  Again, fragrancing with essential oils is nice. Buuut, if you used the sugar, oil, and something like lemon or vanilla extract - you get what I call lickable body scrub. It's good clean fun. ;)

Hair Treatments
I have heard there is a "no-poo" movement about. Apparently, groups of women (and I guess men??) are saying shampoo is unnecessary. They say give your hair a week or two to "be converted" and your hair will be come less and less oily. I've always know that excess shampooing actually adds to oiliness because your hair is deperately trying to produce enough oil to protect your hair. Am I going to do this? Probably not.

Baking Soda
This is the 'shampoo' the "no-poo" people tout. It works quiet well and I use it often. If you get your hair done for an event and come home with stiff hair- take a handfull of baking soda into the shower with you. It cuts all the gels and sprays nicely. If you're extra coated, two doses will cut everything!!  The first time I heard this, and tried this, was my junior prom. If you have been to someplace with cigarette smoke or campfire/ bbq smoke, the soda will cut that. I have read online however that it can be hard on colored hair since it is coarse on the hair shafts. In the 90's they even had a baking soda based shampoo that was awesome and I was sad to see go.

Our wedding rehersal was at Dreamland's BBQ. First, I LOVE bbq ribs and Chris certainly enjoys bbq too. We wanted to share it with our families. Most of MY family are native Alabamians, but live up North and Chris's family- well- they are all yankees. :) We thought everybody would enjoy a good dose of suuthern vittles. The banana puddin' sealed the deal. :) Besides, we didn't want a stuffy (expensive) formal dinner. Lastly, Dreamlands was the ONLY restraunt on our short list who would set aside a table on the evening for a given time.  C'mone! I was bringing at LEAST 20 people!!

Back on track... Dreamlands has an open bbq smoke pit, and we were seated right next to it- which was cool for the newbies. It was windy that night affecting the chimney ability to wick smoke up and out properly. Result? We smelled strongly like we'd rolled around in a campfire. Not what you want to smell like on your wedding! So, contrary to my hair dressers instructions not so shampoo the eve or morn before, I HAD to wash that out of my hair! And I used baking soda. :)

Apple Cider Vinegar
I grew up with this tip from my Mom. Every few weeks we'd fill a big cup up with AC vinegar, cut it with some water (optional), and take it to the shower with us. After we shampood and rinsed, you pour the vinegar into your hair and work it in well.  If it's pretty strong it will tingle on your scalp- some find it nice, others don't.  Leave it in for a minute or so and rinse out. Your hair is now squeaky clean!!

This is like that Neutrogena Clean Shampoo they sell. It says if you use it occasionally it makes your favorite shampoo work even better. So does vinegar. You can use white vinegar also, but apple cider makes natural redheads hair extra nice. :)

Most commercial hair products, no matter what they say, do leave residue in your hair and scalp. All that crud leads to flat, dull hair. If the smell of the vinegar really bothers you- it will wear off when your hair is dry you can shampoo your hair with just a small, small bit of shampoo. My mom hated I did that growing up, she'd say "You just got it clean!!"

Fish Oils
I saved the "weirdest" item for last. We take cod liver oil in our home! Ugh, huh? It is SO nourishing to your entire system-inside and out. It's the best fish oil/omega-3's you can get and it's loaded with lots of available A & D.  If you want to get started, Wal-Mart has some that is creamy orange flavored. You can get capsules, but they are not as nourishing as the straight oil. Honestly, it's not that bad!! Take it after a meal if you get "fish burps". Remember- fish is brain food! :)

I hope you find a product you come to love- in your own kitchen!
Thanks Sarah!!

Thanks so much to Carolyn for guest spotting on my blog!!!  I love these tips and I can't wait to try some of them!!!  Thanks to each of you for reading with me.  Now go out and be gorgeous (and natural)!!!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Fabulous Friday! Game Day!

so, it's september 3, 2010...and anybody in alabama knows that means tomorrow is THE DAY!!!  first serious gameday of the season.  the first that truly counts in alabama, anyway.  yes, for those who have not been inducted to the SEC fan-atics crowd, alabama (ahem, number one ranked, 2009 SEC and BCS National champions) and auburn are both playing their first football games of the season tomorrow.  in the south, 98% of the people live and breathe by college football.  it's a way of life.  and when september rolls around, perfectly normal people become raging maniacs for three months.  after that, if you have anything worth gloating about, you stay a raging maniac for another nine months, otherwise you quietly wear your colors (not that i'm pointing out any one or two teams in particular) and whisper your war eagles or go vols until it's cheering time again.  in alabama, we've got four seasons - spring training, recruiting, football, and championship.  it's actually that way in most of the southern states, but golly - in alabama, football reigns eternal.  and if you don't live here or you're not from here, or you're one of the 2% who just don't just can not comprehend it.

here's an example.  friday before gameday is an unwritten "wear your team colors" day.  actually, today it was written - or at least announced on the radio.  anyway, i had my cute little alabama shirt and denim skirt and the houndstooth ballet flats that have very nearly bitten the dust (is that the correct past tense of that phrase?) with my houndstooth bangle and hoop earrings.  both my kids were wearing alabama colors and little mc had a houndstooth hairbow.  but my MAKEUP...

the nails are OPI "I'm not really a waitress" red.  it's close to alabama crimson.  the i wish i was talented enough to paint houndstooth on them.  (for aliens and other non-alabama residents, UA has claimed houndstooth as part of our college colors.  The Bear - that's Coach Paul Bryant to you - wore a houndstooth hat forEVER and it's recently become a big thing, so we're all over that)  i guess it'd look a little bizarre, but hard candy has eye tattoos that come in animal print, for heaven's sake, so is houndstooth really that off?  anyway, they're a neutral smoke today.  nothing big.

and this is where i'm disappointed in myself.  sure, you can tell i'm a roll tide gal by the clothes and jewelry.  but what if i wasn't wearing the UA gear?  i was thinking about this today and came across something that just thoroughly excited me until i realized they were OUT of the alabama ones (as i tell my friends, the smart people all shop early, so the UA stuff is usually first to go).  however, check this out: not only do they have nail decals for your schools, but they sell them with two packs of nail polish!

yep.  college team nail decals.  but none for the national champions.  what am i supposed to do for games???  i'd love to hear your opinions on this!  i've got the face tattoos and stuff, but i'd love to know what YOU do for gameday.  what unique cosmetic accessory (for lack of a better term) do you don for your team games?

couldn't figure out how i was gonna tie gameday into cosmetics, could you?  :)  y'all, i'm a southern sweetheart - football trash talk is my native language.  like i said, live and breathe it.  

leave your suggestions, your trash talk, your comments on how you just don't get this, because you're from north of the line...and go be gorgeous...and ROLL TIDE!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

monday Madness - Rock It Like You Mean It Challenge part deux

so.  eight days and i completed my challenge.  sadly, i do NOT win a million dollars or a vacation.  i DO win the ability to look at my closet in a new way.  i also win the desire to NOT wear black again for a long long time.

before looking at these pictures, you must solemnly swear to look ONLY at my outfit and NOT at my horrible mess of a room.  it's been a non-cleaning because i'm depressed kinda month.  birth control sucks.

sunday - black capris, white shirt, black blazer (yes, it's a tad small, hence the brooch holding it closed) and my fabulous black pumps with black and white bows.  the only other jewelry is tiny rhinestone studs.

monday - THE jeans (the only ones that fit), gray puffy sleeve shirt, and the vest.  oh, and the patent squared peep toe pumps.  i think the jewelry is black metal.

tuesday - kinda fuzzy picture...THE jeans, cream colored tank with brown scoop neck shirt, and camel peep toe heels.  the jewelry is wooden - the bracelet is a catholic piece i bought in mexico with lots of madonnas on it.  and sequins.

wednesday - yes, it LOOKS like the same outfit, but it's not.  sunday's capris, tuesday's cream tank, black cardigan and black flippies (seven weeks after knee surgery, they don't recommend heels for long periods of time, so i gave myself a break in the middle of the week).  the jewelry is all gold today - long triple strand gold beaded necklace, gold cuff (i think i took it off for this) and gold hoops.

thursday - this is a look that is so totally un-Sarah.  THE jeans, black puffy sleeve button down, patent peep toe pumps.  the jewelry is probably silver - silver cuff, silver straight earrings.

friday - THE jeans, fabulous white old navy shirt (that sadly now has sweet tea stains on it), and my black flippies.  my nails for this day are sonia kashuk #1 - ocean breeze and my bracelets match it.  the earrings are probably my silver straights.

saturday - okay, i was proud of myself for this one.  different cream tank with a beaded bib necklace, the vest, and my distressed capris and black flippies.  the jewelry is antiqued silver.

and back around to sunday - and this picture makes me look huge, wow.  anyway, it's tripp's favorite white pants, this fabulous black slinky, flowy shirt i bought for new years two years ago (and have worn once since then), the same pumps from last sunday (yes, i'm a shoe re-wearer) and shiny hammered silver jewelry - including a new necklace that has the serenity prayer inscribed on it (i will be selling these for $15 a piece in a few weeks...)

and have i learned anything from this experiment?  at first i thought it would be super easy, given the amount of neutral colors i own.  but when loren specified that it be a combo i hadn't done before, that made it more difficult.  i felt i had to put more effort into it than jeans and a black t-shirt.  i learned that keeping it neutral isn't as easy and you would think if you've got stipulations and guidelines to go by - no former outfits, no color, look nice.  sounds easy.  maybe for most people it is.  but i've gotten into a fashion rut and this is helping me get out of it.  

sadly, it put me in an eye make up rut - same selena gomez look over and over and over again, just in different intensities.  

so this week, my goal is - only one article of "color" this week.  i can wear it with black, gray, white, or denim, but NO other colors.  just the one.  and my eye make up - same look but IN COLOR to match or at least coordinate with my chosen color.  today didn't count.  :(  should have.  i wore the distressed capris, a blue tank, and the black cardigan.  but since i didn't start my challenge until tomorrow (how's that for grammar?), today doesn't count.  i'll go from tuesday to monday.  and i'll be sure to take pictures of the eye make up, too.  

how did you do on YOUR challenge?  anybody????  tell me you went out and were gorgeous and you're gonna do it again this week!!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010


okay, i'm looking to do some reviews on my blog.  i keep up with a lot of other blogs - beauty, fashion, baby, kid, etc - that do reviews on products and i love them.  they help me decide whether or not i need the product, especially if it's something i'm already coveting.  so i'm asking for your help!  i need products to review - whether you have things for me to try or you know of things that you would LIKE to try, please leave me some comments and feedback.  i need to know what you want reviewed, what interests you, what looks you want to see tried, etc.  i'll make myself a list and see what i can do!!!  don't forget to share my blog on facebook, myspace, xanga, twitter, whatever you use.  spread the word so we can all be gorgeous!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Madness - Rock It Like You Mean It Challenge

so.  today is monday.  and yes, it's been manic.  let's pass all that.

my friend loren over at My Dead Best Friend's Closet put up a challenge last week.  MDBFC is a fashion blog that loren totally rocks.  and her RILYMI challenge (i'm all about the initials tonight) for last week was no neutrals.  this week, she put to me - neutrals in a new way.  and i took it just a bit further.  i'm going nothin but neutrals all week.  black, brown, gray, white, denim.  two days into the week and i've managed it so far.  her only stipulation was that it bee a combination i've never worn before.  i'm trying to figure out what the mess i'll be wearing the rest of the week, but like i said, so far, so good.  i'll post pictures at the end of the week so you can see if i rocked it or not.

so i'm spreading her challenge.  can YOU do nothin but neutrals?  what are your favorite combinations?  and are you rockable enough to pair the black and brown and make it work?  (that is such a complicated combination...only certain people can do it and do it well.)  post a RILYMI blog and link it to mine and/or loren's.  post a picture on fb and link it.  post a picture anywhere and link it!  share your ideas here and let us know you're taking the challenge!  who knows?  maybe we'll put together another challenge if this works and do a giveaway prize.  (i'll talk to her about that...)

ready, ladies?  on your marks, get set...

GO be gorgeous - in nothing but neutrals!!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Steps - Round and Round

So, as far as make up looks go, my new obsession is Selena Gomez.  Yeah, I know she's a Disney tweenie star, but she's a gorgeous one.  And a very talented singer.  Her latest video, "Round and Round" is a fabulously vintage style video.  Complete with fabulous clothes, hair, and of course, makeup.

Having had the video shoved at me from all angles while my children watch the Disney Channel, I decided to try Selena's look. You have to acknowledge - regardless of your feelings for her talents - that she's a very pretty girl. And her face is perfect for a number of different looks and styles. She's got a versatile face. I love those. So my goal here is to recreate this look:

I know that stills stolen from video aren't the greatest quality, but this one shows a fair amount of the look I'm going for.  Now, you can find video how-to's to get this look all over the internet.  I'm not able to do a video how-to today, so you're getting stills.  Although I'll be honest, if you can't work an eyeshadow brush, even a detailed video's not gonna help you achieve this look.  It's a bit more complicated than you expect.  Ready?  Here we go:

*Step 1*
We're going to start by assuming you know how to apply concealer and foundation. Nevertheless, here is my before picture, followed by the concealed and foundation-ed one.


You'll probably notice that I did indeed conceal my lips.  There's a reason.  I promise.  I also, though you can't see it, added some loose powder under my eyes.  This helps with shadow fallout, so it doesn't stick to you cheeks, because that's SO attractive.

Moving on

*Step Two*
The eyes.  I'm starting with a neutrally gold color for the base.  Mine is MAC, and I'm pretty sure it's called Brule.  Anyway, I put this over the entire lid, from lashes to brow.

Next, I'm using a MAC 239 eye brush to apply Hard Candy eyeshadow in Wink, with MAC Gold Tease over it.  The reason for this is that I don't own the perfect rosy gold shade I need.  What would be perfect is MAC Soba or Mulch.  But as I don't have those, I'm making do with a mix.  That's totally acceptable when you need a new shade, FYI.  Try it.

These are fantastic pictures, aren't they?  Yikes.

Okay.  So we've got our base and our lid colors.  Now's the tricky part.  We need crease, lash, and corners.  So we're going to start with the crease.  I'll start with a MAC 217 blending brush that's seen better days.  I'm going to use MAC Era just in the crease going toward the inside, but not past the middle of my eye.  This is going to give us a base for the darker shade we'll blend in to a cats eye in a moment.

Now.  Using my 239 brush again, I'm going to use just the tip edge of the brush and MAC Embark (a dark chocolate brown) to create a V shape at the outer corner of my eye.  

Then I blended it down so it wasn't so stark:

So, we're almost there.  Selena's cat eye is darker, probably a deep smoky gray, which I don't have.  I've started with a chocolate brown so I'm going to lighten my black eyeshadow (MAC Carbon) with MAC Vanilla, a pale beige color.  Then I'm going to use the same brush and go very lightly over what I've just done, the same way, but extending the shading further into the center of my eye.

I know this seems redundant, but it adds depth to the smoky look.  You can do this in fewer steps, but you don't get the deep smoky look Selena's got going on.

Still hanging in there?  Good.  Eyes are almost done.  You think it's taken a long time to read this part?  Trying doing it, taking pictures, and blogging all at once.  Taking me FOREVER.  Anyway.  We're on to the lining part.  I personally only use pencils.  I really kinda stink with liquid liner.  The one thing I would like to use is gel liner, but I don't have any in black right now, so we're gonna use pencil and powder - dynamic duo if there ever was one.  You want your liner to stay put?  This is how.  I'm going to line the entire eye - all the way around on top and the inner rim on the bottom.  NOT under the lashes on the bottom.  Too smoky.  We want cleaner.  Observe:

First, I line with the pencil:


bottom - inner rim

Then, using my Aveda angle brush (found online only in a set), I PAT the eyeshadow on, in short, small dots, not brushing it on:

I went back and added some more color in the corners, blended it a bit more and touched up the color on the lid and under the brow, just to bump it up a bit:

And then I'm going to use my Hard Candy Ginormous Lash mascara in Carbon Black (from WalMart, which excites me) and apply to top and bottom lashes.  

As an afterthought (after checking my sources again), i brushed a TEENY bit extra Carbon under the lower lash line.  Not overly smoky, but just a bit less stark.

Final touch for the eyes is of course the brows.  Selena has very straight brows.  Mine don't grow that way and I have never tried to follow "brow trends."  I simply keep mine textbook arched and I'm happy with that.  And even though they're thick, I still try to fill in a little and make them look a little cleaner.  I use an angled brow brush and MAC Embark on mine.


*Step Three*
That was the world's longest Step Two.  Whew!  In all honesty, doing this for myself to go out, probably wouldn't have taken me ten minutes.  This step by step stuff makes it slow going, and when you're first trying out a look, it does take time.  Work at it and it'll speed up. 

Step three is the cheeks.  They're neutral and matte, but the girl's got cheekbones to kill for.  So I went for my old stand by - MAC Strada.  And it has been discontinued (I'd be thrilled for someone to send me one for free!!!).  I've been told that Personal Style beauty powder, also by MAC, is a good replacement for it.  Haven't tried it myself.  Love my Strada.  But I brush it on the apples of my cheeks and lightly sweep back and up on the bones, using my MAC 168 angled blush brush.

*Step Four*
LIPS!  I'm using my MAC Whirl lipliner, wishing like crazy I still had a MAC Subculture.  But Whirl will be fine.  Remember I concealed my lips?  This way, none of my natural lip color shows through.  All we're getting is color from the color we apply.  I line the outer line of my upper lip and fill in at the outer corners.  Then I use the side of the pencil to do the bottom, again filling in the outer corners.

The absolute final touch is the gloss.  I'm using MAC Instant Gold.  You can achieve almost the exact same shade with a gold pigment and clear gloss.

And there it is:

Yes, it's a lot of work.  But Selena Gomez doesn't wake up looking like that.  Sorry.  If she did, we'd never be able to recreate that look.  Love the "Round and Round" video.  Love the look.  Love Selena Gomez.  Yep.  You heard it here - I'm nearly thirty and a Selena Gomez and the Scene fan.  Sue me.  However, I totally rock this look and if I had time to do it all the time, I would.  I'd be takin' you ALL round and round, baby.

Now go try it and go be gorgeous!  Send me your pictures, comment them, link them, whatever.  I wanna see my gorgeous-ness being spread "Round and Round!"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thrifty Thursday Number One!

so, as promised, on thursday i've been looking for online deals!  and here are the ones i've found and deemed the most important (or at least the ones that are the least ridiculous):

*free cooler and mini grill with any $30 fragrance purchase
*free Ed Hardy duffle with $75 Ed Hardy men's fragrance purchase
*$3.50 off ANY $10 purchase with code 46544
*free 8 piece sample bag with any $25 purchase
*free top coat with any Nicole Nail purchase
*free top or base coat with any ULTA professional nail lacquer

Sephora -
*Stila eyeshadow palette for $10, no code
*everyday free shipping and 3 samples with every purchase
*Big Beauty Sale is going on - WAY too much to list!

*Sole Revival Kit - 7 products for $20 - includes: volcano foot mask, 2 little feet bath bombs, running to embassy body butter, pied de pepper foot lotion, fair trade foot lotion, and lemony flutter cuticle butter

Sally Beauty -
*free pool bag with 2 Ion Swimmer's full size products (on sale for $7.00 each in the litre size)
*free Seche Perfect with any 2 China Glaze polishes
*all ORLY polishes are $4.99 entire stock!

let me know which ones you use or if you find other deals!  what's the best beauty deal you've ever gotten?  where do you love to shop (and i'll look for deals there!)?

so there you go, ladies!!!  take your beauty deals and go shopping and be gorgeous!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday's Child - color-eyez

you know, when you look through fashion mags and read stuff online, the majority of the time, you see models with color on their eyes - bright greens, blues, purples, pinks, even oranges and yellows.  but when was the last time you saw a "how to" using those colors?  or the last time you visited a cosmetic counter and had an everyday face put on using metallic purple eyeshadow?  chances are, it wasn't recent.  well, after doing a little thinking and deciding that my life needs a serious color boost, i pulled out my eye palettes.  i have at least 35 eyeshadows, mostly MAC, some Arbonne, and my recent acquirements are Urban Decay.  so i decided to put them to some use tonight to take my mind off things.  so today's Tuesday's Child is eye color.  and by color, i do NOT mean neutrals.

my first eye is in greens:

using MAC bitter as a base color, i used a FaceSecrets eye contour brush (equivalent of a MAC 221 large fluff brush)  to sweep the color on from the crease to the brow.  then, using a MAC 239 eye shader brush, i patted the Urban Decay acid rain from just above the crease to the lash line. and yes, i said just above the crease.  we call it a "cushion" to bring the colors together.

now, when i say i "swept" the color on, i mean literal sweeping motions with the brush.  when i say i "patted" on color, i literally mean pat the color on.  it gives bolder pigment.

okay, so step one:

i realize that they look like the exact same color.  they almost are.  diff is that bitter has a velvet pearl sheen to it and acid rain is a little shinier.  and a slight bit less yellow.

following that, i used a MAC 217 Blending Brush to sweep Urban Decay graffiti into the crease and on the outer corner.

step two:

and with the eye open:

okay.  so we've got our shadow on.  looks a little scary right now, but it's okay.  it'll be gorgeous, promise.  we need liner.  i grabbed my  MAC PowerPoint liner in Tealo and lined just the outside corner about 1/3 of the way in on bottom and top.

next, i went back with a MAC 263 Small Angle Brush and used MAC humid as a shadow liner.  dot the brush in the shadow, then use small, firm pats with the angled edge of the brush up in the lash line.

then, of course, comes mascara.  y'all.  don't EVER skimp on mascara.  it closes in the color and keeps it from looking like it's all over your face.  it's NOT hard to apply and any eye make up remover will take it off, as will baby oil.  my personal fave is BeneFit BADgal lash mascara in black.  and finally, finally, your brows.  you can tell by looking at mine that i have plenty of brow there.  and i actually have a text book shape brow, thanks to years of happy plucking and trimming and shaping (and a minor case of trichotillomania).  however.  just because i have brows doesn't mean i pluck the uni and let it go.  i use just a bit of shadow (MAC embark for my dark brows) with a slightly fluffy angled brush - i bought mine at Sally Beauty a hundred years ago and it has a mascara-wand type brush on the opposite end.  i assume it's a brow brush, but that's what i use it for.  anyway.  i brush some shadow very lightly into my brows and comb through with the mascara type wand.  boom.  gorgeous brows.  and don't ever think that just because you have brooke shields' eyebrows that you can go without touch ups.  it's the frame.  the finish.  the closer.  trust me.

and see?  green isn't scary at all!!!

sooo...what about blue?  what?  1969 called?  no, no.  not THAT blue.  and not the remix from 1987, either.  check it out:

same exact technique as the green.  i'll label the pix with the color names again, but lay off the how-to talk.  i think i used the colors i listed.  i'm not so sure about the shimmermoss.  if anybody thinks they know for sure, please let me know!  it may be a discontinued color and i've lost my palette list.

definitely not 1969 or 1987 scary, is it?  

the fabulous part is that color can be so much fun!!!  these are simple ideas.  keeping a color family together.  wait til i get my color wheel out.  pinks and yellows.  oranges and purples.  blues and coppers. greens and golds.  the possibilities are endless.  

so.  now to you -

what's your favorite eye shadow?  brand, color?  what's your favorite color combination for eyes?  have a tip or a trend you want me to try?  comment and let me know!!!  and as always - 

go try it and go be gorgeous!!!