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Not worth it

In the last few weeks I’ve started and discarded about four blogs. Every time I start one I decide it’s not worth it. My excuse? Accutane.

In case you didn’t know I’ve been on accutane since April of this year to sort out some incredibly painful cystic acne.

How is it going? Great as far as my skin is concerned, everything else? Not so much

Accutane has been known to exacerbate anxiety and depression, both of which I have,  both of which I am unmedicated for. I have absolutely no objections to medication. I have had counseling and have slowly learned to live (cautiously) with my anxiety and recognize my depression and (let’s say) work away from it. 

Unfortunately I’ve been finding that harder and harder to do. Panic attacks are getting more and more frequent. I barely want to leave the house let alone get out of bed and the fear that it’s not just the medicine exacerbating it is overwhealming. 

I went off the medication both when we went to Orlando and for most of the time we were in Michigan but being with close friends or family I tend not to worry about my anxiety as much which in turn makes my anxiety better (if that made sense to you, you might have anxiety) 

So I went off it for a few days this week as well just to see what it’s like at home not surrounded by friends. Actually I primarily did it because I had the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life (that’s saying something) brought on by dehydration which was in turn brought on in part due to the medication. Luckily my husband got me rehydrated relatively quickly and within 12 hours I was feeling quite well again. Within two days of not taking the medicine I was back to rummaging around in my craft room looking for something to do. On day three I had made plans for longer term projects. Something I haven’t done in a while. I’m only retrospectively realizing that it may be due to exacerbated anxiety and depression that I’ve not started any major projects (ok to be fair I took two days off when I did the bathroom too) or finished any small ones (and that bathroom mirror still isn’t hung) even regular household chores which I normally find comfort in the routine of have fallen by and become utterly neglected. 

Unfortunately on the night of day three I dutifully took my dose of medicine. I have yet to be told by my dermatologist when my end date will be. Every time I ask she just avoids direct answers. I cannot go another month on this let alone three. My skin has been wonderful with it but eventually the side effects are simply too much. At this point I don’t care if the cysts come back worse than before, I miss myself more than I like my new skin. 

Here is a cat to cheer you up.

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Clearing things up

I’ve been working a lot of nights so I haven’t had the chance to do many projects around the house, nights throw my whole game off. 

But much like last week I have some skin stuff to go over. 

This week I started on accutane. I’ve struggled with deep, cystic, nodule, acne for a very long time. I thought “well maybe I’ll grow out of it.” “Maybe it will at least get better.” But I won’t (my father still struggles with it) and it hasn’t, if anything it’s gotten worse.

I’m sure that has to do with genetics and the hormonal changes that have come with age. 

Luckily I’ve never been self conscious about my acne. I was never bullied, I’m perfectly fine going out without any makeup on. For me   the main problem isn’t the way it looks or emotionally feels , it’s the way it physically feels. Anyone who has had cystic acne knows what I mean. It’s a terrible inflammatory response. I’ve had ones swell to the point I couldn’t move my lips properly and I’ve been getting really annoyed at being so reliant on anti-inflamatories. 


This is before birth control or accutane 


5 days into accutane 1 1/2 months into birth control 

So on to accutane. I’ve only been on it for 5 days and I’m already starting to feel the effects. 

It started the other night when I absent mindedly scratched my arm in my sleep, just the act of doing so woke me up and my arm continued to burn for the next half hour 

That’s how dry and sensitive my skin has become in such a short period of time. Since then I’ve had to completely reassess my skin care routine which is both strange and oddly satisfying. Strange because I’ve only ever had one skin type and that’s combination-oily. I have dryer areas of my skin but for the most part it’s pretty normal verging on oil prone,  at least my face is. My body has always leaned towards the dry side which is probably why I felt the effects more quickly there. 

And it’s satisfying because this is what I do for a living. I’ve had a pretty set skin care routine for a good long while now, and though I’ve introduced a few new things here and there and eliminated others I’ve never had to start from scratch. 

It’s going to take me a while to figure out exactly what will work but luckily there are lots of resources open to me from the blogging community, my dermotologist and of course my coworkers and other peers in the world of skincare. 

It’s not all itchiness and cracked lips and dry skin though. Even though I’ve only been on it a few days I’ve had a few little pimples appear overnight and be gone within a few hours. I’m not prone to little pimples all I get are gigantic deep ones that bever come to a head  so apparently  it’s clearing something out. And I’m already discovering that my inflammation has lessened. 

One thing is for sure I will definitely be taking the advice  I gave myself last week and slathering on the sun screen. 

Also I’ll be sure to give you guys updates of my progress. 

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Sunshine 

I hadn’t intended to do a blog this week, I have two furniture projects in the works but wanted to wait til they were done to post but I thought I might do a little life update. 

  
(Sneak peak, I’ve also had a couple updates on my Facebook if you want to follow me there) 

I don’t really talk much about work on here. I had started this blog to talk a bit about skin care and beauty but I get enough of it in my job So I’ve avoided it to focus on projects around the house.  But today I was reminded that I probably should talk about it occasionally. 

My top inquiry is always, and has always been hyper pigmentation. And here I was outside, with fresh scars, and no sunscreen.

This is what I got in return for that 

   
  

Hyper pigmentation can come in many forms but it all has the same cause; malanocytes. Those are the cells in your body that produce melanin which is the substance in your body that gives your hair,  skin, and eyes their color. Melanocytes are “activated” by ultraviolet light and basically act as a natural sun block. You can see in the picture above how my sunburn is concentrated around the areas where my scars are, these are the melanocytes in action producing melanin to protect that new skin. 

Some times these melanocytes get all clumped together for no reason at all, because of scaring, or because of hormones in the case of a “pregnancy mask”and create hyper pigmentation. Sometimes they clump by genetics and you get freckles or birth marks. 

In the case of scaring you are exposing new skin to the sun and your melanocytes are running to the rescue to protect it from harsh UV rays. Yay for melanin, boo for cancer causing UV rays. In fact some forms of skin cancer occur when your malanocytes become mutated due to those UV rays. 

 I was only in direct sunlight for maybe 10minutes and not all at once. However I spent a good two hours in the shade. Yes you can get a sunburn in the shade, you can get a sunburn in winter, you can get a sunburn on a cloudy day. 

So. Wear sunscreen. And listen to your own good advice. 

Also get a good blender… This is why I’m getting nothing done this week, because it’s strawberry season and I have a new blender. Behold… 

  

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Friday (Kinda) Favorites

This has been one of the most chaotic weeks of my life… (Said the woman with no kids) So instead of some fancy tutorial or renovation blog I’m just going to show you what things have been making my crazy life a little easier and more relaxing of late.

I’ll start with what helped me out a bit with my (thank goodness it’s over) bathroom remodel

This marvelous triangular brush is Ah-May-Zing. I (and my cat strangely) have a thing for brushes. If you have the right one it does most of the work for you. This is true with makeup and painting, and this brush was excellent for getting tight edges around tile work and molding.

Can I just say “Why didn’t I think of this?” These shower curtain hooks are genius. I love the little metal hooks with the rolling cylinders at the top but I hate the way they pinch shut. I also hate trying to get a liner and a curtain on them, especially when the curtain doesn’t have grommets. Enter a sturdy metal double hook. One side for the liner one side for the fabric shower curtain.

Ok on to pampering awesomeness, I’ve needed this as stressed out as my week has been.

I’ve been trying out some new cleansers, and new cleansing methods, I’ve used a Clarisonic and purity face wash as my evening cleanse for the last year and a half but with everything in my bathroom being packed away in boxes I downsized to these little sample sizes and a Konjac sponge. The sponge has been absolutely amazing, especially in the morning for a quick cleanse/rinse and the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser is wonderful once you get used to the somewhat odd smell. Dr. Brandt’s Microdermabrasion is absolutely wonderful as well. I generally steer clear of microderm partly because my skin is very sensitive and because with a Clairisonic I’m getting manual exfoliation on a regular basis already. Unlike most microdermabrasion washes this has a very creamy and hydrating effect and is not at all drying or irritating even on very sensitive skin like mine.

My everyday makeup drawer (which you may have seen here) got an overhaul as well. I managed to weed out some product and find room for my everyday skin care, which is nice because it gets used even on days when I don’t use makeup.

First off is my Mario Badescu Rosewater spray, I use that after every wash simply because it’s very soothing. Then in the mornings I just pop on some Renewed Hope in a Jar from Philosophy and call it good. It works great as a standalone moisturizer and works wonderfully under makeup. As you can tell by the amount of product in there, my night time routine is a little more extensive. After my rosewater spray I go in with Clinique Smart Serum… I’m not a big fan of Clinique skin care, it’s always been very harsh on my skin but I absolutely adore this serum. Then I go in with my all-time favorite night cream Korres Wild Rose Night time Brightening Sleeping Facial (Believe it or not that name used to be longer). Those two things have been really great at helping my acne scars to fade, helping minimize pore size and improve tone and texture. Just as a testament this is about my 5th jar of Korres and my 2nd bottle of smart serum. They are definitely repurchasing products.

I do have a couple of new things in there one is Dr Brandts Needles No More… OMG!… It works… It possible works to well. I put it on my smile lines a couple nights in a row I went to work and low and behold, I had no little makeup creases in my smile lines anymore. So maybe it doesn’t work to well, but frankly I like my smile lines, those are the good kind of wrinkles. It shows that I don’t always have resting bitch face.

I’ve also been trying out Nars latest foundation … this is supposed to be a post about favorites… so I’m not going to talk about Nars latest foundation

A few new things in the makeup department too, Urban Decay’s Naked Flushed in Native. I know I’ve bashed UD before… and I stand by not liking their eye shadow pallets. But this face trio is actually pretty wonderful. As is the wonderful Stila Window to the soul pallet that my bf got me (because he is just that amazing)

And if you were wondering The necklace in my featured image is from Etsy Shop owner VintageWonderlandGA who makes custom jewelry from vintage pieces. And of course the display piece was made by me a couple of weeks ago for this post here. 

Let’s move on to my favorite things that I don’t have. Like for example ….

this ENTIRE ISLE at target… I mean really, have you been there lately? They have chalk paint!!!! Target needs to pay me (in product) for marketing… OMG pillow forms, seriously I just noticed that, I legitimately need those. Going grocery shopping is so hazardous to my wallet now.

Also my new bathroom needs a mascot and I think it shall be this little guy

He can be found at ModCloth if you were wondering.

Ok thank you for reading my random ramblings, I’m hoping to have something closer to my usual up some time next week (an excuse to go to target?) since I’ll have a more manageable schedule.

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Joyful, Joyful

What a week!? First I got all my hair cut off (finally), there is just a 12″ ponytail hanging nonchalantly on my refrigerator waiting to be sent to wigs for kids. Then I spent a couple of days in the city to attend a conference hosted by Philosophy to check out their new product line up. And what a line up it is! So I thought I would impart some of the low down on what they have coming up with you.

I am a bit of a fragrance junkie… only a bit, I’ve seen it much worse than me. I’ve also always loved Philosophy’s fragrances. So when I found out they were going to have a new fragrance launch I was excited. If you are familiar with Philosophy you have likely heard of Amazing Grace or maybe even one of the other scents in the “Grace” line of fragrances they have. They also have a line of “Love” fragrances, now headlined by the lovely (haha) citrus and soft floral scent of Loveswept. Now they are getting ready to launch a “Live” line of fragrances. First on the roster is Live Joyously coming this February. I got a sneak peak and sniff of it this week and though I’m taking my time falling in love with the scent I am wild about the concept.

Philosophy’s fragrances have always been a whisper, this is a shout. First off, it is an Eau de perfume as opposed to an Eau de toilette. EDP’s have a higher concentration of fragrance oils in them as well as (usually) having higher quality source ingredients. For example in an EDT you may have ylang-ylang which comes from a farm in the Philippines but in the EDP you will still have ylang-ylang but, it will come from the wilds of Indonesia. The different environment gives the flowers and therefore the fragrance a different scent profile. Just like oranges from California taste different than oranges from Florida. Same species, different environment.

Philosophy has also upped the ante when it comes to the feel and look of their EDP. The box is made out of a stiff matte cardstock with a Philosophy style message just for the recipient on the inside flap of the packaging. Gone is the plain silver cap that adorned the top of all of their fragrances (making it hard to distinguish one from the other) to be replaced with a classic surlyn cap. Also gone is the stick on label, instead replaced with screen printed graphics on a beautiful ombre from pink to purple colored glass bottle.

This shift to a higher quality feel is going to start with the new Live Joyously EDP but continue as Loveswept will get the EDP treatment as well. It currently only comes in EDT but look out for it in EDP soon.

Ok, enough about the packaging… I know, I’m a visual girl so I was enamored by it.

A special message under the lid

The fragrance itself… Is… actually growing on me… I’m one of those people that can’t immediately fall in love with a fragrance, despite loving all things that smell good (lush is the bane of my existence). After giving this one three days I’m actually starting to really like it. Three days is actually doing pretty good, it took me a month to like Romance and now it’s one of my go to. It helps that my first experience with Live Joyously was at a wonderful conference meeting amazing and interesting new people. Our olfactory sense is closely linked to memory so the smell of it brings me back to this week’s excitement, not to mention the most wonderful hotel bed I have ever had the pleasure of sleeping in.

They will also have a special travel set coming out with Live Joyously, Amazing Grace, and LoveSwept. Definitely going on my wish list… But that may have more to do with the bow than anything else.

I’ll be honest I’m not that fond of its initial top notes. They are a bit too bold for me, I happen to like the whisper of philosophy’s usual fragrances. After giving it a good half hour of dry down the soft (almost powdery) peony heart notes and the warm (but not overly musky) patchouli of the base come forward and settle it into a very sophisticated yet carefree scent that (though it lasts all day) is not at all overpowering. Though it feels very feminine to me it’s classified as a chypre and after turning over a good bit of research (I mean google) it turns out that is the most alluring fragrance classification to men. Soooo… this is where the hint, hint, wink, wink is supposed to go.

I feel I am falling laughably flat in describing this scent but it will definitely go in my winter rotation, and I think you will love it if you like: Ms. Dior EDT, CoCo Mademoiselle EDP, or Chanel Chance (original or Eau Tendre).

Keep an eye out for their summer scent as well, this time in their “Love” tier of fragrances. Great if you like Light Blue or Aquatic fragrances.

This obviously isn’t the only thing I got a hands on with at the conference but like I said I do love things that smell good, and you’ll have a chance to try it out very soon if it hasn’t already hit your local Philosophy counter. One of the other things we did spend a lot of time on is Philosophy’s amazing Hope&Grace Initiative.

You can find out more about it here, but just so you get an overview; 1% of all Philosophy product sales (online, in store, on qvc, etc. etc. any point of sale!) go towards community based mental health organizations for women. If you’re active in the blogosphere than your have likely come across the 31 days of BPD that many brave bloggers are doing out there, if you haven’t go check it out. I’m very proud to support a company who is helping to provide community based assistance to the 1 in 8 women who will develop clinical depression during their lifetime.

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Night of the living Wed

Halloween!!!

So I’ve been avoiding doing any posts about skin care or makeup. Yes I do this stuff for a living, that doesn’t mean I’m confident in my abilities.

But… It’s Halloween, It’s my favorite time of year and an excuse to be someone different for a change. So I thought I would show off what I’ve been doing lately.

Last year I had a couple of different costumes.

My social costume was Marceline the Vampire Queen. Although technically I wore the clothing pertaining to Marshall Lee because a little boy’s black and red plaid shirt was far easier to find and implement. Not to mention something I’m likely to wear again.

Marceline and Marshall Lee in case you’re not hip to the kids.

And my work costume was a Tiger. Never underestimate a pair of cheap costume ears as inspiration for a costume

Oddly I have a collection of costume ears. It all started with a pair of bunny ears to hold my hair out of my face while I washed it or did my makeup … It’s gotten a bit out of hand since then.

Luckily this makes for a great party game that I had the privilege of playing this weekend at a Halloween themed bridal shower. Think “Who Am I” only with animal ears on your head. The devil horns made for a bit of a puzzler. “Do I have wings?”….That wasn’t really a yes or no question, we had to think about how to answer that for a moment.

I also had the privilege of being involved in a Halloween themed wedding this weekend. The ceremony was relatively normal and exceptionally gorgeous, until the zombies showed up. No seriously, there were zombies. Then the reception was costumes encouraged. Being the crazy person that I am I took fifteen minutes and dashed to the bathroom to transform from a lovely bridesmaid to the living dead. I’ll link to the video tutorial the groom sent me that inspired my quick change here.

These are pictures from my preliminary run through to figure out if I could actually do it in 10minutes. Turns out I could.

I was enjoying myself too much at the reception to bother with pictures.

All this being said I think the way to break my fear of posting makeup blogs is to just do costume makeup. I could work around a pair of ears and do a costume related post every month. It might also help me not run out of blog posts, which is super exciting as I am running out of projects or rather time to do them having just started a new job. I love doing costume makeup despite the fact that I don’t actually own any “costume makeup”. I’ve always just used makeup I already have. Things like bronzer (a.k.a. Tiger orange) and black khol liners and lipstick (blood more blood) and lots of eyeshadow.

I actually Have yet to figure out what I’m being this Halloween. It was suggested that I just do the zombie, but that is definitely not work appropriate. And I’ve tried out a couple of other looks the last month or so. Without loving them unfortunately.

I have the most marvelous devil horns, but this look just wasn’t… dramatic? .. enough for me.

And this look though really fun and surprisingly easy… I just don’t know what it is. Though a friend did point out that I look a bit like the captain from Treasure Planet

Photo bombing the photo bomber.

At any rate it’s something I’m new at so criticism or critiquing is certainly welcome and appreciated because I’m learning and love to do so. Also my amazon wish list just got super weird having decided to do this with things like liquid latex and rigid collodion and … yeah its super odd.
I’ll have a post up later about what I actually ended up doing for Halloween.

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Things I wish I learned far sooner

hydrangia

  1. Pay yourself first: before you pay any bills or buy anything put money into your savings account. If possible have an automatic draft on pay day into your savings you won’t even notice it until one day you have a surprise $200 extra dollars or you suddenly need new tires and have no idea where the money is going to come from.
  2. Learn how to sew. Learn how to save. You can spend $50 on a top that fits excellent (you can also spend it on a top that fits so-so but has a designer label) or you can spend $5 at good will for a top that fits ok. Knowing how to take in a seam, take up straps, mend a zipper and darn a sweater could save you a lot of money in the long run. Along the same lines, “a rose by any other name”, if something fits you like it was made for you it doesn’t matter who it was made by. Don’t get hung up on labels, get hung up on fit, price and quality and find a good ratio of the three. Buy cheap accessories, buy expensive shoes. Your sunglasses are liable to get lost or broken, glass pearls look just as good as real ones but 8 hours in cheap shoes with no support is not worth the $40 you saved.
  3. Not buying name brands goes for other things as well. Kroger brand pasta is just as good as barilla. Wheat is Wheat it all makes me feel terrible. Costco and their Kirkland’s brand is your friend, assuming you have a large pantry. So is Aldi. Toilet paper is toilet paper it all goes to shit in the end with the exception of the one ply coffee filter like industrial stuff which starts out as shit.
  4. Your first stop when looking for any kind of craft supplies, organizational tools, gift wrapping or a lot of other things should be the dollar store. I’m lucky in that I have a dollar tree close by that has a little bit of everything. Dinner wear, dry goods and condiments, even milk and eggs, all for $1. Many of which are name brand. Its $1 don’t argue.
  5. Hold hands and hug more often. Not just with your significant other, but with friends, family members, anyone close to you. Don’t forget that friendship works both ways. You may feel angry or hurt that someone hasn’t contacted you in X amount of time, but you haven’t contacted them either. When you need a shoulder call your mother or sister or brother or father. Mend fences don’t burn bridges.love

  6.  Don’t skimp when buying foundation. Drug store foundations have their perks but not their testers. Go to a department store counter and get matched for a high end foundation and shell out the extra $15 to $30 for a properly matched foundation. You can always return it and try again and most counters will give you a sample to let you try it before you buy it. Despite what marketing tries to tell you there is no such thing as “for all skin types”. Your skin is unique so take your time and get some help to find the foundation that is right for you. You can always save by buying drug store lipsticks, blushes and eye shadows.
  7. USE the calendar on your phone. This day and age there is absolutely no reason to be late for anything. My phone not only tells me where I need to be and when, it also tells me how long it will take to get there with traffic and weather reports. You can set extra alerts and sync calendars across multiple devices. Learn how to use the technology at your disposal so the next time you have an important meeting (or even a date) you don’t make a bad first impression by being late.
  8. On the subject of dates: Have dates or outings with friends that don’t involve the typical bar, restaurant, movie etc. Go on a lunch picnic to the countryside. It will give you a chance to talk on the drive out and back. Compare tastes in music while listening to the radio. You can each pack your own lunch or pack each other’s lunch and see how you do. Go to a painting class together. A cooking class. Some friends of mine recently cleaned old roman coins together for their date night. Think outside the box.
  9. Never try dieting pills or fad diets. In all likelihood you’ll do your body more harm than good. Instead keep active. Find something you enjoy and do it at least 3 times a week. It could be the conventional running, it could be yoga or it could be hula-hooping. My personal favorite is blasting upbeat music and (literally) dancing around the house with a Swiffer. Secondarily, stand up… seriously, right now if you are reading this stand up. Stand more often than you sit. Don’t lead a sedentary lifestyle. This along with eating healthy does a body good. Healthy is a relative term… I mean chocolate is still a thing.cover
  10. Take the time to customize your space. Decorate! Even if you live in an apartment where you are limited in paint color or not sure about putting holes in the wall (3M strips are a lifesaver) surround yourself with objects, images and colors you love. It will inspire and drive you to be more creative and productive, and you will take pride in the environment you’ve created. By making a space your own you can promote a happy environment for yourself and let your personality shine through. No it doesn’t need to be nearly as girly as mine.