Thursday, April 4, 2013

Shopping Trip!

Hello! It looks like Spring is finally starting and I hope you're all enjoying this lovely turn in the weather! Spring is my favorite time of year for fashion and make-up; I love all the pastels and soft fabrics. I tend to wear "spring" colors most of the year just because I love them so much. It always makes me sad when fall comes and everyone switches back to deep jewel tones and then winter gets so blah and neutral. Even summer can be kind of boring with the crisp whites and saturated colors. Well, maybe "boring" isn't the right word, but it doesn't really appeal to me. Pastels are so much softer, so feminine and, well, just plain cute! But I'm not here to talk about spring, I'm here to talk about some neat things I got and a surprisingly disappointed Sephora order.
 Let's start with the good stuff! My husband and I went shopping last weekend and I picked up some goodies! Oh, before I get started, I wanted to show you how I had my nails done for a few days.
It's not the best paint job, but I mostly just wanted to show the colors! These are the Hello Kitty nail polishes from Sephora in the colors Bubblegum and Minty. I did 3 coats of each color, with a base and top coat. Uh, I kind of messed up when I was trying to clean up the edges, which is why my thumb is missing a spot. I got a couple compliments on the color and I thought it was a very appropriate combo for spring (...or lack there of. At least it's starting to warm up finally!)

Currently, I'm on a quest to find a good hand lotion and a lip balm that don't have parabens or other petrochemicals. I've found some nice hand lotions, but nothing that's really satisfied me. Lip balm has been a whole other story; I have had the hardest time finding a lip balm that works for me. I used to use the Moisturizer ChapStick (the one in the blue tube), but have looked for something different that isn't petroleum based and that has SPF in it. Every other lip balm I have tried, with the exception of fresh's Sugar Lip Treatment (but I want to avoid paying $22 for a lip balm if possible. Though at this point, it might be cheaper to buy something that I know works instead of buying a bunch of things that don't.), has irritated my lips. Every single one! I even discovered I have a sensitivity to argan oil because of Josie Maran's Argan Lip Treatment. It caused my lips to flake and the skin in the corners of my mouth to become severely irritated and crack. It actually took a long time for my lips to heal from it, and they didn't even start to heal until I gave up and switched back to my ChapStick (I had been using Bert's Bees in both original and the Nourish formulas, but I had to give up since they were doing more harm than good).

Recently, I read about a product from the Body Shop for lips that people really liked. It's their 100% Natural Roll-On Lip Balm, and I wanted to try it out. Lucky for me, there's a Body Shop store in the mall we go to all the time, and the day we were there they had a little mini-event where you could play a game of bagatell/pachinko and win a coupon or money off a purchase. My husband and I both played; I got a 40% off coupon and he got a 50% off one. I spent some time looking at their body butters since I figured with the 50% coupon I could get a body butter and the lip roll-on, but I was disappointed to find that they had parabens in them. I decided then that I would get one of their small, travel sized body butters just so I could give it a try and see if I liked their products. I let my husband pick out the scent (since he's the one who has to smell me the most) and he chose the Cocoa Butter body butter. He did a good job, because I like the smell, too, and it's the formula for very dry skin, which is what I have. It does a nice job of moisturizing my hands and the smell is nice and subtle, but it doesn't seem to take long for my hands to feel dry again.
I also picked up a full sized lip roll-on in the flavor Coconut. I don't really like the flavor/scent of coconut, but I disliked the other flavors they had more (Which were Mint and Rose. They also have Orange and Berry, but I think with their promotion going on that day that they had sold through a lot.). I was pleasantly surprised when I found that it's not even that coconutty; if I hadn't known what the flavor was, I would not have called it Coconut. It's almost more of a vanilla like flavor/scent with just a hint of coconut and cream. It's a good lip balm, but it doesn't moisturize my lips as well as my ChapStick does (I think that in order for me to consider a lip balm "good", it will have to pass my "ChapStick test".), nor does it last as long. So far it hasn't irritated my lips or anything, which is definitely a step in right direction.
With my 50% off coupon, both things cost me about $7, so I was very happy. I do like the idea behind the Body Shop and I agree with a lot of their values, but I just wish their lotions didn't have parabens in them. I know it's kind of a "buzz word" now and a lot of people are talking about getting products without things like parabens and phthalates, but I do think in the long run that the less you put on and in your body, the better.

Another thing I wanted to pick up at the mall as good under-eye concealer. As I've said before, I have horrible, permanent, hereditary dark under-eye circles. They're my biggest beauty issue (well, that and possibly my hair, but I think I'm getting that under control) and they can sometimes make me feel bad about my appearance. The skin around and under my eyes also tends to be very dry, and have these two deep, long lines under my right away. No matter what I do, anything I use under my eyes settles into those two lines and it just looks awful. I look tired and old and it really bothers me. I've tried a few different concealers in the past (the very first article of make-up I ever bought was a concealer for my under-eyes) and they never gave satisfactory results. They were either too dry, or they were the wrong color, or they were too cakey; I was never all that happy. Recently, I have been using an under eye highlighter (bareMinerals Stroke of Bright, to be exact) and that has helped some, but I still needed more coverage. Concealers are tricky for me because I definitely have to try them out first before I commit to buying them to see how the color looks and how the formula dries and settles. I really hate testing out make-up because I am a bit of a germaphobe,  but sometimes we have to sacrifice for beauty.

I had found a few concealers I was interested online, so I wanted to go to Sephora and try them out (or, more specifically, have an associate help me try them out; I'm really bad at color matching on myself and find it much easier to have someone help me. I tend to agonize between colors and need someone else's opinion, especially someone who I feel knows what their talking about). Unfortunately, they were quite busy, so I wasn't able to get as much attention as I wanted, but I was able to find someone and have them suggest what they thought the best under eye concealer for me was. The associate suggested Laura Mercier's Secret Concealer in the color 1. After demoing it, she had to help someone else, so I was left contemplating how I thought it looked. I do like Laura Mercier's products (I currently use the Mineral Pressed Powder from her line), but it wasn't one of the concealers I wanted to try. I spent some time looking around and decided to try again another day when it wasn't so busy.

Across the hall from Sephora, there is a MAC store. I have been to MAC once before, but I've never bought anything from them. To be honest, I don't really get the hype behind MAC; I don't doubt that they're good products, but I feel that some people take their MAC obsessions too far. I'd much rather be able to cherry-pick the best items from different brands than put all my trust into one company; even if a company can do some things really well, they can't be good at EVERYTHING. I figured, since I was there, I might as well see what MAC would have to offer concealer-wise. I don't want to get too much into it, but I wasn't pleased with the service I got at MAC. I did get help and I was able to test a product, but the associate who worked with me was very cold and acted like she didn't want to have anything to do with me. She applied the concealer, I told her I wanted to purchase it, and she just kind of walked off without saying anything. I wasn't sure if she was going to get the product for me or not, so I started to wander around, waiting to see what would happen. She seemed to be just hanging around, so I finally told her I was ready to check-out. I understand that she probably didn't know it was my first time in a MAC store, and that I could have been more assertive, but I wish she would have said something like "I'll go get it for you; let me know when you're ready to check-out". The fact that she didn't say anything to me really bothered me. If I want to look at MAC products again, I'll probably go to one of their kiosks in Macy's instead of their actual store.

Customer service aside, I am, so far, very pleased with my purchase.
Another thing I find odd about MAC is how some of their packaging looks kind of basic and even a little cheap. Some of their things have very cute packaging and I do like their lipstick tubes, but this was kind of blah. Though, how interesting do I want my concealer packaging to be? Anyways, I got their Select Moisturecover Concealer in the color NW15. I really like this stuff! It sits nicely under my eyes without being too wet and sticky feeling and it barely settles into my lines, even after wearing it for a few hours. It covers my circles reasonably well without looking weird and unnatural. This is the first concealer I've used under my eyes that I've been happy with, which says a lot. So yeah, customer service and MAC fangirls/boys aside, this is a good product, and I recommend giving it a try if you struggle with your under-eyes like I do!

Finally, I wanted to stop by LUSH. I needed to pick up a new lip scrub since mine was about to expire, and I also wanted to treat myself to a Fresh Face Mask (I wanted to get one last time we were there but they were all sold out). I love LUSH products and I really wish I could afford to buy more of them. I've tried quite a few of their products and over all, I've been very pleased. LUSH is another company who's philosophy and values I agree with, so I like giving them my money. I picked up a lip scrub in my favorite flavor, Bubblegum (I don't think it actually tastes like bubblegum, it just tastes sweet and delicious to me. Oh, that's another thing I really like about their lip scrubs, you can just lick them off. You don't need to use a wet towel or anything).
Man, sorry about that poorly framed picture... And here's the Fresh Face Mask I got:
I've tried....4 or 5 of their face masks and Cosmetic Warrior and Oatfix are my two favorites. A lot of people say that Cosmetic Warrior smells bad, and yes, it does smell different, but I actually like the smell. To me, it doesn't smell garlicky, it smells like this one farmer's market my grandparents used to take me to when I was younger. I find it very fresh and soothing; like being in a lush, thick garden. It's probably because the smell is associated with a good memory (smell is a very powerful sense when it comes to memory), but I enjoy the smell of this mask. Oatfix also smells really good, like oatmeal pudding. Cosmetic Warrior is good for acne prone skin (like mine) and Oatfix is good for dry, sensitive skin (also like mine, in some spots). The Fresh Face Masks can only be bought in store (they need to be refrigerated) and they only get small batches at a time, so if you can get one, I highly suggest you do. They're about $7 each and you can get 4-5 applications from each pot. Also, if you save up 5 black pots, you can trade them in for a free mask!

After our trip to the mall, I went to Target to get groceries and I ended up picking up some other little goodies! Another interesting thing I have recently read in a magazine is that a great way to get gentle, yet effective beauty products (things like shampoo and lotion) is to look in the baby care section. Baby items are generally formulated to be very gentle and can be good for people with sensitive skin or people who are looking for products with less harsh chemicals. They can smell a bit...powdery (like babies), but they do come in more mainstream scents like lavender and chamomile. Even though the Burt's Bees lip balms didn't work for me, I thought I'd give their Baby Bee Nourishing Lotion a try. Burt's Bees is one of the only brands I can find that's committed to being paraben and phthalate free but still fairly inexpensive and easy to obtain.
I got it in "Original" scent, and they also had it available in "Calming" (which is a lavender scent) and fragrance-free. I would have preferred to get the fragrance-free one, but they were all out of stock, so I figured "Original" would be okay. Apparently, I was wrong. After I got home, I decided to check out the Burt's Bees website for fun, and discovered that I somehow managed to get the lowest reviewed item in their entire line. I guess this used to smell differently and that Burt's Bees had "improved" the formula and people are very upset about it. It doesn't smell bad or anything, but it does smell kind of weird, like watery honey but in a very fake way, if that makes sense. It does have a very "baby product" kind of scent, so I don't like to wear it during the day. I put it on before I got to bed and by the time I wake up the smell is all gone. Weird smell aside, this is actually a very nice lotion and so far, it's one of the top moisturizers for my hands. I wake up with, pardon my pun, baby soft hands. When I run out, I'm going to try and pick up either the "Calming" scent or the fragrance-free one for sure.

Here's something I haven't had for a while! I picked up an Iron Man Blind Box!
These normally go for $3, but they were on sale for $2.50. I figured I hadn't got a blind anything for a while, so why not! There are a bunch of different figures you can get, including an Iron Man with his mask off (with a very RDJ Tony Stark face) and a Tony Stark in a tee and jeans. I, obviously, was hoping for one of the Tony Starks, but alas, I did not get him. I got this instead.
Sorry for the pic, it's the only way my camera would take a picture that was in focus. Now, I'm not going to lie, I have no idea what this is. My knowledge of Iron Man comes from the movies and from what my husband's "comic book guy" friend has told me. My husband thinks it looks pretty cool, but I would have much preferred a version of Iron Man. He now glares at me on my desk amongst Littlest Pet Shops, LaLaLoopsys, and a blue alpaca in a tutu. I do not thing he is pleased.

I also bought Pokemon cards!
I know I haven't bought any for a long time, but I was starting to feel like they weren't worth it. I haven't been able to fully collect any of the series that I have been working on (basically Black and White forward) and I don't have anyone to play with (technically, there is a Pokemon league Saturday mornings in the comic book shop near me, but I don't know if I'd feel comfortable going by myself. It's been so long since I've played that I'm not too confident in my skills and I'm kind of socially awkward.) so I didn't really see a point in spending so much money on things I essentially can't use and that have no retention of value. I'm also not a big fan of the new Plasma Storm (all the Team Plasma Pokemon are pretty lame) and finding Boundaries Crossed boosters has been surprisingly difficult. I've also run out of space in my binders for more cards, and I don't want to pay $10 to get more sleeves, as lame of an excuse as that is. But! I was itching for some cards, so I got some! Here's what I got:
And a close-up of the holo and rare:
I got an EX card, so not too shabby of a booster pack. I think I may have gotten a different card with Cresselia on it (I'm pretty sure I did...), but it's a cool Pokemon and I like the art on the EX. It doesn't show up on camera, but it had some cool textures going on within the holofoil.

One last random thing before I wrap this up. This year, my husband and I were unfortunately unable to see my family for Easter (my husband worked all day Easter, it was pretty lame). Every year my family gives us baskets, but we've never really given them anything, so this year I decided to make little Easter gifts! There's a really cute pattern for a carrot in the book "Amigurumi Toy Box by Ana Paula Rimoli that you can use to put gifts in! I made one for my mom and my sister:
I couldn't make my dad a carrot since the stuff I got him wouldn't fit, so I improvised and made him a rabbit. I didn't use a pattern or anything, I just made it up as I went.
I think it turned out pretty cute! Hopefully, we'll be able to go up and see them this weekend and have a sort of late Easter!

Thanks for reading! I know these can get kind of long, but I appreciate you sticking with me!  See you next time <3!

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