Saturday, July 23, 2016

Chimes - Toasted Coconut Toffee Mini Review

Recently I bought a bag of Chimes Toasted Coconut Toffee candies after hearing about them. Vegan toffee is not something you come by often - toffee after all really is a butter infused sweet. They are individually wrapped hard candies that are sweet with a hint of sea salt goodness. Upon opening the bag and sharing with the boyfriend we both agreed they are super good! They are nutty and toasted tasting and the hint of sea salt adds a nice kick. Made with real ingredients and not artificial flavorings these are really a tasty treat that is full of flavor. Everyone I have shared them with enjoys them but the biggest fan so far has been Mady! I popped one into my mouth and as soon as she smelled it, ran up and started pawing my mouth! I had to hold one out for her to lick. She has done this to Matt too! Mady really likes her sweets - silly kitty!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer Essentials

It is soooooooo hot. I am melllllltttiiinnnggg. Here is how I am trying to keep the temps at bay and not loose my cool.

Honest 3 in 1 Facial Towelettes not only remove makeup but are good to wipe down your face post gym or post house cleaning marathon. They are gentle and do not irritate my sensitive skin.

I am a huge fan of Sanuk's yoga flip flop series. When I saw the Slinged Up Flat Sandal on the DSW site for under $30, I had to have them. The wrap around strap is cute and the soles - while flatter than I am used too are comfy for extended wear. If you are not a fan of flip flops because of flat feet issues - get a pair of Sanuk yoga flip flops and you will not need to worry.

I love cute food but I am also not about to spend five hours making something look cute and have it eaten in five minutes. So when I spotted these ice pop molds I had to have 'em.  koji Ring Popsicle Molds are easy to use - just fill up with juice/drink of choice, insert the ring pop base and chill in the freezer for a few hours. I did not think they would turn out - but they did! The icey mix did not get stuck to the molds and were easy to get out.

The Pink drink from Starbucks made with coconut milk is sweet heaven.For those not in the know it is strawberry acai refresher moxed with coconut milk. Wow - this is refreshing and it feels so tropical! The bits of strawberry and creamy coconut milk makes it perfect for a hot summer day.  It is like a melted paleta in a cup! Pair it with a cookie for an awesome mid day snack!

Summertime means glowing skin. Medusa's Makeup has a to die for highlighter called Moonlight - that I keep on reaching for. It is my fave highlighter right now. It is only $12 and out performs some of the high end highlighters  I have in my collection. It gives the skin a nice glow without chunky glitter, streaky color or an off putting shade. The company is very vegan friendly and offers up vegan products in many categories all you have to do is look for the vegan symbol.

Cotton candy is such a summer time treat! No need to go to the fair and surround yourself with screaming children and drunken idiots with Pina Colada cotton candy from Lolli & Pops.  It is a bit pricey at about $8 a container but the boyfriend gifted me with some for my birthday and wow is it good! If you find yourself in a Lolli & Pops store know there are some vegan options like single sourced chocolate bars and a small natural candy selection.

How are you beating the heat this summer?

Monday, June 27, 2016

My Favorite Hair Care Products

My hair care routine has upped it's game thanks to Maui Moisture. I bought these products on a whim at Ulta during a BOGO sale. Without the sale they retail for $8.99 per bottle and the bottles are generous. Plus they do their job without having to use access product.
I picked the Bamboo Fibers line because my hair lacks moisture and is prone to frizz and breakage. My hair felt thicker and luxurious after one use. Most products from Maui Moisture are vegan (steer clear of the honey line), cruelty free, free of SLS, mineral oil, gluten and synthetic dyes. They even use post consumer recycled packaging.

Maui Moisture Thicken & Restore Bamboo Fibers Shampoo  lathers super well, rinses clean and leaves hair smelling clean and earthy but not like a health food store bulk bin.

Maui Moisture Thicken & Restore Bamboo Fibers Conditioner  feels so thick and luxurious, almost like a deep conditioner. My hair is left soft and tangle free and the frizz is kept to a minimum. A little goes a long way.

These are bargain priced products that feel luxurious. I plan on trying more products from this line and company shortly.

Monday, June 20, 2016

First Day Of Summer - Must Have

I wear sunblock year round - to keep my skin safe and my tattoos looking good for years to come. I have had some crappy sunburns in the past that left me always stocking up on SPF when the sun comes out. Today is the first day of summer I hope you are ready!
If you are not ready go pick up a bottle of Sun Bum Original SPF 30. It is affordable - a bottle is around $10 - $15 (though on sale a lot of the time). It is vegan, cruelty free, offers broad spectrum protection, water resistant for up to 80 minutes, hypoallergenic and photostable (retains protection after sun exposure).
Matt and I have been using this for a few weeks now when we venture outdoors. It has a subtle sunscreen scent which does not linger all day, absorbs nicely, does not feel heavy or greasy (no chest breakout for me!) and has not bothered our sensitive skin. I like the lotion formula more than the spray I picked up last year. The nozzle kept getting clogged and I felt it did not spray evenly, making me worried if I would get a burn. You might have better luck than me with spray formulas though.
If you are looking for an all around good sunscreen pick up a bottle. Follow sun smarts like wear sunglasses, reapply sunscreen as needed, drink water and have fun. If you have a favorite sunscreen please let me know. I am always looking for ways to stay sun smart!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bronzer For Those That Avoid The Sun

I am not one to tan or fake a tan - never have been a fan of what one might consider the 'healthy look'. I like avoiding the sun and staying a nice shade of pale. For me pale is a light shade of olive - somewhere between the light color of foundation and the medium shade found in stores. A lot of things that tend to be labeled medium look orange on me and things that are labeled light are too yellow! The woe I face when picking out suitable colors!

One area that I have had trouble with in the past is bronzers and countouring colors. These always tend to make me look muddy or like a self tan product newbie nightmare.So when I saw some good buzz online about Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer with Murumuru Butter (ingredient fact: yellow fat collected from seeds of the plant) I decided to pick one up. I paid around $10 for it and since buying it a few weeks ago I cannot stop using it.

The compact is very nice. Hard plastic with a compartment that houses a cute little foam applicator and mirror under the product. The smell is amazing - very tropical like sunblock without the funky chemical smell. I bought the light color and it goes on nicely with the sponge provided. I use it to contour my cheekbones, jaw and forehead. When applied to my nose it gets a bit cakey and needs extra blending. It is not as shimmery as it looks in the pan, it goes on subtle and blends well. This gives me the perfect look for hot weather temps and does not feel heavy. I would buy this again for sure! It is available at drug stores and big box stores and should be easy to find this season.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

1 Million Steps For OCD Walk - Oakland

I did a 3.2 mile walk in Oakland over the weekend with my therapy-boyfriend Matt to be a presence in the OCD community and show others (and myself) we are not alone! 

Over the years I have been more open about having OCD and anxiety. In the past I thought if I did not tell people about it that maybe it would just go away or they would not pick up on it. However as guarded as I was, I let people into my life and had to open up communication and share my struggles.

I started noticing OCD symptoms when I was about six. I was in therapy at an early age but I do not think OCD ever came up: the focus was on interacting with others and anxiety, from what I remember. I have had a broad spectrum of OCD symptoms: from hand washing, lengthy showers and lock checking for the last 30 years. However what I struggle with most is Emotional Contamination OCD right now. Many people think OCD is just life with a Costco sized bottle of  hand sanitizer and being super clean. That could be OCD for some and others like myself not so much.
Emotional Contamination is a term I learned recently and up until that point I believed I had Magical Thinking OCD (I do have a bit of that as well). Both forms are mostly mental, there are rituals to get rid of the fear that come with both. For me emotional contamination can be from people, words and even thoughts. A simple word can make me have a freak out session. If I am in a store and a certain word is said (I have a few triggers) and I am holding something to buy: I will put it back thinking said item is now dirty and might bring me bad luck or is full of 'germs'. I try to be discreet with my actions. I feel so much shame at times for my actions. I wish I could just get over it and if it was that easy I would have a long time ago. I do not expect others to understand this - I do not and I live with these thoughts all day and night - even in my dreams. I have been to doctors who do not even understand my fears - imagine that!
Having worries play in and out of my mind is tiring. I am tired a lot. I feel guilty for how tired I am at time. The average person gets up and goes to work, talks to people, interacts with society. To me that is draining. I get up, do yoga, see Matt off to work, do some house work and usually go back to bed. If I do not get extra sleep lately my eyes ache and my chest hurts. I get up up, eat, work on writing and answer emails. I try working with a schedule and planning my days to help me break things down and not be overwhelmed.

Sometimes I have my shit together! I can get things done, interact with people and not worry so much. Some days I am filled with so much panic that I need to shut down to even manage not falling apart.  Having a conversation with me is useless on bad days - my mind is on another planet - full of doubts and fears. I feel this makes me a crappy person. Days like these I tend to avoid others so I feel less ashamed and not cause more harm than needed.
After all I do not have OCD to harm or hurt people. I did not choose to have OCD. I try to function withing my own set of rules just to make things less of a hassle for others. I feel like I let a lot of people down and this often brings on so much depression in me I just curl up in bed and cry. Last summer it was really bad and I had to fight so hard to just want to live. Everyday I struggled with not wanting to die. I feel so ashamed in even admitting this. I never want to hurt anyone and I know my sadness was making others sad. It took months to get out of this mood. I fear it will come back. I do have support now in the form of groups - both online and in person. I know others know how I feel and I can tell them my most offbeat thoughts and they have my back. It is comforting.

Please know that if you suffer from OCD that you are not alone. 40 million adults in the USA alone suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder. Even though at the OCD walk I stood out - lack of athletic gear + green eyebrows I know I am not the only one. At times when I feel my problems are bigger than the world I will hopefully find the strength to reach out to others for help and together we can share our stories. Within each story we are breaking down societies ideas of what mental health looks like and ending stigma. Maybe you are not ready to share your story yet but one day you will be and know that your story might just help another person.

My daily advice: take everyday as that day. Even breaking a day down by hours helps ease anxiety and the what-ifs that cloud my mind. Breathe, breathe, breathe! Hang in there!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge Review/Compare

After years of using those little latex free sponges to apply my foundation I upgraded to the Beauty Blender. After using the Beauty Blender a few times, I was in love. It made my foundation look super flawless. The only downside is the cost - $20 per sponge.

A few people told me that they liked the  Real Techniques Miracle Complexion SpongeI decided to try it out after my last Beauty Blended croaked. I bought a 2 pack at Ulta for under $10.99 during a BOGO sale - already winning! I have seen them elsewhere but Ulta seems to always have them on sale plus even if they are not - they qualify for the promotional coupons you get in the mail. 

Besides the price I like the shape. The flat side is really good for applying foundation. The pointy flat edge really gets into the sides of the nose and is thin enough to do nose contouring. After using the sponge I can note some differences between the brands. This sponge stays damp no matter how much you ring it out. Also it absorbs foundation more, if you like a less coverage look, it may be better suited for your needs. It washes off and stains less in my opinion than the Beauty Blender which stained no matter how much I washed it. It is a good sponge and has multiple uses. Besides foundation I use it to blend in bronzer and concealer.

Would I buy them again? Yes. In the summer when I am more drawn to light foundation these are better for the look/feel I want. The price is also a big factor. They are an upgrade from the little sponges many of us use (or used). If you want to try a sponge without the hefty price tag then pick up these today.