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.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Currently My Favorite Black Eyeliner

I am always searching for vegan & cruelty free beauty products. One thing I can never get enough of is black eyeliner. I first discovered eyeliner in pencil form in junior high. That black pencil could also double as lip liner! Wow!!! Once in my best friend's basement she found an old tube of liquid black eyeliner and said she had been looking for it for months and preceded to use it, hygiene be damned.

Black liner has been a staple for me since the 90s. A few weeks back I picked up Infinite Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Eye Liner by Milani and decided to give it a spin. First of it is under $10 so that is a big time bonus given the fact I go through black eye liner like water on a hot day (drink that water!).

It is a felt tip which means it is pretty much goof proof. The felt tip goes on smooth - no dragging. Also there is no drying issues - the tip stays wet through both lids. These two points are why I was disappointed in a high end vegan liner that is similar in design and double the price. The formula dries fast and stays put. My wings stayed sharp for 12 hours with just some fading from running around and sweating. So far the felt tip has had no issues like getting fuzzy and has been able to keep drawing the perfect lines - from thick to thin.

This a must try if you are always searching for a long lasting black eyeliner. It is great for the rising temps or just to create the perfect cat eye effect. If you have tried this and liked it let me know. I will be posting more cruelty free & under $10 vegan beauty picks in the next few weeks so your money can go to non-dairy ice cream to keep you cool as the heat rises.