Archive for the ‘Essentials’ Category

What to do Wednesday – Hair Buns!!

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What hair styles are good to beat the heat?

Summer time is the hardest time for me to manage my hair and I am sure for you guys as well. Between the heat, humidity and sweat our hair can be a frizzy mess…ugh!!! Who wants to stand under the hot air of a blow dryer everyday in this heat? What to do? Well, hair buns of course! But doing the same old bun everyday gets so boring which is why I scoured YouTube and found these gems for you; wet & dry hair buns that can be done in less than ten minutes and can be worn casually for day or dressed up for night (add some sparkly pins), genius! Try them out and give your hair, yourself and your blow drier a much need time off.

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Saturday Splurge vs. Steal

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This week’s splurge vs. steal will be about deep conditioner.  I have very fine and frizzy hair which is a victim of breakage and split ends.  Over the years I have tried various deep conditioners from both drugstores and department stores until finally I found one that works and I love!!  So, now my routine is to put coconut oil every time I shampoo and once a week I do deep conditioning resulting in less split ends and frizz; my hair is more manageable and since the split ends are less, I can grow it longer, yay!

Below are my recommendation and opinion on the drugstore brand and department store brand.

Drugstore brand:

Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask

  • about $6 and can be purchased at any drugstore
  • the package is fairly big, a lot of product comes in that tub
  • I like the packaging because you can see how much is left and get every last bit out
  • only need to use a little bit so product lasts a while
  • has light and fresh smell, I liked it
  • I used it once a week but instead of leaving for 3 to 5 minutes, I left it on about 15 minutes
  • my hair felt soft and after straightening, it looked very glossy
  • but when I air dried it, my hair look frizzy and was flat
  • after using it for a month and a half, I didn’t notice any change in the amount of split ends I was getting and my hair was still frizzy
  • didn’t notice any dramatic difference in the length of my hair, it grew but very little

Final thoughts:

Although, I liked the packaging as well as fragrance of the conditioner plus my hair did feel soft and looked shiny, I still got the same amount of frizz and split ends along with flatness as I did before I started using this conditioner.  My hair wasn’t more manageable and it didn’t grow that much.  Even though the price is great, it’s not worth the $6.

Department store brand:

Ojon Dry Recovery Intensive Hydrating 2-Minute Hair Mask

  • $29.50 and can be purchased at Sephora or any department stores that carries Ojon
  • the packing is fairly big and a lot of products comes in the tub
  • again, I like the packing because you see how much product is left and use every last bit
  • only need to use little bit so it lasts a while
  • it has a light scent, but I don’t really like it
  • I use it once a week and leave it on for about 15 to 20 minutes
  • my hair feels soft and looks glossy
  • even after I air dried it, my hair had noticeably less frizz but was flat
  • after a month of use, I noticed that my hair is less frizzy and I had very, very few split ends
  • it’s helping my hair grow longer faster

Final thoughts:

Although, I don’t like the way my hair smells and it makes my hair flat plus the price is high, it is helping my hair grow long and soft with less frizz.  My hair looks and feels much healthier so I feel like the $29.50 is worth it because it does what it promises.  It’s a great conditioner, $30 for an at home treatment like this is way better than hundreds and hundreds dollars you will spend going to salon for treatments.

Let me know, in the comments below, what you think about these conditioners if you have used them or any other ones that you think I should try.

Friday Fab Finds

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This edition of fab find is all about makeup brushes.  I use to think makeup brushes were waste of money because I could easily do their job with my own fingers for free.  That is until I actually went to do my makeup by a professional and saw how flawless my face looked after she used brushes to put foundation and concealer on me and how perfectly smokey my eyes looked after she finished.  Yes, I know she was a professional that’s probably why my make up looked so good, but she actually let me do one side of my face, foundation only, to show me the difference of application by fingers and brush; that’s how I was convinced and decided to get myself a set of brushes.  But since I couldn’t afford to get the brushes she was selling, I did some online research and found E.L.F. Cosmetics 11 pc studio brush set.

These brushes are affordable, at most you will pay $30 for 11 brushes, and very good quality.  They are soft, apply and pick up make up well and have little to no shedding.  All the brushes are easy to hold and each brush has the right amount of bristles and perfectly sized for its purpose.  They come in a waterproof case which is great for storing the brushes or taking when travelling.  They are easy to clean with dishwashing liquid or brush cleaners and dries fast.  But the only minor issue is that I have to reshape each brush to its original size while the bristles are still wet or they spread out after they dry (but this is normal for most makeup brushes).  I have them for two years now and use them very often but not one is broken or worn out yet, impressive!!  Below is the list of brushes this set comes with and also retailers where you can purchase.  Happy shopping & TGIF!!

Let me know in the comments below what you think of these brushes if you have used them already or if you have another great affordable line of brushes you use.

 Set includes:

  • Eyeshadow “C” Brush
  • Complexion Brush
  • Small Angled Brush
  • Small Smudge Brush
  • Fan Brush
  • Powder Brush
  • Angled Foundation Brush
  • Concealer Brush
  • Small Precision Brush
  • Blush Brush
  • Contouring Brush
  • & Water-resistant case

Where can you buy?

Target
Amazon
E.L.F. Cosmetics

Thursday Treat

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This week’s Thursday treat will be on my favorite fruit to eat in the summer; the always refreshing, but never boring – WATERMELON!  After spending a long, hot and sweaty summer day outside, nothing cools me down more than a cold and sweet slice of watermelon.

Watermelon is a delicious fruit with great health benefits.  It has vitamin A, C and the highest level of lycopene all of which works as an antioxidant to protect cells and fight off free radicals to help minimize the signs of aging; lycopene is the pigment that gives watermelon (and tomato) its red color.  Vitamin A is also known to reduce pore size and oil secreted by skin. It has vitamin B6, which helps immune system produce antibodies to fight off diseases, and potassium to help with water balance.  It is also made up of mostly water, so it keeps your body and skin hydrated.  Lastly, it’s a low calorie food, so you can snack on it as much as you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, without undoing all those hours at the gym.

Below are three different quick and very easy watermelon salad recipes for you to try this summer.

Watermelon Salad with Mint & Feta Cheese

What you need:

  •  1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • One 8-pound seedless watermelon, scooped into balls with a melon baller or cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (10 cups), chilled
  • 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled (2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1 small sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

Make it:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco and pepper.
  2.  Add the watermelon, feta, olives and onion and toss gently.
  3.  Garnish with the mint and serve.

 

Watermelon and Arugula Salad

What you need:

  •  1/2 pound baby arugula leaves
  • 2 pounds seedless watermelon, 3/4-inch-diced (3 pounds with the rind)
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2-pound chunk Parmesan cheese

Make it:

  1. Place the arugula and watermelon in a large bowl.
  2.  In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  3.  Pour enough dressing on the arugula to moisten. Toss well and place on salad plates.
  4. With a very sharp knife or a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan into large shards and sprinkle them on the arugula and watermelon. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

 

Watermelon and Tomato Salad

What you need:

  • 5 cups (3/4-inch) seeded watermelon cubes
  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Romaine lettuce leaves (optional)
  • Cracked black pepper to taste

Make it:

  1. Combine watermelon and tomatoes in a large bowl; sprinkle with sugar and salt, tossing to coat. Let stand 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in onion, vinegar, and oil. Cover and chill 2 hours.
  3. Serve chilled with lettuce leaves, if desired. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper to taste.

 

Source: 3fatchicks.com & watermelon.org

Recipes: foodandwine.com, foodnetwork.com, myrecipes.com

What To Do Wednesday – Hyaluronic Acid

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What to use to on your face to retain moisture?

Skin + Moisture = Healthy, Youthful and Beautiful appearance
As we grow older, our skin starts to get drier making it easier for wrinkles to show up causing us to look older than we are.  What to do?  Well, worry no more because scientists have finally found the fountain of youth* that is Hyaluronic acid, to rescue us from the horrors of fine line and wrinkles.  Let’s talk a little more about what HA actually is.

What is HA?
Don’t be alarmed or scared because it’s an acid; it doesn’t act like any other acid and won’t burn, peel or sting your face.  Hyaluronic acid (HA) is naturally found and created in our body; it’s in almost every single cell.  Its molecules bind with water and helps lubricate our body, however, its half life is only one to three days before it exits our system.  To help bring this wonderful lubricant back to our skin, scientists have created HA serums/creams for us to use topically and dermatologists also have fillers to plump up those wrinkles.

What are the benefits of HA?
HA Serum: helps moisturize our skin tremendously, it also acts as a barrier which smoothes the skin giving us an instant (temporary) face lift.  Because it bonds so well with water, it is easily absorbed into our skin.  It’s not greasy and is completely fragrance free; so, even people with the most sensitive skin can use it.  HA serum can’t reverse the fine lines and wrinkles you already have but can soften their appearance and should be used as a preventive measure.

HA fillers: because it naturally occurs in our body, HA fillers can be injected into our skin with minimum side effects because our body doesn’t see it as foreign.  HA fillers are safe and easy to use and they work well.  Most importantly, they are reversible so if you decide you don’t want the filler anymore, your dermatologist can give you an anecdote and within hours, it will be gone.

What do I think of HA?
I have only used the HA serum and from my personal use, it absorbed into the skin in about five minutes and left my skin moisturized throughout the winter weather in NY without any peeling, breakouts or that pulling feeling.  I wore it at night and woke up with soft and supple skin in the morning. My make up application was much smoother and lasted longer because my skin was hydrated.  I did (and always do) used sunscreen during the day and a separate eye cream; you should too if you are using or planning to use HA serum.
Where can you purchase HA?
Amazon (steal)
Bioelements Moisture X10 (splurge)

Let me know what you think about HA.  If you have used it, what are your reactions to it?

*HA is dubbed as the fountain though it has not been scientifically proven yet
Source: thebeautydepartment.com, hyaluronicacidserum.com, latimes.com

 

Sunday Recap: OOTW

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It’s recap time

OOTW 7/16/12-7/20/12

Monday – print dress & black tank top H & M (old), earrings & bangles Baublebar (wait list), sandals Steve Madden (old)
Tuesday – print top & pants H & M (available in select stores), earrings Baublebar (wait list), shoes Steve Madden (old)
Wednesday – top & leggings H & M (available now), earrings & bracelet Baublebar (not available), necklace Baublebar (wait list), shoes Steve Madden (old)
Thursday – top Express (old), skirt H & M (old), earrings Baublebar (wait list), necklace H & M (available now in select stores), bangles Aldo (old), shoes Payless (available now)
Friday – top Express (old), jeans Charlotte Russe (old), necklace Baublebar (in stock), shoes Steve Madden (old), earrings H & M (old, not pictured, forgot to take picture, oops!)
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