Beauty Balm: A conclusion

So I did a product comparison last week – a Beauty Beat Down. It involved two American Beauty Balm creams with one from Maybelline and one from L’Oreal. Last weekend I picked up another one – Garnier Beauty Balm. I purchased it for about $11.99 from my local Wal Mart. I had high hopes for this because, though I liked both the Maybelline and L’Oreal versions I wasn’t 100% sold on them as Beauty Balms.

After using the Garnier version I have come to a conclusion regarding American Beauty Balms: they are all essentially tinted moisturizers that offer few of the real benefits of a true Beauty Balm.

In my opinion all three of these products offer various benefits but for the most part they are essentially tinted moisturizers with varying degrees of match and coverage. Of the three, so far, my favorite is the Garnier. It has been a better base for my foundation than either the Maybelline or L’Oreal versions, though I will say that the L’Oreal has a better match for color. The Garnier is more bang for your buck though: the tube is huge especially compared to what you get in the Maybelline and L’Oreal versions.

In my opinion the best points of this product are the size, coverage and moisturizing properties. The downside, as was my complaint with the other two products, is that it doesn’t feel or wear truly like a Beauty Balm [to me]. In a Beauty Balm I want a product that offers me coverage, a little moisture, primer properties and long wear – the Garnier product offers coverage and long wear but it over moisturizes. As was my complaint with the other two my combination skin seemed to get oilier from wearing the BB cream during the day. I found myself needing to powder more often than if I had worn just a primer, concealer and foundation. I will say that having the BB creams under my foundation and concealer did help to even out my skin tone in a way that I enjoyed – I felt like I could go a little lighter on the foundation because I had the BB cream on.

All in all none of the products are bad products but don’t expect a true BB cream out of these. Look to them more as BB Cream Lite. My favorite of all three is for sure the Garnier. The price doubled with the volume you get means it is the best use of your beauty dollars. In addition I felt like it offered the best coverage option as well as it was the one of the three that caused the least amount of extra oil on my skin. If you’re looking to try out a drugstore version of a BB cream this is my recommendation for sure. Keep in mind it comes in two different colors: light/medium or medium/dark – so color options are a lot more limited than either Maybelline or L’Oreal – but it seems to blend into my skin really well – so that counteracts the lack of color choice.

Have you tried any of these products? What are your thoughts? Are you more tempted to try a high end or over-seas version than the drug store ones? Let me know, I’d love some more feedback.


Why Learning to Love Your Body Is Hard

I was at a loss for what to title this post so I just went with what felt right. I have a fitness blog that I write in dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle and being fit. That has nothing to do with weight, size, measurements – etc. It is about being fit, feeling good and loving yourself in your own skin. That’s what I’m all about. As someone who has faced and lived through struggles with weight and eating disorders, I’m not ashamed to say that I am very firm in my beliefs about bodies, health and perception. I tend to get my hackles in a rise of any kind of shaming culture or hate culture when it comes to bodies.

First, let me say that we all come in different sizes and shapes – and that’s ok. Not everyone can be what a society or profession deems “ideal” because “ideals” are based on a perfect case scenario that has nothing to do with health or safety, especially when we’re talking about beauty. In American culture our idea of what is beautiful has shifted through the years. We’ve idolized the curves of the screen sirens of the 50’s and we’ve loved the lanky limbs of Twiggy. We’ve prized fitness and tone while lauding praise on underweight models. In our culture today our vision of perfection and beauty is an airbrushed image that’s been so altered it doesn’t actually represent the original subject. And through all of it, we have a culture of shaming – almost always directed at the overweight.

Facebook started all this. Via Facebook I learned a couple things. First of which was the fact that a size 6 is a plus size now [in the modeling world] – excuse me – A SIX!? are you kidding me? Why?? There is nothing wrong with a size six – in fact it’s a nice size [depending on whose sizing chart you’re using] and all types of bodies wear a size six – but to say that a size six is plus sized makes me sick to my stomach. I know of people who have amazing bodies and are athletes with incredible muscle tone and they look stellar in a bikini and they wear a size 10 jeans – and there is no way you could look at these women and say “Oh, yeah – she’s big. We’ll label her plus sized”. In fact, you would probably look at her and go – wow! you look amazing!

Second thing I came across was a post by my girlfriend, who is a fitness nut [and looks amazing – might I say], pointing out a website called “Skinny Gossip”. I’m loathe to post it here because I don’t want to promote this girl’s site or her ideas. In her disclaimer section she states that she [and her site] are against pro-anorexia culture and strive to do no harm – wait a minute? what?! But then on her front page she has articles about why Kate Upton is a “cow” who has “Huge thighs, NO waist, big fat floppy boobs, terrible body definition – she looks like a squishy brick. Is this what American women are “striving” for now? The lazy, lardy look? Have we really gotten so fat in this country that Kate is the best we can aim for? Sorry, but: eww!” I’m sorry – but do you see Miss Upton to your right? WHAT?! First, she isn’t fat – not at all.

This woman has beautiful curves and a lovely body shape. She also has a stunning face. Now, to be fair, her “girls” need a little bit more coverage – but you can’t blame a body for ill fitting clothes. This is not a body to loathe or put down. You’re calling her lazy? I’m sorry, no. She’s probably naturally skinny and she does look like she works out some – she’s not a gymrat but why would she be? It burns me that this site rips apart a woman like this and then, in turn, goes on to state that models shouldn’t represent the average woman but rather be an aspiration.

Again – NO! A model is, in essence, a thing. A sculpture on which an artist/designer displays their art. Given that, each designer has a right to say “Ok, I want this type” but what the problem is that when they choose that “type” our society goes – “ok, that’s what I need to be” forgetting than less than 1% of the population of the world can/does/or will look like that in their lifetime.

The other article that I read before I could stomach this girl’s website no longer was regarding a ‘fat loving’ magazine and their articles about “Fat Pride”.  Under each photo taken from the editorial this website blogger states her absolute hatred of anyone “fat” or “plus sized” as well as how awful they must be to their bodies to look that way. To close her article she posts:
“The whole “fat pride” movement is irritating because plus-sizers want to tell us “big is beautiful” and it should be represented more in the modeling industry. I say it’s the opposite: if big really was beautiful, and most people wanted to be big, and wanted to see big people, don’t you think we’d see a lot more fat people modeling? I do. But we don’t – because it isn’t”

I have so many issues with this! First, the average size of a runway model has diminished in the past 20 years. This is fact and science. This has nothing to do with the size of the average American woman – which admittedly has increased. The pictures of the plus sized model in the editorial are lovely. She’s a beautiful woman with curves and yes, “rolls”. But why is that disgusting to us? The Romans prized a curvy woman as it spoke to her health and robust zest for life as well as her ability to bear children. Again – our idea [as humans] of what is beautiful changes and fluxuates but this young woman who runs this website is filled with a hatred for any body type not her “ideal” that it turns my stomach. That kind of hatred comes from inside and when it spills outside it infects like a disease. It is part of the reason our culture has such a distaste for the overweight.

I recently read a book “Fit2Fat2Fit” about a [male] physical trainer who put on almost 70 lbs in six months so he could understand the other side of that coin. He then put in the work to take it off. He did what he had to in order to understand the whole spectrum and it gave him perspective. He also learned to love himself and his life just a little more.

I don’t advocate anything lifestyle that would jeopardize one’s health – I can’t. That means I don’t advocate excess in either direction: too much or too little. I think all bodies can be beautiful and it is about how comfortable you are in your own skin. I’ve been all kinds of sizes [and you can read more about that struggle over at my fitness blog here] from a 0/2 up to a 14 and I find myself to be most comfortable in my own skin when I”m wearing a 6/8 and am working out. I like muscle. That’s my preference for my body – I like to keep some curves but be toned and strong – those are my goals; but I also recognize the beauty of different body types – tiny, toned, curvy, plus sized – all of it. How a woman wears her skin is more important to me than the size of the dress she’s putting on it.

This goes both ways, that needs to be said. We talk a lot about “fat shaming’ but we do leave out the shaming of skinny people. Anyone who has struggled with Anorexia or Bulimia knows that it is a compulsion and it hurts. Looking that person in the eye and going “God, you’re too skinny. Why don’t you eat something?” can do more damage than good. And I’m guilty of this too. I’m not sitting here as a saint with no transgressions. I have a girlfriend who has done a 180 in her life to take off some weight and she looks amazing. Tinier than I’ve ever seen her and sometimes I do worry and I may have pointed that out to her a time or two when it wasn’t ideal. The point I’m making is that telling someone their too skinny can be as bad as telling someone their too fat. Trying to forcibly alter someone else’s body or habits is not the way to go. We need to learn to love and support each other.

If you’re worried about someone’s weight, whether up or down on the scale, take them aside and kindly talk to them. Ask them what their goals are, their ideals. Be supportive as long as the answer doesn’t inflict harm or put them in danger. We need to learn to love not only ourselves but others. We need to be accepting and supportive of all physical journeys and less judgmental.

If you take nothing away from my rant today at least take this: love yourself and be healthy. Live a life of moderation so that you can live a long life. Love your own skin. Be kind to others because you never know what they might be struggling with – and this goes for skinny girls too. Sometimes when we talk about body shaming we forget that we shame the skinny girls too. When you judge a girl for being too skinny or too fat you don’t know if it’s genetics, purpose or circumstance that put them there and you also don’t know if that girl is healthy or not. If you’re worried – you talk to that person alone.

It’s times like this that all I can think of is this: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” ~ Ghandi


bareMinerals High Shine Eye Color – Review

Let me start by saying that I’m a fan but not a consistent user of the bareMinerals collections. I own a plethora of their eyeshadows because I like how they wear and the color selection. I also like the eye kits you can purchase. Recently I was seduced by their High Shine Eyecolor collection. First, I love anything that sparkles – I know. A shock! Anywho, so the sparkle caught me first – I was then really impressed by how pigmented they were and how well they swatched.

For $16.00 each they are a little pricey but, per normal, the bareMinerals direct store in the mall was doing a bundling promo so I got two shadows a mascara and a lipgloss at a pretty good deal.

I purchased Meteorite and Glisten. Warm metallic tones that suit my blonde hair and fair skin – especially for summer wear when I love to rock a bronzed look. Meteorite is more of a dark bronze color with flecks of gold and something else that make it irridescent in a really pretty way. Glisten is a light gold with white-gold-ish flecks throughout giving it a really nice highlight quality. Wore individually they are great for two very separate looks. Together, they contour and highlight the eye really nicely.

These are prefect for many different occasions. I like to wear the Meteroite from lash to crease with a dab of the Glisten in my tear-duct area as well as on the high point of my brow for some highlight as a “girl’s night out” look. I enjoy Glisten [by itself] blended from lash-line to crease as a light day look. It’s fun and flirty. I also like to mix them a little over my eye to get a shiny but sunkissed look that appears effortless and free.

These shadows last for hours and you can double that last time with a good primer [I love Urban Decay Primer Potion]. I love an eye shadow that can outlast me into the night and this item definitely does that.

My overall conclusion on the High Shine eye color by bareMinerals is that this is a “must” to add to your “fun and fearless” collection of makeup. I did try to swatch these on my hand for you but I don’t have my actual camera and my cellphone camera isn’t doing the colors justice.

But, I love these – do you use them? Have you? What are your thoughts? Love it? Leave it? Buy the whole stock?

Beauty Product Beat Down

So, as you may or may not know, I am an avid beauty lover. I love makeup, hair tools, polish, styling – you name it! I like to try and stay on top of what’s new and awesome and what’s just not cutting it. I’m also a huge fan of being smart with your beauty dollars – because we can’t all be over-spending on luxury items.

In order to keep myself up on stuff I like to follow a handful of beauty vloggers and bloggers as well as I subscribe to both Birchbox [found here] and MyGlam [found here]. In a post soon I will give you a list of my fav bloggers and vloggers – promise! But in the meantime, I wanted to get started on doing a regular “beauty beat down”. In my Beauty Beat Downs I’ll compare like products and tell you my thoughts so you can decide if something will be worth your Beauty dollars or not.

So, getting to our first Beauty Beat Down!

Today I wanted to compare Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream and L’Oreal Magic BB Cream. First, let me introduce you to BB cream if you aren’t already acquainted. BB Cream is a phenomena that started in East and Southeast Asia. It is essentially a four in one product that includes: moisturizer, primer, foundation, and sunblock as well as being lightly tinted. It helps to sooth, smooth and even skin tone. You can read more about the history of BB Creams here. As this product gained popularity and started to move over into the US and Western markets it has moved out of the high end brands and now into your nearest drugstore. Now, you can get BB creams from a variety of manufacturers and brands, but today I want to focus on two drug store brands.

First, is the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream. One of the benefits to BB creams, in general, is that they are

lightly tinted – so you don’t need to get an exact color. I’m of a fairer skin tone so I went with “light/medium” and as a color match it was nice and close. I use my BB cream as a base – omitting primer and moisturizer. For coverage, it’s nice and light. Good for underneath some loose powder on a summer day or by itself with a touch of bronzer. It has a sort of runny texture – which I didn’t love. But on the skin it is smooth and lightweight and even holds nicely under foundation, for the first part of your day.

During an all-day wear I found that my skin felt good – not too oily and not too dry. It also protected while I was out in the sun during the afternoon – my normally sensitive cheeks and nose did not burn [trust me, I can burn in 10 minutes of sun. I’m sensitive! lol]. I’m not going to compare this to higher end or Asian produced BB creams though I will say this is less of a true BB cream and more of a really great tinted moisturizer and for the $7.45 that I paid for it at Wal Mart – it was worth the investment.

The next product I want to introduce you to is the L’Oreal Magic BB Cream. The L’Oreal cream can also be bought at your local drugstore or Walmart type place. This product also comes in a variety of shades but offers the benefit of a True Match type system – the cream comes out of the tube with a white tint and little beads in the cream. Once it meets your skin it starts to tint appropriately to match your skin. This is a definite bonus. This cream is slightly more expensive, about $8.74 is what I paid but still much less than designer brands. This has a slightly more full coverage than the Maybelline cream but does have a little more oily quality to it. During all day wear, under foundation/powder, my combination skin seemed to get more oily than normal. As a result, I found myself touching up with powder more often than normal. Between the two, this cream offers a better skin match and more full coverage – but if you have combination to oily skin you may find yourself more shiny than normal.

Beauty Beat Down Winner: L’Oreal Magic BB Cream – personally, I don’t mind touching up every so often especially if I get quality and lightweight coverage.

I would recommend trying them to see which fits you best but both drugstore options are a decent alternative to the expensive and higher end BB creams you can buy.

Neon colors and sunshine

So I’ve been noticeable MIA for a while now. I’ve got a crazy work project that is eating ALL my spare time and the time I’m not at work I’m usually trying to rest/recoup enough to go back at it during that evening. Right now I’m working overnight type hours and they are getting on me. So, I’ve been bringing the sunshine and brightness with me

places in the form of neon nails, new bathing suits, and suntanning. First, the neon nails – I’m LOVING the color I’m wearing now. It’s by China Glaze and it’s called “Shocking Pink (Neon)”. First, shocking pink? Yes. I am not shocked and I’m excited. I have a love affair with the color pink that goes back to childhood. In the photo I’m wearing another China Glaze color that is a very bright orange-ish, sunset-ish, pink color that I love. It is basically day-glo which makes me smile.

The color in the bottle is currently on my toes and hands. If you have the chance, I would recommend stopping down to your nearest nail salon and having them douse your phalanges with this lovely shade. Honestly, it has done wonders for my mood [ok, the pedicure and manicure did help with that too].

The other thing I’ve been doing is trying to soak up at least an hour of sun a day. I’m incredibly fair skinned so the sun and I have this on-going love/hate relationship. I love the sun but the sun and my fair skin don’t get on so well. So I have to sun-worship in stages and with lots and lots of UV protection. I try to stay away from tanning beds unless I’m going somewhere tropical in which it would be far more dangerous to risk a serious day-burn than go in a bed once or twice before my trip. In the summer, however, I like to try and adapt my skin over time. So, I spend an hour outside flipping from front to back and sweating and hoping that I have put on enough UV to protect from a burn while still getting a little bit of color. I then enhance that with a little Victoria’s Secret lotion that I”m not sure they sell anymore but it has a touch of bronzer in it so it makes you sparkley and tan. I love it. I’ll figure out what it is and post when I do.

So, of course! Since I’m rocking the neon nail trend I had to get a suit that fit that sunny, bright and LOUD description. Thankfully, Victoria’s Secret was having their semi-annual sale and all swim-wear was on sale. They also sent me two of those reward gift cards for $10 each – so basically I had to go shopping. I found the cutest bathing suit, got free shipping and $20 off – I paid $10 for a two piece and it is officially one of my favorites. The picture [Instagram addiction – this girl is guilty!] doesn’t do the colors justice but you get the idea. My deck is perfectly proportioned to lay out on comfortably and get a great sun angle. Unfortunately, it faces my neighbors but they haven’t complained about my daily sunbathing yet. Hopefully they won’t and I can keep this up.

So, that’s what I have been up to. Not too much crafting/cooking/etc. Though I have made six or seven maxi dresses just playing with fabrics, weight, color, tops – I’ll get a compilation picture up sometime this week.

Here is to a safe and happy Holiday this week. Happy Fourth of July!