Target’s August Beauty Box: Is it AWESOME or a FAIL?

I have never purchased a beauty box from Target because they tend to sell out quickly, so when I saw August’s “Back to School” themed box pop up on Slickdeals I HAD to jump on it!

beauty box display

JUICE ORGANICS repairing shampoo and conditioner (10oz  $9.99 each) | SECRET clinical strength smooth solid deodorant in LIGHT AND FRESH (1.6oz $6.59) | CREST 3D Whitestrips professional effects (20 count $40.99) | UP&UP women’s 5 blade razors (5 count $10.39) | OLAY makeup remover wipes (25 count $4.99) | LANEIGE water sleeping mask (2.36oz $24.00) | COVERGIRL katy kat mascara (0.35oz $6.99 – full size) | NYC get it all lip colour in RED (0.13oz $2.99 – full size)

Okay, so I fully admit what made me pull the trigger on this box were the sample sizes of the Secret Clinical Strength deodorant and the makeup remover wipes. The deodorant is the type I use, so I threw it in with the other travel-friendly items I am collecting for BlizzCon. Olay’s remover wipes are not top favourite wipes because they burn my skin slightly upon use, but they do remove eye makeup efficiently. Within 30 seconds after use the stinging vanishes and they do not cause my skin to freak out, so into the sample stash they went!

The other items in the box are new to me, so here are my thoughts.

The Shampoo and Conditioner bundle

This team was sufficient enough. I was surprised at the amount of lather in the shampoo because “natural” products tend to lack the sudsy effect. There is not a strong coconut scent to either the shampoo or conditioner, which disappointed me. I thought it smelled like chemical-laden grape juice with coconut water? Very odd!

After blow-drying, my hair was soft and shiny, with my natural hair texture (weird semi-waves) shining through. Got to say, though – I am glad the weird-ass scent did not stick around outside of the shower!

2.5/5

Juice Organics
My hair after washing and conditioning with the Juice Organics bundle.
Crest 3D Whitestrips LUXE

I hate samples like this. How would ONE APPLICATION of Whitestrips do anything positive, when it takes about a week for a course of whitening applications to start removing yellowing? Pfffft, I say! I do plan on starting a whitening regimen in October, so I will be hanging onto the sample for one extra application.

–/–

Up & Up Women’s 5 Blade Razors

Oh hey, women’s razors! I buy men’s to avoid the pink tax, so these are new to me. The pretty pink body has a soft grippy plastic so you do not fumble while shaving. (Ouch.) I tossed one into my BlizzCon stash and put the second in the bathroom.

The one downside is that you need to use plenty of moisturiser after shaving because these oddly dry out your skin. That little pink strip of “botanical oils” does not do anything to help!

3/5

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

Oh boy, oh boy! This is one of the items I was SUPER EXCITED to try! The mask itself has a thick consistency with a nice cooling effect. It does not take much to cover your face and neck, so I can see this generous sample lasting a while.

After two nights of using it in place of my Origins Nite-A-Mins face moisturiser, I can say it does its job to keep my pores tight and skin feeling soft and moisturised. The product also sinks into your skin quickly, so you do not end up with most of it on your pillow! The downside is that it only seems to moisturise; there are no brightening or anti-aging qualities. It is also highly fragranced, so if you are sensitive to fragrances, I would skip it! Since I am not, I can safely say that this product is the bee’s knees.

4/5

Covergirl Katy Kat Mascara

Ooh, a full-sized mascara! Since the box was $7, you could say that you bought the mascara and got the rest of the box for free. Wink.

I had yet to find a Covergirl mascara I genuinely like, but I pushed that thought aside while I put my face on for the day so I could review the Katy Kat mascara without bias.

Okay. So. The formula is very, very wet. Even when being careful, I ended up smudging it under my eyes and on my eyelids and having to take a makeup remover wipe to it. That was irritating! The mascara is prone to clumping, so you have to brush a lot of the mascara off onto the tube before applying and brush your lashes apart after applying. On the positive side, if you like your mascara’s super dark, this one delivers that.

1/5

NYC Get It All Lip Colour in IncREDdible

The second full-sized product in the box.

I need another red lipstick like I need a hole in my head, so I will be passing this along to my niece. It is nice that it came in shrinkwrap – very hygienic!

–/–

Total Score: 10.5/20 – FAIL

Out of all the new products I was introduced to, I will only be interested in possibly repurchasing one going forward.

Astoundingly beautiful Fallout 4 mods you NEED to know about

While I love Fallout 4, there’s something about the environment of the Commonwealth that bothers me. I’m obviously not a climatologist by profession but 210 years after atomic destruction, shouldn’t there be more regrowth and flora blooming across the state? The Commonwealth in its vanilla state feels flat, and after significant time invested… it’s somewhat even boring. The desolation of the Mojave worked in New Vegas because of the arid temperament of the southwestern United States. Coastal New England? Not so much.

Enter some bad ass mods that breathe new life into the Commonwealth. Unique cloud formations! Gorgeous sunsets! Overgrowth on bridges! Moss overtaking old buildings! Weeds! Flowers! Vegetation! CORAL REEFS! What was once a stagnant, lifeless world has come to life in glorious colour.


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MODS USED

 

#Multimasking: A look at the promising skincare technique

Every beauty junkie knows that proper skincare is absolutely crucial. Your face is your canvas, that blank slate you transform into a work of art. I can’t understate how important it is to make sure your skin is healthy and happy before you start layering product on it!

I don’t often interrupt my basic skincare routine, but I do love experimenting with facial masks. They’re like a mini spa day – at HOME! So when BzzAgent offered me a chance to take part in L’Oréal‘s Pure-Clay Mask campaign, I jumped on it.

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What makes this line different than other facial mask lines is that they are supposed to be used in a “layered” effect, which L’Oreal coined as multimasking. Each zone of your face might have different needs, so you match the problem to the corresponding mask.

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Before I “multimasked”, I used the Eucalyptus and Red Algae masks separately their intended three times. Here’s what I observed:

  • The eucalyptus mask promised mattification to oily skin, which I don’t have. Womp. I did notice that my face appeared slightly less red on the days I used the mask and it had a more even tone. (I have mild rosacea.)
  • The red algae mask is used to slough off dead skin and minimize the appearance of large pores. I found no improvement to my pores, but the exfoliant properties were nice. I often have dry skin build ups on my T-Zone, which got removed by the mask.
  • Both masks left my skin feeling soft to the touch.

So when I combined the Eucalyptus and Red Algae masks, did it by any chance make a significant difference?

multimasking
I used the brightening eucalyptus on my forehead and chin and the exfoliating red algae on my cheeks and t-zone.

No.

It felt like I just used the red algae mask all over my face! Would I recommend multimasking? Also, no. But individually, that red algae mask is pretty darn sweet. If you have dry skin like I do, it can rid you of the dead skin build up.

Each mask retails at about $12.99 for 1.7oz of product (~$7.60 per oz).

The BzzKit was graciously gifted to me from BzzAgent, a website that connects influencers with products to test and review. All opinions, however, are my own.

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Currently Obsessed

¡Hola, muchachos! May has come and gone in what felt like a flash. (Seriously, can life have a pause button?!) But overall, it was a pretty good month, once I kicked my cold for good. Modern medicine, I love you.

Jake and I booked our BlizzCon hotel, so the trip to Anaheim is feeling more “real”. The total cost ended up being a steal of a deal because we booked through a site that specializes in reselling non-refundable hotel bookings. Not all hotels allow the transfer of guest information, but one of our three choices did and we ended up saving about $100 overall! Hello, that’s the price of a Disneyland ticket! #Win

As part of our “getting shit together” movement, we joined a gym! During the month, I lost 5lbs the healthy way, through logging my meals/macros and exercising. While it’s a battle not to obsess over the numbers on the scale and fighting the urge to heavily restrict, I’m proud of not letting my issues consume me.

I also signed up for Fall classes and ended up going in a direction that that surprised everyone. (Eep!) I’m sticking with my History major and Education minor. After some soul searching, I realized that I’d be happiest teaching in a field that I’ve had a lifelong passion for. I admit that it’d be awesome to work in the management side of eSports, but I was never completely sold on going the communications route. I’ll be taking 3 online classes through my university and 2 online classes through my community college. I didn’t want to go the entirely online route because I love History lecture courses, but since I registered late, most of the classes left were early morning. Womp, womp.

To go along with this monthly recap, I thought I’d mention some of the things I’ve been obsessed with during May.

currentlyobsessed-mayOld Navy’s Rockstar High Rise Skinnies

As I’m in between sizes and continuing to lose weight, cheap jeans are my friend. I typically dislike Old Navy’s denim, but these skinny jeans are both comfortable and flattering. AND THEY’RE LONG ENOUGH FOR ME TO NOT HAVE TO SEARCH FOR THE EVER-ELUSIVE TALL INSEAM. Glory hallelujah! I like the high rise as it camouflages the belly and the destressed detailing is fun. (OMG, don’t judge, I’m forever stuck in 2007 with my love of ripped jeans.)

Origin’s Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask

I received a dreaded foil sample (hiss) of this mask in my May Sephora Play! box. I normally toss foil samples because I loathe them, but my love for the brand AND face masks made me try it. Hoo boy, I’m glad I did because it was love at first application. After the 10 minutes of having a grey face, my skin was left soft, smooth, and with minimized pores. I can see why this baby has a cult following!

Lilly Pulitzer’s “Out to Sea” print

Um yes hello, y’all know I’m obsessed with Lilly. And this print? It’s my personal favourite of the current collection. It’s like, Red Right Return’s pastel spiritual sister and I want everything! As I’m NOT a lottery winner or Ladies Who Lunch wealthy, everything isn’t going to happen but I did buy the Ali t-shirt dress. Me gusta.

Mantra Bands

I accidentally stumbled upon this brand while creeping on Instagram (#SorryNotSorry) and I love everything about these bracelets. I love positive affirmations and dainty jewellery, so it’s like the bracelets were made for me. Ha! The “Fearless” bracelet is my personal favourite because 1) it reminds me of old school Taylor Swift and 2) I tell myself to fearlessly chase whatever makes me happy because happiness is my number one goal in life.

World of Warcraft

GUESS WHO’S BACK? Yuuuup! Since Jake and I were lonely Alliance-side and the game is best played socially, we applied to Reciprocity during their open recruitment. I had an itch to return to my Horde roots and I thought it’d be cool possibly joining a guild where I already had made some Twitter friend connections with. Happily, we were accepted and we have been having a good time in our new guild. It’s nice to once again have the feeling of WANTING to log in and play, rather than signing in because I feel like I “have” to. It’s doubly nice to be in a casual raiding guild because the pressure of always being “on” makes me feel anxious and leads to me no longer having fun with the game. (That’s not saying that I don’t try in raid settings, but it’s lovely to not have to be constantly worried about being benched because I underperformed on a fight.)

Binge. Restrict. Repeat.

repair

I have an eating disorder.

Not many people know this. How could they? I am not the typical face of an eating disorder. The smallest I have ever been with my 5’10” frame was a size 10 at 150lbs.

I am overweight. Most of my life I have been. In Kindergarten, I would chug a Coca Cola every day before heading to class. Throughout elementary school, I would curl up with party sized bags of potato chips and graze while reading. Performing in sports was awkward because of my hypermobility, so I would skip physical activity in favour of more sedentary hobbies. I knew I was taller and larger framed than my classmates, but even in the face of some teasing, this did not really bother me. Yet.

In middle school, I became acutely aware that I was different than my peers. I was larger, I took up more space. I had a reoccurring dream of grabbing the fat from my thighs and throwing it against walls. Being the odd one out led me to seek comfort in snacking and the Internet. On Neopets, I was a petite half-Vietnamese teenager who role played in a Sailor Moon guild. In real life, I was a hefty white girl barely squeezing into a size 13 jean while I would hear my sister and mother moan about how fat they were while they picked at their food. Why were their appetites so bird-like while I could crush a super sized McDonalds meal and still be hungry? Why was I different? Thus, the cycle of binge-restrict-binge was born at the tender age of thirteen.

My metabolism is shitty from this lifetime of shame. I put on weight easily, but losing it is a struggle.

The lowest I have weighed as an adult was ~160lbs in 2013 after recovery from a laparoscopic surgery to remove endometrium from my uterus left me bedridden and without an appetite for several weeks. I restricted for a year after to vainly try to remain at that weight but ultimately I ended up back around around 240lbs due to a combination of an antidepressant that did not work for me and my typical source of comfort during tough times: food. I hated myself for gaining back the weight and then some. Once again, I was Heather the fat ass, even though I tried to “own” it outwardly.

Now, I currently weigh 199lbs through a combination of exercise and logging everything I eat. It has been a slow, imperfect process, but I am happy to be making progress the legitimate way. By changing my lifestyle rather than crash dieting. I stopped buying my “comfort” foods to binge on. Instead, I seek comfort through my friends, family, and Jake. Food is not the enemy, but it is also not my best friend. I do NOT need to inhale junk food on a bad day. I DO need a balanced diet to survive.

I will never have a normal relationship with food, but I hope that I can continue to make positive strives.

Snip snip!

Three years ago, I chopped my hair into a “long” pixie cut to remove what was left of my colour-processed hair. (I did this right before Sorority recruitment! Can’t say I would recommend doing something so dramatically impulsive before a big event where you have to put your best face forward, but that’s how I roll.)

That pixie cut looked like shit on me. Even though it was the easiest hair maintenance I’ve ever dealt with, I hated it. And real talk y’all, pixie cuts are hell to grow out because of the varying lengths of the layers involved. There was a point in time I wore a lot of hats and tiny ponytails to hide my honest-to-God mullet. 0/10. I guess all that combined kind of intimidated me into avoiding salons while my hair grew, heh.

But something in me snapped. While I loved the aesthetic of my two-and-a-half foot long hair, it became more work than it was worth. I was tired of its heaviness. How I had to sleep in a pony tail / braid or I would wake up with gigantic knots even while using a silk pillowcase. The awful way that I easily overheated because my hair was not only long, but incredibly thick. Spending hella money on shampoo and conditioner because omg, so much hair. Blowdrying became a lengthy ordeal that made me go “nah, better not” to showering. (Gross!!!) It was time for a change.

One of my style icons, Lauren Conrad, traded her lengthy locks for a more manageable lob and I kind of fell in love. Long bobs are feminine, polished, and you still have enough length to put your hair up for the gym. Like Coco Chanel once said, “a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life”, and well, I found that apropos with me heading back to UTA under my new major while embarking on a lifestyle change*.
(*That’s a whole ‘nother post!)

Pre-Chop
Bye, bye bun!
haiiiiiiiiir
My virgin hair was long and healthy enough to donate, which made me happy.
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Voilà! My hair grows fairly quickly, so I feel like it’ll be a nice length by BlizzCon.

Life Lately

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My school semester is winding to a close and I admit, I am pretty darn happy about that. This semester back at community college ended up being beneficial to my mental health and restored my confidence in continuing to move onward toward finally earning my degree. Plus, I made Dean’s List. Ayyy. My outstanding debt to my four-year university has been paid off and I filed the FAFSA, so I will be starting on classes pertaining to my major in the fall. I am excited, a little nervous, but mostly I am ready to kick some major butt and cross that stage.

Soon after my final exams are over, Jake and I will be spending a week in North Padre. We have not been down to the coast since 2013, so to say I am ecstatic is an understatement! I have had the Cold From Hell™ pretty much the entire month, so some R&R is just what the doctor ordered. Uh, maybe not since I am on prednisone, but semantics! The beach in our backyard. Schlitterbahn. FRESH SEAFOOD. Can it be May already?!

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Selfie at ze wedding. (I am on SO MUCH COLD MEDICATION in this picture, LOL.) I wish FB didn’t ruin the quality of our group shot with the bride and groom!😦

Our long-time friends Jeremy and Leslie tied the knot earlier in the month. Their love story is adorable; they were friends in the second grade who lost touch and reconnected via MySpace! Their wedding itself was absolutely beautiful with little touches of their personalities sprinkled throughout it. When I say that, I mean their guestbook was a Guardians of the Galaxy movie poster, Leslie walked down the aisle to the Imperial March, their wedding topper was a personalized Katamari, and each of their favourite gaming background songs set the mood during dinner. #GeekChic

The biggest travel news as of late though… we are going to BlizzCon in Anaheim, CA this November! While I was not able to secure tickets during the official sale, an incredibly kind friend resold a pair to me at face value. (They know who they are and they are getting the BIGGEST hug!) This leads me to put my Serious Face: if you did not get tickets and are still looking for some, please do not turn to eBay. In other circumstances I am a huge proponent of eBay, but ticket scalpers are the scum of the earth. Please do not support them fucking the system. LFBlizzCon or people in the WoW Twitter community are a much better option. Play it smart, sweetie pies, I do not want to see anyone get burned.

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The last time we *almost* went to BlizzCon was 2008! This trip has been a long time coming.

To those who are not hip to the gaming world, BlizzCon is the annual convention wholly dedicated to Activision Blizzard’s games. Jake and I have a storied past with Blizzard games; he grew up playing WarCraft II and roped me into World of Warcraft back in late 2005. We spent many a late night prior to living together on Vent chatting while playing WoW. The Burning Crusade is wrapped up in our Senior year of high school memories and the beginnings of college. Wrath of the Lich King soothed the pain of me dropping out of school to work full time and him dealing with the 24/7 care of his double amputee great-grandmother. (Heavy shit for a nineteen year old!) Cataclysm brought new challenges as we began to live together for the first time while pushing the envelop in raiding. Mists of Pandaria let us feel okay with raiding casually. I may no longer be an active Death Knight blogger, but I will always have mad love for the game and I cannot wait to meet the friends that I have made along the way! Plus, we are spending two days in Disneyland. That does not hurt in the least.😉