reviews

#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?

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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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personal

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.)

mental health

Binge. Restrict. Repeat.

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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.

personal

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!
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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.
personal

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. 😉

beauty

Sephora Semi-Annual Sale Picks

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When Sephora runs its semi-annual sale in April and November, I make it a habit to pick up products that need replenishing. It is not as fun as a new eyeshadow palette or lipsticks to play with, but what I purchased are the foundations for my everyday make up! (This means if y’all splurged on fun stuff during the sale, you HAVE to tell me so I can squee with you.)

1. Clinique’s Super City Block Broad Spectrum SPF 40
Although this is a tinted moisturiser, I bought it to primarily use as a primer. As the temperatures are heating up in Texas, the added benefit of the SPF will come in very handy!

2. Laura Mercier Silk Crème Photo Edition Foundation
My skin is a large pored desert. I tried Bareminerals Complexion Rescue on my path to the perfect foundation, but it emphased the dry patches on my cheeks and nose. (And the palest shade was a touch too orange, womp.) I have my fingers crossed that the Laura Mercier foundation works, especially since it has buildable coverage!

3. Buxom Lash Waterproof Mascara
I sampled this mascara years ago in its non-waterproof formula and remembered loving it. I am hoping that it is every bit as good as I remembered because dang, I feel like Goldilocks trying to find the ‘perfect’ mascara. “Too dry!” “Too wet!” “Weird brush!” Oh, and do not get me started on those fiber mascaras…

4. Benefit’s Erase Paste
I am finally kicking my Make Up For Ever concealer to the curb! Ugh, that stuff seriously clung to every line under my eye, making me look 10 years older WHILE MY PURPLE CIRCLES SHONE THROUGH. I have loved Erase Paste since I first became serious about make up, so oh, nine years ago. #OopIAmOld But for real, this stuff brightens AND conceals. Can I get a hallelujah?!

The Sephora Semi-Annual Sale continues now through wednesday, april 13th online and in stores.

Beauty Insiders get 10% off with “BINOTE”
VIBs get 15% off with “VIBNOTE”
VIB Rogue get 15% off with “ROGUENOTE”
gaming

Fallout 4 Survival Mode Beta Review

If I could use only one word to summarize Bethesda’s new survival mode rework, it would be “brutal“.

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The Fallout universe is one that I am familiar with.  I had little trouble with the original survival mode that shipped with launch, so I went into the beta feeling cocky. I dealt with juggling an appetite, thirst, and the need to rest in Fallout: New Vegas’ survival mode, so how much harder could the addition of diseases and the removal of fast travel be?

Really, really goddamned hard.

Every time you take a Stimpack, you gain a point of dehydration. This easily overwhelms when you when you are far from vendors or bodies of water to replenish yourself. (Much like I was in this screenshot. Look at those stats! Ouch.) When you take RadAway, your immune system becomes suppressed and you easily gain diseases from the drugs and food that you ingest to try and make it to another battle. Oh, and drug use ALSO causes dehydration. Good luck downing the delightful combination of Med-X, Psycho, and Jet because you will end up Severely Dehydrated. You see that “fatigue” debuff? It is a disease I picked up from using chems that I do not currently have the antibiotics to cure. It forces me to continually seek shelter so my “weary” debuff does not continue to build. Plus, being Fatigued damages my Action Points and the AP refresh, so a lot of combat situations have to be done without the assistance of VATS.

As for the combat, even with the new Adrenaline perk, it is rough. My biggest enemy in early game, besides my friggin’ health problems, are grenades. It is Game Over when a Raider lobs one of those bad boys at me because I cannot get out of the way fast enough. Which then puts me back at the last place I saved, which typically is far from where I died at because you cannot automatically save in survival mode. (Your progress is only saved when you sleep for an hour or longer.) The best way I can describe early game is that you constantly take two steps forward and ten steps back. Tough combat and even the disabled save feature does not bother me, sure it can be irritating when you have to clear out a place for the fourth time because you accidentally trip a mine but that is a challenge that I expected.

As for the personal need system? I think it needs some fine tuning before Bethesda launches their live survival mode. It is much too unforgiving in its current state. I do not think there is enough water in the entire Commonwealth that could quench the Sole Survivour’s constant dehydration!

If you are up for a challenge, FO4’s survival mode totally delivers. I however, will stick to the original difficulties because it is a little too much for me.