FitBit Flex Review

I’m going to veer away from the beauty reviews for a moment here, and talk about my brand new FitBit Flex bracelet!

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My roommate got one for Christmas, and at first I wasn’t really that interested in owning one for myself. I’m not super active {my excuse is I can’t afford a gym membership–which is true–and that it’s been too cold and miserable outside to run–also true}, so why would I need a bracelet that’s going to remind me of that fact? I do walk a lot–one of the perks/disadvantages of living in Chicago without a car. As time wore on, I became more interested. Then I purchased one! I figured, it’s getting warmer out… I’m going to want to spend more time outside, walking and/or running… maybe it’s not a bad idea to track my steps! I am curious as to how many miles I log in a week.

The bracelet itself is a lightweight adjustable rubber band that comes in eight colors–pink, teal, slate, lime, tangerine, black, navy, and violet. It comes with a tiny black object that you insert into the band–that’s the FitBit part. It lights up to let you know how close you are to your goal {the standard is 10,000 steps a day, but you can adjust that accordingly}, as well as when you meet your goal. That’s one of the things I love most about FitBit: if I get tired of my hot pink band, I can buy a violet one. Or a lime one. Or a Tory Burch one {!!!!} which has yet to be released, but it’s coming soon! The black piece is the expensive part. The bands themselves only cost around $15.

It seems to be very accurate! I really had no idea how many steps I take every day. You wear it on your non-dominant hand, but I was nervous because that hand is usually resting on my cross-body purse, or in my pocket of my jacket or sweatshirt. Would it still know I was walking, even though I wasn’t moving my wrist? I pulled out my phone and opened the FitBit app {free; shows a dashboard with your progress}, and sure enough! The number of steps was increasing before my eyes. It’s so smart!

It is a little difficult to meet your daily goal. 10,000 steps is a lot! I was under the impression that it would be easy to meet and that everyone around me was doing it. Not so much! My roommate says she doesn’t meet her goal every day, either. You really have to make a point of getting up and walking more in order to get there–which makes sense, obviously. I try to use my FitBit as more of a motivation tool, rather than something to make me feel bad when I come a few thousand steps short of my goal.

It also tracks your sleep, which is super interesting. You’re supposed to be able to tap the band twice to turn it into sleep mode, but I usually manually start it via the app. It tracks when you’re awake and when you’re restless, and then gives you the data in the morning when you take it off. I’m interested to see the results over time; I’ll note how much sleep I get on nights that make me feel really well-rested, and try and aim for that. So far, I’ve noticed that I don’t toss and turn as much as I thought I did. Not that I thought I was super restless, but I have a lot of nights where it says I was restless zero times! The average for all twelve nights I’ve used it is 4.5x. Not too bad!

I ordered my FitBit from their website, here, but they are sold all over the place! Target, Best Buy, Sports Authority. Find one that works for you!

 

To Pull Or Not To Pull

… That is the question.

I really don’t like to jump on bandwagons. That being said, I felt like I couldn’t not try this new trend out. I’m talking about oil pulling–maybe you’ve read about it? This blog post went viral on my newsfeed, but I’ve also seen this one multiple times, and just a few days ago my favorite blogger, Grace Atwood of Stripes and Sequins, posted about her experience here! I’ll be honest, my curiosity got the better of me! I decided to give it a try.

Basically, oil-pulling is when you put a teaspoon of organic coconut or sesame oil in your mouth and swish it around for twenty minutes or so. It’s supposed to clear all the toxins out of your mouth, and improve oral health, bad breath, whiten your teeth, clear up skin problems, and basically cure any malady you suffer from. So they say. You swish, and then spit into a bad or trash can {the oil can harden and mess up your pipes}, then rinse and brush your teeth as usual.

I’ve only done it a few times {using organic coconut oil from Trader Joes}, but I think I can tell a difference. For one, my mouth feels SQUEAKY clean–way cleaner than they usually feel four hours after brushing, drinking coffee, and eating breakfast. My teeth appear a little whiter. And that’s really about it, so far. I’m sure it takes time for big results to make themselves known, which is why I want to keep at it! I don’t have any major health issues.. but maybe it’ll cure my minor acne and dry skin? I’ve heard it can help with headaches, too, so there’s that.

It can be really difficult to swish oil in your mouth for twenty minutes. But it does get easier! I try and do something to distract me while I’m pulling. Once I learned how to slot it into my morning routine and multitask, it got so much easier. A few times I’ve just gotten back into bed and read or watched Netflix briefly, but for some reason I’ve noticed that I produce more saliva and have to spit some out when I do that. On the contrary, when I’m up and moving around {doing my hair or makeup, picking out my outfit, tidying up, etc.} there is way less saliva involved. I’m not really sure why that is.

One thing I feel I should mention is the placebo effect. I know, I know. My psychology background is showing, but I just can’t help but wonder {Carrie Bradshaw moment}. Oil pulling is getting so hyped right now. Google it, and you get roughly 2.5 million hits. Everyone is singing its praises. But is it only working because we think it should? Maybe all the people with awful arthritis and other ailments read about how fantastic it is, and that’s what cured their pain. Also, what if my teeth aren’t really getting whiter–but I think they are, because I’m oil pulling? Now I’m paranoid.

Regardless of psychological theories–I’m going to keep at it. Stay tuned for updates, if there are any!

Bigger than BB…or too good to be true?

You guys. I did it. I bit the bullet. I took the plunge. I bought Big Easy, Benefit’s new skin perfecting cream!

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It was a bit of a splurge. It’s kind of pricy. But I had decided the time was right for me to give BB/CC creams another try. My skin needed a major break from foundation; and after finding success with a sample of COOLA’s Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face, I decided to try a completely new product instead of purchasing the one that I had just tried and loved–because that’s just how I do things.

Before I launch into my review, let me explain my typical morning makeup routine. I cleanse, tone, and moisturize first–then apply primer and foundation, which I always wear. I follow up with setting powder, bronzer, blush, and highlighter. On an average weekday, I fill in my brows and wear eyeliner and mascara.

So you get the gist of what my face makeup looks like on a usual day. It can vary–more bronzer/highlighter to contour; sometimes I skip blush; I add concealer if I need it. But more or less it stays the same. I know it sounds like a lot. I have such a love/hate relationship with foundation. Once you start wearing it, you really can’t not wear it. My skin is too blotchy and uneven to not have some coverage…but I’m starting to dislike how heavy it can feel on my skin. Not to mention how it gets cakey in some spots, and always always ALWAYS starts to look shiny as the day wears on–regardless of defensive measures like mattifying primers, or offensive measures like setting powder or oil-blotting sheets. So. This is where BB/CC creams enter the picture.

I had heard of Big Easy a while ago, when it was on presale at Birchbox. I even blogged about it here. It lingered in the back of my mind until Thursday afternoon, when I made the snap decision to purchase it at Sephora. Now, without further ado… the results.

8:00 PM (Thursday) — As usual, I clean and reorganize the surface of my dresser which houses all my makeup. I have a few new items to add to the melee, and I want it to look nice. I take Big Easy out of its box and place it on my dresser. I admire how it looks against all my other makeup. {Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.}

10:00 PM — I tuck myself into bed, eagerly anticipating morning so I can try Big Easy, and my other Sephora snag–Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Product. 5 AM can’t come soon enough!

5:00 AM — 5 AM came way too soon. I snooze my alarm approximately four times and then leap out of bed at quarter to six so I have time to shower and do my makeup.

6:18 AM — Makeup time. I washed my face in the shower and then did the toner/moisturizer thing, so I’m ready to go. I forgo primer, as Big Easy is supposed to do all that. I use my hands to apply all over my face, blending into my hairline and down my neck as I would with foundation. I only have to use a small amount at a time–altogether, I probable used around a pea-sized glob. It goes on smoothly and dries with a matte, velvety finish. The coverage is good. My skin is adjusting to a new oil cleanser I use nightly, so I’ve got a few breakouts on my forehead and a volcano on my cheek. The redness around my nose is also reduced. I skip the setting powder and just use bronzer and highlighter. I do my eyes and brows and I’m finished! My makeup took me almost half the time it usually does. I never realized how much time I spend rubbing on primer and letting it dry, then applying foundation and letting it dry, too.

6:45 AM — I’m out the door. I check my reflection on the train platform. Still looks good.

7:40 AM — I’m on the Metra, on my way to work. I check my reflection. Still looks good.

9:00 AM — I’m at my desk at work. I check my reflection. Still looks good.

11:30 AM — I go to the bathroom. I check my reflection. Looks AMAZING. I say this because we have the most unflattering light in our bathroom and I usually cringe at how my face looks, but this time I was pleasantly surprised. When I pat my face, it still feels matte and velvety. Usually by lunchtime it’s starting to shine up and feel almost sticky {gross} but not today. Woohoo!

4 PM — I’m satisfied by the staying power of Big Easy so far, so I stop peeking at my reflection every half hour. By the time I get home, it still looked fresh. I. Am. Sold.

In conclusion, Big Easy lives up to its tagline: Bigger Than BB. Sure, it does all the things that a good BB cream should: it evens out skin tone, hydrates, protects against aging and sun damage; but it does so much more than that. It dries to a matte finish, but my skin still glows when I put it on. It looks like foundation and the coverage is definitely comparable; but I can barely feel it on my skin! It doesn’t come off on my hands when I touch my face. Not to mention that since it eliminates primer from the equation, it takes about half the time to do my face. Again, this was a bit of a splurge–but you use so little at a time, I’m sure the tube will last forever!

March Birchbox is here!

Yay! The best day of the month! I am so obsessed with Birchbox. My roommates probably think I’m nuts or something. One of the girls I lived with last year at school, when I first subscribed, made fun of my when my box arrived each month–because I had to open it in private and look at it and touch everything before I could let anyone else see it. I’m happy to say I’ve mellowed out a bit… but I still get extremely excited when I see that pink package in my mailbox.

This month’s box was very satisfying. The samples were huge! Such a joy to try them all out. Here’s what I received!

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{1} English Laundry No. 7 — I love this! I know this is an odd comment, but it smells expensive. I probably won’t buy the full size, but I will enjoy the sample! Also… they sent me two of this one. At least I think they did! The sample comes in a little paper envelope, but when I opened my box, the envelope was open and the samples were floating in the box. Not sure if there were supposed to be two, or if it was an accident.. this has happened one other time. I think it may have been in my first Birchbox. I received two The Balm Mary Lou-Manizers. I gave one to my sister and forgot about it. I gave the spare perfume to my roommate. Enjoy it!!

{2} DDF Ultra Lite Oil Free Moisturizing Dew — This moisturizer is great! The weather has been so up and down lately, and my skin is paying for it. This stuff is super light and soaks in quickly. Not a knock-your-socks-off product, but a good one! Plus, the sample is HUGE. It’s a decent sized jar with a pump, so it’s really easy to use.

{3} Ojon damage reverse Restorative Treatment Plus — Okay. This stuff is weird. I know I’ve had samples from Ojon before, and had mixed results. There were two packets of this; one was a twenty-minute treatment, and the other was more of an overnighter. I used the latter, and applied it before bed. It comes out in a weird, oily, grainy goop, which you rub together in your hands to melt it into an oil. I used the whole packet on my hair, which is getting long. It didn’t saturate all my strands, but I tried to focus on problem areas {i.e. fried ends and the baby hairs around my face}. It smells weird. Like coffee and stale cigarettes. The stale cigarette smell is the one that lingers, unfortunately. I washed my hair twice this morning, making sure I scrubbed it really well. I didn’t want any greasy residue. As I started blowdrying it, I didn’t notice much of a difference. I think next time, I’ll apply the treatment only to my ends {which need it the most} and apply heat before rinsing. As for the smell… I’m just hoping nobody gets too close to me and thinks I’ve been on some weird nicotine bender. Gross.

{4} Gilchrist & Soames London Collection Body Lotion — Just a typical body lotion. Another massive sample! Weird bottle, though. The sample is the exact same shape as the full size, pictured above. The cap screws off and reveals a wide mouth–the same size as the bottle itself! I’m not sure if I’m describing that right. It’s just so awkward and a little difficult to control the flow of lotion into your hand or wherever. It smells pretty good, so there’s that.

{5} Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cherry Tango — Blech. I don’t like dark chocolate to begin with, and I don’t really like cherry flavoring with my chocolate. I was doomed to dislike this from the start, unfortunately. I tried to pass this off on my roommate but she gave up sweets for Lent.

{6} COOLA Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face — This stuff is wonderful! I’ve started researching SPF formulas for summer, and this had already caught my eye. It’s a mousse-like formula with a light tint. It goes on really smoothly and blends so well. Decent coverage, velvety texture, light scent {it says unscented, but there’s a little sunscreen odor! Nothing too overwhelming}. I wore it all day and then touched it up again in the late afternoon. I love the SPF factor, and also the way that this could replace my foundation. I just purchased Big Easy by Benefit, which takes the place of SPF and foundation; but I could see this COOLA on low key days where I don’t wear any other makeup. Also perfect for a day at the beach–aka, summer in Chicago!

 

Overall, a good Birchbox! Some new finds that I’ll definitely consider repurchasing. I’ve noticed that my samples have begun to tend more towards skincare than makeup products… which is just fine by me!

Thanks for reading! Does anyone else subscribe to Birchbox, or any other beauty subscriptions? How do you like them? Have you discovered any new brands? Tell me about them!

Dreaming of Spring

Hello, and Happy Monday! I’m so excited right now because I can see a slight rise in the temperature in the extended forecast {and by rise, I mean two days in the forties and one in the fifties. It’s the little things.}! As if I wasn’t already excited for spring to roll around so I can start buying and wearing a new wardrobe. Now it’s starting to feel a little more real! There is still snow projected in the forecast, but I won’t let that dampen my spirits. Goodbye boots of snow and rain; hello flats {loving these d’orsay ones from Old Navy} and cute sandals {jellies! with a bow! for $12!}

This isn’t so much a wishlist as it is a random collection of my favorite recent pins. Check them out, and also visit my Pinterest page!

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{1} This flowy skirt is dreamy and beautiful. A must-have! {2} A lovely quote from The Great Gatsby. {3} Lupita Nyong’o at the Oscars. Completely obsessed with her; she’s so humble and graceful. {4} Loving this watercolor painting of colorful poppies. {5} Pastel hair is everywhere right now! I couldn’t commit to an abnormal hair color myself, but look at how gorgeous that cotton candy hair is. {6} A demure but sexy Marc Jacobs bralette. {7} This sweet look by Lauren Conrad is my spring wardrobe inspiration. That baby blue blazer! And I love the sleek high pony and fresh makeup. {8} I can’t not love the Olsen twins. Even though MK just got engaged to her French financier beau, Olivier Sarkozy, who happens to be seventeen years her senior–and the half brother of the former French president. So bizarre. Ashley was always my favorite anyways. {9} This skirt is the epitome of I don’t know where or when I would wear it, but I MUST HAVE IT. I never knew how badly I needed a sequined maxi skirt until I saw this picture. Unfortunately, it costs over $300; and even more unfortunately, is sold out. I weep.

Alright folks, that’s all for now! Have a good week 🙂

Images {all taken from Pinterest}: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9

Glowy Makeup

I know I’m super late in the game here, but I finally got around to checking out the Anthropologie x Baublebar collection, and needless to say, I am hooked. The prices definitely reflect that they jewelry is being sold at Anthro, but they’re all so gorgeous I can’t help but covet them. {Check out a few of my favorites here, here, here, and here}

What really struck me, though, was the model for the Bougainvillea Necklace. More precisely, her makeup.

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This photo is so beautiful. Neutral pastel eyes, subtly glowing skin, defined brows, and that gorgeous flower! My makeup wishlist just got a whole lot longer. In the meantime, I’m recreating the glow with the following products….

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…and adding these beauties to my list.

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Sephora Luminous Foundation Primer // Revlon PhotoReady Makeup // Benefit High Beam // Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Tropics // Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in LSD // Benefit Lollitint

Happy glowing!