Thursday, April 17, 2014

5 Self-Tanner Tips I've Learned Along the Way

I've been in the self-tanner game for as long as I can remember. (Living in Arizonawhere shorts, tank tops, and flip flops are a way of lifehas left me no choice.) And as I slapped on the faux tan lotion earlier this week (it's already 90 degree here, ugh!) I thought about all mistakes I'd made through the years. If only someone had given me these small, but helpful, tips in the beginning...

1.) Choose the Lighter One
I get it, I've been therestanding in front of the self-tanners debating on whether or not to get the "Ultra Dark" shade. You know you should probably just go with the "Medium" but what if it's not dark enough? You want that JLo glow yesterday. Go big or go home, right? No! Resist the urge. Start with the lighter shade first. Remember the movie There's Something About Mary? That's not a good look. A natural-looking self-tan should only be about two or three shades darker than you natural skin tone. Unless of course you're going for that leather bag lookthen by all means go dark. Otherwise start with a moderate shade. Tanners are buildable so if need be, amp up the "Medium" shade by reapplying the next day. When I first tried St. Tropez's Bronzing Mousse, I opted for the lighter shade then moved up to the darker after I knew how it reacted on my skin. Just remember that it's a lot harder to lighten up a overdone tan than to go a shade darker later.

2.) That Mitt ThingIt's Not Optional 
Almost every self-tanner brand sells an application mitt. Go ahead. Splurge and spend the $6. You'll thank me later. Tanning mitts are amazing little tools that disperses tanner quickly and evenly. Once you try 'em, you'll never go back. Trust me. Oh, and I suggest storing your used mitt in your cabinetway in the backwhere no one comes across it. My husband found my ratty-looking mitt on the sink a few weeks ago (see above pic). I'd never seen such a look of horror. "Is that some kind of feminine hygiene thing I don't know about?" Haha, gross!

3.) Forgo the Face
Just because it says on the bottle that self tanner can be used on the face doesn't necessarily mean you should. I don't know about you but my face is a bit more sensitive than my leg. I'll leave face-tanning to the products specifically made, well, for the face. Most tanning brands sell products specifically made for use on the faceones that are more sensitive and less likely to cause breakouts or bad reactions. Stick with those, or do what I doforgo face tanning altogether and show your cream bronzers some love.

4.) Combine Your Regular and Gradual Tanner
Throughout the years I've perfected my tanning craft. You all know the drillexfoliate, moisturize and apply (with a mitt). But what about gradual tanning lotions? How do they fit in? I use them in combination with my regular tanner. I use gradual tanning lotions to moisturize before applying regular tanner and also on days between tanning. Gradual tanning lotions help extend and intensify my regular tanner. The two products are the perfect summer duo.

5.) Avoid Others (and White Sheets) While Curing
Let's be honest self-tanners stink (even the non-stinky ones) and stain. Your best bet is to tan on a day when you're not going to be cozying up to anyone. Carve out a few hours in the afternoon or evening for some alone time. Then try to avoid contact with anything or anyone. I can't count the number of times I've stained sheets, towels, shirts, sinks, cabinet and doors. (And let's not forget the toilet seat.) Oh, and the smellI've gotten so used to it that I don't really notice it anymore. The other night after applying Paula's Choice Sun Care Self Tanner (a newbie that seems to work well but has that familiar odor) I lean in to give my daughter a hug and she asked me if I'd been eating corn nuts. *Sigh.* Is having a gorgeous faux glo worth it? Yes, it is.

Let me know if you have any self-tanner tips or tricks that you discovered; I've got my pen and paper ready.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Big Egos by S. G. Browne


You may have noticed that I didn't do a book review last month. The kids had spring break and I was slacking on my reading. But not to worry, I'm back with a new book. (I've decided to limit my book reviews to just one per month. Summer's quickly approaching so the kiddos will be home all day and getting just one book read will be a challenge.) Okay, so with that said, lets get to the review...

I picked up Big Egos, S. G. Browne's newest book, because I'd read one of his previous works -- I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus -- and really enjoyed it (dark, touching and funny at times -- give it a read). His latest book, Big Egos, takes place in the not-so-distant future. EGOS (Engineering Genetics Organization and Systems) is a company that manufactures and sells Big Egos -- injectable DNA-altering drugs that transform you into a dead celebrity, historical figure, or fictitious character for about eight hours. You adopt the character's feelings and thoughts while still maintaining your identity. The drug even alters your appearance slightly to resemble the person. (Sounds interesting right? Just wait...

The main character/narrator of the story works as a mid-level manager for EGOS in the quality control department. He and his coworkers are responsible for testing out the various Egos characters. For most of the book, everything seems to be going right for the nameless narrator. He has a beautiful girlfriend, a loyal best friend and a high paying job where he can get all the free Egos he wants (only the wealthy can afford the high price Egos). The highlights of the book are the scenes in which Browne details parties where random characters such as William Shatner, Nancy Drew and James Bond intermingle. But the story quickly shifts when black market Egos start popping up and users start dying. The narrator is approached by the head of Egos to search out black market Egos users, and it's around this time when things go south. The narrator starts losing his grip on reality and we come to find out that Egos have dire side effects.

I had high hopes for this book; I really wanted to like it. The premise is amazing. But I kept feeling like I was reading Fight Club -- written in first person so we don't know what's really going on. We only have the narrator's thoughts and perception. The ending is very disappointing -- it doesn't really fit with the rest of the story (explosion and it's over). Nothing is explained or resolved. I need a resolution! On the up side, I do get the underlying point that Browne is trying to get across -- a cautionary tale about our society's obsession with fame. Oh, and the book is packed full of amazing quotes. (Read it for the quotes if for nothing else.) I'll leave you with one of my favorites;
It's a lot to live up to. These pressures of achieving. From the moment you're born, you're pounded with the expectations of what you need to actualize in order to become a success. Go to college. Get married. Raise a family. It's what you're supposed to do. The plans you're supposed to make. The life you're supposed to live. Diverge from the norm and you're frowned upon. Questioned. Shunned. There's something wrong with you if you're not interested in improving yourself. If you can't make a commitment of marriage. If you don't want to have children. So people earn a college degree so they can get a good job. They work at a job they hate just to earn a living. They spend two months' salary on an engagement ring. They pop out a couple of kids they don't really want just so they can fit in. Because it's what their parents did. Because it's what society expects you to do. Because it's safer to take the same path everyone else has traveled. Truth is, no one's listening to Robert Frost.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Revisiting Mineral Foundation

Mineral foundationlet's not beat around the bushmineral anythinghas never been my thing. The last time I used a mineral foundation it didn't work out so well. Cakey. Patchy. I looked a mess. But it's been a good three or four years and I was willing to give it another go. (My willingness may have a little something to do with the discovery that my sister and a couple of close friendsall of whom have gorgeous skinwear mineral foundation.) So I borrowed a couple powders from said sister and kept my fingers crossed.

My first try was with the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder, my sister's top pick. After applying a mineral powder primer I shook a bit of powder into the lid (minimal mess, so far so good) and used my large kabuki brush to buff it into my skin in a circular motion. And to my surprise, the powder blended seamlessly. Bright, smooth and luminous. Was this really a mineral foundation? My skin looked great...until I looked a little closervisible dry patches on my chin and jawline. A dry-skin five-o'clock shadow was not the look I was going for. Argh! Maybe if I really exfoliated beforehand. That should do the trick.

So, the next day I cracked open the bareMinerals Ready Foundation. This time I'd prepared; I'd exfoliated with with my Clarisonic and thoroughly moisturized. I applied the primer first and then the powder just like before. The bareMinerals provided more of a matte finish but otherwise covered and blended just as well as the Laura Mercier. Then I saw it againthe flaky spots on my jaw and chin. Even after a good scrub, the mineral foundation clung to every bit of dry skin. *Insert sad face.* I suppose it's not meant to be.

My go at mineral foundation did leave me with a better impression. Other than spotlighting my dry skin, both foundations blended well, provided ample coverage and lasted most of the day. Mineral foundation just isn't the best option for us gals who struggle with dry skin. So, for now I'll stick with liquid foundationshe's never done me wrong.
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