Thursday, January 30, 2014

DIY | Deep Conditioner

Last Friday, I ventured into uncharted beauty territory: DIY, or "do it yourself," beauty treatments. DIY beauty recipes have always been around, but I stayed away from experimentation for years. I blame my recent foray into DIY beauty on Pinterest.

While poking around on Pinterest, I pinned a recipe for DIY deep conditioner especially for curly hair. I followed the recipe to create a deep conditioning mixture with ingredients found right in my kitchen:  two raw eggs and a cup of mayonnaise. Allegedly, these ingredients add shine and moisture to your hair. Who doesn't want shiny, moisturized hair? And with that thought, I ventured up to my bathtub.

What happened next is undocumented footage. As you can imagine, the whole process was messy. I set the bowl with my DIY conditioner in my bathtub and applied it to my hair in small handfuls, hanging my hair over my head so the mixture didn't drip all over me. Surprisingly, my hair absorbed the mixture like a sponge. I was able to apply the mixture with little residue sliding off my hair. Once all the mixture was in my hair, I used a Turbie Towel to wrap my hair on top of my head, then I ran a bath and let the DIY conditioner do its work while I read some magazines.

This is where things got ugly.

I drained the bathtub and ran a shower, taking the Turbie Towel off so I could wash my hair. My hair was stiff as a board, and washing this DIY conditioner out was a long, smelly process that smelled like, you guessed it, raw eggs and mayo. It was nauseating, slimy, and unpleasant. Once all the mixture was washed out, I conditioned my hair with my usual conditioner and dried it, expecting fantastic results after the ordeal I endured.

My hair did look more shiny, but that's about it. It took a full week for my hair to return to its normal state.

After my experience, I stand firm on my DIY beauty avoidance-- unless, of course, you have tried and true beauty recipes to share with me, which I would love to hear about in the comments!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Truths About Mondays

Happy Monday! As I was having my morning coffee, I came up with this list of truths about Mondays:

1. The alarm clock rings earlier.
You took a little longer to fall asleep last night because you were worrying about Monday, and now you're paying the price. That Monday morning alarm always comes a little too soon.

2. Everything moves in slow motion.
Getting dressed takes ages. Making breakfast becomes a twilight zone. Traffic is backed up on a road that's usually deserted. Your day is stuck in slow motion.

3. Rushing around only makes things worse.
You hit snooze one too many times. You lingered over breakfast because you got sucked in by the Today Show. Regardless of what's set you behind schedule, rushing around to catch up is only going to make things worse, which brings us to number 4...

4. You will forget something.
Try as you might, something will be forgotten. A lunch? A grocery list? An umbrella? It's a fun, cruel game.

5. You will make a mess.
At some point on Monday, you're going to make a mess. Whether it's spilling something on your clothes, knocking something over, or dropping something on the floor, it's inevitable that a mess will happen as you get back into your weekly routine. If I'm going to screw up my eye makeup, it's going to happen on a Monday morning.

6. You will wish it was still the weekend.
Face it-- even if you're a live in the moment type of person, we all like our Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. On Mondays, we will long for them to arrive once more.

7. You will remember a happy weekend memory.
You just wrapped up another glorious weekend-- hopefully you have something to smile about from spending time with loved ones.

8. You need to have something to look forward to.
This is crucial. To get through Monday, you need to have something fun planned for Monday evening. Meeting up with friends, dinner with family, watching a favorite TV show (The Bachelor, anyone?), or reading a good book are just a few suggestions. Do what makes you happy. Nothing gets me out of bed faster on a Monday than a new beauty product to try!

9. Your attitude sets the tone for the week.
Yes, Mondays are a little rough, but a negative attitude isn't going to help anything. Make up your mind that Monday is a fresh start to a new week, and don't wish your time away.

10. You will be relieved.
As you crawl into bed Monday night, you will be relieved and thankful that you made it through Monday. Now, you have a whole six days before you have to get to endure it all over again.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review | e.l.f. Studio Lip Exfoliator

Trapped in your house this snowy, cold weekend? Do yourself (and your lips) a favor and check out this simple remedy for under $10.

Let's face it:  Dry, chapped lips happen. The good news is, there's a solution for ladies and gentlemen alike.

e.l.f. Studio Lip Exfoliator.

Even typing its name makes me happy. Behold it in all its glory:

e.l.f. Studio Lip Exfoliator ($3)
Bask in its exfoliating powers as you appreciate key ingredients, including avocado oil, jojoba, and shea butter:

Just imagine this on your lips!
One more look, because I had a feeling you'd want a close up:

You're welcome.
The best part about this lip exfoliator is that it takes 60 seconds or less to use. All you do is wet your lips with warm water, then apply the exfoliator in small, swirling motions to your upper and lower lip. Dab off any excess scrub with a tissue, and then apply a heavy duty lip balm to moisturize and condition your lips. I like to use C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries Rose Salve No. 012:

$5.50 and it lasts for years. Good investment for a great product with multiple uses.
You'll notice that your lips are free from chapped, dry skin after this quick process. As a bonus, your lips will tingle for several minutes, which I find to be quite pleasant. I have noticed a drastic difference in the appearance and feel of my lips since incorporating this exfoliator into my routine.

One small caveat in regard to the lip exfoliator is one of its ingredients, aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that has been approved and upheld for use by the FDA. As a rule, I avoid artificial sweeteners in my diet because I dislike how I feel after consuming them. When using this exfoliator, I avoid eating or drinking for several hours to minimize the amount of aspartame that I could potentially consume. I know this sounds excessive, but it's a precaution I like to take.

Overall, a worthwhile product that saves my lips in the harsh winter months.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review | e.l.f. Cosmetics

First beauty review: e.l.f. Cosmetics. If you have spoken with me over the past month, you know that I tried my hardest to work this brand into the conversation-- I think everyone needs to know about this affordable, quality makeup.

Eyes, Lips, Face, abbreviated as e.l.f., is a cruelty-free (meaning they do not test their products on animals) line that primarily uses natural ingredients like fruit extract and oils. They have three makeup lines: Essential, Studio, and Mineral. Products in the Essential line range from $1-$2, while products in the Studio and Mineral products range from $3-$6.

My mom discovered e.l.f. as she participated in her church's Christmas gift drive for needy families, choosing to buy for a teenage girl who wanted makeup for Christmas. The gift drive had a $25 giving limit, and it is difficult to put together a thorough makeup starter kit for $25. After doing her research, she discovered e.l.f. and recruited me, her makeup loving daughter, to go shopping with her to assemble the makeup kit.

As we shopped, I couldn't resist purchasing some items to try the brand out for myself. After testing some of the products, I knew that this girl was going to have a great Christmas-- e.l.f. is comparable to much more expensive luxury brands!

Several weeks later, I ordered some more e.l.f. products online:

About 3 items are missing from this order!

At the time I purchased these items, e.l.f. had an online sale for 50% off all products. e.l.f. features free standard shipping for orders over $35. Since everything was half off, it was difficult for me to reach $35!

As you can see, I stocked up on the e.l.f. Studio Lip Exfoliator:
e.l.f. Studio Lip Exfoliator-- review coming soon! ($3)

Another great product is the e.l.f. Studio Baked Highlighter:
e.l.f. Studio Baked Highlighter ($3)

In my opinion, e.l.f. is a standout drugstore brand that gives luxury brands a run for their money. The products are inexpensive but high quality. More e.l.f. reviews to come!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Taking The Plunge

Sometimes, you have to take the plunge. I learned this lesson at the age of 19 in one of my best friend’s bathrooms.

We stood at her bathroom counter, doing our makeup together. My friend reached for her favorite eyeliner, the one that made her green eyes even more magnificent. Somehow, through a cruel twist of fate, her eyeliner ended up in the toilet. I knew there was only one thing I could do to help her.

If you’ve ever spent a little time with me, you would probably describe me as clean. If you’ve known me for years or lived with me, you know I am a clean freak. I knew I needed to take the plunge in order to help my friend.

With great urgency, I walked over to the toilet and reached my hand into the water. I quickly retrieved the lost eyeliner and threw it into the sink. What happened after that was a mixture of shock, disgust, and a solid fifteen minutes of hand washing in scalding hot water.

What’s the lesson here? Some makeup products are worthy of sticking your hand into the toilet.  We are uncomfortable more often than we’d like, but it’s worth it to be uncomfortable. The beauty of life is the growth that results from uncomfortable moments. An added benefit is the laughter that accompanies our stories, because each time we laugh and remember our uncomfortable moments, we remember how much we have grown.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What Is Beauty?

Beauty is a complex idea that means something different to everyone.

Growing up, I always knew that going to my grandma’s house meant playing with makeup. My grandma would allow me to do her makeup (with great patience on her part), and then she would do my makeup. I loved the way blush highlighted my cheekbones, how the mascara made my eyelashes brush against my glasses, and how the right eyeshadow could brighten my blue eyes. In those afternoons we shared at her vanity, my grandma cultivated my lifelong interest in makeup.

But beauty is more than makeup. The most beautiful parts of life are learned in moments that develop our character.

I believe that women are made to be beautiful in character and in appearance. Perhaps the greatest example of this is in the Book of Esther. One of the first things we learn about Esther is that she is beautiful. Then, we learn that Esther is a wonderfully smart, powerful woman who is an advocate of peace and a voice for an oppressed people. She’s basically like a modern day Miss America contestant who blew the competition away in the Q+A portion and won the crown. Esther’s character is what made her beautiful. Her outward beauty is an added bonus.

As this blog grows, I hope everyone will keep in mind that, while I love reviewing beauty products and using makeup, I value my mind and my character most of all. I hope this blog inspires you and challenges you as we discover The Beauty of Life.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Beauty of Life: A Beginning

Welcome to The Beauty of Life!

I started this blog as a 2014 New Year's resolution.

Before you give up on me, let me tell you that I have a good track record with keeping my resolutions. In 2012, I resolved to read my Bible every day, and I followed through by completing a 365 day devotional. In 2013, I resolved to work out five times a week. Again, I followed through with my goal, and I continue to maintain this workout schedule.

Now, here I am, at the beginning of 2014 with a new blog and some fun ideas.

The Beauty of Life is a lifestyle blog. It will feature my life interests, from reading to makeup to professional pieces. All opinions are my own.

I hope that you will join me in 2014 as we discover The Beauty of Life.