Saturday, November 22, 2014

Beauty Product Reviews - Empties

Friends are surprised that I'm really into beauty products and hair stuff and have a membership at Sephora because I'm usually unshowered and my hair is in a five-second bun. However, I'm really into it. I read beauty blogs and everything. I find it helpful to read product reviews before I drop my hard-earned cash on products with dubious claims. Even though everyone's skin and hair is different it's still nice to know. This is the holy grail of beauty review sites but it's really too much information, and this is good if you are a crunchy hippie with some disposable income.

Anyway, even though I like beauty products I go through them insanely slowly (see: unshowered). All the stuff here I probably had for years past its use-by date. I personally think that the use-by date is a plot by the manufacturers to make you throw out perfectly good stuff and buy new ones. However, I also hate waste and eat old food and use grubby old eyedrops that make my eyes sting, so I might not be the best authority on the subject. Anyway. I didn't actually buy any of the products above with the exception of the face wash sample which was 1,000,000 years old anyway and I probably bought in high school. Most of them are things various family members left behind in the bathroom at my grandma's old house. I am trying to have a cleaner, more "green" and natural routine so as I use up old products at my snail's pace, I will replace them with more natural and organic products as budget allows.

Estee Lauder eye makeup remover:
Honestly I am new to eye makeup remover. I wear mascara some/most days and liner maybe twice a month so it's not really a high priority. I think I used to use lotion on a q-tip before I got this little bottle. I guess this got the job done without feeling too oily like the other one I have, Clinique makeup remover (which I have a sample size of and also did not buy.) To me it feels wasteful to use all those cotton balls or q-tips. I might go full-rich-hippie and buy these reusable ones? Or the muslin cloth that came with this Boots cleaning cream from Target (which I bought because of online advice like this), or one of those microfiber cloths? When I finish the Clinique, I think I'll go with coconut oil like the entire internet says to do. I've tried it when I was traveling and it gets the job done and it's cheap and simple.

Mary Kay Time Wise Day Solution SPF 25
You know this crap is old because I can't even find the SPF 25 version online, in the bottle that looks like this one. Mary Kay in her wisdom has upgraded to SPF 35. I also have a bunch of those stashed waiting to get used up. I am aware that sunscreen stops working after it's been sitting around too long and this may be useless. However it is also my understanding that being in an opaque bottle with a squirt dispenser is ideal storage as light and bacteria don't get in there as fast to bring ruin. Whatever, I used this up and I didn't get a sunburn on my face the whole time. This tended to get tiny dried up bits in the dispenser opening that would then get on your face and not rub in, but it was also old as the hills so that could have been it. This gets the Good Housekeeping seal of approval for whatever that's worth? I feel like some minimal effort towards protecting my "milk bottle white" skin from the sun is required. Before maybe last year I never used lotion in the morning, or SPF unless I was going to be outside a lot, so a combination product is key. I know it's not quite as effective, but I am not about to put two things on my face when I can't even manage breakfast without being late for work. However I hugely prefer the Yes to Carrots lotion with SPF that I bought because of this review or a similar one.

Moroccan Oil Hydrating Conditioner
My cousin left this in the shower at my grandma's house and I swiped it. Sorry. I do not use many salon brands so I wanted to try it out. This was slightly better than bog standard conditioner. I wouldn't pay full price, but it was nice. There wasn't much of this left by the time I found it and I go through a lot of conditioner because I have long, thick, dry hair so I didn't use this more than a few times. It had a really thick consistency (unless that was just because it was the old bottom of the bottle?) that I like a lot.

Neutrogena Active Sport Transparent Sunblock Gel SPF 30
I actively (see what I did there) hated this stuff but I used it up anyway! It's a clear gel that makes horrible sounds when you squeeze it out, it smells overwhelmingly of rubbing alcohol, and it kinda balls up on your skin if there's too much in one place or you keep rubbing. If you reapply at the beach and you're already dirty and sweaty, it's even nastier. I love the beach and I hate spending money, so that's the only reason I finished this off. Ugh. Thank God it's out of my life.

Neutrogena Oil Free Acne wash sample
Like I said I have had this since the dawn of time. It lasted forever because I mostly used it on trips as I don't like using hotel bar soap on my face. I have moved on from foaming oil-free face wash, because I have dry skin with no oil to speak of, but I think this worked ok for me when I was younger and oilier. The packaging is annoying because there's no dispenser under the cap so you just squeeze it and WAY too much comes out. I think I still have about half of a full-size bottle of this or a very similar product, so I may save it for the summer.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser
What is with all these Neutrogena products? I had no idea I had so many. Maybe they call to me and my family members (from whom I steal all my products) in a subliminal appeal to clean reasonably-priced Nordic values. This is slightly less drying than the foaming cleanser even though the tingly menthol is supposed to be somewhat irritating. I actually really liked using this. I like the tingly feeling, and I like using a thick cream cleanser that doesn't leave a greasy film (looking at you, Clinique cream cleanser.) I felt like my skin stayed in good shape when I was using this on the regular. Apologies for the picture, I guess the ink on the packaging started to deteriorate when I mauled the bottom of the tube trying to get out the last drops. I don't think I actually ever bought this but I won't because I want something with simpler ingredients and don't need things with potential irritants targeted at oily skin.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Long Hair

So this is the post in which I make it clear how obsessed I am by my hair, and putting weird things on it. First of all, this is my hair sometime last month, freshly brushed but not washed for about a week. I probably last henna-ed it in... I don't even know, over a year.
Then I started washing with some sample sizes of John Frieda "Go Blonder" Lightening Shampoo, because I'm trying to lighten the darker henna-ed parts and bring it all closer to my natural dark blond color. This product gets some majorly mixed reviews, but I figured I would try it since I wash my hair so infrequently, it can't do that much damage. So the next picture is a couple days later, after having my hair up all day. I tried to be scientific and take the photos with the same lighting, in my bathroom.
But then I wasn't home at the right time after a shower, and took this after what looks like a rough day, in the daylight. No wait, this was on a Sunday. Anyway, this is what it usually looks like. And this is probably after 2 washes with the lightening shampoo.  But I only wash my hair once a week, so change is slow.
Then I decided to try curling it, and I was really pleased with the results! This hair is the second day after sleeping on foam rollers, pulling them out in a fit at 3 am, touching them up with a curling iron the next night, and wearing that another day. The amount of hairspray I put in was ridiculous, so I washed them out.
This is what my hair looks like when I braid it at work. The layers don't like to stay in a braid. I think my hair looks like this 50% of the time. Not really the cutest look.
Oh my god, this is my best hair. It's so shiny! In this picture it's clean, and I put some Josie Maran Argan Oil which I got as a free sample from Sephora.
But this is what it usually looks like. I took this picture right after getting home from work on Thursday. This was taken with some natural light coming in the window, so I really don't think my hair has lightened at all... although compared to the last natural light picture, it looks like the red is really faded.
So far, I am not impressed by this John Frieda business. I don't think its particularly damaging, given that the shiny hair picture was after 3 or 4 uses, but it doesn't seem to really be lightening my hair either. I'll try a few more pictures later.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Famous on Instagram

My friend took a couple pictures of my apartment and put them on instagram/facebook awhile ago, I thought I'd put one up here:
haha the best thing here I didn't notice before -- her foot!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

DIY: potato prints

I was visiting my grandma this past weekend and she wanted to do some crafts. Gma has always been a master crafter. She can sew entire outfits from scratch in a few hours. She has made countless quilts, including one she made for my parents wedding that I now use in the warmer months. She was the one who taught me to sew and instilled my love for DIY.

Gma had a stroke about a year ago and her physical limitations have really frustrated her, she can no longer create and craft and garden and cook the way she used to. I was hoping that a stamping project would be something she could participate in. I thought about a book my mom gave me for Christmas a few years ago, Lotta Jansdotter's Lotta Prints. I think I had done potato printing before, but Lotta makes it an art. Anyway, we got some potatoes and dug up the acrylic paint from the basement where I also found some simple canvas. I drew a mushroom outline on some paper, cut it out, and stuck it to the halved potato, and carved out the negative space with an exacto knife (you could totally use a kitchen knife). Then I put some acrylic paint in a plastic plate and brushed it on the stamp with a paintbrush. I tried dipping it in the paint but that picked up too much paint and produced a messy outline. Then I just went to town stamping the borders of the canvas. I used the shorter length and sewed it up into a simple tote bag, using thick shoelaces for the handle, and used the long length as a table runner. Gma provided technical assistance on using her sewing machine and emotional support. We were all (me, mom, gma) very pleased with the results! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Post-Christmas Decoration

In my house, Christmas isn't over til it's over, and by over, I mean May. So early in January I made this cute wreath (I think it's cute) out of random evergreen clippings which I likely found on the ground. The wire frame is leftover wire from the IKEA curtain hanging project, and I tied it on with dental floss. The rocks are from Lake Michigan, either the dunes or maybe from the Upper Peninsula, and I learned on a recent trip to the Field Museum that the holes are actually caused by small crustaceans slowly burrowing through! I strung them on library cord when I had that library job where I spent hours in chilly stacks shelving forgotten European dissertations and re-wrapping Indian books from the 70s.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Studio Life: A Tour of My Stuff

So I did move into my own studio -- first time living alone, etc. I now camp out at boyfriend's house a lot and use the internet, because (gasp) I don't have it at home. No internet, no smart phone (that is now a lie because I got a blackberry from work), and no TV. But really, my sweet little baby apartment is too small for a TV.  
I feel like my windowsills are too cluttered with random stuff. But I like it all! My plants are loving all the sunlight, and I can display all the glass and lantern-like things that I own. You can't really see, but I made hanging vases out of old lightbulbs like the Pinterest-addict that I am. And yeah, I have Christmas lights around the windows. I put them up during the first snow fall in November and I think I'll keep them up forever.
My wee kitchen! It fits in the closet. After much delay and frustration, and with the help of boyfriend who almost gave up, I installed a curtain wire from IKEA and put up these IKEA-via-Craigslist curtains so that when I'm not using the kitchen (aka almost always, basically all I do is use the water kettle I got for Christmas, thanks mom & dad!) I can close it away and not look at it. I think boyfriend worries about the potential fire threat of curtain near the burners but I tell him I move it out of the way (and then I don't, good thing he doesn't read this.) You can also see so many other things I like in this photo-- the great sunlight, the dishtowel I bought at the Appalachian crafts center, the green & blue painting I got at STOP thrift store, and the perfectly-sized wall-mounted dishrack I got at IKEA. We went nutz at IKEA this last trip. Oh, and the keffiya that I use to cover up the random stuff in the bottom shelves of my little kitchen storage/counter furniture PIECE. (What are those things called?) (Relatedly I think its funny to call things a "piece" like they're a piece of art. It's like when the friend of my old hipster roommates said she wanted to open a "space" for artists or performances or whatever and I made fun of her to her face, or certain old hierarchicly-superior coworkers constantly saying "utilize" instead of "use" and I died inside constantly, or basically whenever most people talk about "culture." I am a terrible snob.)
Me, the snob, picking at the broken zipper of an old (vintage. ok, it's vintage) dress I want to sell on etsy. My apartment is tiny, but not too tiny for an ORB and a vase full of Christmas tree branches that I picked up from the ground outside of Big Star. Folding chair and stool: IKEA, blue chair and plaid blanket: grandma's house, bookshelf: left from previous tenant at previous apartment. On the bookshelves are my small collections of cookbooks, journals, fashion magazines I should stop reading, thermoses, and glassware with shiny rims.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New Studio Apartment

So, I'm off to a new apartment AGAIN. Let's see... this past place didn't make the blog because I was too busy to care about posting anything and I only lived there for 6 months. Before that was the apartment with dirty roommates in Pilsen, where I lived for about 8-9 months. Before that, my last place in Hyde Park (1 year), the brownstone with basement bedroom (1 year), my first post-college apartment  with a tiny purple bedroom (1 year), my college apartment (2 years), dorm II, and dorm I. Add in the mix a variety of non-Chicago or temporary living situations, but that's a lot of moving, y'all. Anyway, I signed up for 16 months in order to get a discount & no security deposit. And for the first time ever I'm living on my own!
 I went over to the new place and took some pictures while the previous tenant was packing up. She wasn't home but I totally judged her (kidding. not really).
The main selling point of this place, besides the ALL MINE aspect, is the window. I know it doesn't look like much in this terrible photo, but it faces south over some lower buildings and trees and notably nothing that seems like it will be remotely annoying (flashing police light and alley people were the major offenders, as was the loogie-haucking showering man about 5 feet away from my bedroom window in the most recent apartment). There is a lovely view from the 5th floor and tons and tons of sunlight. Seriously, this is all I've ever wanted. (It really is! Small: check, light: check, quirk: check, see kitchen, radiator: check, also, heat included BONUS POINTS, laundry: on site, check, cheap: check!)
The kitchen is literally in a closet. There is zero counter-space, but don't worry! I am making plans for various IKEA-related storage solutions (like a hanging dish rack) and I got one of those rolling kitchen storage / countertop bar things from my old apartment for free, so I can put that where that sad excuse for a futon sofa is right now. And the fridge will go in the obvious nook where it belongs and the closet doors will go back on the closet where the fridge is now. My sewing machine table and piles of related sewing crap will go in that closet where I can close the door on them.
The red wall and questionable scroll-y painting thing will need to go, to be replaced by "cocaine white" if I have anything to say about it. I have already made this request to the property manager but there appears to be a slight language barrier. I didn't use the word "cocaine" when I spoke to her, if you're wondering. I don't like off-white. Also, there is a bike room in the first floor of the building so I'm not sure why this tenant used crucial studio space for her bike, but whatever.
I probably won't use a rolling clothes rack as this girl did, given my previous failures with such things, but will put my lovely dressers in this walk-in closet / hallway to the bathroom. I think that I'll put my lavender boxes above the first shelf in this and the other closet to extend the vertical storage space, and also because there is no floor space for them.
My own bathroom! I got so excited last time I had my own bathroom and now I have my own WHOLE APARTMENT! Seriously this is all I think about these days. The walls in the bathroom are currently pink and I have requested them to be painted back to white. No pink.

I have not gotten to move in because the apartment does not become empty and painted and clean and available until this weekend. I had to be out of my old place last weekend so I am executing the famous and grueling TWO PHASE MOVE. Yes, it sucks. I hired the pros for Phase 2 because even though some of the most awesome friends ever came out to help in Phase 1 I was still all "never again." But once I get all moved in (and I have big plans -- or small plans, as the case may be -- either way I am blowing up Pinterest at amyinegypt -- that's how I waste my internet time these days) then it will be the most stylish studio the world has ever seen and maybe I will take some after pictures.