Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mixtape #5: Desperately Seeking Summer

Because aren't we all?  

I cannot tell y'all how eager I am for this semester to be over.  It has not been the best.  I'm looking forward to the summer though.  My parents and I are going to visit some relatives in Tennessee, and my sister and her kids will be visiting for a couple weeks, then I'll go back up to Indiana with them for a few days.  Plus I'll be doing lots of visiting back and forth with my boyfriend while he's doing research at A&M.  

I've got a lot of goals for the summer, too.  I've been learning how to code using Codecademy.  Have any of y'all tried it?  It's really fun!  I completed the HTML/CSS track, and now I'm learning Javascript.  It helps that I have a programmer boyfriend to help me :).    I also want to learn how to use the Adobe Creative Suite of software I got this semester.  I've been fooling around with Photoshop a little, but I want to find some good tutorials or maybe take a class.  

And there's also my summer reading list!  I'm looking forward to reading Lean In, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, and The Interestings, just for starters.  Got any recommendations for me?  Right now I'm reading Norwegian Wood by Murakami, and although I'm not very fond of the story or characters, I do like his writing style, so perhaps another novel by him?  I hear Norwegian Wood is not his best.

Here is a short playlist to get you (more) excited for summer.  I fell hard for the first band, Hungry Kids of Hungary, when I first heard them covering Tame Impala's "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards." As Josh would say, total Carolinecore right here.  I'm hoping y'all will enjoy the classic Little River Band song I threw in there as well.  

If you're in school, good luck with finals!  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Beauty Brawl #1: Murad Moisturizers

If you were not aware that Sephora will give you a free sample of any product you'd like, be aware!  I have learned to take advantage of it, and discovered some great new beauty products risk-free (and also discovered some not so great ones, but at least they were free!).  My mom sometimes gives me the free samples she gets from the rewards program, and it was this way that I discovered the Murad skincare line.

Let me say this upfront:  Murad products are not cheap.  But I have come to believe that they are well worth the price.  And no one is paying little old me to say this :-P.

The first Murad product I tried was the Acne Clarifying Cleanser.  My mom had gotten it as a rewards program sample and didn't have any need for it, so she kindly let me try it.  I saw immediate results.  I'm talking next-day, very noticeable results.  My blemishes were already clearing up, and my face felt smoother than I'd ever felt it.  And most importantly (this is the litmus test for me when I'm trying new products) it didn't cause any new blemishes.  I don't have the worst skin in the world, but it is pretty sensitive and it always makes me nervous to try new products that more likely than not will just make my skin worse.  This was not the case with the Clarifying Cleanser.  I've been using it consistently since Christmas break. and I've been very pleased with it.

Acne Clarifying Cleanser-$26
Intensive-C Radiance Peel-$49.50

Next, and again thanks to my mom, I tried the Intensive-C Radiance Peel.  I thought the results from the Clarifying Cleanser were dramatic, but boy, this amazed me even more!  You use the Radiance Peel 1-2 times a week, leaving it on for up to 10 minutes.  It instantly brightened my face up and evened out my skin tone.  I was super impressed.  It also creates a nice smooth feeling.  I've only been using this product for a few weeks now, but it's been serving me well.

Now on to today's Beauty Brawl, which is a new series I'm starting for the blog, wherein I test and review beauty products so you don't have to!  Inspired by the improvement in my skin from those Murad products, I decided to sample a couple of their moisturizers.  I went to my local Sephora (Dallas North Park!) and got samples of the Essential-C Day Moisture and the Energizing Pomegranate Moisturizer.  Here are my findings:

You have to take this with a grain of salt though, because I have very sensitive skin, and what works for my skin might not work for yours, and vice versa.

A little bit about the process:  I was planning on testing each moisturizer for a full week, starting on March 21st, but only did so for the Essential-C.  That's because after three days of watching the Energizing Pomegranate continue to break my skin out, I had to give it up.  I didn't want to do any more damage!  I have been using the Essential-C since then and my skin is recovering :-P.

Again, there's no denying that the Essential-C is pricey, but I think it's worth the money.  It's a twofer; you've got sunscreen and moisturizer in one product!  Plus the smell is amazing.  Something about the smell of sunscreen cheers me up, and the citrusy smell added in is heavenly.

Have any of y'all tried Murad products before?  I'd love to know your experiences with them.