Archives for category: Fashion & Beauty

In case you’ve been under a rock the past five years, Vera Bradley is seemingly an essential piece of wardrobe in a lot of women’s closets. Honestly, when I first saw the prints I hated them, but after re-modeling a lot of their patterns and bringing in fresh ones every season, they have me hooked.

Needless to say, I use my ID/Wallet/Phone holder a lot. I used it at school every day, so it got pretty dingy. Not to mention, it’s black & white, so the white on the inside was a stark contrast to the outside.

About two weeks ago, I decided this had infuriated me enough to sit down and try to find some reasonable ways to clean it…without having to buy a specific cleaner. I already have a Coach cleaner, do I really need another?

A lot of sites on the web told me to not put in the wash..or to put it in the wash. Many said the use of a washing machine would bend the cardboard inside to the point where it won’t stay straight anymore. Now, before you all rush off buying the shampoo, you need to know that you don’t need a washing machine to do this. In fact…you just need water, a cloth, and a small amount of detergent.

I decided to use a Woolite travel packet, because I have a small rubbermaid full of them (seriously, I love these things, they work great). You can find them virtually anywhere and are perfect for college students, since it’s a lot less expensive than buying a full container of Woolite. One packet is good for a full load of hand-washed laundry, which is great for sweaters when you live in New England, like me.

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A little sneak preview of what my much-loved Vera Bradley wallet looks like, comparable to what the inside looks like:

Eewwww so dirty!! Image

Honestly? After I took that picture, I immediately started filling up my bathroom sink with warm water & Woolite. I then just proceeded to plunge the wallet into the sink, to hell with cardboard consequences!

So I took a dark colored washcloth (that I use for all my little washing projects that can’t just be tossed in the washer; ie dog toys). Dipping the cloth in the sudsy water, I scrubbed the entire wallet down, dunked it again, then scrubbed a second time.

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(Excuse the nails, work was brutal on them)

After I rinsed out the wallet, I squeezed it a little, taking care to not actually bend the wallet in case the cardboard was at it’s breaking point. I then laid out a dry towel on my armoire and left the wallet open face down to dry overnight.

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At first, I was a little worried because it didn’t look like it had thoroughly cleaned anything on the wallet. But the next afternoon, I was surprised to see how clean it was! I mean, you can clearly see the dirt when you rinse off your wallet after scrubbing it, but look at the difference!!

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I’m thoroughly impressed with how clean it came out. I did use a lot of Woolite, but last night I washed a second wallet, 2 lanyards, and 2 of my mother’s id cases and they came out just as well. I don’t know how well it would work with bargain brand detergent, because I always find Woolite gets things cleaner than normal, but you can always try!!

I love reviews. I love reading and writing reviews. I rarely buy something that I’ll use consistently without first looking at reviews. I even look at reviews for things I don’t want to buy; I just like to know everyone’s opinions on certain items. 

Which brings me to today’s post: 4 reviews on 4 beauty products that have become a staple in my life. 

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So, today I’ll be reviewing the following four products: 

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Moisture Barrier Hairspray
 Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo
L’Oreal Skin Genesis Pore Minimizing Gel Cleanser
Avon Eye Makeup Remover Lotion

First up; John Frieda Frizz-Ease Moisture Barrier Hairspray

This particular product promises a quick drying time for the ultimate hold that battles frizz, rain, & shine. It comes along with a UV filter and from a company that I trust with my hair. During the summer, my hair is constantly battling frizz, not to mention that misty rain that always threatens to turn my hair into a fuzz-ball. 

About six months ago, I bought a double pack of this on sale at Target for $6. I knew it was a great deal, Frieda usually runs a little more expensive than it’s drugstore counterparts. The next day I opted to straighten my hair and test it out during a little humidity spell. Usually, I’d have to have an arsenal of trial-size products to keep my hair tame during the summer months, but with this I was pleasantly surprised. Even at it’s price tag (I bought this particular one on sale for $4.50), I’d still get it all the time. In fact, it’s become a staple in my routine. I straightened my hair a few days ago and have used this product once a day in my hair. It’s managed to keep my hair tame and frizz-free, even in the unusually high wind gusts outside. Plus side? It does contain ingredients that will protect your hair against the sun. 

Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo

The one reason I bought this (again) is to give it another go. When Suave first came out with this product, I bought it one sale and was sorely disappointed. It seemed to contain little to no dry shampoo. Luckily, Suave refunded my money and I received an e-mail two days later saying I got a ‘dud’ from their plant: it didn’t contain the usual amount of the spray. So I gave in and bought it again when it was on sale. For something on the inexpensive side (not on sale, it rings in at $2.99), I’m pretty happy with the product. Where I could go with Tresemme’s dry shampoo, I use Suave quite a bit for my shampoo & conditioner and trusted the brand name enough to go for it. 

It works great when I straighten my hair. I spray directly onto the roots (only the ones along my hairline) and it gives my hair back it’s shine & bounce. I have yet to really test it post-wash on my curly hair, but I don’t see a particular problem with it. It’s a great item to have on you if you’re someone who has done anything to their hair and needs an extra boost. You shouldn’t regularly shampoo your hair every day as is, so this is a great alternative for between-washes. Apparently, they do have a spray on conditioner, but I haven’t seen it yet. I don’t know how it would add up to the leave-ins though. 

L’Oreal Skin Genesis Pore Minimizing Gel Cleanser

I picked up this bad boy at a 50% off sale, or else I would never look at it (price tag usually reads $6.99 at most drugstores, whereas my usual cleanser reads $2 less). Seeing that I was out of my usual (Dove) and that I desperately needed something for my upcoming vacation, I picked it up. I’m a little obsessed with my pores (okay…a lot), so it seemed like something I would like and (plus side!) I trusted the brand name. 

Lets just say I’m pretty happy with the results. Because it’s a gel cleanser, this does come out a little bit thicker than the others. However, it’s also gently enough to remove most eye makeup, which is a plus side. It’s gentle on my combination skin, particularly around the T-Zone area. And it really does work. I’ve noticed a considerable improvement in my skin since I started using this, prompting me to head back to the store & pick up the last bottle they had sitting on the shelf. I’m onto the second bottle right now and use it day and night. You can use it in the shower as well, it doesn’t matter where you use it because it doesn’t strip your skin of it’s natural oils. Unfortunately, L’Oreal apparently stopped selling this particular gel on the store shelves, though you might be able to find at retail price or below on Drugstore.com or Amazon. 

Avon Eye Makeup Remover Lotion 

Though the above removes most eye-makeup lotion, I’m a fanatic when it comes to taking the makeup off my eyes. On sale for $0.99 (yes, you’re reading that right, under a buck), Avon’s eye makeup remover is just hands down amazing. And it’s simple. You take a dot of the lotion, rub it around your eye, then wipe it off with a damp cloth or tissue. It softens the skin & easily removes the makeup, even Avon’s own stubborn mascara. Some claim it doesn’t work, but if you follow the oh-so-simple directions, it does. A friend of mine was a non-believer; she bought the product & said it didn’t work. So one night, I had her try it again and noticed she put the lotion on the tissue before using it remove the makeup. Which is something you can do with a liquid or gel-like remover, not the lotion. So she tried the right way on the other eye and it worked like a charm. 

 

I keep going back to these four products for a reason: they all work great. They’re not only staples in my drawer, but should be staples in every girls drawer (whether it be these particular products or not, every girl should have these kinds of things in their routine). 

It may only be February, but the spring season’s top lists are starting to come out of the closet.

Spring is a time of awakening, which is why the spring trends seem to last the longest. Last year, the ombre hair color was on the forefront and continues to be so currently.

A noticeable trend in all the following is this: they’re easy, can be done at home (such as the ombre), and have a multitude of both video and blog tutorials on how to achieve each look.

2012 Spring Hairstyles: 

Long Hair:

Bouncy: The long bouncy look is in again, though I’m not a big fan. I consider myself someone who could never live in the ’80’s, being that I like my hair sleek & all in place. The bouncy look gets it’s roots from the ’70’s and continues to be popular today.

At home curls: No, we’re not talking curling irons & the like. I’m talking the kind that you can do without heat, such as pinwheel curls & the internet’s infamous sock curl (a quick search will bring up A Spotted Pony’s tutorial, excellent reference).

Rockability: Rockability is the fashion craze right now. I’ve seen this show up as early as Fall 2011 but this season and summer will be the onslaught of the hair fashion of rockability. I’m a huge fan of this style, it’s sleek & stylish and goes well from work to night.

The bouffant, a la Bridgette Bardot: Quick, look up Bardot. See her hair? Impeccable bouffants are back in style, just like this classic beauty always had. It gives new meaning to the ‘bump-it’ (since that trend seems to be leaving slowly. It pushes the bump to the back, which might make it easier for those shoulder length girls to style as well.

 

Mid-length hair

Faux bob: I’m in love with this look. It’s retro and modern all at the same time. It has its roots back in the days of “Stepford Wives” and continues it’s tradition to be classically stylish even today. note: this hairstyle works best on straight hair, however if you manage to tame your curly or wavey hair down, it would work as well. 

Wet look chignon: Wet looking hairstyles are always in for the summer, but for the spring? I was a little dubious. But I tried it out (Garnier Fructic wet look styling products is amazing for this) and I loved it. I can wear it to my “hair up only” job and still it’s stylish. Best yet? Works on ALL hair types.

Piled & pin: It’s exactly what it sounds like. Use a lot of bobbi pins and pin up your hair, but don’t make it too tied together. The whole point of this style is to make it sleek & messy (think; the messy bun). Again, it works if you need to keep your hair out of your face, yet it’s also stylish. I tried this out the other day and pair it with some heeled boots over dark jeans and some edgy jewelry paired with a long cardigan & white top. It fit perfectly, but could also fit well with a dressed up look.

Chignon with side waves: Chignons are making a big comeback, partly due to the emerging trend of classic makeup & style. A perfect little chignon with half the hair done with soft waves pinned to the sides. It’s interesting and very cute.

 

Short hair

I’ve always found that short haired girls are having problems year in and out. There never seem to be a good amount of hair styles for short hair. So I’ve scoured the internet and dug into the minds of both my own hairstylist and my friends who are hairstylists to come up with more than just one or two:

 

Afro hair: I put this first, because it goes with the bouffant & faux bob trend: it’s retro. The afro, for those gals with curly hair, works well with short hair (in fact, it’s the only one it goes well with).

Mod hair: Bardot had this, so did Twiggy. It works for those who have wavy or straight short hair, but doesn’t work well for curly girls. Again, it’s retro. Pinning one side with also give it a different look.

Bobs: Bobs seem to always be in, but they’re in BIG time this season (and the summer season). Whether it’s a reverse or classic bob, they’re coming back after a few seasons in the dark.

Choppy layers: Again, doesn’t work if you have incredibly curly hair (unless you can straighten it or tame it), but the choppy layers always work. It gives your hair depth as well as an edgy feel without going over the top.