Thursday, April 20, 2017

5 Beauty Product Reviews- Vitamin C Mask, Micellar Water, Rosewater Spray, Chia Seed Mask and White Clay Deep Cleansing Story


I picked up some goodies for the face this week to try out! Read below to see how I liked them. There is one product in this batch that I think is a must-have now. Can you guess which one before reading? Each product is rated from one star *  to 5 stars *****,  one being the lowest rating and 5 the highest. Products are listed in order from left to right.

Quick Fix Facials Vitamin C Miracle Mask-
   Rating **

The back reads: “Problem skin? Need a quick fix? Here’s the solution-- wonder masks packed with hero ingredients to effortlessly and efficiently banish everyday skin issues. It says it is for “dull and tired skin that needs an energy and moisture boost. It contains Vitamin C and licorice which are both known to help enhance skin radiance and glow. It also contains hyaluronic acid and shea for intense hydration, as well as papaya extract which is rich in omega 6 and 9 essential fatt acids, Vitamins A, C and K.” You are supposed to put a “thick” layer on before going to bed.

Here is why I gave it two stars: Although it has a very pleasant citrus smell and a nice creamy texture, my face felt really greasy when I woke up. After washing my face, I hate to say it, but I did not notice any “glow” per say or other changes to my skin.

Essano Rosehip Gentle Facial Cleansing Micellar Water
- Rating ****

Editor's note: After using this product for a few extra days I have decided to upgrade the rating to 4 stars.

I have been curious about these micellar water products, and finally broke down and bought this one to try. Micellar water is made up of “micelles ”or tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules suspended in soft water. The micelles are supposed to cling to dirt and oil, thus drawing out impurities. The cleansing water is not supposed to be drying, so it can be used as a facial wash, makeup remover and moisturizer. The back of this product reads: “Active Micellar Water molecules latch onto the dirt, makeup and other impurities on your skin, removing them gently and effectively, Essano Micellar Water leaves your face perfectly cleansed and refreshed. No rinsing needed. Scientifically formulated to remove dirt, oil and makeup without rinsing, support the natural pH balance of your skin; and soothe with certified organic Aloe Vera and Rosehip Oil."

Why I give this product four stars:
Because the consistency is really like water, I found it a little hard to work with initially because I'm so used to massaging cleansers into my skin. However, once I got passed that and followed the instructions of using a cotton pad to apply the product, I really liked it.  My skin did feel soft after using it, and not greasy. The convenience factor can't be dismissed, and I can see why makeup artists like this product.  It would be great for camping or boating where you don’t have access to water. By the way, it is also not recommended for removing heavier foundation and mascara.

Reviva Labs Rosewater Facial Spray-
  Rating ****
The product description from Amazon says, “Natural extract of roses makes this facial spray very refreshing and stimulating. Helps moisturizers and night creams have better effects in making skin look better with makeup, or "setting" makeup; you'll find dozens of other uses. For male and female athletes, this mist is a great refresher and cleansing aid.”

Why I gave it 4 stars: I had also read that Rosewater was a natural remedy for red skin and rosacea, and my skin has red undertones so I thought I’d try it. I do like spraying it on my face before using a moisturizer, as it is refreshing and smells great. It allows you to use less moisturizer, plus the spray itself has moisturizing ingredients. Regarding the redness, I haven’t noticed any improvement in that area unfortunately.  I really like the Reviva brand in general and use several of their other products on a regular basis, including the DMAE with peptides cream (an amazing moisturizer by the way.) Their prices are very reasonable and they make good products.

Organik Botanik Chia Seed Face Mask- Rating *****
The product packaging is really cute in a little white and pink cardboard tub.  The package says: “Made with locally sourced ingredients. Get hydrated! Chia Seeds are known for being high in omega-3. Treat yourself with a weekly pampering fix, leaving your skin fresh and happy. Made in Australia. “

Why I gave it 5 stars:
I used it last night while in the bath, and didn’t notice much, but when I took a shower this morning I noticed layers and layers of dead skin coming off of my face when I used my exfoliator. Since I had used a couple of different products last night, I applied more of the chia seed mask to confirm it was that product that was causing this effect, and it was. When I used it again today, it had the same effect after I rinsed it off and used an exfoliator. It almost seemed like similar effects of a peel. Apparently from what I read online,  chia seeds are ultra-hydrating. Other ingredients include sweet almond oil and coumarin. It has a light, sweet smell, and almost like the consistency of yogurt. It feels good on your face.  I loved this mask and highly recommend it. I am also going to purchasing more of it and also look into other products that this company makes!

White Clay Deep Cleansing Foam by Cleansing Story- Rating *

I bought this because I keep seeing promotions online about Korean skincare products, and I was very curious to see what the buzz was all about. This is made in Korea by a company called “Welcos.” It is a white clay deep cleansing foam. According to the maker’s website, “The element of white clay pacifies your sensitive skin and makes your skin elastic and moist by providing skin with moisture. It cleanses skin wastes and make-up to help maintain moisturized and clear skin. As it contains white clay that comforts and moisturizes sensitive skin, it helps keep the skin firm and moist."

Why I gave it one star- On its own, my skin felt dry after using. I did a little more research (after testing this product), and came to realize that the Korean skincare regimen can be as many as 11 or more steps. Preceding this cleanser, normally would have been an oil face wash, which would have probably balanced well with this wash afterward. I don’t think I could ever do an 11-step skincare regimen, but some people do and get great results I guess. Please comment below if you have ever done a Korean skincare regimen, and tell me how it went!

Thanks for reading, and please share any thoughts below!

Monday, April 10, 2017

27 of the Best Packing Tips for Your Next Trip!


If you are traveling by air soon, check out these packing tips and free, printable packing list below. By putting a little more thought into what you pack, you can spend more time enjoying your vacation and less time purchasing things that you forgot. Of course, it also saves you money, freeing up your vacation budget for the experiences and items that you WANT to buy! Have a great trip!

1. A week before your trip, fill prescriptions!

2. Don't forget to check in online if your airline allows it. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you 10 minutes before the online check-in opens up.

3.Use a packing list like the one below. Make copies and keep for future travels.

4. Print out your boarding pass/tickets just in case you lose your phone or the battery dies!

5.Only pack a carry-on if you can.

6. Laying them out on your bed or floor, plan your outfits, down to the shoes and jewelry. Try to pack outfits that all look good with the same pair of shoes to minimize the pairs of shoes you need to pack. Also, a rule of thumb is to pack three tops for each bottom.

7. By packing accessories such as scarves and jewelry, you can change the look of an outfit so that it can be worn more than once.

8. Pack comfortable shoes. This can't be overstated.

9. Pack and then pack again, removing items you don’t need, then again.

10. Don’t forget cooler weather items such as a pair of pants and warm jacket, even if you are going somewhere warm. Nights can be cool and weather can change unexpectedly! I have been burned (no pun intended) on this one before.  We visited the Florida Keys in December once during a cold snap with record-low temperatures and I had only packed shorts and tees. I ended up needing to buy extra clothes as a result which was a waste of time and money.

11. Roll your clothes—you will fit more. Look into purchasing "packing cubes." These are soft, expandable containers that can help you organize your suitcase and also fit a lot more in.

12. If packing a hat, fill the hat with a tee-shirt so that it doesn’t get crushed under other items.

13. If you’re packing a collared shirt, roll up a belt and put it inside the neckline, it will keep its shape.

14. Pack charger cords inside a hard eyeglass case.

15. Put together an emergency medical kit that includes pain reliever, band aids, pepto bismol and anything else that you personally could need in an emergency based on your own health history. Also, make sure you have enough of your prescription meds. There is nothing worse than getting to a destination and realizing you don’t have enough of your prescriptions to last you. This is a compounded problem if you are traveling abroad.

16. Put necklaces through a straw to keep them untangled or put them individually into a pill box. (This doesn’t work for large jewelry.) And, it goes without saying but don’t pack expensive jewelry to travel.

17. Use a few plastic Easter eggs to pack hair ties and other little things that you don’t want to get lost.

18. Leave hair tools at home, except for a hairbrush. Most hotels provide you with a hairdryer, so you should be able to get away with only packing a brush and flat iron or curling iron.

19. Pack a sarong—it can be used as a scarf, towel, dress, blanket, and even folded up as a pillow!

20. Purchase colorful luggage. I'm sure you've noticed that most luggage is black, and because of this people sometimes take the wrong luggage home. Another idea is to add colorful luggage tags or  a bright ribbon to the handle of your bag. 

21. Fill a pill case with your medications and label them with a sticker on the outside.

22. Use a contact case to store foundation.

23. Bring a trash bag for dirties. Better yet, wash your clothes while you are there if you can! If you have access to a washer/dryer, you can significantly cut down on how much you need to pack.

24. Fill travel containers with shampoo and conditioner, then keep them in your suitcase so they are already packed when you are ready to travel.

25. Put plastic wrap inside the tops of shampoo and conditioner to prevent leaking.

26. When packing toiletries (especially liquid items that can spill) I like to use travel size bottles, and then pack into a zip lock bag. Then, I place inside a shoebox inside my carry on. This prevents the bottles from being crushed and spilling.

27. Relax, and enjoy the trip knowing you packed just what you needed and nothing more!

Do you have some thoughts on this article or additional packing tips to share? Please comment below!

Print this packing list or save to your computer for future use!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Make a Cute Fabric-Covered Headband! It's so Easy!

I am going to show you how to make a fabric headband like the one shown here. It's pretty easy and takes minimal supplies. The combinations of headband shapes and fabric choices are endless, so you can put your own personal touch on it! Read on to find out how to get started!

Step 1: Gather Supplies. You will need a plastic headband (I bought mine at the dollar store, and it came in a pack of 3 I believe); fabric that can be cut into 1.5" long strips; scissors; a glue gun and glue.

Step 2: Tie one end of the fabric to the end of the headband. A single knot will do.

Step 3: Begin wrapping the fabric around the headband. Keep it as tight as you can as you do this and also try to keep the trailing edge turned under (the leading edge will be covered with the next wrap.) Every 5 or 6 wraps, put a dot of glue to help keep the fabric secure and tight, ideally on the underside of the headband.  When you get to the spot where the rings connect on the headband  (as shown below), wrap it over to the other side covering as much of the connecting piece as you can. Then wrap back over to the original side that you started on. There is no right or wrong way to do this, and you can experiment with the best ways to wrap these connecting areas so that none of the plastic shows.

Step 4: You are going to wrap all the way up one side until you reach the other end of the headband and then will continue wrapping around the tip and then come down the other side.

Step 5: Your headband will be just about finished when you have made it up one side and back down the other so that you are at the place where you started. You can finish it by wrapping over the original starting area (the knot) making sure to keep it tight, and then cut the end so that you can glue it to the inside of the headband (so it doesn't show.) Using a pair of scissors, cut any extra threads that may be hanging, and you are done!

Monday, April 3, 2017

5 Easy Steps for Composting! Help the Earth and Make Your Garden Prettier!

Some of you may be asking how composting fits into the theme of my blog “Pretty in the City,” and I have to admit it’s not the most glamorous topic. However, I do think that taking care of the earth is everyone’s responsibility, and if we all make an effort, we can make a difference! Also, it makes you feel good to take care of the earth, thus making you feel “your prettiest on the inside! “ How does it help the earth? By saving your fruits, vegetables and egg shells for the compost bin, they don’t go to the landfill! And after the composting material is made and used, it adds rich organic matter back into your local environment, which is healthy for plants and animals.
So, composting. What is it, and why should you do it? Composting is a way of creating super-rich, organic soil that can be used for gardening, in your yard or for potted plants. It is made from things you already have, and that you probably throw away in the garbage daily. If you have a yard or a place that you can collect leaves and twigs from, and you also eat vegetables, fruit, or eggs, then you have everything you need for composting. (You will also need water, and something to keep the composting material in. (See below.))

So here is how to do it—

Step 1- Set up a space to hold your compost. This can be a hand-made 3 ft x 3 ft. x 3 ft. bin that you make out of wood or stakes and chicken wire. It should be in the shade. The other option is a composting bin that you purchase from Home Depot or online. These are nice because they are self-contained, have a locking door to keep animals out, and spin, which is an easy way to mix your compost. They are more expensive of course. I ordered the one pictured below from Amazon.

Step 2- Gather brown biodegradables, which will serve as carbon-producing base material. This is as easy as gathering up leaves, twigs, sawdust, wood chips, branches, shredded paper such as newsprint and cardboard, nut shells, coffee filters, and even shredded wool and cotton. The picture below is of the inside of my compost bin, showing the brown biodegradables and then some veggie scraps that I threw on top.

Step 3- Gather green biodegradables, which encourage nitrogen production. Collect your old vegetable and fruit scraps, egg shells, grass and leave clippings, dryer lint, tea and coffee grounds. Avoid pet waste, meat, eggs, dairy and oils.

Step 4- Add Water and mix it up, which promotes breakdown and aerates the compost. When you see steam coming off of the compost pile, you will know that the organic matter is breaking down.

Step 5- Use your wonderful new compost! It should be a rich brown color, and free of any food waste. Use on lawns, for your garden and for potted plants!

I hope you enjoyed this short article on composting. Share any comments below. I will add pictures of the end product later!