Tag Archives: beauty

My Birchbox Addiction

I’ve always been a beauty products hoarder. I have a three-tiered shelf and four drawers in the bathroom overflowing with samples and items that I just never got around to using (or opened and hated). A quick run to the drugstore usually ends with me dragging home another nail polish or lip gloss. And all that buying adds up, money-wise.

So when my dear friend Baronetess started bragging about Birchbox on Facebook, I had to check it out. For $10 a month, you receive five or six samples in the mail- nail polish, lip gloss, perfume, hair and skin products- it’s always a surprise. In fact, on Twitter it’s a trend not to post “spoilers” about the monthly Birchbox as it arrives- the grab bag aspect of it all is half the fun. (Note: I’m not getting a dollar from them for raving about them- I’m just hooked).

This month, they offered a tie-in box sponsored by Teen Vogue. They offered me my usual adult box instead, but I’m so glad that I went with the teen box. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have these nails, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

I used the essie luxeffects polish from my Birchbox over a Sally Hansen “Going Green” picked up on one of my drugstore binges. Since every magazine insists that we all have an “accent nail,” (and because I didn’t have any adult business meetings this week), I painted the ring finger a light blue to match my pedicure. It’s a fun look- even if I’m not used to so much sparkle when I head to the office.

My box this month also came with a sample of kate spade new york Twirl, which I spritzed on this morning. After settling in, it’s definitely more floral than fruity, but very light and smells adult enough for office wear. On lazy mornings, I usually stick to some coconut body spray, so wearing actual fragrance is an upgrade for a Monday morning.

My hair is curly and dyed and longer and super-thick, so the Kerastase Elixir Ultime sample should be gone in two days. I love a good hair oil to add a little shine to the curls.

My other favorite product this month was a full-sized tarte LipSurgence lip tint in Barbie pink (Lucky). I never imagined that I would like a bright pink lip, but Birchbox eased me in a few months ago with a hot pink lip gloss and this matte lip pencil is the logical next step. It is matte, very matte, not a drop of shine to it. It almost looks like chalk, that’s how matte this stuff is. But, instead of drying out my lips and flaking, it makes them smooth and soft and looks like I’m auditioning for that episode of Mad Men when they all try on different colors of lipstick and Peggy gets a promotion.

Most months the box also includes a sample snack or beauty accessory item. This month, a cute spring-y peach hair-tie from twistband, so I can keep my hair out of my face when the humidity inevitably goes insane.

If you want to sign up, head over here. I believe I get points for referring new subscribers, but I’m just so hooked that I want you to experience the joy.

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Filed under Daily Life, Links, Products, Reviews, Style

Hair Salvation

Monday night, I decided to touch up my roots and grabbed a box of hair dye at the drugstore on the way home. Keeping myself as red as I like to be is a challenge, but I’ve been doing it for 14 years so disasters are a rare occasion. But this time… a disaster of epic proportions. I went from my usual to something like this:

(Note: This is not me. I was too busy panicking to think about taking photos at this point)

Yep. My hair was purple-red. All of it. I googled away and got lots of advice about how to lighten it without frying it entirely. I shampooed four or five times. I washed it in dish soap. I washed it in laundry detergent. Still burgundy. And now crispy. Had I not been exhausted, there would have been tears. Instead, I coated it with coconut oil, wrapped it in a towel, and decided to try again in the morning when I could see straight and give my hair a chance to soak up some moisture before it all fell out.

I woke up on Tuesday, looked in the mirror, and decided not to leave the house. Yep. I’m a grown woman and I stayed home because of a bad hair day. I took a couple of conference calls and as soon as I could get away, headed back to the drugstore to seek out a solution. I knew my curly hair couldn’t take another round of dyeing and wasn’t confident in my color-mixing skills. But tucked on the bottom shelf, I found a box labeled Color Oops. What I was walking around with was more of a “Color Holy Sh*t” than an “oops,” but I was willing to try anything.

The Color Oops people are not giving me a dime for this. But I am telling you, this product is hair salvation. Seriously. I want to give people boxes of this stuff for Christmas. I want to write them a love letter. I want to wear a sandwich board for their company and walk around outside hair salons. I want them to marry me and to become Mrs. Color Oops. My hair is really long so I bought two boxes, followed the directions exactly and spent almost 45 minutes under the tap (thank heavens I don’t pay my own water bill). But after letting it soak in, three rounds of shampooing and rinsing, and a good conditioning, my burgundy hair went back to its usual coppery self. See:

I don’t pretend to understand the chemical process behind all of this, but this stuff is ammonia-free and bleach-free and just took it all right back to where I started from. The directions say that you can dye again immediately after use, but I decided not to press my luck. I’m  going to give my hair a chance to recover for a while before I try for glamor auburn again and just be grateful for what I have. And start shopping for a Christmas gift for Mr. or Ms. Oops, wherever they are. I love you.

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Growing Up Ugly

I grew up ugly. Not in a low self-confidence, poor body image way. Just ugly. For real. As evidence of this fact, I submit that my ex commented on seeing pictures of me in middle school that he hoped none of our children took after me. This is one of the many reasons why he is an ex.

In a cruel twist of fate, I managed to be short, too fat for juniors clothes by sixth grade, need giant pink plastic glasses to see with, have naturally curly hair that my mother let me perm and dye traffic cone orange through the use of Sun-In, have a decent attack of pubescent acne, and require braces. With headgear, no less (which resembled a medieval torture device). Yes, puberty was a wonderful time.

I can still be motivated to tears telling the story of how I spent middle school eating lunch in a secluded room with the ice cream lady after I stopped going to the cafeteria. Why? The eighth grade boys liked to hiss “You’re the ugliest girl in the whole school,” to me every day as I walked by their table. It wasn’t all bad. I got a free ice cream every day with lunch. Which definitely didn’t help the weight problem.

Why I am telling you all this? Because it’s real. Because maybe some ugly girl will read this and think, “I’m not that ugly.” Because there’s hope for the girls who are. By high school, I had pulled it together a bit. I toned down the orange hair with some decent dye and grew out the perm. I grew a few inches, and while I never got skinny, the weight redistributed itself a little bit. Braces off. Contacts. And by tenth grade, a boyfriend (with glasses and braces of his own) and a first kiss.

Did being ugly build character? Is there some moral about the ugly duckling becoming a swan here? Not really. But when I have a bad hair day now, I can be grateful. Because (as God is my witness), it will never be as bad as sixth grade. I did manage to develop a fairly good sense of humor- formerly ugly girls are the funniest girls I know.  And my hide got a little thicker- thanks to that I could ditch the nasty ex.

But really, it all comes down to accepting the ugly girl. Along with the far-from-ugly woman she has become.

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Filed under Soul Searching

The Pre-New Year To-Do List

I am superstitious. Very, very superstitious. A new year for me is an incentive to get everything in order, to be a better me than I have been, to be a good Girl Scout and get prepared for whatever life may have waiting for me. Last year, I let it get away from me and spent the whole year in a blur of just getting by, whether it was because my bathroom was a mess on New Year’s Day or not. So, there is much to do between now and Monday night. Here’s the running list:

  • Shopping: healthy groceries, lamps for the house, clothes hangers, kitchen curtains, a picture frame to replace the broken one in the bathroom, a new mattress cover, new paper towel holder, magnets to replace the busted cabinet latches, shower head, hamper, bathroom rug
  • Groceries: All healthy… after I finish the remaining Christmas candy
  • Putting away all the Christmas trip luggage and gifts
  • Storing the luggage in the basement
  • Hanging the clean laundry
  • Re-making the bed with the new linens
  • Cleaning the living room
  • Finishing the dishes and giving the kitchen a good scrubbing
  • Making a pillow cover from my cashmere sweater with the hole in the chest
  • Hanging living room curtains
  • Sorting and storing all the bedroom laundry and moving the hamper
  • Moving the computer to the dining room
  • Storing the couch blankets in the end table
  • Finding a chair for the living room
  • Starting an “inspirations” bulletin board
  • Redoing my writing resume’
  • Redoing my legal resume’
  • Making 10 resolutions for the new year
  • Dyeing and highlighting my hair
  • Getting a haircut
  • Tweezing the eyebrows
  • Painting the toenails
  • Picking (or buying) the right outfit for New Year’s Eve
  • Shaving the cha-cha and everywhere else
  • Going through the remaining boxes of papers and starting the file cabinet
  • Paying the bills that are outstanding- or at least a small amount
  • Putting away the Christmas decor (sigh- I miss the liveliness…)
  • Getting my brain in order- figuring how not to settle for second best this year
  • Sending out thank you cards for gifts and New Year’s cards to those I missed for Christmas
  • Shipping out the Christmas gift for my cousin’s baby that came late

That’s a lot to accomplish. If I get half of it done, I’ll be a happy girl. And if not, well, 2008 has got to be better than the last month or so. Right?

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