Been forever... so much has changed

Seriously has been SO LONG since I posted and even longer since I did a makeup related blog. Last time I did real makeup blog I was wearing almost all my own mineral makeup and since the end of summer 2015 I have been wearing IT Cosmetics CC cream. I was finding that my mineral foundation even with emu oil and other moisturizers just wasn't cutting it. So I saw demonstration on QVC one day and thought maybe I should give it a try... especially liking the 50 SPF as I get melasma from sun exposure on my face. I went to our local Ulta and bought medium color in their illumination CC cream (and a CC illumination bronzer that was limited edition too.) I tried it out and really liked the feel of it for a non-mineral foundation but surprisingly too "glowy" for my tastes. I kept it and went back and bought just the regular CC cream in  medium. In today's photos, I am wearing only the regular medium with a tiny bit of the bronzer for a bit of additional color. I find that the regular CC cream is pretty glowy on it's own but most days I do add a touch of the illuminating version (50% or less.) Why I am pretty happy with this new foundation...

  • My skin is SO DRY so anything that feels a little creamier is a good thing. 
  • LOVE the SPF factor. My spring weekends are lots of hours logged outside for track meets (or doing pole vault video taping for hubby.) Really nice to have such a light feeling foundation have so much SPF. 
  • Colors tend to be on the yellower side which suits me just fine as I typically find makeup too "pink" in most brands. Shade is pretty forgiving so doesn't looks mask-like at all. 
  • While it is said to be a full coverage foundation, I would disagree with that. It's more like a  medium coverage foundation (at least with the amount I use.) If you wanted full coverage I think it would take multiple layers with letting it set in between to achieve full coverage. I don't really like looking made up so I like this not so full coverage that blurs most of the imperfections just fine for my tastes.
  • A little goes a long way. I still have at least a half full tube of the regular medium color that I bought in August and because it has SPF I tend to wear makeup more often than normal AND "while I was away" I was working part-time in a law office 5 days a week- so wearing makeup every day I worked. (In February we changed things so I only fill-in for the normal secretary when she is sick or needs time off.) Two partial pumps is plenty for a full application for me. 
  • It's easy to apply. I put a pump or two on the back of my left hand and dip my finger in. No fancy applicator needed. You can use a foundation brush or sponge but I find that more wasteful than applying with my fingers (which I wash right before makeup application.) 
  • I don't break out from this foundation and it has a pleasant smell. Slightly lavender smell that is very tolerable for my picky nose. I really don't like makeup that smells like talc or chemically. 
  • It's supposed to have skincare effects so that's a bonus. 

Another change from my old makeup is almost always using a Tarte gel blush rather than my own powder blushes. With my dry skin, the gel blush just looks really pretty and glow from within. I knew I was onto something when on a family trip (hotel lighting makeup application) by daughter said "Oh, I really like your blush." Unfortunately the color (Ambition) was only available in mini-size kit so I have bought a similar full-sized one in a color called Exposed that I use most days and then save the Ambition for special occasions. I have used Tarte gel blushes for over a decade but these recent purchases are much better. Old versions would have unique scent added to them, so "Cloud 9" was a grape smell, others may be a berry smell, etc. so you kind of had to put up with the scent if you liked a color. Now they all seem to be rose scented- real rose scented, not cheap "off" smell. Also seems like they are less tacky feeling than older version- older version took quite a while to "set up" after application. At 48 years old, these gel blushes help keep me looking much younger than my years.

Third big change in my daily makeup routine is Anastasia brow gel. I started using IT brow gel (and still use the IT brush that came with) but found IT colors to be too red-brown, even the universal Taupe was reddish brown in my opinion. I gave these to my daughter who dyes her hair red (at this point basically considers herself a redhead.) I find that Anastasia's colors are more realistic brow color on me. The brow gel I purchased around the same time as the IT foundation and I literally have barely scratched the surface. Really an awesome product. If you remember, I am kind of an all or nothing kind of gal when it comes to makeup. IF I am going to wear foundation then it means I WILL wear blush, brows, mascara and lip balm at minimum. I hate to see someone wear foundation and not have blush, and I hate to see "no brows" and hate to see no lashes.

Last big change in my daily makeup is Mally volume mascara. Previously my go to mascara was Maybelline Full N Soft waterproof but I was starting to find my lashes getting brittle (and definitely a bit hard to remove mascara) so when I saw a 6 pack for $60 on QVC I tried it out. It is not waterproof but it does give volume and length with very few coats and seems to condition my lashes. I have pretty good lashes so mostly need volume and darkening. This one works well for that. Of course now I am touching my lashes and they feel soft and supple-- not "crispy" like most mascaras feel after a few hours. My lashes seem to be longer than before I used it (maybe because they aren't getting pulled out while trying to remove mascara?) Not looking too shabby for 48 years old with these products to help =)
IT CC cream Medium
Tarte gel blush Exposed
Anastasia Brow Gel Medium Brown


Yesterday I stopped by my Sam's Club-- I don't shop there often but I have certain items that pay for my membership fees alone-- #1 being yeast for bread making.  I can't tell you how excited I was to find this in the beauty aisle (Oil of Olay offerings/razors/lotion/shampoo aisle) a 9-piece makeup brush set for $7.91!!!! Yes, I typed that correctly, 8 brushes and a case for $7.91!!!

#1- I do believe this set includes the biggest powder brush I have ever seen. I took photos with my hand in background as an comparison for size.

#2- The pointed foundation brush is exactly like the kind I have been loving lately (from Target that sells for $6.99 by itself) for my foundation/SPF pre-mixed foundation for summer. Since I mix Neutragena SPF & my foundation into a mousse-like consistency & store in hinged paint-pots (like what you get in a paint by numbers set but I buy empty ones at craft stores) this kind of foundation brush is perfect to apply my foundation mix. I then purchased another one & polka dotted the ferrel with nail polish to use for cream blush application. <---Currently been using a Hard Candy highlighter/blush combo that I split apart & melted separately & repotted (blush in MMU jar/ highlighter in lip balm stick.)  Since I am approaching 47, cream blushes seem to just look better anymore.

#3 These are NOT chintzy eye brushes--- the 2 "domed" shadow brushes are densely packed, the 2nd from left brush is nicely shaped & perfect softness/density for almost any eye shadow application. The liner brush is a little larger- so best used for smoky liner look rather than thin lining but can't complain about the price.

 #4 The blush brush is nicely domed and highly dense-- very soft. The skunk brush is same quality of much pricier brushes I have in my collection.
 Seriously I can not believe that the price was $7.91 for the entire set. They are now drying out after my washing them. Looking forward to putting them to good use.

Long Time No Post- some beauty blabblings

Howdy. I know it's been forever since I posted anything beauty-wise. So with summer in the air I will tell you a couple of things I've been doing with my makeup routine.

#1 been mixing my foundation with Neutrogena Clear Face liquid lotion SPF 55 (see post from last year about this) but changed things up a little bit for a more skin like look recently. The beauty biz recommends going lighter on foundation as you get older so on days I'm wanting a more natural look I've been using a new mix. I still use the Neutrogena Clear Face SPF but added a slightly darker golden/bronzer foundation that I had added some golden shimmer (tiny particles not glitter) to. I blended with SPF to a "tinted moisturizer" consistency- still pretty liquid and pale beige (SPF/foundation mix was more creamy consistency & fairly pigmented.) I store in "paint pots" (cut apart)  that one can purchase empty at Hobby Lobby-- remember the paint pots that came with oil paint by numbers-- you squeeze the 2 prongs & that helps pop the lid up.

So here is my makeup a few days ago with this glowy barely there mix. As you can see, it's a sheer look but better than bare skin. Blurs rather covers.

#2 Beauty magazines recommend lip balms during the summer rather than glosses because glosses can produce more sun damage to lips. So I looked all over for SPF tinted glosses and sadly there are not many available. Neutrogena has Revitalizing Lip Balms in a few tints that are SPF 20. Blistex makes Lip Vibrance (SPF 15) in one color. Wet & Wild makes a SPF 15 "Mega Lip Color" in about a dozen colors. So with my Hoozey "try anything" I bought a bunch of high SPF lip balms (like Hawaiian Tropic SPF 45) pulled out the balm & put in small pyrex measuring cup along with various amounts of lipstick (I went cheap Wet & Wild 93 centers for most of the colors) put in microwave at 50% for about 90 seconds to melt. Stirred with popsicle stick and poured into lip balm tube (from my MMU supply I have tubes but you could always reuse balm/lipstick containers)- making my own tinted lip balms. Granted they will not be SPF 45 but at least will be higher than most readily available tinted SPF balms and can make more personalized colors.

#3 I found a E.L.F. HD blush and thought I'd give a try. OMG it was INTENSE color... no way to control from going 100% clown makeup in original form. So again my Hoozey "try anything" kicked in. I took a little Nivea Soft Moisturizing Creme (I use this as a makeup remover- especially in winter with my super dry skin) & mixed into a single pump of the blush until it was diluted enough to give sheer color rather than clown-face intensity. I put this in a small container that I have from MMU supplies so now have my own moisturizing blush to give a nice glow from within look. I am guessing one $3 bottle of this E.L.F. blush will be a lifetime of color but I do like it as it's not glittery color and I do like natural look of cream blushes vs. powders.

New Footwear Obsession

4 out of my 5 pairs of Orthaheel flip flops. Love the variety.
Hoozey has a new footwear obsession. At the end of this summer I was experiencing plantar fasciitis. I thought I had bruised my heel but when I shared this with hubby he was like "Nope, that's PF. Exactly what I felt & it's really hard to bruise your heel without remembering what you stepped on to do that." I had been running the neighborhood- hard pavement- more than I've done previously. I am stickler for good running shoes, as I have flat feet, so wondered what else I could do to help with PF. One thing that is recommended is varying heel height. I have always found flats hurt- as did cheap flip flops- so the only flip flops I had were Fit Flops which I loved for many years & collected many pairs. Problem with Fit Flops is that they were basically like wearing my running shoes so one day I randomly posted on Facebook how I was wearing heels around the house while cleaning as my PF helping technique. A friend posted she too had PF & found Orthaheels as a helper for her feet. So I ordered 2 pairs from 6 p.m. (on clearance as it was getting towards the end of the season.) One Salmon pair of "Tide" & one bronzy pair with embellishments. 

At first, I found the Orthaheels a bit odd feeling- there is a lot of arch support so my flat feet took some time getting used to this feature. Soon I grew to love them and recently ordered 3 more pairs (from 6 p.m. again as I find their pricing best-- seriously cannot justify paying full price for flip flops no matter how great they are.) Love the colors and different looks. 

So why do I prefer Orthaheels to Fit Flops? 

Fit Flop arch is much flatter.
Orthaheel very distinct arch support
#1 The more rigid arch support helps keep foot from rolling in- very common for those who have flat feet. You know the look of people wearing cheap flip flops & looking like they are walking on the inner sides of feet rather than soles? I think QVC sells Orthaheels & does a demonstration of a model with lines drawn on shins-- showing how different the alignment ends up being in Orthaheels. 

#2 The footbed is less spongy/foamy compared to Fit Flops- so Orthaheels seem more durable as the footbeds will not collapse as Fit Flops eventually do. Trust me- my original Fit Flops are very flat with no arches left. 

#3 The less spongy footbeds of Orthaheels prevent my turning my ankle like I often did in my Fit Flops. Fit Flops' straps get stretched out & seem to cause me to hit the wrong part of the Fit Flop- in turn causing me to turn my ankle since the footbeds are taller than Orthaheels footbed. 

Grungy footbed even after LOTS of scrubbing.
#4 Orthaheels clean up better. One of my pet peeves with Fit Flops was that the white/light colored footbeds always got so disgusting looking. I routinely scrubbed- we are talking baking soda plus detergent plus nail brush- my Fit Flops but no matter how much I scrubbed the ground in dirt "foot" stains remained. Fit Flops offer dark colored footbeds but I notice these collapse sooner than lighter versions. The Orthaheels have harder footbeds so even with light colors they clean up better. Some even have nice sueded footbeds. 

Most worn pair of Orthaheels I have. Clean up nicely. 
#5 Orthaheels aren't so bulky so they look a little more dressy. The large footbed of Fit Flops detract from the shoe regardless of style you choose in my opinion. Some of the Orthaheels look quite sporty (Tide- salmon/grey) while others can look rather dressy. Orthaheels even makes sandals & heeled versions. Only downside is that their closed shoes are pretty hideous so I don't see myself buying any of those. LOL My 5 pairs of Orthaheels give me quite a wardrobe for my feet whereas I had about a dozen Fit Flops but only real variation was the colors. Already looking for the warmer weather to come back so I can wear my Orthaheels. 

Ideal beauty?

In my lifetime I can remember 2 times when parts of famous beautiful women were put together in a composite. Years ago in the 80s- perfect eyebrows belonged to Brook Shields. Can't remember exact parts that I saw on GMA last month but remember Jennifer Aniston was one part. Ironically both times, the "ideal" woman was not as beautiful as the individuals in my opinion. So is there any ideal beauty?

I tend to think that I am progressive about what I think is beautiful but definitely admit to certain biases. I like nice teeth- that doesn't mean they have to be perfect- I like certain gappy smiles but overall the teeth need to be relatively straight & I definitely do not like yellowed teeth. I do not like wide-set eyes. I don't know why but wide set eyes just sets off my "ugh" meter as far as beauty goes. Certain body types also set off "ugh" even though many think these body types beautiful. An example would be Kate Upton- I don't have an issue with her bustiness but find it odd paired with her thicker middle/lack of hips. I guess my mind tends to think that nature puts certain body parts together. So bust & hips go together in my beauty image rather than bust & straight down from there. 

So I tend to side with natural/healthy= beautiful. So I think slim women are beautiful but find women with thin arms & legs with a thick middle rather unattractive. I think heavier women are attractive too- I am good with curves if they are in the right places. So an hourglass shape to me is beautiful. A pear-shaped woman is beautiful. A woman with no waist is not so beautiful. 

I am concerned with this push to accept all bodies as beautiful because the fact is kids are getting fat. At 45 I am at a similar size to my high school days. In high school I considered myself not necessarily fat, but definitely not thin. I was muscular but curvy too. In the mid-80s when I was in HS, I was kind of in the middle of the weight spectrum- being only 5'2" and more busty than most made me think of myself as a bit heavier and not a petite or skinny girl. Now, at 45, I am on the thin side compared to my peers. I see photos classmates that look like the woman that ate the girl I graduated with. I know it's hard not to put on weight especially as we get older but it seems like my generation "gave up" on trying to maintain a decent weight compared to my mom's generation when in 40s. Very telling when my daughter was looking through my old yearbooks and commented "There weren't fat people in your school." I pointed out various people who were considered on the heavy side back in the day and she replied "Wow, those would be average people now." What chance do today's high school girls have when the average has gotten so much heavier? So why would we promote an even more unhealthy attitude about weight by saying "you are beautiful" regardless of truth.

I understand that there are truly those that have very little control over weight but these are really the minority-- these were the ones labeled "fat" back in my high school days. I would not say that we have genetically changed so much in one generation where everyone is now destined to be fat. The problem is that lifestyle has changed way too much. I find it sad that I have been confused for a high school girl because I am in better shape at 45 than average high school girl. The very same classmates who look like they ate their former self are constantly posting recipes or where they ate out. I see their kids on a bad path already. My daughter was a bookworm and not interested in sports until 7th grade when she joined track. She went through a phase where she was getting chubby and I told her that she needs to pay attention to what she eats- in other words she shouldn't be having ice cream and goodies as much as she had been for her activity level. That may sound like an awful thing for a mom to do, but I have always been a realist and wanted to teach my kids that there are plenty of things within their control including weight. If she had been eating "good food" I would not have said anything because then it would have just been natural weight gain but when it is lifestyle, I am going to say something. Just as it is unhealthy to promote skinny at all cost, I think it is also unhealthy to promote beautiful at any weight when we are telling young people that it is fine to eat whatever you want (mostly garbage) and sit on butt and society should still say that you are beautiful. I could not be the mother that allowed my child to continue to eat unhealthily/not exercise and turn a blind eye to it.

I do wish there was more truth in beauty. It's hard to give girls a sense of healthy weight/body image when even our most beautiful have been photoshopped to extremes. It's not just removing a blemish but taking major inches off waistlines, thighs and so forth so that we compare ourselves to these false images and wonder why we can't be like "her." How can an average woman/girl compete with the photoshopped image when even the real person can't? It would be much better to show the reality that is actually somewhat attainable. 

The same goes with plastic surgery. If you have "work done" then admit to it. I admire Sharon Stone for refusing to have plastic surgery and still looking awesome. Even though Joan Rivers' plastic surgery is obvious, I respect that she's upfront with it. It is pathetic in my opinion to have work done and then pretend like it's all natural. Maybe I am one that is too big on the truth- if someone says- "I like your hair color" I am going to tell them that I had help in that department. I am eternally grateful to my parents for getting me braces because I know how much fixing my overbite added to my "beauty" and self image. I guess I always want to help others- so if I can help someone else by giving away my beauty secrets then I will. That would especially be true if I went to great lengths like plastic surgery- I would feel guilty taking compliments about looking great if it was due to a facelift and I didn't say so.

One thing that inspires me is seeing African American women embrace natural hair rather than trying to get "white hair." I think natural hair is way more beautiful than the damaged relaxed hair or weaves. I believe in celebrating what you have that makes you different. I find it distasteful that of late so many school dress codes have banned hairstyles that target natural hair and individual style. As someone who had way too many perms, I am much happier now that I have embraced that my hair is straight & doesn't curl. So I do not waste my time on it other than coloring it. Yes, I have my vanity point of not liking the gray so I will continue to fight that battle- but at least I'm not trying to pretend that it is natural. I work hard at certain things- maintaining fitness/body weight- for which I am very proud. I am blessed with some things & count myself lucky. And if I happen to have extra help, I will share that secret. If there is any ideal beauty it is working with what you have, improving what you can, accepting what you can't, and making the best of it while being true to yourself. 

Summer Love--

Sorry for the VERY LONG TIME since last posting. Life has a way of keeping me busy so I have little time to blog. Another issue is that my favorite computer to blog from is often times taken over by the hubby (or boys) for pole vault video viewing or online chess playing (the Mr.) Usual work hours I am doing my work- household chores and sewing projects- which always pick up in the spring and seems hours when hubby is home my computer is taken when I have a bit of time to blog. Plus May always is a month that flies by because of the end of track season (both boys made it to state & older one tied for 8th place) all the males in the family birthday within 10 days, and end of school stuff. Zooooooommmmm there goes May.

Anyway, I have been dying to post about my new summer "foundation" because it's worthy of sharing this little secret. I find that my skin looks better once the weather warms up-- with such dry skin, winter isn't pretty. The return of humidity is a welcome event to me and I find that I wear less makeup BUT that comes with two new issues #1 sun makes my melasma flare & here comes spotty forehead (plus try to protect face from sun damage-- at 45 I am winning the battle as far as wrinkles and not looking my age) or #2 wear sunscreen & hats to keep "Spot" at bay and my face doesn't even come close to matching the rest of me. Think I found a perfect solution. Mix mineral foundation & a bit of bronzer into sunscreen-- one step protection and amping up of color so I am ready for the day.

The sunscreen- Neutrogena Clear Face SPF 55-- ultra light, oil free, water resistant and liquid- but when mixed with MMU foundation-- mousse like texture foundation. Mixed this up about 2 weeks ago- it's even more "mousse-like" now.  Need to mix more bronzer in for next batch as I have been out in the sun quite a bit and have to use bronzer to make things match right now.

Minimal summer makeup look- sunscreen & MMU foundation mix- bit of blush, eyeshadow, lipgloss & mascara

Amazes me how skin-like/no makeup the mineral foundation mixed in Neutrogena Clear Face SPF  ends up looking 
Protected from sun & effortless even skin-tone.
Today- bare skin (emu oil moisturizer) and just got a bit of sun on body-- face doesn't really match. 

SPF/Foundation mix plus bronzer, mascara & lip gloss. 

Plus to this SPF/Foundation- not only quick but also wears like iron. Last Saturday spent all day out in sunshine at a track meet & still perfect after entire day of heat & humidity
Love how it feels like I am wearing nothing on skin. Makes it super easy to have a makeup-less look but better because get more even skin-tone & sun protection. I notice in the summer I like a less made up look-- this allows me to totally achieve this look. Today's look was SPF foundation mousse quickly applied, Bronzer (my own matte one called Beach) mascara and lip gloss. Only thing I would have changed-- EYEBROWS. You can really tell in today's FOTD shots how my left eyebrow is lower than my right-- (right grows upward & left grows down on top of being lower.) Usually I fill in my left above the brow itself to make it match the right one more but I was in a hurry to get to blogging today. I  am definitely taking this idea to the beach with me. Usually I go bare-faced (with SPF) but I can see just using this "foundation" instead.

Henna again.

Needed to henna my hair again since the old grays are more than 1/4 inch long. I do like how henna blends them better than commercial hair dyes because the way my hair grows with henna I'd be doing it like every other week.

Mixed Henna Sooq Organic Rajasthani Indian Henna 100g powder with strong black tea & a little apple cider vinegar (added about a tablespoon each Amla, Brahmi, Bhringraj powders into the henna powder before mixing in liquid) until consistency of pudding. I let it have dye release overnight & then froze since I didn't have time to do henna that next morning.

Today I thawed the henna paste in sink with warm water (store it in a ziplock freezer bag & just place that in the water.) While that was thawing, I mixed 1 Tablespoon indigo & a bit of salt, with warm water & let dye release. Mixed about 4 tablespoons of the henna paste into the indigo paste & added some conditioner. Smeared this mixture onto roots first & then rest of length (with gloved hands.) I applied Vaseline along the hairline so I would not get staining on my face. Wrapped hennaed hair in plastic wrap. Topped with a cheap plastic shower cap & then my head wrap. Left on my hair for about 3 hours while I finished a book & did chores around the house. Rinsed out using cheap conditioner to help get the henna paste out. Viola finish product with wonderful coppery highlights rather than grays.

I truly love my change to henna hair coloring because of these natural highlights and how they help blend the grays for longer than traditional dye. I no longer have that root demarcation where you can easily tell where the virgin hair begins. Even if I would match my hair to the roots- the dye would fade & my colored hair would be a different color than the roots. Henna doesn't strip the color out first so you can't see this line.

A few photos of my newly hennaed hair.

I visited my old blog  and it made me miss VOX so much. I miss all the posting we used to do back then. The other thing I noticed was how young I look with the old weight. I had seen Brooke Shields on Good Morning America saying how she thinks she looks years younger when she has 10 extra pounds on her- I can relate. I never looked heavy in my face so I kind of wish I could maintain all the face fat I had while losing the weight.  I have some serious cheekbones now and I kind of want the little bit of chubby cheeks I used to have only a few years ago. Last week I found 2 pairs of size 2 jeans that fit me really well. Somehow I've lost additional inches when the scale is still reading the same. I am guessing I'm losing a little fat but maintaining good muscle so I'll take it. I wore one of the jeans this weekend and I felt so much better in them. I hadn't realized how baggy the size 4's were until I did that. It's funny because I still don't see myself as "skinny"because I still have lots of curves everywhere. I'm not trying to lose additional weight- just maintain what I have now although if I did continue this trend of losing inches but not weighing less I will be happy because it will just mean that I am getting leaner.