Fresh Start

Happy New Year readers!!

As I was taking a peek at my stats, it looks as though there are a very few random (or not so?) people in the world taking a peek at this blog. Many thanks go out to you! Thank you for taking the time to browse through some of my posts. I’m not sure if they were appealing at all. The fact that you took time means gallons!

As it is the start of a new year, I am feeling renewed and excited for new journeys I’ll be on over the next twelve months. I will be completing a Paralegal AA sometime between June & August. I will be running a half marathon for the second time in my life. I’ll be apartment hunting, and possibly even making a move out of California.

I’ve got plenty on my plate. Enough to keep me busy and fulfilled. So, this month, expect a few posts about wellness: skincare, exercise (gear, workouts, playlists), recipes, and other uplifting topics. I might not get to them all, but I will get one or two posts up a week.

I wish you all a fantastic 2015! May you find joy and happiness!

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Sunday Skin Favourites: Wallet Friendly Masks!

As you know, in my last post, I raved about GlamGlow’s Thirstymud Mask. I’m still obsessed, even though the mothball scent is starting to occur. Surely that means it’s starting to turn. Right? Whatever the case, I think it is pretty awesome, despite the smell change. When I wrote the post about Thirstymud, I was so tired that I couldn’t focus on writing much more. I did want to talk about all of my favorite masks and promised myself that I would write a post about them.

First, I should clarify what kind of skin I have: dry, sun damaged, mildly sensitive, with blackhead issues on my nose. Also, I do get the very occasional hormonal breakout (so annoying as my skin is dry). In an effort to take care of my skin, the products I like to use are generally in the hydrating, calming, soothing, brightening, and occasional exfoliation realm. Therefore, the products I use frequently and love are not suitable for everyone.

The masks I have been obsessed with lately are:

  1. Lush Cosmetics Oatifix ($6.95)
  2. Lush Cosmetics Catastrophe Cosmetics ($6.95)
  3. Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque (ranges from $3.99-$5.99)

For those of you who don’t know, Lush Cosmetics makes masks completely preservative free, called Fresh Face Masks. Every week, each store is shipped small batches of these masks and they are kept in a small refrigerator. Those of us who are obsessed with these masks know the day of shipment, so that’s when you’ll find us at or local Lush. I generally shop at the two South Bay locations: Valley Fair & Oakridge malls. Their delivery day is Thursday. For a long time, I really wanted to try them, but I always seemed to go to Lush on a Wednesday. Of course, no fresh face masks left! Finally, I went in one Thursday & decided to purchase a mask. The first one I purchased was Catastrophe Cosmetic, then a week later, I bought Oatifix. Ever since, I’ve been totally in love. Another fun fact about Lush is their recycling program. Pretty much all of their packaging is recyclable. So, if you bring in 5 clean, empty pots (make sure it has a recycle marker on it), you can get a Fresh Face Mask for free! I was able to get a new pot of Oatifix on Thursday, which allowed me to splurge on a Catastrophe Cosmetic & some leave in hair treatment.

Oatifix is a blend of oatmeal, bananas, kaolin, ground almonds, illipe butter, and some essential oils & other ingredients. I have a feeling I can make a duplicate of this at home & get pretty much the same results. At $6.95, I don’t mind buying a tub of it every few weeks. The main purpose of this mask is to hydrate & calm the skin, so it is ideal for normal to dry skin, especially anyone with a sunburn! Two consecutive Sundays, I managed to burn my face. Oooops! This helped, at least, soothe the skin and add a bit of hydration to the raw skin I had left of my face.

Catastrophe Cosmetic is another great mask for soothing irritated, angry skin. Its main ingredients are calamine powder, irish moss, and blueberries. We know how wonderful calamine is for bug bites, poison oak & ivy, and other topical rashes. Irish moss is a great hydrating and calming agent. Blueberries are little antioxidant powerhouses. Another great ingredient is Blue Chamomile, which is commonly used topically for irritated, sensitive skin. Between this & Oatifix, my skin has been able to heal itself, even just superficially. (I am well aware of the deep damage the sunburn has done to my skin & there is not a lot of repair that can be done.) This mask is great for all skin types, from super dry to insanely oily. It does have some kaolin in there, which helps draw out impurities without stripping the skin.

All Lush Fresh Face Masks are left on the skin approximately 5-10 minutes. You can leave them on longer, but I find that 10 minutes does the job. Enough time to make a cup of tea and get my bed ready for cozy time.

Finally, let’s talk about Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque. If you live anywhere in the US, you must have seen this at some point in your life. Most of us have been in a CVS, Longs, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Safeway, etc. We’ve grabbed toothpaste, sunscreen, body lotion, soap, shower gel, or any other hygiene necessities at some point in our lives. Therefore, by default, we have seen the ultimate drugstore staple: Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque. And, quite a few of us have used it in the past, currently use it, and/or call it a staple. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, let me break it down. It is a simple clay mask that is targeted for clarifying the skin, whether it be acne, blackheads, or plain old oily skin. It has the added benefit of being minty fresh. As I mentioned before, I have dry skin. So, why would someone like me use a mask like this? Because, people with dry skin get breakouts and blackheads too! Also, clay isn’t bad for dry skin. It can be very healing on any skin. I use this frequently on my nose and leave it on overnight. Once a week I’ll use it all over & simply rinse it off once it is dry. This also serves as a great pimple fighter when I get hormonal breakouts.

There are other amazing masks that are cost effective. But, these three are my favorites & the ones I use most regularly. Freeman, as many people know, make some great inexpensive masks. Anyone born in the 70s & 80s are surely Freeman savvy. Also, I do use some expensive ones as well, but not as frequently, and have mentioned the two I love before: GlamGlow Thirstymud & Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask. I hope this can inspire some of you to try Lush & their Fresh Face Masks. They have quite a few options for many different concerns. They also have vegan options!! Both masks I mentioned are vegan, which is a huge bonus for me. And, Lush is very much anti-animal cruelty, so you are supporting a positive, supportive, worldly company by purchasing from them.

Hope everyone is having a great summer so far! Stay hydrated & protected! And, if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, I hope you are enjoying your winter!

Drink up!

Masks have seem to come back in style quite heavily recently. The oil trend has died down, and masks have taken over. I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say it: the US is often late to both the progressive party & trendy party. So, what European & Asian countries have been doing for decades, the US is only really just catching on now.

I’ve always been a fan of masks, ever since I was a kid. I’d poke through the beauty stash of both my mother and grandmother in awe of the pretty bottles they had. However, it wasn’t until I moved to California that I truely discovered the joy of masks. I never really saw any of the women in my life do a mask, probably because I was too young to remember. By the time I was 10 or 11 and starting to feel my body change, I started to grow into my feminine side. I would hit up Payless (later RiteAid) and stock up on some Freeman masks and my friends & I would go to town with them at sleepovers. And, let’s be real here, I still love Freeman masks, don’t you?

Long gone are the days of innocent pre-teen girly sleepovers. It’s been about a year since I’ve slept over at a friend’s house, and that was out of necessity. Our time spent together no longer involve stuffed animals, Ouija boards, and yearbooks. Well, we might still get out the yearbooks and gawk at our lithe, carefree bodies & smiles. But, more often than not, wine is involved, which makes sense twenty years later. Point is: if I sleep over at a friend’s house, it is because it’s always wise to not operate a vehicle if a wine glass has been accurately used. So, no masks are applied to our faces. We’re lucky if the makeup even comes off.

So, it is up to me, during down time to pamper my skin. I have quite a few face masks that I absolutely adore and always suggest to people. There is one currently out there that is my ultimate favorite.

The mask I have been obsessed with is GlamGlow’s ThirstyMud mask. At first, I was really put off by the smell. I had smelled a tester that had obviously gone off and it smelled like moth balls. Then, I was lucky enough to receive a jar to try. When I cracked it open and took a whiff, I was surprised. It smelled like coconuts and apple juice!

GlamGlow ThirstyMud

This mask is a lifesaver!! It’s full of amazing ingredients, such as apple fruit extract, coconut fruit extract, ginger root extract, green tea leaf powder, olive leaf powder, and so many more. I learned it feels best chilled, so I keep it in my fridge. This mask is essential to anyone with redness, irritated skin, sunburned skin, surface dehydration, or genuinely dry skin. It’s great for all skin types, however those dealing with the issues I just mentioned will greatly benefit from this mask. This mask can be left on as little as 10 minutes or as long as all night. And, I always wear this mask overnight. My skin does really well when I use the mask this way. The company even suggests using this mask in-flight to prevent that dreaded dehydration many people get after a long flight. For my skin, I feel that the apple extract helps gently exfoliate and brighten, while the coconut, green tea, and olive are replenishing, and lastly the ginger helps energize my skin.

Please, if you can afford this $69 mask, invest in it! It is worth every penny. If not, stop by a local Sephora and, at least, pick up a sample to try. And, fret not my loves, I will write a post about my other favorite masks, which include a plethora of cost effective masks!

In the mean time, please visit (and follow & like) my other blogs, twitter, and Facebook:
DJ Toaster Biscuit
A Life In Paperback
@DJToasterBiscui
@RealEllieMcHale
@lovenugget
DJ Toaster Biscuit at FaceBook

And, I have a very special GIVEAWAY in the works! Keep your eyes peeled. It involves hitting a like button or two & hitting one or two follow buttons. Also, get your creative juices flowing. I might ask for a haiku, ya hear?

Pamper Time! Evening Skincare.

As my skin has settled down from its painful couple of weeks of dermatitis, I am able to get back into a comfortable skincare routine. I do all of my main skincare at night, as it is both physically and emotionally cleansing.

Tonight I am giving my skin some extra special love as it has been an arduous two weeks. I’ve been working nonstop and had finals this week. I desperately need some TLC! I want to share my pampering evening skincare ritual.

My skin type is dry, sensitive, and prone to redness & enlarged pores. I like to call my skin bipolar, as it really varies day to day as to how dry & sensitive it can be.

To start, I take off my make up with Caudalie’s cleansing water.

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This has been my favorite makeup remover for years. It takes off everything, including heavy foundation and waterproof eye makeup.

Next up is a proper cleanse!!

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Tonight I chose to use Ren’s cleansing balm with my Clarisonic Mia2. The cleansers I use vary. My other favorites are Ren’s Hydracalm cleansing milk, Nude’s cleansing oil, and Ren’s Hydracalm cleansing gel. It really depends on the day.

Next is a mask. I rarely do masks. Let’s face it, I’m lazy! So this is the unusual pamering part. And when I do a mask, it has to be amazing.

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Tonight I am indulging. Two masks! First is Ren’s Glycol Lactic mask to exfoliate, brighten, and hydrate. Then I hop in the shower. After the shower I slap some of Aveda’s intensive hydrating masque while I make some tea. This is supposed to be left on 5-10 mins, but I leave this on a lot longer sometimes. As it’s not a peel, it doesn’t hurt if I forget about it for awhile.

Once this is rinsed off, I finish with a serum & moisturizer.

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Along with Ole Henriksen’s truth serum & Korres’ wild rose sleeping facial, I have added some rose essential oil in a jojoba oil base.

Tonight I am all about exfoliation, hydration, nourishment, and brightness. I love nights when I pamper my skin!! It’s rare, which makes the ritual even more special. I do hope you enjoy this little snippet of my life.

FYI: I do not represent or am not paid by any of these brands for any usage or mention of them or their products. All of the products I used were paid for by my own money over the course of the year. Any product gifted me will always be disclosed and I will not use nor review something gifted to me if I do not like how it works for me. Thank you!!

Skin Issues: Sensitivity & Dermatitis

Oh my gosh, it’s been too long! Many apologies!

This post is unfortunately inspired by my reactive skin. About a week ago, I noticed my skin started to feel more delicate than usual. I assumed it was just the weather, as we got a few days of rain after they usual dry winter air. Many people feel a change in their skin when that happens. What was just dry, uncomfortable, itchy skin from head to toe went to inflammed, lobster red, burning skin on my face, neck and chest. My main eczema-type spot on my left wrist even got irritated for the first time in over a year. It turns out, the excessive heat that kept getting blasted in my workplace aggravated it. Even after my requests to keep the store at an even 68-degrees, it ended up feeling like a hotbox to many. You can only imagine how uncomfortable I felt. Sweat, clothes made out of synthetic fabric, constant movement, and naturally warm human beings corralled in one decently sized room that is over heated is never an ideal location for someone with reactive skin. The general concensus is that I’ve got a case of dermatitis. I almost went to urgent care tonight, but want to give it one more day. Plus, I’ve got a bunch of school work that needs to get done.

Last Friday, I splurged and bought a Clarisonic Mia2. We sell them where I work & I was able to get one with a few extra free goodies in the box (including a small face wash I can’t use, but I’m sure a friend will). I spent $105 on a $225 value!! Honestly, I wouldn’t have bought it if that wasn’t such a great deal. Because my skin got worse over the weekend, on Sunday I bought a golden standard for sensitive skin: Ren’s HydraCalm Cleansing Milk, which now called Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk. (Of course, I had the means and had to buy a top seller: Ren’s Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask.)

So, let me share what I’ve been doing the last couple days to calm my skin down. In the evening, I’ll take a makeup wipe and take off any traces of stuff. Then, I wet down the Clarisonic brush head & add the cleansing milk just before splashing some water on my face. Then I’ll Clarisonic my face. After finishing that & drying off, I’ll spray my face with Caudalie’s Grape Water. Once that has been pat down & my skin is dry, I’ll moisturize with either plain organic coconut oil or Ren’s Frankincense Night Cream.

So far, my skin feels calmer. Today, the temperature at work was less hot and I wore a cotton shirt to allow my skin to breathe a bit. I’m still itchy & red, but I am less swollen and hot. Now, I have a mug of white tea and a large glass of water. I’m keeping hydrated internally to help. The plan is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Does anyone else have any experience with dermatitis or any other skin irritations? I’d love to hear feedback.