Friday, September 19, 2014

Memebox: OMG 2

OMG boxes are meant to showcase all the wacky skincare products that South Korean skincare can offer. When I entered the world of Korean skincare, I entered a world of bee venom, snail slime and possibly even bird poop. 

I bought the first OMG to be startled and open up my skincare portfolio, but OMG 1 left a lot to be desired. OMG 2 stepped up the game some. But hopefully future OMG boxes have more of a shock value.

The box...

The products...

1. Cristallin Cellulose Mask

Product Description: These concentrated cellulose sheet masks encourage the skin's natural recovery function by providing a rich infusion of nutrition to help improve skin's clarity and elasticity. Plus, the jellylike texture feels like an octopus wrapped around your face.

How to use: After cleansing the skin, adjust the mask onto the face for a snug fit. Wait 15 minutes. Remove. Do not rinse.

Initial thought: I cannot get past the octopus comment. WTF OMG writers. (10 minutes later) I finally got past the comment enough to give this mask a try, and I didn't like it. The mask is thicker, which I found made it more difficult to conform to my face and it kept slipping off. My face does feel smooth, but I can get similar results with less annoying masks.

2. Ladykin Vanpir Dark Repair Cream

Product Description: The Vanpir Dark Repair Cream is a clinically proven skin brightener that restores luminosity, corrects weak moisture barriers, and protects skin from future discolorations. This moisturizer with melanin-inhibiting green tea extracts visibly helps to diminish dark spots and discolorations while restoring clarity and brightness to dull, uneven skin. It also has anti-aging properties to enhance the look of skin by reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

How to use: Apply a dime-sized amount all over the face avoiding the eye and mouth areas. Use morning and night.

Initial thought: Vampires?!?! Yes!!! But seriously, I am sold on this stuff. After only three days of using it, I received a compliment about how great my skin looked. I have splotchy red patches on my cheeks, and it took it away after the first use. I can only use this cream at night though, because it is thicker and takes a good while to absorb.

3. Milky Dress Bohr-effect Carboxy Gel

Product Description: Turn back the clock with the Bohr-effect Carboxy Gel! This 2-step facial mask cleans deep down into pores to extract pre-clogging bacteria, and firms and tightens sagging skin. The result? Facial contours appear sculpted and newly defined, lines and wrinkles looks nicely smoothed, and skin is moisturized to perfection. Over time, skin's strength, resiliancy, and volume appear renewed and you'll see a remarkably younger, revitalized look.

How to use: Apply the gel mask onto a cleansed face. Massage a generous amount all over cheeks, forehead, and chin. Place the 100% naturally made Korean paper mask over the face. Later on a second layer of the gel mask over the sheet mask. Leave on for 10 to 20 minutes. Remove. Rinse with tepid water.

Initial thought: OMG that's a lot of steps. Although, I do like things that help unclogged my pores, so I'll definitely be giving it a try.

4. Priori Aroma Ac Moisture Gel Mist

Product Description: Enriched with bee venom, propolis, sophora roots, balloon flower roots, and Multi EX Magnotics, the Aroma AC Moisture Gel Mist helps soothe and treat skin troubles and blemishes. The lavender aroma essential oil is also infused for soothing and purifying both your skin and soul.

How to use: Spray 10 inches away from your face as often as needed throughout the day.

Initial thought: Bee venom?!?! Sold.

5. Seatree Syn-Ake Total Solution AND Seatree Syn-Ake Essence

Product description: Seatree Syn-Ake Total Solution contains youth-preserving ingredients, such as Syn-ake peptides, similar in composition to snake venom, and hylaluronic acic to help deliver targeted repair – as needed, where needed. Recommended for all skin types, ages, and ethnicities, it visibly addresses uneven skintone, lines, and wrinkles for visibly firmer, more radiant, and more supple skin.

How to use: Total Solution, After cleansing and toning the skin, apply a dime-sized amount to the face and massage. Essence, Cleanser and tone skin. Soak a cotton page with Essence and gently wipe all over the skin.

Initial thought: I was under the impression I was receiving both, but I only received the essence. Essence would be my first pick among the two though, so it will definitely get used.

6. Hauren Dorothy Hauren

Product description: This volanic rock rollerball absorbs excess oil, grease and other blackhead and acne inducers just by rolling it across your skin. Made with 100% volcanic rock, this mattifier controls oil and eliminate excess sebum and shine for a fresh look and longer-lasting makeup application.

How to use: Roll the volcanic rock across the skin to absorb excess oil. Use before or after makeup.

Initial thought: If my skin wasn't dessert dry, I would be all over this. To the trade list it goes.


Want to try Memebox? Enter the code 2LZ4 for $5 off. 

Memebox: My Cute Wishlist 2 unboxing

While the items in My Cute Wishlist 2 are nowhere as cute as the items in the first Cute box, I think I'm more pleased with this box than most. Mainly because two of these items were on my wish list.  :)

The box...

The items...

1. Sally's Box Friendly Berry Berry Lip Patch

Production Description: Infused with various berry extracts rich in vitamin C, this lip mask hugs all the curves of your lips and enhance them for luscious and kissable lips. Use twice a week for deeply moisturized, smoochable lips!

How to use: Place mask onto lips for 10 to 20 minutes. Removed and pat to absorb to absorb the remaining product.

Initial thought: While I'm not a huge fan of berry, this will be a nice lip treatment for the winter.

2. It's Skin Babyface Petit Blusher (4 colors available)

Product Description: Highlight and illuminate cheekbone and complexion with this blendable blush available in an array of luminious colors. Cheeks will look radiant with a subtle glow that perfectly compliments smooth, perfected skin.

How to use: Use a powder brush or powder puff to dab on blush to the apples or cheeks for a radiant flush.

Initial thought: Once I saw this was in the box, my only thought was "please let me get the lavender one." I thought lavender blush was ridiculous until I was persuaded otherwise on a makeup forum last month. Since then, I've been stalking lavender blush like it's my job. And to my joy – the lavender shade is what I received (see, from the picture it isn't that scary). I tried this blush last night, and I'm already in love. I have issues with typical blushes because they look too extreme or fake on me, but this blush acts like a pink highlighter, giving me a glow with a slight pink tint to it. Amazing.

3. RoseMine Perfumed Hand Cream

Product Description: This protective, emollient formula uses the living energy of lily and hesperides to deeply nourish the skin, and nails, creating sublimely smooth results. This lovely scented hand cream will instantly transport you to paradise! Enriched with shea butter, rose water, argan oil, and mango seed butter, this hand cream delivers instant moisture and nutrition for healthy hands and nails.

How to use: Apply a small amount to hands and massage until fully absorbed. Apply as required throughout the day.

Initial thought: This item was also on my wish list! I'm a sucker for cute packaging and things that smell like rose. I received the scent Nana's Lily, and it has a wonderful, delicate lily scent to it. The lotion is thicker than I was expecting, but it absorbed quickly and less than a minute later my hands didn't feel sticky – so I'm considering this a major win.

4. Evas Vitamin Cleansing Dessert

Product Description: These yummy Vitamin Cleansing Desserts completely remove makeup and impurities to give you the best down-to-the-pore clean feeling! Micro bubbles penetrate deep into the pores to extract blackheads, whiteheads, and all acne-causing bacteria to give you flawless skin!

How to use: Massage gently onto wet face to remove makeup and impurities.

Initial thought: I received the chocolate version of this in my Cacao box. After one sniff, I traded it, and I'll be doing the same with this one, the berry mix. I cannot stand the smell of overly sweet things, and this smells like berry frosting to me. Sadly, I think the other two scents, lemon and red wine, would have probably worked for me too. 

5. SaintPeau Collagen Pudding Sleeping Pack

Product Description: This fun overnight facial mask is infused with 52% natural collagen to give you the look of radiant, more youthful skin. This jello-type collagen mask fills in fine lines and wrinkles and delivers deep and intense nourishment to the skin to help slow down the signs of aging.

How to use: After cleansing and toning the skin, massage a generous amount of the facial mask to the face. Leave on. Sleep. Wash off the next morning.

Initial thought: Confusion as to why this is in a cute box. I get that pigs are cute, but there's many cuter piggy packaging out there. That said, I'm getting ready to pack the sleeping pack I got in my Cooling Care box away for the fall/winter, so this one is a welcome surprise.

6. The YEON Style Y fruity Swirl Lip Balm

Product Description: This deep-sinking, conditioning lip balm melts across your lips for a dewy, kissable pout. Jojoba oil moisturizes and locks in hydration,and the non-greasy, never-sticky formula has a juicy flavor and hue that flatters every smirk.

How to use: Rub on lip balm onto clean lips for best results.

Initial thought: Ehhh. I have so many lip balms. Not interested in giving this one a try right now.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A rainbow birthday party

Disclaimer: Yes, I know Audrey turned two in January, and yes I know it's August and I'm just now writing about it. I will milk my heart condition for all it's worth on this one.  :)

Up until a month before Audrey's birthday party, I was set on throwing her a nautical party. Then my grandpa died. While I sat with him at hospice, I decided we needed a rainbow. And with that, it clicked.

I've always loved rainbows.

Exhibit A: Audrey's Halloween costume from last year, made by yours truly with some wine-courage in me.

And with that, I had invitation-inspiration:

While I had lots of decor debates with Audrey's penguin birthday, this theme just fell together for me perfectly. It was truly meant to be. And her party was a great success.

My favorite overview. Those circle paper streamers were quite the project, but totally worth it. Thank you Martha Stewart paper punch.

The food (mini pig-in-a-blankets, veggie and beef pinwheels, rainbow fruit salad, cheesy potatoes, pasta salad and orzo salad):

Menu labels are easily my favorite thing to design! They are simple to make and go a long way visually.

These water bottle labels didn't stay on as well as last times, but it was still a fun decor visual.

I found these adorable rainbow cups at Oriental Trading company. Fun for the kids, and spill-free for me.

For dessert there were lemon, strawberry and chocolate cupcakes, cake pops, and sugar cookies.

 Favor table – Aside from the rainbow cups, each child got a rainbow sucker and wand.

I debated about not making the rainbow wands because, well, they sounded annoying to make, but they were a huge success and the kids loved them.

Paper streamers hanging from the kitchen chandelier.

I make family books each year on Blurb, and I thought doing a "birthday guest book" spread would be a fun idea.

And of course, my birthday girl. Also, I've decided, I'm making a tissue paper number every year for her to stand next to on her birthday – I just love these too much.

Memebox: My Cute Wishlist

Since I still haven't gained back the crazy amount of energy I used to have pre-heart failure, I found a new "hobby" that requires minimal effort: beauty subscription boxes.

A year ago, I would have never considered myself a "beauty girl," but my $10-per-month subscription to Birchbox last fall showed me otherwise. Throughout the last year, I've tried quite a few various ones, but my new current love is Memebox, a South Korean beauty box company.

The South Korean beauty philosophy is that beauty should start with good skin – so it's all about skincare and I love it! Since I started using South Korean skincare products, my skin tone has evened out dramatically and I wear less foundation/primer/etc.

Anyway, I just wanted to show off the CUTEST of all the boxes: My Cute Wishlist box. (Warning: cuteness ahead).

Seriously, doesn't your heart just melt looking at it?!?! The only downfall is that Audrey feels some of the cuteness should be hers, so I'm having to share.

The cuteness includes:

1. Pure Smile Neco Punch Point Pad Hibiscus & Lemon Grass

Product Description: Pure Smile's Neco Punch Point Pad is enriched with vitamin E, collagen, hyaluronic acid, arbutin, hisbiscus and lemon grass extracts, and works to moisture and control excess sebum and secretions to maintain a healthy balance to your skin.

How to Use: After cleansing stick the Point Pad on areas of your face or body in need of concentrated care. Rest for 5-10 minutes, remove the pad, and pat in the remaining essence onto your skin.

Thoughts: I'm super excited to try this! It's like a mini sheet mask. I use vitamin c pads on my eyes, and that makes a huge difference, so I think these will be a success for me.

2. a;t fox Moisturizing Gel Cream Gyoolpy Tea

Product Description: High concentrates of Vitamin-C from the Gyoolpy Tea deeply nourishes and moisturizes the skin, leaving a refreshing, lasting glow on your skin. Also bring a gel-type cream, it spreads and penetrates into the skin smoothly and without curdling, and at the same time creates a thin, moisture layer over your skin to prevent de-hydration.

How to use: Apply moderate amount on your face, using your hand to spread and let it absorb into your skin.

Thoughts: I was nervous that cute package might lead to questionable quality, but definitely not so. I have super dry skin, and this product is amazing! I will probably be buying another in my future.

3. Beauty People Snow White Special Edition, Season 2

(I figure we all know how to use eyeliners).

Thoughts: I haven't heard good things about South Korean cosmetics, so full disclosure - when I went through my box the first time, I didn't even open this. When I did finally open it and see the beautiful shimmers to all the eyeliners, I had to put it on right away. So far I've used the gold and copper colors, and have been happy with each.

4. Etude Missing U Hand Cream

Thoughts: Eeeek! It's so cute! And it's surprisingly very moisturizing. Even better? It dries quickly and doesn't leave your hands feeling sticky. I'm just bummed I didn't get the panda or penguin one. Sorry baby seal.

5. Pure Smile Muddy Girl, Charcoal Mask

Product Description: A wash-off type mud pack made from naturally derived ingredients such as clay, mud, and charcoal. It works to soothe, purify and moisturize the skin, preventing possible dehydration and surface roughening.

How to use: After cleansing, apply the mud pack evenly over your face. Rest for 10-15 minutes and rinse off with warm water.

Thoughts: I was nervous to try this, because the last mud mask I used was extremely drying – but this one felt soothing on and my skin felt happy and clean afterward.

6. Etude Sweet Recipe Candy Stick

Product Description: Enriched with bilberry, sugar cane, sugar maple, orange and lemon extracts, the Sweet Recipe Candy Stick is a gloss type lip tint that moisturizes and plumps up your dry, chapped lips for a long-lasting radiance.

How to use: Softly dab the Candy Stick on your lips for a naturally gradated look.

Thoughts: I was scared my lip tint was going to be yellow, but it was more of an orange color, with an orange scent. I don't see any tint to this (which I'm calling a good thing, because I don't want orange lips). While this is hydrating, I don't see any lip-plumping taking place, which is disappointing.

7. a;t fox Whitening Capsule Cream Jasoyup Herb Tea

Product Description: What makes this cream so special is that it combines the deep hdration of a moisturizing cream and the brightening effect of a whitening essence. The whitening capsules inside the fel cream removes uneven, dark spots on your skin and helps create cleared and natural glowing skin tone.

How to use: Apply moderate amount on your face, using your hand to spread and let it absorb into your skin.

Thoughts: I haven't tried this yet, but if it's as moisturizing as the first one, I'm going to love it.

8. a;t fox Lifting Cream Black Tea

Product Description: If you've been stressing over sagging bags under your eyes or starting to notice little wrinkles and creases here and there; a;t fox's Lifting Cream Black Tea is just what you're looking for! With its softly melting texture and black tea extracts, this lifting cream will guarantee you healthy, younger-looking complexion with high resilience and firmness.

How to use: Apply moderate amount on your face, using your hand to spread and let it absorb into your skin.

Thoughts: This is the cupcake I'm probably least interested in trying, but we shall see!

9. Kocostar Split End Therapy

Product Description: Kocostar's sensational Split End Therapy contains 8 types of amino acid complex which works to prevent hair breakage and static electricity. It's specifically formulated to instantly repair split ends and protect hair from any future damage. An interesting fact about this hair therapy is that you don't need to wash it off after application.

How to use: Tie your hair in a ponytail. Take the Split End Therapy and slide your hair into the wrap, using the elastic band included to seal the wrap. Double-fasten with the super cute, polka-dotted ribbon hair band and massage your hair with your hands. Rest for at least 15 minutes or longer for even better results, and comb through your hair after removal.

Thoughts: Adding this was a total stretch, and I'm definitely the least excited about this product. I'll give it a try because I am a sufferer of split ends and static, but seriously, kinda blah.

Overall, I thought this box was rather amazing, and is quickly becoming one of my favorites. And it's perfect timing, because Cute Box 3 comes out today (which I've already ordered)!

Curious about Memebox? Join here.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I can explain...

My lack of blogging has been extreme, but I have the best excuse ever. I got a pacemaker.

See. I wasn't joking.

Well, really it's a pacemaker/defibrillator combo, or if you want to get really specific a Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Device (CRTD).

At my cardiologist appointment in September, I learned my heart hadn't improved in the past year. And with that, I decided that it was time and that I was ready. Plus, my risk of dying was a tad higher than I would prefer (1-10%). (If you're new to this blog or have just forgotten, you can read about my experience with post-partum cardio myopathy here).

So on November 6th, I had a 4.5 hour surgery. What I didn't know before said surgery was that they keep you in "twilight" during it, so I spent the surgery listening to Pandora. I remember waking up at one point during the surgery because my Pandora stopped, and I asked someone to turn it back on. And sadly, the other part I remember is when the defibrillator was being tested and I started crying and saying I hurt. Thankfully, I was knocked out for good shortly after.

My recovery was really difficult. Not because of the pain, but because I was completely helpless. Aside from not being able to lift more than 5 pounds, I also couldn't lift my left arm above my heart – which meant this left-handed girl was helpless (I couldn't even put my hair in a ponytail by myself). And these restrictions were for a month. So Audrey spent the month with her grandparents, and my wonderful friends provided meals every night.

It's been a little more than 2 months since my surgery, and minus a fun ER trip right before Christmas (one of my wires shifted a hit a nerve), I'm doing good.

Even my scar is looking good. My surgeon had me wear a bra to the operating room, from there they traced the strap and sad my incision would be between that. Only a female doctor would think of such awesomeness.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The first family vacation

Brent, Audrey and I took our first family vacation several weeks ago. We went to Boulder to visit my good friend, Elizabeth. We braved a new environment, a new altitude and a 9-hour car ride.

Just based on the 2-hour car rides to visit Brent's parents, I wasn't optimistic. I was terrified and wondering if 4 days of fun was worth 2 days of, well, hell.

But Audrey shocked us both and was quite a delightful road trip companion. The most important distraction tool that I packed was snacks. Other successful things I packed included: the Kindle Fire with a movie downloaded on it, stickers, books, a V-Tech interactive book, her favorite stuffed animal, coloring book and crayons, and a few random things from the dollar section at Target.

Another thing that helped us was researching the drive and figuring out fun places to stop along the way. Because of Brent's upbringing and previous job, he is a Kansas town guru, so I was excited to find 3 attractions to visit that he hadn't heard of.

We visited the largest egg in Wilson, Kansas:

Did an off-roading adventure in Collyer, Kansas to see Castle Rock:

And stopped in Goodland, Kansas to see a very large easel and play in the park:

Once in Boulder, we toured the University of Colorado's campus and then had dinner at the local favorite, The Sink. The burgers were amazing.

The following day, we went to a park in the morning to help wear Audrey out a bit. Then we headed to Pearl Street to walk around and have lunch at Lindsay's Boulder Deli (the Ferris Brieller is so freaking good). Audrey was a huge fan of the splash fountain.

That night, Audrey was such a trooper staying up 90 minutes passed her bedtime. We ate at Tahona Tequila Bistro and then walked Pearl Street a little bit more. And Audrey was feeling like quite the big girl.

The following day, we drove to Estes Park, and took the air tram into the mountain to feed the chipmunks. Audrey was squealing with nonstop delight.

And the view was amazing too:

And you can't go to Estes without visiting the Stanley:

The next day, we went to Rocky Mountain National Park and enjoyed a walk around Sprague Lake.

And we had a moose visitor on our walk!

There was also a terrifying drive up a mountain on a one-way dirt road that happened. At least the view at the top was beautiful...and included a place for lunch.

If you are in the area and like visiting incredible churches – add St. Malo to your list. It was actually visited by the Pope in the late '90s.

On our last day, we went to Denver – and sadly, that's when Audrey and I started catching that lovely summer cold that's going around. I'm assuming this skewed Audrey's opinion of Red Rocks.

After a lunch where Audrey had the biggest meltdown ever, we just drove around Denver while this happened:

And then, of course, there was a trip to IKEA.

Even factoring in the colds (and the slightly rougher 9-hour drive home with a sick toddler), it was still a great trip. Sometimes I forget how much Audrey is actually capable of doing, and this was a nice reminder of all the fun non-baby things we can do with her.