SK-II Skincare Review

Hello beauties!

A while back, Influenster (gotta love these folks!) sent me the SK-II Vox Box, containing two items from the line. The box contained both the Facial Treatment Essence, as well as the Facial Treatment Mask.

SO. This brand’s whole shtick is this stuff called Pitera, which according to Sephora is known as “holy water” or “miracle water” in the “East” because of it’s skin-renewing properties. What I know is this:

Any expensive skin-care line has to have a shtick. Some kind of story to tell. Whether it is a mud they scrape from the bottom of the dead sea, an elixir derived from sea kelp, or even creams made from baby foreskins (YES, this is really a thing) – brands have to attach a (generally bogus) story to illicit the outrageous price tags.

This brand is no different. I have no doubt that like so many other high-end brands, the ingredients in SK-II are great. All we can really ask for in good skin care these days are ingredients that have been proven to be good for our skin, to be nourishing, moisturizing and feel good. Good skin care is usually free of fillers, heavy perfumes and has fancy packaging – and pretty much, that’s it.

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Facial Treatment Essence

This product came in a smaller size, but is definitely enough to try numerous times. I put it on after cleansing, but before any serums or moisturizers. The immediate effects are minimal. I saw zero instant results and after using it for a solid week, I still don’t see any change. That is NOT to say that this will not end up making a visible difference on my skin, it just hasn’t yet.

Facial Treatment Mask

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I was SO excited to try this. I hadn’t ever done a sheet mask before and this one is super bougie, retailing for $17 a pop on the Sephora website. I decided to give it a shot on a Sunday while watching Game of Thrones with David. The mask was VERY saturated in product and is very thick. After reading about it, it is 100% cotton, which I guess is kinda cool. It felt great on my skin and was fun to use. But again like the essence, no immediate results came from it. My skin looked moisturized but it didn’t feel or look that much different than any other day.

Overall, this brand is SO expensive I will not purchase anything from them. It didn’t leave me super excited and hasn’t wowed me with any results . If the essence kicks in and starts making me look like Gigi Hadid, I’ll let ya know.

Sephora Gradual Self Tanning Face Water Review

Good morning friends!

There is no other way for me to kick off this post than by saying “GOOD MORNING FRIENDS!” I have been binge watching the Saccone-Jolys on YouTube and now it’s just my thing.

Today, I bring you my thoughts on the Sephora Gradual Self Tanning Face Waterephora Gradual Self Tanning Face WaI hauled back in March.

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When I first started using this stuff, I thought I would quickly go through the 4.22 oz bottle in no time. And considering it costs $18, I was slightly disappointed because obviously I wouldn’t be spending almost $20 per month just to have a tanned face… or would I?

However, I have been using this around 4-5 times per week since March and I still have TONS left. So that’s peh geh.

FORMULA

What I love most about this product is the formula. It is literally exactly what it says it is – a water. It feels exactly like applying my Bioderma micellar water. There is zero stickiness, which I was very pleasantly surprised by as most tanning products tend to be tacky especially when freshly applied.

SMELL

In many of the reviews on Sephora and on Youtube, people either love or hate the “beachy” smell of this product, but I gotta be honest with you guys: I smell NOTHING. Maybe I got a got a random scentless bottle, or maybe all the fragrance is sitting on the bottom but yeah, I don’t smell anything. At all.

APPLICATION

I just use a little cotton round and apply this in the “3” motion, starting at my temple, sweeping below my cheekbone and then right under my jawline. I then take whatever is left on the pad and go over my whole face and neck. I find that I start seeing results from about  2-3 nights and mornings of application.

RESULTS

I looooooove the color I get from this product! It is perfection. No weird break outs, or little bumps either. I love how gradual it is and how you can keep putting it on night and morning until you get the color you want. There is something kinda gross to me about wearing tanning lotions on my face, so the fact that this stuff is a WATER is groundbreaking.

OVERALL

This product is easily worth the $18 and I will probs be a lifetime purchaser. It is SO easy to use, not messy, and gives the perfect amount of controllable color – what’s not to love!?

Weekending & T-Giving 2015

Hello mini-seahorses!

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What wonderful weekends I’ve been having! A couple weeks ago, Nan, Megan and Mr.Tate decided to come for a visit and I was beyond excited to have this tiny human back in my life.

Girls weekends with Megan and Nan usually involve shopping from about 11 am to 9 pm, with lunch, wine and maybe some fro-yo sprinkled in. Us gals can go go go. We usually start out at a mall, throw in  Nordstrom Rack, some consignment stores and then to appease Nan, we’ll hit up a Goodwill right before closing time so she can contemplate a book on CD entitled “The Jewels of Tessa Kent”. But now. Things are a bit different having a tiny gentlemen in tow. We decided the safest option was a straight-up shopping mall and what better place than stroller-ridden Washington Square?

First, we woke up and had play time:

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Then we walked down to Jim and Pattie’s for brek:

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Then we hit WA Square and Meg gave the Ergo Baby a whirl.

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Tate was a champ for the first couple of hours, happily snoozing in the pram and periodically opening those eyes (lined with LONG eyelashes now!) to stare up at these crazies subjecting him to horrible techno at H&M. We went to all our faves, like Pottery Barn Kids and Nordstrom (places I can definitely afford).

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Of course I did this.

I found one of those cheesy-ass signs that actually makes perfect sense:

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Then, we stumbled upon what could very well be the CUTEST and most magical place in Portland, Lolli & Pop’s!

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Look what the employees wear. OMG.

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Aside from the fact that everything at Lolli & Pop’s costs $14,000, I am totally a fan.

We had lunch at the Nordstrom Cafe and then I grabbed a Candy Mountain Bubble Bar from Lush! We knew Tate wasn’t going to last much longer, so we all got in the car and made an attempt at Nordstrom Rack before quickly realizing Tater Tot was done. The weekend wrapped up with the three of us watching movies and trying to get Tate to smile (which I am SO good at).

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And then of course, it was T-Giving! I drove home after work on Wednesday and spent 3 glorious days at my parents new digs.

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The first night, I partook in the following activities:

  1. Playing with Gare’s new label-maker:

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teehee

2. Eating gingersnaps

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3. Looking at the butter sculpture Nan bought:

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4. Taking photo-booth pics of Nan while she was asleep on the couch eating butterscotch disks:

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baahahahaaaaaaaaaa

The next day I watched the parade in my jammies and got mad that I missed the Hello Kitty balloon. Tate and Megan came over and I played with him and fell even more in love.

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Then, we put hims in his OOTD:

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Then I combed my hair and put some makeup on and a headband to go to my grandparent’s for T-Give:

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Thanksgiving dinner was spent at my grandparents, which meant we were all sweating from the permanent 80 degree setting on their thermostat.

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If that wasn’t enough, my grandma also got out her scarf collection and had me pick out a few for myself (I currently own about 40 of these already), but I was a sport and acted completed delighted to sport a thinly knitted  bit of periwinkle! We stupidly only brought one bottle of wine over, so I was reduced to sipping from an old bottle of Disaronno I found behind my grandparents’ 2008 Mall Walkers participation plaque. At this point, I was lookin’ purty good:

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Then Ben and Megan brought Tate over and ta-dah!!! Instant distractions and something to stare at for 2 hours! I did snap a few adorable pics though:

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Four generations!

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Reasons why this is the cutest ever: 1.) They are matching 2.) Tate’s smile 3.) My grandpa’s giant hand 4.) They are matching

And thennnnn we did the unthinkable. Nan, Megan, Tate and I went to Macy’s. This year, they opened their doors at 6 pm and I was really jonesing for the $25 Ariana Grande bubble bath. After grabbing a few deals, we mozied by BBW on our way out and I was terribly disspointed at their half-assed sale. Buy 3, Get 3 Free!?!? WTF. That is, like, NOT a good deal. Give me $8 dollar candles or 75% off of something! GHODddd.

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Anyweeeez – the next day was spent hanging with Amy and Shannon, playing cards, drinking Svedka and 7’s and me having perpetual bed-head, which was making Megan actually mad at me. Excuse me if I don’t want to comb my hair for 24 hours.

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I made it back to Portland safe and sound and immediately jumped (ok stepped) into my bathtub for a candy mountain soak. NOT A BAD END, my friends.

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Influenster Dessange Box

Get ready for some serious PURPLE.

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If you’re a blonde, than you are more than aware of the upkeep. Like an English garden, a blonde head’a’hair is not something to take lightly. It involves perseverance, sensitivity and of course, the right tools. These products from Influenster couldn’t have come at a better time for me, given the current state of m’brassy locks.

I tried all three of these products two days ago, so please keep in mind that this is more of a “first impression” rather than a full-on review.

For starters, neither the shampoo or the conditioner are purple, which is okay with me. I happen to think that too many purple-hued products can give off a gray tone. Anyway, the smell is definitely not my fave. The musky scent in the  conditioner is kinda old-lady and the shampoo isn’t much better. I tend to favor more fresh, spa-like smellin’ hurr curr personally. The shampoo did give me a nice lather and the conditioner is a nice thick consistency. Neither left my hair feeling heavy, or weighted down which is something that often happens to me, given my fine hair.

Now let’s get on to the CC Crème. Holy PURPLE. This stuff is sooooo purple that it almost errs on the side of cobalt blue.

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Like paint.

The directions for this products are also pretty strange, instructing you to do this big allergy test on your skin 48 hours prior to using it. YEAaaaaahhh… I aint got time for that. I just went ahead and used a medium amount from root to tip, as instructed. I left it on about 5 minutes and then rinsed. And rinsed. And rinsed some more. I rinsed my hair for literally 5 minutes. And purple water just kept swirling down the drain. My arms were getting so tired and I figured that I got it all out, so I dried it a little and went to bed.

The next morning while combing out my hair I noticed a couple patches of PURPLE scalp. So yeah, I didn’t get it all. Nor did I feel like it cancelled out any of my brassiness. Please keep in mind that I only used it once and that with continued use it might start to work better. However, with how much fuss is involved I probably will not be using it on the reg.

All in all, the products were just okay for me. I will definitely report back after I have used them a few more times and let you know if my opinions have changed.

Have any of you signed up for Infuenster or tried Dessange? If so, let me know what you think!

A Night with Dr. Huxtable

OH YES.

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He’s one’a the greats. Right up there with Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Martin Short and of course Robin Williams (may he rest in peace). Bill Cosby is one of those comedians who can make me laugh with a single facial expression. Or one gruesomely awesome sweater. One proclamation, stating “Theoooo likes the swirly puddin’ poppppss!”. Oh, but he is so much more. A poor kid who “didn’t know he was poor”. A guy who won the hearts of millions doing stand-up comedy, writing books,  and of course playing our favorite TV Dad, Dr. Huxtable. He is a master of comedy. He is a man I feel privileged to have seen live.

Bryan’s job earned us a spot at the company table a couple nights ago, for a local youth program aimed at keeping kids off the streets after foster care. An absolutely wonderful organization and one that Bry and I were happy to support, the evening kicked off with a cocktail hour. With Mr. Cosby as the head-liner, I wasn’t surprised to see this AMAZING list of cocktails presented at the bar:

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And OF COURSE jello shots. Because what night with The Cos would be complete without them?

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After a couple of drinks, we all headed into the banquet hall for dinner.

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The menu consisted of a soup, entrée and the best part – dessert. I had the goat cheese tart with asparagus and was SO excited to get through it so I could dive into the CANDY centerpiece. Btw, Milk Duds might be a life-changer. Like, HOW have I not been eating these everyday of my life??

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After our dinner, Mr. Cosby was introduced and slowly made his way onto the stage. The guy is 77 and yeah, he looks it. He sat down, adjusted his mic in a crew neck sweatshirt that said “Hello Friend” and – instantaneously became the comedian I remembered.

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He began by talking about his childhood in the Philly projects. He recounted such details as drinking water from empty Hellman’s mayo jars and nearly setting his house (and himself) on fire on more than once occasion. He talked about his family, his parents and his granddad. Then he went into (his famous) bits about Adam and Eve and of course, The Bible. I had to squeeze Bryan’s arm in sheer excitement when he began that part.

As a kid, we had a few Bill Cosby stand-up routines on vinyl and I would sit and listen to them for hours. I still have some sections memorized. Here I was, some 20 years later and finally listening to the real thing! It was pretty amazing.

He concluded his routine in the most sincere, grateful and classy way possible. He thanked each and every one of us for being “a part of the solution” to helping kids have a better life no matter the hand they were dealt. What a guy, that Cosby. What a guy.

We drove home that night with sugar comas, sore cheeks and full hearts. Definitely a Cosby kind-of night :).

Happenings

A couple weekends ago, Bryan and I drove over to Seattle to visit friends and watch the Seahawks training camp with our pals the Lipes. Saturday night we had a scrumptious dinner with the Grims and celebrated their little girl’s 2nd birthday. Elmo cupcakes all around!

On Sunday we drove out to Everett and were bussed in (via schoolbus, SUCH a throwback) to the Seahawks training facility. We spread out our trusty Seahawks towel on the grass, devoured a pulled-pork sammie at 10 am, and watched m’boy Lynchie sag his shorts into man-pries. Them Hawks looked real sharp out there, doing football things and running around. It def got me excited for fall!

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Mel and Me!

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Hustle Like Russell

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When we got back to Portland that night, we discovered that “Bite of Portland” was going on right by our apartment, which took care of dinner plans! I have to say I was pretty disappointed in it overall. $5 to get in, with a smattering of food booths/trucks which were NOT cheap and scant $6 wine pours. We ended up having some good stuff but it was a bit spendy for walking around in goose poop. Spokane’s Pig Out in the Park beats Portland by a landslide.

Clearly over the tiny pours

Clearly over the tiny pours

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My dinner: hummus and pita

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Bry’s lamb gyro

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Street taco to share

Mid-week we also ventured into the out-of-doors for a mini adventure! We drove to Mt. Hood National Park and decided to do the 4 mile-ish Mirror Lake Loop and boy, was it purty!

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The next weekend we ventured east, to my ol’ stomping grounds of wonderful Spokane, Washington. One of my besties, Holly was turning 30 on Saturday so we decided to make a little weekend of it and stay at The Davenport Friday night. We arrived late and immediately had drinks in The Peacock Room and then headed over to Steelhead for dinner.

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As we walked to dinner down the all too familiar streets of my past, I felt strange pangs of nostalgia. These were the streets I traipsed along what felt like SO long ago – single, with chunky highlights wearing clearance tops from Hollister. Where I went on dates, met girlfriends for drinks and spent my piddley paychecks at River Park Square. Here I was now, 7 years the wiser with a hus-cat on my arm and budding wrinkles on my face. WEIRD.

We plopped down at Steelhead next to two gals in their early 20’s. Bedecked in 5-inch heels and picking at their salads with hopeful eyes and painted lips, they chatted nervously about this guy and that. Which bar they should “start at” and where they hoped to end up (of COURSE I was eavesdropping). I wanted to take these young women by the shoulders, look deeply into their kohl-rimmed eyes and tell them that none of it matters. To go out and have fun and be 23 and not worry about men, or looking as close to a hooker without actually being a hooker as possible. To NOT WORRY about playing “games” and just enjoy life. But alas, I dug into my pizza and fry combo with a smile on my face. An “I’m glad I figured out a little something” kind of a smile.

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Most comfortable bed EVER

The next day was Holly’s 30th and we celebrated out in Greenbluff where her fam owns some property. It was right out of a Dixie Chicks music video, sprawling orchards with apricots and peaches, laced with sunflowers and hummingbirds. And a’course like any country song, we had plenty of beer :). Holly’s dad roasted a pig and everyone brought sides and fixins (how great is the word fixins, btw?). We set up a huge tent to keep out of the sun and everyone set up their respective “campsites”. We drank strawberry lemonade-vodkas, had delicious birthday cake and obvs s’mores at the end of the night.

The highlight had to easily be the epic game of Chubby Bunny that Holly and Matt (her fiancé) played around the campfire. No joke, I have never laughed harder. Why is that game SO FUNNY!?

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The next day we all packed up and hit the road. I had three marshmallow remnants stuck in my hair, soooo YEAH.

Lastly! I am well on the way to changing my name, which is kindof a major b**** if you ask me. I understand that there are automated websites that do everything for you nowadays, but they also cost money. I waited at Social Security for nearly an hour the other day and today I plan to do the same at the DMV. Lets change this tradition to boys taking the girls’ last names, mmmkay?

Rockin’ Moroccan

Moroccan. OIL.

I started using this preciousness over 3 years ago, based on a recommendation from a stylist who came into the coffee shop I worked at. She had long, GORGEOUS locks and said she owed much of her mane’s success to Moroccan Oil. So, as a poor barista I walked down to the salon and forked over the $25 for a .85 oz bottle.

Weeks later, the state of my tired, broken hair had improved ions and I was also completely addicted to the smell of the stuff. Like liquid diamonds, I treated it as such. Savored every drop until the bottle was empty and off to the salon I’d go, happily exchanging my hard-earned tips for not even an ounce of this oil I quickly realized, I could not live without.

Like Lassie, Moroccan Oil has remained a tried and true, dependable, and loyal friend. There for me when other products failed. A shoulder to cry on after bad highlight jobs, split ends and one too many bottles of crappy shampoo.

Recently, sister Amy gifted me this set made in heaven. Three blissful products in LARGE sizes just for me. I am truly blessed. Here are the goods!

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When just the color of the bag makes me giggle like a school girl, YOU KNOW the stuff inside is worthy of heroic introduction.

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::cues Hallelujah chorus::

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Of the three, I must admit I am the least excited about this, only because frizz isn’t something I suffer with. Perhaps I can bring ‘er on humid vacay?

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Cannot WAIT to try this stuff you guys. A Moroccan Oil heat protectant? You had me at Moroccan.

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Annnnnd the money shot. This is what I have used and loved these past years but in a, get ready for it– 3.4 ounce sized bottle of righteousness. The majesty will be unleashed very soon, as the last 1/4 of my mini bottle is slowly dissipating. Perhaps I’ll throw a party when I delve into this perfectly mastered bottle? I can see it now! Turquoise and orange streamers, maybe a firework or two?

And of course, the All-American Chocolate Cake from Costco. But that my friends, is another post ;).