Tuesday, March 27, 2012

LUSH “Pink Clouds” Bath

I love LUSH bath bombs and bubble bars. I also enjoy mixing and experimenting to get the results I want. So, I added three LUSH products to create Pink Clouds; a pink bath with lots of soft white bubbles, moisture, and an incredibly sweet scent.

For this bath I use:
1/3 The Comforter Bubble Bar
1/2 Creamy Candy
1/2 Mmmmelting Marshmallow
And of course a bath tub and warm water  

The Comforter Bar creates the fluffy bubbles and pink water, the Cream Candy add the sweet smell, and the Mmmmelting Marshmallow, infused with almond oil and cocoa butter, adds the moisturizer.

I crush all the bars with my hand and spread the crumbs at the bottom of the tub. I use the shower faucet to jet water on to the crumbs so they soften and start melting.

I turn on the tap and full the tub with warm water. Add my favorite candles and voila; a bath fit for a queen.

The scent sticks to the skin and the moisturizer leave it very soft; great for replenishing the moisture dried out by winter’s cold dry air. As an added bonus the sweet scent linger in the bathroom for days J
Do you have a fave LUSH recipe? Please share :)
*To seal in the moisture apply your favorite body butter or cream immediately after the bath.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Figs & Rouge lip, face & body balm

The little tin that keeps on giving.

These balms come in the cutest retro tins. At 0.60 oz and 0.26 oz they are the perfect size to tote around in your purse and are pretty enough to put on display on your desk at work.
Inside the pretty tins are 100% of organic goodness. On the lips and body the balm is soothing and nourishing. It is not greasy yet quite moisturizing.

Wild Cherry and Pomegranate have sweet fruity scents, and Rambling Rose has a soft floral scent.
I have been using these since early January and I am absolutely addicted! I keep Wild Cherry (my favorite) in my study, Pomegranate on my bedside table, and Rambling Rose  in a small pouch I carry around in my purse.
Rambling Rose 8ml/0.26 oz.

Wild Cherry with Sweet Orange 17ml/0.60 oz.
Usually, I keep a small hand cream, cuticle oil, and lip balm on my bedside table. I have replaced all three products with my tin of Pomegranate. I apply a small amount to my lips, hands, and cuticles every night.
Pomegranate 17ml/0.60 oz.
At first I was a bit squeamish about having to stick my finger into the pot, but I got over that quickly. My only hang-ups on these balms are that they do not contain SPF or UV protection and that they are not long-lasting when used as a lip balm. I find that I have to reapply quite frequently; certainly more often than I would with my longtime favorite, plain old Chap Stick. However, I really like Wild Cherry and Pomegranate and will continue to buy both.

I also want to try Coco Vanilla.

Sacha Eye Shadow Palettes

If I had to list my must-have makeup products my Sacha neutral eye shadow palette would be at the very top. I bought the neutral and color palettes about three years ago* in Antigua. I liked them so much that I bought two more of each and gave them as gifts.

The shadows in both palettes are very pigmented, which I like because the colors are visible against my darker skin tone. They are also powdery; meaning they are not too dense and difficult to work with.
Neutral Palette
Color Palette
I fell in love with neutral palette right away and it’s one of the two eye shadow palettes (the other is my MAC pro-palette) I take with me every time I travel. It is light and compact enough, plus I rarely experiment with bright colors when I’m home so I doubt I will be doing so when I travel. I have not found another gold or dark purple that match my two favorite colors in the neutral palette, nor have I found another gold and dark purple that suit my skin tone so nicely.
Colors from the neutral palette
I really do recommend the neutral palette because I think it is good value for money. I admit the packaging is not the best and should be improved (perhaps this has already been done), but I would certainly buy this palette again.
From the color palette - looks even brighter in person!
*I know three years is the “shelf life” of eye shadows but I figure I can get a few more months of use from these before I toss them. I disinfect my eye shadows often and I am the only one using them so I am not worried about a buildup of germs/bacteria.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

South Africa Series: What to do in and around Jo’burg

The possibilities are endless. Besides finding great places to eat, which I will write about in the next article of this series, there are many ways to keep one’s self thoroughly entertained in Jo’burg. Here are a few of my favs:

You are going to want to take advantage of having the “National Geographic Channel” in your backyard. You have only to drive but a few hours from the center of Jo’burg to witness nature at its best; wild and untamed. Here are my top three picks:

Lion Park: This is an absolute must-do if you are in the area. First, you are greeted by the friendliest Giraffe  and wild ostriches. You can then opt to drive around the enclosures containing the lions, other carnivores, and the herbivores in your own vehicle or you can join the safari group; either way it is tres exciting! Save the best part for last: playing and taking pictures with the cubs and other tamed* animals; this is a memory you will treasure forever. 
ps. The Crocodile Farm is nearby and is worth a quick peek!

Elephant Sanctuary: Perhaps one of my most humbling, but thoroughly exhilarating experiences. Naturally I was a bit afraid of the elephants. At one point I looked up past my shoulders and was awestruck by the size of these majestic creators. They were even bigger than what I had imagined and I felt like a pea standing next to them. The sanctuary is a safe-haven for these gentle-giants so the small fee you pay to be honored by their presence goes a long way in preserving the elephants and their habitats.
The tour starts with a short presentation about the elephants including their physical structure, their care, and the need to preserve their current population. Then you move on to the good stuff; walking with the elephants, watching them do the cutest tricks, receiving Ellie’ kisses, and taking turns for short rides. I was too chicken to ride the elephants (fear of heights), but it looked like a lot of fun.

The sanctuary is located at Hartbeespoort Dam, roughly 1-2 hours outside of Johannesburg. The dam offers many attractions and activities including watersports and other game-parks. Be sure to stop at the Chameleon Village; the one-stop shop for souvenirs and made-in-Africa keepsakes.
ps. There’s no kiss like an Ellie’Kiss J

Jo’burg Zoo: Not ready to experience the wild firsthand but still want to see the animals? The zoo is the place for you. There is no shortage of exotic animals at the Jo’burg Zoo. Granted, the animals are not in their natural habitat, but the zoo’s curators has done a commendable job at making it as realistic as possible.

I do not think a single week went by without me having to go to the mall for something or the other. Strangely though, my trips to the mall had very little to do with shopping for articles such as clothes, shoes, etc… but more so for all sort of other activities. In Jo’burg most of the restaurants, and businesses are located in malls, I assume this is a safety measure. Here are the malls I frequented and a brief description of what I remember most about them.

Sandton Mall:
v  Great piazza.
v  Huge statue of Nelson Mandela.
v  Haagen-Dazs ice-cream stand (teeheehee … yes, I drove all the way to Sandton for fresh ice-cream).

FourWays Mall:
v  State of the art Planet Fitness gym.
v  Unique boutiques.
Melrose Arch Mall:
v  Weekend brunch spot and piazza!
v  Great place to wander around aimlessly popping in an out of boutiques.
EastGate Mall:
v  Sterkinekor Movie Theatre for all the latest blockbusters.
v  Dream Nails Shop.
v  Nine West :)
Bedfordview Center:
v  Another pleasant piazza!
v  Planet Fitness gym equipped with indoor running track, pool, saunas, tanning booths, Pilates, Yoga, personal trainers, playroom for kids, etc…
v  SenSpa; great facility to relax and get pampered.
v  Nu Metro movie theatre.
v  Pick’n Pay grocery store.
Village View Center:
v  Woolworths grocery store (best place for high-quality fresh produce).
v  Blockbuster DVD rental.
v  Dog groomers and VET close to the exit.
Mangwanani Indaba Day Spa; An all-day African spa experience. This is not your run of the mill spa. The ladies greet you with song and dance and carry this rhythm through-out the entire experience. They work in sync, treating you to a variety of treatments as you move from hut-to-hut. Treatments include manicures, pedicures, full body scrub, and full body massages. This remains one of my most treasure memories.
African Craft Market at the Rose Bank Mall; This is the place to find crafts from all over Africa.
*For more cute pics of the cubs and elephants click here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (Spot Treatment)

This is a product I no longer use but can’t seem to throw away. I bought it last May and after using it for about a month I packed it away at the back of the cupboard. Funny thing is, I actually like this drying lotion; it is very effective. It dries up the pimple in a day or two.

I know what you’re thinking, “if it works so well why did you stop using it?”

Because it not only dries out the pimple, it dries out your skin too. This is especially problematic for someone with hyper-pigmentation like myself. The slightest trauma to the skin leaves a long-lasting dark spot.
Additionally, you only apply the solution at nights and it is not the prettiest look nor the nicest smell. It dries to a whitish-pink crust (if you have a few pimples you looks like a polka-dot cloth). It has a slight sulfur [sulphur] smell and you cannot wear foundation over it no matter how sparingly you applied it because it will flake.
Three small drops dried on the skin
So if you do not have problems with hyper-pigmentation and you are looking for a product to treat whiteheads and pimples give it try. But if you worry about dark spots, then I honestly do not think this is the right product for you.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How to Up Your Makeup Game

In the past to achieve a professional makeup-look you had to, well, hire a professional. But times have changed and now more than ever it is easier for ordinary folks like you and me to step out looking like we just had a consult with a makeup pro. We have access to not only the same quality of makeup used by the experts, but also to their tools, techniques, and *gasp* trade secrets!!! The best part is that it is the very pros who are spilling the beans on makeup and how we can make it work for us.

So how do you go about improving your makeup skills? Simple, research and experimentation.

Your first step is finding the source of the information; books, magazines, DVD’s, blogs, suppliers’ websites, and my personal favorite, YouTube. Once you have gathered the information you need, you should try experimenting on yourself and even others if they are crazy enough to let you. This is where the age-old saying comes into play, “Practice makes perfect”.
With practice you will enhance you makeup application skills as well as learn what works for you and what does not.

Here are a few basic tips:
v  Identify your skin undertone and the colors that look best on you.

v  Choose your sources wisely.

v  Start building your collection by buying affordable, yet professional tools and beauty supplies (Your sources will guide you to the best and those within your budget).

v  Learn how to care for the makeup and tools you buy. This is an investment and you do not want to waste money by damaging your products before you get the chance to enjoy them.

v  Do not give into the hype. Do not buy products simply because it’s the new trend. Instead buy products you need; the things that will enhance your makeup collection.

v  Take advantage of free in-store make-up application. Don’t just take his or her word for it that “this” will look great on you; let the representative prove it by applying it :D

v  Do not be afraid to ask for samples so that you can test the product on you own terms.

v  Read the reviews before you buy. It is common to find mixed reviews; some love it while some hate it. So learn to read between the lines. Find out why persons feel the way they do about the product and use that as you guide.

v  Try to find a makeup guru who is close to your skin-tone; this way you get a good idea of how certain products will look on you.

v  Remember to take care of your skin; makeup looks best on a healthy canvas.

v  Lastly, if you fail, try, try again. Just keep at it till you achieve the look you want.

A Few of My Favorite YouTube MUA’s and Gurus:

For techniques and trade secrets:
·         Wayne (gossmakeupartist). I call Wayne “the all-knowing one” because he knows everything there is to know about makeup and he shares it all!

For makeup tutorials:
·         Jackie (lilpumkinpie05)
·         XXTheIslandBeautyXX
·         Nini (niniluvsmakeup)
·         Jennie (Beautybyjj)

For inspiration:
·         Naya (MakeUpByNaya). Naya is the Da Vinci of makeup. She is a true artist and I am always in awe of her creations.

For reliable product reviews:
·         Crystal (Crystalis007). Crystal really is the 007 of the beauty world. She is continually trying out new stuff and providing information on how well they measure up to marketers’ claims.

*Keep this in mind always; No one is perfect, even makeup artists falter. Just do your best J