Harmony for the Friday Face Mask

Today I went with the Harmony Rose Petal Face Mask from FEEL

Welcome to Face Mask Friday everyone. We finally made it.  Friday has arrived and as I post my face mask reviews in the afternoon, it means that the weekend is almost here.  So take a deep breath, Friday is half over, the weekend beckons.  I am in a particularly good mood at the moment as the rain has finally, if temporarily, ended and the sun is actually shining.  I was actually able to use the walking trail near my house today, even if I did slide a short distance down a mud slicked section.  I retained my footing and didn’t end up in the still swollen creek below.

So I’m calling that a win.

In addition the sunny weather should hold for a few days so this weekend even if it is still on the chilly side, I am taking out one of the lawn chairs and setting it up in the back yard.  My plan is to sit in the sun and read.  I may have to wrap up in a blanket to do so, but I will.  Even my bones feel waterlogged at this point.  I need some time in the sun.

I can’t actually take credit for this idea.  I went to check on the garden today and I saw my neighbor Agnes set up in her back yard.  Her hair was in a turban, she had massive sunglasses on and was wrapped up in what looked like a faux fur blanket. She had a small side table with a cup of tea and a large thermos beside it and her CD player was belting out Etta James. She looked quite glamorous actually.  Like an elderly movie star still beset by over eager fans despite her attempt at retirement.

I doubt I will be nearly as glamorous.

But at least I know the standard set for the neighborhood.

However this post is to talk about my Friday Face Mask, so let’s get to is shall we?

Today’s face mask was the Harmony Rose Petal Face Mask from Feel (Retail $55).  I received it in an IPSY box I believe.  Prior to this I had only tried their Pumpkin Walnut Cleanser. Incidentally if you are looking for a dual cleanser and light exfoliate, that is a really good one to try.  It also smells amazing. If you are anything like me you might want to try tasting it, don’t.  It doesn’t taste amazing. But it is fantastic on the skin.

Because of this cleanser I had high hopes for the Harmony Rose Facial Mask.  I must also say, each year as a birthday gift for myself I get the Fresh Rose Mask.  It has been a favorite of mine for a while and I was curious to see how this compared.  So let’s look first at the product page which states…

Harmony is overflowing with rose petals, rose essential oils, and rose flower extracts to form a beautifully concentrated gel mask that infuses your skin with deep hydration. Vitamin E and Vitamin C bring antioxidants to the table. Combined with all the roses, they work to tone and plump up collagen by encouraging skin cell turnover. Slip on a thick layer when your skin is feeling dehydrated or unbalanced. It’ll tighten and brighten your complexion while you take a minute to relax. This product is vegan.

I know a lot of people are sensitive to the scent of rose.  I am sort of on the fence with it.  I like the natural scent of rose but I really don’t like when rose fragrance is added to skin care products.  When it is added, I find it becomes a bit overpowering.  This was not overpowering.  It is a present scent so if you don’t like rose, this probably isn’t for you, but if you like naturally rose scented products you might enjoy this.  It is not overpowering at all.

The dividing lid between the outer lid and the product is a clear plastic.  At first I thought it was an extra seal, then I realized it was not and simply pried it off instead of trying to cut through it. Yeah, not one of my smartest moments.

Once I outsmarted the plastic lid, I applied the mask to my clean, dry skin. Despite looking a little like a jar of jam, it spreads nice and evenly across the face.  Unlike jam it isn’t very sticky on the skin until it dries down a lot.  Once on the skin my face looked like I attempted to tan my skin with the dregs of the teapot, but at least I didn’t look like was some sort of demented burglar.  Possibly deranged, but probably not part of a gang of skin care loving bank robbers.

I can live with deranged.

So I let the mask settle in for fifteen minutes and then washed it off.  Personally I think my skin looks quite nice.  I know it feels super soft.  I shouldn’t be surprised though.  This mask contains both Vitamin E and C.  Growing up my mom used Vitamin E to rub into scars and scabs.  It softened the tissue and sometimes helped prevent scarring.  And my skin loves Vitamin C, it always reacts well. 

Over all I really liked this mask, I liked the pleasant little break from my day I received while wearing it and I look forward to using this mask again in the future. And to be honest, I think it is actually comparable to the Fresh version. I doubt I’ll manage to get through the entire jar by the time my birthday rolls around so I may have to actually come up with a new birthday present for myself.  I suppose I better think of some spurge items to put on my list.

Well that is it for my Face Mask Friday.  It is back to work for me and then a weekend trying to live up to the Agnes standard of backyard glamor.

Wish me luck, she is a hard act to follow.


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Weely Weight: 210.6 lbs

March 27th, 2020

Yeah, I knew there was going to be a significant weight gain. I was hoping it was less, but given everything I am not surprised. There was the lack of any form of work out last week combined with over eating very highly caloric foods. There was also stress.

Stress always makes me gain weight, or at least it has in the past. I don’t see why that would actually change.

But this week I started in on a new plan. I added a bit of yoga stretching and a segment of hand weights to my week to make up for the gym. I meant to add a third but there was a bit of a kerfuffle, Apparently our internet provider was not prepared for so many people to work remotely so wednesday I couldn’t get a video to load without spending more time looking at the circular loading symbol than the actual video. Thursday of course I did the weights again.

In general my gym sessions aren’t designed to burn massive calories though, I do it for my strength training more or less and burn calories with my walk.And when it is raining I use the gym’s treadmills.

So with the constant rain for the past week or so, either my walking around the block between bursts of rain did nothing or it did something and I was just worse off last week than I thought. Because I was kind enough to myself not to actually step on the scale at the end of last week, we will never know.

And quite frankly I am fine with that.

This week we got things situated so my baby can work from home and neither go bonkers nor drive me to the brink of insanity. which is a pretty big victory. Although I now have a standing lunch date as he more or less figures that if he is taking a lunch break then I should too, There are worse things.

The electronics seemed to have sorted themselves out and after a full day of no rain yesterday, I went to check the walking trail and the flood waters were receding. I should actually be able to walk today in a normal fashion. As the lack of walking was beginning to make me feel antsy I am very happy to report that. So while I am not pleased with the weight gain, I was expecting it and in an effort to practice self-care, I am calling this a re-boot. I am not going to list how much I gained in my stats today (although you can easily do the math, I did it in my head already) I am going to simply take this as current weight and move on. As I become more comfortable with home workouts and begin walking again, I’m sure the numbers on the scale will once again be in decline and my spirits will rise. What that rate will be is anyone’s guess. For now I am happy to one again have a routine. Or at least the start of one. Please let me know if you find my Home Fitness Posts helpful or if you’d like to see something added or taken away from them. Or if you’d like me to drop them all together. For those who come more for the beauty related topics, next week I will be catching up on some of my palette posts as I got a bit slack with posting them. I have been practicing my swatching though so they might be more helpful this time around.

So to the stats.

Starting Weight: 246.0 lbs

Current Weight: 210.6 lbs

Amount of weight lost to date: 35.4 lbs

Weight left to lose (apx.): 87.6 lbs

Okay folks there is the reboot. we will see where things go from here as we step out into this brave new world of ours. Well not too far out as we are all mostly still practicing self-isolation. Metaphorically out I suppose. Anyway I will see you all this afternoon for the Friday Face Mask. I hope you have a good Friday.

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Eliminating Grays with a Bit of self care

The box

For a while now I’ve been seeing a few gray hairs pop up on my head.  There never arrive at the same time I’ll get one and then a few weeks later a second will appear.  I have been simply plucking them out as they arrive, thanking them for their willingness to cover my scalp but informing them their service is not needed and sending them on their way.  I think that is why they started arriving in pairs.

They wanted the back up.

While I know several people who have gone gray and look lovely with it, I wasn’t too keen on the prospect.  All of my grays were in one little area so I decided to try and grow them out a little bit to see if maybe I’d get a cool stripe or something. 

The unruly grays

I did not and they started to drive me crazy.  Still I knew if I just plucked them and dyed the hair then as soon as I did, the gray would grow back.  So I had to wait for a bit until the odd lighter spots stopped increasing.  Thankfully it didn’t take all that long.  I just had one weird spot of gray.

So I bought a box of hair dye.

At first I started to look up other product reviews for home hair dye but they were not encouraging.  Most featured funky colors or bleaching attempts gone horribly awry. Sometimes a combination of the two.  And then there were hairdressers and stylists maligning all store bought box dyes so I decided to just ignore them all for the first run through, pick a box from a company who makes other products I love and hope for the best.

included in the kit

So I came home from the store with L’Oreal’s Excellence Crème Triple Protection Color.  I chose the shade 5RB Medium Reddish Brown because all of the straight up browns looked a little too dark for me, unless they looked a little too blonde. With the red mixed in, I thought it would give it some depth instead of looking flat. 

I should point out that my experience with dying my hair oscillated between old school goth black and homemade colors involving kool-aide packets.

So I arrived home. I then set the box to the side because the world went mad.

Now I decided that a nice bit of self-care would be to actually use the dye, eliminating the grays and making me feel better when I look in the mirror.  And if the dye makes me look like Ronald MacDonald then at least I am in isolation and will only traumatize my baby doll and not the outer world at large.

So into the breach.

Not exactly for God and Country, but still an attack of sorts.

the dye in my hair

So I stripped down to an old plaid shirt that I use for gardening when it is chilly or the mosquitos are out in full force.  It already has holes in the elbows and along the bottom seam.  I’ve never figured those out actually.  I get the elbows wearing out, just not the bottom seam. Regardless I figured a little extra hair dye wouldn’t trouble it.

So dressed, I took L’Oreal into the bathroom.

The directions are quite clear and very easy to follow.  The provided gloves took a moment to actually open and get on my hands.  I started with the provided hair protector ant included, as per instructions.  It gave me some home that my hair would not come out fried at the end of this process. 

Then, feeling a bit like a mad scientist I mixed the dye with the activator, shook and applied to my head. It is thick and didn’t drip which I appreciated. It coated my hair well and even though I have rather long hair, there was enough dye to cover all of it.

I waited the recommended time and then took myself and the conditioner to the shower.  They dye rinsed out well and did not stain the tiles. I used the conditioner as one does. I will say I was a bit surprised by the amount of hair that washed out with the dye and conditioner.  It was more fall out then I usually see when I wash my hair and I was nervous.  So when completely rinsed, I stepped from the shower toweled dry, dressed and went directly for my hair dryer.

gray gone and the red faded back after a single wash

Usually if I don’t have to go anywhere I let my hair dry naturally but I was too curious to wait. Plus I wanted to know if I was going to be bald.

I was not.

I was however very impressed.

I think the hair that came out was the older duller looking hair because my hair looked great.  Perhaps I don’t brush vigorously enough to get those looser hairs out on a daily basis, perhaps they just decided it was time, I don’t know.  But my hair had great color, with no grays showing.  It also had excellent shine and body.  I really liked how it turned out.  I also want to find out if they sell the conditioner separately because it was fantastic.

My only issue was that while my hair ended up a nice brown with a slight reddish undertone, my scalp was quite red. It washed away after a day or two and was fine, but it would be something to remember for dying the hair when not in self-quarantine. In two days my scalp was back to normal and my hair still looked great. All in all, I am quite pleased. I tend to like L’Oreal products in general and I am glad I went with them on this.

It may be a bit silly of me, but I have to say I feel a little less tired and run down now that I am not looking at the odd tuft of gray in the mirror. It was only a little boost, but still much needed. Not bad for a $7.99 product and thirty minute wait time.way to go L’Oreal.

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Kerastase

Weight loss Regime Survival Tip # 43: routine and indulgence

Nearly anyone you talk to will tell you that achieving a goal takes work. If it didn’t take work then we could all wish ourselves into the place we want to be, healthwise, weight wise, location-wise or what have you.. Of course being human, we tend not to value that which comes easily as much as the things we actually have to sweat for, so we’d probably all want new and different things we couldn’t wish for or try to counteract the wishes of others.

I’m sure it would lead to a Wish War.

Unicorns vs. Armored Knights probably.

While sweat is good, we all know effort has to be put in the right place to be effective. For example last week, I put in a lot of effort. Every surface of my house gleams with anti bacterial goodness. All sheets and towels are freshly laundered as is any clothing anyone wore outside when they came into contact with people before being sequestered. Admittedly I might have gone a little overboard on a few things.

While I do normal wash for everything else, anything I wear for working out gets pounded with the hottest water my machine can give and then blasted in the dryer. After buckets of sweat it is the only way I’ve found to keep them fresh until they have a chance to wear out. Unfortunately not knowing my gym clothes system, my darling dearest added a couple of things to the mix and they now no longer fit him.

So I’ve been accused of being overzealous.

However effective this eradication regime was in keeping us healthy, it didn’t really move me in a weight loss direction. It was necessary. Very Very necessary. Just part of a different, but adjacent goal. Staying healthy is important to weight loss, it just doesn’t burn the calories. Especially when you chase the activity with buckets of fried chicken and my personal weakness, pizza. We have a local place here that makes their white pizza with a truly sinful amount of ricotta and Mozzarella. Even when not dieting I feel like I ought to hit a confessional after eating it.

And yes, it is fantasticly yummy.

But I’m getting off track.

Now that me and mine are settled in seclusion, panic has dimmed and there is the need for a routine to keep from going crazy. While both me and my baby are still working, albeit from him and with video conferencing, after months of diet and exercise, I find myself getting fidgety without exercise to break up my day.

I know, while a pandemic is raging it sounds a little narcissistic to think about my own weight loss, but the truth is, having something to dwell on internally, to focus on the personal rather than the world view, helps me keep the panic and worry away, or at least to a manageable level. So I am developing a new routine and quite frankly as working keeps me from obsessing about news releases, I’m actually getting a lot more done.

It turns out that I am way more productive without the outside world as a distraction.

But as I build up a new routine for myself, I need to also remember to be kind to myself as well. Working to keep from obsessing and working out to build a routine and burn off excess energy is all well and good, but a little personal indulgence also goes a long way.

For example, I have a small bubbling foot tub that someone gave me quite a few years ago. I forget if it was a Christmas or a birthday present. I generally take it out only a few times a year. Admittedly when I started my initial work out It helped alleviate foot soreness. I used it on Monday. Partially because I had to walk in rain boots instead of sneakers but mostly as an indulgence. It did not go back into the cupboard to wait out another year, but is instead sitting out for another go round next time I feel in need of a little pampering.

My candles are also being lit for more than just my Friday Face Mask and tonight I plan to give myself a full manicure, including massaging my overwashed hands with my most expensive hand cream as well as a new coat of nail polish.

This is a time when routine and indulgence need to work together as partners to provide sanity and stress release. So I hope all of you reading this are settling in and staying safe, building routines that makes sure life continues in a new normal instead of letting the shift back into the home make you stir crazy. I hope you are allowing yourself time to adjust and treating yourself kindly with little personal indulgences designed to induce calm in a stress filled world. You soaking your feet in scented oil with lovely candles lit around you isn’t going to help make the pandemic go away, but it isn’t going to hurt it either, and it might just do you a world of good.


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New Book Release: Nameless

New Book release

Time now for a bit of shameless self promotion. Don’t worry, I’ll keep this one short and sweet. My latest book is now available. If you are interested in checking it out I’ve posted the information below. Nameless is the first book in a new epic fantasy series. Enjoy!

Nameless

In Pontuse, the Capitol City of Balosh, noble lords employ assistants to amuse and entertain them as well as to distract others from their shortcomings and intentions. Despite being an orphan without a name, Nameless holds the prize position of Assistant to Prince Roland, heir to the throne of Balosh.  While he dances and performs acrobatic feats to distract from Roland’s often less than regal nature, things aren’t exactly what they seem.  The Queen looks at Nameless with growing anger and hatred despite his bet efforts to please and when the Prince is sent to the neighboring Kingdom of Genarai to negotiate a treaty, she arranges for an assassin to eliminate Nameless from the Prince’s retinue. The threat sends him down an unexpected path leading him to his past and a possible new future. Can he elude death long enough to reclaim his own long forgotten name, or will he forever be Nameless.

You can find Nameless as well as links to all of my other books HERE.

Home Fitness: Let the Weights begin!

a set of five pound weights

Before I get started I have to say an apology to the world of yoga. I always knew it was exercise, but I thought it secondary to the gym. I have to say this morning when I got up, I could feel yesterday’s short bout of yoga. First of all I congratulated myself on taking it slow when getting started and easing myself into the new routine instead of dashing headlong into a full hour long workout.

I may have worked in the gym, but yoga is different. It feels easier when you are doing it somehow yet when you aren’t looking manages to kick your butt. It talks about breathing and calming stress while making you sweat.

It’s a sneaky sort of exercise.

I have to say I respect that.

For those of you who missed yesterday’s post I completed the Fifteen Minute Morning Yoga Routine from SarahBethYoga yesterday as my first stay at home fitness venture. I liked and repeated it this morning. Although I was a bit sore this morning, the routine loosened me up and made me feel better about doing other workouts.

Which was good because it was Tuesday and time for Weights. Yeah my weight options pretty much include the hand weights you see pictured above and a five lbs weight ball that I am pretty sure is buried somewhere in my closet.

So for today’s starting workout I walked a couple of laps between bursts of rain around my neighborhood. I used a large golf umbrella and my yellow rubber rain boots instead of my sneakers. My arches aren’t entirely happy with me but I found a set of Dr. Scholl’s gel inserts that I could tuck into the boots should they be necessary tomorrow. It’s not ideal, but we still have flooding. So I’ll take the sore feet.

Added to this was my hand weight workout. The specific one I tried today was called Workout with 5 Pound Weights – Home Workout with Dumbbells by Jessica Valant Pilates It is about ten minutes long, which I thought was good for a first workout with weights. It only uses the weights as the necessary equipment and was easy to follow along. There was no point where I was lost or confused and most importantly I could do all of the exercises. A few towards the end weren’t as stellar as the presenter’s versions, but I did them.

I also might have said a few not so nice things about people who actually seem to enjoy working out with weights, but I don’t think the people on the television heard me.

I hate weight day. I’ll be honest, I know it is important and I know I need to do it, hence the reason I schedule it, but I hate it.If I could get away with just walking I would. But I can’t. And since I can’t this was a good beginner workout for me to do. And as much as I complain about it, I will be doing it again on Thursday.

Tomorrow I will be trying a yoga fitness ball routine and will hopefully manage to neither explode the ball nor propel myself into a wall. At least if I do knock myself out on the wall, I know I won’t be home alone. Starting tomorrow my darling dearest will be working from home. He is not the sort of person to whom working at home comes naturally. He is very much a work is work and home is home and never should the two meet.

I’m sure there will be some adjustments.

As well as someone to make sure I don’t brain myself on the wall. Once I have the yoga ball routine I will be set for a week or so. It (or a routine I like) will be for Monday, Wednesday and Friday while I go for the weights on Tuesday and Thursday and then continue with the fifteen minute wake up as my initial morning stretch during week days. Hopefully the weather will clear up and I will then get to exchange my rain boots for sneakers and I will have some semblance of a set routine. Then if I get bored, I can branch out. I have no idea how long the world will be upended, and personally despite random predictions, I don’t think anyone else knows either. I suspect howeve it will last long enough for my new routine to become routine and need shaking up.

But this week is about set up. Next week will be about monitoring and adjusting. Today we worry about our own sanity, tomorrow we worry about the world’s collective sanity. As my Gran used to say, “Everything in it’s own time.”

I’m not entirely sure she meant pandemics, but I’m gonna run with it.


For those looking to start their own home fitness routine I’m going to post a few links below you might find useful in gearing up.

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A tale of Three Mascaras

Tarte Big Ego, Butter London Power-up And Thrive Cosmetics

Spending a lot more time at home is a good chance to actually sort through a few things.  I have cleaned out my coat closet and piled up several items to go to donation bins once I head out into the wider world gain and I have one of my large closets slated for a complete overhaul.  At the moment though, my empties bin is my focus.  Currently, I have three mascaras that must now be discarded. 

The first leaving my dressing table is the Tarte Big Ego Mascara.  According to Tarte’s product page…

Let your lashes be full of themselves! Boost your lash volume & confidence with this ultra-black, flake-free vegan mascara that instantly lifts your lashes & delivers a fully-loaded flutter for 16 hours.

The wand from the Tarte Big Ego looks good but doesn’t deliver

This mascara retails for $23 and I have to say I had high hoped for it.  I absolutely adore Tarte shadows and one of my favorite mascaras is the Tarte Maneater Mascara.  Unfortunately this fell flat for me.  Despite it’s bushy brush, I just didn’t get the volume from it. It clumped on my lashes and made them look spidery.  I tried it multiple times, but I just didn’t like this product.  I tried it off an on for three months and now I am gratefully bidding it adieu. I will not be repurchasing it.  And when I do use Tarte mascara, I will go with the Maneater.  That formula is simply much better.

Next up is the Butter London Power Up mascara. It retails for $20 and according to it’s product page…

This mascara delivers length and dramatic curl with long-lasting, flexible 8-hour wear.

Butter London, so in love with this one

And boy does it deliver.  This mascara was the first one I reached for as soon as I started wearing it.  It gives more volume than it gives length, but it really fills out the lashes and once it is on, it doesn’t go anywhere until you take it off.  There were several times where I tried other mascaras and then because they weren’t performing up to standards, I reached for this Power up to help them out.  I know you are supposed to replace your mascaras after three months of use as a best practice and six months if you are pushing it.  I have to confess, I used this one until there was no product left in the tube.  Seriously, on the day I pulled the wand from the tube and no matter how much I wiggled it there wasn’t enough left to use, I almost cried. If there is one mascara I am 100% repurchasing, it is this. The curve in the want meant that I didn’t actually need to use the eyelash curler either so it was a step I could skip.

My third mascara in this lot is from Thrive cosmetics.  It retails for $24 and is described as … Instantly create the look of lash extensions with this award-winning, best-selling mascara powered by technology that won’t clump, flake or smudge!

Thrive, excellent for lengthening lashes

I will say the packaging feels super high end.  It is a metal tube that feels really nice in the hand.  It is also really good at extending the lashes.  One pass with the mascara gives them a little bit of extra length.  If you give it a moment and let the product settle and then apply a second coat, you can extend them even further.  It does tend to flake a little bit after about six hours of wear.  It also does nothing for volume. Which as it doesn’t make any volume claims, that is perfectly fine.  I did find that If I applied it to lengthen and then after letting it dry a moment, went back over it with the Butter London Power up, I could have the best of both worlds. The Butter London added volume to the length and sort of coated the Thrive cosmetics so that it didn’t flake.  Thus far the Thrive Cosmetics Mascara is the best for lengthening that I have found.  I am about 75% sure think I would repurchase this one.  It is good on its own for lengthening but better when paired with the Butter London Power up when I wore it. 

So there you have it, three mascaras leaving my dressing table, but only two that will end up being repurchased and returning to my makeup bag.

I hope whatever you are doing in this time of stress and uncertainty, you are keeping yourself safe. I’ll be back this afternoon as I try out a new work out with hand weights in an effort to keep my promise to myself to get healthy. See you then.


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