Hands up for Bloom and Blossom

I know my darlings, this sample sized tube of Bloom and Blossom Hands Up Age Defying Hand cream just arrived in this month’s Look Fantastic box. The box arrived late Friday afternoon. The look Fantastic Box review went live on Monday. And over the weekend I used up all of this tube of cream.

And I wanted to post the review before I forgot any details. The only product I have tried before from Bloom and Blossom was a lip product. I was not a fan. But I know several people who rave about their products so when this hand cream arrived in the Look Fantastic Box I was happy to give it a try. According to the Bloom and Blossom site…

Soft, youthful hands anyone? Fast-absorbing and ultra-nourishing, this hand cream packs a punch. Hydrating, repairing, brightening and restoring. Put it right there for some tender loving hand care.

Niacinamide packed with Vitamin B3 to help improve signs of skin damage;  Liquorice root extract crammed with antioxidants to brighten skin, reduce inflammation and even skin tone; Shea Butter rich in Vitamins A and E to hydrate, nourish and lock in moisture.

On the nose: A bergamot, ylang ylang and cedarwood blend takes you where you want to go (no passport needed).

Bloom and Blossom

Now hand cream doesn’t need much in the way of explaining, you dispense it from it’s container and rub it into your skin. So lets get into the claims. Fast absorbing? Yes. It absorbed into my skin quickly and easily without a trace of grease left behind. After applying it I walked to the kitchen and opened a jar of olives with no issues. It absorbs and does not leave the skin greasy.

Ultra Nourishing? Definitely. The dry spots on my hands felt better after using it and it was a feeling that lasted. I applied the first trial of the cream on Friday night and my hands were still noticeably more hydrated Saturday morning. It is a nourishing, hydrating and restoring product. I didn’t notice any brightening, but in a sample this size that is not surprising.

Plus I was distracted by it’s scent.

The claim is a bergamot, ylang ylang and cedarwood blend. If ylang ylang and cedarwood are blended in then bergamot took them hostage and beat them into submission. This is a bergamot bomb. And it isn’t bergamot being sneaky either. It is bergamot in attack position. It is strong. It is intense and it is lasting. This bergamot scent will be with you for a while. it took about an hour before it faded. I could still smell it on my hands if i lifted my hands to my nose, but it was no longer in full on assault mode.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m not a big bergamot fan. I can deal with it in some perfumes if it is a back note. But it is the reason I have banned Earl Gray from the house. This was like Earl Gray called in an attack squad to exact his revenge. It was far too much bergamot for me. Which is a shame. The Bloom and Blossom Hands Up Age Defying Hand cream works fantastically well. It is an excellent hand cream and I eagerly used the entire tube of this sample size this weekend.

Will I purchase a full size? Absolutely not. Because the scent would kill me. To be honest, if this cream came in any other scent, I would scoop it up. If it smelled like lemon scented floor cleaner I would still pick it up. It is just that good a cream. I just can’t get past the intensity of the bergamot. So sadly, this fantastic Bloom and Blossom Hand Cream, will not be returning.

Paging Dr. Botanicals and the Strawberry and Poppy Seed Cleansing Bar

This past year saw a rise in Dr. Botanicals products entering my world. They sort of quietly slipped in through subscription boxes without a lot of fan fair and then settled in to be some of my favorite products. The Lemon Rescue Butter has made it onto my list of repeat purchases and I have a mask from Dr. Botanicals waiting in the as of yet untried masking products line up that I can’t wait to try.

Today however there is a new product to discuss. It is the Strawberry and Poppy seed Cleansing Bar. According to Dr. Botanicals…

This is not a soap. Start your day with this completely vegan cleansing bar. Feel uplifted and energised as you wake up to clean, hydrated skin and a blissful scent every morning.

About this Product: This cleansing bar was made to simply clean, hydrate and gently exfoliate the body and hands. Black Poppy Seeds act as a natural exfoliator and buff away dead skin cells to reveal fresh, smooth skin. Moisture-loving glycerin hydrates the body, while we think breathing in the scent of juicy strawberries is the best way to wake up.

Dr. Botanicals Website

I think they go out of their way to tell you it isn’t a soap because it looks exactly like a bar of soap. And to be honest, you use it like a soap. with the poppy seeds I suppose it is intended to be an exfoliating soap.

This product has been perfuming my office since it’s arrival. Through the box, the scent of strawberries is prevalent. Anytime I opened the drawer where I stored it to wait it’s turn at use, a puff of strawberry scented air arose letting me know it was still there. So I finally decided to try it. While most of my uses were in the shower, I did take my pictures over the sink in the powder room for illustrative purposes.

The strawberry scent was strong, until the water hit it. Then it was as if the water seemed to call the scent of glycerin from the bar of not soap. It became very much a lightly strawberry scented vegan soap. Which it is. It just has that particular scent that all vegan soaps seem to have. I don’t mind it, actually I quite enjoy it, but it did kick the strawberry to the back seat. Which I thought was impossible given it’s previous dominance.

The soap itself lathers well and leaves the skin feeling clean and hydrated. There is no moisturizing residue left on the skin and the skin does not feel dried out. When you smell the skin after the shower, the scent of glycerin soap remains with only a hint of strawberry beneath it.

But this isn’t just a strawberry soap, it is a Strawberry and Poppy Seed Cleansing bar. The poppy seeds are there for an exfoliation factor. They failed miserably. And I had to take extra care to make sure they washed down the drain instead of sticking to the shower tiles. If they didn’t get rinsed down they tended to stick to the tiles when the shower dried and I needed to scrape them off so that my times didn’t become textured. Oddly enough providing the exfoliation the cleansing bar lacked, at least on my feet. The poppy seeds were disappointing. And the fading of scent was a bit disappointing. the quality of the cleansing bar itself was top notch.

I think that because this year has seen hit after hit come out of the Dr. Botanicals items, I felt that this just okay cleansing bar was a bit more of a let down than usual. While this was a good vegan cleansing bar, it wasn’t my favorite product and I don’t think that i would actually purchase it on it’s own. I will use the bar until it is gone, because it is a good cleansing bar, it just isn’t something I would feel compelled to repurchase. The Lemon Rescue Butter is a far better purchase.

Cruelty-Free Beauty Box

The Daily: January 17th, 2022

Welcome my darlings to MLK Day. I hope you are having a happy one. For us, it is snowy, icy and the county officials have all suggested that everyone stay inside and don’t drive around any more than they have to. Earlier I took a walk down to the walking trail. Sometimes it is nice to walk in snowy weather. this was not one of those days. This is a day for staying inside.

The main reason isn’t actually the snow. Sunday started out wet and just above freezing. Then the temps dropped and the rain turned to snow. The issue is that it is a layer of snow with a layer of ice just beneath. The walking trail is quite hilly and I almost went sliding down the first hill and into the still swollen creek. About that time the snow started up again.

It wasn’t pretty. Its the sort of wet snow that comes down like damp duck feathers and splatters like someone is actually spitting on you. So I decided that outside was not the place I needed to be. The sun is supposed to be out tomorrow. And the temps are supposed to rise just high enough that wen I try to walk my feet will crunch through the ice rather than send me sliding. An extra day without a walk won’t kill me.

Whereas sliding on the ice just might.

So I am doing one of my favorite activities at this time of year. Going through seed catalogs and making plans for the spring. while it will be a while before things get planted out, I Start the sees in my indoor green house in the sunroom and once they reach a certain stage get them slowly ready for their garden debut. I try to grow them as sturdy as possible inside, with visits outside to harden, before actually planting them out so they have their best shot of surviving and growing fabulous. Given some of the weather fits and starts the last few springs have had here, I like to hedge my bets so I get the plants as hardy as possible and I grow them in stages so if I put the first sets out and get hammered by a late frost I have a few back ups.

To be honest, this year I have much more of a garden plan than usual. last year so many of my plants just didn’t survive that i thought this year I’d take a little more time to think things through.

And since today is a holiday, I am going to take off a little early and take some time to peruse the catalogs. This year, I think I might try to grow celery. I like to try something new every year.

Today’s Look:

Primer: Lys Secure Skin Gripping Serum Primer

Foundation: No 7 Lift and Luminate Triple Action Serum Foundation

Bronzer/Blush/Highlight: LA Splash Moonlight Glow Face Palette

Powder: bareMinerals Mineral Veil

Eyeshadow: Athr Beauty Sunset palette

Mascara: Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara

Lips Evio Beauty lip pencil

Today I started testing both the LYS primer and the La Splash palette. The Eyeshadow palette, mascara and lip liner are completing their testing actually and I’m fairly certain I know how i feel about all of them. The Stila mascara and Evio lip liner are now in my new favorites category while the eyeshadow palette is a bit more complicated. Truthfully I may have to break it down shadow by shadow. Today I used Desert Sand over most of my lids and tried (with minimum degrees of success) to use the shimmer After Glow with it. Desert Sand was easy to work with but powdery and requiring a bit of clean up. After Glow was a bit of a pain. I think those are the last two shades I had to try in the palette. I’ll still play around with it this week, but my review should be up on Thursday if you want the full break down.

I went with one of my favorite Foundations today since I am testing a new primer. The No 7 Lift and Luminate does not disappoint. Plus I know how it works. And combining it with this primer, I could feel the gripping action of the primer. It didn’t prevent this foundation from applying the way I wanted it, but the gripping was noticeable. This is a serum foundation so that might have helped with application. I will be testing out different formulas with the primer over the test. I was surprised that the gripping was so noticeable during foundation application, so seeing how the different formulas perform with it will be interesting. I do like it with the serum style foundation though.

While bareMinerals always pulls through, the powder was especially helpful today in blending the LA Splash Blush. while the bronzer wasn’t all that pigmented, the blush made up for it in spades. It was clown cheek pink and took a while to blend. The issue is I think it might have blended itself out. Which might be my fault. After the light bronzer I was expecting light blush so I went with the brighter of the two blushes and might have been heavy handed. And then I might have blended too much. There are two blushes. The other is more neutral in tone. I might try that one tomorrow or just go into the bright one with a lighter hand to see what happens. There is a bronzer in the palette, but to be honest i can’t remember if I put it on. Or if it was destroyed with the blush blending. The blush sort of knocked everything else out of my brain. But I will be dipping back into the palette to see how it performs when I am not surprised by it.

And that was my look for the day. It got me through my shortened workday and part holiday and will no doubt last through my seed catalog flipping. once seeds arrive, I’ll probably start posting more regularly about the garden, but don’t worry, I’ll keep it separate and not mix it in with the daily so much. I just always get excited when the seed catalogs arrive.

Giving the Pore Tight Peeling Mousse from NeoGen a trial run

Have you ever had a product you picked up for the sheer novelty of it? That’s how I came to purchase the NeoGen Pore Tight Peeling Mousse. I’ve tried a couple of products from NeoGen before. A few I liked, a few I didn’t. I was actually looking up one of those products on the NeoGen Website when I came across this product.

According to the website…

Unique mousse-type peeling formula with alginic acid found in deep-sea marine botanicals such as red algae captures impurities, blackheads, makeup residue, and dead skin cells within the pores of the skin to cleanse and purify the skin. The further added ingredient from purple sea urchins deliver tightening benefits to sagging skin for an overall smoother and firmer-looking skin.

NeoGen

Now normally after I list the basic product description I leave the website and go off on my own to try the product. For this product I am also going to list the how to use section because it is a bit important.

How to Use:

1. On dry hands and face, pump an adequate amount of mousse in your hands to apply completely across your face.

2. Thoroughly rub the mousse gently across your face until it completely disappears.

3. Once it completely disappears, make sure to completely rinse it off with water.

* Shake well in an up and down motion before using.

* Make sure to use only on completely dry hands and face.

NeoGen

I would like to point out that there are no other instructions for use. Or if they are then they are printed very small on the bottle and written in Korean. What I find missing from this description is how many times this product ought to be used. Part of this product sounds like it ought to be used daily in place of a cleanser or to remove makeup. But it is a peeling product and I am hesitant to use it more than once a week.

To try out this product I tried it on bare skin and then once on top of makeup to see if it was like a makeup remover or cleanser. I will say it did remove the makeup and my skin felt clean after use, but I felt like it was a waste of the product. It could be used that way in a pinch, but it is better on a dry makeup free face. You actually see more skin care benefits that way. When you use the peel over makeup then it just peels the makeup off. With the bare skin, it works on the skin.

As for usage, I tried once a day for a week and while it didn’t harm my face, it was a diminishing returns kind of experiment. Each day seemed to have less of an effect. Perhaps it is because there simply were less accumulated dead skin cells for the peel to remove. For me the best use time line is a once a week type of use, as though it were an exfoliant, which it kind of is.

awkward if you just try to dab it on, go in boldly and it works better

What this product does more or less is it pulls the gunk out of your pores so that your pores look smaller. What I found it helpful in dealing with are the clogged pores just below the surface of the skin. The first application of this Pore Tight Peeling Mouse, helped take away a lot of the smaller bumps and reduce the larger ones so they were smaller. With continued once a week use, there were less bumps in general.

Then I started using a pore refining mask (Juice Beauty). This mask brought more clogged pores rising to the surface and then I used this mousse to help clear them away. It Is an effective combo. I have several other masks that also raise pores (the Herbal Dynamics Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Mask still reigning as my favorite). Any good clearing mask will draw clogged pores to the surface so they can be more effectively cleared away. This Pore Tight Mousse is one of those products that does a great job of clearing away what is brought to the surface.

after the foam disapears

I would use a clearing mask to bring everything up to the surface, say on a Friday night when you are staying home and planning to be home all weekend. And then Saturday night clear away what the Friday mask brought up. Or make it a Tuesday/Wednesday thing. It’s your call. Just give the clearing mask time to bring as much up s possible before employing the Mousse.

Now while I did pick this up because I do like peeling products, I mostly chose this because of the novelty of the foam. I’ve only seen peeling masks in liquid form. The bottle looks like hair mousse. It also dispenses like hair mousse. There is a light skincare kind of scent to it, but the scent fades quickly.

After the foam and before rinse

While I like the fact that once the foam fades away it is time to rinse off the product, applying the foam to the face can be a little awkward. The best course of action is to be bold. Tie your hair back from your face, dispense the product into your hand, divide it between your two hands and rub it straight onto your face, concentrating on the areas you need help with the most. Don’t be timid or you will start to dab the foam on to your face and it will be kind of a pain because parts of your face will look like they are ready to be rinsed while others still have foam on them.

Just commit and go in with gusto. It is well worth it as once you are done, there are fewer raised pores and the skin is smoother and clearer looking. While I don’t think daily use would hurt your skin, I found the best results with once a week use. I did purchase this product for the novelty but in reality it is one of the best peeling masks I’ve used in a while. I am glad I indulged my curiosity and I would certainly purchase this NeoGen Pore Tight Peeling Mousse again.

Unboxing the January 2022 Look Fantastic Beauty Box

Look Fantastic has been one of my favorite beauty boxes for a while now. It consistently gives me a good mix of items. I receive brands I like and love as well as brands I have never heard of. They tend to lean into the skincare side rather than the makeup side, but they also include body and hair care items. Most of the time the items are deluxe sample sized products but they like to throw in a couple of full sized items in now and again as well. The price of the box is $19. I go with an annual subscription. It still charges monthly but the cost is lowered to $16 ($17.56 with tax). And for me, it is always worth it.

This month was a little interesting. The theme is Wellness is the Way and as always the box comes with a booklet detailing the products and giving you insight into the featured ingredients as well as giving a spoiler for the following month’s box. It is actually a really great way to find out about some of the ingredients in the products you are using. It isn’t all inclusive but it does provide great information and is an excellent way to ease into finding about more about the things you use.

And knowing the February spoiler is nice as well. In February 2022 all boxes will include a Pixi Glow Tonic. It the Exfoliating Toner. In my opinion it is the best of the Pixi Toners. It is certainly my favorite. Oddly though it is really hard to find. All of the stores near me love to carry the Rose toners, but this Glow Tonic is usually missing. I don’t know if everyone loves it as much as I do and just empties the shelf before I get there, but I am happy there will be one sent to me next month.

However, while all the usual information is in the booklet, not all of the products that arrived in my box were listed in the pamphlet. They list four products and leave the other two as mystery items. Let’s look at the four items listed first.

The first item in my Look Fantastic box this month was the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. It is a 10mL sized spray and it is designed to help you sleep. I’ve tried this before and something in it made me sneeze my head off. On the other hand, my mother adores this. In fact anything This Works, I generally just send her way. the only thing from the brand i kept was the hand sanitizer. Which was a great moisturizing formula but so strongly scented that it needs to be used in an open area. I’m not upset about getting this. It is a good product, just not for me and I know my mother will use every drop.

The second Items in the box is the Bloom and Blossom Hands Up Anti-aging hand cream. It is a sample size. the perfect size to keep in a purse actually. I have tried the Bloom and Blossom lip balm which also came in a Look Fantastic box and I didn’t like it. I ended up talking to my cousin about it and she agreed it was not a good lip balm, but she absolutely adores their hand creams. So I’m happy to get a chance to actually try the hand cream. I have my fingers crossed that I like it more than I did the lip balm.

Next up we have a variation item. In the box you could get either an AHAVA Mineral Shampoo or a Mineral Conditioner. I have the conditioner, which I am actually quite excited by. their hand cream is fantastic and while their skincare isn’t quite for me, I have never tried any hair care products from them. I honestly didn’t know they made hair care products. So this is extra exciting.

The fourth item listed in the pamphlet is the Skin Chemist Rose Quartz Lip Plumper. At first the rose had me a little concerned as rose and lips aren’t always the best of friends, but the rose in this seems to apply to only the color and the fact that it has a slight pink tint when applied. It has a very peppermint-y scent which I am all in favor of. I have never heard of the brand nor tried anything from them so I look forward to giving them a try.

And now we go off into the wild blue yonder of mystery items. Neither of these two items are listed in the pamphlet. One is full sized and one is a deluxe sample. The full size (at least from what I can figure out) is the Bubble T Lavender T body wash. I have tried bath salts and bath fizzies from Bubble T and liked them both so I am looking forward to giving the body wash a try. Through the sealed cap the scent of lavender with a slight hint of lemon comes through. I’m going to leave it sealed until I use it, but Bubble T seems to favor strong scents. What I can smell of it though the seam seems nice though.

And finally we have the Polaar Eternal Snow Youthful promise cream. I find it kind of amusing that they have put this into my Look Fantastic box this month as IPSY also chose this item for me this month. I haven’t gotten my IPSY box yet, but I double checked the site and it is a full size of the same cream. Which is kind of nice. Thus far i have tried the Polaar sunscreen, and night cream. I enjoyed them both actually. I have another moisturizer from Polaar in my samples bin as well. Since I know I have a full size of this coming, I may give the Sample size a try first to see if I like it or If I should pass on the full size. It is kind of nice being able to try it without opening the full size. Although as I’ve liked all of the other Polaar Products I’ve tried I’m sure I will like the Eternal snow as well.

I don’t know if Look Fantastic is planning to keep this surprise option or not. I think it may just be for January. Or they could be trying something new. When it comes to Look Fantastic I am an enthusiastic consumer, not an insider so I can only guess. I can say that this month’s box has kept me as an enthusiastic subscriber. It is a great mix of the familiar and the new and while I may be passing on the pillow spray, it is going to someone who will love it. All the other items will soon be tested and tried by me, perhaps making it onto my favorite’s list.

Happy Hour: Blue Cheese Bacon Bread

Ah my darlings, Friday is nearly complete. The work week is done and soon the feet will be clad in fuzzy socks and propped up on the footstool. My baby and I will finally have the chance to sit down together and unwind.

Getting back to work after the holidays was especially hard this year as the bad weather hit just as we were starting to get back to the normal daily grind. Even though it was January, we were previously having 70 degree days so ice storms and snow fall took everyone by surprise. It also delayed projects, rescheduled appointments and a host of other things. For both of us this week was all about catching up and getting things back on track. We both had a lot of late nights this week.

Which makes the Friday wind down extra special. Tonight’s treat is Blue Cheese Bacon Bread. Each week I make a loaf of regular bread to be used for sandwiches throughout the week. This week I doubled the recipe used one half to make the regular loaf and the other to make the blue cheese bacon one. The recipe list is the single one with the ingredients for one loaf. This bread does freeze really well though. Just let it cool completely, wrap it in plastic wrap and then add a layer of tin foil and it will keep well in the freezer. when you want to use it take it out and let it thaw completely before using. We tend to take the loaves out in the morning before work and then they are ready by dinnertime.

What I like about the recipe is that it is easy to do when working from home. There is about ten minutes of activity, then a forty five minute waiting period. Then another five minutes of activity, with another forty five minute rest followed by a forty five minute bake. I like to use it to focus on activities. For example i had a couple of tasks I was putting off so I took one forty five minute wait and one task and tried to finish it before I had to go back to the kitchen. Then when I returned I took down another task I’d been putting off. It is kind of a nice way to clear off things i’d been putting off doing. Plus I get a delicious treat at the end of it.

pulling away from the sides in the mixer

Ingredients

3 cups AP flour + pinch

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 Tablespoon yeast

3/4 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk, room temp (I like to put it in the microwave for 15 seconds to take the fridge chill off rather than leaving it out)

1/2 tsp sugar + pinch

1 Tablespoon Honey

1 Table spoon salt

half a cup of cooked bacon crumbled (you can use store bought bacon bits if you don’ want to cook bacon, just get the ones that look like real pieces of bacon (mostly for texture)

half a cup of blue cheese crumbles

Steps:

piled in the center before folding in.
  • stir the yeast together with the 3/4 cup of water and add the pinch of sugar and pinch of salt to the mix (to feed the yeast) Set it in a warm place until it is foamy (10-15 min)
  • If using a stand mixer, using the dough hook: Add the flour, salt and sugar to the bowl of the mixer. When the yeast is foamy add the entire bowl of yeast mix to the flour, then add the milk, melted butter and honey. Turn the mixer on the lowest speed for 3 minutes while the dry and wet ingredients come together. When it no longer looks like flour will fly everywhere, increase the speed just a little bit (for mind it is no higher than three lines and well below medium speed. You are bringing your dough together not beating it into submission). When it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides, turn the mixer off.
  • If mixing by hand, once your yeast is foamy combine everything except the blue cheese and the bacon into a bowl and bring it together to form a ball.
  • If your dough ball is sticky, regardless of mixer or no mixer mixing, dust it with a little bit of flour and knead it just until it comes together to form a smooth ball.
  • Lightly grease a bowl (I tend to just use a spray bottle of oil on the bowl from my stand mixer) and put the dough in the bowl. Cover and let sit for 45 minutes.
  • After 45 min, come back, take your ball of dough out of the mixer (If making regular bread with no flavorings (i.e. bacon and blue cheese) then just put the dough into a well greased bread pan, cover and let sit for 45 min.) For the blue cheese and bacon bread. put the risen dough on a floured work surface and stretch it out as though you were making a pizza (don’t throw it in the air, just stretch on the table and try not to press too much air out. put the blue cheese and bacon crumbles in the center. fold the sides over the fillings, covering them completely. Knead the dough a few times to work the blue cheese and bacon into the dough. Then you can either put it in a loaf pan or make a free formed size on a greased sheet pan. Cover and let sit for 45 min.
  • Just before the 45 min rest is over, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Make sure the rack is in the middle of the oven.
  • When the 45 minute rest is done, put the loaf in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. When it sounds hollow as out tap it with a knife, it is ready to be removed.
all rolled up, slashes in the top so it looks nice when it comes out

Without fillings, this makes a really good white sandwich bread. The fillings are of course your own choice. Try to go for fillings that don’t have a lot of moisture in them and you can’t go wrong. we often turn this loaf into cheddar and jalapeno bread or walnut and fig. It also makes great cinnamon and raisin bread. If you are going to start adding wet ingredients, reduce the amount of water you use with the yeast to keep it from getting soggy or cook out some of the moisturize from the ingredients. When I use this bread recipe for a mushroom, sage and onion bread, I cook both the mushrooms and onions ahead of time to reduce the moisture so that i can leave the recipe as it is.

the final loaf

Tonight I used blue cheese and bacon and I will pair it with a nice crisp hard apple cider. I find it pairs well with the blue cheese and cuts through the fattiness of the bacon. Sometimes I will even serve this bread with crisp slices on granny smith apple on top. It makes a great snack as well as a happy hour treat. Whatever you do tonight, I hope you take some time to rest and regroup and just allow yourself the space to breath. Have a great weekend.

Creatives to Promote Hint Still

A little Refinement for the Friday Face Mask

For those who have been following along this week, you might have heard me mention that I am starting a four week long Face Mask trial. While I love trying out all sorts of new face masks and I love using them for a variety of skin concerns and wellbeing situations (because let’s face it sometimes you just need to give yourself a fifteen minute time out before your brain explodes), they are skincare items and many of them are supposed to show skin progress through repeated use.

I must confess I am very guilty of bouncing from mask to mask based on the skin concern of the moment or merely because something is new. In December I used Sheet masks throughout the week in order to dwindle my stock pile and on Fridays I used up a lot of my open masks, you know the ones that had only a few uses left but were so good that I didn’t actually want to use up the last bit of it. I don’t know why I do that. It is like I just don’t want to say good bye. Even though I know I can repurchase. I think part of it was that I kept telling myself I couldn’t buy masks until I used up and cleared out several from the drawer so i knew I wasn’t going to be repurchasing them right away.

It is a habit I am trying to break in the new year. Mostly because those last little bits of the mask I loved so much can in fact go bad and become unusable all while taking up space in a relatively small masking drawer.

before mask, front view

However as I started using up masks to clear out space, several new masks arrived in subscription boxes. So I have several new masks I really want to try out. While Fridays are going to be a mix of using existing products and trying out new ones, I am going to try and pick one product to focus on for the month so that I can see if there are any noticeable longer term results from the mask. This was week one for the Juice Beauty Bamboo Pore Refining Mask. Plus I figure if I post the before pictures here at the beginning of the trial then there will still be a copy of them even if I do something boneheaded like clear my photofile.

I chose this for a couple of reasons. First, while I usually love Juice Beauty products, I recently tried out a moisturizer that my skin did not react well with and that I honestly hated more than any moisturizer I’ve tried in the past five years. And I felt kind of guilty because it is a brand that I generally enjoy. The second reason is that over the holidays, I tried a one time sample of this and loved it. (a friend picked up a new sample and we had a face mask moment in the midst of holiday chaos.) It is actually in my notebook of products to pick up with a big star next to it.

Before mask, side view (a lot of my clogged pores occur along the lower curve of my orbital bone so I wanted to have a good pic of the area as this is where i want the most improvement)

The third reason is that it is a two minute mask.

A two minute mask means that on Mondays and Wednesdays, when I know I am going to not have to see anyone in the afternoon and don’t need a face of makeup, I can take lunch, remove my makeup, apply the mask, make my sandwich, remove the mask and then eat lunch, all without taking a huge chunk of time out of my schedule. Two minutes is a perfect weekday masking length.

And yes my darlings, I know today is Friday, but as it is the first week of the mask I wanted to go over my initial impressions (plus today I am making bacon blue cheese bread during the day for our happy hour treat tonight so I was going to save my Friday mask for after dinner tonight since masking and running to and from the oven aren’t really great mixes.

Mask on and thoughts of a career as a bankrobber dance through my head

So what does the Juice Beauty Bamboo Pore Refining mask do?

Clear and hydrate skin at the same time with our NEW Bamboo Pore Refining Mask. Help protect against ‘maskne’ with bamboo charcoal & kaolin clay to help detox; Aspen bark to help smooth & hydrate, and exfoliating polyhydroxy acids for a softer, smoother complexion.

Eco-values: With Certified Organic Ingredients to protect humans, animals and the planet.

Sustainable Packaging: Sustainable & recyclable glass jar. FSC Paper.

Juice Beauty

Clay and charcoal are always good things in my face mask products list and truth be told my area has very rapidly rising infection rates at the moment (on top of seasonal colds) and the face masks are back to being worn more diligently. I’ll admit there was a moment for a while where it looked like they could be eased out of use, but that moment passed. At least in my area.

So maskne too has returned. For me it is the rise of clogged pores, so there are no surface blemishes but I can feel the little bumps under the skin. So I’m hoping this mask will come in handy. It also means that Friday masks may end up focusing on brightening and other non-pore clearing things for a while. I actually have an Aceology mask I have been waiting to try out that is high on my list of new to me masks to try. I actually want to try out their Ice globe facial massagers but that is more for my skincare tools list than the masks.

But on to the first use of the Juice Beauty Bamboo Pore Refining Mask. As you can see in the above photos, the charcoal makes this mask black. There is a vague charcoal scent to it, but it is very much a back note. The scent of the mask is light and easily fades but I get more of plant like scent to it that I think might be from the aspen bark. The scent is light and fades quickly so the scent isn’t much of an issue if you are scent sensitive, but it is a pleasant scent while it lasts and I think it is from the Aspen.

After two minutes the only difference is where I felt an itch and scratched my face,

I expected from the description that the mask would have exfoliating particles in it, but it doesn’t It is simply a smooth clay like mask. It is lighter in feel than many clay masks I’ve tried.

When on the skin there was the feeling of coolness but I did not detect any tingling sensations. I always suspect masks with shorter wear times to tingle more as though they were super charged, but there was no tingling.

post mask, not a lot of change but i feel clean and refreshed,

Because of the Kaolin Clay I expected the mask to have to be scrubbed off like a mud mask, or maybe crumbled off. Because this one only sits for two minutes it was still wet when i went to remove it. Which made it super easy to remove. I am also glad I have the Glov mask removing cloth. It is already stained from another charcoal mask and using it kept me from staining my washcloth. And yes, before I included the Glov cloth in my routine I did have one wash cloth I just used for masks. The washcloth works well, just choose one for masks and use it, that way if a mask stains it, there is less of a concern.

The mask was easy to remove with a damp wash cloth and when it was gone, I rinsed out the cloth, hung it to dry and splashed a little clean water on my face to remove the last of the residue before patting my face dry.

Was there a lot of change after a first use? No. My skin did feel soft and hydrated. There was no issue with the mask being too intense for my skin and quite honestly my skin felt clean and refreshed. The next morning however I could see that some of my deeper clogged pores were moving closer to the surface. I think that this is a mask that will help bring those clogged pores up with repeated use. As I am gaining more and more clogged pores from wearing the mask again, it will be interesting to see how this Juice Beauty Bamboo Pore Refining Mask performs in the next three weeks. My hope is that it will bring the clogged pores to the surface so they can be cleared away and hopefully prevent other pores from clogging. But only time will tell how effective that will end up being. For a first use however, it was quite positive.

JuiceBeauty.com

The Skincare Line Up: January 14th, 2022

welcome to Friday morning my darlings. As we all think about the list of things we need to get done before we can mark an official end to the week, let’s take a look back at some of the skincare that was used this week. While I will list out the products I used daily, this month i am also using the Juice Beauty Bamboo Pore Refining (2 min) mask twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays). I will post a review separately after four full weeks of use, but I just wanted to mention that it is currently in use (this was week one). And now on with the Daytime skincare list.

Cleanser: Elemis Balancing Lime Blossom Cleanser (link will actually take you to my full review)

Essence: 111Skin Antioxidant Energizing Essence

Toner: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Toner

Serum: Serumkind Purple Cabbage Drops

Eye cream: Glam Glow Bright Eyes

Moisturizer: Comfort Zone Hydramemory Cream Gel 24 hour double hydration cream gel

The Daytime Line up

The Elemis Cleanser I have used for a while. The link will actually take you to my full review. I absolutely adore this cleanser. And to be honest I would happily just continue to just use this cleanser. I did notice that I have a stock pile of sample sized cleansers though so what I might do is continue using this in the morning and then start rolling in some of the other sample sizes to try out in the evening. That way if any of them don’t perform as well as I would like I still have the Elemis there as back up. It is something I will look into later today. I think that might be a good way to try out some products with minimal concern.

The 111skin Essence is back and it is actually starting to look like the level is moving on the bottle. Since only one small drop is really needed with each application it felt like I was using it and magically the level stayed the same. I did take a week off, partially because I did want to test out the efficacy of the essence. The purpose of an essence is to prep the skin so it can more readily accept other skincare. It is essentially like a turbo boost for your skincare. So I wanted to see if i could tell a difference when I didn’t use the essence compared to when I did. And to be honest, I was happier with my other skincare when I was using the essence than when I skipped it. To me, that means that the essence is doing it’s job. Plus the scent of it is realty nice. It makes everything feel as though it is part of a high end spa. To be honest other than calling it ‘the scent of a high end spa’ I’m not entirely sure how to describe the scent other than slightly floral but not overwhelmingly floral. It smells like an expensive spa.

The Glow Recipe toner does not. It smells like watermelon juice mixed with stale water. As far as toners go it performs well and I’m sure the PHAs and BHAs are doing good things for my skin, but I just can’t take the scent. I have about a week’s worth of product left so I will be finishing this toner up this week, rolling it out of use and never repurchasing it again. There are many other Glow Recipe Products I love, this just isn’t one of them.

I do love the Glam Glow Bright Eyes Eye Cream though. This is not the first time I have used this eye cream and it won’t be the last. For a while it kept popping up on IPSY add ons and I kept picking up the little sample sized pots of it. It is what i am currently using. The small pots are adorable looking, but the also last a really long time. While it is good enough that I would be willing to spring for a full size, the small sample sizes last so long that I am perfectly happy using the sample size. In fact as this sample size was opened and rolled into my line up this week, I may see just how long one of the sample sizes lasts me. The trick is remembering which was the first week of use by the time I reach the end of the little pot of cream. I may take a second nw and put it on my calendar.

I am still on the fence about the Serum Kind Purple Cabbage drops. It is only the second week of use and I do like the way it feels on the skin, but I can’t say that i am seeing anything really note worthy. It is supposed to be calming and nourishing so perhaps I need to look a little harder to figure out exactly what i should be looking for. I do like the thickness of the serum and the fact that it does absorb fairly quickly. It does leave ,my skin feeling slightly sticky though which I’m not too fond of. Applying the moisturizer right after counteracts that so it isn’t a big deal, but it still isn’t my favorite feeling.

Because my moisturizer was too heavy for day time use, I decided to roll in another sample to try and use that up as my day cream. this week I went with the Comfort Zone Hydramemory cream gel. It is a light weight cream (white cream as opposed to clear gel). It absorbed into my skin very quickly and easily and was perfect for day time use. It would be far too light for night time use though. If I did use it at night I would have to roll in a sleeping mask. Since I am using it only during the day I have about another week’s worth of use out of this sample sixed tube. while I am likening it as a day cream it has a strange plastic-y floral sort of scent that i don’t find all that appealing. the scent isn’t strong enough for me to not want to use, it is just a strange scent for a moisturizer to have. it kind of smells like those fake plastic flowers that sometimes have a faux floral scent to go with them. When I was little I remember a store in town selling them but I haven’t seen them in a long time. And I kind of hope no one makes them any more. But it is that sort of scent. Odd but not bad. And not enough moisture for night time use, but great during the day.

The Night Time Line Up

Cleanser: Elemis Balancing Lime Blossom Cleanser (link will actually take you to my full review)

Essence: 111Skin Antioxidant Energizing Essence

Toner: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Toner

Serum: Serumkind Purple Cabbage Drops

Eye cream: Glam Glow Bright Eyes

Moisturizer: Kate Somerville Exfolikate Glow Moisturizer

Makeup Remover: Vitabrid C12 Daily C Balancing Cleansing Balm

Lips: Laniege Lip Mask in Berry

A lot of the products listed at night are also listed in the day time so I won’t bore you with a repeat of their performance here and just refer you to the above paragraphs. Next week I am going to start rolling in a few new products so there will be a greater difference between night and day.

This week not so much.

The vitabrid cleansing balm I am really liking. It does a great job of removing makeup with out a lot of harsh scrubbing on the skin and it rinses off clean with no oily residue left behind. Removing makeup and leaving when the job is done is kind of top marks for a cleansing balm in my book. I am happy to continue using this until it is empty. I also have a couple of other Vitabrid products waiting in the wings that this makes me excited to try so that’s also a plus.

The Kate Somerville is an excellent moisturizer. The lemon scent to it is slightly industrial but not overpowering and it makes my skin feel so good that i am willing to ignore the scent. Plus it isn’t really a strong scent. The amount of hydration is perfect for me in the winter and at night. it was too much during the day (so I rolled in a different moisturizer for day cream) and I don’t think I could get away with using this moisturizer in the summer. It is possible it could still be a night cream in the summer, but I think it might be too heavy for my skin even then. My skin is in that weird category called “normal” and in the summer it leans towards oily and in the winter it leans towards dry. It never actually makes it to either oily or dry, but it rides those lines pretty tightly. Right now, this is the perfect night time moisturizer for me so I will happily use it. And while I would repurchase it, I would repurchase it in November, not June.

And then we wrap up with the Laneige Lip mask. In the winter it takes just one hour long walk for my lips to go from hydrated and fine to desert dry and chapped. At the moment I am using this nightly so that the dryness never lasts. It has meant that my walks may leave my lips slightly chapped but by the next morning the chapping is gone and the dry and chapped don’t ever reach the painful stage. I am a huge fan. It is a great product and one jar will last for a long time. And the little spatula that comes with it is honestly adorable. I want to try so many flavors of this lip mask.

So that my darlings was the skincare line up this week. Next week I’ll be shaking things up a little so the day and night time look a little bit different and I can continue to use up some of my sample sizes. Some of the samples will make the cut and be listed on the products to be ordered in the full size and others will simply be used and cleared out to provide space for other products. I’m sure it will be a skincare adventure. I hope the rest of your Friday is fabulous. I’ll check back in with you later when we get to the Friday Face mask. Until then, have a great one.

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Weekly Weight: 214.2 lbs

I was pleasantly surprised when I stepped on the scale this morning. To be honest, I was just hoping to hold my own. With the weather flipping from warm to cold, snow, ice and a seasonal cold appearing and keeping me from walking, my thoughts when stepping onto the scale this week was just to hope not to have gained.

A loss was thrilling and very unexpected. I’ll admit, I got off the scale, let it zero out, and then stepped back on it to double check. The measurements stayed the same. I know, the world does not revolve around the number on the scale, but it is nice to see positive progress. It makes the effort seem worth while.

I also think the long walks of Wednesday and Thursday helped as well. when the weather and my sinuses cleared, I went on longer than average walks. To be fair, those were less about getting my exercise in and more about stretching my legs and getting some fresh air into my lungs. I’ve noticed that as I have switched more towards the walking trail and less towards the gym, when I have a long stretch of time inside without walking I feel cooped up.

I also get a bit fidgety because i am used to simply moving more now, but even when I use the weights and work out indoors, I find I really miss that out door time in the fresh air. I think it was less of a problem in other months as even when the weather was bad i still had to deal with various garden chores so there was not a lot of days with no time spent out doors.

I t just wasn’t anything I actually expected to happen.

Although, it is just one more item on the list that I didn’t expect to have happen when I started to exercise. I really need to put together a post listing the top ten things I didn’t realize incorporating regular exercise would do. Perhaps i will work on that over the weekend. For now, I will just say I was pleasantly surprised by this week’s loss.

The Stats:

Starting Weight: 246.0 lbs

Last Week’s Weight: 215.4 lbs

This Week’s Weight: 214.2 lbs

Lost this week: 1.2 lbs

Lost thus far: 31.8 lbs

And so we press onward into Friday and beyond. They are predicting rain later tonight so today, there will definitely be at least one long walk.

Creatives to Promote Hint Still

The Daily: January 13th, 2022

Good afternoon my darlings and welcome to another clear but cold day. The walk this morning was brisk as the winds have picked up a bit and the weatherman claims that rains are on the way. Because of that I may try and sneak in an extra walk this afternoon.

As much as I don’t really care for the cold, I do love watching the larger fluffier dogs as they are walked in the park when it is colder. During the summer they all walk with their heads hanging low as though they are being led to the gallows, but now, they are frolicking and attempting to steal the disks from all of the disk golfers using the park’s course.

No offense to the players, but I am mentally cheering the dogs on.

I got to use my new electric tooth brush from Oral B last night and again this morning. Again, I know it is a strange thing to be excited about but I was. Boy that is a powerful toothbrush. I was not quite expecting that power from the get go. I thought there might be a lower speed, but no, it is one one speed only. The Destroyer of Plaque speed.

I like it. I wasn’t expecting it to be quite that powerful, but I kind of like it. I am very pleased with my purchase and my very minty fresh mouth. Although I’m pretty sure Crest is responsible for the minty fresh part as I am still using my fabulous Crest toothpaste. It is a pretty god combination. Like a power couple for my teeth.

Today’s Look:

Primer: Glam Glow Super mattify Primer

Foundation: Revolution Fast Base Foundation Stick

Bronzer/Blush/highlight/finishing powder: Cover FX Perfector Face Palette

Eyes: Maybelline Color Tattoo Gel shadows in Knock out and Golden Girl

Lips: Persona Lip liner in 90210 and Buxom Cosmetics Plumping lipstick in Fly Girl

You know I didn’t realize until I started listing products that I completely forgot to apply mascara today. I blame the phone. I managed to get almost everything on except lips and mascara when it rang. I answered it, pulled up the documents needed, answered the questions and then after my call put on my lip products completely forgetting about the mascara.

Today I opened the drawer and the first thing that caught my eye was the Glam Glow primer. I really love this primer in the summer time. If you know you are going to be slightly sweaty, this is a good primer to grab. it is designed to mattify oily skin and for me the summertime is it’s moment in the spotlight. When looking for products I realized I had never tested this primer when it wasn’t summertime warm. So I decided to try it out today to see if the mattifying dried me out. It didn’t and quite honestly I really like the way it feels on my skin. Thus far I haven’t had any dry looking spots due to it’s matifying nature so this may be a primer i use for more than just the summer.

in the drawer next to the Glam Glow primer was the Revolution foundation stick. I went ahead and used it. This is the perfect shade for me. It blends so well into my skin and is super quick and easy to use. I originally purchased it just to have something that wouldn’t spill when I travel but it is a good all round foundation that I do need to reach for more often.

For most of my face products I went with the Cover FX palette. It is an old favorite. Again, even though I love the way it performs, I don’t reach for it much. The reason is the blush. It is just not my favorite shade of blush. Everything else about this palette works well for me but every time I open it, my eyes go to the blush and i change my mind. Which i am trying to get over because I do like all of the other products in the palette. It is just the blush shade. And yes I know that this palette comes in other shades with a different blush, but oddly enough while I like those blushes better, the other powders don’t work so well for me. It is one of those times I really wish this was a magnetic palette just so I could swap out the blush. It isn’t a bad color and I can make it work, it just isn’t my favorite.

the eyeshadows I picked out mostly because I couldn’t remember the last time I used them and since I was on a kick of using products I hadn’t reached for in a while I went with them. Plus I also wanted to make sure they hadn’t dried out. Knock out is still performing fantastically and as I applied it I remembered how much I really liked it. Golden Girl I don’t reach for a lot because the gold is a little bright for me. It was slightly dried out but I put a tiny drop of face oil on the top, closed it up for about fifteen minutes, came back and it was fine to apply. It still isn’t my favorite color but i like knowing that I can still use it when I decide it suits my look. If you are rehydrating a gel shadow, just remember to use a very small drop of face oil to do so. It isn’t the time to go overboard. And use one that you know works well with your skin. I went with the Malin + Goetz Recovery Oil as my skin loves it and a little extra recovery oil on my lids doesn’t really hurt anything.

Because the Personal Lip liner is too dry to wear on it’s own and the Buxom lipstick is too light a shade and makes my lips disappear if I wear it on it’s own, I pared them together today and I absolutely love the paring. The colors go well and I really love any excuse to use the Buxom Plumping Lipstick. I love the formula of the Full Force Lipstick, I just thought the color would be slightly darker when I purchased it. The lip liner fixed the color and I am a happy camper.

And with that, I am heading back to work. I hope your Thursday rolls along smoothly and hits Friday with smooth sailing into the weekend.

Malin+Goetz