Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ipsy Glam Bag Review - January 2013

It's almost February - whoops! But not quite yet. Still time to review my January glam bag from Ipsy. I enjoy writing about these almost as much as I enjoy getting them in the mail, so hopefully you like reading about them, too.

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Body Butter - $6 value
I've seen this lotion around, but I'd never tried it before. Apparently the company who makes it is based in Portland. Who knew? The scent is nice (my boyfriend approves), but a teensy bit strong.

Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Hairspray - $2 value
I don't think we've gotten a hair product in our glam bag before, so I was happy to see them mix it up a little. It's a too heavy for me--I prefer hairspray with a light, flexible hold--but it's always nice to have a travel-size hairspray on hand.

Josie Maran Argan Oil - $5 value
I can't tell a difference between brands of argan oil, but this sample is perfect for my purse. I use it to moisturize my cuticles throughout the day.

Nailtini Nail Lacquer in Bloody Mary - Full Size - $13 value
This is a classic red nail polish with cool undertones. Full size - woohoo!

Soho Pro Concealer Brush - $8 value
I usually apply concealer with my fingers, but I was pleasantly surprised with this brush. It works particularly well for applying eye shadow primer (random, but useful).

I was a little bummed that this month's box didn't have more makeup in it, but Ipsy is still my favorite subscription box. The total value of the box adds up to about $34. Not too shabby for a $10 investment. If you haven't already, check out my reviews of the November and December boxes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

PDX girls do Seattle

Had an amazing girls weekend in Seattle! I think I forgot how much fun you can have when you're stuck in a car with two of your best friends for hours. Here are some highlights from the trip.

Liz and I brought almost identical polka dot shirts.

With three of us getting ready to go out in one bathroom, it kind of felt like we were on The Bachelor. In a good way.

You better believe I instagrammed the space needle.

We calculated the PPN (price per nugget) of a 4 piece vs. a 40 piece order of McDonald's Chicken Nuggets. I'll let you guess which one won. Disclaimer: I really only ever eat fast food when I road trip, but when I do it, I do it right.

How many chicken nuggets could you eat?

All in all, the trip was a "success." We found a brand of bridesmaid dresses that we like for Liz's wedding. I picked this darling one-shoulder dress below. We're each ordering a variation of this dress in the plum color. I was expecting to get a strapless dress, but I fell in love with the unique silhouette of this one. Now I just need to find a good pair of shoes...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Punta Cana 2013 - it's happening!

In April, one of my best friends is getting married in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. For months now, I'm been excitedly telling people: "I'm going to Punta Cana in April. Oh-em-gee!" But I didn't really start to get excited about it until the travel agent just deducted a big fat check out of my bank account.

Holy crap! I'm actually going on a tropical vacation! Believe it or not, I've never actually been on a real *beachy* vacation. The closest I've made it to a tropical, beachy vacation is Vegas, and well, Vegas in smack dab in the middle of the desert.

With vacation on the brain, I can't stop fantasizing about a dreamy resort wardrobe.

Dreaming about vacation

Somedays Lovin feather dress / L*Space l space bikini / Burberry white cover up / Accessorize flats sandals / Madison Harding high heel shoes / Bare Escentuals lip makeup / philosophy here comes the sun

Although something tells me I'm going to need a big vat of this.

In the meantime, I'm heading up to Seattle for the weekend. My other BFF is also getting married this year, so we're going on a girls trip to shop for bridesmaid dresses, drink wine, etc. See you next week!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


A Link Up to Raise Awareness for Skin Cancer  

With Erin from Shades of Gray and a Pinch of Pink

1. What's your daily skincare routine?
I'm always trying something new, but there are a few products I that have stuck around. Every morning and night I wash my face with Philosophy's Purity Made Simple and my Clarisonic Mia. At night I use a retinol cream (Philosophy's Help Me or Glow by Dr. Brandt), followed by a thick moisturizing cream (Philosophy Hope in a Jar for Dry Skin or Clinique Moisture Surge Intense) and a dab or Clinique's All About Eyes Rich. In the morning, I try to use a vitamin C serum (whatever sample I have on hand) and then I layer on an SPF moisturizer (right now I'm rotating between Origins A Perfect World SPF 25 and Lancome's Bienfait Multi-Vital SPF 30). I used to have super oily skin, but as I've gotten older, it's turned dry.

I used to think "what kind of a crazy person spends
$120 on a face brush?"and now I own one.
2. A skin product you could never live without?
I started using retinol cream about a year ago. It's billed as a miraculous anti-aging ingredient, but it keeps me from breaking out, too. So that and moisturizer. I can never have too many moisturizers or face lotions.

This stuff changed my life. It made my face peel like crazy
for about 3-4 weeks and then it was like boom: clear skin.
3. Have you ever used a tanning bed?
Yup! I started when I was 16 and tanned indoors until I was 21. Looking back, though, I'm pretty sure I never looked "tan." Just burnt.
The summer I lived in NYC (2007).

4. Thoughts on spray tanning?
I always tell people that spray tanning is like a nicotine patch for UV tanning. It's a healthier alternative, but I wish people didn't feel like it was necessary. Even after I was diagnosed with melanoma, I still spray tanned for a while. I haven't done it in over a year. Trying to be both UV and spray tan free! :)

Spray-tanned my way to Vegas.
5. Favorite brand of sunscreen?
I'm obviously a huge fan of Philosophy, but when I'm out on the river with friends, I usually just bring along a tube of Banana Boat. Gets the job done and I won't cry if I lose it. 


6. Biggest skincare splurge?
I started getting facials recently. It's pretty much one of the most relaxing things. Ever.

7. Celebrity with the most perfect skin?
I have skin envy of Emma Stone, Amanda Seyfried, and Ashley Greene.

8. Feature you're most self-conscious about?
I'm not too crazy about the bump on my nose. I was also born with a hole in my right eyebrow. I won't leave my house without penciling it in.

9. What do you think about botox?
I hate needles. Period. I don't think you'll ever see me on Real Housewives. DARN!

10. I feel most confident when...
I'm well rested, my nails are freshly painted, and my hair is blown out. It also helps to have on a great pair of heels :)

OK, now it's your turn! Answer these ten questions on your blog, and then leave your link below. If you haven't already, be sure to check out my story.

Bloggers: Join the LOVE YOUR SKIN link up!

Erin from Shades of Gray and a Pinch of Pink cracks me up. I love reading her posts, which range from "Things That Irk [Her] Tator" to "The Golden and God Awful." I'm thrilled to be collaborating with her on my first link up, which combines my obsession with skincare products with my passion for raising awareness about melanoma (the most deadly type of skin cancer and the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women aged 25-29). So whether you're an avid tanner or an SPF junkie, I encourage you to answer the following questions on your blog this week. And be honest. No judging - I promise.


1. What's your daily skincare routine?
2. A skin product you could never live without?
3. Have you ever used a tanning bed?
4. Thoughts on spray tanning?
5. Favorite brand of sunscreen?
6. Biggest skincare splurge?
7. Celebrity with the most perfect skin?
8. Feature you're most self-conscious about?
9. What do you think about botox?
10. I feel most confident when...

Once you've answered these questions (feel free to get creative - use pictures, whatever!), head over to Erin's blog where you can add your link to the list starting tomorrow. Can't wait to see everyone's posts! Check back here to see mine.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The un-domestic goddess goes on a cleaning spree

Over the weekend, I had one goal: to deep clean my bathroom. Cleaning, to me, usually means Swiffering the floor or spritzing the shower with Scrubbing Bubbles. I'm definitely not the most domesticated girl in the world, so I'm very excited to share that I cleaned both my bathroom and my kitchen this weekend. We're talking scrubbing the floorboards-type cleaning. Who knew it could be so satisfying? I was so pleased with my Pine-Sol fresh kitchen that I walked over to Trader Joe's and bought everything I needed to make vegetarian slow-cooker chili. Say what? It feels like I'm nesting or something.

Sour cream melted a bit. Whoops!

The chili recipe was from Real Simple. I think the hardest thing about this recipe was waiting while it cooked. I put it on in the afternoon, and by the time Jodie Foster's Golden Globes speech came on, I was starving!

Bonus to my super productive weekend: Influenster send me three full-size dish soaps to try. When it came time to clean up the new mess I'd made in my sparkly clean kitchen, I got to test out Palmolive's new Fresh Infusions in ginger white tea and lemon rosemary. As you can imagine, my non-domestic self hates washing dishes (downside of living in a 90-year-old building is no dishwasher.) But these soaps smell very nice. The scents are actually quite a bit lighter than I expected. Not overpowering or migraine-inducing. Although, the lime basil one smells a little too much like a cocktail...

And that was my weekend. How was yours?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Save the Date: Portland Melanoma Walk, May 11

I am thrilled to announce that I am coordinating the 2nd Annual Portland Melanoma Walk! In it's inaugural year, the event raised over $15,000 for AIM at Melanoma. This year, the event will be kicking off at Wallace Park in NW Portland on Saturday, May 11, 2013. We've still got quite a bit more planning to do, but mark your calendars now! Here are a few different ways you can get involved:
  1. Register for the walk. It's free. Plus, you get a t-shirt.
  2. Make a donation. Can't make it? Don't live in Oregon? You can still support us! I'm hoping to raise at least $1,000 on my personal fundraising page. Every little bit helps. If you're a small business owner, you can also contact me for sponsorship and in-kind donation opportunities. Tax deductions, warm fuzzy feelings, etc. :)
  3. Create your own fundraising page. There will be amazing prizes for participants who help us raise money!
  4. Volunteer. If you live in the Portland area, I'm looking for several day-of volunteers. Contact me if you'd like more information about volunteering.
Share this widely with friends and family! Here are a few reasons why:
  • Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer.
  • Every eight minutes, someone in the United States will be given a melanoma diagnosis and every hour someone will die from the disease.
  • Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in the United States and worldwide.
  • Melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young adults 25-29 and the second most common cancer in young adults 15-29 years old.
  • If caught in the early stages, melanoma is very treatable with a survival rate of nearly 100%. If untreated or allowed to spread, there is no known treatment or cure. Unfortunately, melanoma metastasis is very unpredictable and it often spreads quickly.
  • The rate of new melanoma diagnoses was 36% higher in Oregon than the national average from 2002-2006 and was the 4th highest in the U.S. An estimated 1,220 state residents were diagnosed with melanoma in 2009.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

White hot

Hate her music or serial dating habits all you want, but Taylor Swift has developed an insane sense of style. Last night at the People's Choice Awards, T.S. took a page from my own personal style handbook and wore white way after labor day. I adore white in the winter, and I thought this gown looked stunning on her.

Everyone always says, "Don't wear white, it will wash you out," but I think I'd rock this look if I had a fancy awards gala to attend. What do you think of this look? Is white on pale skin a do or a don't?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Warm & fuzzy

Got the results back from my biopsy already. Mole is benign! Wooooohooooooooooo! It makes me feel like this:

Image: Pinterest

While I'm stoked that I can quit worrying until my next doctor's appointment, the anxiety I felt earlier this week is a good reminder of why I started this blog in the first place. I know my worrying was just a sliver of what my later-stage melanoma friends feel on an everyday basis. You all are such an inspiration to me. I don't know how you do it.

Happy weekend, all! :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New year, new scar

As I mentioned earlier this week, I had a derm appointment on New Years Eve. Weird, I know, but it takes two months to get an appointment with my doctor, so I take what I can get. I've gotten several text messages and emails asking how things went, so here's the DL: one of the spots I was worried about looked suspicious to my doctor, too. They took a biopsy, and I should be hearing back within a week or two. Lucky me got to have stitches on NYE. Fun! (not)

I've had spots biopsied since my melanoma, but there was something eery about this appointment that gave me deja vu. The spot they biopsied was just this small, dark freckle that's popped up over the past year or so with slightly uneven pigmentation. It's not related to the old cancerous spot at all, but it's mere inches from my old scar. I think the proximity of it freaked me out a little bit. I mean, what are the chances that I get two primary melanomas right next to one another? Granted, I did burn that part of my body pretty bad back when I tanned, so maybe it's coming back to bite me in the ass. Who knows. Not going to worry about it for now.

My friend Melissa wrote a provocative blog post the other day in response to comments that were made on Facebook about stage I melanoma bloggers. As I've said before, I know I've never had to go through anything nearly as awful as my late-stage melanoma friends. But that doesn't mean I can't empathize with them and relate. One of the shitty things about skin cancer is once you've had it, you're exponentially more likely to get it again. Every time I go to the dermatologist for the rest of my life I get to worry: Is it back? Will it be worse this time? As Melissa said in her post: "We all know one loose cell and a stage 1 can become a stage 4 in a heartbeat." True statement.

No matter how you spin it and no matter how good or bad you have it, melanoma blows. I don't think any of us like writing about this stuff. Did you know I used to be a fashion & beauty blogger before all this? (OK, maybe you can tell by my sporadic product review posts.) But if we're not writing about it, then nothing is going to change. People are going to continue being diagnosed.

So fingers are crossed for good news. On a lighter note, I'm stoked for 2013. Lots of exciting things planned. Weddings, lots of travel, event planning madness, and more. Thank you to all my readers and friends for your continued love and support. I'm way behind on email, life, etc. so if I owe you an email, I promise I'll be in touch soon :)