Health

Resolutions!

I can’t believe that it’s already 2017. Last year flew by! There were a lot of highs and lows, and I definitely grew as a person. I know that I still have a long way to go when it comes to working on myself, so I wanted to use this first post of 2017 to record a few goals so I can hopefully be kept accountable this year:

  1. I want to focus more on my physical health. I’ve definitely gained a lot of weight since college and I don’t exercise regularly. I don’t want to make a really specific goal when it comes to weight loss because I have a tendency to be drawn to extremes (something I’d like to avoid). Instead, I’ll say that I’d like to work out three times a week and make a more concentrated effort to eat healthier foods and drink more water.
  2. I definitely still need to work on my anxiety. I am an extrovert and I love being around people, but sometimes I get really scared of new situations and new environments. I wonder sometimes how many great moments I’ve missed out on because of my fear. I also wonder if I’ve maybe inadvertently pushed away friends by giving into my anxiety and staying home so often. I also tend to get anxious when I obsess over things like my day job. I think that compartmentalizing aspects of my life and putting their importance in perspective will further help me to lessen my anxiety. When it comes to my anxiety, I don’t really know if I can make a very specific goal here either, but I would like to give in less to the anxiety and to find ways to manage it better.
  3. I want to be more productive when it comes to my fiction writing. While I love writing this blog and sharing product reviews (something I’ll definitely continue doing), my main goal is to write novels. I want to make sure that I spend time every single day working on my fiction projects.

Well, I think those are the big three for this year! I hope that 2017 can be much better than 2016. Do you have any goals for the new year? If so, please feel free to share them in the comments section. I’d love to know!

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Beauty, Health, Skincare

SK-II Facial Treatment Mask 

Sheet masks are so trendy right now, so I’ve been trying some of them. I’ve found most of them to be pretty lackluster, but then I tried one that was included in a beauty box  several months ago: SK-II Facial Treatment Mask.

The mask was sopping wet when I pulled it out of the foil. I put it on my face and then went to go watch TV. The instructions say to leave it on for 15 minutes, but I had read reviews from lots of people who typically leave it on for 30 minutes, so I decided to leave it on for 30 minutes.

As I waited the 30 minutes, I could literally feel my skin changing. It just felt like it was getting increasingly more and more moisturized. Once I took the mask off, there was still some residue. I decided to rub it into my face instead of washing it off (there’s some debate online as to which is preferably, but I think you get more out of this product when rubbing it in). My skin was glowing! It looked amazing after just 30 minutes of wearing the mask. I kept checking it in the mirror to see if the effects had worn off but they hadn’t. This was a one-time-use sheet mask, but I actually decided to put it in a ziplock back and use the other the side the next evening.

When I woke up the next morning, my skin still looked great. My skin was glowing and looked clearer with much less noticeable acne than the day before. I was so incredibly impressed by this product. Unfortunately, I then looked up the price on Sephora’s website. You can buy one sheet mask for a whopping $17. That is so expensive for a one-time-use product, but it’s a lot less expensive than getting a professional facial. I will absolutely be buying this product when I want to splurge a little, but unfortunately it’s a bit too expensive for me to use it weekly. It’s for sure too expensive for me to use it two to three times a week which is what I’d really love to do.

So, to recap, if you are fabulously wealthy, you should absolutely include this mask in your usual skincare routine. If you are a poor librarian like me, I think it is still worth the splurge when you feel like your skin needs to refresh!

Beauty, Health, Skincare

Don’t Put Volcanic Ash on Your Face 

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you put volcanic ash on your face?

No?

Well, neither had I before I received my April ipsy bag with a deluxe face mask sample of: The Original Fango Mud Therapy by  Jor’el Parker.

Ignore the soothing orange color!

 

When I first received this product, I looked at the ingredients. It contained sweet almond oil, avocado oil, and green tea antioxidants. These all seemed like really soothing, wonderful ingredients. Then I looked at the last one on the list: volcanic ash minerals. Really? Volcanic ash? I was confused, but then I remembered some other unlikely ingredients that are amazing for acne: mud, charcoal, sulfur, etc. Maybe this would be a pleasant surprise.

I put the face mask on and was pleased by the dark green color. It looked cool and made me feel like I was Elphaba from the musical Wicked (I might have also had an impromptu karaoke session with myself at this point – don’t judge me). The directions said to keep this on the skin for approximately five minutes. Well, as a mask “expert” I’ve discovered that often masks work better if you leave them on for longer than the directions instruct. This time, I should have just obeyed.

After about twelve minutes, I felt an intense burning sensation on my face. It was sudden…and alarming. I immediately ran to the bathroom and tried to scrape off the mask, but it wouldn’t budge. I grabbed a drenched washcloth and scrubbed with all my might. Finally, it was all off, but my face looked like I had a third degree sunburn and it still ached. I couldn’t tell if it was so red from the volcanic ash or all the vigorous scrubbing. I put on a soothing cucumber-based moisturizer and waited to see what was going to happen to my skin. After about an hour, I still looked like I had a terrible sunburn and even just opening my mouth hurt my face. The redness had faded by the next morning, but for days my skin felt raw and overly sensitive and I developed several breakouts.

Gentle readers, the moral of this story is: don’t put volcanic ash on your face. And if you decide that you really must, follow the directions and wash it off after five minutes.

 

Beauty, Health, Skincare

Health Hack: Spa Water

My boyfriend Josh is always getting on my case about drinking water. As much as I resist admitting that he is right, it is true that hydration is really important for both health and beauty. I know that when I drink a lot of water, I can tell that I’m getting many benefits, such as: fewer headaches, more radiant skin, less hunger, less fatigue. The problem is …

I HATE THE TASTE OF WATER! It’s just so boring.

Refreshing cold pure water
Photo: freefoodphotos.com

For a while, I tried to trick myself into drinking water by putting lots of crystal light (and other similar products from other brands) into my water. I have a really sensitive stomach and the artificial sugar just didn’t sit well with me. I noticed that I would feel slightly queasy for an hour or so every time I drank a glass. This is not only irritating but also a bit worrying. So, in order to get the fruity flavor without the artificial sugar, I decided to make my own spa water! Spas often have really refreshing pitchers of water mixed with chunks of some sort of fruit or veggies. I wondered if it would be worth the effort to do this myself (I know it’s not actually difficult to cut up fruit and toss it in water, so you may be wondering about my use of the word “effort” right about now. Let me assure you, I can be very lazy when it comes to  my health, hence why I’ve used the free gym at my apartment complex a grand total of one time).

Halved and whole fresh limes
Photo: freefoodphotos.com

I’ve been really enjoying this experiment! I feel a lot better sipping the spa water throughout my day at work instead of multiple cups of coffee. I especially appreciate having clearer skin and fewer headaches. My two favorite blends to put in the water bottle are lime with raspberries and grapefruit with cucumber. For a thriftier option, you could also use frozen fruit and then the water will stay chilled longer as well. The only downside? I have to pee more often which is sometimes inconvenient.