Monday, March 31, 2014

Product reviews: Neutrogena Hair Care and Rimmel Lipstick

I don't normally post on Mondays, but I wanted to blog about these two products before the Make Yourself Amazing in April series starts tomorrow.

I received two products to test: the Neutrogena Triple Repair Hair Care System from BzzAgent and Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in As You Want Victoria from Influenster. I received both of these products for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

(Side note: After April, I plan to write more about the product testing and money making sites that I am a member of).

My first product was the Neutrogena Triple Repair Hair Care System.

The system includes shampoo, conditioner, and fortifying leave-in treatment. I'm not loyal to any kind of hair brand, so I was excited to try something new, especially a hair care system that is supposed to strengthen my hair and protect it from damage from styling tools. The Neutrogena website says that it's supposed to make hair three times stronger and instantly repair the three leading signs of damaged hair in just one use.

The first thing I noticed was that the shampoo and conditioner didn't have any scent. I know that some people are sensitive to smells in health and beauty products, but I would like the option of a scented product to make my hair smell fresher. I also noticed that it took two times with the shampoo before my hair felt clean. That could have just been because it was post-gym hair though.

After I used all three products, I let my hair air dry for a little bit before drying it. This is how my hair looked from just using the dryer:

Next, I flat ironed it. I used heat protection spray also, but after reading the product description online, it looks like I could have skipped it since the leave-in treatment is supposed to protect from damage up to 400 degrees. This is how my hair looked after flat ironing it:

Overall, I'm pleased with these products. My hair felt softer and smoother, and it seemed to be easier to style (relatively speaking since I'm kind of styling challenged!). It also still looked decent the next day without too much work, so that appealed to the lazy girl in me. I haven't looked for these products in stores, but the website says they retail for $6.99 per product. I would recommend them if you regularly use heat to style your hair or if you just feel like your hair is looking a little frazzled.

The next product I tested was the lipstick. If you know me in real life, you know that I'm not much a makeup wearer, so getting a lipstick that looked like this:

was a little out of my comfort zone!

Here's how it looked when I first put it on:

Please note the expression of horror. My lips were BRIGHT!

The Rimmel website says that the lipstick is supposed to make your lips feel up to 70% more hydrated and up to 60% smoother. My question is more hydrated and smoother than what? I felt my lips were dry and kind of cakey, but that could also be because I usually just wear lip gloss. 

However, once I got past the initial self-consciousness and fielded questions from people at work who asked if it was a special occasion (because I had on lipstick and fixed my, do I set some low standards...), I kind of liked it. The color held on pretty well too. This is how it looked in the afternoon, after I had been eating and drinking throughout the day:

Is it sad that I think the florescent lights at work are more flattering than the lights at home? Maybe I need better bulbs or to open the shades or something.

This is what the color looked like before I left work at 4:30 on Friday:

It had definitely faded, but you could still tell I had on lipstick.

I'm mixed on this. It might be fun to wear somewhere other than work, and I might try another color just to see if it makes me feel less "mouthy". I haven't looked for this in stores either, but the CVS website has it retailing for $6.99.

What do you guys think? Does the lipstick deserve its own spot in the Caboodles, or does it need to quietly go away? 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Make Yourself Amazing in April!

It's no secret that I've felt a little blah this winter. Perhaps you're in the same boat, especially since winter has lasted approximately 725 years around here, give or take a month or two (I mean, snow on March 25?!? Give me a break!). To help shake off those winter blahs, I want to introduce Make Yourself Amazing in April!

Last month I was contacted by Australian author Sarah Coleman about reviewing one of her books on the blog. I looked at the summaries of all of her books and decided on Make Yourself Amazing. I mean, how could I not when the description on Amazon said that it will help you be a better person, achieve your goals, and reduce stress, among other things? I started reading it with the plan to post a review and possibly an interview with her around this time. Once I start reading it, I decided that a one day summary of it wasn't enough! After emailing Coleman and telling her my plan, I decided to do another series, similar to the 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life series from November. 

Starting on April 1, I'll post daily about a chapter in the book. If you want to follow along, the book is only $2.99 for the Kindle edition! Plus, there's a Kindle app that you can use on your iPhone/iPad/iPod, so you don't even have to have a Kindle to read it!

So, if you're ready to emerge from a long, cold winter and make yourself amazing in April, pick up a copy of the book this weekend and meet me back here on April 1!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

It's Spring!!!

(After the way this past winter has been, the title gets THREE exclamation points...)

Welcome back to my unintentional "ode to a new season" series. I've written about fall and (reluctantly) about winter, so I had to talk about spring and why it's my new favorite season...for now anyway.

1. It's not winter: This shouldn't need any explanation at all!

2. Flowers! Grass! Trees: Everything that looked so brown and dead during the winter begins to come back to life. Our yard starts to look less sad and more alive. Plus, the darker grass will help disguise the lack of puppy poop scooping that's been going on lately...

3. Longer days: For a while, it was just depressing to go to work in the dark and drive home in the dark. It just made me feel lethargic! Longer days also mean that I can take K-pup outside after work and help him burn off some energy.

4. More sunshine!: Even if it's not as warm as it looks outside, the sunshine makes things just seem better.

5. Fewer layers: Getting dressed is easier when you don't have 1,800 layers to put on. 

6. Warmer weather: Daily temperatures above the 30s?!? I'll take it! Also, warmer weather means we can open the windows more often at home and try to counteract our crazy gas bills from January and February. 

7. More time outside: I sit in front of a computer for way too many hours a day, so whenever there's an opportunity to go outside and get fresh air and non-screen time, it's definitely a good thing. (But, I have been guilty of taking my phone outside and being online outdoors. Partial credit?)

8. It's not winter: I feel like this one needs to be reiterated.

Is anyone else happy about spring? Any winter fans out there who aren't ready to see it leave?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

5 Tough Truths About Marriage

A good friend of mine became engaged a few months ago. She and I happen to also work together, so one day before Christmas when it was really slow in the 'brary, she asked me if there was anything about marriage that has turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. We've only been married for a year now (minus three days ha ha), so I don't consider myself any type of expert, but here were some of the things I thought of:

1. It's tough to live with a guy:

As some of you may know, I lived at home until I got married, so I technically lived with two guys. However, there's a big difference between living with family and your husband! My husband is fantastic, but there are things that he doesn't understand about me and that I don't understand about him. Some guy behaviors are mystifying to me (how do you shower and get ready so quickly?!?). There are also times that I just need to blab on and on about something, and he responds differently than some of my female friends who will let me over-analyze everything. I could go on and on about the differences between men and women, but I think most of you know them by now and could chime in here also!

2. It's tough to strike a balance between being comfortable and still trying to be attractive to your husband:

 I own footie pajamas. I'm not proud of that fact, but they're warm and comfortable, and sometimes a lady just likes to wear an adult onesie. However, they're not the most flattering sleepwear that I own. I also like mismatched pajamas, raggedy sweats, and holiday themed socks. I'm lucky I'm cute and can get away with that kind of casual wardrobe. ;-) Although I know my husband loves me for who I am and not what I'm wearing, I do sometimes think that I need to have better "loungewear," Then again, with what we keep the thermostat on in the winter, he's lucky that my Snuggie has only made a handful of appearances over the last year!

3. It's tough to think of things to cook for dinner:

This one may not seem like a big deal, but it's really hit me lately, especially as I've been working on cleaning up my diet. I know there are thousands menu planning and recipe websites around, but I don't always think about those when I'm standing in the kitchen at 5:30 trying to figure out what to start making. I'm happy with eating an assortment of whatever I can throw together, but some people like actual food for dinner. This may vary for others, but it's been a real struggle for me!

4. It's tough to adjust to each other's routines, quirks, and habits:

Everyone has bad habits and quirks. For example, I like to just set my stuff down wherever there's a little bit of room and worry about putting it away "later." My husband is super easygoing and doesn't let a lot of my habits bother him, but I'm sure it's been difficult for him to adjust to some of the things I do, just like it's been difficult for me to adjust to some of the things he does. A lot of people told me before I got married to "pick my battles." That's one piece of advice I'll definitely pass on to anyone who's planning to get married. Things can get frustrating, but it's much better to let the small stuff slide.

5. It's tough to share a bed:

I'm a sprawler, and I have a bad habit of being hot, then cold, then hot, and so on. Someone I share a bed with sometimes steals covers whenever I've kicked them off of me. Sometimes I think it would be easier to just have twin beds that we could push together or apart as the need arises!

Even with these "tough" challenges, I wouldn't trade being married for anything in the world. It's been a great experience so far, and even when there are difficult times, it's nice to know that I have a partner who will love and support me no matter what. Also, I can always just make grilled cheese for his dinner, and he's happy. You can't buy that kind of love, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's a Scary World Inside of My Head...

Does your brain ever get full of nonsense? Do you ever just have weird thoughts that you have to get out of your head, partially because they're taking up space, and partially because you want to see if anyone else is as, er, odd as you?

Just one of the many weird things I've thought would be funny...
No? Just me? Well, in that case, enjoy some of the bizarre things that have been occupying my brain lately...

  • Would Miss Piggy and Maxwell the Geico pig be friends? Am I being pig-ist for assuming that just because they're pigs they would get along? It seems like she would enjoy hanging around someone with extra money to spend, and we've seen from some Geico commericals that Maxwell can be quite the ladies' man.
  • If Maxwell stole Miss Piggy from Kermit, would Kermit fight him? Who would win in that fight?
  • How small is the world's smallest watermelon?
  • Would the world's smallest watermelon have seeds? Would they be tiny or the same size as the seeds in a conventional watermelon?
  • How strong is the world's strongest baby? How would that be determined?
  • How fun would it be to watch a baby strongman (or woman) contest?
  • Would the world's strongest baby have to carry his or her parents instead of them carrying him/her?
  • When I eat wasabi edamame, do my little mucus people (like in the Mucinex commercials) feel like they're being firebombed? Or do they just think that someone has turned up the heat in their little jazz club?
Phew! My brain feels lighter already!

Feel free to add your own thoughts...or to tell me how crazy I am! ;-)