Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lane Bryant Smooth Satin Full Coverage Bra - Review

Photo is courtesy of
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Lane Bryant bras, they are literally all that I own but lately my old favorite, the cotton t-shirts just got to the point where they were old, pinching and ridiculously uncomfortable. I really have no idea why other than their age (a little over a year old) but it got to the point where they were stretched out and constantly digging into me from all angles, which resulted in a very miserable and disgruntled me. Now entering misery country population one! The cups had also started to curl after repeated washes. So I was unquestionably on the hunt for some new bras, I had my eye on the full coverage line for awhile, because of my bust size (46-48D) those seemed like the best option. I must admit that I had previously steered clear of them because they seemed more like the dull, unattractive "old lady" bras and less like the flirty, printed bras that I was used to wearing, oh how wrong I was.

I couldn't be any happier with these bras, they are FABULOUS! It fully covers my girls and there are no HELLO! type "slip ups" when I bend down or move a certain way. C'mon, we all have that moment when we bend down to pick something up and a good handful and a half of boobage slips out of the middle of the bra and we have to run off to the restroom to "re-adjust". Thankfully and proudly I can say that I no longer have to do that. This bra also offers amazing support and lifts me up right where I want to be. I have back fat and usually experience that uncomfortable band roll up and pinching but I don't with these, because of the smooth texture, these are perfect for wearing daily. I must admit, it's actually pretty nice not having all the bells and whistles for now and just enjoying a great, everyday no fuss bra. I won't be able to stay away from the prints and lace for too long though, so next sale I will be stocking up on those! The moral of the story? Don't judge a bra by it's cover, had I not taken one look at these years ago and turned up my nose, I could have been wearing these all along and saved myself countless embarrassing moments and some major discomfort. My only con with this bra is the band material, it's a see through mesh type fabric. I would have much preferred a more stable, solid fabric to reduce the risk of ripping and tearing.

This bra is now available in a lacy option for your more vixen moments but I would size up with those because they fit a little more snug. This bra wore comfortably for most of the day but in LB's defense I am still breaking them in so they should mold to my body in next few days. I'm going to give the cotton and expandable cup versions a try soon. I encourage all of my fuller chest ladies to give these a try, you won't be disappointed! Don't get discouraged if you can't seem to find the perfect fit, LB is known for their bra sizing to be a bit off depending on the style and color, what I wear in this bra I would have to go up almost three band sizes to fit a balconette!! Just keep trying on different styles and prints until you find "the one".

This bra can be purchased here: Smooth Satin Full Coverage

Much love xo

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ulta's BeautyBlender? - A Review

I've had my eye on the famous BeautyBlender for months but shelling out $20+ for the sponge and the special cleanser was just not on my list. I considered cashing in my Birchbox points for it but I used those for my awesome little Baggu backpack (review coming soon). Needless to say, a blending sponge did not seem to be in my immediate future. You can probably imagine my giddy little excitement when as I was browsing Ulta's website and found their BB knockoff, called the "Super Blender Sponge" for $4.99 no less! I immediately purchased the next day and with my 20% coupon I really got an amazing deal. This little bugger was a bit difficult to find in store, I expected it to be somewhere on the Ulta product table but in fact it was at the back of the store where Ulta's sponge section is, raise your hand if you didn't even know that Ulta HAD a sponge I alone here?

For those that do not know what a blender sponge is, they are not your typical makeup sponges. They are kind of a unique hybrid of a brush and sponge, featuring a rounded flat end and a pointy tip, both used for makeup application and blending. The difference with these is they can be used damp or dry for a flawless and natural airbrushed finish to your makeup and unlike other makeup sponges, they don't soak up all of the product.

As someone who does not wear foundation (ever..) In all honesty I didn't even know what I was going to use the little guy for at first but since then I've been using it for my tinted primer and I love it. Since I've never owned one, I have no idea if it measures up to the real BB, but since they seem to be the same material and relatively the same shape, I can't imagine that the two would be that different from each other. The only differences that I have noticed is that when ran under water, this sponge does not seem to have the expanding characteristic that the BB is known for and the super blender's different shape allows you to grip it better, it's very dense and stiff which gives me exceptional control because it doesn't squish and almost cave in on itself when using it. As far as maintenance goes, I just wash my sponge in warm water with a little bit of mind soap and it's good to go.

When factoring in all of the pro's and con's, I would still pick the super blender for now, maybe one day when I've saved up enough Birchbox points, I'll purchase the BB and compare the two but as of right now, I have no desire to purchase one. I know that quite a few companies have released their versions of BB's so if you are coveting this sponge like I was, I suggest trying those out before purchasing the mothership.

Overall, I'm really liking this product and I will without a doubt be repurchasing when this one gets worn out and grimy.


Very wallet friendly price ($4.99 vs. $20+)
More readily available (BeautyBlender's can only be purchased online or in select stores)
Finger notches allow for a better grip


Not as well known
Might have different performance
Does not expand much in water
Stiffer and more dense than the BeautyBlender (I like this quality, some may not)

Much love xo

Update: After using this for awhile, I've come to find that this blender just doesn't perform how I originally thought. After continued use, it seems to get "clogged" no matter how much I wash it, because of this, my makeup is not blended whatsoever and looks dry and patchy. This will be thrown away and I will not be re-purchasing.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

L'occitane- A Review

It took me forever to learn how to pronounce this! May I present L'occitane (LOX-EH-TAHN). After hearing great things about this little french company, I decided there was no better time to try them out after receiving a coupon to redeem a free hand cream plus 15% off of my purchase (coupon is no longer available). The staff at my mall was extremely helpful and after explaining everything to me and letting me sample a ton of different products, I walked away with two hand creams and a bar of exfoliating almond soap even though i'm sure I could have purchased much, much more. The store is a bit overwhelming!

I chose the original 20% shea butter hand creams because I liked the scent best and according to the staff, it was the most moisturizing. The 1oz size retails for $10 and the large 5.2oz retails for $28. While I think it is a really lovely hand cream, it is very moisturizing and it does not leave the greasy/oily residue that I despise with a passion, I don't think it is necessarily worth the price. I can say though, since the product is so thick and moisturizing, a little goes a long way and so both size tubes will last a good while so it's not quite so bad.

The good news is that if you sign up for the VIP program, you will receive coupons and invitations and that definitely makes it worth going for. The cream itself is very rich and dense with a very pleasant almost baby powder like scent that I really enjoy. I literally couldn't stop smelling my hands! The best thing about this cream is that it lasted for awhile, even after a hand washing but it never felt sticky or greasy. Overall, I would re-purchase this hand cream, especially if I had a coupon and with the winter months coming up, we'll see just how good or bad this product is.

My next purchase was the exfoliating almond soap bar. At 1.7oz the bar is quite small but I think it's because it's supposed to be a sink soap rather than a shower soap. I really don't expect it to last over five showers but I will be pleasantly surprised if it does. It retails for $5. The packaging says, "This exfoliating soap sloughs away dead cells and helps stimulating skin microcirculation." It contains real almond shell pieces so if you have an allergy, stay far far away.

The soap has a really nice, clean milky smell and made me instantly think of the oatmeal milk & honey soap that I used as a child. When they say exfoliating, they mean it! I was surprised at how rough the almond pieces were but it didn't bother me and it left my skin feeling extremely soft. This is by far the best exfoliating product that I've used to date, I've used everything from scrubs, brushes and loofahs and this definitely beats them all.

Keep in mind that these products are really luxury items and not necessarily the best thing on the planet for you because they do contain parabens but, according to L'occitane they are in very low doses.

Overall, I am so glad that I got to try out this brand! Both of the products that I purchased are lovely and I will definitely be repurchasing this soap if nothing else, the hand cream I would probably only repurchase with a coupon. To get the best bang for your buck I suggest signing up for the free VIP program so at least you will get access to some really good promotions and it won't be quite so hard on the wallet.

Both of these products and more can be purchased at L'occitane En Provence

Much love xo

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Skincare & Haircare Story

Hello lovelies! I thought I would share a little bit about me today. Like so many others, I've been through countless things trying to find the best products and the best routine and let me tell you, both my skin and hair have really been on a journey. From horrific to bad to decent and everything in between. Over the last year or so I have really taken an initiative to get my skin and hair healthy and on track. Like all things, no matter what you do on the outside, it all needs to start from within first and foremost. Because of my PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) condition, my skin, hair and nails have always been in a constant brittle state and no amount of love could really turn that around, until now.

The PCOS causes thinning spots in my hair but lately I've found that my hair is a lot thicker, stronger and overall much healthier. I start by washing my hair every 7-10 days or so. I know this might seem like a loooong time to some people but because of my extremely dry hair (we're talking BONE DRY here!) this is what works best for me. I've been using John Freida's Frizz Ease Hydrating shampoo & conditioner and I really like these two. Unlike other shampoos that I've used, this one does not make my hair feel dry or like straw, my hair actually feels really silky and soft after using it. After washing, conditioning and towel drying my hair. I use Organix Extra Strength Moroccan Argan oil in my hair, about 2 quarter size amounts, because my hair is so dry, I use this daily. I then use a quarter size amount of John Freida's Frizz Ease Straight Fixation Smoothing Creme. I brush my hair well and blow dry my hair on low hot until it is about 90% dry and I finish by letting it air dry. Every 2 weeks I deep condition my hair with pure olive oil and egg yolks, I mix the two together and leave in on my hair under a plastic cap for an hour before washing it out. My hair has really come a long way since I started this routine and trying to eliminate as many chemicals and heat sources as I could.

For my skin, again because of the PCOS, my skin is VERY acne prone. For as long as I can remember, I've always picked at my face and spots. Horrible I know. Even though I know better now, the damage has already been done in the form of dark spots and acne scars all around my face. Add that to never using moisturizers and you can see why my skin was in such a horrid state. For awhile I had been interested in skin lighteners but I've always been weary of using them out of fear of what might go wrong. Thanks to Birchbox who sent me the DDF Brightening Cleanser which is now a holy grail product for me, it has lightened my spots and scarring and really helps keep my breakouts at bay as well. For a moisturizer I use the Philosophy Miracle Worker Anti Aging serum and moisturizer. I like to leave my skin pretty natural and so I don't use foundation, I personally try to stay away from caking makeup on my face and more so, I just don't like the way it feels. I use a primer + powder for a matte airbrushed face. Every few weeks I like to give myself a whipped egg white facial, I use one egg and let it sit on my skin for 15 minutes.

Because of my condition, it is very vital that in addition to my medication, I supplement with a multi-vitamin, echinacea and probiotics. Not only have these helped my overall health but they've done wonders for my nails. I also drink tons of water and have altered my diet to include lots of fruits and veggies. I have always had trouble with my nails breaking and peeling. The only product that I've found to help this has been Revlon's Calcium Gel, I use a coat of this under all of my nail polish. It took a long while but my nails have gotten a lot stronger and they don't peel nearly as much. I might not ever see a day where my nails are completely problem free but as of right now I couldn't be happier.

My biggest problem overall was stress, eliminating stress from my daily life has been the hardest thing to accomplish by far and even though I haven't mastered it completely, I've noticed that just doing simple things have helped my health so much more. After battling these problems for so long, it finally seems like my skin and hair have taken a turn for the better and I can only hope that it continues from there. I cannot explain the sheer embarrassment and low self esteem that I used to experience because of this and I know that even though that's all better now for me, people everywhere are still dealing with it. I encourage you to do like I did and take the initiative to turn it around and remember that no matter what, always love yourself. You are gorgeous just the way you are and all of your flaws are what make you perfect. Also, if you are a woman battling PCOS let me know in the comments below, send me an email and share your story with me, I would love to hear from you.

I love you guys but please, please, please consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet. It's for your own safety.

Much love xo