Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I've said Yes to Carrots. We're living happily ever after.

HELLO AGAIN!!

After a five or six day hiatus, I'm back, bro.  I hope all of you had a Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas)!

Let me tell you how last night ended for me.

I got on my Blogger dashboard to check my traffic sources, and a lil' somethin' somethin' caught my eye.  It was the "search keywords" box, where the traffic sources gods tell you what keywords were entered into any particular search engine, thus resulting in a click-through to your blog.  And guess what. 

Somebody searched "What naughty things can I do to Jen?" and was brought to my blog.  Awesome.

Here's a naughty thing you can do to Jen.  FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER @j2mjen!

Anyway, I also ended my night by taking my makeup off with my new makeup remover, the Yes To Carrots Eye and Face Makeup Remover ($9.99 for 8.45 fl. oz.):

I'm in love.

I've blogged before about using makeup remover wipes because of their ease of use, but because they have such a drying effect on my skin (especially during the winter), I wanted to find something else to use. Since I'm a huge fan of all natural products, I immediately turned my attention to the Yes to _____ line.

The product is a creamy, white, lotion-like consistency.  It feels much more nourishing on your skin than the watery make-up removers, like Clean and Clear's Soothing Eye Makeup Remover.  It has a floral smell, but is not too overwhelming (and I hate floral smells, so that should tell you something).

It comes in a bottle (shown above), and its spout is something like a shampoo bottle, not a pump.

Its active ingredients are (ready?) organic carrots and pumpkins, Dead Sea minerals, and Dead Sea mud.  HOW luxurious!  The combination gives your skin Vitamin A, antioxidants, exfoliation, and hydration.  It also cleans your skin and leaves it feeling fresh and new.

A quarter-sized amount on a cotton swab was enough to take off my eye makeup.  Another quarter-sized amount was used on the rest of my face.

The best part: it takes your makeup off fast.  Just as fast as a makeup remover wipe, I'd say.

Rating:
Product: 4.5/5 (I really was expecting a carrot-like smell.  But, oh well.)
Packaging: 4/5 (I would've preferred a pump.)
Price: 5/5 (For organic ingredients, this is a steal.)
Overall: 4.5/5

There is also a Yes to Tomatoes (Clear Skin) line for Combination to Oily Skin, a Yes to Cucumbers (Soothing) line for Normal to Sensitive Skin, and a Yes to Blueberries (Age Refresh) line for Mature or Drier skin.  The Yes to Carrots (Nourishing) line is for Normal to Dry Skin, which I happen to be during the winter months.

Try all of them.  They're good.  Find them at Whole Foods, Target, CVS, and a whole slew of other stores.

<3,
jen

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Burt's Bees. It's good for your lips... and your butt.

I thought we were home free. Our baby, who's now over a year old, had never really had a serious, butt-scratching, wormy squirmy, diaper rash. Then it happened. He got one, and it was bad.

In a flurry, I grabbed the first bottle of diaper rash ointment I could find at my nearest Whole Foods. It happened to be this little gem, by Burt's Bees (MSRP $8.99 for 3oz):
And let me tell you, it freaking works WONDERS!

Its main ingredient is Sweet Almond Oil, which conditions the skin, balances its moisture, and soothes dryness and irritation.  Other ingredients include lavender, jojoba, chamomile, rosemary, and soybean.  Yay for all natural products!

When I first squeezed the product out, it came out as a clear gel.  This is NOT the actual product.  It's actually a white cream, you just have to keep a-squeezing.  It's got a little bit of a menthol smell to it, but it's not too overbearing or obnoxious.  It seems to soothe baby's bum almost immediately upon contact, as he stopped fidgeting and reaching for his diaper right as I started applying it.

The best part of this ointment is that the rash, which was actually quite bad, disappeared only after about a day and a half.  And if you have a young, irritable baby with a diaper rash, you'd know time is of the essence.

Side note, I think he had a mini bout of diaper rash about a year ago, and we tried Desitin.  We had to use it for about a week before we saw any improvement to his condition (which wasn't even bad in the first place).

The only downside I can think of is that the product is so thick, it's hard to wipe off of baby with just wipes.  It takes a nice, warm bath.

Rating
Price: 4/5 (A bit pricier than I'd like.)
Product: 5/5 (You really can't go wrong with Burt's Bees.)
Packaging: 5/5 (The squeeze tube works really well.  Gives you just as much as you need.)
Overall: 4.6/5

And now, my Holiday nails.


I did them last night.  Aren't they so cuuuute?!  Hey wait, my rhinestone fell off my ring finger!  WORST CHRISTMAS EVER.  jk.

<3,
jen

Monday, December 20, 2010

Okay yeah, I officially LOVE Kandee J

She's so freaking cute.


<3,
jen

Contest Time! (CLOSED!)

Congratulations to Vira!  More contests to come.  Please follow me here and on Twitter to enter and win!

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Alright guys and dolls.

The first person who follows my blog AND follows me on twitter (@j2mjen), AND RTs my last tweet will WIN:

The Urban Decay Loose Pigment in Smog

AND!

This Smoke Out Pencil in Maui Wowie

(These will be paid for out of my own pocket, the goodness of my own heart, with the help of the $2 on everything sale on Hautelook.)  So what if that's only $4?!  It's yours for FREE!  And shipping on Hautelook is expensive.

<3,
jen

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jewelry Payless. Cuz you pay less... for jewelry.

OH HEEEYYYY!!

Back in action, folks!  Thanks again for all the support!

After watching this review:


And this review:


I decided to hop my butt on the bandwagon and buy a couple rings from http://www.jewelrypayless.com/.

I've been freaking obsessed with rings, particularly with sterling silver rings.  They're generally great quality, don't turn your finger all sorts of funky colors, and they're affordable.  Since I lose everything ALL THE TIME, affordability is key.

I went with buying from the "Silver Wedding Ring Set", because they come with TWO rings each, and I'm a cheapskate like that. 

This is the first item I bought (stock photo from their website), "1 Carat Half Eternity CZ Braided Sterling Silver Engagement Wedding Ring Set". MSRP $32.99:

Note: It looks like the prices have gone up in the last couple weeks.  I was able to use the coupon code provided by Jen @ frmheadtotoe.

Shipping was incredibly fast, especially since they had a free shipping promotion going on at the time of my purchase.  I believe they sent me a shipping confirmation email within a (business) day, and I received the item two days after that.  It shipped in a cardboard box with foam inserts for protection, placed in an envelope and shipped via USPS.

Here's what it looks like on:
Good!
  • The CZ is 1ct, and is nice & classy for everyday use.
  • The setting is beautiful!
  • Runs true to size (the size 5 fits perfectly on my ring finger).
  • Welded together beautifully:
Mehhhh..
  • Actually, not much to note here; I really love this set.  The only thing I would say is that wearing this ring and the "wedding band" together would be a bit much, since they're both pretty wide.  I wear the "engagement ring" on one hand and the "wedding ring" on the other.

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I was so in love with this product, that I ordered this "Victorian Cocktail Silver CZ Wedding Ring Set". MSRP $39.99:

Here's what the 'engagement' ring of this set looks like:


The rundown:
Good!
  • The CZs around the middle CZ, and on part of the band, are a nice, subtle touch.
  • It's shiny, oooh.
  • Beautifully designed!
  • The stone is much bigger than I initally thought.  It's probably the size of a 2ct stone.  (Well, that's either good or bad, depending on how you look at it.)
Mehhhh....
  • The ring runs a lot bigger in size than I'd expected.  My ring finger is a size 5, and I purchased this with the intent of wearing it on my ring finger, but as you can see, it actually fits on middle finger much better.
  • The first thing I noticed as I was putting the set on was the tinny, toy-sounding clinking sound they made.
  • The middle stone sits on top of the setting, and is not quite embedded in it like I thought it would be.
  • The "engraving" on the side of the ring is not as well executed as the stock photo leads on (I tried to get a picture of it, see below.):
  • The ring is welded together a tad sloppily (is that a word?).  I'm sure this is probably the only way they could have done it, but again, it makes the ring look a lot more cheap than it is.  Here's what I mean:
Although I listed much more "Mehhh" than "Good", because I've always wanted a princess cut stone ring in this type of setting, I still wear this set everyday.  And for wearing it everyday, it's pretty darn durable, and has not harmed my fingers with any sort of fungus or discoloration.

Bottom line!  (Finally.)
I think if you're looking for an alternative to expensive jewelry, or something to buy for your mama or partner for the holidays, you should buy from jewelrypayless.com.  Fast shipping, HUGE selection (not just rings), overall good quality, super affordable.  Can't go wrong.

I'm going to work on a video review for this, and my other blog entries.  I'll be posting them soon (my goal is before the end of next week.)

<3,
jen

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oprah's Giving Away Free Cars and Oil Blotting Sheets!

Okay, I lied.  She just gave away cars.



The oil blotting sheets come FREE!

You get a sheet, you get a sheet, you-you-get-a-get-a-sheet, sheet!

So, my oily face and I were just in the bathroom, and I remembered that there's a kind of oil blotting sheet I use almost everyday, that's free, and that I learned from a really old episode of Oprah. Ready?

TOILET SEAT COVERS!



Oh yes, toilet seat covers.  (The paper kind, not the plastic kind that come out automatically when you enter or leave the restroom.)  I know it sounds nasty, but they're sanitary, trust me.  Just blot your face with one (DO NOT RUB, BLOT), and your face should be far less greasy looking than it was before you entered the bathroom.

And if somebody catches you, tell them Jen sent you.

Oh, and other stuff:
I'm in the process of figuring out what direction I'm going with this blog thing, so bear with me.   (Or bare with me?  Naw, that's dirty.)  I've started a YouTube channel in hopes that I can start filming some fun stuff:  http://www.youtube.com/j2mjen

Also, I've been keeping a pretty close eye on my stats, and I've had visits from all around the world!  So to you all (if you've decided on returning), I say: Thank you, gracias, vielen dank, merci, grazie, and terima kasih! 

But, why did I get traffic from a Saudi Arabian blog that runs stories on Viagra?

And thank you to my two wonderful friends who have decided to follow me.

<3,
jen

WASH YOUR BRAND NEW UNDIES.

So, Michelle Phan (my hero, btw) just posted this on her Facebook Page:

"My mom bought me new underwears because I ran out (visiting home), but she refuses to let me wear them until she washes them! Do you wash brand new underwear before you wear them too? Haha! TMI ftw!"
And I don't usually leave comments on Public Figure Facebook pages, but damnit, I had to put my foot down.

I watched this thing on Dr. Oz where they took undies from high-end retail department stores, and tested them for traces of bacteria.  In a lot of cases, they found bacteria that could cause serious infections.  In one case, they actually found a trace of BLOOD.
Here's a link to the first video of that Dr. Oz series:


LADIES, it's SO FREAKING IMPORTANT to take care of your lovely lady parts. 

In other words, chickity-check yo self before you wrigity wreck yo self.  Cuz dirty ol' undies are bad for your health.

<3.
Jen

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review: Canon T1i, Digital SLR

Wow, COOL!  My blog stats say that I have had two site visits from France!  To my French friends, bonjour et merci!  Vous etes tres chouette!  (And also, sorry, I took three years of French and that's all I have to show for it.)

I also have my very first follower.  HI GIRL!  Thanks for following and spread the word.  =)

On with the show.

I'm reviewing the Canon T1i, after only a couple weeks of use.  Disclaimer: I'm not a professional photographer, and don't have much serious experience aside from my Community College photography classes.  So, anything I say here will be based on my ameteur expertise.  If that makes any sense.


IN ACTION!   (low res for the web.)



After we had baby, my partner and I decided that we actually needed  an SLR to capture all those spur-of-the-moment occurrences.  We initially bought the Canon Rebel XS, which has since been discontinued, and were pretty happy with it.  Then, our freaking car got stolen (on the day before Thanksgiving, bunch of jerks) and with it went our trusty SLR and our point-and-shoot (which was a Canon Powershot).  Boo.

We knew we couldn't go without an SLR for too long, so we purchased this camera on Black Friday from Best Buy (with a little help from insurance.  Ain't insurance the best when you actually get to use it?).

The main difference between the T1i and the XS is that the XS didn't take video, which is why we had both the XS and a video-shooting point-and-shoot.  The T1i takes HD video at 1980 x 1080 (high enough quality to capture all of your most unflattering features.  yay!).

Here's the rundown.

Good stuff!
  • The ISO settings actually go up to 3200 (the XS only went up to 1600).  This will allow you to shoot in much darker environments
  • The HD video is awesome quality, and has a built-in stabilizer.  If you're like me and have shaky hands, this is freakin' fab.
  • Picture quality is amazing.  You get those real "SLR" shots you're hoping for, with very little effort.  Even in "Full Auto", you feel like you're taking pictures like a pro.
  • The LCD screen is fairly large (3.0 inches).
  • The body is slightly less plastic feeling than the XS.
Mehhhh.....
  • Not much to the viewfinder.  If you don't have clear vision, you'll be hard pressed to figure out if the picture you're taking is in focus, since there's no real indicator right in the viewfinder.
  • As far as I know, there isn't an option to change the time settings on the timer (ie. you can't change the timer to take a picture after 10 seconds rather than say, 5 seconds.  it has a standard time, and you better get your butt in that picture before it takes that shot).
Overall, since we're not professionals, we think this camera is perfect for us.  I'd recommend it to any other dSLR starters.

For reference, here's a picture we took at Disneyland!!
 Beautiful, right?!

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Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, vulgarities, etc.  I welcome them all.  And if you follow me, I may send you an e-hug.

<3.
jen

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tag: 2010 Naughty and Nice List - Mommy and Baby Edition

Same game, different name.  I'll list five items for me and/or baby that I WILL NOT BUY EVER AGAIN, and five items that saved my life.  Ready?  Go.

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YOU'VE BEEN NAUGHTY, BRO.
1) Nature Babycare Eco-Friendly Diapers
Since diapers are something like, the number two most disposed of item that populate landfills, my partner and I decided to try out these ecofriendly, biodegradable diapers.  My baby boy leaked out of these every single freaking night, and sometimes during the day.  It almost seemed like the good we were doing by using these diapers were offset by the amount of water we were wasting from having to wash all of baby's pee-ridden clothes.  Yuck.  (FYI - Seventh Generation makes a pretty good, eco-friendly diaper.)

2) Avent Baby Bottles
 
These left my baby gassy and irritable.  And when you're full of hormones and still healing from labor and delivery, that's terrible.


3) Baby Wipe Warmer

I actually never used a wipe warmer, but just the idea of them kinda freak me out.  They're known to harbor many different types of bacteria, since they stores wipes at an ideal temperature.  Then you slather them all over your baby's bottom (and sometimes face).  WHY?  If this post can prevent just one person from using a wipe warmer, I did my job.

4)  The Peekaru
I didn't buy this either, but a friend of mine threatened to buy it for me.  DON'T YOU EVER DO THIS TO YOUR BABY, EVER.  Unless that's your thing.  Then, right on.

5) These Mossimo Flats from Target
 
I list these as a "Mommy Product", because I wore them during my pregnancy.  They left several scars, gave me blisters, were super hard and inflexible.  I ended up donating them.  I should've just tossed 'em, so nobody would ever buy them again.


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NICE!
1) HoMedics Mini Massager



It's only like, $5 from Target.  And yenno, when you're pregnant or you've just had a baby.  This is freaking awesome.

2) Boppy Pregnancy Pillow



Just do me a favor and get this if you're pregnant.

3) Balboa Sling!



YES!   My little man ALWAYS fell asleep after laying in this thing for a few minutes.  Both my hands were free, so I could do laundry, dishes, whatever.  Plus, you can wear it several different ways, to accomodate your baby as he or she grows.

4) Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Swing


We received this as a baby shower gift, and were scared to use it until baby was about three months old.  When we finally decided to put him in, he slept for two hours straight.  BOTH me and daddy were hands-free (and kinda just sat there and stared at each other, because we didn't know what to do with ourselves).  Anyway, we've since given this to our sister to use for her kid and hope to get it back for our next one.  :)

5)  Medela Pump-in-Style




Awwwww yeah.  The breastpump.  This was my best friend for an entire year.  I was able to store my things in the bag, it didn't outwardly look like a breastpump, it had different 'suck settings' (lol), and it did both boobies at the same time.  I recommend it to all my preggo mama friends.
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How fun is this blogging thing?!

<3.
Jen

Tag: 2010 Naughty and Nice List

My first beauty blog post!

Jen from frmheadtotoe.com (super love her!) just created a tag, where you basically list five 'naughty' things of 2010 (products you've obtained that you absolutely did not like), and five 'nice' things (products you could not live without!).  I thought that doing this post would be such a great way to start off this blog.  So, here goes.

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Naughty, naughty, naughty (ie. DON'T BUY THESE.)
1) Tresemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo
ARRRGGGGH!  Just seeing this picture makes me so annoyed.  As a fully employed mom of a toddler, I always keep an eye out for anything that will save me time and energy in the mornings, so I can focus more attention on the bay-bay.  When I saw this, I thought I was saved.  No more oily roots on the second day after a shampoo, and no more twenty-minute showers.

Then, I tried it.  SO VERY WRONG.  It just sat on my hair, almost like a really runny, leave-in conditioner.  It didn't dry, it didn't absorb the oils on my head, it wasn't an easy spray-and-brush application.  I watched several different YouTube videos on how to correctly use this product, and no method worked.  So very disappointed.  Shaking my finger at you, Tresemme!  I'll stick with baby powder for now.

2) Ponds Morning Refresh Makeup Remover Wipes

Say what you will about makeup remover wipes, but I am a HUGE fan of them, because it's the easiest and quickest way to get all the crap off of your face after a long day.  I typically use Pond's Makeup Remover Wipes in "Original Clean", but I stumbled upon these at Target and decided to spring for 'em.  I absolutely hated them, because the little exfoliating balls on them came off all over my face, and would stick to my skin like little magnetic leeches.  (And yes, I washed my face after, but still.)  Boo.  This is why I avoid change.

3)  Covergirl Outlast Lip Stain

I'm not sure what the color is called, but I got the one second to the left.  All I can say is that the color goes on un-evenly, maybe due to the texture of my skin, and I would have to use several coats to even it out, then set it with a moisturizing lip balm.  Though it does feel very light, I felt like the saturation of the color on my lips after all the coats kinda defeated the purpose of a lip 'stain'.


4)  These tweezers from Forever 21

Don't buy them unless the hairs you're tweezing are half a centimeter in diameter.  They don't freaking work.

5)   Skullcandy Earbuds

Maybe not beauty-related, but still worth a mention.  I bought these at Ross and was stoked, because they were pink.  The sound quality is horrible; really flat, no bass AT ALL, and get distorted easily.  Plus, mine basically fell apart after a week of use at my desk job.  I still wish I had gotten my money back for these.

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NICE, NICE, NICE!
1) Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Skin Therapy Cream
Yay!  I love this product, especially during Winter.  It's super moisturizing, doesn't have an obnoxious smell, and even though it goes on a bit greasy, my skin absorbs it really nicely, and I don't have to worry about any residue or oily hands.  Besides all that, it's a nice size for my purse, so I keep it with me all the time. 

2)  Garnier Fructis Surf Hair Wax, Matte Effect 
 
 My hair is pretty straight, but does have a bit of a wave to it.  It also gets frizzy if I don't blow dry it right after washing, and falls flat later in the day.  To prevent the frizz and make my hair stay where I want it, but without using hairspray (I don't particularly like the super immovable hair look), I take a bit of this stuff and run it through my hair, avoiding the roots, right after washing.  I also love that it's matte, so your hair doesn't look more greasy than it should.


3) Milani Eyebrow Pencil
 
My fave eyebrow pencil, even though it's only about $4 at your local CVS.  What I love about it is that it comes with a spool brush at the opposite end of the pencil, so when you're done filling in your eyebrows, you can just flip it over and brush.  (Time-saving seems to be my theme, no?)

4) EcoTools Brush Set

I'm all about Earth-friendly products (as is the majority of the Bay Area), so I felt these were a must.  Plus, they're super soft, come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and from what I've seen, they're pretty durable.  I use the eyeliner brush almost everyday with my gel eyeliner (which follows).

5)  Maybelline Gel Eyeliner

Yay again!  I love this gel eyeliner!  It's very pigmented and has smooth application.  It even comes with that lil' brush, which I like, too, but I still prefer using my EcoTools brush.  This was such a great drugstore find!

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OKAY.  That was certainly longer than I'd anticipated.  Hope this does some good for somebody, anyway!  Don't forget to subscribe, leave comments, ask questions.   I welcome them all.

<3.
Jen 

Ahoy!!

HIYEEEE, fellow mamas, shopoholics, beauty addicts!!

 My name is Jen.  I'm twenty-something (er, mid-twenty-something), a college grad, from San Francisco, a mama, a partner, a best friend, a daughter, a sister, a full-time-desk-job-worker.

Here's me (go Bay Area Sports Teams!)



I've decided to start this blog for two reasons:
1) For myself: To remember which products NOT to buy.  To remember which products to buy OVER AND OVER AGAIN!
2) For all of you: So you can save yourself the time and money, and maybe catch a few laughs along the way.


Oh, and also, I'm too shy to do a YouTube channel.  Maybe I will in the future, but for now, this will have to do.  :)

So, on to the '2010 Naughty and Nice List', a tag introduced by Jen @ frmheadtotoe.com  ...whom I absolutely love watching, because she shares some of the same nerd qualities I have and is so cuuuute!

Don't forget to follow, subscribe, WHATEVER!  Just visit.  I promise to have some good stuff for ya.

<3.
Jen