Friday, February 28, 2014

Glam Gams: Jergens BB Body Skin Perfecting Cream Review

If you've been following along lately, then you know that I'm currently living in squalor renovating my sunroom, and that it hasn't been going exactly according to plan. This has, unfortunately, cut into my blogging time, and for that, I offer my sincerest apologies to all four of you.

In all honesty, I have more pictures than I care to count, ready and waiting to be pasted into a post. I would really like to get them off of my phone at some point in the near future.

That day is not today.

Anyhoo, in the .7 seconds I have to write this, I wanted to pop in and tell you about a new(-ish) product that I am really excited about: Jergens BB Body Skin Perfecting Cream. (Oh--incidentally, after months of not being able to click inside the "compose" box on Blogger, I can finally link, highlight, and basically function again. Miraculously. Things should be a lot different from here on. Thank God.)

Believe it or not, sundress season is around the corner. Heck, I wore one Tuesday. I also wore a heavy sweatshirt on Wednesday. Mother Nature is having hot flashes, but I digress. Sundress season is around the corner, and that means bare legs and arms and whatnot, and I'm not ready for that. In the past, I made up for my pale, patchy legs by slathering on this stuff from Super by Perricone, Supermodel Legs, which is, basically, tinted body lotion that's infused with capsacin to temporarily tighten up the calves. It's magic, and I love it, and it has been woefully discontinued. Of course, it has.

When I heard about the Jergens and its claims, I had to test it out, so I picked up a travel size for about three bucks at Walgreens. They only had the light skin tone version, so that's what I went with. In case you're wondering, here's what it's supposed to do (from the Walgreen's website):
  • Hydrates & Smoothes
  • Illuminates & Brightens
In 5 Days:
  • Evens Skin Tone
  • Visibly Firms Skin
  • Helps Reduce the Appearance of Imperfections
I started using the cream last Saturday, so six days have passed. Did it work? Yeah, I kind of think so. Let's break it down:

The Good
The first thing I noticed (okay, second, but I'll get to that in a bit) was that this stuff is thick. It's not an opaque leg makeup, but it does make me think a lot of Too Faced Primed and Poreless face primer, as far as color and texture go. The product blurs, but does not cover imperfections, and isn't sparkly or shimmery. You won't look like a Cullen. The most impressive result of using this, however, was that I was legitimately taken aback this morning when I looked in the mirror and noticed that my cottage cheese thighs appeared smoother. Don't get me wrong, there's still some serious cellulite going on, but there's definitely been some improvement. I would say that it's just wishful thinking on my part, except that I didn't realize that was one of the claims until I started writing this review. I'd misread the package, and only expected temporary results, like I saw with the Perricone. Surprise!

The Bad
The price. It's up there. A full-sized tube runs anywhere from $10-$13 (or $23, if you're nuts. Thanks, ebay!), depending on where you buy it. That's a bit much for a drugstore lotion, especially considering how often you're going to have to repurchase. See, since this is such a thick lotion, you have to use a pretty generous amount each time you apply. My travel-size tube will have lasted a week, if I can eke out enough for tomorrow, and I only use it on my legs, arms, and occasionally my chest. Full-body, this might have lasted three days, at best. To put this into perspective, in my entire adult life (no exaggeration), I think I've finished one full-sized and two travel-sized lotions, and it took months each time. Heck, I think the full-sized might have taken a year. Normally, my lotion expires before I finish the bottle.

And the More You Know
Here's the real first thing I noticed, and depending on how you feel about scents, this could go either way: bottom line, it smells exactly like Bath and Body Works' Twilight Woods. When I say "exact", I mean, I used the Jergens and then used the BBW hand sanitizer and could not tell a difference. It is spot. on. Now, Twilight Woods is a favorite of mine, so I'm absolutely OK with the fragrance, but take heed if you're not a fan of the BBW version, or of scents in general. I will say that I don't find it to be overpowering, and it doesn't seem to linger. Okay, now here's the part where I say, "and if you do like Twilight Woods, you might be able to save some cash by buying this at the drugstore!" No, wait--nope. You can't. The BBW version is $12.50. It's entirely possible that you might spend more on the drugstore "dupe". It won't have the same skin-enhancement properties, but if you're only after moisture and a nice fragrance, you can save money by going to the specialty store in the mall. For once. Wow...

Final Verdict: 8.3 out of 10. Absolutely does what it claims. I just wish it were more affordable.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The More You Know *Cue Shooting Rainbow Star*

The longer this room renovation goes on, the more I've come to view it as a learning process. For example: I now know that I will hire professionals in the future.

Recently, I posted an If You Give a Mouse a Cookie-esque recap of the construction side of the project. We're still nowhere near done with that, but I decided to go ahead and work on getting the decor part going, so that when the room is finished, it might actually *be* finished. I mean, how hard could it be to pick up some pillows and a throw rug? Right?


If you paint a room orange, you will realize that the most common color for whatever it is you're looking for is orange, but never the right shade--not even close?

Once you buy a curtain with an accent color of, say, yellow, you are stuck with that color, and have to find a way to tie it into the rest of the room, no matter what?

The color yellow is downright impossible to find? Closetmaid doesn't even make a yellow fabric bin for their ever-popular cube system. No one does.

Stein Mart has gorgeous stuff? I had no idea. Unfortunately, their website doesn't specify colors. They do have a wonderful return policy, though. They also only carried one (1) yellow pillow in the shade I needed. I got it. Of course, I need two...

For every three cans of spray paint you buy, at least one will have a faulty, broken, or missing spray nozzle?

Furniture can reject spray paint? The color can, literally, slide right off. (And yes, I used "literally" correctly. I watched this happen.)

The price difference between DIY-ing a questionably attractive drink cart out hardware store and amazon finds, and buying a beautiful, ready-made, actual-piece-of-furniture wine bar is surprisingly negligible?

Oil-rubbed bronze is all the rage until you actually need it?

Circleware Moonlight wine glasses are ginormous, and only $6.99 for four at Ross? Who wants to help me put together the wine bar? There may still be painter's tape on the walls, and the subfloor may be completely visible, but I'm sure it'll all look much better once the furniture's in place. Right? Now, be a dear and pass me that Moscato.

Monday, February 10, 2014

If You Decide To Paint the Sunroom: A Cautionary Tale

If you decide to paint the sunroom, you're going to have to take down the curtains and blinds.

When you take down the curtains and blinds, you're going to find that not all of the window trim is intact, and some of it doesn't even exist. You'll also see that none of the windows are completely straight, so blinds don't fit well. For a while, you won't have any window treatments, and your neighbors will get to know you quite well.

That's when you'll decide to frost the windows.

When you decide to frost the windows, you're going to need a dust mask, and white powder is going to blanket everything in the room. You'll have to keep a designated pair of shoes out there, so you don't track toxic dust into the house, and the dog will be afraid to walk through the room to get outside, so you'll have to carry him. The windows will look great, though, and you can finally get around to painting.

When you finally start to paint the sunroom, you'll notice what looks like water damage near the floor. You'll have to pull the carpet back to inspect. There won't be water damage (thank God!), but you will notice cracks and breakage in the subfloor. You'll need to rip up the carpet to fix it. Luckily, you were already planning to take up the carpet, so you go ahead and throw the carpet outside until the next trash day.

That's when it'll snow. In lower Alabama. For the first time in God knows how long.

When it snows (okay, ices) in lower Alabama for the first time in God knows how long, the trash schedule will be thrown completely out of whack, and you'll end up with wet, mildewing carpet on your courtyard for three weeks. It's okay, though, because the neighbor's cat will love to use it as a scratching post. At least now you can lay down the new floor.

When you go to lay down the new floor, you're going to find that it doesn't completely fill in the gap that the carpet left between the subfloor and the wall. When that happens, you're probably going to curse a bit, and then go to Lowe's to get transition pieces. While you're there, you can pick up that window trim you're going to need, some drywall tape and mud, and pick out a new light fixture and ceiling fan for the sunroom. You'll probably waste the remainder of the time you could have been working in the sunroom, but at least you'll have escaped the fumes from the window frost for a bit.

Once you have the transition pieces and window trim, you're going to realize that you can't use any of it until you've painted the walls. That's when you'll finally slap on the first coat of paint.

When you slap on the first coat of paint, it will become apparant that you'll need at least two more coats. That's when you'll have to go to Walmart to get another gallon.

When you get to Walmart, you'll find that everyone in the paint department is on lunch. While you're waiting, you'll notice that pool tables are on sale. You'll spend the next fifteen minutes on your phone, trying to see if you can get one delivered. You won't be able to, but the diversion will keep you from snapping. Eventually, a very nice, albeit disgruntled, manager will come and mix up your paint, and you can go home.

When you get home, you'll start painting again. Somewhere between the second and third coats, you'll discuss the possibilty of re-enacting The Shining with the chihuahua and his toys. That's when you'll realize that the fumes have gotten to you, and you'll open the outside door to let in some fresh air.

When you open the outside door to let in some fresh air, you're going to look out onto your patio and notice that it's uneven.

And when you notice the patio's uneven, you're going to want to level it.

And when you want to level it...'re going to admit that you need help and call a licensed professional to come out to your home and do it properly.

The End.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Systematic, Hydromatic, Ultramatic Walgreen's Whitening!: Walgreen's Extra Strength One-Hour Whitening Trays

I'm a coffee drinker. Well, actually, that's kind of like calling Jurassic Park a petting zoo. I have a Starbucks Gold card, for crying out loud. I worked my way through both college and my time as a theatre gypsy tending coffee bars. I mostly drink decaf, but I drink a lot of it.

Oh, and tea. I like tea. I'm Southern, so of course I like sweet tea (and it's all sweet tea. If you want unsweetened, you need to specify), and it better be syrupy enough to pour over pancakes. I'm also a vocalist in the land of pollen, so chamomile is my friend.

And my teeth show it.

I adore my Crest Optic White toothpaste. Without it, I'd probably look like I smoked a carton a day. That stuff is magic, but great as it is, there's only so much it can do. Sometimes, you have to pull out the big guns and go for a whitening kit, which sucks because they're so gosh-darn expensive. Normally, I'd just scrub harder and hope that the Tooth Fairy would show up to grant wishes, but I've got an event coming up in a couple of weeks. I bit the bullet, grabbed my purse, and headed to Walgreen's.

Name brand whiteners tend to run anywhere from twenty bucks to over fifty, and that's before you get into the fancy-schmancy kits with lights. I didn't need all the bells and whistles; just a basic kit that might whiten my teeth. It didn't need to sing or dance or do my taxes. Then, my eyes fell on a generic, Walgreen's branded box that said "Extra Strength Whitening Trays...Whitens teeth up to 3 shades in 1 hour". Beneath the box was a sale sticker for $9.99. SOLD! When I got up to the register, I found out I had three dollars in Balance Rewards, bringing the total down to $6.99. Seriously, you can't beat that.

The instructions were pretty straightforward: rinse with the accelerator for 30 seconds, wear the first set of trays for 25 minutes, rinse with the accelerator for 30 seconds, wear the second set of trays for 25 minutes, rinse with the whitening rinse. The end. Everything was included, and the trays were pre-filled, so there was no mess and no guesswork. It normally takes me about an hour to get showered, dressed, and ready in the mornings, so I decided to try to multi-task and use the kit during that time.

This morning, I rinsed with the accelerator, popped in the trays, and jumped in the shower. By the time I got out, applied some body lotion and did my morning skincare routine, it was time to rinse again and use the second set of trays. While those trays were doing their thing, I put on my makeup, fixed my hair, and got dressed. I was ready to walk out the door when I removed the trays and did the final rinse. Basically, what I'm saying is that this didn't take up any extra time or require much additional effort.

So, did it work? Did a ten dollar whitening kit actually do anything? Yeah. It did. Did it make a shocking difference? Can I star in a toothpaste commercial? Oh, gawd, no. The box only claims to whiten three shades. I feel like it did that, but this is, by no means, a professional job. I'm making a dental appointment next month, and plan to check into whitening while I'm there, but this is a definite improvement. I took before and after photos to compare. These are cropped really closely because, really, who wants to see two sets of my teeth bared? Not me, that's for sure. These are the same three teeth, and the pictures were taken with the same camera, with the same settings, in the same room, with the same lighting.


As I said, it's not a drastic difference, but it's enough that I can tell. The staining is significantly lighter in the bottom photo. I think a touch-up pen may help even more, or at least sustain these results until my event.

Okay, so it worked, but how was the experience? Oddly enough, not completely unpleasant. The two accelerator rinses tasted just like regular mouthwash. They did bubble up more than my usual mouthwash, and that caught me a little off-guard the first time around, but it wasn't horrible, by any stretch. The final whitening rinse was less fun, unfortunately. It had a very heavy peroxide taste, and I'm not entirely sure I made it the full 30 seconds before I sort of involuntarily spit it out. The trays were the part I was most concerned about, and they turned out to be the best part, believe it or not. I don't normally do well with trays. They're typically plastic, uncomfortable, and restrictive. These trays, on the other hand, were foam. They were soft, flexible, and I was even able to stick out my tongue at the dog when he looked at me like I was from another planet. I won't say that I forgot I was wearing them, but I wasn't chomping at the bit (sorry!) to get them out of my mouth. The gel tasted like peroxide, too, but wasn't as difficult to deal with as the final whitening rinse.

Oh, in case you're wondering, tooth sensitivity and temporary bleaching of the lips and gums are possible side effects, but I didn't experience either. In fact, I'm drinking an ice cold drink right now. I can't promise that you won't have any problems, but this is the first kit I've used that didn't leave me with touchy teeth and white gums. Just sayin'.  

Final Verdict: 8 out of 10. It works, and it's not a pain in, mouth.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Buyer's Guide To the Urban Decay Naked Palette Collection

Not long ago, a friend of mine posted on her Facebook page that she couldn't understand all the hype over the Urban Decay Naked palettes. After all, it's just eye shadow, right?

Personally, I get it. I'm a neutral girl to begin with, and I also don't have a whole heckuva lot of time to spend getting ready in the mornings. It's nice--nay, essential--to have something I can grab, knowing that I'll be able to pick a color, slap it on my eyes, and not have to deal with pigmentation or blending issues. Urban Decay (who is not paying me to write this, and has no idea I even exist) makes some of the best shadows around, so a palette filled with twelve coordinating shades is kind of a god-send for me. Key words: "for me". Everyone's tastes and needs are unique. Some people crave zillions of bright colors; others may be good with a flesh-toned single. Me? I prefer these 40 neutrals.

If you're reading this, you're probably considering picking up a Naked palette. Here, I hope to share with you everything you need to know to decide which one(s) will be right for you. Please note: I'm not going into detail over every single shade in each palette. They will be touched on, but odds are, the inclusion or exclusion of one shade isn't going to make or break your decision. You know, generally speaking. All descriptions and recommendations are my own, and may or may not differ from those found elsewhere.

Alrighty, then. Let's start with the Basics.

Packaging: Hard plastic with a rubberized finish and raised logo. Slightly larger than a credit card. Very secure closure. Full-length, usable mirror on the inside lid.

Extras: None.

Shades: Six full-sized shadows. Five matte, one satin. Pigmentation ranges from fair to excellent, with the darker shades being best. Easily blendable. Could be considered slightly powdery.

Versatility: Blending, highlighting, liner, brows. Can create a limited number of looks. Works best in conjunction with other palettes.

Swatches: For reference, I'm an NW15 in MAC, and around a 2.0 in Urban Decay. And yes, that is my leg, and yes, my lighting does kind of suck. I have work with what I've got, sometimes. Believe it or not, colors are actually very close to true to life.

Top Row, L-R: Venus, Foxy, W.O.S. Bottom Row, L-R: Naked 2, Faint, Crave 
Repeats: Four shades are exclusive to this palette. Foxy is also found in Naked 2 and the permanent range. W.O.S. was also available in some build-your-own palettes, but is not in the permanent collection.

Recommended For: All skin tones. Fair to medium may benefit most.


Packaging: Sturdy cardboard with velveteen covering. Embossed logo. Magnetic closure. Small, high quality mirror on the inside lid.

Extras: Eyeshadow brush and mini Primer Potion (at time of purchase).

Shades: Twelve full-sized shadows. Two matte, one satin, six shimmer, three glitter. Pigmentation generally excellent, with the exception of Naked, which has good pigmentation. Easily blendable. Generally creamy. Moderate fall-out on glitter shades. Overall warm tone.

Versatility:  Blending, highlighting, liner. Possibly brow fill. Evening and heavier daytime looks, with limited lighter looks possible.


Top Row, L-R: Virgin, Sin, Naked, Sidecar, Buck, Half Baked. Bottom Row, L-R: Smog, Darkhorse, Toasted, Hustle, Creep, Gunmetal.
 Repeats: Smog and Sin are in the Ammo palette. Half Baked is in Naked 2. Only Sidecar, Hustle, and Creep are not part of the permanent line.

Recommended For: Warmer and neutral medium to deep skin tones. Fair skin tones may find the majority of the colors require a very light hand.

Naked 2

Packaging: Metal with raised logo. Secure closure. Usable mirror fills the inner lid.

Extras: Double-ended eye shadow brush and mini Lip Junkie lip gloss in Naked (at time of purchase).

Shades: Twelve full-sized eye shadows. Three matte, one satin, two glitter, six shimmer. Pigmentation ranging from very good to excellent, with the exceptions of Foxy, which has good pigmentation. Easily blendable, though Tease can apply somewhat patchy. Generally creamy texture. Moderate fallout on glitter shades. Overall cool tone.

Versatility: Blending, highlighting, liner. Best for lighter to medium daytime looks, with some evening looks possible.  


Top Row, L-R: Foxy, Half Baked, Bootycall, Chopper, Tease, Snakebite. Bottom Row, L-R: Suspect, Pistol, Verve, YDK, Busted, Blackout.
Repeats: Foxy is in the Basics pallete. Chopper is in the Ammo palette. All but Busted, Snakebite, and Bootycall are in the permanent line.

Recommended For: Cooler and neutral skin tones. Fair to medium skin tones may benefit most, but could work for deeper tones.

Naked 3

Packaging: Metal with raised logo. Secure closure. Usable mirror fills the inside lid.

Extras: Double-ended eye shadow brush and sample blister packs for the Primer Potion line.

Shades: Twelve full-sized shadows. Three matte, three glitter, one satin, five shimmer. Pigmentation generally very good to excellent, with Strange ranking as fair, and Dust acting more as a glitter topcoat. Easily blendable, generally creamy. Moderate to heavy fallout on glitter shades (particularly Dust). Overall rosy tone.

Versatility: Blending, liner. Best for glowy, natural daytime looks, with some evening looks possible.

Top Row, L-R: Strange, Dust, Burnout, Limit, Buzz, Trick. Bottom Row, L-R: Nooner, Liar, Factory, Mugshot, Darkside, Blackheart.

Repeats: None. All are new shades, exclusive to this palette.

Recommended For: Warm, Cool, or Neutral. Fair skin tones may benefit most, but also recommended for medium. Deeper tones may be able to make it work.

Good luck getting Naked!
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