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Caudalie

17 Oct

Ah the long awaited Caudalie Blog!

I have been promising this for months but failed to deliver. Well HERE I AM!

I started using Caudalie maybe six months ago (maybe a year ago? It’s been awhile) and have noticed a dramatic change in my skin. It’s better hydrated (so much so that the aesthetician I see a couple times a year for facials actually remarked on it), clearer, softer, more refined, and with fewer wrinkles and less noticeable pores. It feels healthy and looks healthy and honestly I think I owe most of the “pregnancy glow” comments I have gotten not to Junior but to Caudalie products.

So what am I using? Well, that’s the tricky part, and part of what has held me up from writing this blog for so, so long. Although I have stuck entirely to Caudalie products, I have drifted between different ones and found them all largely to work the same! Now obviously I don’t mean a cleanser is a serum is a moisturizer (duh), I just mean the cleansers are largely the same, the serums are largely the same, etc. ad nauseum. I have found it’s less about which specific Caudalie products I choose, and more about the regimen I follow. And that regimen is:

AM

  • Wash
  • Eye moisturizer (under eyes and around sides)
  • Serum
  • Moisturizer

PM

  • Wash/Cleanse
  • Lip Balm
  • Serum
  • Moisturizer

If you go to Caudalie’s website, you can customize what regimen you want, but again – I have found most of the products to be pretty comparable, regardless of price. This is important, because some of the products (such as the Premier Cru line) are priced OUTRAGEOUSLY and offer little benefit other than those I find from all their products (that line does smell especially nice). Additionally, part of the reason I have switched products multiple times is that they keep discontinuing the products I am using. I am not sure what’s going on, but it’s pretty annoying. Thankfully, since all the products are similar, it’s not been too much of a hassle.

There are always exceptions to every rule, however. That being said, here are the Caudalie products I STRONGLY endorse:

  • Caudalie Beauty Elixir – Not part of my daily routine, but a lovely, refreshing water you can spritz on your face any time. Especially nice in the hot summer months after spending some time in the sun.
  • Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser – LOVE this, my go-to face wash. NO sulfates but nice and sudsy, gets my face uber clean without drying it. Much prefer it over their gentle cleanser, which leaves me feeling greasy. Could not recommend this more highly.
  • Caudalie Vinosource Riche Moisturizer – Pricey but worth it, and lasts forever. Super thick and hydrating, maybe not for those with oilier complexions. For me it is PERFECT. I mix a pea-sized dollop with…
  • Caudalie Divine Complexion Tinted Mineral Cream – Don’t be scared! I do not get a line. I mix a pea-sized drop of this with an equal amount of the Vinosource Riche, rub them between my hands, and smooth them all over my face, jaw, and down onto my neck. The difference is VERY subtle but definitely brightens up my sometimes sallow complexion. THIS is the pregnancy glow, ladies, combined with a dusting of my favorite bronzer.
  • Caudalie Cleansing Water – A little of this on a cotton pad and all my makeup is gone. Soft and gentle.
  • Caudalie Moisturizing Concentrate – My go-to before bed serum. Smells fantastic and gives an extra moisture layer.

So I love Caudalie. I think this is the longest I have EVER stuck to a single product line in my life. I am actually convinced that there is nothing better at a comparable price currently available on the market. If I had to choose just one product to insist you try, it would be the Foaming Cleanser. Two, and it would be that and the Tinted Mineral Cream. Both have changed my life and my perspective on skin care.

Even so – the most important thing about caring for your skin is not the brand you choose but how it works for you. There are some fabulous drug store brands out there, and some fabulous top of the line brands. Be consistent, explore, and find what makes your skin look its best!

 

Winners, Backlog, & Other Jazz

8 Oct

WOW I am way behind. I have so many reviews to share and just no time lately to do it! Baby is coming in 10 weeks (!) now, so the heat is really on. I’m going to try to cover some ground this week – thanks for bearing with me!

First up, the BUXOM contest closed, but the winner never replied to my emailed request for a mailing address. I gave her a week, but have now announced a new winner – Erina B! Erina, I sent you an email – please reply with your mailing address within the next week, and I’ll get your set out to you. Otherwise, I will draw a new winner next Monday and keep going until I can get a response.

Second, I’ll be posting another blog with a NEW contest (only a week late) – this month the winner will receive a Tarte Statement Lips 5-piece LipSurgence Collector’s Set! I LOOOVE the Tarte Lip Crayons and I think you will too. Another of Kate’s favorite things! Sorry I can’t give you a car like Oprah, but it’s a close second, right?

Finally, reviews. Hoo boy, I have some reviews! Before bed lip gloss, bath bombs, a certain subscription sale site that begins with a Z, and pregnancy in general. Is there something you’d specifically like me to test and review? Please let me know! You can comment, Tweet, or email me with ideas. I know I owe Shari a liquid eyeliner review, and I will work on that tout suite.

Okay, next up – contest blog! Thanks again for your patience, lovelies!

August’s Contest!

24 Aug

 

There’s less than a week left to enter August’s Caudalie giveaway, and only 20 entries so far – so if you’ve entered, your chances of winning right now are pretty darned good!

Also, I decided I will throw in a mix CD for the winner, which is just an added bonus. 🙂

As a preview, next month’s giveaway will involve another of my favorite brands – BUXOM! So keep reading for chances to win!

In the next week, I am hoping to review you some Rodan + Fields lip serum and reveal the reason why people seem to keep telling me I’m “glowing” (I’m pretty sure it’s not the pregnancy)!

 

It’s not Bath Salts, for God’s sake…

21 Jul

 

Have you heard about bath salts? I just heard about them, somehow, for the first time this weekend. If you haven’t heard, do yourself a favor and Google (or Bing) them. FASCINATING. As a brief summary, they seem to be an organically occurring compound that people are smoking. They give the same sort of speed high as cocaine or meth, but are currently legal because they are marketed in head shops as – you guessed it – “bath salts.” Here’s where it becomes TRULY interesting – they cause people to turn into zombies. Not in the literal walking dead sense, of course – in the “Man I am starved and you know what sounds really good? My neighbor’s face,” sense. I kid you not – there are MULTIPLE instances of this drug causing people to turn cannibalistic and eat people’s faces (or, in this case, the family dog). When I learned about bath salts this weekend, everyone I asked seemed to already know all about them, making me wonder how the hell I have missed this sensational development in the world of narcotics. I assure you, I know more about hard drugs, hard drug users, and the effects of hard drugs than nearly anyone you know – especially amazing since I have never actually partaken of any hard drugs. It has been a lifelong fascination for me, so it’s especially bizarre that somehow I missed the popularization of a drug that causes people to turn into horror shows, quite literally.

Anyhow I digress. The point of this post is not actually bath salts or hard drugs. It’s Ambien.

I have had insomnia pretty much since I got my depression resolved (with medication) at the age of 19. I used to use sleep as a crutch, sleeping as much as possible to avoid dealing with reality. When I got medicated for depression, my sleep cycle first became normal, then I developed insomnia. I have two different types of insomnia – slow sleep (the inability to fall asleep once I am in bed) and premature waking (waking up at all hours and then being unable to fall back asleep again). For years, I have taken Trazodone, an anti-depressant with sedative qualities, to help me sleep. It works great, but when I got pregnant, I had to stop taking it, and didn’t sleep for pretty much three days straight – not good.

My doctor then put me on Ambien. I guess Ambien is safe(r) to take during pregnancy. I take it “as needed,” meaning I mostly just take melatonin at bedtime unless I know for some reason I am not going to sleep (like jet lag) or if I have taken the melatonin and have still been lying awake for hours.

Google (or Bing) Ambien and you will find ALL SORTS of horror stories. I have heard more about how awful Ambien is than bath salts. Sleep eating, sleep driving, sleep murderizing entire towns (okay, I am exaggerating on that last one) – people are terrified of Ambien. I read an entire article in a women’s fashion magazine demonizing Ambien and its effects. The author, you see, instead of taking the Ambien and going immediately to bed, as prescribed, was taking it and then staying up and compulsively eating and shopping. But that’s the drug’s fault. Not hers. Yes, the doctor told her to take it and go straight to bed. Yes, she asked for it. Yes, the prescription bottle also advised going straight to bed. Yes, she is a fully grown woman. BUT IT’S ALL THE FAULT OF THAT HORRIBLE DRUG! (Ugh, sorry, sorry, I have issues with people refusing to take personal responsibility.)

These articles even freaked me out. I read all about Ambien. I doubted the wisdom of my doctor in prescribing it. I worried about the side effects and long-term problems. But you know what? I haven’t really had any. So now finally I am going to get to what this blog is actually about – What It’s Like To Be On Ambien. By Kate.

Yes I have taken Ambien and then stayed up. Not because of any desire to “see” what it would be like or to consciously disobey doctor’s orders. More because my typical nighttime routine consisted of taking Trazodone and then goofing off online until it kicked in, at which time I’d go to bed. The “problem” with Ambien is that it doesn’t kick in in the same way. You don’t become suddenly super sleepy – you feel a little drunk. Not in the fun, party way, but in a slightly dizzy, disoriented way. So I’d take Ambien, start goofing off online, do that for an hour or so, think, “I should try to get some sleep,” and then pretty much immediately fall asleep.

Did I order things online while on Ambien? Yes. I definitely did. I ordered things I only vaguely remembered ordering, and things I didn’t really need. Ambien definitely causes me to become looser and more apt to make purchases online.

Did I post things on Facebook/send texts while on Ambien? Oh yes. And I would see them the next morning and think, “What the eff?” They were JUST the sort of weird, off-the-wall things I’d post while drunk, and some of them I only BARELY remembered. But again, Ambien doesn’t really make you FEEL drunk – you’re not all laughy happy silly emotional. You’re just – weirdly relaxed. (And yes, I am saying “you” and should be saying “I,” because my experience could be vastly different from everyone else’s, but I am not going to go through and change all the pronouns now. Sorry.)

Did I drive, walk, talk, eat, or murderize while asleep on Ambien? NO. The only thing Ambien made me do after I closed my eyes was sleep.

So here’s the deal: Ambien is a drug. In my personal experience, it’s no more a drug than alcohol – maybe even less of one. But treat it like a prescription drug. Follow the directions. Take it and close your eyes. Don’t try to take it and then go on about your life – that’s not what it’s prescribed for. It’s prescribed to let you sleep, so use it for that. If you have a bad effect, stop taking it. If you can’t control yourself and feel the need to abuse it, stop taking it (and definitely talk to your health care provider). But don’t use it contrary to the directions and then blame the drug for what you do. Ultimately what you make of it is in your hands. Or on your nightstand.

 

Procrastination…

19 Jul

 

“Procrastination” sounds much sexier if you sing it to the tune of “Infatuation” by Rod Stewart. Just saying.

Sorry I have been MIA. Lots going on – pregnancy, bachelorette party for my sister that almost all of the like ten girls said they were coming to subsequently bailed out on/didn’t show up for, dog, life, etc. I haven’t even really been shopping for product! So you know I have been crazy.

Whatever, this stage couldn’t have handled any more sexy, anyhow.

So a very brief update – we got the MaterniT21 test results and they show to a 99% accuracy that there are NO genetic abnormalities with the baby (who is currently known as Fruit Bat). HOORAH! It’s been a long road and we still have a long way to go (it was 20 weeks Saturday) but every bit of good news helps. Thank you again for all your well wishes and kind thoughts and words! It helped immensely.

I am going to try my damnedest to get a few reviews out in the next couple days. Like, three. At least.

Hope you are all well and staying beautiful!

xoxo

 

Genetic Testing Update

27 Jun

Okay, so, today we had another appointment. As you have probably already read if you have been following this saga as it develops, we got the quad screen blood test results back and they showed we had a 1:12 risk for having a baby with Down’s. I cried a lot because it’s a lot to process. I went back and forth regarding what we’ll do, how we’ll deal, etc. I am a TOTAL hope for the best but prepare for the worst personality. Between all the thinking and research, the support of my wonderful husband, and the incredible outpouring of love from my friends, family, and even acquaintances, I had come to a place where I was just kind of like, whatever the news, we’ll deal. I love children and I have worked with disabled adults and kids, and there are way worse things your baby can be born with than Down’s. It’s not optimal, it’s not what you hope for, but it’s certainly surmountable.

So we went in for the genetic counseling and they pretty much signed us in and sent us directly upstairs for an ultrasound. The ultrasound took FOREVER because they look for all these different markers that can indicate a problem (Down’s or otherwise), and Baby Jig was not cooperating. The one thing he DID cooperate with was gender – we now know we are having a little man. 🙂 Anyhow, he was on his head, chin tucked in, arms behind his head – really doing a little gymnast routine. He waited till the VERY end to finally give the tech a nice profile shot, which I will scan and post here, but currently my husband I think has all the pics in his jacket and he’s gone to work. The end result of the ultrasound was a 100% healthy-looking baby with NO markers for Down’s or any other defects. My placenta is currently blocking my cervix (praevia) but the tech and the doctor both said that this early, that is not a problem and they expect it will move as my uterus stretches (I am still barely showing). Even if it doesn’t, all this means is a C-section, which again, is not optimal BUT is certainly far from the worst thing that can happen!

So after all this we went down to see the genetic counselor. She informed us that the risk after the perfect u/s was reduced to 1:24, or 4-5%. I went in this morning thinking, I am definitely going to get an amnio. I was aware of the MaterniT21 test from all the research I’d done, but I wanted the fast results that the FISH test would provide. The days have passed very slowly since Friday and I was ready for some definitive answers. However, after learning that our risk had dropped, and feeling very confident after seeing Baby BOY Jig do his tumbling routine on the u/s, I opted instead for the MaterniT21 test. It is a new test – 7 months or so old – and the results are about 98% accurate. The main benefit is that it is noninvasive – it’s a blood test, so there is no danger to the baby. Results will take two weeks, and if they do come back positive, we will again have to consider amnio for a more definitive answer. I feel really optimistic now, though – preparing for the worst helped me cope and I feel comfortable no matter what the results are at this point. Of course I hope for a 100% perfectly healthy baby, but I am glad that he seems well and is snuggled in happily doing his thing.

One other note is based on his size, we seem to be about a week ahead of where we thought, which would move our due date to around the 24th of November. So we could be expecting a Thanksgiving baby. 🙂

Thank you AGAIN for all the love and support! Words cannot express my gratitude, appreciation, and awe at how lucky I am! xoxo

Quickie Update.

25 Jun

After much struggle, I finally got an appointment with a genetic counselor at Swedish for this Wednesday at 8am. They have scheduled me for an amnio directly following, which I can choose whether or not I want to do after meeting with the counselor.

Emotions I am feeling: scared, angry, frustrated, worried, sad – but also hopeful, loved, lucky, and a little peaceful. Thank you to all of you who have reached out to offer reassuring words, helpful/humorous anecdotes, and simply love. It matters more than you know, and I do thank God for having you all in my life. (If you have texted, fb messaged, or called me since I got the news, you are who I am talking about. THANK YOU. xoxo)