Tag Archives: Seattle

Epicuren Kukui Coconut After Bath Moisturizer

31 Aug

epicuren coconut

I have wanted both Epicuren’s Kukui Coconut After Bath Moisturizer and their Tahitian Vanilla After Bath Moisturizer for quite some time, but was (understandably) put off by the price. Fortunately, I usually only see them sold at spas while I’m on vacation, so it wasn’t like I was having to control myself every time I went to, say, Target (which is always a losing battle, by the way – self-control, Target, and I generally don’t appear in the same sentence). When we took Gregory down to Hawaii this spring, however, I finally splurged and got them for myself, reasoning that I have wanted them for a long time and also just produced a tiny human so deserved a treat (don’t judge me).

I have been using Body Shop Body Butters for months now, for four reasons: 1) ease of acquisition; 2) ease of use; 3) quality; and 4) price. About a month ago, however, I suddenly realized I had these fantastic Epicuren lotions waiting to be used, and that I should use the coconut one while the sun is still shining, because smelling like coconut in the Seattle winter seems a little off. Additionally, I love Body Shop Butters for being so hydrating, but it’s been an uncharacteristically humid summer here, so I wanted something a little lighter weight. Epicuren fit the bill.

I think I would typically give this lotion super high marks, except for the price. What I mean is, it is a great summer lotion – light weight, fragrant in a nice, summery way, easy to dispense, and has lasted some time. I just think there are other lotions out there of the same quality for half the price that do the job just as well. This is really a case of paying for the name. On the plus side, I have gotten lots of compliments on the scent.

Long and the short of it – if you have been considering picking up a bottle of Epicuren’s After Bath Moisturizer, I’d say do it. It’s a great product and for use, I give it high marks across the board. But if you’ve never heard of it before and are just looking for a nice daily moisturizer, maybe think twice – you can get other products for less that will please you just as much.

Tried and True: Body Shop Body Butter

10 Jun

Body Butter Stack.jpg

I have used many, many body moisturizers, and I am sure that trend will continue until I am well into old age. Still, it’s good to have a go-to, and the older I get, the more I realize: The Body Shop Body Butter is that go-to.

I can remember receiving my first Body Shop product from my cool Aunt Anne – a kiwi flavored lipgloss. At the time, there was no Body Shop store anywhere near my parents’ suburban home, so that lipgloss was more than just a cosmetic product to my pre-teen mind: it represented adulthood, a cosmopolitan life I could only imagine.

Now, having lived in places like Washington, DC, and Seattle, I rarely venture into the Body Shop. The constant sales and overeager sales staff put me off, even though I still respect it as a brand. There are just so many other products in the world to try that I often forget about my old friend TBS.

Recently, for one reason or another, I was reminded of their Body Butter, and I am glad I was. It’s even better that I remember – soft, smooth, sweetly scented, and easy to dispense. The tub design beats pump or squeeze dispensers all to hell, especially when you’re just out of the shower, moisturizing your whole self. The variety of gourmand scents – and even a couple flowery ones – is so fab I can’t even choose a favorite (today I’m wearing Passion Fruit). My only complaint is that they regularly discontinue scents, oftentimes my favorites, and replace them with others. But this seems to be my lot in life – or at least in the cosmetic world – so I guess I shouldn’t hold them responsible.

Anyhow, synopsis: Body Shop Body Butters good! Love them, always have, always will.


Tarte Winner!

1 Nov

Almost 200 entries and our winner is right here in Seattle, per Rafflecopter’s very complicated system! CONGRATULATIONS Michele C., whose birthday was yesterday! Can’t wait to get you your fabulous set!

Thank you to all the entrants – you made this the biggest contest yet!

New contest coming up soon, just need to decide what I should give away this time. Suggestions?

It’s a Beautiful Day for a Contest!

9 Aug

Today, I won a prize from Nest, the home organization company here in Seattle who is attempting to help me get my life together as I move all our belongings from the house my husband has resided in for 20 years to the house we just finished remodeling WHILE I AM PREGNANT. (No, I’m not at all overwhelmed, why do you ask?!?)

Anyhow, Nest is awesome, and you should enter their contest, BUT you should also enter my contest!

I am thinking, I have some favorites. And I want to share them with you lovely people. So how about a giveaway a month till the baby comes and makes me give up doing everything I have time to do now? YES!

This month’s giveaway will be a little happy Caudalie gift set. I have been raving about Caudalie for months now, and I know I still have yet to write the blogs to back up my love, but I will, I WILL! In the meantime, how do you feel about THIS:

It’s a Caudalie travel kit! Included are mini bottles of:

-Vinosource Quenching Sorbet Creme
-Cleansing Water
-Nourishing Body Lotion
-Fleur de Vigne Shower Gel
-Gentle Conditioning Shampoo

I haven’t even had a chance to try all these products myself, but I can attest that the Cleansing Water is awesome, and the Sorbet Cream is totally divine (or de vine, get it? Since their products are made of grapes? See what I did there?)

ANYHOO, sign up for this fun little giveaway – you don’t have long to enter, as I am going to do the drawing for this one on the 31st – and then next month look to win another of Kate’s Favorite Things, before diapers take over my life.

ENTER THIS CONTEST HERE, NOW!: Caudalie Travel Set Giveaway!


PS. If you enter and say you did things you didn’t do, I will know! Yes I will, and you will lose your entries. So don’t cheat!

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder With Real Cocoa

16 May

Bronzers. I tend to shy away, especially for my face. Why, you ask? This is why.

That is not a good look. It doesn’t work on him, and I don’t really see it working on me. And the problem is once you get a lot of bronzers on, you’re committed, at least for the day. The only way to fix a bad bronzing is to apply lighter makeup on top, and my God. You’re really in a vicious cycle then, aren’t you?

However, I have a problem – between my vitiligo and the fact that I have been very good about facial sun protection, my face is three shades whiter than my body, especially in the summer. It is HORRIBLE and evident in many photos. The result is that it looks like I have used a foundation way too light for my face, and in photos it looks as though my head has been photoshopped onto my body. Awful.

I finally decided to try a powder bronzer last summer. I had tried one before – a Bobbi Brown one that my sugarer, Jill, gave to me – and found that it made me look shiny and scary. I cautiously shopped around for one that might not have the same shiny effect, and found Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder With Real Cocoa. (Incidentally, every time I type that I want to put “With Real Cocoa!” in parentheses after it, like it’s a commercial for some new food.)

First of all, yes, it smells like Cocoa. Not just a little bit. It smells like a compact full of cocoa. I put it on and then had my Mom smell my face and she laughed and told me she wanted to lick me. This could go either way for you – personally, it’s a HUGE plus for me. I love chocolate, so I think it smells divine. I also don’t find it overpowering – you can smell it in the compact and as you apply it, but once it’s on, it’s no longer noticeable. If you hate chocolate or have a chocolate allergy or something, this may not be the right choice for you.

Second – SCORE! A light dusting of this over my makeup totally brings my face to the same color as the rest of my body. As I get darker over the course of the summer, I can apply a little more for a darker look – it’s totally buildable. And, unlike cream bronzers, if I somehow apply to much, I can wipe the excess off with a tissue and move on with my day, still looking like a normal person.

I even use this in the winter sometimes, just to brighten up my face and take away a little of the Seattle sallow. It works like a charm, washes off at the end of the day, and even makes me FEEL a little sunnier!

I could not recommend this bronzer more highly. If you’re looking for something with real staying power, this may not be the right choice for you – after all, it is just a powder. But if you’re looking for an ultra-natural, buildable, wash off-able bronzer that smells great and goes on evenly, DING! Look no further.

Hysterosalpingography (HSG, Dye) Test

11 Apr

I wish I had an image of my own HSG test to show you, but I don’t – this is an example of a normal one I found on the web.

I have been meaning to write this blog post ever since I wrote the post about my salpingectomy. Actually, I have been meaning to write this blog post, or make a video, or something, ever since I had this procedure, but I am only getting around to it now. Better late than never!

Fair warning – this is a “life” post. No product reviews, no lighthearted encouragement to shop shop shop! I went through this and I’m super sorry if you also have to, but maybe this will be of some help to you.

So after I had part of my tube removed (see blog entry referenced above), the doctors told me I needed to have a hysterosalpingography, or HSG, or dye test. Now I just linked to the Wiki article to give you some background, but let me take issue with one thing in that article: use of the word “excruciatingly” when describing the pain level involved. I am about to get into details, but let me say up front that if you are facing this procedure, DO NOT PANIC. Some masochistic asshole must have written that description. It is NOT a picnic but it’s mercifully quick and you will be okay!

The way the HSG was explained to me was thus: You come in for the procedure, they insert a balloon catheter into your vagina, they fill your uterus with dye, and then they take a series of X-rays to watch the dye move through your fallopian tubes. The purpose of this procedure (in my case) was to determine if my left (still intact) tube was blocked. The ObGyn who did my surgery indicated that while he was removing my right tube, he tried to probe through the left tube and was unable to do so. He noted this could have been due to swelling/trauma in the area, but he wanted to be sure the left tube was not closed, since my first pregnancy had been stuck in my right tube. I was told the procedure could cause cramping and pain, and I should take Advil before coming in that morning.

Well, I really worked myself into a tizzy about this test. First of all, I was terrified that the results were going to be negative. So I convinced myself that I was going in for a painful procedure only to get bad news. Then, thanks to jackoffs like the author of that Wiki quote, I became convinced that this was so going to be so “excruciatingly” painful that I would be incapacitated for days. I was PETRIFIED. And you know what the absolute worst thing for a procedure like this is? To be tense and anxious. So again, if you are having this done – it will be okay! I survived it and so will you! Take a deep breath, baby yourself, and think of something nice to do for yourself after the test is over. Cause you know what? After it was over, I was totally fine within about ten minutes.

My husband took off from work to take me to the test, and my friend Somer was meant to meet us there before, but she didn’t make it till after we got called back to the room. Which was probably just as well, because nothing was calming me down.

The beginning was SOP for any woman who’s ever had a vaginal exam, except my husband was allowed to come in with me, which was a HUGE relief. He had to wear a lead apron to protect from the X-Rays, but he was allowed to sit RIGHT next to me and hold my hand.

The doctor inserted the speculum and then the balloon catheter. The nurse was AMAZING – I have never met a kinder or more compassionate nurse. She was rubbing my shoulders, telling us stories, everything she could to relax me. It wasn’t initially particularly painful – I actually find regular exams a bit uncomfortable, and it was no worse than that. Then came the dye.

I’m going to be totally honest here – it hurts. It hurts a lot. I was squeezing the bejesus out of my husband’s hand, smacking the X-ray machine, and shouting. There was a very painful combination of cramping and burning. The nurse and doctor were both telling me what a great job I was doing and how it was almost over and I didn’t give a fuzzy you-know-what because one second of that you-know-what was to you-know-whatting much. And then it was over. Really. I can’t tell you exactly how long the pain lasted but in hindsight I’d say no more than thirty seconds. The doctor removed the catheter, patted my leg, told me I’d done great, and then said –

“And your tube is open!”

And my husband and I both burst into tears. Because I’d have gone through an hour of that to hear those words.

The nurse told me to take as long as I needed, and gave us tissues. She was really exceptional. (This was at Swedish, by the way, in case anyone in the Seattle area is reading this and needs to have the procedure done. I HIGHLY recommend them.) I laid there for two or three minutes, sobbing in happiness, clutching my husband. Then I got control of myself, stood up, used the bathroom, and we left. The entire thing, start to finish, including undressing, dressing, and bathroom visits, took about fifteen minutes.

Somer was waiting for us out in the waiting room, several rooms away. She first hugged me, then said, “I heard yelling – was that you?!?” Glad I made my discomfort known, not just to the doctor, but to the entire floor.

And you know what we did then? We went and got crepes. And talked about how we were going to make a baby. And I had a perfectly normal rest of the day, and week.

So if you have to have this done, yeah, it’s gonna suck. It sucks no matter what your result is. But it’s a short suck, and frankly, even if the doctor had told me my tube was closed, I’d have been relieved, because not knowing is really what kills you. Once you have the information, you can make a plan. Feeling powerless I think really had a lot to do with my anxiety and fear.

Yay for Swedish, yay for my awesome husband, yay for my open tube, and hell – yay for HSG tests, because they tell you what you need to know to move on. If you’re going to have this done, good luck – relax and you’ll do fine!

Eucerin Dry Skin Therapy Calming Creme

11 Apr

This is probably the most boring product I will ever recommend, but I use it every single evening, so it’s worth a mention!

Eucerin Dry Skin Therapy Calming Creme is a thick, unscented moisturizer that I use nightly on my hands before bed. It softens and protects my hands without leaving behind a film, and the fact that it’s unscented makes me feel like I am using something designed less for the beauty realm than for the health realm. During the winter, when my skin gets especially dry, I’ll use it after showering over my whole body, and it definitely works better than my standard smell-good moisturizers at eliminating dry, flaky alligator skin.

I had a friend with sensitive skin visit last summer (shout out to Shari!), and I took her to my favorite mani pedi place in Seattle, Hoa Salon in Madison. The only complaint I have about Hoa is that I can’t be sure what’s in the lotions they use on you – it’s not a “spa” atmosphere where everything is organic (and thus ten times more expensive). I recommended to Shar that we bring my Eucerin for her, to ensure she didn’t have a bad reaction to Hoa’s lotion. (Incidentally, Hoa is always happy to use anything you bring – I actually bring my own lotion and Zoya nail polishes and they’re always extremely accommodating – love that place!) She had no bad reaction to the lotion, and quite liked how well it absorbed and the fact that it didn’t leave a fragrance behind.

At less than nine bucks for a tube that will last FOREVER, I suggest everyone picks up a tube or two of this for those times when you just want your skin to be moisturized without any scent. Well worth the money.