Memosne: September 2013

The Clarisonic is Fantabulous: TLDR: Make sure you register your Clarisonic

The beauty world went crazy for the Clarisonic when it first came out on the market. When the Clarisonic first came out on the market, I was an active member of the message boards and one of the members there had posted about how she had success in getting rid of her black heads by washing her face with an electronic toothbrush. I scoffed at the idea of it and refused to believe that a $100+, over sized toothbrush could make a difference in my facial routine.

Finally, a year later, I caved in and purchased the Clarisonic Mia when they were getting ready to release the Clarisonic Mia 2. I've never turned back. The importance of my Clarisonic was only hammered home to me during my most recent two week trip, but before I get into that, I have to tell you the sad story of how my beloved Clarisonic Mia broke.

Not even a year after I had bought it,  it just wouldn't turn on. Even when I left it charging for over 24 hours. At this point I was a little disappointed; after all, it was a $119 dollar machine! Shouldn't it have a lifespan of more than a year?! I emailed Clarisonic and received an automated email reply back:
Hello, We are sorry to hear that you are having issues with your Clarisonic product. Due to our construction process and how our devices are sealed, Clarisonic products are not repairable. In order for us to effectively troubleshoot with you, please contact our Customer Care Department with your product in hand, after you have charged your unit for 24 uninterrupted hours. Our toll-free number is 888-525-2747 and our hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 6:00 am-5:00 pm Pacific Time. Please note: Monday and Tuesdays are our busiest days where hold times may be longer than normal. We look forward to speaking with you. Best Regards, Clarisonic Customer Care 

Of course, given that response, I called their US hotline and was helped out quickly and efficiently. I had to wait a rather significant time on hold, but I think that's endemic of all hotlines. I had registered my Mia when I had purchased it in July 2012 and (Thank God) it was still under the 1 year warranty. They were able to mail out a completely new Clarisonic handle and charger to replace the broken one that I was hoarding. In order to restart the warranty, I simply had to ship back my broken Mia and charger in a complimentary box and slap a prepaid UPS sticker on top. Easy right? 

I got a replacement quickly and in time, but after my two week trip. I really thought I could live without it, but my skin immediately broke out and became horrible. The Clarisonic has definitely improved my skin, but I've also become quite dependent on it. A couple of days without using it will make my skin immediately break out, regardless of environmental stresses, diet, or face routine. 
The only tip I have as a religious Clarisonic user is: Don't leave it to dry face up, place it on its side and make sure the bristles aren't touching anything. The pooled water is a breeding pool for bacteria. You've worked hard to keep your skin nice! Don't let bacteria get you down in your quest for nice skin. =)
What are your experiences with the Clarisonic? Do you love it? Is it an oversized toothbrush? I want to hear your thoughts!

Daily Face Routine

I always liked looking at these sort of posts and youtube videos, so I decided to construct one of my own. It's no secret that my skin is pimply, oily, and very troublesome. Laneige only made my skin clear to a point and I had to come to the realization that it was hard to get, expensive, and only had a 70% efficacy level to my skin, but I wanted more. I wanted to have nice skin. So...I made a couple of life changes:
  1. I cut gluten out of my diet. My sister has diagnosed gluten intolerance and I've been living in a state of denial about it for years. My mother and sister long suspected that I also had some form of gluten intolerance, to a lesser degree than my sister, and as soon as I cut gluten out of my diet my skin calmed down and I didn't have the extreme break outs of cystic acne that I used to have. 
  2. I started to invest in sleeping. Beauty sleep is called beauty sleep for a reason. >< 
I also switched to face products I hoped would be more effective than the 70% that Laneige was giving me. Right now, as you can see, I'm using a cocktail of La Roche Posay and Fresh brand items. My day and night routine are essentially the same, during the day I don't cleanse with the clarisonic, but I'm thinking about incorporating an eye cream into the whole treatment schmorgesborg, but right now this is what it is! 

From Left to Right: 
  1. The Clarisonic Mia: I found the Clarisonic to be an indispensable part to my face cleansing routine, I noticed an immediate difference in my skin. My skin is so oily and greasy that it really benefits from the daily exfoliation. I've been a bit afraid to over exfoliate my skin, so I only use the Clarisonic in the evening, in conjunction with my Effaclar Cleanser, and it really helps me cleanse my skin without making it feel tight or too dried out. I have the Clarisonic Mia, because I'm a simple girl with simple needs, and I think the Mia's one speed suits me just fine. Also since it retails for $125 and is the cheapest of the Clarisonic range it does the same job as its more expensive siblings. 
  2.  Effaclar Gel Face Cleanser: Clean, lightweight, and pH balanced this face wash lathers up nicely and does a good job of making my face feel cleansed. It does not have a strong fragrance and has the additional benefits of being soap, alcohol, colorant, and paraben free!
  3. Effaclar Lotion Astringent: Basically a fancy word for a toner...I sometimes still don't see the value of toners, but immediately after I cut it out from my face routine my skin becomes angry. Toners are typically meant to "close the pores" and La Roche Posay claims that their toner regulates sebum and fights against pore blockage. Personally, this step just reinforces the fresh clean feeling that I get from the cleanser. After opening my pores with a hot wash, I do get the sensation of "sealing off my skin" with the cool toner. Also, I found out recently that this toner won Instyle Magazine's Best Beauty Buy Award for being the best toner for oily skin.
  4. Effaclar K: This, in addition to the Fresh items, is one of the three creams I slather on my face. Interestingly enough, it's also the only "acne fighting" cream/emulsion that I use. Containing 1.5% salicylic acid, my skin more readily accepts it compared to benzoyl peroxide products that I've used in the past. In addition to the salicylic acid it also contains small amounts of LHA acid and retinyl linoleate that are helpful in "refining pores." Honestly, I have pretty moderate acne scarring and I haven't seen this product make that much of a difference in refining my skin, but it does help prevent breakouts. The biggest complaint I have about Effaclar K is the packaging, it comes in an old time-y metal toothpaste tube and since Effaclar K is slightly runnier than other creams, dispensing the product can get unwieldy. Getting every last drop out of the packaging is also tough, I always feel like I'm wasting some product that I can't quite squeeze out.  
  5. Fresh Umbrian Clay Mattifying Serum: This is essentially my oil control base, and it has a slight rose water scent, but isn't off putting. The consistency is thicker than the Effaclar K, and the cream has a yellowish tone. It comes out of a vacuum pump system so you have the dual benefits of knowing you're getting every little bit of product and that it's hygienic. Fresh is marketed as a high end makeup brand, so you'll only be able to get their products from Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and the like. I usually use two pumps to comfortably cover my face, but my sister only uses one pump; which makes her supply of the serum last longer than mine. 
  6. Umbrian Clay Oil Free Lotion: This is the stuff that keeps my skin hydrated! It smells much like its predecessor the Umbrian Clay Mattifying Serum, but instead of yellow the cream is colored an off white. As a pretty solid moisturizer it really lends itself to being the final step of my morning and evening facial routine. As a being endowed with super oily skin, the lotion manages to strike a balance between taking the excess oil away while still imparting moisturizing benefits my skin.

Face Masks 

The face masks that I trust and use on the weekly are:
  1. Cure Natural Aqua Gel: A Japanese product, this aqua gel is one of the best selling facial products in Japan. From the Toyo Japan's English website, it says that Cure is made of hydrogen water that is gentler on the skin than traditional chemical peels. Honestly, using Cure is like magic. It comes out as a gel and you rub it gently on your skin: face, knees, elbows, ankles, and all your dead skin comes off in little rolls. Admittedly, I use it more often than the recommended twice a week, but soon less and less dead skin comes off so its not as satisfying as the first use of the week. ;) My only con is that it's hard to get. =( 
  2. Laneige Pore Clear Wash Off Pack: This is the last vestige of my old facial routine from Laneige and it's the best part! The Pore Wash off pack contains witch hazel, white clay, salicylic acid. It recommends that you use a nickel size amount for your entire face, but I usually pack a little more on my trouble areas. I also usually leave it longer than the suggested 5 minutes....for me it's more like half an hour. I don't recommend anyone else do this, but I found it's what works for my skin. The mask is lightly fragranced, I usually just smell the witch hazel, and has a rather thick, creamy consistency for a clay mask. When I first started using it, the mask stung my skin, especially on my open acne sores, but now I've gotten completely used to the stinging. I assume it's because of the astringent powers of the witch hazel. To me the strongest evidence of the beneficial nature of this mask is from the time my sister used it for the first time. Her skin is much, much better than mine naturally, but she joined me in solidarity to do this face mask together. At the end when we washed off our masks, she remarked "Wow, this is the first time I facial mask has done anything to my skin." Softer, smoother, brighter and free of impurities. OH YEAH. Another con is that this mask is hard to get as well. =(
  3. Umbrian Clay Mask: The third part of my Triforce of face masks is the Fresh Umbrian Clay Mask. It actually has a shorter drying time than Laneige's clay mask and feels tighter when it dries. Since the Pore Wash Off Pack is mostly made of white clay, and comes out pure white, the Umbrian Clay base of this product makes the mask a greenish dark grey. It has all the benefits of Umbrian clay, olive leaf extract, chamomile and nettle to soothe oily and acne prone skin. I usually just spread a thin layer all over my face and take it out within the suggested 3-5 minute time limit. With this mask, it feels terribly uncomfortable if I leave it on for longer. It tightens up incredibly and every errant smile or wink goes punished by the unforgiving and dry clay. It really does suck all the impurities out! This is gross, but I can see where the clay has changed color when its filled with sebum and oil. So, that's an additional can see it working. =)

Spot Treatments

There are only two spot treatments that I trust:

  1. Guerlain Creme Camphrea: This rocks. All I can really say! This magical terra cotta paste camouflages, heals, and cauterizes active acne. You can wear this during the day or at night and the salmon cancels out the angry red of any pimples. I have two major complaints about this product is that it never dries fully so if you choose to wear it at night your sheets and pillowcases will have some salmon colored cream smeared all over them. The second is the price, I understand Guerlain is a very high end brand but a .56 ounce tube of this stuff will set you back $41. So I only use Guerlain's Creme Camphrea for true concealing emergencies. 
  2. Umbrian Clay Mattifying Mask: You can use this as a mask, but also as a very effective spot treatment. It has all the benefits I mentioned above, but in an overnight concentrated form. The best part is, is that it dries completely! So you won't have slate streaks and spots all over your bedding. Something that people always mention is that the Umbrian Treatment Bar is a better value than the face mask and has the same properties. For me, I know that the bar would be more of a hassle to use. I talked to my Freshi sales woman and she said that he bars are so fragile that often some break in store and dissolve immediately in water. I'm the clumsiest and the worst at drying things so I usually pay for the convenience in a tube. The tube form also really lends itself to spot treatment. =)
So that's all of my skin care routine. I found out just recently that Sephora has a whole set in which you can try all the Fresh Umbrian face products for a discounted price. The shopping link is here! What are you facial routines? I love reading about new products! 

Thanks for reading! 

DIY Leather Macarame Bracelets Inspired by Honestly WTF

As a precursor to my move, I decided to get a little more crafty...while I still had the time and the chance. My mother is also  very crafty so I thought it would be a good way to have some bonding time before I left as well.

Obviously I didn't make the watch, it was a gift from my mother, but I also did not make the braided bracelet, located second from the left, that was from Club Monaco. I've been interested in Honestly WTF's Macarame Bracelet for a long time, but there have been several factors that have made me hesitant to attempt making these. I still tried. Guess what? They turned out pretty awesome!

I made the middle one. 
I didn't like the idea of using embroidery thread because I'm a huge germaphobe. How does this relate? Even though embroidery thread is beautiful and available in many colors, the only think I can think of is how that beautiful color will turn grey and disgusting over time because of everyday wear, sweat, dirt, grime, and other BLECH substances. It probably doesn't make sense, but to me, somehow, leather seems more hygienic.  So I changed the recommended .5 mm embroidery cord to .2 mm gage of leather. I originally made the bracelet with .5 mm leather cord, but it was way too bulky and didn't look elegant.

As for the other "O" bracelet I made, located on the far left, I had intended to do another macarame bracelet, but it looked too uniform paired with the other bracelets. I decided just to keep it simple with a sliding knot closure and some decorative beads. I think they turned out all right =) What do you think?

Have you guys had any successful DIYs? 


I miss my dog. 
I've been sitting on this subject for quite awhile, but I've moved to Boston! Crazy, right? I've been with my significant other for nearly four years now, and we've finally decided to nix the "long-distance" on our relationship. Crazy right? I had to say it twice. I still can't believe I don't have a return ticket back to Vancouver.

Even though I've been abroad and relatively "independent" this is the first "Grown-Up Step" I've taken away from my parents. Hopefully I'm on the way to being financially independent and able to take care of myself as well. WHAT AM I DOING.

So far I've been in charge of getting the house ready, assembling the flat pack furniture, and cooking. While we're settling into the apartment, I've essentially been playing housewife. It's been pretty fun, but in all honesty...I miss my parents. =)

Love you Mom. Love you Dad.

Modern Design Inc. A Review!

Some time ago, I received an email from Modern Design Inc regarding the possibility of me writing a review for them. Ecstatic, I responded back to their email and after a series of email exchanges one of their beautiful tungsten rings was sent to me. I was encouraged both to check out their website and the ring and give my honest opinions on both.

Before I accepted their request, I made sure to check out their facebook page and their website. According to both, their jewelry company was started in 1978 and they are proudly located within Downtown Los Angeles' Jewelry District. They manufacture diamond wedding rings and engagement bands, plain engagement bands, and can customize everything.

Overall, the website is professional and every page is filled with information. There aren't any dead links to speak of! Modern Design Inc. is also very connected on social media: twitter, pinterest, facebook, and even youtube! The navigation on their site is straightforward and simple, with a sidebar and a header, offering suggestions like: Men's Rings, Women's Rings, Gift Items and offering subcategories: Titanium Rings, Tungsten Rings, Engagement Rings, etc. Their site essentially functions like any other retail site on the web. One of the qualms I have with the site is that in each category they have duplicates of the same make of ring on multiple pages, so it makes it seem like there are more choices than there actually are. The second qualm I have is that there's no way to "display all" rings, you're essentially forced to look through their selection page by page and because of the numerous "duplicates" on the site it's a bit hard to remember whether you've seen a particular make or model before. In general though it's a clean, professional presentation.

The ring I asked to be sent was the Polished Flat Tungsten Ring Carbide Ring with Slim Silver Pattern Center in a size 8.5. However, we got a different model of ring, the Polished Tungsten Carbide Ring with Beveled Edges. At the time when they contacted me for sponsorship they had a smaller selection of ring designs available and most of the rings were masculine. Unfortunately for me the designs that I liked were strictly in the platinum category and those were out of bounds. The site now has an updated repertoire of rings that are distinctly unisex. 

Although the website itself says they offer a size range of 3 to 14, in an email Modern Designs told me their smallest tungsten ring was a size 5. Unfortunately for my 4.5 sized ring finger, it was a bit too big. So I harassed my boyfriend for his size and ordered a 8.5 sized ring to give to him, but they still sent me a size 5.

The quality of the ring is solid. The ring I originally picked was pretty unisex, however the one we received is pretty masculine. I’m hoping to give it to boyfriend. =) My sister and I both agreed that this ring would look very cute repurposed as a necklace. So if the rings don’t suit your fancy, you could always make it a nice pendant.

I tried to set up a additional giveaway for you guys, but they seemed pretty stringent about their "blogger rules." Unfortunately, they have a one ring per blog rule that I wasn't aware of. I'm sorry guys. =( The email and ring were both lovely surprises in my inbox and my mailbox. Thank you Modern Designs. I’m so sorry for the delay in this post!