Social Media Icons

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July Petit Vour Box

I know I'm usually really positive about the Petit Vour box I receive each month, as they have all been really great products. However, I think July has been the best yet! Not one product I'm not completely excited about. So let's take a look at what came this month :)

Luxe de Mer
Gentle Face Cleanser
I was really intrigued/excited when I saw this cleanser. If you, like me, are really lazy in the morning when it comes to washing your face, this might be for you. Usually I forgo the whole washing my face situation in the a.m. in favor of a cotton ball and some toner to wipe of the night's grime. But I always feel the I should be really washing. This product kind of balances the 2. You put it on a cotton ball and run it all over your face, then with a wet wash cloth wipe it off. It's really easy and it feels wonderfully silky on the skin. I am actually excited to wash my face in the mornings with the product. Yay!

Nail Lacquer - Doolish
Nail polishes have been some of the most exciting products for me in these boxes, as I've never really known where to find natural and/or vegan polishes before. Unfortunately, much like the other vegan polishes, the lasting power on this one isn't great, not horrible, but not great. It lasted about a day almost 2 on my nails before it started chipping. Now granted I didn't have a base coat on, but still that's a little much for me. Also, I didn't love the brush or formulation of this for my hands- the brush is too thin which I find wipes off as much polish as it puts on, and the formula took about 3 coats to look good. However, on my toes I've that this polish is a great summer color and has lasted a week already, so I'll keep it for at home pedicures :)

Nubian Heritage
100% Organic Shea Butter Infused with Mango Butter
I haven't tried this one yet, but it smells sweet and fruity and delicious. Sounds great!

Cream Natural Deodorant - Sexy Sadie
I've tried a few natural deodorants and have yet to be wowed, but I'm interested in how this one will do. I haven't tried a cream deodorant yet and I really like that this one has clay to act more as an antiperspirant than the other natural deodorants I've tried. My only issue, though, is the smell of this. It that's stereotypical Hippie scent with a lot of patchouli, not my fave. But I think I'm going to give it a go anyway. We'll see if it impresses.

Again, I was really thrilled with this month's box as there are all sorts of innovative and really useful products to try.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday's Thoughts: Am I Really Starting a New Chapter?

This is going to be a new segment on my site: Thursday's Thoughts. A random mix of what's been happening in my life, what I'm thinking about, anything really. It probably won't be every Thursday, but here and there. And now for the first ever Thursday's Thoughts~

Oh man deep breaths...

As I've alluded to in other posts, I've been dealing with some personal struggles as of late. I have tried to write this post multiple times but had trouble putting my thoughts into words, so bear with me as I get through this, it's gonna be a wordy one.

In April my husband of 7 years and I separated. We did so mutually and amicably but it has still been very difficult for me. I have feelings of resentment, anger, sadness, freedom, and some hope; so it's all one big jumbly mess. I am not one who trusts easily or lets people in very often, so I'm trying to find ways to cope without shutting down completely. But unfortunately, since then things have not been so easy.

After the separation we decided to take advantage of the seller's housing market here in Denver and put the house up for sale. Once it sold came the task of dividing our stuff, selling possessions and packing. Luckily we didn't fight over anything and I was able to keep the things I wanted and the dog and cats.

Then came the task of finding a new place to live. Although I didn't really want to live in an apartment (I prefer a townhome), the rental market is also crazy in Denver and my money didn't go as far as I wanted. It was a bit of a shock going from a 2-person income down to just 1... half the paycheck and almost double the rent, great! But I was able to find a place closer to my family and further from work (the things I do to myself). So in the middle of June I moved to start my single life.

But then things got really fun! Can you feel the sarcasm oozing in that sentence? My dog, Sage, who is normally such a happy-go-lucky fella did not do well with all the moving and change. He had lost my husband, the house, and the yard in a very short period of time. So on the night before moving day, I guess he'd had enough. He ended up biting/licking and tearing out a 2.5 inch circle of hair and skin out of his hip. The wound looked nasty and I was really worried. So after the move I took him to the vet and him all situated (he's healing nicely now). But that was just the start of our problems.

The first night in the new place Sage was so nervous, he kept shaking and panting and slept right up next to me all night. We didn't really sleep as he was loud and the cats were meowing constantly but we go through it. Oh yea, and before I went to the vet, my car was towed because the apartment complex had assigned me a space someone had already taken.

So a few days later I went back to work. Then the complaints started rolling in. I got calls from the apartment complex that my dog was constantly barking. The apartment is one of those that has an indoor entrance to a shared hallway with almost an inch gap between the door and the floor. So my poor dog can hear EVERYTHING. Now he's only ever lived in a house and is used to barking when someone came to the door. It used to be just a few barks to let us know someone is coming so I never stopped it.

So I started to try different things to help him acclimate; my brother came over to walk him at lunch, I worked with him on the barking when I was home, I turned up the TV, brought a fan to put by the door, etc... I would think things were getting better for a few days so wouldn't try anything new. But then I'd get a call from the complex that there were still "so many" complaints.

Eventually I got a warning letter that I could either leave, fix the issue immediately or be evicted. I called the complex to discuss it with them and found a solution where I could get someone to take over my lease so I wouldn't have the eviction, and I could stay through July but there could be no more complaints about my dog.

Well as this story has gone on long enough, I'll summarize the rest. My uncle and aunt have been kind enough to provide "doggy daycare" to Sage during the day, I can't leave the house and leave Sage home, so I haven't been able to do proper grocery shopping, laundry, or really anything. I did find someone to buyout my lease and a new place to live after extending my budget. The new apartment has an outdoor entrance with a real door so hopefully that will help with Sage.

But now it's been a little over a month since I moved and I need to move again. I am moving next week and still haven't packed.

Overall, these last few months have been really stressful and I have been nervous, upset, and over-emotional the whole time. I have found it hard to get motivated to pack or do much at all. I do hope it gets better once I'm done moving, but I have a lot of work to do. I need to work with Sage to make sure he doesn't have anymore issues. And I still have some thinking, grieving and healing to do over my marriage as that has been put on the back-burner a bit.

I am just hoping there is a reason that all this is happening, like somewhere there'll be that silver lining. But I have decided for now I just need to focus on one thing at a time until I'm in a better head space.

Thank you all for listening, I appreciate it as this has been extremely hard for me to talk about. But looking forward I think this experience will help shape Amber But Better a little bit. As this blog has been about finding myself, I think there's no better time than now to do this. So hopefully I'll start doing some more Thursday Thoughts, lifestyle, and other posts to bring you all along with me on my journey.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jumping on that Korean Beauty Train!

Ok, so I've always been interested in Korean beauty, ever since I first started hearing about it. But I waited... I don't know why, but I did. Maybe it was that I didn't know what might be in it, maybe I was concerned about shipping, who knows. But I finally decided to take the leap and make a purchase when I found Glow Recipe (and no this is not a sponsored post).

I believe I was reading an article at Refinery29 when they talked about Glow Recipe so I went to investigate. I found that Glow Recipe is a site that cultivates natural, some organic and high quality Korean beauty products and imports them to the U.S. Also the site explains the products, ingredients, and issues they're supposed to address, along with instructions. They also have a handy blog where you can learn about serums vs. essences vs. ampoules... very important information to have!

So long story short(er?) I perused their site for a long time trying to find what my first product would be. Then I stumbled upon the Shara Shara Honey Bomb All-in-1 Ampoule and I got on board, fast! So this product is supposed to act as a light moisturizer, serum, and toner in one. As I am always for a multi-tasker and the reviews were really good I took the dive.

I was really intersted to see how this stuff would look and feel as it's made of 3 different kinds of honey; Manuka, Royal Jelly, and Propolis Extract. I was little worried it would be sticky... it looks sticky. But it's not! It feels like a cooling gel and spreads across the skin really easily.

So a little goes a long way with this stuff. The spatula it comes with will give you way to much product for your face. So I usually just dab my finger in a bit and that's enough for my full face. If you use too much it may be a little sticky as it dries, but once dry it's perfectly fine.

Because the bottle is huge and you need so little, it's definitely worth it to slather it on your neck and chest too. Never neglect the neck and chest ladies, they will show aging before your face! And you can put on a thick layer at night to add some extra moisture.

OK, now for the nitty gritty. I use a small amount in place of a moisturizer and toner (I don't use a serum so I guess that too) at night and just slather it on my face, neck, and chest. I don't use it in the morning because I'm lazy and don't want to wait for it to dry (this only takes a few minutes but what can I say). I have tried under makeup though and it works well.

I've been using this product for almost a month now and I can definitely say I notice the difference with this stuff. Now if you've been reading my blog, you'll know that I've had some acne issue recently that I've been trying to fight, and even though this is specifically for acne, I thought it might help. And it has, the scaring on my face has gone down, and I haven't had as many flair up and I feel that everything looks smaller. Now, it didn't perform miracles I still do have scarring to deal with and some really red spots, but overall it did help.

Where I really notice it the most though, is on the rest of my face. I feel that my skin looks smooth (soft and supple come to mind) and my pores are minimized slightly. It really just gives my skin a healthier look.

Overall this has been worth the $40 for the difference I've noticed and because I know it will last a long time!

Let me know if you've tried any Korean beauty products, what's your favorite?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Went a Little Ulta Crazy!

It's been a while since I've gone a little nuts at Ulta, so I was due. And I made the most of it! I'd like to just say that shopping with my mom is always dangerous... for the both of us :) I'm always showing her new products and she's always telling me to "just buy it" when I'm indecisive about things. So to make a long story short; we went shopping, had fun, and spent way too much money.

Below is what I picked up and a first impression of the products I have tried so far.

Real Techniques
I have already sang the praises of these sponges here so I won't go into detail too much. But if you like a natural and lighter finish, these are awesome! They're great for blending in concealer too.

I have heard about this brush for foundation for so long and could never find it. But now after months (years?) of searching I found it and can't wait to give it a go.

It's a 10
Again, another product I've already raved about (here) but I really love the way this detangles and softens my hair.

Hint of Color Dry Shampoo - Dark & Deep Brown
I'm always on the hunt for a great dry shampoo. As a greasy-scalped gal I rely on this stuff for second day hair. Batiste is pretty good, I really like that this is colored as well so it doesn't take much rubbing in. Overall a good product, but I'm still on lookout for one that will wow me.

Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand - Porcelain and Yellow
Another item I'm always looking for... concealer. I have tried Too Faced, Flower, NYX, and more and haven't an amazing concealer for my under-eye circles or breakouts. I've heard good things about these though so I'm really yearning to try them. But I want to use up some of my others first...grrr...

One of my fave Youtubers, MakeupByTiffanyD, has been raving about this palette for a few months now and I had been thinking of purchasing this. So when Ulta had 40% off NYX products I scooped it up, and I'm glad I did. I haven't done a full contour with it yet, but I have tried it out. See my swatches below:

As you can probably tell the highlight powders are subtle and great for pasty girls such as myself.                                            
  1. A shimmery highlight that's white/pink in hue and gives a more dramatic shimmer to the face. 
  2. I use more as an all over face powder and it leaves a wonderfully natural finish. 
  3. A yellow powder to brighten up under the eyes. I'll be honest I don't know how I feel about yellow under the eyes quite yet, but I'm trying it.
  4. A more champagne-y color great for a natural highlight and blends wonderfully with blush.

 The contour powders are very pigmented and a little dark, I have to use a light hand when applying. And although it's hard to tell in this picture, they are all a distinct color. So far I really have only used the 1st 2 colors which are a warm lighter brown and a gray-brown. They do provide me with some great color.

Overall I'm really excited to play around with this palette and see what it can really do!

I'm not 100% sure what an eyebrow gel is supposed to do... I know it's to hold your eyebrows in place. But are anyone's eyebrows just roaming around going all wonky? I guess I have tame eyebrows. But anyway I have used this just to see what it did and I do like that it defines my brows in a subtle way for those days I don't want to go all out. So I guess I do like eyebrow gel... hmm...

Finally, whew, we're almost there! AG is a brand I've been wanting to try so when I saw this texturizing spray on sale I said hell yes! I have been wearing my hair curly more lately as it's easier in this humid/rainy weather because my hair is naturally curly. So usually I blow dry the roots because they look funny if I don't, pop some curl cream in the ends and go to sleep (sometimes I will do a french braid), then when I wake up it's straightening the bang-area and off I go. I like the idea of this spray though as it helps define your curls and separate them, and it gives you some volume. I've only used it once thus far but I think it delivers.

Well thank you all for staying till the very end of this long haul. I will keep you posted if there are any stand out (or downright bad) products!

Oh and I thought I'd add this blooper picture! This is what happens when you blog and own a pet... you have no idea how many cat and dog tails and noses I've had to crop out of my pictures!!!!

Update: I had previously stated that Batiste and It's a 10 products were not cruelty-free, that is incorrect. They both are cruelty-free products.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

June Petit Vour Box

I apologize for not posting in so long, and unfortunately I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post in the next month or two. As I said before I'm going through a lot of changes in my life right now and on top of that I have no internet at home. So bear with me and we'll get through this. But as I am able to post right now, let's get on with it!

So this month my new Petit Vour box arrived in the mail, and I won't lie to you it felt like Christmas. I really do enjoy this subscription as most (if not all) of the products are new to me so I really get to experience everything for the first time.

In this box I received some interesting items and have tried most of them.

100% Pure
This is the cruelty-free/natural answer to the Clarisonics we've all heard so much about. I was always skeptical about these brushes because they seem really harsh for facial skin, but I gave this one a fair shot anyway. And I think I might have been right to worry, it seemed really harsh and almost painful on my face. I use it in the shower with my daily facial cleanser. I think it does exfoliate well, but I will only being using this 1x a week or less.

Meow Meow Tweet
As you've probably listened to me drone about ad nauseum, I have been having some insane skin issues, so when I saw this I was intrigued. I've been using it for about 2 weeks now almost daily on all my spots. I think it shrunk so of the bigger spots and prevented some from coming to a head. But I have also been trying another product (review to come) and I think that's helped to.... that's what happens when I try more than 1 product at a time. But I wouldn't purchase this if you're sensitive to smell because it has a strong eucalyptus scent.

Jaq's Organics
Funny enough, this is the product that most intrigued me and it's the only one I haven't tried yet. As I said above I don't like to try too many new things at once so I'm saving this. But it seems so cool, you put it on like a mask then when you rinse it off you're supposed to rub your skin a bit as an exfoliator. I like the 2-in-1 aspect so I'll have to report back.

FiOR Minerals
Ok let me just say that I love me some eyeliner... I feel naked without it and just love how it can bring out my blue eyes. Now this particular eyeliner was promising but I wasn't able to test it fully. I tried it twice and found that the brown kind of counteracts my blue eyes and makes them green-ish... I don't know how a brown did that but weird. Still I wanted to try it more for longevity but it melted in my room. My apartment is warm but I hadn't had issues with any other make up melting so that was weird. I'll try to test it again once the temperature drops... but hard to review.

Well that was my June Petit Vour box, definitely some interesting products! Have a great week all and hopefully I'll talk to you soon :)