A Note to Bloggers: Beware of Scammers

For me, blogging is just a hobby. I don’t get paid to do it. I do it on my own time, whenever I want. But for most of the people that I have come across, blogging is a job. It’s a full-time commitment that pays the bills and puts food on the table. Blogging can easily become a job through product review, advertising, and endorsements. This week, a “company” wanted to collaborate with me on I Sort of Beauty, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was a fake solicitor.

I’m naming the company because I would hope that this does not happen to anyone else. Two weeks ago, Tops Wedding reached out to me on email to ask me to collaborate with them. Here’s how it went:

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Not to be Cliche, But ‘New Year, New Me!’ is in Full Effect

I’m so sore today. Why did I do that to myself yesterday? Why did I do all those leg and abs exercises? Ugh. For someone who has not been to the gym in a while (2 months) I really felt like hurling after my workout yesterday. As much as I despise New Year’s resolutions, I think they are necessary if realistic. With each passing year, I’ve always set a goal for myself but it always falls through midyear. This year, in 2015, I’m going to try something new and only do monthly goals. They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, so here’s what the next three months will look like for me:

January 2015: This month’s goal is to hit the gym two days a week and yoga once a week. Yesterday was the first day back at the gym. My boyfriend, who is also training me, showed no mercy and I doubt he will go easy on me in any of our future workouts.

February 2015: February is all about eating healthy. I’ve started eating a salad a day, whether it be for my full meal or as a side, but this month will be all about fruits! I never eat enough, so I’m going to start eating an apple and a banana a day. Yum!

March 2015: This month, I think, will be the hardest. No eating out and no takeout. None whatsoever. I spent so much money in 2014 on dinning out and takeout when I could have made my own meal, so this month will be a big change in diet and finances. So just a heads up friends, don’t invite me out, we will be having dinner parties instead! 

For some motivation to tackle this month’s goal, I decided I want to lose 5 pounds. Weighing in at 123 pounds on Friday, January 9, I hope to be at a healthy 118 by February 1st. Hey 2015, let’s do this.

“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.” – Mark Twain

Products I Finished in 2014 – New Year, New Products!

When most people think about the new year, they probably think “new year, new me” but I think “new year, new, products!” I finished a couple of favorites in 2014, and I can’t wait to either make repurchases, or move on to other products. Here’s what I finished in 2014.

photo 1 (5)L – R: 

  • Lindi Face Serum
  • Dr. Brandt Pores No More
  • Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel
  • Dr. Brandt Face Cream
  • Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate
  • Biodara Face Serum and Créme De Clay Purifying Mask

Lindi Face Serum: I love this product! It was the first product I wrote about on I Sort of Beauty. The serum is super soothing and silky soft. I would definitely repurchase this.

Dr. Brandt Pores No More: Hands down, one of the best blackhead extractor masks I have ever used. I love that the mask dries into a darker blue color when it’s done and ready to be removed. I need to get this again for 2015!

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel: 2014 was all about natural products for me. I love that this peel is made of organic, fruit-derived hydroxy acids, raw sugar cane, and antioxidant-rich vitamins—A, C, and E. Will definitely purchase the full size product.

Dr. Brandt Face Cream: Eh. I liked it, but didn’t love using it. I preferred using other moisturizers, so will not be seeing this product in 2015.

Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate: I recently got another one. Why? Because it worked so damn well I felt like I didn’t need any makeup. Love, love, love this stuff! Saying hello to soft, bouncy skin in 2015.

Biodara Face Serum and Créme De Clay Purifying Mask: I wrote about Biodara recently last year. I took the products with me on my trip to Jamaica in October. It was the perfect set to pamper myself with while vacationing. Will I repurchase? I already have!

photo 2 (3)L – R:

  • Amika: Perk Up Dry Shampoo
  • Hello Body Cream
  • MAKE Dual Phase Eye Makeup Remover
  • Supergoop! Forever Young Hand Cream
  • Imperial Repair Hand Therapy
  • Supergoop! CC Cream

Amika: Perk Up Dry Shampoo: This was my first love (for dry shampoo, that is). I have never used dry shampoo before. I always thought that if I washed my hair every other day or every 2-3 days, I didn’t need dry shampoo. But after using Amika, I realized that there are so many benefits to using dry shampoo. I use it the day after I shower to keep my hair nice and voluminous.

Hello Body Cream: I didn’t love this product, but I didn’t hate it either. It smelled delicious and went on smoothly, but I don’t think it’s hydrating enough. Will not see this product in 2015.

MAKE Dual Phase Eye Makeup Remover: I only found one makeup remover that I loved in 2014, and this product is not it. The remover is not tough enough for eye makeup removal. I won’t be seeing this product in 2015 either.

Supergoop! Forever Young Hand Cream: I don’t use enough hand creams, but after discovering Supergoop! I’m addicted.

Imperial Repair Hand Therapy: I loved the smell of this hand cream. There wasn’t enough in this sample, I will need to repurchase for 2015!

Supergoop! CC Cream: I have been seeing and hearing the rave about CC creams, but I don’t think this was the best CC cream for me. Will keep hunting for a CC cream to add to my beauty arsenal in 2015.

What products did you finish in 2014? What products will you be taking with you in 2015? Tell me in the comments section below, xo -Linda

Holiday Party Time!

I’ve been to three holiday parties so far, and there are a couple more lined up until the new year. This week was a bit crazy with my boyfriend’s work holiday party and mine, but I think it turned out well. We’ve been coming home past midnight every night and falling asleep between 1 and 2 in the morning. The schedule hasn’t been pleasant for my skin but I’ve been moisturizing and keeping to a strict routine every night/ early morning. I wanted to share some holiday photos with you and tell you about the products I used to create an effortless and “radiant” look, as I was told. By the way, it felt good to wear makeup again after 20 days! 

I decided to go with a very simple look for the holiday parties this week. They were all professional so I didn’t want to overdo my look.

photo 1 (3)Face: ELF foundation around my face (half a drop) and Benefit’s Fake Up in light to conceal my under eyes. To contour, I used Benefit’s bronzing powder in Hoola. Blush in Laura Geller’s Blush-n-Brighten in Grapefruit for nice dewey cheeks, and Benefit’s Watt’s Up and Mirabella’s Shimmer Rose to highlight. Eyes: Tat2u’s mascara in Black and Bentonite Clay eyeshadow from MAKE’s Calypso Palette all over my lid. For brows, I used Billion Dollar Brows Universal Pencil. For the lips, I wanted to go with a just-bitten look, I used ELF’s moisturizing lipstick in Ripe Rose. Essie Polish in Marshmallow on nails.

holiday party 3 (1)holiday party 10holiday party 9The next time I will be able to wear makeup is for New Year’s Eve, which is pretty much creeping around the corner. I’m currently on day 23 of my No Makeup Challenge. One more week to go!

No Makeup Update: Day 20 – Putting My Best Face Forward

Just 11 more days to go! I’m not at the finish line yet, but I am feeling proud of how far I’ve gone without makeup. There have been close friends and acquaintances who have asked me “How hard can it be?” Uhm, how hard can it be? Just look at some of the comments from my previous update posts, and see what fellow beauty writers have to say about the #nomakeup challenge. It’s tough, and I don’t think most people (who don’t care for makeup) realize that. For one, it’s not even about wearing makeup because I don’t even wear a lot of it to begin with! It’s about the routine. You know how you get up in the morning and shower and brush your teeth? That’s a routine, and similarly so is the art of putting on makeup. Two, sometimes I just want to minimize my ‘not-so-pretty’ flaws. I know women who will just wear eyeliner or mascara, and they feel like that does something for them. I also know women who feel that wearing a full-face of makeup enhances their look. There are days that I wake up with dark bags or puffy eyes and wish I could reach for my concealer. It’s all about perception, and it’s really all personal. Three, and this is the biggest misconception yet – makeup is for ME. It is not for you. A lot of times, I’m asked who I’m trying to impress or who I’m trying  to look good for when I’m wearing makeup. Let’s be real, confident women don’t need anyone’s approval, just your compliments are welcome *sassy finger snaps*. Continue reading