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Sleeveless Denim Dress

Sleeveless Denim DressSleeveless Denim DressI first saw this sleeveless denim dress at a local clothing boutique. It immediately caught my eye. I had been looking for a casual denim dress for a while. I liked the sort of western look of it. They didn't have my size at the boutique, but I came across it on Amazon. And it was a lot cheaper than what the boutique was selling it for. So I put it on my wish list and my hubby got it for my birthday.

I got a size Small, which was the smallest size they had at the time. I am 5ft and 105lbs. I washed it, thinking it would shrink, but it didn't really seem to shrink much. The size Small fits me a little loose, I would have liked it a little more snug. But I still like the dress.

I love how it has a little fading in the front. It adds interest and gives it  character. The belt that comes with it is very cute, too. It is a lightweight tan pu thin braided belt.

I think this dress is cute with sandals, heels, espadrilles, wedges, ankle boots, and even Keds. It is a cool, casual summer dress. But I think it could even work for fall with a light jacket and ankle boots.

Maybelline Dream Velvet Foundation

Maybelline Dream Velvet FoundationI've gotten many compliments on my skin. Mostly because it is relatively smooth with very few bumps (acne). But for me, smooth skin does not come naturally, or without careful TLC. I have found that eradicating the facial enemies is half, if not 80% of the battle. The other part is keeping the intruders out.. So what does this all mean?

The true enemies of the skin are things that we are "allergic" to. By allergic, I mean things that cause bad skin reactions, like acne. I have found that most facial creams/lotions, foundations, sunscreens, blushes, and bronzers have things in them that cause acne for me. A few of them are some type of oil, talc, chemical sunscreens, and even zinc oxide. My skin is so sensitive, that the list of "allergens" goes on.

Once I discovered and eliminated those allergens from my facial applications, I found much clearer skin. I can't help but wonder if doing so would help many others who suffer from adult acne.

After trying so many foundations of so many brands, drugstore as well as prestige, I finally settled on one simple foundation that seems to do trick for me. It has a short list of ingredients and contains no facial enemies for me. In addition, it wards off intruders.

Facial intruders for me are mostly just dust and dirt in the air. This foundation seems to seal my skin nicely and protect it from those acne-causing dirt particles. The reason I know it is the foundation is because on the days I wear the foundation, my skin has much less bumps at the end of the night, when I wash my face.

In case you are wondering what this simple foundation is, it is Maybelline Dream Velvet Foundation. It usually runs $9.99 or so at the store, but I have found it cheapest on Amazon. This foundation is medium coverage. It contains sodium hyaluronate to hydrate the skin. I have found it to be a little incompatible with some facial moisturizers I use. It tends to form a solid paste that sloughs off my face and prevents proper blending of the foundation. So I just use the foundation by itself, and it goes on smooth and keeps my skin sufficiently hydrated.

There is a blending sponge-on-a-stick tool Maybelline created especially for the Dream Velvet Foundation. But I get great results just blending with my fingers. The formula is dries quickly, so you have to blend quickly.

I do use a little bit of powder around my oily areas. The foundation goes on matte-looking. But after some time, it melds into my skin and looks very natural and a bit dewy. The formula contains synthetic fluorographite, which adds a subtle glow and highlight to cheekbones, forehead, etc. I think it is really pretty and have had a hard time finding a foundation that has that effect without being too glisteny.

I have also had a hard time finding a foundation that is as good for my skin as the Dream Velvet. Many other foundations contain an oily chemical or natural oil to help make the foundation more spreadable. Those things give me acne. Dream Velvet Foundation is not as spreadable, but it is worth the trade-off for healthy skin.

Speaking of healthy skin, on the mornings after using the Dream Velvet Foundation, my skin is so healthy-looking. My pores are smaller, my skin is more evenly hydrated, without dry patches that I would normally have had, and just smoother and more rejuvinated. Believe me, I have occasionally switched to a different foundation, just to try, or used a higher SPF makeup, and found my skin paying for it the next morning.

But with Dream Velvet, my skin is rewarded for using it. I think of it as a skin care item now, and I even use it on stay home days, just to continue taking care of my skin.

I know everyone's skin is different. But if you can't seem to calm that acne down, then it might be worth a try. My skin, like most, changes shades from summer to winter. So I buy two colors of the Maybelline Dream Velvet Foundation and mix them together to achieve the perfect shade all year long. My skin tone is on the yellow or golden side. So I use Natural Beige 75 (a light-medium golden) and Caramel 92 (a deeply tanned golden).

In the winter, I squeeze a small amount of the Natural Beige onto my finger and a tiny smidgen of Caramel. I rub the two together onto my face, and the color fits me perfectly. In the summer, I go a little heavier on the Carmel, and I get a combination that matches my summer tan nicely.

Updated 7/24/2017

Here are before makeup and after makeup pics:

Bare Face

Bare face without foundation

Dream Velvet Foundation

Dream Velvet Foundation

This makeup has evened out and smoothed the skin, matted out some shine, and covered some dark spots / freckles.

The long term skincare effects of this foundation make it priceless.

Baseball Shirt Dress

Baseball Shirt DressKissky Women's Color Block Long Sleeve Bodycon Tshirt DressI got this Kissky Women's Color Block Long Sleeve Bodycon Tshirt Dress on Amazon. It was advertised as a bodycon dress. But since reviewers said that the dress runs short, I opted for a size larger than what I normally get. I am 5ft and 103lbs, and I got the Medium size. It fit fine. Not really a bodycon dress on me. But it fit the bill for what I wanted in a baseball shirt dress.

I wanted a casual dress that I could wear with sneakers so I could run around shuttling my kids to their after-school activities. And maybe even run around the park with them a little.

I washed the dress, and it shrunk a little and fit fine for what I was looking for. A little loose fitting but not too much. Just right, and not too over-the-top for everyday wear.

But then I gained a few pounds, and the dress started riding up. I noticed how short it now was, and I could feel my backside exposed as I bent over (at home, of course). So I threw on a pair of leggings underneath, and problem solved.

The dress is much cuter without the leggings, but I also got compliments on it with the leggings. So I'd say it's a buy if you want a unique casual dress to romp around in. If you buy your regular size, and it actually ended up being a bodycon, you could wear cute lacy short leggings underneath.

Also, the color I ordered was burgundy. However, the color I received was a little brighter than the photo shown on Amazon. I would say it was a cool dark red. Nonetheless, I like the color. It is a pretty red, and stands out nicely against the gray of the rest of the dress.

The sleeves reach down to my wrists and are a little loose. So I often wear it with the sleeves pushed up to 3/4 length. The fabric is a ribbed knit and pretty comfortable to wear.

Blue Chandelier Earrings

Blue Chandelier EarringsBlue Chandelier EarringsThere was a time, pre-babies, when I used to make jewelry. Chandelier earrings were especially fun to make. But lately, time gets away from me, so I put jewelry on my wish lists and hope for nice surprises on holidays.

These pretty blue chandelier earrings were one such gift from my husband. With hearts, rhinestones, and baby blue teardrop beads, how can you go wrong?

They are relatively compact for chandelier earrings, so they work fine for moms taking their little ones out and about. They don't dangle too low or jingle-jangle every time your head moves. These earrings are also very lightweight, so you don't even notice them being on.

I wear them with jeans because I figure the blue will always match blue jeans. But you could also wear them with a pretty blue dress.

No Makeup Makeup

Balance-n-Brighten FoundationBalance-n-Brighten FoundationThere are different levels of applying makeup. Makeup for plenty of time, a little time, rush, and ultra rush. Ultra rush is the absolute bare minimum. Basically just putting a little layer of sun protection over my face to prevent UV damage. I break out when I wear most normal sunscreens that contain chemical sunscreens or zinc. So I use Titanium Dioxide sunscreen. Most makeup has some Titanium Dioxide in it. So makeup is usually the best I can do for sunscreen.

On an ultra rush day, a "no-makeup day", i.e. "sunscreen" only day, I dust on some light powder foundation over some concealer, and I wear lip balm with SPF. My favorite powder foundation is Laura Geller's Balance-n-Brighten Baked Color Correcting Foundation. It contains jojoba oil to keep the skin moisturized. Dimethicone to protect the skin. And green tea and gotu kola to help the skin stay youthful.

This powder foundation comes in a round compact, with a pretty swirled baked powder dome. I use a large powder brush to apply it.  It smooths out the skin and blurs some skin imperfections. It gives the skin a nice healthy glow without being shiny. Here is a picture of me with only some lip balm, under-eye concealer, and the Laura Geller Balance-n-Brighten Foundation. I use the color Golden Medium.

Long Lasting Nail Polish

Essie Gel Couture Nail PolishBorn in Guam, I'm a tropical girl by nature. I'm always cold living in the Pacific Northwest, winter, spring, summer, or fall. My hands are always cold. The skin on my hands have always looked wrinkled and old. Even when I was 20. But it's not just me. I've seen other young women with dry and wrinkled hands. I figured it was just a thing some people have. Oh well, that's life.

One day, at my doctor's office, I saw a sign in the waiting room that talked about using lotion and sunscreen on your hands because they tend to show age faster than even the face and neck. I figured that was my problem. My hands were aging much faster than the rest of me. I started making sure to put lotion on my hands whenever they felt dry or after washing them. But alas, they still looked wrinkly and prune-ish, and worst of all, they still felt cold.

Years later, my husband asked if I wanted to do my nails. I don't think I'd painted my nails since I was 13. But I thought, maybe my ugly wrinkled hands would look nicer with some pretty nail polish. So I found a frosty lavender polish and went to town on my nails. Hmmm, that does make my hands look prettier. Hmmm, it also makes my hands feel warmer. After a while, I also noticed that I wasn't reaching for hand lotion as much as I normally did. My bony fingers were actually looking plump and dewy. Maybe it's because the extra coating over the nails keeps the warmth and moisture in my hands. So I started wearing nail polish all the time. And years later, my 5yo often tells me, "Mommy, your hands are so warm!".

But this is a tedious habit to keep up. Especially with kids. Doing my nails every few days just wasn't going to work with the kids' demands. Doing them once a week meant I would have chipped nails for 4 out of 7 days. I didn't want to spend tons of money at the nail salon on acrylic or gel. So I was constantly trying different nail polishes to see which would last the longest. Rounded nail shapes also seemed to resist chipping more than squared shapes.

Meanwhile, Essie came out with a new product, revolutionizing the world of nail polish. The Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish promises to last up to 14 days, with gel-like shine. And is easily removed by regular nail polish remover. For the full effect, you must use the Essie Gel Couture Topcoat over the color polish.

A little pricier than normal nail polish, I wasn't sure I was going to buy into the hype. But summer had just started, and I needed a fresh new nail color to go with my cute summer outfits. I had it in my mind to find a peachy-orange color that made me think of ripe summer fruits.

My eyes glossed over the rows and rows of colors until I saw the one I wanted. It was in a weird swirly bottle under the sign that read Essie Gel Couture. This pretty light orange color was called Looks to Thrill. And I couldn't find another color like it. I guess I was destined to try this new nail polish. I took it along with the matching topcoat to the checkout.

When I got home, I laid down two coats of color. It looked pretty flat and blah, but seemed to dry quickly. I painted on the topcoat, and that's when the magic happened. It smoothed out the bumps and imperfections on the color layer with a glossy shine. It looked surreal, unlike any other manicure I'd ever had.

The whole paint job dried pretty quickly even though it still looked wet. And that is how it continued to look. A beautiful wet shine. But what really convinced me was that it lasted longer than any other nail polish I had ever used.  I can go a whole week without having to repaint my nails. They do chip a little each day, but the polish does stay mostly on, better than any other nail polish I have tried.

Ever since Essie came out with this, it's all I use. I have collected a bunch of different colors of this nail polish, but my favorite color is Spiked With Style. It is a dark burgundy color that I like to wear in the fall and winter. In the summer I still love the orangey Looks to Thrill.

Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish in Wrap Party (dark forest green)

Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish in Wrap Party

Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish
Day 1
Day 4
Day 8

Color: Turn 'N' Pose

(a dark berry purple)

Essie Gel Couture Turn 'N' Pose

 Color: First View

(a light baby blue with slight pearlessence)

Essie Gel Couture in First View


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