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HACK UPDATE

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you might have seen me post that the site was hacked. This did indeed happen and unfortunately it means I’ve lost the entire custom theme I spent months creating. Fortunately I did not lose my post history or photos since those were backed up. I have a lot to say on this topic, and I probably will soon because I’m sure my experience would be valuable to other bloggers.

The short story is that I am most likely leaving WordPress for good. It’s just not secure enough for me to run on my own, and I don’t ever want to get hacked again.

The good news is that I will most definitely keep blogging on another platform, probably under the same name. This catastrophe served as a wake up call to get back on track with blogging and get back to the parts I used to enjoy so much. I think I lost a lot of my enjoyment when I tried to make blogging a money-producing job instead of a hobby (not that I ever made much money from it). Time to get back to basics I think.

The best news is that, to my knowledge, none of your information or security was compromised due to the hack.

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Happy New Year!

First some personal updates: my car was stolen (for a second time) and this time it was not recovered. Shortly after that adventure I came down with strep throat and then the stomach flu, so I haven’t been running at full speed for a few weeks. I’m also wading through lots of paperwork and errands related to my “new” car (insurance, new tags, etc.)… being an adult is such a hassle sometimes!

I’m starting to get back into my routine and that means more posting! I’ve got a sale roundup coming up in a few minutes and a Birchbox review tomorrow, plus a new nail polish that I’m loving. I bought 2 new items this weekend with a gift card and I can’t wait to take photos and share (pray for a sunny day!)

Thanks to the car theft, a payroll transition, and an upcoming move, money is pretty tight right now so I’m also planning to start some kind of “use it up” project to get through all the things I’ve already purchased. Bonus: less stuff to pack up and move.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Just Because It’s On the Internet Doesn’t Make it True

Time for another diatribe, this time aimed at promoters of “homemade” and “DIY” beauty tips that I see all the time on Pinterest. I’ve seen some really amazing things on there, and I plan to share them more often (until then you can check out my beauty board here), but there were a few that concerned me so much I felt I should write a post of warning.

First I want to note that I’m sure the original posters had the best of intentions. I don’t mean to cause offense (but I probably will) and I apologize in advance for singling them out… it’s only because these are things I see over and over again on Pinterest.

Let’s start with the “Burning Face Mask”:

This is a mask made of lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey that will supposedly get rid of acne scars. To be honest it sounds more like a violation of the Geneva Conventions than a skin treatment. I’ve also seen this one pinned with instructions for adding cayenne pepper (not on the original blog) – this is a terrible idea and I urge you not to do it. Your facial skin is delicate and, in general, if it’s burning that’s not a good thing. If you’re truly having acne issues, see a dermatologist. I can’t tell you how much retinoids + benzoyl peroxide have changed my skin for the better.

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Has Cosmetics Marketing Gone Too Far?

click to enlarge so you can read the small text

I’ve always been of the mind that cosmetics companies should only be allowed to advertise what their products actually do. Use makeup artists, gorgeous models, and professional photographers all you want, but don’t stick on 2 false lash strips and tell me it’s mascara.

I’m very pleased that in the UK there have been some controls put in place by the Advertising Standards Authority to prevent these misleading practices, or at least to identify them on the ads. We haven’t had any similar legislation in the USA, but it’s something I’d like to see in the future.

What is happening  is that the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) is coming down hard on cosmetics companies who make drug-like claims for their products. See, in the USA you can claim your cosmetic product makes things look better with no issues at all. But if you claim that your product changes the “structure or any function of the human body”, it’s classified as a drug instead of a cosmetic. Drugs have a much more burdensome approval process, and their marketing/advertising is more strictly controlled.

This is posing big problems for brands that want to promote their skincare products as being backed by science. I think we’ve all seen skincare that’s “clinically proven” to increase cell regeneration, reconstruct the skin barrier, boost collagen production, etc. Those sound like drug claims to me, so I’m glad the FDA is calling out companies on this issue. Especially since these pseudo-scientific claims are usually complete garbage.

In case you’re interested, here’s the letter the FDA sent to Lancome’s president last week.

 What are your thoughts on this issue?

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How do you overcome writer’s block?

I’ve put off writing this post for a while, but I just can’t think of anything else to say except that I’m stuck. Lately I’ve been completely unable to get excited about beauty products, and despite lots of good intentions to sit down and write posts, it never seems to happen.

Part of this I attribute to moving out on my own and having less disposable income, however I think it has more to do with finding my place and unique voice in the beauty blogosphere. Sometimes it feels like everything has already been said or done elsewhere, so what’s the point?

I know this sounds like a whine so far, but really I’m writing this in the hope that some of you have experienced this and can offer advice or encouragement! I need to get my groove back.

Until I figure out how to get over this hill, expect some photo-only or photo-heavy posts.

And please, feel free to share any words of wisdom you may have in the comments!

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Extras/Makeup Artists for the next Hunger Games movie!

be an extra in the hunger games

Saw this online over the weekend and thought some of you might be interested. If you’re in the Atlanta area (or willing to travel), Catching Fire will be filming here next month and they’re looking for extras and people with “some hair and makeup experience”.

Click here for full details

I can’t be sure that this is 100% legit, but CL Casting appears to be a well known agency. If you submit your info and hear anything back, please leave a comment!

Note: The link says the name of the movie is The Idiom – this is thought to be a working title for Catching Fire. If you look at the character descriptions it seems very likely!

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New Hair Cut!

You may have noticed in recent photos that my hair was getting a little, well, crazy. It’s been far too long since I’ve had a hair cut, partially because I’ve been busy and partially because my favorite hairstylist moved, so this week I bit the bullet and tried a new stylist in my area.

I think she did pretty well! I gave her this photo of Emma Stone for reference, but mentioned that I didn’t want the bangs styled quite the same way because I have stubborn cowlicks that don’t like to be styled.

I was really pleased with the way she thinned my hair out with layering instead of chopping into it and texturizing, which is what my last new stylist did. Hopefully it will be a lot easier to manage!

In case anyone is in the Atlanta area, definitely go see Kennedy at Van Michael Salon in Norcross. She’s a bit pricey ($65), but I’ve had enough bad hair cuts to justify paying that much for a good one :)

How are you changing your hairstyle for the summer?

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Updated Makeup Storage – taking suggestions!

When I lived with my parents, 99% of my makeup lived in an IKEA Alex drawer unit. It was beautiful, but I decided to leave it in my old closet because I knew it would stick out like a sore thumb next to my all-white living room furniture. In my infinite wisdom (sarcasm), I instead chose to take a Sterilite drawer unit I used for accessories and repurpose it for my makeup collection. It’s not exactly the most attractive thing in the world:

Makeup Storage

I had every intention of replacing it with something nicer once I’d moved, but here we are months later and it’s still sitting next to my desk. I just haven’t found something that’s to my taste and within budget.

I did a little reorganization this week in honor of a new nail polish rack and I thought I’d share the current state of my makeup storage. I hope it gives you guys some inspiration and that maybe you can give me some inspiration of my own! I could use ideas.

As you can see above, my makeup brushes live on top of the unit in an acrylic container with 4 compartments. Next to that is my spot cleaner for brushes and the body lotion I use frequently. Speaking of frequent, I want to note that I keep my everyday makeup in a separate cosmetics bag and rotate out the products every week or two. This works best for me since I pack up often to visit my boyfriend.

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MAC Rant & Ramble

I’ve reached a point that many beauty bloggers before me have reached – I’ve had it with limited edition MAC collections. This was brought on by my realization that after a week of use, I really don’t like the MAC Hey Sailor items I bought. At all.

My beauty budget is limited, and it annoys me to no end when I’ve bought products that I don’t want to keep using. Usually I can prevent this by testing products in person or at least reading online reviews. But I can’t test limited edition MAC products or read reviews because the products sell out so quickly that you need to buy them as soon as they come online if you want a chance.

More importantly, the quality of the limited edition products is often lacking. I don’t know whether there is a rush to bring out new colors and formulations, but sometimes it doesn’t seem like they’ve been tested very well. For instance, the Big Bounce eyeshadow formula from last year was a disaster that never should have left the lab.

Both the cheek powders I bought from Hey Sailor are chalky and barely show up on my face. I feel terrible when I rush a review so I can be “first on the scene” and then discover that the product isn’t as great as it first appears. It makes me feel like I’ve failed you. So I’m just not going to do it anymore. I’m going to take as long as it takes to test something properly and then give it a solid review so that you don’t end up wasting your money either.

This isn’t to say that MAC doesn’t make great products. I think many of their staple products (eyeshadow, lipstick,  paint pot) are amazing and I will continue to buy and use them. I don’t hate MAC as a company, I just think they need to realize that the average customer (even a beauty lover) can’t keep up with 3-5 collections per month.

So from now on, I’m going to count on the bloggers and youtubers who get limited edition MAC products for free (or have an advertising budget that allows them to buy whole collections) for the early reviews so that I can spend my pennies more wisely. I’d rather miss out on something “amazing” than waste another fifty bucks.

Thoughts?

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Bits & Pieces

credit: www.brswvacations.com

Hi everyone! I’m away on a much-needed vacation so I probably won’t be posting this week. Here are the more exciting bits of beauty news that landed in my inbox and a few comments on products I’ve been trying out.

* Beauty.com is having a friends & family sale event! Click here to get 20% off your entire order (ends 5/18)

* Bobbi Brown has some nice GWP offers going on right now:

  • Free Treatment Lip Shine in Moonlight Rose with $65+ order and code ROSE12 (ends 7/31/12)
  • Free Treatment Lip Shine in Sunset Bronze with $65+ order and code SUNSET12 (ends 7/31/12)

* MAC Hey Sailor is coming out soon and I hope to have some product reviews up next week :)

* I’m testing out Aveeno Natural Protection Sunblock SPF 30 and so far it’s been wonderful apart from a sour smell when you first apply. On the other hand, I’ve had no unpleasant skin reactions and it feels light for a physical sunscreen. More details soon!

* Eucerin Calming Creme is probably the best body lotion I’ve ever used.

* I’m amazed that so many people are out tanning when we know so much about the dangers of sun exposure! There is some seriously leathery skin out on that beach.

 

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