November Lip Challenge – Week 4 & December Mini Lip Challenge — Week 1

Life has been crazy busy with the end of my school semester, various work obligations, the holidays and of course, my personal life.  Because I have fallen behind on sharing the progress of my lip challenges, I have decided to combine the last week of my November Lip Challenge with the first week of my December Mini Lip Challenge (I participated in #7lippies7days on instagram).  Get ready for a serious lip diary!

Monday, November 23, 2015

I woke up this morning and knew I needed to wear something bright.  I remembered picking up Mac Pickled Plum recently and decided to put it on.  I always think that’s a silly name for this color.  Colors with “plum” in the name should be purple shades, not pink.  I also tried out my new T3 Single Pass Flat Iron, thoughts?

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Last year, I was discussing my love of red lipstick with a friend of mine.  She told me her holy grail is Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, Dragon Girl (she also told me that this is the red Taylor Swift swears by).  The combination of red lipstick and Taylor Swift was too much for me to avoid.  Later that day, I went to Sephora and picked it up.  For some reason this color has never looked the same on me twice, and often looks extremely pink.  Luckily I love it either way.  FYI, this is by far the reddest this color has ever looked on me.

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

I haven’t left my house in days, but needed to run some errands. I wasn’t interested in putting on any makeup, but at the last minute decided to apply some lipstick.  I was really excited to receive some Nars Velvet Matte lip pencils from Sephora for my birthday, but always forget about them.  I decided today was the perfect day to put on Cruella!

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Monday, November 30, 2015

i can’t believe today is the last day of November.  I have decided to participate in an additional lip challenge this week, the #7lippies7days ,so I am double counting this picture.  The first prompt for the 7 Lippies challenge is “nude”.  I actually don’t have any nudes, and this is the closest I get: Nars Rikugien Satin Lip Pencil.  Rikugien was the second part of the Sephora birthday gift and I actually like it much more than I thought I would!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Today’s #7lippies7days prompt was “orange”.  While I love the color orange, I do not love wearing orange makeup.  After scouring my lip drawer I came across “Barbecue” from Mac’s Toledo collection and thought it was the perfect choice.  I don’t know why this collection wasn’t more popular, I love a lot of the colors. 

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Today’s prompt, “pink”, was a no brainer for me.  I have been looking for an excuse to pull out Mac’s Girl About Town lipstick and lipglass.  I have a serious soft spot for bright pinks, and although it may not be the most seasonably appropriate color, it is truly one of my favorites. 

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

I love berry lips so I was thrilled with today’s “berry/purple” prompt.  I went back and forth between a few colors before landing on Too Faced Melted Berry.  This was one of my first liquid lipsticks and I think the color is gorgeous.  I had a bit of a feathering issue today, which had never happened before, but I still love how it looked!

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Friday, December 4, 2015

As you can imagine, I couldn’t wait for today’s prompt: “red”.  Obviously, red lipsticks are my true love and I had a tough choice on my hands.  Luckily, I had just received a new one the day before, and I couldn’t wait to try it out: Mary Kay’s True Dimensions Lipstick in Firecracker.  This is the first time I have worn any Mary Kay lipsticks.  I loved the color, it was a great shade and not one I have.  The finish is pretty shiny, which I like, but because of it’s soft texture, it does spread a little bit.  The best part about this lipstick is just how moisturizing it is.  I love lipsticks that also make my lips feel great. 

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

I had been thinking about this prompt all week “gloss”.  I really don’t like to wear glosses on their own, plus I knew I had some holiday infused festivities planned for today, so I didn’t know what to wear.  In the end I decided to layer Mac Tenor Voice lipstick and lipglass.  I know I say this a  lot, but this really is one of my favorite colors.  Anytime I want a real standout lip, this is what I go with.  Additionally, it is a perfect holiday red!  I sort of broke the rules, but oh well, I’m a rebel.

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This completes the November Lip Challenge and transitions me into my December Mini Lip Challenge where I will wear different shades each day for the first few weeks of the month!  Follow my challenge on my Instagram page @Jessicasgoneviral.

Holiday Gift Guide 2015 – Part 2

My previous gift guide (click here if you missed it) included the perfect gifts for all of the hair, skincare and makeup enthusiasts in your life, but what about everyone else? Below are my top ten gift ideas that (almost) anyone would love to receive!

  1. Hunter Boot Socks — I love my Hunter boots, but what i love even more are the socks that you can buy to wear with them. They are made specifically to wear with your boots, fit comfortably inside and keep your feet perfectly toasty! They come in a variety of colors and styles. I love pairing my cream sweater socks with my red boots!Hunter Socks
  1. Lulu Guinness Umbrella — This is one of those items that I never wanted to purchase for myself, but once I finally did I loved it. It is adorable, easily fits two people and doesn’t turn inside out when it’s windy. These umbrellas are such conversation pieces, people always ask where I found it and how they can get their hands on one! If you don’t find one you like on their website, head to Amazon and Ebay for even more choices!lulu guiness
  1. Ugg Slippers — I was slow to jump on the Ugg slipper bandwagon. There were two main reasons for this: 1. As their name implies, they are ugly and 2. I really like slippers that cover my ankle (due to various ankle injuries, I am basically a robot and have various bits of metal in there that don’t respond well to the cold). I finally gave in and purchased some this Fall and realized what an idiot I was, these things are incredibly comfortable and super warm. There so many styles, there is certainly a pair for everyone on your list! ugg slippers
  1. Starbucks Tumblers/Mugs — Earlier this fall, I became obsessed with the new Starbucks Dot Collection tumblers. I rarely drink hot coffee, and somehow ended up with 5 tumblers and a coffee cup. They are super cute and selling out fast. dot collection
  1. Novelty Flash Drive — I am a firm believer in making even the most boring items (i.e. flash drives) exciting. Last year I needed a new flash drive for school, so while avoiding some homework I had to finish I decided to do some online shopping. It was at this time that I came across a USB that looked like a piece of sushi. I obviously had to have it. If sushi isn’t your thing, Amazon and Ebay have tons of options more your style! Flash
  1. Hulu Subscription — If you read my Thanksgiving post (if you didn’t, click here), you know that I am thankful for Hulu. Let’s be honest, Hulu is Netflix’s redheaded step child, but it is awesome. With Hulu, you are able to catch up, commercial free, on current seasons of your favorite shows. It’s one of those gifts that you can totally live without, but why would you want to? Hulu-Plus
  1. Touchscreen Gloves — One of my favorite Winter fashion accessories are gloves. For some reason, they make me feel as though I am in a snowy wonderland, rather than Texas. Like most people, I have a smart phone which makes gloves a burden. Last year I finally purchased some tech gloves, which allow you to use your phone while also keeping your hands warm! These are a must for anyone with smart phone!touchscreen-gloves-91-624x624
  1. Cashmere Throw — My mom is an incredible gift giver (and an even better stocking stuffer). Many years ago, she saw on the Today show that cashmere blankets are an incredible gift for the travelers in your life, so she purchased some for our family members. The Today Show was right, they do make fantastic presents and wayfair.com has a bunch on sale right now! cashmere
  1. Kendra Scott Earrings — Much like the Ugg slippers, I was slow to jump on the Kendra Scott bandwagon. The main reason was that I didn’t want to have accessories that everyone else had, but I have found some seriously cute items that not many other people have. My current faves are these ear cuffs, which come in multiple colors! caralyn-earring-gold-jewel
  1. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling — I have a not so secret obsession with Mindy Kaling. Not only is The Mindy Project one of my favorite shows, I loved her last book (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?) and couldn’t wait for her latest to be released. As expected, I loved it. Personally, I purchased the audiobook and listened while driving to and from work and school. This book actually made me look forward to my commute, rather than dread it like most days! mindy-kaling-why-not-me

That completes my 2015 Gift Guide. Stay tuned for my personal wish list. Happy Holidays (shopping)!

Holiday Gift Guide 2015 — Part 1

I am a total sucker for holiday lists. As soon as they start popping up all over my social media accounts, I excitedly click through them discovering items that I never knew I couldn’t live without. This year I am creating my own list for all of the beauty loving, techie, fashionistas in your life! These are my very favorite products that make me happy and make me, “me!” I am starting off with my favorite beauty and skincare products, stay tuned for part two!

For the makeup enthusiast in your life

I haven’t been wearing makeup that long (roughly a year and a half), but in that time I have researched, tested and reviewed countless brushes, palettes and products. Below are a list of my very favorite products that any makeup lover would love to add to their collection.

  • Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush. I am absolutely obsessed with this brush. If I could take only one face brush to a deserted island I would quickly pack this one away. It smooths out my cc creams and foundations with such ease and smoothness. I haven’t found another brush that remotely rivals this one!

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  • French Kisses Melted — $25 Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love Too Faced Melted Lipsticks. The colors! The shine! The length of wear! I love them. Too Faced has released this set 4 of minis which is the perfect way to try them out.

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  • Butter London RSVP Set — $29. Nail polish is my first love, and Butter London has always been one of my favorite brands. This spring they released a new 10x Shine formula and it is fantastic. Polish stays shockingly shiny (and stays put) for days and days. This set includes minis of 4 classic shades.

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  • Urban Decay Naked Palettes — $29 – $54. I love the UD Naked collection. I have every full size palette, basic palette, even Naked on The Run. My personal favorite is Naked 2, but everyone has a strong affinity to a specific palette based on their skin tones and preferences. If you aren’t sure which one to grab, go for the original. It’s a classic!

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  • Sigma Basic Eyes Kit — $77. I know many people rave about Mac brushes, but personally, I prefer Sigma. I have slowly acquired most of their eye brushes, and this set includes all of my faves. This set includes 7 brushes that will help you achieve all of your favorite eye looks!

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  • Benjabelle Daisy Brush Tree — $19.99. This is one of those items that you don’t know you need until you have one, and can’t believe you lived so long without it! Cleaning your brushes is one of the downfalls of loving makeup so much and it is important to dry your brushes upside down so that you can make them last. This stand fits brushes of various shapes and sizes and removes wasting time trying to find ways to keep your brushes upside down!

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For the hair/skincare enthusiast

  • Clarisonic — $99+. When people ask me about improving the skin, the first thing I ask is if they have a Clarisonic brush. For me, it was the most essential part of my skincare routine. Not only does it get my face incredibly clean, it also exfoliates! There are always promotions for these brushes during the holidays, so snatch one up!

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  • Aztec Clay Mask — $9. This is a little set that I have started putting together for gifts. It is no secret that I love face masks, but my absolute favorite is the Aztec clay mask. I mix a little with some Braggs apple cider vinegar and wait for the pulsating to begin. When I take it off, my skin is the softer than it has ever been. For the holidays I would purchase the duo and put a pretty bow on it!

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  • The Face Shop Living Nature Face Masks (Set of 15) — $16. With the increased awareness of Korean Skincare routines, paper face masks have become extremely popular. I have tried multiple brands and my favorite remains The Face Shop. Each mask is soaked in natural essences, smell incredible and soak nicely into my skin. One of my complaints with face masks is how they slip around, so I use a mask cover ($3.50)to keep it in place!

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  • Boar Bristle Brush — $12. Boar bristle brushes are an essential component of my weekly hair routine. They help diminish my natural frizz while also massaging my scalp (to reduce dryness). Everyone should have one!

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  • Silk Pilowcases — $10 each. For years I heard about the benefits of sleeping on silk pillowcases. They reduce wrinkles and keep your blowouts from getting out of control while you sleep! This summer I finally purchased some and my hair has never looked better!

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This completes my beauty and skin care gift giving guide! Stay tuned for my favorite gifts for all the fashionistas in your life.

November Lip Challenge – Week 3

This week I completed the third week of my November Lip Challenge (if you missed week one and two of the challenge, just click here and here)! As hard as it’s getting to choose new colors each day, it’s shocking how many favorites I haven’t worn yet!

Monday, November 16, 2015

I woke up this morning exhausted, freezing and with no lippie inspiration. At the last minute I decided to put on one of my favorite summer collaborations. I put on Mac’s Steam Heat lipstick with Hot/Cold lipglass from this summer’s Wash and Dry Collection. Each time I wear these colors I remember that I love the packaging more than the actual lip color.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

 Dallas had crazy weather in the middle of the night so I have been up since 3:45 this morning waiting out tornado warnings and never got back to sleep. While not my most overall polished look, I do feel like a walking Christmas tree between my green plaid cape and my red lips! Today I opted for another Mac LE: Charlotte from the Giambattista Valli collection. When this color was released this summer, I thought the shade of red was way too dark, but now that Fall is (finally) here, this may be my very favorite red right now.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

 It is not uncommon for my friends to invite me lipstick shopping when they are looking for a new color. Usually, these trips end with me purchasing a new color. That’s how I ended up with this beauty. While shopping for the perfect “brick red” for her, I randomly tried on Lancôme Rouge in Love 383N Midnight Crush knowing I don’t have “any” similar shades! I thought it was a pretty color but was especially impressed with how it felt on. Today was the first time I wore it. It’s not a “wow” for me (I just really love bold colors) but it feels amazing and lasted all day!

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Friday, November 20, 2015

 I was busy working on loads of end of semester papers, presentations and projects yesterday so I never left my house, let alone put on any lipstick (this also explains why I look part vampire today). I am back today, and decided that I was not in the mood for my Friday wardrobe (my terrible school spirit shirt) so being the rebel I am I wore real clothes and opted for Tarte’s Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Tulip. Not my fave, but it works!

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That completes the third week of my November Lip Challenge. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I could easily continue this challenge into next month. Follow my challenge daily on my Instagram: @Jessicasgoneviral and share your own looks with the hashtag: #NovemberLipChallenge

November Lip Challenge — Week 2

November Lip Challenge — Week 2

I can’t believe I have already completed the second week of my November Lip Challenge (if you missed week one of the challenge, just click here)!  I will admit it is getting harder for me to pick out my daily lip look.  I am definitely taking more time picking out my outfits so I can make sure I have an unused color to coordinate with.  This week I used a variety of bolds and neutrals, a few I forgot I even had!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

This summer I was browsing in Nordstrom’s beauty department and a salesperson from Smashbox offered to give me a makeover.  I was killing time so decided to let her.  I’m not a huge fan of their products (aside from their primers) but loved the lip stain she used on me, Beet  It.  I love this color on me, and am always surprised by just how much I love it.  It has fantastic staying power but tends to feather on me, even if I use a reverse liner. 

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I was really in the mood for a soft look this morning so I didn’t think twice about my lip choice!  I combined Mac’s Creme de la Femme lipstick with Nymphette lipglass.  I discovered this look last year when I had my makeup done before the Jay Z and Beyoncé On The Run tour and it has remained part of my regular rotation ever since.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I love wearing bold lips with black dresses.  I realized that I haven’t really worn any berry lip colors this fall so I decided to pull one out.  In February, Make Up For Ever released a limited edition lip set to coincide with the release of the 50 Shades of Grey movie.  The set included a lip liner, lip stain, clear gloss and berry colored gloss.  For this look I used the liner, stain and clear gloss.  FYI, this product has a funny “taste” to it.  I don’t typically taste my lip products but it is kind of hard to miss sometimes!

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Earlier this year I became fixated on finding the right “neutral pink.”  I spent way more time than I am proud to admit looking at various swatches and adding them to my wish list.  Quickly I moved on to another color obsession but when Mac announced their Some Enchanted Eve holiday collection, I instantly recognized Please Me from my wish list.  I obviously picked it up and realized I needed a lip liner to go with it so I also grabbed Rosy Rim.  I still don’t think this is the right color for me, but it’ll do until I find it!

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Friday, November 13, 2015

I don’t know how I made it ten days into this challenge without wearing my favorite lip color: Too Faced Melted Ruby.  Those of you who read my very first blog know that this is where my love of makeup started.  I love this color and I have a soft spot for it.  It wears beautifully as long as I wear a lip primer and reverse liner!

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That completes the second week of my November Lip Challenge.  My container of used products is filling up and there are some I will definitely miss during the next few weeks.  Follow my challenge daily on my Instagram: @Jessicasgoneviral and share your own looks with the hashtag: #NovemberLipChallenge

Helluva Heel

I have always had a soft spot for super high heels. Unfortunately, bad feet and terrible balance make wearing heels a bad idea but that doesn’t stop me from wearing unsensible shoes most weekends. In order to survive a big night out, I have developed a routine (shocking I know) to prepare both my shoes and my feet!

Prepare your shoes

 I have been cursed with a wide foot, which makes most heels feel incredibly tight and uncomfortable. When I know I am going to have a long night on my feet ahead of me I prep my shoes by stretching them out a bit. To do so, I put on some thick socks and wear the shoes for about thirty minutes. Typically I do this before I’m really getting ready because I like to see if there are any red spots on my feet so I can prep my feet for the tightest spots. You can walk around in your socks and heels or just kick back and watch a show (which is what I like to do do)!

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Prepare your feet

 About a year ago I was reading somewhere that applying liquid bandage to your feet will prevent blisters when you wear new shoes. I kind of laughed it off but decided to try it out, and it really does work. 30 minutes before I leave, I spread the concoction on the back bone of my foot, the bones along the front sides of each foot, across the back of my toes and then at the knuckle of my toes. If I notice a red spot after stretching my shoes, I apply an extra coat to that spot. I apply a final coat right before I put my shoes on for the night.

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These simple tricks have helped me go one year blister free!  Follow my Instagram @Jessicasgoneviral for additional tips and tricks!

Weekly Blowout Routine

It has been a loooong time since I have blogged but between work, school, family and friends something had to give!  Luckily I am almost back on a routine (plus I have a detailed outline for a manuscript I’m writing due on Thursday and I am procrastinating) so I am back.  To kick off this homecoming I am going to fulfill a request I received this summer from my friend Amanda…my hair care routine.

When I was young I hated my hair with a passion.  It was big and frizzy and I never knew what to do with it so it went in a ponytail until my mom would bribe me to cut it.  Then I was really stuck with some helmet hair!  I will always remember coming home from school during my sophomore year in high school and sitting down with my mom to watch an episode of Oprah.  She was giving hair makeovers and one guest was sharing her horror story which involved someone using thinning shears on her hair.  She warned people to run away if a hairdresser ever pulled them out around you.  Her warning had the opposite effect on me; I ran towards them and never looked back.  My current (and phenomenal) hair dresser always jokes that I lose more hair in a thinning than most do in a cut.

Now that I am older and have a better idea about how to handle my hair I love it!  I am blessed with the fact that I only need to wash it once a week, which is great because I hate blow drying it.  Like most things in my life, my hair routine* is fairly consistent.  Luckily most people don’t even realize that I style my hair in specific ways on specific days (until now).

Day 1 — Sunday

Sunday’s are reserved for hair washing.  Sometimes this switches to Saturday’s and once or twice a month I go to Dry Bar, but typically Sunday is the day.  Because I have purple hair right now, some products and procedures are specific to maintaining my color.

  1. Thorough clean.  This week I used Redken’s hair cleansing cream shampoo to really cleanse my hair of product build up.
  2. Vivid cleanse.  I use Pravana Choromosilk color protecting shampoo and conditioner to maintain my purple.
  3. Violet cleanse.  Violet shampoos are great to use if you are blonde and want to keep brassy tones out of your color.  I have tried a few but always go back to Joico Color Endure Violet.
  4. Hair mask.  To keep my hair soft I use Kerastase Nutritive Masque.  I was wanting to add a masque to my routine and chose this particular mask because it is made for thick/coarse hair.  It’s fantastic and leaves my unruly hair soft and shiny.
  5. I thought the purple in my hair hair needed a little boost this week so I decided to apply Overtone’s Go Deep Vibrant Purple Weekly treatment.  I’ll be doing a full review of the product at a later date.

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With freshly cleansed and colored hair, the drying process begins.  I begin my pulling out the three products I use:

  1. It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Treatment
  2. Kenra Blow Dry Spray 
  3. Tressemme Curl Activator

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I begin by spraying my hair evenly with Its a 10.  I brush through it with my Wet Brush.  I then spray the Kenra and Tressemme and brush through again.  I part my hair into three sections (right, left and bottom) with simple clips.  Beginning with the bottom portion of my hair I rough dry using my T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i (I opted for this version specifically because my hair hair is so thick).  Next I bring down the right side to rough dry, the left side and then use my Olivia Garden finger brush to bring my hair to a complete dry.  That’s all I do on Sunday’s.  I like to get a good sleep on a silk pillowcase before styling the next morning.

Day 2 — Monday

I am my most energetic on Monday mornings which works out well because when I wake up Monday, my hair needs some work!  I typically wear my hair straight at the beginning of the week so before I start my eye makeup, I plug in my Instyler and spray my hair with Tresseme Heat Tamer Spray.  Once my makeup is done and my tool is warmed up I part my hair into three sections, just like when I blow dry.  Taking 1-1.5 inch sections, I slowly glide my hair through the Instyler.  The Instlyer can be used in various ways, but I like to use it to straighten my hair and gently curl under the ends.  After my hair is complete, I run a single squirt of BedHead After Party through my hair.

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To prepare my hair for bed I use a Spornette’s boars’ hair brush and brush for about two minutes (roughly 65 strokes).  I then throw my hair into a high ponytail on the very top of my head (think Pebbles Flinstone) with a 1990s throwback scrunchie.

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Day 3 — Tuesday

Tuesday morning looks a lot like Monday.  I pull my hair down, brush through it and go over kinky pieces with my Instyler.  Once I do that, I am out the door!

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Typically my hair is still in good shape Tuesday night, so I brush with my boars’ hair brush and just throw it back up for bed with my trusty scrunchie.

Day 4 — Wednesday

Wednesday mornings are rough!  I am groggy and my straight hair is boring me.  Often this leads to an undo of sorts.  Today I decided to include a small fishtail braid into my look.  Using my rat tail comb, I section of a large chunk of hair near my face and rub some Redken Braid Aid into the piece.  (While this product isn’t essential, it really helps me keep fly aways in place).  I pinned it back with my mega bobby pins and put my hair back with a clear elastic (Blax are fantastic if you have thick hair).

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Usually by Wednesday night, my hair is starting to show signs of age.  I applied Living Proof Night Cap Overnight Perfecter to bring the shine back and Redken’s Pillow Proof dry shampoo to add some volume and eliminate any traces of oil.  After letting everything absorb I throw my hair up with my scrunchie and go to bed.

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Day 5 — Thursday

I have class on Thursday nights so I tend to wake up a little bit early and refresh my look so I look nice in class (it’s a mental game I play with myself so that I don’t dread going quite as much).  I love my hair curled, and have a ton of curling irons, but my favorite remains the T3 SinglePass Whirl Conical Curling Wand.  Before I start my eye makeup, I spray my hair with Chi’s texture spray, plug in the wand and by the time I am ready, it is all warmed up.  Because of the density of my hair, I usually warm it to about 430 degrees.  I start by dividing my hair into three sections (right, left and bottom).  Starting with the bottom section I curl 1-1 ½ inch sections in alternating directions, starting away from my face.  Once each section is finished I apply Chi’s firm hold hairspray.  I leave the curls to cool and then release them when I’m ready to leave for work.

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By Thursday night, my scalp begins to show signs dryness so I apply tea tree oil to my finger tips and massage into my hair.  Once complete, I put my hair up and go to sleep.

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Day 6 — Friday

My hair holds a curl pretty well so on Friday’s I simply spray my hair with TIGI Spoil Me Restyler and re-curl a few pieces of hair.  I add some hair spray and I am good to go.  Because of some rainstorms in Dallas I planned to spray my hair with Big Sexy Weatherproof Spray but I couldn’t find it and I was in a hurry!

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Friday night was pretty boring.  I knew I was going to have a low key Saturday so I didn’t bother trying to preserve my hair, I simply put it up and went to bed.

Day 7 — Saturday

It was raining Saturday and I didn’t have much going on.  For a quick and simple style I did a side fishtail braid and called it a day!

This is a typical week for my hair.  Of course, it isn’t always exactly like this, but it’s usually pretty close.  One final tip: I always sleep on satin pillowcases; not only do they make me feel like I’m sleeping at a fancy hotel, they also prevent frizzy hair (and wrinkles)!

For extra beauty ramblings follow my Instagram @jessicasgoneviral

*I have linked each product for purchase.  Each product mentioned I purchased for myself based solely on word of mouth and intuition.  I have linked each product to an online retailer but do not receive any compensation if you choose to purchase from them.

June Beauty Challenge Week 3

Due to traveling with limited internet access over the past few weeks, I was unable to participate in @bellereneebeauty’s #JuneBeautyChallenge (weeks 1 and 2 are linked in case you missed them).  As the challenge continued, I tried hard to highlight new and different products I use, but it was a real challenge!  I was able to discover my true “holy grail” products!

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@ bellereneebeauty #JuneBeautyChallenge
@ bellereneebeauty #JuneBeautyChallenge

Day 15: Hair Essentials

Confession time: I only wash my hair once a week.  I have crazy thick hair which takes forever to fully dry and I don’t have the time, or patience, to worry about it too often.  In order to keep this mane of mine under control all of these products are extremely necessary!  As with most things in my life, I have a fairly consistent hair care routine which allows me to wear various styles through out the week but still refrain from washing it. 

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Day 16: Pink

Today I realized that I had not shared anything from my first true love: nail polish.  Long before I cared at all about makeup or skin care I had a true infatuation with all things nail polish related.  I wanted to show love for many of my favorite brands by showing off (some of) my pink collection!

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Day 17: Best Sale Purchase

One of my favorite times of year occurs around this time each summer: the Beauty Brands Liter sale!  I tend to go way over board, thinking that I need a shampoo and conditioner for every single hair type, just in case my hair changes during the year.  It is more than a tad insane, considering I only wash my hair once a week.  Confession: these are just the products out of the shower, there are tons in there as well!

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Day 18: Neutral Nail Polish

I have a love hate relationship with neutral polishes.  I adore them when I see them.  I think they are so pretty and clean looking, but I have never found a shade that didn’t make my nails look grimy.  Instead I opt for super dark colors in the fall/winter and bright colors in the spring/summer.  This is as neutral as I get!

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Day 19: Friday Favorites

As a self proclaimed product hoarder, I have an endless supply of “favorites.”  When looking back at previous challenge entries, I realized I hadn’t shared my love of the Urban Decay Naked Palettes!  I have all three of the UD Naked palettes (and both Basic palettes) but Naked 2 and Naked 3 are the eye colors I am constantly reaching for!

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Day 20: Green

I really don’t use many products with bright colors, so I didn’t know how I was going to complete this challenge.  Then I realized that I have tons of pictures wearing various masks and thought that would be fun!  Earlier this year, my favorite little four year old, H, was begging to do a mask with me.  I was really hesitant to let her wear one, because I wasn’t sure any would be safe on her skin, so we decided to make our own mixing together avocado, honey and greek yogurt.  This picture remains one of her very favorites because she thinks we look like Shrek.

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Day 21: Skin Essentials

I am currently completely obsessed with all things related to skin care.  Narrowing down all of the products I use to essentials was a nearly impossible task.  I was traveling at the time of this prompt so I figured that if I had bothered to pack a product up and bring it with me, it must be essential!

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That completes the third week of the #JuneBeautyChallenge!  Stay tuned for week 4: most recent buy, best subscription, products I regret, travel essentials, hard to find products, blue and best exfoliator.

You can keep up with my challenge by following my Instagram: @JessicasGoneViral

*I have linked to the website of each product whenever possible.  In cases where the product is not sold directly from the brand’s website, I linked to Amazon.

Try It Out Tuesday: Rodan + Fields AMP Roller

Some people might say that I am more than slightly obsessed with skincare.  I have spent countless hours reading about various moisturizers, face washes, exfoliants, serums, oils and devices.  During one of these skin care research binges I came across a micro needling roller.  It had fantastic reviews but I couldn’t tell what you did with it.  I quickly went to YouTube (the answer to most of my questions) and found numerous videos of women rolling needles over their faces.  I was quickly scared away and blocked these images from my mind.

As weeks went by, micro needling kept coming up in my reading.  Reviewers swore that their skin had never looked better.  Wrinkles were diminishing.  Their skin was soft.  Pores were disappearing.  I decided to put my fears aside and try one out!

Around this time a friend of mine posted on her Facebook page  about the effects she saw after using the Rodan+Fields* AMP Micro-Exfoliating Roller. It instantly caught my attention so I asked her about it.  Of course I asked the usual “How long have you used it? What effects have you seen?  What does it feel like to rub needles on your face?”  She quickly answered all of my questions, brought it for me to explore in person and assured me that it doesn’t hurt that badly.  Then the sticker shock came, $180!As a preschool teacher, I am on a fairly limited income and don’t typically have that kind of money laying around so I wasn’t jumping at the chance to spend $180 to injure myself.  Of course, it came with a night serum, cleaning tablets, and the assurance that it is dishwasher safe.  Ultimately, I chose to purchase from her for one reason: it is FDA approved.  I decided that if I was going to roll needles all over my face, I wanted to make sure they were the safest needles out there. 

The Product

Rodan+Fields is a skin care line developed by the makers of Proactive.  They have multiple regimens that focus on different skin needs.  You can adopt entire regimens or pick and choose products that fit what you are looking for (this is what I did).  This is the extent of what I know about R+F.  I am not a consultant of theirs but will include the website of the friend I purchased from at the bottom if you have more specific questions.

Rather than buying a complete regiment, I purchased the AMP MD System – 60 day supply.  This system is part of their REDEFINE line which focuses on diminishing the appearance of wrinkles, pores and the loss of firmness.  The AMP system comes with the AMP Micro-Exfoliating Roller, Redefine Night Renewing Serum, and purification tablets (used for cleaning the roller).  They recommend dividing your face into four sections (forehead, right side, left side and chin/neck) and rolling each section 3-10 times, varying directions.

60 Day supply

AMP Roller

Common Reactions

Oh my goodness, that thing looks likes a medieval torture device!

I can’t disagree, it totally does.  The idea alone of rolling needles all over your face seems like something that should be outlawed by the government. 

That’s got to hurt.

I’m not going to lie, the first time you roll it is shocking.  Not so much because it hurts, but because you don’t know what to expect.  When applying moderate pressure it actually doesn’t hurt too badly.  It stings, especially in sensitive areas, but I would never say it hurt. 

Doesn’t it make your face bleed?

I never had this reaction.  I have read that minimal bleeding can occur when you first begin but this (thankfully) was not the case. The only “adverse” reaction was redness and minor itching at first. I turn red if I sneeze, so I certainly expected redness after rolling.

Does it work?

Review

As with many other items I try out, I took pictures before, during and after my trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the product.  These pictures demonstrate the progress made over a 6 week trial using the AMP roller and night serum 4 nights per week.  It’s of note that my skin tends to break out during my cycle, which is evidenced during Week 4.

This was my face on my first day of rolling.
This was my face on my first day of rolling.

Following one week of usage (rolling 4 times), I already noticed a change.  My skin was already starting to even out. The large inset wrinkle on the left side of my forehead (the whole cause of my rolling) was already slowly subsiding.

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Week 4 found me with some stress and hormone related acne.  Although I was experiencing a flare up, the overall texture of my skin has continued  transforming.  This week I began using the entire serum caplet, rather than half. My skin has never felt this soft on a daily basis.

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By Week 6 my acne had mostly cleared up and I was able to see the effectiveness more clearly.  It is no longer looking as dull as it did a few weeks ago.  The soft, smooth texture of my face has become a permanent fixture. 

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Final Thoughts

Overall I love this product.  Possibly even more than the roller itself, I love the serum that it came with.  I wasn’t planning on maintaining my subscription but I can’t imagine finding another serum I love more (sorry Philosophy). Although I don’t have many wrinkles, I will definitely continue using this product.  The exercise of injuring your face with the needles promotes new collagen growth, preventing the formation of wrinkles.  Who doesn’t want that?

 Unfortunately what is not evident in pictures is the feel of my skin.  It has really softened my face.  Additionally, a lot of the below the surface bumps that have plagued me since my teens are starting to vanish.

Through this process I began noticing sun spots on the sides of my face.  A childhood spent in the California sun has definitely taken a toll on my skin.  Because of this,I have decided to try another R+F product, the Dual Active Brightening Complex from the REVERSE line.  Results to be continued…

*I am not now, ever been, or plan to be affiliated with Rodan + Fields.  I tried their product, and am sharing the results, out of my own personal interest and love of talking about my experiences.

**If you have any questions about any of the other R+F products, I am not the person to talk to; instead, talk to Clea: https://cmattingly.myrandf.com/Shop

June Beauty Challenge – Week 2

I had another fun week participating in the @bellereneebeauty #JuneBeautyChallenge on Instagram (the complete challenge is shown below). While last week (linked here if you missed it), I was able to instantly come up with ways to participate, this week’s tasks were a little more thought provoking for me.  Here are all of my favorite products (with links to purchase*) from week 2!

@ bellereneebeauty #JuneBeautyChallenge
@ bellereneebeauty #JuneBeautyChallenge

Day 8: Mani Monday

Nail polish was my first true love, so I have a polish collection that rivals most high-end nail salons.  I have recently discovered, and fallen in love with, Butter London’s new Patent Shine 10x line.  Seriously, these polishes are soooo shiny.  Butter London claims that you do not need a base or top coat with this polish and it will stay shiny for 10 days, promote nail growth and health, all while giving the cushioned look of a salon gel manicure.  I have yet to try the polish without base and top coats, but the combination of Orly Bonder Base Coat and Dior Gel Top Coat (my all time favorite top coat) I am able to rock a pristine manicure for well over a week.  This week I am wearing one of my new favorite summer colors, Jolly Good!

Day 8 - Mani

Day 9: Repurchased Products

I am admittedly a product junkie. Very few things make me as happy as walking into my favorite beauty stores and finding a new product to try out.  With that being said, I am also extremely loyal to favorite brands and products.  Once I find items that transform my skin, nails, or makeup looks I repurchase and repurchase.  For this challenge, I chose 8 items that I currently have backups of (and in some cases, backups for my backups). 

IT Cosmetics You’re Skin but Better CC+ in Light.  This is the best CC cream you can imagine.  It is light with great coverage and makes my skin look immaculate! 

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness.  This was a complete impulse purchase.  I was at Ulta one day and one of the sales ladies asked if I wanted to have my world rocked.  Of course I said yes, who doesn’t want their world rocked on a random Thursday afternoon? I let her apply this product to my red cheeks and nose and couldn’t believe the difference it made.  I have never been without it since.  This is not a product I use every day but it is perfect when I want a more polished look!

Trader Joes Spa Tea Tree Oil.  Tea tree oil has so many fantastic uses but I use it to maintain my weekly blow outs.  I apply it 4 nights a week to the tips of my fingers and massage it into my scalp.  This curbs the effects of dry scalp, which is a huge problem of mine.

Maybelline Lash Stiletto Mascara. Back when my makeup routine consisted of nothing but mascara and lipgloss, this was my go to mascara.  Now that I have discovered all sorts of new products, I still keep this mascara around.  I often use it as a bottom layer mascara to lengthen my lashes before adding a higher end, volumizing mascara.

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes.  Another fantastic mascara that I keep on hand.  The combination of this mascara and my Lash Stiletto provides my favorite lash look.  With a primer or on it’s own, Lights Camera Lashes is amazing and my lashes love it!

Tarte Maracuja Oil.  When I first began exploring skin care, I watched a YouTube blogger named Miss Jen Fabulous who raved about this product.  To be honest, I had no idea what she was talking about and the notion of putting oil on my face totally freaked me out.  I slowly began reading more and more about it and when it went on sale last September as a part of Ulta’s 21 days of Beauty, I picked it up and it quickly became an integral part of my skin care routine.

Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil.  If I had to choose one product to bring with me to a deserted island, this would be it!  I have been a Julep Maven for a few years and received this in one of my monthly boxes.  Of course at the time I didn’t even wash my face so I had absolutely no use for this product and placed it in a basket beneath my sink.  Then one day while watching a KellyLovesBeauty1 YouTube video, she started talking about the benefits of using cleansing oils in removing makeup (something I had just begun wearing) during your nightly routine.  I quickly went and found this item and haven’t stopped using it since!

Julep Blank Canvas.  Like Bare Face, I received this in a monthly box, had no use for it and put it in a basket of unused products beneath my sink.  One day last summer, shortly after I began washing my face, I noticed how shiny my forehead was.  I couldn’t decide if this was due to the Texas heat or because washing my face had somehow changed my skin.  Either way, I knew I had a problem on my hand.  I began reading about what to do and someone somewhere recommended mattifying primers.  Again, I knew I had some under my sink and the transformation of my summer skin, both with and without makeup, was miraculous!

Day 9 - Repurchased

Day 10: Favorite Colored Liner

Confession time: I hate colored liners.  I don’t wear them on my lips and can’t stand them on my eyes, so when this challenge came about I was stuck.  While I do have a few that I have accumulated over the past year, I don’t have strong feelings for them and didn’t want to give them my stamp of approval.  Instead I chose to share the opposite of a colored liner: a reverse liner!  The clear colored reverse liner I use is by DuWop.  I love this liner.  It’s the perfect shape to give me full protection and does not leave the area around my lips looking waxy.  It excels at preventing bleeding and (when applied 3 times in a row) does not need to be reapplied later in the day. 

Day 10 - Liner

Day 11: Red

Red is my absolute favorite color so the only trouble I would have with this challenge would be deciding how exactly to accomplish it!  Rather than focusing solely on red makeup items, I decided to display an entire red inspired outfit.  At the time of this picture, it had been raining in Dallas for (what felt like) months.  I was rarely seen without my two favorite red accessories, my Lulu Guiness umbrella** and red Hunter Huntress Glossy Rain Boots.  To complete my black and red ensemble I added my favorite red lipstick and lipglass: Viva Glam Rhianna

Note: The photo I posted for the challenge was cropped to fit the “Instagram Square.”  I am sharing the full photo.

Day 11 - Red

Day 12: All Glammed Up

Most makeup lovers probably found this to be one of our easiest challenges.  Not me.  While I do love makeup I do not consider myself even remotely glamorous.  I wear fairly basic looks topped off with bright lips.  For this task, I went through some pictures and chose a selfie that I took at the Academy of Country Music Awards in April.  I loved my look that night!  My hair was done at The Hair Bar and I had my makeup done at Mac.  I showed my makeup artist my dress and a basic idea for my eyes (a smokey ombre look) and she took it to the next level! 

Note: the lighting of this picture is a little funky due to the lights at the awards show, the photo is not filtered!

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Day 13: What’s in my Shower

For this photo I decided to show the full size products of what is in my shower.  My actual shower contains dozens of travel size items for two reasons: I have limited space and I like to alternate products (especially shampoos regularly).  Here is a sample of what’s in my shower:

Clarisonic Plus.  When I bought my first Clarisonic, it took me nearly three weeks to warm up to it.  Once I did it became the focal point of my skin care routine.  I quickly began coveting the body brush function.  Around Christmas, the Clarisonic Plus was on special at Ulta (and 5X points!) so I snatched it up.  My skin has never felt cleaner or smoother.

Trader Joe’s Lavender Salt Scrub.  Although the Clarisonic Plus came with a body polish, I already had this scrub in my shower.  The combination of this sweet smelling scrub with my Clarisonic Plus is amazing!

Joico Color Endure Violet Sulfate-Free Shampoo.  As I have mentioned in previous blog entries, I only wash my hair once a week.  This is one of the few products I use EVERY wash because it keeps all of the brassy tones out of my highlighted blonde hair!

Redken Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo.  It takes numerous products to maintain a blow out for a week so product build up is fairly common.  My hairdresser recommended using this shampoo to help diminish the buildup and maintaining a shiny, healthy look.  It’s important not to overuse this shampoo or your hair will begin looking dull!

AG Hair Cosmetics Conditioner Deep Reconstructing Treatment.  I typically use this products on the same days as the clarifying shampoo.  While it should be used sparingly, it leaves my hair so soft and healthy!

Redken Smooth Lock Shampoo and Conditioner.  I am a huge fan of Redken products, but this is my favorite of their lines!  It leaves my hair frizz free (always a plus) while also protecting from the various heat tools I use throughout the week.

Day 13 - Shower

Day 14: Best Sun Care

Sun care is always important, but living in Texas, where the sun is always blazing, it is especially imperative.  I take numerous strides to keep my fair complexion safe!

Panama Hat.  I look terrible in hats!  I have a huge head so they rarely fit me right.  I often sport short hair which makes me feel like I look manly when wearing them.  This hat is different.  It’s a little bigger and now that I have longer hair, I don’t feel self conscious about wearing it. 

Ray Ban Purple Mirrored Aviators.  I am obsessed with this line of glasses.  I own numerous pairs and they make any outfit pop.  When they released mirrored aviators in purple, I quickly snatched them up.

ColoreScience Sunforgettable – SPF 50.  This stuff is amazing!  A lady I work with mentioned that her dermatologist recommended it and asked if I had heard of it.  I hadn’t but began reading about it and couldn’t wait to try it.  It is a mineral sunscreen that comes inside an application brush.  You apply it directly to your face and you are good to go.  My favorite part of this product is that it doesn’t leave me greasy looking, which is a huge issue in the summer.

Kiehls Lip Balm – SPF 15.  Lip protection is often forgotten when considering sun safety.  I make sure I always have a lip balm with SPF and in the summer this is my favorite.  Not only does it protect my lips from the sun rays, it is also super moisturizing. 

Ocean Potion Cool Dry Touch – SPF 50.  Surprisingly enough, I don’t have strong opinions about sunscreen brands (I’m sure that will change).  I like a lot of Ocean Potion products but what I specifically like about this one is that it applies cool (always a bonus in Texas) and does not leave my skin greasy, which I hate!

Day 14 - Sun

That concludes this week’s challenge.  Stay tuned for next week when I will reveal my hair essentials, pink, best sale purchase, neutral nail polish, Friday favorites, green, and skin essentials (my favorite!).

*I have linked to the website of each product whenever possible.  In cases where the product is not sold directly from the brand’s website, I linked to Amazon.