Saturday, November 22, 2014

How to Cut Your Own Hair

So today I did something I've never done - I cut my hair myself. I've done minor trims of split ends before using the twist-and-snip method, but I've never actually cut my own hair any further than that. I've never trusted myself to do it, but lately my hair stylist hasn't been really fulfilling my needs. My stylist is actually the opposite of most stylists - she takes too little off. I liked this a lot at first, since I have fairly long hair, but after a while my dead ends started getting a little out of control, even though I don't style my hair with heat on a regular basis (maybe once or twice a week.) 

I don't have another appointment scheduled for a while, and then I came across a post from one of my favorite bloggers, the Pintester, about cutting her own hair: (see this post here: "I cut my hair and I liked it"). I thought, "Hmmm....if the Pintester can do it, I can do it!" 

I already had hair-cutting scissors from doing my own split ends, so I didn't have to go buy any, and I looked at several videos on YouTube before determining what was the best way to do my hair. My hair isn't all one length - I have three layers. The shortest goes to my shoulders, the second layer is a little longer - down to my collarbones - and the third layer is my longest hair, which was to my mid-back (before I cut it today.) 

I started by flat-ironing my hair so I didn't have to deal with my natural waves. I cut my hair dry, as well, since I had never done this before and I didn't want to take too much off by cutting it wet and then seeing it dry even shorter than I'd realized. Cutting it dry also meant that I could see exactly where the dead hair began and cut it off there, instead of having it disguised by being wet.

I first started by using this method below for a U-shape cut, which is incredibly simple to follow:

She doesn't explain anything, but essentially this is what you do:

  1. Part your hair the way you like. I always part my hair in the middle, since I feel this lends itself to more style options and I can change the part whenever I feel like it. 
  2. Pull your hair forward on each side of your neck, ensuring that it is smooth, and tie it as close to the roots and as tightly as you can.
  3. Simultaneously pull the hair ties down on each side, making sure they are even with one another, until you are at the section of hair you'd like to cut. Using the hair ties as a guide, cut off the dead hair on each side. Make sure you're checking yourself so that your cuts are even.
  4. After this step, I cut vertically into the hair to soften the blunt edges. The video doesn't show this, but I added it in to make the cut look nicer and more professional.
  5. Pull both sides of your hair back behind you in a ponytail at the nape of the neck. I left my front part in and didn't brush it out. 
  6. Pull the hair tie down until you are 2-3 inches from the bottom; pull it around your neck toward you and cut it evenly to make sure you get the remaining dead parts of your hair. Vertical cut to soften the blunt edges.
  7. Part your hair again and pull forward as you did in step 2. Using your fingers, pull your hair forward and cut so that the ends are all even. Vertically snip as before to soften the edges.
If you're happy, you can stop here. I kept going, since this cut for long hair didn't address my dead ends on my other two layers. I then used this video as inspiration for my upper layers:

I sectioned off each layer one at a time (bottom, middle, then top), and specifically used the twist-and-snip she demonstrates in this video to get rid of my split ends (which I have done before and have experience with). I then lightly cut down the twisted 1-inch sections of hair at the bottom to remove about half an inch  of the dead ends. The end results - amazing! All total I removed 1/2" - 1" of hair and my dead ends are all gone. My boyfriend is stunned - he keeps saying what a big difference it has made and how great my hair looks. 

Here are pictures of the front and back (I'm not wearing makeup, so forgive the appearance) - if parts of my hair look uneven, it's because I flipped my hair to my usual part on the left, so the hair fell differently. I also didn't take the back picture, so I had no idea that it hadn't fallen correctly down my back. BUT - when I measure it out, it's totally even across the board. 

I'm so pleased! It was so easy and it saved me $60+ getting it cut at a salon. No more dead ends and it is so soft and silky and super healthy!


Let me know if you guys try this out and if you like it!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

7 Day Green Thickie Challenge Results

Well, sorry that it took me so long to update, but I completed the 7 Day Green Thickie Challenge! Even though I succumbed once and cheated (I had some intense carb cravings and made macaroni'n'cheese, which is my favorite food of all time), I still lost 10 pounds doing this!

I went through all of the classic detox symptoms, as well. I got hives, my throat got sore and swollen, my nose ran, etcetera. But, at the end of it, I felt amazing and I was ten pounds lighter! I didn't get lightheaded from low blood sugar at all (which I get frequently), I had lots of energy, and I felt healthier than I have felt in a long time. Not to mention it was so easy thinking about dinner - usually I forget to defrost dinner, but this time I had the reassurance that I was just going to make a delicious smoothie for dinner. 

The one downside to all of this intense smoothie-making was that I burned out my blender! I had an older KitchenAid blender that I had been given upon originally moving out of my parents' home years ago that finally gave up the ghost. Since I'm a big smoothie person anyway, and considered it an investment in my health, I talked my boyfriend into getting a Vitamix with me. I compared the Vitamix to Blendtec and the Ninja, and after watching many comparison videos (I highly recommend Blending With Henry - he does the best comparisons!), I decided on the Vitamix.

I got the Vitamix 6300, which I absolutely love. It's so quiet (!) and powerful - I love that I can put it on a preset setting and walk away while my smoothies are blending without having to worry about the blender going crazy and spraying smoothie all over my kitchen. Even though the price is chest-clutching, heartburn-inducingly high, it is definitely worth it. I also look at it as an investment in my health - I don't have a gym membership, since I work out at home (I love pilates and my yoga ball), so I consider this to be sort of a one-time purchase equivalent of years of non-purchased gym memberships. :) 

Making my green smoothie for work the next day

I was already thrilled with it, and then I got a coworker of mine hooked on making green smoothies. She showed me the smoothies she made with her Ninja, and it hadn't even blended her avocado! She showed me all of the chunks in her smoothie and, not gonna lie, I was fairly grossed out. Even my old KitchenAid did a better job blending. C'mon, not even avocado? Seriously? That's like the creamiest stuff ever! I'm so glad I went with the Vitamix. 

At any rate, I highly recommend the 7 Day Green Thickie/Smoothie challenge! It's a great way to detox and feel great while doing so. I never felt hungry and, as I said, I lost 10 pounds! Sure, it may have been water weight, but that's still 10 pounds I didn't need to be carrying on my frame, and I haven't put it back on.

Sorry for the update taking longer than usual - I'm in the process of getting a new vehicle (a 2012 Hyundai Elantra Limited - I'm SO EXCITED!), so I've been pretty preoccupied. Anyway, have a great week! Ciao!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

My Favorite Mascaras, 7 Day Green Thickie Challenge, and PopSugar Must Have Box

Isn't my face AMAZING in that still? ;D 

P.S. Sorry about the audio! I'm using a new camera and I guess it's too sensitive.

L'Oreal Voluminous Original, Blackest Black
NYX Doll Eye Mascara, Extreme Black

7 Day Green Thickie Challenge:

PopSugar Must Have Box:

Get $5 off if you want to try it! Use my code: REFER5
Note: I am not getting paid to talk about this - PopSugar never sent this to me and asked me to review, or anything. I saw it somewhere online and thought it was cool, so thought I'd give it a try. It's super fun! I just extended my subscription for 6 months. :)

Hey guys! Gonna be a bit of a longer post today, since I figured I'd go more in-depth in my blog here rather than ramble on in the video (any more than I already did, at least.) 

My favorite mascaras are both affordable, drug store mascaras. They're nothing new, but they are amazing. I think the last 3-4 times I've had to replace my mascara, I've gotten these two. I like to alternate between them day to day (for no particular reason; I'm just weird, I suppose.) My lashes consistently look awesome with both of them, so I'm hooked.

The 7 Day Green Thickie Challenge! Okay, I know the challenge is from back in 2012, but I'm doing it. And I'm not just doing one a day, I'm doing 3 a day. In order to build up to it, I've been having one a day. I've already started detoxing from it, in addition to already losing 4 pounds (!) and eating clean this week. I'll start next week, on Tuesday, after my boyfriend's birthday....because, let's face it, no birthday is going to be complete without a cheat day with brewskis and unhealthy food, AMIRITE? HIGH FIVE NOTHIN' BETTER!

So anyway, I'll be starting this Tuesday. Feel free to try it or do it with me! They're pretty good, despite the initially terrifying green color. I'm sure you're wondering, "Kim? Why a green smoothie detox? Why not juice, or take pills, or do something else?" 

Here's why. I used to be pretty thin. I was maybe 3 lbs away from the healthy weight that my body type and BMI is supposed to have. I had been overweight pretty much my whole life; I have a massive sweet tooth and very low self control. You do the math. I began working at a health store, and when you get an employee discount on health food, vitamins, and protein powder, and then you get surrounded every day by incredibly fit people, you start picking up some stuff. And I thought, "This is going to change." I began taking some vitamins, working out every day, and I lost 20-30lbs. I looked and felt amazing. Most of how I fueled my body during that point in time was via power smoothies (which is, essentially, what a "green thickie" is - only green thickies are even healthier).

Then I got sick, was prescribed the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin, and my tendons were destroyed. The hospital I went to - because I was hospitalized for one of the most severe infections the hospital had seen - didn't check to see if my current medications would interact with the antibiotic. I remember calling, partway through the course of the antibiotics, and telling them my legs hurt - which was a major sign that something was wrong with that drug, and they are supposed to warn you about it - and the doctor told me to keep taking it.

What happened to me is pretty common - it's known as "getting floxed." Google it - you'll be shocked. At any rate, the Ciprofloxacin basically dissolved the tendons in both of my legs. I could barely stand up, let alone walk or move around. I would stand up from my desk only to fall down to the ground, since my legs wouldn't support me. I had to literally crawl up stairs since my legs gave out.

Fortunately, my body managed to purge most of the Ciprofloxacin toxins and I slowly regained the ability to walk again, though I am not fully better. If I have a long day where I'm on my feet a lot, my tendons start vibrating painfully, and I pull them easily. It has taken over 3 years. I can no longer run or do yoga, to my sorrow - as I discovered when I made an attempt to start running again (I miss it so much) and un-did all of the progress I had made with my tendons. As a result of being physically unable to do anything active enough to keep the weight off, I gained all of my weight back. Like, even more than I had lost originally. I currently need to lose 60 lbs in order to get back to a healthy weight. 

So, what does all of this mean when it came to me picking a detox cleanse?
  1. I wanted a cleanse that would be filling. Green smoothies are incredibly nutritious and will ensure that I get nothing but healthy, clean food, and will kill my cravings.
  2. I lost weight previously using power smoothies and have never tried it again. I figured why fix what ain't broke? I'll give it a try. And, like I said - I've only had one a day so far and I've lost 4 lbs already!
  3. I wanted a full detoxing cleanse. I'm hoping that the rest of the Cipro toxins in my body will be fully purged by shocking my system with this change in food. There won't be any chemicals being introduced to my body, so some major purging is going to take place. I've already started detoxing and can't wait to see how I feel when it's all done.
  4. Green smoothies are delicious. Seriously, they are. You can't even taste the "green" part, and you can make so many different flavors. There are even chocolate and cookie dough "dessert" thickies you can try!

So here we go! Let me know if you decide to do the Green Thickie Detox Challenge and we can cheer each other on!

TIP: If you need to be able to transport your smoothie to work/school for lunch, just make them the night before and freeze them in your container of choice. You can use mason jars or you can use smoothie cups - I have some smoothie cups with lids from a small, individual size blender set I own that I use. Take them out of the freezer in the morning when you get up/leave for work and they'll be fully defrosted and still cold by lunch!

In other news, I'm going to go paddleboarding soon, for the first time, which will be awesome! That means I have to get a rash guard...hmmm....I wonder if they'd have those at TJ Maxx? 

Until next time, guys!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Favorites & Reviews: Davines NaturalTech, Coastal Scents, Urban Decay & ...

In this video I talk about my favorite products recently and great deals on beauty I've stumbled across, as well as oil control in the summer!

Davines NaturalTech Vegetarian Formula Deep Conditioner

Coastal Scents Silica Powder Spheres

Milk of Magnesia oil control trick

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette - about $5 from!

ELF 144 Master Eyeshadow Palette for $9.95

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Switching to Straight Talk from Verizon and Saving Money

Another thing I had planned on doing with this blog was offering tech tips and/or fixes for people like me who are trying to find answers on the vast web, but just can't quite locate the exact information they need. So for makeup junkies, sorry! You can skip this post. But for anyone looking to save some money with their smartphone, keep reading.

Let's talk about prepaid phone plans! For me, the best prepaid phone plan by far was Straight Talk. It operates off of most major networks and offers unlimited domestic talk+text with 3 GB of 4G LTE data on the AT&T network for only $45 per month, versus my unlimited domestic talk/text with 2GB of 4G LTE data on Verizon for $60 per month. It is also the least expensive, best network option that I found.

"3 GB?" I can hear you thinking. "That's not a lot." Well, no, it certainly doesn't sound like a lot. But even streaming on Pandora and using my GPS, I maybe use...hmm...about 1 GB (rounding up) a month? I've never understood the desire to watch movies on one's phone, which is what uses up the most data, so it isn't an issue for me. If you actually sit down and take stock of how much data you truly use each month, you'd be surprised at how low the figure is. Unless, of course, you're a tech worker who uses their device constantly!

So $45 per month for unlimited talk/text and 3GB 4G LTE data? I'm sold! I had been paying my mother for my share of their Verizon family line; when I decided I would switch to Straight Talk, I verified that my current phone - a Verizon based Nokia Lumia 928 - would work on Straight Talk's network by checking my IMEI number, then plugging it into their database. Once I knew it would work, I purchased the right size SIM card to fit my phone (micro-SIM). I also chose an AT&T SIM, as I wanted the 4G LTE and the AT&T SIMs were recommended for Lumia phones.

Here's where I goofed up. See, the Nokia Lumia 928 does not operate on the same LTE band that AT&T does, which is the network that Straight Talk uses for its 4G LTE. While the Lumia 928 is unlocked out of the box for GSM use, it can only get up to H+ (HSPA+) data speeds on GSM networks, which is admittedly faster than 3G, but not much so. I discovered this after extensive testing on my phone and research. Finally, in despair, I was ready to admit defeat with Straight Talk unless I was able to get a phone compatible with it. I just couldn't justify buying a whole new phone, though, with my Lumia 928 still alive and kicking.

And that's when it happened - I smashed the screen of my Lumia to bits. I've dropped my Lumia lots before. I am a walking disaster, a clutz of extreme proportions. An ex-boyfriend used to call me "Destructo" because I always seem to end up ruining everything around me with clumsiness, and when I was in high school, my mother told me someone I didn't know had approached her and told her I should go to modeling school. My ego started puffing up until she continued, "They think it would teach you how to be graceful." That is how clumsy I am - that I earned the nickname "Destructo" and that a stranger told my mother I needed classes on how to function with some kind of grace. My current boyfriend regularly asks me, "Now, how did you run into the wall again? Weren't you just standing still?"

I should be thankful that I hadn't smashed my phone earlier. Lumias, however, are total tanks of phones. They are Nokia, after all - a brand known for its resilience. I've dropped my phone on concrete, on tile, on wood floors, you name it. Not broken. This time, however, I picked up my phone and the charge cord caught on the side of my console table. The cord whiplashed my phone out of my hand and it landed on an uneven, unforgiving metal surface - the heating grate.

The screen fractured so badly that the phone was unusable. I cut my fingers attempting to use it (that's how bad it broke); in desperation, as a temporary fix, I applied a spare screen protector I had for another device, but I could still feel the cracks and breaks underneath. It was a sign. Time for a new phone! And what do you know - I could get a phone that was compatible with Straight Talk!

I admit that I was afraid to do this. Getting a new phone that met my needs that was solely Straight Talk/AT&T compatible could not only end up costing me a lot of money, but if it still didn't work on Straight Talk, I wouldn't be able to take that phone back to Verizon for use. I would have to get a new AT&T plan, which was going to cost more than my plan on Verizon originally did. Plus, as great a deal as prepaid plans are, there are not a lot of people that get them when viewed in the entire scope of smartphone users. It's certainly unfamiliar territory to me, so I had some trepidations.

I swallowed my fears and ordered myself an AT&T locked Nokia Lumia 920, blue, with a matte finish, for $199 on eBay. It was the phone I had originally wanted from the Lumia line, it was exactly the same hardware-wise as my old Lumia 928, and reading reviews on it convinced me that it was actually more advanced than many of the newer phones that had emerged. AT&T locked phones work on Straight Talk - they do not need to be unlocked - so I was able to save $200-$300 dollars by getting a locked phone versus an unlocked one.

I popped the SIM card into my new phone and can I just Reviews on the Lumia 928 said that the phone was slower than usual and had network speeds under the norm. Using my new Lumia 920 on the AT&T 4G LTE network proved that to be true. The highest speed I was ever able to get on my old 928 on Verizon's 4G LTE network was 5 Mbps, and that was unusually fast. The highest speed I have received on my Lumia 920 was over 12 Mbps. It is shockingly fast and I have better coverage than I ever did with Verizon. My calls are clearer and my MMS picture messages send and receive with no issue, whereas my messages on Verizon always seemed to take forever and often wouldn't come in at all.

Let's break down how much I saved by switching to a prepaid network, not including the initial purchase of my Straight Talk SIM card or any taxes:

Per month
Per year
Two year total
 $               199.00
 $                     60.00
 $            720.00
 $                      1,639.00
Straight Talk
 $               199.00
 $                     45.00
 $            540.00
 $                      1,279.00

 $                         360.00
Anyone using Verizon is probably shocked at how low I was paying for my phone. If you aren't able to get a family plan discount, with a military discount on top of that (I am a military dependent), your plan probably costs significantly more than mine does, so you would save a lot more on your plan each month than I did. Let's make it more equal for people who didn't have those discounts, as I did: for a single line with Verizon (calculated by going to Verizon and choosing the option to build an individual plan), with the same amount of 4G LTE data each month (3 GB), and assuming you wanted a mid-range new smartphone - we'll choose one that's $99 - your cost break down would be about the following, not including taxes:

Per month
Per year
Two year total
 $                 99.00
 $                   100.00
 $         1,200.00
 $                      2,400.00
Straight Talk
 $               199.00
 $                     45.00
 $            540.00
 $                      1,279.00

 $                      1,121.00

That is a huge difference. HUGE difference.

To sum up, Straight Talk:
  • Gave me more data for less money
  • Faster LTE coverage
  • Better network coverage (in my personal experience thus far)
  • Faster MMS
  • Better call quality
  • Substantial financial savings
If you're thinking about making the leap, I can't recommend it enough. Just make sure that your phone is fully compatible and you won't have any problems!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Miss Maskcara HAC Foundation Review + How-to Pick Your Contour Shade

Hey guys! Join me for a review of Miss Maskcara's HAC Foundation. If it doesn't work for you, like it didn't for me (my skin is just too bad! Argh!), stick around and I'll tell you how to find your shade for a natural, daytime contour look. You can use this technique or the previous natural contour tutorial I posted for every day contouring. Enjoy!

Miss Maskcara:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

TonyMoly Egg Pore Primer & Cat's Wink Mascara Review/Demo

I'm finally back from moving for the third time in like 4 months! And I bring you a review on TonyMoly products - an excellent Korean line for broke beauty divas to try. Hear my thoughts on TonyMoly Egg Pore Primer and TonyMoly Cat's Wink Volume Mascara!

You can find them both here:

TonyMoly Egg Pore Primer

TonyMoly Cat's Wink Volume Mascara

Also, meet my new rescue kitty, Miss Blue, who makes a surprise cameo appearance! 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Revlon 3D Volume vs Covergirl Bombshell Mascara

I try a Covergirl mascara - the new Covergirl Bombshell Volume - for probably the first time in my life and test it side-by-side with my current favorite mascara, Revlon Photoready 3D Volume. See the difference and hear my thoughts!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Drugstore Mascara Round-Up: What's Good & What Isn't!

On a recent mascara kick, I splurged on a bunch of mascaras to give you guys the low-down on what is worth buying and what isn't!

Mascaras listed in order from worst to best (in my opinion):

Maybelline Great Lash Big
Flower 3-in-1 Zoom-In Ultimate Mascara
ELF 3-in-1 Mascara - Lengthen, Define, and Volumize
L'Oreal Lash-Out Butterfly Mascara
ELF Lengthening & Defining Mascara
Revlon Photoready 3D Volume Mascara

My favorites are the Revlon Photoready 3D Volume, which is a dupe for Benefit They're Real mascara and the ELF Lengthening & Defining mascara, which made me look like I had baby-doll lashes.

Also previewed is my new set of StyleMaster buffing brushes that I will be reviewing soon! I got them on eBay from here: 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Quick Update

Well, guys, I have posted a quick update explaining why I haven't reviewed or done any tutorials in so long. Turns out the "new roomie" I referenced in my previous DIY Cascading Hangers post wasn't so great after all. See below!