The Weekend Post | The Elusive Mellow Saturday

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While it’s true that my weekends are consistently low-key because I’m that kind of giiiirl but usually their underlying task or purpose is to help reduce the severe anxiety that I have over the million things that I have due, aid in the whole productive human being thing and coerce me out of bed into the morning into the world of actual responsibilities. I might just have to say since heading back to university in September, this is the first weekend that I’ve been able to dedicate to true relaxation – with a bit of organization and prep work on the side, I’ll admit – because there aren’t a million assignments, essays and exams looming on the near horizon that require a productive weekend. Here’s the lowdown:

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(1) Inspiration Collaging – Now I’ll be the first to admit that the whole prospect of having to be decisive with selecting pictures to get all arts and craftsy to collage with would give me heart palpitations if it were to have a deadline and was to be graded by someone else. However, with the freedom of setting up an inspiration board of sorts for myself has the opposite effect, a kind of calming one that doesn’t feel like a complete waste of time.

DSC_1232(2) Candle Burning – It’s safe for me to say that I’m more than a wee bit candle-obsessed at the moment and will use any means of justification found to burn them. But, I actually do think that they provide the perfect ambiance for those low key days. Today I burned the Bath & Body Works Spiced Apple Toddy 3-Wick Candle and it smells exactly as luscious as the name would suggest but the throw is so strong that I only like to light one wick at a time.

(3) Hair Pampering – Regardless of the length or state of the mop on top of your head is in, this time of year tends to wreck havoc on our hair and obviously this is the prime time to go in with a more intensive treatment. To be honest, I actually did this step last night but alas, I’m mentioning it here. I used the protein-rich L’Oreal Total Repair 5 Replenishing Mask that is the best deep treatment that I’ve tried that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. To be fair, it’s one of my favourites regardless of price and it’s nice that it’s not silicone laden.

(4) Lazy Skin Pampering – Normally this is where a mask of the clay and/or exfoliation variety would be used and raved about but it’s been getting rather cold at the moment and my skin would be much better served with something to soothe and combat the dehydration rather than decongesting and quite honestly I cannot be bothered to go through the faff of applying a mask and then having to rinse it off after the appropriate time has passed. I just kept with the usual routine but subbed in my By Nature Organic Rosehip Oil in the serum stage, following in with my usual loved Caudalie Vinosource Riche. It’s soothing, intensely hydrating and helps with brightness and pigmented – what more could you want?

(5) Reading for Enjoyment – There are very few things in life that I love more than pouring through magazines and they have to include reading actual books for actual fun – this rarely happens considering that I have so much required school reading – and drinking lattes coming off of a night of sleep deprivation. In short, there’s nothing more relaxing than looking through a magazine without being in any sort of rush or curling up with a book and not even feeling guilty about it.

Any lazy day thoughts?
Maggie, x.

The Weekend Post | The Productive Pamper

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I’m convinced that there is a reason that we all — in the blogosphere — seem to find ourselves writing posts on the ideal pamper on a frequent basis, in a way that veers towards the obsessive and that said reason is not a lack of originality; there’s something about the power of a pamper, that makes our hectic daily lives a little more relaxed and manageable, I reckon. I have far too much on my growing agenda to abondon in the aim of merely giving myself a little bit of indulgence, however, so I find myself loving the routine of a scaled-down pamper with some productivity thrown in. Now, I’m not necessarily one to look towards for organization inspiration, though. I’m just overcoming my previous status as organizationally impaired.

One. Break down and the list into smaller achievable tasks and write it down.

This seems so obvious but it’s not so simple and easily dismissible as it seems. I can’t even tell you how many times I rolled my eyes when authority figures preached this at me in my earlier school years and while they presented it in the most irritating patronizing manner, they were right in a sense. It’s much easier to get things done when you actually identify what realistically can be accomplished in the time quota and the smaller individual parts that the tasks require. I’m aware of how difficult it can be at first to actually look at what has to get done without making yourself instantly nauseous or panicked.

Two. Gather your tools and edit out the rest.

I’m not someone who has a naturally organized disposition so this was not something that I believed in, in the past but a clutter-free space actually appears to make a difference. I do have to make the effort, forcing myself to get up and choose the necessary items for the whole ordeal and then clean out all of the extras without becoming distracted within he process. It’s not particularly fun — at all — but the tidy-up is a worthy step nonetheless. I’ll get out the books that I have readings that I must get through, my notes if I’m working on some sort of assignment and perhaps my blogging notebook, for example.

Three. Set up the pamper-y atmosphere.

With the previous step down, this one should be a breeze. The whole pampering experience seems to me to be synonymous with the zen-like state and ease that lounging with your feet in the bath, whilst wearing the most luxurious bathrobe and while I wouldn’t go that far on a typical Sunday not-funday, I try to emulate the spa-like experience. I would go for some of the most comfortable and cozy glorified sweatpants-and-a-hoodie combo, embrace the cliche and light a scented candle, with a magazine and cozy blanket within sight.

Four. Work a face mask into the routine and add full-on body cream slather into the mix.

Obviously, the pamper requires pamper products and with productivity in mind, it only makes sense to go for a duo (or trio) of products that bring on that pampered feeling with minimal time and effort while making the whole task of getting stuff done a little bit more enticing. So, I normally would go for a mask but I didn’t because my skin is like the sahara desert at the moment — but I normally would. Instead, I went for the fruit-acid containing Indeed Laboratories Facial Powdered Exfoliator ($30) that once mixed with water forms a milky foam that instantly brightens and perks up the skin without adding to the dryness situation or further irritating the skin. Unless you have such irritated skin that body moisturization is a necessity or you are obsessed with the whole experience, you likely aren’t someone who religiously finds themsleves slathering on the lotion twice daily but just going for this indulgent experience can be a breath of fresh air, while being bundled in the most cozy blanket, of course. I use a separate cream on my lower legs on account of my irritated eczema there and this cream is the lovely La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP ($30) . For the rest of my body, I’ll go for my new Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Buttercream ($20) that I adore because it smells like the most appealing zesty margarita and has the most luxurious creamy texture.

Five. Tidy up the nails and whatever that entails.

I may be someone who spent the majority of her life away from that whole mani-pedi nail-painting game but I do recognize the power of having simply tidied nails, whether they are polished or not. Although the whole nail-doing task takes an embarrassing amount of effort for me, the process seems to be tremendously calming on the psyche, whether or not you go for the whole ordeal or are just bringing your nails into tip-top shape with a coat of clear polish on top. The whole upkeep situation has been almost too much for me lately but I’m undecided as to whether I’ll forgo the manicure or not…

Happy (or-not-so-Happy) Sunday!
Maggie, x.

The Six Step Sunday

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I think I’ll begin with a bit of a secret (but not a particularly surprising one) — Sunday’s aren’t really different than any other day of the week in my world except in the way that I like to treat them. There’s something about Sunday’s that make it acceptable to spend the day in bed, look a little bit less polished and be a much less productive human being and I’m not going to complain about that. Here are a few of my guidelines that I follow and break on a regular occasion…

STEP ONE: THE COZY LOUNGE SPACE & IDEAL READING MATERIAL

My cozy lounge space is my bed but I have made sure to fully make it, with the sheets tucked in smoothly and everything with the pillows pushed up for the perfect little nest effect but any old nook or cozy corner will definitely suffice. It’s a tough call for me to decide whether or not my love of reading and general reading materials rivals my love of beauty products, so obviously the latter part is essential. There’s something particularly therapeutic about reading a good old weighty novel and at the moment I’ve returned to the task of reading Atlas Shrugged and I’m enjoying reading it but I do enjoy a heftier novel (in length and subject matter) than most. I’m not leaving out reading materials of the other variety, however; I also love to have a magazine handy to scour through and to binge-read a blog, whether its an old-favourite of mine or a newfound discovery.

STEP TWO: FIND SOMETHING DECENT TO PUT ON THAT IS ESSENTIALLY GLORIFIED/ATTRACTIVE SWEATS

I’m particularly passionate about being comfortable because I’m one of those people who can’t feel fully relaxed and mellow without absolute comfort but this doesn’t mean that I want to be wearing threadbare old sweats or pyjamas; I like to feel a little more pulled together than that both for the feeling in itself and in case I decide to join civilization. Today’s choice was a repurposed sleepwear top from Forever 21 and a pair of the expensive but comfortable Lululemon Athletica leggings, known as the famous Wunder-Unders. I feel the need to inform you that these are the most flattering and comfortable leggings, especially if you have a flat but like me and fear looking like a prepubescent boy with man-boobs.

STEP THREE: GET A DRINK & INDULGENT SNACK

When I was writing out this step here, I was referring to a beverage of the caffeinated variety but I can definitely see an alcoholic one being potentially more enjoyable and weekend appropriate, alas I was good and grabbed a nice cup of tea in my newfound favourite mug. There’s something therapeutic in this act but it seems incomplete without an accompanying snack of the same calibur. At the moment, I’m the most hormonal I’ve been in years (TMI? — OOPS) and despite surviving on my low fructose diet, I’ve been craving chocolate like nobody’s business and although I never used to be a dark chocolate person, I’ve been enjoying a row or two of a 70-85% dark chocolate bar, almost to the same degree as I used to inhale the chocolate-coated mini cheesecakes — they’re amazing by the way.

STEP FOUR: SORT OUT THE SKIN AND HAIR

Two nights back, suffering from a terrible migraine, I did something that I rarely do – put a treatment in my dry tangly hair (in this case, coconut oil) and put the full effort into sectioning my monstrosity of hair off into sections and go to town with my brush of choice, the Goody tangle-teezer ‘dupe’ but if I hadn’t done that I definitely would have tried to deal with the tangly hair situation and give it a bit of a treat as well. Although I also like to take the time during the week to give my skin a treatment (a mask etc.), it has become part of the Sunday routine to go for a mask. At the moment, I’ve been enjoying using the Soap & Glory Scrub Your Nose in It because it acts like a decongesting mask when left on the skin whilst exfoliating the skin with the gentle clay and acids in the formula. It also doesn’t dry out my skin which is rather nice. If I’m feeling more dehydrated or my skin is in need of more smoothing action, I’ll reach for a hydrating mask and my one of choice depends on the time of day I’m applying it; the more gel-like texture of The Body Shop Aloe Protective Restoring Mask allows it to be used during the day and I reach for it if I’m looking for a treatment during the day or I’ll put on the more nourishing hardcore Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask overnight, as the name would suggest.

STEP FIVE: DO SOMETHING WITH THE NAILS

I guess I’m a fidgety person and this results in my nail polish never staying nicely on my nails despite my best efforts (and products) and this tends to lead to me getting annoyed with the whole nail institution and neglect them until the point where they look raggedy and horrific; on Sunday’s I try to remedy this situation. At the very least, I’ll trim my nails, giving them some shape before applying a clear strengthener — at the moment I’m using the Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Diamond Shine Base & Top Coat. However, it can also be therapeutic to apply some polish too, even if it doesn’t last as long as it should. Angst.

STEP SIX: GATHER THE SLAP ‘ER ON ESSENTIALS

I’m a big fan of the no-makeup Sunday (or Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday etc.) and I do tend to follow that philosophy most weeks but I also like to have a small selection of products on hand, separated into a small makeup bag or in some other way that I can grab and take with me or quickly apply if I suddenly need to be more presentable for going out in public in a more polished fashion. For a nice skin-like finish, I’ll grab either the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Smooth-Effect Makeup , or the Skin79 Snail Nutrition BB Cream if I’m potentially in need of strong sun protection and/or hydration — the latter is particularly nice because it also performs like a treatment, hydrating the skin and soothing it. I’ll often simply go for a highlighting concealer pen like the L’Oreal Paris Magic Lumi Concealer in Fair to conceal underneath my eyes and a little bit of redness unless my dark circles are catastrophic, when I have to use my beloved Bobbi Brown Corrector. For the eyes, I’ll put a cream shadow on like the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded before going in with a bit of liner and mascara quickly and I’ll at the very least put some bronzer on my face and some balm on my lips. This sounds like a load of products but honestly it’s three minutes worth of work in the way that I apply makeup and it makes me feel loads better.

What steps do you take to ensure that you have an ideal Sunday?
Maggie, x.

10 Indulgent Sunday Staples

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I’m not going to attempt to delude myself and anyone reading this into thinking that laziest of Sundays make an appearance in my life, involving no makeup, wearing glorified sweatpants and nothing particularly indulgent aside from never leaving my bed and eating multiple bags of chips and the like; however, there are definitely Sundays (of the quite enjoyable variety) where I do like to feel a bit more pulled together, using an edited selection of beauty bits to pamper myself whilst keeping the whole day relaxed and low-key. I’m awfully pleased to talk about ten of them below and these are by no means products that I confine my use of to the weekends.

Lush African Paradise Body Conditioner ($39.95) – I am not someone who would describe themselves as committed to the “natural” effort and this is dominantly because I believe that most “natural” products only differ from the other ones on the market due to marketing, inflated prices and the addition of irritating so-called natural fragrance; considering this, it is rather shocking that I bought and haven’t returned this rinse-off body moisturizer. Despite its gorgeous-albeit-potent fragrance — it smells rich and musky and powdery in the best way possible — the rich cream doesn’t seem to irritate my eczema patches on my legs or any other region of my sensitive skin and leaves my skin nourished.While I do like using it as a rinse-off hydrator, I won’t deny that I’ve been naughty and have been using it in an alternative way to the recommended one. I actually have been enjoying using the cream as a moisturizer without rinsing it off and I might prefer it in this fashion because my skin is so dry and irritated that a heavier cream is by no means problematic.

Jergen’s Natural Glow Firming Daily Moisturizer in Medium to Tan ($9-10) – This is yet another moisturizer that not only agrees with my sensitive and irritated skin but actively soothes it and although it’s a tanning body-moisturizer I would use it in the place of the Lush Body Conditioner, not with it which is lovely considering the much lower price tag. I could easily use this on an everyday basis and I was for a few months earlier but throughout the week, I don’t tend to have the energy to bother with having to make sure the product is applied evenly and that it’s washed off of my hands shortly after. However, it’s a lovely treat as it leaves the body nourished whilst leaving behind a nice natural-looking “tan”.

Pureology Precious Oils Softening Hair Masque ($50) – I will admit that this step — the taking the time to apply a conditioning treatment to my hair overnight — is one that I do much less frequently than I should but it is one of the most worthwhile pampering steps, considering my hair. The expensive treatment not only smells like herbal-y paradise but offers concentrated nourishment that doesn’t weigh down my hair while detangling it and leaving it bouncy and hydrated. Unfortunately for my bank balance, this one is actually worth the price tag and it’s a lovely one to use in the place of conditioner or as a more intensive treatment.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask ($29) – Although this is only my second foray into the world of hydrating face masks, I’m confident that I can declare this one as a spectacular offering. I don’t care for the peach scent but it definitely is not bothersome and it doesn’t feel particularly heavy on the skin while offering great results — ridding the skin of flaky dry patches overnight and soothing and hydrating things impressively. Plus, when you wake up the next day, it’s obvious that my skin just looks better. This step also takes little to no effort, so my lazy side approves.

Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black Rollerball ($26) – As at least a few of you must be already aware, I’m not a fragrance girl but recently I have been converted, loving the energized and perked-up effect that a little bit of scent can provide and this is one of the ones responsible. Without being overpowering, this musky and spicy vanilla-based scent makes me feel confident without screaming mature or juvenile in the slightest. I may be upgrading my sample to a larger bottle soon…

MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner in Close for Comfort ($20?)  – I was not a happy camper when I was informed that the whole line of tinted lip balms from MAC were discontinued. I bought this limited-edition shade years ago and forgot about it for ages but I’ve really fallen in love with this formula that is a fantastic balm on its own but also adds a nice low-maintenance dose of colour and obviously I’m still not over it. It has that typical vanilla-smell but what I love most about this one is its status as a balm-lipcolour hybrid. Not that it matters because it’s no longer available, this shade is a lovely neutral one with rosy-brown undertones that adds a dose of life to my lips. However, the Fresh Tinted Balms strike me as similar – any thoughts of confirmation?

Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Smooth-Effect Makeup in 10 ($48) – As shocked as I am to be typing this, considering that this foundation contains some alcohol and has a velvety finish — and I hate dehydrated, dull and sensitive skin — I do believe that this might actually be my favourite foundation and I’m certain that it’s my favourite for lazy day application. Without sacrificing on the glow or coverage front, this lightweight foundation applies within seconds with my fingers and looks and feels seamless on the skin and it’s an added bonus that it looks amazing for ages and ages.

MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set in Quiet Brunette ($21) – When there isn’t much going on in terms of makeup, a little bit of brow definition/taming can be a gamechanger and this tinted gel fits the bill perfectly; the result is natural but budgeproof and requires the most minimal of effort. I’ve been mentioning this loads lately but have only been doing so because it’s so good and basic.

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24-Hour Cream-Gel Shadow ($9) – It should be no secret that I’m an eyeshadow girl but the whole blending four colours situation isn’t exactly compatible with low-effort Sunday makeup and using this base-shadow hybrid is the easiest compromise. You just whack some onto the lids for some definition and blend slightly with fingers and viola! It is indeed that easy. My favourite shades are Barely Branded, Bad To The Bronze and the limited-edition Nude Compliment.

L’Oreal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black ($9-11) – As much as I love eyeshadow, it doesn’t even compare to the love I feel for eyeliner. Liner is a makeup essential for me and while it definitely does not have to be of the liquid or gel variety, I tend to favour the quickly added definition of a small-flick on these days as it’s quick to do but adds that instant polish with the least work. Standard.

I will admit that I’ve been a little MIA lately but my posting should be back on track soon. What are a few of your Sunday staples?
Maggie, x.