Sunday, September 11, 2011

Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover

Taken from Neutrogena website.

I have been using this daily for about the past month. Originally, it was purchased on a whim because I needed a new cleanser; it was made of predominantly natural ingredients and inexpensive. Neutrogena claims the product thoroughly cleanses without "stripping skin's natural moisture". This has been quite true for me. Often, cleansers leave my already slightly dry face feeling parched and at times itchy. Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover has left my skin feeling phenomenally soft and smooth, yet absolutely clean and void of oil. For the 5.99 sale price I got it at, this cleanser is a phenomenal steal.

The only caveat to the product is the latter part of the title. It thoroughly removes makeup, but I found that it stings the eye area wickedly. Instead, I remove my eye makeup separately and just avoid getting the cleanser near my eyes. This is a minor issue and I am completely satisfied with the cleanser as it is. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Detox: A Retrospective

Tonight's non-detox dinner: organic filet with foie gras, steamed broccoli, sauteed zuchini and asparagus, raw cherry tomatoes and whole wheat bread. I ate like half of this. 

I made it through just about five days out of the seven I intended to do. To be frank, during that time, I didn't necessarily feel "cleaner" or more energetic. Not in the least. There is a strong chance that I wasn't consuming enough; while I had bought tons of fruits and veggies, I never expected to be so hungry. On the plus side, I consumed ridiculous amounts of produce and water. I'm rather proud of myself to have made it through the workweek despite an invitation to a new bar opening and my coworker's feasting on gourmet pizza.

Ultimately, I feel like I did good for my body. I fueled it with ridiculously good organic food while staying away from chemicals, refined carbs, wheat, refined sugar, caffeine and pesticides. I forgot to mention in my posts, but I also avoided any facial makeup like tinted moisturizer or blush during this time so that nothing clogged my pores. 

I could foresee myself doing this once a year to give my body a break from the moderate amount of other junk I put in it. Next time though, I'm going to do a bit of meal planning so that I have enough snacks and such to make it through the day. 

Best part of the detox: Green smoothies! I'm hooked on making them in the mornings now.
Worst part of the detox: No coffee. I didn't even touch decaf. It's my number one comfort food and was sorely missed. No wonder I broke the detox with it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Detox: Day 5- Crash and Burn

As outlined, I'm forgoing alcohol, caffeine from coffee, sugar, dairy, wheat, non-oceanic animal protein and eggs for seven days. Essentially, I'm sticking to (solely organic) produce, grains and legumes.

Even the start to the day was horrid. I woke up ravenously hungry and found myself dreading going to my mother's yesterday evening and not having pizza with her and my sister. I got through the day just fine at work (if you don't count an allergy-headache), but it was the drive home that brought an end to my detox. An amalgamation of the onset of allergies in the late afternoon, a subsequent near-migraine headache due to allergies, gnawing hunger and bad traffic were too much for me to handle. I pulled off the freeway, grabbed some coffee (caffeine being the quickest thing to end headaches), called my mom and broke down crying out of frustration, exhaustion and hunger. I ended up watching the freeway inch along while drinking iced coffee and contemplating the detox. 

My thoughts on the experiment are mixed and I plan on doing a whole post dedicated just to it. I'm happy I made it through five out of seven days and don't consider it a loss by any means. I'm currently enjoying a half decaf/half regular iced coffee and couldn't be happier to have it back. :-)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Detox: Day 4 More than half way through...

As outlined, I'm forgoing alcohol, caffeine from coffee, sugar, dairy, wheat, non-oceanic animal protein and eggs for seven days. Essentially, I'm sticking to (solely organic) produce, grains and legumes.

I can't believe I have successfully gotten through four days already! Yay! Today was an easy peasy day with some light hunger in the morning and light hunger on the drive home, but no cravings whatsoever. My coworkers may been testing my willpower with ordering gourmet pizza, but even the scent of fresh baked crust only caused a twinge of desire.

On the slightly disappointing side, I was invited to an industry event this evening for a new restaurant that has been opened a couple months. A girlfriend and I checked it out a week ago and loved it! They are opening up a bar on the second floor and the event was this evening. There was no way my willpower could resist half-price cocktails by one of the leading LA mixologists, nor the apps and sweets being offered. Instead, I came home from working late and will be crashing early tonight.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Detox: Day 3 Did-not-hit-the-wall Day

As outlined, I'm forgoing alcohol, caffeine from coffee, sugar, dairy, wheat, non-oceanic animal protein and eggs for seven days. Essentially, I'm sticking to (solely organic) produce, grains and legumes.

The title is a reference to an acquaintance who told me that he always hits the wall on Day 3 of any juice fast/detox/eating healthy. Not that I thought I was jinxed, but, I internally constantly worry when I'm going to lose  my self-control and not be able to make it through a measly seven days.

That said, today was the easiest in terms of temptation. Mainly, I think, because I actually had some sort of non-homemade dish at every meal. I substantially ate more calories today (16 hour day away from home) than any previous day as well as likely the least greens. Which makes me sad. I actually feel rather deprived of salads at the moment and will be sure to pack one for lunch tomorrow. After four meals of my Mediterranean Quinoa, I have one serving left and am ready to retire it for dinner tomorrow.

On the downside, I felt intensely thirsty and unusually warm all day. I also had a headache during the latter part of the evening; enough so to distract me enough on my way home that I missed my freeway merge and had to backtrack. Fail! I think I may have been dehydrated, but I can't figure out how that could have happened just from not drinking water during a three hour class.

Breakfast: Rain Forest smoothie from Renovo- pineapple, fresh orange juice, fresh almond milk, green superfoods and protein. Jesuseffingchrist, this was amazing. Possibly the best green smoothie I have ever had. I got to watch them actually juice and blend all this crap (I wasn't paying attention during the green part and missed out on what they toss in!)

Mid-morning snack: Banana with a sprinkling of crushed raw almonds

Lunch: mediterranean quinoa with sea critters (again) and also a cup of creamless broccoli soup a coworker had gotten with her lunch, but offered to me because she wasn't in the mood for soup.

Dinner: seared ahi tuna and Israeli cous cous from Whole Foods- I grabbed this after my class let out late at 9:45pm. I still had a headache and thought some fuel would help. The seared ahi was considerably larger portions than I expected and I only ended up eating one meaty slice. The Israeli cous cous was a disappointment: I didn't realize upon first glance that it had cranberries in it. I basically ate around them and enjoyed the organic grain (there was also mint and some other herb I couldn't identify).

I opted not to eat dessert last night... however I am munching on frozen grapes at the moment. Now, excuse me while I go pass out.

Odd fact: I am in a wine class and we don't actually drink the wines... we spit them out. Which works out well in line with my detox. I got all the benefits and savoring that I get out of wine without actually drinking alcohol.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Detox: Day 2

As outlined, I'm forgoing alcohol, caffeine from coffee, sugar, dairy, wheat, non-oceanic animal protein and eggs for seven days. Essentially, I'm sticking to organic produce, grains and legumes.

Today was super easy up until the drive home. It seems like this is going to be the most crucial part of the day for me in a make-it-or-break-it sense. I felt full throughout my day at work and energy levels never flagged. I didn't even have a cup of green tea for trace caffeine! However, the moment I was trapped in my car for the drive home, all I could think about was the fact that I was going to have the same meal for the third time in 24 hours. In addition, I came to the conclusion that choosing to do this while my boyfriend is out of town may not have been the best idea. He is a slim guy and can take or leave eating dinner. Hence, I often feel slightly guilty when I make myself a meal and he chooses not to eat. With him gone for this week, the drive home turned into a "I wish I could go here tonight..." internal monologue. Contemplation was put into high-end places I have gift cards for; one of which being a sleek sushi place right on my drive home. Their sashimi plate would still fit into the detox...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Detox: Day 1

As outlined, I'm forgoing alcohol, caffeine from coffee, sugar, dairy, wheat, non-oceanic animal protein and eggs for seven days. Essentially, I'm sticking to organic produce, grains and legumes.

I got through today much easier than anticipated. Don't get me wrong, I spent a majority of the day on the slightly hungry side and nearly pulled over to grab some food on the drive home. However, there was no way I was failing on my first day.

Breakfast- green smoothie: strawberries, kale, cucumber, lime, crushed flax seed and a little organic unsweetened almond milk for liquid base. I had some difficulties blending this, but it tasted great!

Mid-Morning Snack- banana

Lunch- A very weird yet delicious salad: spinach, cucumber, zucchini, grape tomato, avocado, homemade hummus and raw cashews. All together. In one bowl. Mmmm.

Mid-Afternoon Snack- frozen grapes

Dinner- mediterranean quinoa with sea critters: quinoa, olive oil, garlic, zucchini, grape tomato, basil, oregano, garbanzo beans, calamari, scallops and shrimp.

I can't begin to describe how delicious my dinner was!

Odd fact: While I rarely eat cucumber, I realized I consumed half of a cucumber between my breakfast and lunch.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back In Action & Healthy Detox

Please see below post as to why I've been non-existent. I think I've finally adjusted to being gone from the house 13 hours a day.

Part of the premise of AestheticLA is not only to improve one's self from the outside in (my obsession with skin creams, masks, etc) or cover up flaws, but to go about it the holistic way as well. I believe strongly in the concept that what you put into your body is reflected externally. A diet high in refined carbs, sugar and processed meats is only going to pack on the pounds and lead to unhealthy skin. That said, I've lost 30 pounds since the beginning of the year by ditching dieting and attempting to eat healthier. I've been contemplating stepping up the clean/healthy eating for a couple months now; much research has been put into juicing, detoxes, fasts and "clean" eating (seriously, clean eating is just healthy eating). Ultimately, I've decided on the following path:

-cutting out daily caffeine permanently (I only drink a cup or so either daily or semi daily. I like the taste!)
-striving for a healthy diet (no refined carbs, no animal protein that isn't organic/grass-fed/chemical-free, minimal amounts of cheese)
-limiting alcohol (not a huge drinker, but I am a fan of wine)

This past week I've diminished my coffee intake by moving towards half decaf/half coffee. I definitely got head aches the first day or so. Starting tomorrow, I'm going for a healthy food week-long detox which entails:

-no alcohol, caffeine from coffee (green tea allowed), sugar, dairy, wheat, non-fish animal protein and eggs

Mainly, I plan on sticking to a primarily vegetarian diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, quinoa, brown rice, healthy oils, nuts and seeds. I am debating the healthy detox culminating to a finale of a 3-day juice detox after. 

I'm really curious as to how this will effect my skin, under-eye circles and stress-related scalp problems!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Missing In Action!

I've been scarce this week as I've started a new job and managed to get in a four-car accident on the freeway. Fortunately, I'm fine. Poor Lilith (my car) on the other hand sustained 7k worth of damage. In case you ever find yourself in a car accident and lacking your car, make sure to get a rental on a weekday. I learned the hard way that car rental places close super early on Saturdays and most aren't open on Sundays!

Fortunately, I was able to acquire myself a car. My week has been taken up between the two.

I have several posts in the works though! And I managed to organize all my beauty stuff into six shoe boxes, one drawer and one cabinet!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

ARC's Ladies in Waiting, Versailles and le Chocolat

Last week I flashed some swatches of the eye shadows I got from Antoinette's Revolution Cosmetics along  with the adorable packaging. Since then, I've actively been putting Ladies in Waiting (sheer white-pink with shimmer), Versailles (copper with metallic sheen) and le Chocolat (espresso brown with light shimmer) to good use. The brown/copper/sheer pink combo is great for green eyes that are tinged with yellow (versus blue).

Final product.

Lots and lots of photos after the jump...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What I missed this week...

I've been spending the last half hour or so catching up on my favorite blogs. I have to admit that while I enjoyed lounging in Vegas reading magazines, they didn't compare to blogs. Magazines are rarely bought at this point (with the exception of Vanity Fair) and it doesn't seem I'm missing much. I'll take We Heart This over Lucky any day!

The aforementioned We Heart This featured a review of Juara's Invigorating Coffee Scrub. I'm a sucker for scrubs (and exfoliating in general) and this looks great for an early morning wake-up. I also dig their Surprise Day Off piece. 

Doesn't Sara look adorable in purple? It's my favorite color!

My Beauty Bunny featured a scrub too: Pure Sugar Scrub. Not as hyped about this one as the coffee scrub. They are also running a Bed Head Curling Iron Giveaway. Nine more days!

Musings of a Muse flashed some photos of Urban Decay's The Revolution High Performance Lash Curler. Erm. Torture Device? 

Posts about blogging by bloggers are always enjoyable from my perspective; Modesty Brown conceded to being a bit burnt out. The comment section made for good reading as well.

Product Girl has me convinced I need NARS Vestale. I don't own any nude polishes and am on the hunt for a  light pink/peachy tone. 

Vegas was great, but I missed my favorite reading material. I am definitely happy to be home!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sneak Peak: Antoinette's Revolution Cosmetics

Christmas in July! At least that's what my package from Antoinette's Revolution Cosmetics felt like. Here's a sneak peak at what I ordered:

***Edit*** I should mention that they are running a sale this weekend for orders over ten dollars!

It came adorably wrapped in black tissue paper with a blue ribbon and a pin as well.

The five samples (75 cents each!) came packed in a black envelope with a silver foil and business cards. Each sample is individually labelled with its name and the ingredients in each color. I had opted for their vegan eye shadows. While I'm not a vegan, the less animals I harm or utilize, the better. I had actually ordered only four samples, but they threw in a fifth: Gangrene. That would be the bright green on the bottom.

Here's a close up of the colors. Versailles (copper with metallic sheen) is my favorite. All are quite pigmented and from initial playing around, apply true to the color in the bag. Only Ladies In Waiting (pink with heavy shimmer) applies a little sheer, but that is to be expected from such a light color.

Swatches in artificial light. From left to right: Revolution (matte black), Gangrene (neon green with more of a yellow hue and shimmer), Ladies In Waiting (sheer white-pink with heavy shimmer), Versailles (copper with metallic sheen) and le Chocolate (espresso brown with light shimmer).

The same colors in natural light. Much more pigmented and true to what they look like in person. I am excited to experiment with them!

Disclosure: All of these were purchased by myself. In no way am I affiliated with Antoinette's Revolution Cosmetics.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Boscia Pore Purifying Nose Strips

As a pre-teen, my father would buy Biore Nose Strips and it was always so much fun seeing what got pulled out of our pores (yes, my father would use them as well). I was stoked when I saw the new Boscia Pore Purifying Nose Strips being offered as a sample on Sephora. On the box, it states that there is charcoal powder for pulling out dirt and oil from the pores, silica for excess oil, and witch hazel extract to tighten the appearance of the pores.

I will refrain from publishing a photo of what got pulled out in the strip I used, but there was definitely some small particles and residue. It also pulled out the tiny millimeter length hairs that are on your nose (I didn't even realize there was any!). It was not as exciting as it was at age twelve when I could see visible whiteheads. Thankfully, those are (usually) no longer an issue. Ultimately though, my pores didn't look any smaller nor less visible. In addition, it left a stinging sensation for the next half hour. For someone with clear skin, I am not the target audience. Fifteen dollars for a pack of six of these is not worth the novelty of getting to see what is in my pores. It is a product for people with problematic skin (especially on the nose area). I'll be using the second strip in the sample set to see what I can pull out of my boyfriend's nose! They are certainly fun.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wishlist: Terranea Spa

This is a multipart series of the places I hope to visit at some point! I've been hardcore crushing on these spas for a while now. If money was no option, these are the Los Angeles spas I'd run (not walk) to try.

The Spa at Terranea has been on my coveted list for some time now. Set in an ultraluxe oceanfront resort on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the 50,000 square foot spa overlooks the ocean. Literally. Every description I read makes me foam at the mouth: reviews/articles mentioning sightings of dolphins and whales while lounging poolside, heated saltwater pool, cold-plunge pool, fitness center, sauna, steam room, whirlpool and a few other amenities. This is the type of spa where you are meant to spend the day at. I don't think one could rationalize the price tag otherwise.

The amenities alone aren't what strikes my eye (a day pass could be had for sixty dollars). The Circadian Rhythm-inspired treatment menu looks divine. While the menu describes these in a much more lavish manner, I'll spare you the verbosity on the two treatments I'm eyeing:

Oil and Water: A laminaria oil massage followed by a sea salt exfoliation and ending with a cold-friction rub. 90 minutes/ $245/ morning or early afternoon treatment

El Segundo Blue: A 'rhythmic' aromatherapy massage proceeded by a sea blue mineral clay wrap. Finishes with a head and scalp massage. 90 minutes/ $245/ late afternoon or evening

They are offering a Summer Spa Sampler through August 31st that gives you the choice of two mini-treatments for $125! Available Monday-Thursday.

Disclaimer: I have no connections to Terranea in any manner. I just really want to check them out! None of the links provide any compensation or affiliate bonuses for myself. The links are purely for information purposes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dilemma: Undesired two-tone hair!

I hate going to salons. I really do. I feel like an ugly duckling outsider stepping into this secret world inhabited by stylists in five-inch heels, perfect makeup and sleek hair. I haven't gotten my hair colored in a salon in FOUR years. Hence, for my color and cut last Wednesday I came armed with photos of what I wanted as well as being versed in how to articulate it.

The cut came out exactly as I wanted. It's perfect.

The color is, well, the opposite of what I wanted.

Photos and more after the jump.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Indulgence Day and Med Spa

Tucked away in an unassuming shopping center in the middle of suburbia, is my favorite place to unwind and have a massage: Indulgence Day and Med Spa. I discovered this gem a little over a year ago and have returned at least three times for a variety of massages. What they lack in spa amenities, they make up for in service, quality and value! Thus far, it is my favorite Los Angeles spa (technically, Long Beach).

Taken from their Facebook page.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Skincare: Then vs. Now

The amount of effort being put into my current skincare regimen (as well as makeup) has exponentially increased in the last month. Benefits include: 

-reduced undereye circles
-diminished pore size
-no more tight/itchy/dry feeling to my skin
-my skin is so effing soft!

And, maybe I'm deluding myself, but I swear there is almost a glowing effect. So, the question begs: what has changed?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Super Steal on Jergen's Natural Glow

Last summer, I made no attempt to gain any pigmentation in my rather pale skin. Actually, I don't think I've tried for color in years. Inspired by 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic's post on Jergen's Natural Glow and having prior experience with it (erm, that would be that mention of years ago), I ventured out to my local Rite-Aid at 9pm on Friday night (apparently, I have no social life)*. They are currently running a lovely special: buy a body Natural Glow product (Express included), and receive the Healthy Complexion Facial Moisturizer free. I opted for the body Natural Glow in Firming. Express formulas tend to scare me; they are quicker potentials for disasters.


This gets better: there were coupons stickered on to some of the bottles for a dollar off. When I got up to the register, the cashier gave me not only a dollar off the Natural Glow, but also the Facial Moisturizer (that was free!). I ended up paying $6.99 for $17.98 worth of products! YAY! You better believe I am going back today to see if they (hopefully) have more bottles with the coupons.

My crappy iPhone photo.

*Along with no social life, I like parenthesis way too much.

Disclaimer: Quite obviously, this was purchased by me.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Word of the Week: Duo-chrome

Being that I'm quite the newbie to beauty, I stumbled across the word 'duo-chrome' over at All Lacquered Up the other day in her coverage of Chanel's Fall 2011 collection. The polish in mention was Peridot. It is a gold/green color depending on the way the light hits it. Essentially, it reminds me of pewter.

Duo-chrome: A metallic nailpolish that is two different colors and/or a blend of two colors depending on how the light hits it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment

I have uber-long hair at this point. We're talking nearly waist length and starting to get into that weird territory where you look like you may be possibly Pentecostal or Seventh Day Adventist (although, my lack of skirts should dismiss that theory). Next week, I have an appointment to get my hair cut and color. In the meantime, I do what I can to keep good care of my Rapunzel-status hair.

The Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment is part of an extensive line of hair products featuring ojon oil. Ojon oil comes from the nut of the American palm tree and is sourced primarily in Central America. Interestingly, ojon oil has always been known as batana oil, but was renamed in the late 90's when it was introduced as a commercial product. Ojon is the word for American palm in the local indigenous dialect (batana being the Spanish word). I'm tickled by the idea of returning to the original word for an item.

The creamy pomade turns to oil instaneously via body heat.

While I like what I have researched about the Ojon company, this isn't a product for a fine-haired person (like me).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Under Ten: Trader Joe's Virtuoso Lip Balm

For all you lip-lickers out there, Trader Joe's Virtuoso Lip Balm is the second most moisturizing lip product I've come across thus far (first place: Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm). I have a nervous habit of unconsciously licking my lips when under stress at work. I don't even realize it until the next morning when my poor little lips are parched and taut.

While I love my lipglosses, I prefer just basic shiny, silky, smooth balm for everyday wear. Virtuoso glides on slick and doesn't have any waxy qualities(which I hate). In addition, it comes in a chapstick tube, which is much more convenient for applying than the lip balms that are in tins. They retail for 2.99 for a 3-pack here in California; which means they come out to be less than a dollar each!

Beyond the physical preference of the product, the ingredients are nifty too: Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Beeswax, Organic Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E, Essential Oil of Spearmint, Shea Butter, Rosemary Extract, Organic Comfrey, Organic Calendula, Organic St. John's Wort. This equates to the lip balm being comprised of 50% organic materials. Did I mention it is also SPF 15?

Disclosure: I purchased myself... over and over.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's Father's Day...

When starting this project, I realized that part of my lack of knowledge regarding beauty had to do with upbringing. My mother isn't particularly girly and while she is always sporting lipstick (and rocks it!), I don't think I've ever seen her use anything other than light eyeliner and Clinique's skincare line (I have sweet childhood memories of seeing the bottle of yellow cream on the counter in the bathroom). I never received a primer on how to take care of my skin or how to apply makeup. My mother never pushed being effeminate on me, to which I appreciate fully as an adult. Thanks to her, I don't feel the societal obligation to wear makeup to run errands.

My father was quite the opposite in his approach. Women must be dainty, sweet and presentable. I vividly remember him braiding my hair as a child and always commenting on how a woman should look. Long hair was good; heavy eye makeup was not. The red lipstick that I became fond of (and still am) at 15 was a major point of contention. My father and I tend not to see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, but there is no doubt he has influenced who I am. In honor of Father's Day, a short list of how my father has had a hand in my aesthetics:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

About Me

What is Aesthetic LA?

Aesthetic LA is a spa and beauty blog with a Southern California approach; primarily focusing on the Los Angeles region. In my own research, beyond Yelp and other similar review sites, I've found a lack of information out there regarding spas and salons in Los Angeles. There are so many wonderful establishments here, yet virtually no news and information regarding them other than nationally-based sites with short blurbs. Gasp! A void space on the internet? Someone has to rise to the challenge to fill the gap!