Saturday, November 15, 2014

My current make-up and skin care products

Hi all,

it's been a while since I have been blogging last. Life is crazy busy and I am hardly having any spare time in front of my computer. I rather go to the beach or meet with friends in leisurely moments. Nevertheless, I missed catching up with you all! I hope you've been doing well and enjoying life.

Today, I wanna share with you what new make-up I've been using lately and I am giving you a quick overview of my skin care routine. I hope I can inspire you to fall in love with organic vegan beauty products. They have turned my skin around!

A recent brand I have come across is INIKA. This beautiful all organic vegan brand delivers for all sophisticated ladies out there. The packaging is absolutely gorgeous and the colours are very smooth in texture and quite intense, not at all fair in colour like other natural brands can be. This high end brand has covered just about anything in their range. Their special edition looks are an absolute highlight and the kits save some money, too. I have purchased two eye-shadow colours that were part of a special edition. The ladies at the store could not give me the full kit, so I received a discount. The eye-shadow colours are called lust and seduction, and are wonderful metallic mineral powder eye-shadows. The lipstick is a new summer special called coral and the lip whip comes in a beautiful peach colour.

Another brand I just learned about and love is 100% pure. This cruelty-free brand uses fruit pigments to achieve the colour spectrum of their range, fantastic! So far, I tried the pot rouge blush in the shade ballerina. It gives a subtle shimmer on the sheeks and is not irritating at all. If anything, it nourishes the skin. The same goes for the fruit-pigmented lip glazes in lychee and vixen. It surprised me how great the texture of these lipsticks are and that they stay on the lips well. Go fruits, you're the best!

A brand that I have discussed previously is Alima Pure. Their mineral foundation has become my standard foundation powder and it is really great for my skin. You can read my initial review of the mineral foundation and foundation brush here. I wanted to renew all my old eye-shadows and blushes with mineral powders. This is because pure mineral powders do not expire (if you manage to not contaminate them - I do not dip my brushes into the containers directly). They are also not irritating my skin and deliver natural sun protection as a bonus. So, I invested in a concealer (sand), two luminous shimmer blushes (sahara & freja), two luminous shimmer eye-shadows (paris & aubergine), and three pearluster eye-shadows (amethyst, glow, & zen). I also scored the tea-pigmented natural definition mascaras in black and brown. Those two naturally won't last forever because they have moisture in them and get in contact with the eye area directly. I have tried the mascaras already and I am very content! By the way, the aubergine eye shadow was more grey than purple when I tried it but I have to give it another go. I applied the eye-colour in artificial light and may have misjudged the shade.

I have talked about this before but I am not shy of mentioning it again. I have acne-prone skin and need to be very selective with the products that I can use. This is true for make-up as well as skin care products. A brand that I have made only good experiences with is Miranda Kerr's own range called Kora Organics. I use it for cleansing, peeling, blemish care, misting, moisturizing, light coverage, and overnight facial treatments. I almost have too many products to mention but I use at least one or two of them daily.  I mix the soothing day and night cream and the tinted day cream to achieve a light coverage with a bit of sunscreen protection. I spritz the calming lavender mist on my face at night, especially before going to bed at hot summer nights. It soothes my skin and gives me a cooling feeling before going to sleep. The energizing citrus mist is just that - a fresh morning start into the day! When I wear make-up, I use it to seal my make-up. The blemish gel is a little rescue potion whenever needed. At home, I usually put fresh aloe vera gel onto my newly developed blemishes but I can hardly do that when I'm out and about! This is why the little gel tube comes in handy. On days when I feel like my skin needs some extra love, I go to sleep with the hydrating mask on. The next morning, I can always see how my skin has healed considerably! On other nights, I put the luxurious rosehip oil on my skin before going to bed. This treatment is a little more subtle but often all I need. I wash my face with the foaming cleanser and about once a week with the exfoliating cream instead. I take the time about once a week to apply the enriched body lotion all over my body. Since I've been using Kora Organics, my skin has become softer and less irritated. I am very grateful for the improvement and I am hoping that my skin issues will disappear completely. My biggest enemy is myself because I start picking my face when I am stressed! I do not notice that I am doing it until some time later. This is why I also want to get into meditation or mindfulness exercises. I feel that my stressed-out mind is the root of my skin issue. It is hard to identify stress-triggers when they come in the form of e-mails, workload, tasks, news, etc. Where have the good old straight-forward roaring bears gone?!

Have you identified any triggers that can cause you instant stress reactions? How do you go about them? What do you think of organic cruelty-free make-up and skin care? Let me know, I am looking forward to be hearing your thoughts :)

Much love and tranquility (the natural way!),
ur blk_gypsy

Friday, September 21, 2012

Kora Organics - Do it yourself facial night!

Dear all,

I have been terribly absent for a while but there was so much going on in my life that I simply couldn't deliver. I moved to a different continent and made lots of new friends, while staying in touch with all my folks back home. I am very grateful for how things turned out! On Sunday, I am going to move into my favourite apartment of all times. I can overlook the entire city from my bedroom and from the kitchen window, I have a wonderful ocean view ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ :-)

I am very excited to be writing on this topic! I had to say goodbye to many brands that worked for me in Europe, so that I promised myself to treat my skin with some beautiful Kora Organics products by top model Miranda Kerr after my move to Australia. Before I got a chance to collect some items at their shop in Sydney, I read on their blog that they were holding a "DIY Facial" in a nice Yoga loft. This was the perfect opportunity to test the range before deciding on some quite expensive products... when I arrived there, I was just blown away by the amazing ambience they had pulled off! All products were nicely presented on yoga mats and there were little tealights everywhere. Before I stepped into the room, Therese Kerr, Miranda's mum, gave me a very warm and heart-felt welcome. This greeting set the stage for the entire evening...

The team had prepared little treats such as chocolate and energy balls, fruits, sorbets, and the well-known Noni juice - Miranda's favourite ingredient in the Kora Organics range. It was her very own idea to use Noni juice in her skin products. After a wonderful singer sang a touching song for the visitors, Therese gave a very convincing speech on food and nutrition. She shared with her audience that she once suffered from cancer herself and that it is her strong belief that her cancer got triggered by the high amount of fragrances she used on herself for a long time. She was able to overcome her health challenges and her blood tests actually show that she was able to reverse the aging process - as her blood profile is 12 years "younger" than her physical age! (I was very fortunate to talk to Therese, get her advice on my skin type, and receive a very own make-over by her towards the end of the event. All I can say is that she looks absolutely stunning and her personality shines bright from the inside out!) Therese also pointed out that flawless skin is directly related to digestive health and that the body can't digest properly if we women lead our stressful lives without adequate breaks. We need to switch from a constant fight-or-flight state (sympathetic response) to the calming parasympathetic response. This omnipresent anxiety that everyone, especially females, seem to have in the modern world is taking its toll and is making the bad effects of the stress condition even worse, leading to adrenal fatigue and all sort of health problems. However, with adequate nutrition, favourable lifestyle choices, and a positive outlook, those struggles can be overcome. I was very impressed to see how passionate Therese was talking about the subject and that she wanted to keep on talking :) She gave a lot of book tips, for example, The Chemical Maze by Bill Statham for people who wanted to keep on reading about this topic.

The actual testing of the products turned out to be a bit more hectic than I thought it would be. Everyone was talking and Therese could hardly get through the noise to guide us through the steps. My skin felt instantly soft and the luxurious rosehip oil (one liter of that oil costs Kora $22,000!) and the lavender mist smelled divine! As far as the other products went, you could notice that they weren't designed for fragrance, like Therese said. Some even smelled like the good old goodies my grandma used to have when I was a little kid :) However, my skin loved all of the products equally well!
With the exception of the lip balm, which is made with beeswax, the entire Kora range is vegan and cruelty-free! So, there was only this one product that I didn't try. The tinted moisturizer with natural SPF was a little cakey on my face at first but Therese fixed it for me by mixing the moisturizer with a little bit of the soothing day and night cream. She really knows her stuff! So does, Matt, her son. He came to me to inform me that the citrus mist (that Therese had chosen for me) was sold out and recommended the lavender mist instead, as both mists share a lot of the benefits. I felt so looked after, it was wonderful- Matt's partner is a sweetheart, too! They are all very kind and dedicated people, I was so grateful to have met them! The event was supposed to end at 8.30pm and when I left, it was almost 11pm - that's how much love was shared that night! No one was left out.

This is what I got that night :-) I am very looking forward to trying all the products out in my new beach home. Until then (the day after tomorrow, ha ha), I'm gonna use fresh lemon juice and mushed avocado on my face - which was the only thing helping my skin after having to adjust to the new climate. Nature is awesome and still the best! 

What do you think about Kora Organics?! I personally do not use anything on my skin that isn't organic, except some make-up. I buy my organically-grown groceries at the Farmer's Markets instead of shopping at the supermarket. I chose a vegan lifestyle out of respect for all beings and for our dear planet. I know that it can get rough doing things differently than most other people but this role grows on me. I keep meeting wonderful people who share this mission and handle it in their own unique ways. What is your passion?

Sam xx

Friday, June 1, 2012

Laser Eye Surgery - A Sharp Eye On That!

Dear readers,

it's true, this is the first time I am able to write to you without being literally glued to the screen... I was short-sighted since I am 17 years old as I have an astigmatism inherited from my mum that came into play in my teenage years. Unfortunately, my eyes have some more peculiar features. I could not get used to wearing glasses no matter how long I would try to wear them. I always saw the rim of the glass and got spacy when I tried to move. So basically, I could only watch TV with them... contact lenses weren't a whole lot better, either. I tried EVERY kind of contacts that you can imagine: regular, toric, soft and hard kinds, small-sized ones, super oxygen-permeable ones and ALL sorts of cleaning fluids. My eyes would reject them in any case, I could always feel them in my eyes and I could always see the rim, especially when I blinked. Also, the lenses would drain the natural fluids in my eyes and I was prone to eye infections if I wore them regularly.
For months and months, I would just take my faith and lived my life without any eye-wear at all. My eyes felt great but I had to cross the street to read the sign, I never singled out cute guys, etc... not too great either. So, my doctor finally recommended eye surgery for me as being my last option. I had the best preconditions: My eye-sight stayed consistent for years and my eyes were otherwise healthy with a thick protection layer and I am still relatively young (28 years) which gives me at least 15 years before to think of glasses again (presbyopia hits between 40-45 years of age).

To cut a long story short: I did it!! I chose the newest institute in my country with the most advanced equipment and had the surgery done by the head of department himself - it is a major intervention and not as harmless as they tell you! In fact, you need to be very brave and help the docs to make it right! You need to be motionless in a specific head position and focus on specific points and so on... if you were fully unconscious it wouldn't work! You realize everything that's going from fasten your eyelids to the burning of your eye by the laser (the sizzling noise and smell!). To be able to cope with all of this you get sedatives in advance. I am totally against medication of any kind but I told to myself that if I give my life in the hands of the medical paradigm I need to stick with it and I really think that was a wise decision!! I also took and still continue to take the prescribed eye drops every few hours which contain antibiotics and cortisone (both of which I actually hate to feed my body with!). Again, my stand is that if you do it, better do it all the way.
The first few hours after the surgery were hell. I wanted to scratch my eyes out and I needed to sleep with my sunglasses on to prevent rubbing them at night. I couldn't see anything and had a hard time to even open a door, let alone trying to call someone - impossible. I cramped in bed in pain and so forth... no fun! Beware, they tell you that you feel "uncomfortable" after the surgery but this is a vast understatement! When I got up the next day, surprisingly though, I felt almost like any other day. I was calm and didn't feel exhausted at all. My eyes were sensitive in the sense that they couldn't take direct sunlight and my vision was still a little blurry but other than that I felt just fine. I went to see my regular doctor a day after the regular check-up in the clinic and she congratulated me for the excellent work these folks had done. No kidding, this was the best treatment out there!

                                                    As seen by me... all equally sharp!

Things I have to follow from now on:

- NEVER rubbing my eyes - this habit must die, it's not good for the eyes in the first place
- taking eye drops regularly for 4 weeks in total
- no make-up for 4 weeks
- no exercise for 4 weeks besides walking
- no washing my hair for a few days (thank god for dry shampoo)
- wearing sun glasses outside and in bed, mainly to prevent anything touching my eyes

This is really a serious intervention but I feel like a new person being able to see in the distance all day every day! This is the justification for me to push my body through so much stress. It was not an easy decision at all, believe me!

What do you guys think of laser surgery for eye-sight correction? Have you done it also or do you know anybody who had good or bad experiences with it? I'd like to know, as always!

Take care, until next time!
ur Blk-Gypsy xx

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Brush Collection: ~ Wipe Wipe Away ~

My dears,

the time has finally come: I made time to publish a long scheduled blog post!! I am terribly sorry for my prolonged absence but believe me, please, my life is crazy busy and if I have to decide between reading your posts or writing a post - I surely decide for your updates most of the time!!

Tonight, I'd like to share my brush collection with you. They are my go-to helpers for every day use but they feel extremely decadent as well :-) The nicest thing is that I own most of those brushes for a long time and can ensure you that they last almost forever!

Alima Pure:

Maybe my mostly used tool of all times: the #25 foundation brush - a wonderfully reliable part of my morning routine which helps me to get an easy (and environmentally-friendly) start to the day :) I can't wait to get more products by this brand. What I know so far is sensational! The company uses only the best natural ingredients that work wonders on my skin and they never test on animals. I am indeed grateful for their truly considerate approach which is so rare these days...

If you ever read my blog you know that I am all over this brand!! The brushes are no exception: those little fairy helpers come in beautiful arty zip bags and look as good as new no matter how often I use them. They are expensive but well worth the extra costs as they are the most beautiful tools I've seen and I never go look for replacements :) My darlings are called: large shader 003, face contour 012, eye liner 008, crease 011.


Benefit brushes really do the trick and are pretty all-rounders. You can tell from how many I've got! Even though their range is not as bis as Mac, for example, I think they picked the best shapes for most occasions. This concepts works well for me at least... My choices: concealer brush, fantail brush, foundation brush, fluff shadow brush (awesome!), shadow liner brush, slant powder brush

A word of warning! The angled liner shadow brush hurts on the sensitive lash line! The soft focus shadow brush is divine, though, and the funky rock'n roll brush is too hot to be true - love it :-)

this brand is not very widely-known but it is a high-quality company that I like a lot. Dianne's style is awesome and a little kinky, too ;) I've got the eye-liner/lip brush (which I use for lips only - I love it as it is bigger than most other lip pencils which can make my lip line look too harsh), the small foundation precision brush, as well as the smoky eye liner brush.


I am not the biggest MAC fan as they use harsh chemicals in their products (even though they work extremely well because of that - that's why I still got plenty of MAC products for special occasions, like going out etc..). The brushes are insanely good, though! I happen to use those two the most often and think that they never got copied quite as well by other brands: the 219 pencil brush and the 214 short shader brush.

I store my brushes in a washable case with a lid to protect my brushes from dust. How do you store your make-up utensils?

All the best to you,
I love you all!
ur Sam xx

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

† The City of Prague Picture Story

Dear readers,

I just had a look at my blog and realized that I have totally missed out on telling you about a wonderful trip I have taken recently! I caught up with my darling American friend in Prague and we had the most wonderful time there (she looks a lot like Jennifer Love Hewitt by the way but I am not allowed to show her to you - she's shy!).
The sun was shining brightly every day and we were assured that this was a special occurrence - so we felt even more blessed to experience this town from its most gorgeous side :-)

Here are some of our views, hope you enjoy and feel inspired to visit Eastern Europe, too. I can't believe I've never been there before:

above 2: this is the view from the central tower overlooking the city center. Underneath the big place you see on the first picture is actually an amazing underground museum on the history of Prague. They found practically the entire old town way below the ground level you see today. I highly recommend anyone visiting the city to go have a look - it's way more exciting and vibrant than you might think! I am still fascinated by this experience, they've done a marvelous job down there!!

 above 3: these pictures you get to take just by doing some sightseeing - amazing! 

above: this is one of the many characteristic café's in Prague. The restaurants are typically underground - just like it used to be many centuries ago around there.

above 2: the old castle and some nuns making a photo shoot on the stairway! They acted just like ordinary tourists - all excited and jittery, too cute!!

above 2: my outfits were convenient but with an ongoing theme - I chose dark red/burgundy colors for day and night time and wore big dark sunglasses to shield from the sun, while still remaining feminine in my overall appearance and not too bulky. This is how I imagine an Eastern European women to be like! 
(haha, note the bike riding guy in the background - wonder what he is thinking ;] )

My make-up brand of choice was my beauty evergreen pick Rouge Bunny Rouge. As their story takes place at an enchanted garden in Russia (or so I believe) I thought their products would make the perfect match for my journey to Prague. I took my decadent duos with me, my blush sticks, and many more items! Check out my previous posts on the brand for reviews. 

Have you ever been somewhere new and returned totally blown-away by this unexpected direct hit?! Tell me all about it, where are your most favorite locations, girls? 

Much love to you,
Sam xx

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Italian Spirit ~ ~ ~

Hello my fellow travelers,

where have you been this summer? I've been in Bella Italia by the sea ~ ~ ~ ~ what a wonderful August it was but full of work, too. I am open to new possibilities when it comes to my professional career. This last month was a wonderful time to reflect on many questions I've had and working my hardest on all kinds of projects while spending a good deal on the sunny side of life, too :-)

I haven't bought many products last month, I will need to think of new posts soon. Maybe go shopping... ;-)

Love you all, let's stay in touch! 
ur gypsy xx

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Next Stop - Bella Italia!

Hi folks,

I am by far the worst job hunter I have ever come across... instead of working my ass off to earn a proper living I am taking advantage of the situation and travel all over the world to meet with friends :-) I am spending the entire August on Italy's sunny coast with a friend I worked with in my former job!! Oh well, she wants to help me out with work-related things but there will be a lot of fun and sightseeing in the meantime :-)

Beauty Confessions:
There is one urgent question I have to ask you: Is this too much blue even for a gypsy like me?!
Honestly, I think so! This outfit won't be making it into my suitcase - what was I thinking wearing that??

top: Victoria's Secret cami
skirt: Old Navy
shoes: Tamaris (second hand)
clutch: Lucky Brand (gift)
bag: no name (gift)

Girls (& boys if there are any), I have another beauty confession to make: I am not wearing much make-up anymore and I quite like my effortless look even though I miss my coral summer lips and my dark smokey eyes at times... but since I have turned to organic skincare and groceries I am feeling much more comfortable in my own skin. Something has changed, I can't really put my hands on it, yet. It could be multiple reasons: simply me growing up, or the awareness of nourishing the self, or the many nutrients of natural products...

This is how I look on most days now, except my nails are much stronger and longer (took this pic 2 months ago and trimmed the nails prior to guitar lessons):

Do you have any beauty confessions to make? This is the place for sharing them! :)

Lots of love, sunshine, & happiness
ur Sam xx