Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trader Joe's Blueberry & Acai Facial Scrub

Trader Joe's Blueberry Acai Facial Scrub

I love Trader Joe's.  It's like a smaller Whole Foods and the employees are always super friendly so I'm in there fairly often.  My boyfriend once said, "Get everything you need so we're not here three times a wee."  But there's so much to buy!  Apple blossoms!  Green tea mochi!  Turkish honey!  Matcha cookies!  Kale!  And . . . this Blueberry & Acai Facial Scrub.  

I was like, "Girl, you do not need another skincare product.  Don't waste your money."  The little devil on my shoulder was like, "Girl, it's only $5.99, tho."  I walked away, but it ended up in my basket at the till because who can pass up a face scrub like this?  Worth.  Every.  Penny. 

The blueberry and acai scrub comes house in a 2 oz frosted glass jar with a silver lid.  There's something about weighted glass containers that feel incredibly luxurious in the hand.  You can see the full list of ingredients on their website, and I'm pleased that the second ingredient is blueberry fruit and not filler.  The product smells like fresh berries.  Absolutely delightful. 

Trader Joe's Blueberry Acai Facial Scrub, Review, Lumière & Lens, Affordable Beauty

The exfoliation comes from the alpha hydroxy acids in the scrub: citric acid, malic acid, and lactic acid, which are all high on the ingredient list.  Alpha hydroxy acids are carboxylic acids with hydroxyl groups (the OH) adjacent to the COOHs.  In beauty products, alpha hydroxy acids are used for chemical exfoliation.  Using a sunscreen is recommended because you're basically removing the top layer of skin, but you should be using one anyways!  And before anyone wants to give me a lecture on "chemical nasties" and going "chemical free," I'm going to stop you right there to let you know that's a big fat marketing gimmick of a lie. 

Does it work?  I've been using it for about a week so far.  I've noticed that my skin is softer and smoother to the touch.  The smoothness is palpable immediately after use.  My makeup applies more evenly and has greater longevity than usual despite spending long days in lab.  I've had no adverse reactions; I'm hoping they don't discontinue this product, because I like it way more than my granulated facial scrub!  I'd highly recommend picking this up the next time you're at Trader Joe's!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday #48: Generous Helpings

Hello, everyone, how were your weeks?  Mine has been a mix of ups and downs.  I'm mid-synthesis in lab, waiting for reagents to arrive, and we're having to do troubleshooting for our biology work.  As for the better moments?  I got to take some coffee/lunch breaks with good people this week, shared a post on self-care habits, and closed out Friday with a concert in the park and dinner with labmates.  I've been a busy beaver!


I was invited along with my friend and her boyfriend to have lunch at Ginger Corner Market in Pasadena this week.  Ginger is one of those small sandwich shops with salads, coffee, and pastries.  It has quite a rustic, at-home feel to it (a very Instagram-friendly aesthetic, too, I might add).  I ordered what might quite have been the most delicious BLT I've ever eaten: generous helpings of candied bacon, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, all topped with a fried egg on sourdough bread.  I was so full from lunch that I didn't get one of their delicious looking pastries (they had a banana-Nutella turnover).  I'll be back, Ginger.  Just you wait and see!



I may have watched quite a bit of Netflix this week.  I started Ann With An E after a recommendation from Gina.  It's an adaptation of Anne of Green Gables and is one of the most feminist shows I've ever seen.  Definitely recommend it!  My boyfriend and I finished the second season of Master of None.  It's not as funny as the first, but watchable.  The story lines are very  . . . millennial appropriate.  I now have Riverdale on in the background and I'm loving it!  I read the Archie comics as a kid and I think they nailed the casting.  What I don't like is how all these "teenagers" are played by adults like all dramas.  I recall my shock at how all the teenagers looked younger, more awkward, and smaller in real life back when I started high school.  Did anyone else have that experience?



I sent off the finished photos for Grant from Lost Art Creative this week.  We did the shoot in Old Town, Pasadena.  I had a great time working and post-processing!  Every person I work with wants a different style of shoot, composition, and lighting.  As I've said before, every photo session is an opportunity to learn something and the model themselves can unknowingly be teaching a lesson.

Photographs of Grant.

Avi at Golden Photography is one of the first photographers I've ever followed on Instagram.  He is also a photographer based in Los Angeles and after communicating for several months, we got around to shooting in the city on Saturday.  I'm excited for the photos to come back because they're the best ones anyone has ever taken of me!  On top of that, it was so interesting to observe someone with a completely different aesthetic and view of photography.  It was a really fun Saturday afternoon!  I came away from both experiences with opened eyes on how much more I have to learn and to keep practicing.



•  Single and not looking by Jane.  Life doesn't need a relationship to be full.  She writes it so beautifully.
•  Feminista Jones opens a dialogue on how women are expected to appreciate compliments without agreeing.
•  Gillian started a series called the Freelance Diaries.  Read her first post on a peek into her week!
•  Just for fun: penmanship that is beautiful enough to make you weep.

It's Sunday afternoon now.  The California heat has set in,  I'm drowsy, and I have a lot of errands to run.  Tell me about your week in the comments and how your Sunday was?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Everyday Self-Care That Doesn't Take Up (Too Much) Time

Self-care, Lumière & Lens

Did you know that May is Mental Health Month?  My contribution this year will be on that ever popular buzzword(s): self-care.  The notion of self-care is something I became acquainted with in the first year of my PhD studies.  Academic productivity is important, but staying healthy is pertinent to that goal.  No matter where we are in life, however, I think we can agree that everyone could benefit from taking care of themselves.

Self-care is important for managing mental/physical health, but I don't always have the resources to take vacations or engage in retail therapy (the answer to every woe is not #treatyoself).  I've been working on practicing self-care in my everyday life, to make it habit.  In my opinion, self-care shouldn't be saved for special occasions or when I've had an extremely bad day.  Here are the self-care practices in which I engage.  Obviously, I'm not a mental health professional so this shouldn't be taken as treatment for anything.  I hope this is useful for somebody!



We all hang out with people and we have a choice in our company.  I've been making an effort to have healthier relationships.  As I've touched on in my decluttering post, I don't spend time or energy with people out of obligation.  I'm going to write one of my favorite quotes, "Respect yourself enough to walk away from something that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy."  If a person stresses me out or spending time with them doesn't feel good, I walk away.  On the flip side, I'm lucky to know friends and family who inspire me to be a better person.



A lot of us (definitely me) have a tendency to be incredibly self-critical and beat ourselves up when things go wrong.  The next time you fall into this trap, ask yourself, "Would I say this to a friend?"  If the answer is no, then don't say it to yourself!  For me, practicing kindness is accepting mistakes and figuring out how to learn from them.  It's not beating myself up if I skip the gym, eat pie, or take a day to myself.  As for being kind to others?  I've always believed that a lot of meanness stems from insecurity -- just because I feel poorly doesn't give me an excuse to treat others as such.  Besides, I've never felt bad for being kind, but I have for meanness.  Create the environment you in which you want to thrive (see above).



There are things we do regularly: shower, bathe, put on our skincare, etc.  May as well turn them into luxurious experiences!  I keep a candle in my bathroom that I light before my daily shower (I like nature scents).  As I live in California, I also keep the windows open and play music on my phone.  Do I dance while I shower?  OF COURSE I DO.  I use well scented shampoo and shower gels to make my bath feel as much like a spa as possible.  As a makeup lover, one of the best parts of my morning is applying my War Paint.  Who cares if I'm just going into lab to slap goggles on my face?



You can probably see that a common theme emerging here.  Finding time to appreciate what's around me every day helps immensely for coping with stress.  I appreciate a laugh and stroll for coffee with friends each week.  I appreciate being able to afford the candle and toiletries of my preference.  I appreciate the little acts of kindness people show me.  Looking on the bright side is far easier said than done, but make it a daily practice to find the positive in bad situations.  It gets easier to find light in the darkness that way.  Promise. 

What are some self-care practices in which you partake?