Azure Naturals- Vitamin C Serum & Retinol Serum Review

Alright, so I shudder to post these horrifyingly unflattering pictures, but I can notice a definite change in my face after two weeks use of Azure Naturals’ Vitamin C Serum twice a day and Azure Naturals Retinol Serum at night.

On the left is my “lovely” before application the first night- before washing my face. On the right is about 10 days later also having not washed my face around 3 pm (on a lazy Sunday, don’t judge my hygiene routine! 😖)

I know that the lighting and angles have changed from one to the other, but here’s my honest review: my skin is definitely smoother 10 days later. I had some serious breakouts from day 1-4, I don’t know if they were routine related or hormone related. The only noticeable lines I have are my frown lines between my eyebrows. (What face do I keep making to get these???) I didn’t think there was a difference until I saw the picture.

Azure Naturals recommends trying their product for 30 days, and having not tried a Retinol or vitamin c serum before, I have nothing to compare it to. I found the vitamin c serum to be great, I would be likely to purchase it again. The Retinol serum had a sticky feeling that I did not enjoy. I will probably use the rest of the bottle I recieved free for my honest reviews and not purchase it again.

Azure naturals as a company had great packaging- I only have one complaint- the pumps on both bottles were very difficult to not push so hard that the product would launch uncontrollably fast and some would miss my hand.

I really appreciated the emailed directions that were sent from Azure Naturals, I was just disappointed they arrived a good 24 hours after the product (as the first time I used I put the Retinol on in the morning, not knowing it should be used at night).

Also, this it probably self explanatory, but don’t get this in your eye. It does not belong there and it will hurt.

I did receive these products for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are solely my own because I take honesty seriously. 

Young Living Geranium Essential Oil

My wonderful sister-in-law sells Young Living Oils and swears by them for her family. I must say, though, as a member of the medical community I have always had serious doubts.

But, trying to be supportive (and as a last-ditch effort for some PCOS hormone balancing) I asked her to get me the geranium essential oils so I could give it a try.

When I first saw the bottle size, I did have some sticker shock. But the tiny bottle has lasted far longer than I anticipated.

Surprisingly my husband didn’t bat an eye. He said “if there’s a chance it will help, try it!”

Did it help? I can’t honestly say. I don’t know if it balances my hormones. I still don’t know if I 100% believe in essential oils having these magical direct effects on different body systems, but I do believe in aromatherapy having a direct effect on your emotions and emotions having a direct effect on a lot of your body. So, in that way, I 100% believe in them.

I did cheat on my sister-in-law (SORRY!) and I ordered a couple oils from Young Living says you can ingest their oils, and I know several who do (I don’t!). I wouldn’t do it with bulk apothecary. I do, however, really love the lemon oil I got from my “alternative source” for a lower price.

The geranium is a VERY powerful smell, but all the “oil guides” suggest a couple drops to the wrists or abdomen for PCOS. It was too powerful and overwhelming to smell, and I worried the women at work in my office would be accosted by the scent. I mix lemon oil and vitamin E oil and put it in a roll on. I can tell the days I don’t wear it, the lemon helps me ‘perk up’ mentally, and (it could be placebo effect) but the geranium makes me feel better. Placebo or not, I’ll take it!

I have also seen amazing effects to my womanly cycles (again, people I know read this, so I won’t go into too much detail, if you have questions, ask!). I am also taking traditional medication, so I can’t say geranium oil will fix you up all by itself, but I believe enough that it has aided my prescriptions that I will continue to use it!

I can say, if you’re miserable, the worst thing that could happen is it doesn’t work. (Well… Anaphylaxis would be the worst thing, but I’m assuming you know not to buy this if you are allergic to geranium!)

I will probably buy all my oils that I’m using just for smells from bulk apothecary, but I will rebuy my geranium oil from Young Living. (Yes that’s a link to a specific seller, a shameless plug for my sister-in-law, no she didn’t ask for it or give me anything in return. But that’s where I got mine.)

A New Kind of Insight

Hello [again] world! Long time no talk.

I know, it’s all on me… I’m sorry!

I’ve discovered that as I hit 25 this year, my dramatic rantings have decreased, although my husband may disagree… I’ve discovered that appreciation for adult privacy. I don’t want the world to know all my inner-most political thoughts and troubles, because now it involves my very private husband and could impact either of our careers, friendships, or futures. I could remove the blog, which I debated on doing, but then I decided to revamp the idea. Instead of giving you all my most inner thoughts, problems, health issues, and horribly written teenage poetry, I’ll switch to giving the advice I tend to seek the most now: honest consumer reviews.

I did find a place that allows me to sign up for offers for products, but I promise they will still be my honest opinions. I positively despise when people say nice things just for a discount. I will say nice things if I try a nice product. I’m going to start with a few that are not at a discount or free, just so I can try to set a consistency and honesty standard.

I am the kind of person who does a LOT of research for big decisions, and will thoughtlessly drop money on what I consider to be not important. Nothing frustrates me more than doing all my research, purchasing a big product, and then finding out it didn’t live up to my expectations.

Sorry you won’t get all the weird thoughts in the same way, and I hope these are helpful to at least one person.

I’m Shaley and I’m here to give you my honest insights as a common consumer.

Dear America (Not Just One Color of You)

Dear America,

As long as we continue to define our perception of people by their color, there will be racism.

The thing that bothers me is our never-ending need to stuff individuals into categories. As long as the news, our politicians, our children, our brains continue to put color, race, sexual orientation, or religion as our defining title, then we as a nation will continue to struggle.

There are few times that we need to label an individual, and in day to day conversations, I don’t understand the need to specify that a “white girl” sat next to me on the bus or a “black man” waited on our table. Why must a “gay man” be defined as your best friend or a “latino woman” as your neighbor. When you stop clarifying you stop noticing.

And I’ve had people tell me how offensive it is that I no longer go out of my way to notice the color of their skin because they use it to self-identify, but I don’t see it that way. I don’t need to describe my neighbor as a “white male about 45” because I am not putting up a lost persons ad. I can tell you about him, my neighbor is a nice guy, he loves to laugh. He drives a Harley. He smiles with his whole face. If you asked, I can tell you his ethnicity and religion, but I don’t think of these things as his defining quality.

Now, as for current events, I wasn’t there. I can’t tell you if that “white cop” shot that “black guy” because he was black or if it was in self-defense.

I can’t tell you if destroying Baltimore is the right thing to do, because I am not the person who decides what is right or wrong. (If you were wondering, if I lived there I would certainly not be participating because I believe causing injury and damage only creates a mob mentality that the rest of the nation will not take seriously.)

But I’m really tired of listening to the news and being told that a black man was killed by a white cop today. I want to hear when deaths and terrible things happen in my community (and good things! I want to hear good things!), but I don’t think that the color of their skin should be the reason they make the news. Why are some of the reports of police officers killing white people not making the news? The newspapers are more concerned with the color of their skin than the fact that someone lost their life.

So, what I see as the challenge for ALL American is: see a person as a person before you try to categorize them in your mind.
Why are you noticing when a white person walks through a predominantly black neighborhood? Why does it matter if a Muslim owns the gas station down the road? Why do we need to check an ethnicity or a race on our standardized testing, on our taxes, on our job applications? Why can’t we stop comparing categories? Because when you stop continually having them pointed out, you stop noticing.

I don’t notice these things first anymore. Which is why it has been so hard for me to believe there was still racism in today’s society, I had stopped noticing race a while ago, I see us under one umbrella: American.

United we should stand, because we all share one thing in common: we are humans.

Update: As I reread my post, I realize that I didn’t address the fact that I think history, culture, and heritage are interesting and important, but I really don’t feel they define us. They may play a role in developing us, but they are not a definition. 

The Wisdom of Jim

Firstly, let me admit, I don’t actually know who Jim Halpert is. I discovered this quote on Pinterest, The Land of Discovering Everything. And it stuck in my mind because things have been getting serious with my boyfriend of not quite a year. (Holy cow that is coming up soon.. I probably need to go find him a gift!!) But things keep getting serious, and in between these moments of pure I-Never-Want-to-Leave-Your-Arms-Happiness there are niggling doubts that keep appearing.

Let me share them with you, because perhaps by expressing them in writing I can learn to, as Jim suggests, forget about the logic and fear and doubt, and let go. Take the jump…

Niggling Doubt #1: I can share any real information with him. I can tell him anything about my day, and the future, and the past, but if I try to spark a creative topic, something that cannot be easily applicable to his life, he tunes me out. He just stares at me like I’m speaking a foreign language. And to his very man-logical self, I sure am speaking a foreign language. This is something that I am struggling with adjusting to. All of my best friends and I have these long fanciful conversations. My roommate and I in college would chat about these crazy ideas after we turned out the lights before our dreams overtook us. I cherish these conversations, as they are the way my brain processes everything. As I drift off to sleep, fanciful ideas and concepts are my only thoughts. My father does not think this way, but my mother does. So clearly that relationship can work… But it’s hard to think of him as my best friend when he won’t/can’t have the conversations my best friends and I have always had.

Niggling Doubt #2: Does he have to be my best friend? Can’t he just be ONE of my friends? Can’t he just be my boy + friend?

Niggling Doubt #3: I am very messy. This irritates him constantly. He says he can live with it and that I’m getting better, but is that fair to him?

Niggling Doubt #4: Back to #1, we’ve never had a strong conversation about faith, either. I have been with him to church, he’s even recently suggested God sent me to him… but without a God conversation, is our relationship really built on His ground?

Niggling Doubt #5: I have to bribe and pull teeth and beat him in to submission to get him to watch a movie I’ve picked out. And 99 times out of 100 he still doesn’t make it through it because “they’re not interesting”

Niggling Doubt #6:  We have overlapping music tastes, but if I pick the music it is bad and not anything good.

Niggling Doubt #7: I keep feeling as though I do a lot of things to irritate him, but because I sometimes have an overly explosive/semi-dramatic way of handling things he can’t express them. I fear I’ve ruined our open communications by being childish. But clearly he’s still in for the long-haul, as he’s stuck around.

Niggling Doubt #8: We’re too much alike sometimes. We both struggle with not getting our way, which sounds so childish when I say it like that. I want to be the person that drops it, because I know it won’t matter in the long-run, but then I just feel like I’m being run over, so I have to dig my heels in exceptionally.

Niggling Doubt #9: The fact that I have 8 other doubts.

According to Jim, I should take a big breath and forget about logic and reason, forget the fear that these matter too much.

But I struggle sometimes with forgetting fear..

Any words of advice? Things you’ve found in your relationships? Things you know are a problem, and things you know that when I’m 40 I’ll laugh at worrying at?

Self Confidence

Do I take things personally because I lack confidence
Or is the self something that knows
Every little barb
I am not good enough
Every jab
I need to do more
Every angry word

How can I fix something
That is constantly ripped down

When I crucify myself
It is too far
Too hard on myself

I start to believe
Then you say what I’ve thought
Out loud
Matter of fact
Like I should already know

How do I get better
When I just keep feeling worse?

The Power of Stupid Conversations

I don’t know about you, but when I try to think about what it is that my friends and I sit and talk about all day long, I can’t really come up with a list. It’s not usually intellectual, that’s not to say we don’t have smart things to say about whatever we’re talking about, but we don’t sit down and discuss the thematic variations of Shakespeare, or the interesting reaction between Sodium and water in Chlorine gas. We talk about stupid things, Scrubs, Better Off Ted, the weird books we’ve read, the bad movies we’ve watched, the weird new games we’ve tried, it leads to hours and hours of conversation because each one leads to another story and another.

I feel so lost when I lose my stupid conversations, it makes me feel like I’ve lost all my fun, like I’ve lost my creative and interesting parts.

This really has come around because it has been months since I’ve seen my best friends, and I miss being able to talk for hours about nothing. My life has become in a rut, and I miss my stupidity.