Review: 3M Nexcare Acne Covers

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June is Acne Awareness Month, and in lieu of that, I’ve decided to dedicate this week to acne prevention. I’ll admit right away, I’m a picker. Whenever there’s a pimple, I can’t help but pick or squeeze it, which of course worsens the situation (usually infecting the nearby areas) and causes redness, bruising, and scarring.

But ever since I’ve found these miracle workers, I haven’t been tempted to pick at my pimples anymore!

What It Is: Absorbing acne covers

What It Does: When placed on a pimple, the covers work like a sponge to absorb pus and oil.

Verdict: I don’t know what sorcery this is, but it WORKS. I’ve tried various others acne covers from other brands, and they rarely worked as well as these. These covers actually absorb the pus from the acne overnight, even cystic acne! I can’t begin to tell you how miraculous these are! They’re a true godsend in zapping zits overnight. All you have to do is wash your face, then apply the cover directly on the pimple, and in then in the morning you remove the cover and you’ll see all the pus has been absorbed on the cover while the pimple is gone! If you haven’t tried these, do yourself a favour, and GET THESE NOW!

Price: $5.98 (if you subscribe to 5 products) or $6.29 for one time purchase

Where To Buy It: www.amazon.com

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1 Secret Ingredient to Zapping Zits Overnight!

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Need to get rid of a pesky pimple pronto? Then read on to find out how Aloe Vera can help you!

Sure, we all know that Aloe Vera is the go-to plant for when we have sunburns, but it can also be very effective in getting rid of a pimple fast.

Aloe Vera is a tropical plant that when cut in half produces a clear gel. Almost any grocery store or plant store has them, so they’re easy to find.

What makes Aloe Vera the holy grail of plants for skin benefits? Well, when applied to skin, Aloe Vera gel has been proven to fight bacteria, reduce inflammation, and speed up skin recovery. Basically, all the things you need when trying to get rid of a pimple.

It’s also been proven that when Aloe Vera gel is paired with a tretinoin cream (that is an acne medication derived from Vitamin A), it significantly reduces existing pimples, as well as not allowing new ones to come to the surface.

How to Use Aloe Vera Gel for Acne

  1. Scrape the gel out of the aloe leaves with a spoon.
  2. Apply gel to the skin at the same time as other acne treatments. You may want to try mixing it with your other treatment, and then apply this to your skin. Or, you can apply the other acne treatment first, with the aloe gel over top.
  3. Repeat 1-2 times per day, or as desired.

In summary, applying Aloe Vera to the skin can help treat burns, heals wounds, but also fight inflammation from acne. Give Aloe Vera a chance, and you may just be on the way to beautiful skin!

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Suicide Has Escalated Because Americans Are Depressed

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Suicide Can Be Preventable If We Know The Warning Signs

Warning Signs of Suicide

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.

  • Looking for a way to kill oneself.

  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.

  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.

  • Talking about being a burden to others.

  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.

Suicide has been on the rise in the past ten years. And it’s no surprise that that is the case when 1 in 4 Americans are depressed. There’s a myriad of reasons why more and more Americans are depressed, whether it’s for the lack of stable employment, unstable relationships, and debilitating debt. In a world where success is measured by your bank account, it’s obvious that the average person nowadays feels like they’re severely lacking.

But what about celebrities who seem to have it all? Why are suicide rates rising in their circle as well? Because depression is a serious illness and often not one that people are readily willing to admit to having or needing help. And often, when they do go to doctors for help, they are merely prescribed anti-depressant after anti-depressant, that often, one of the side-effects of said anti-depressant is suicidal thoughts.

What actually needs to find out the source of their unhappiness, and only then can a true recovery be accomplished. Medication may help alleviate symptoms for some, but it’s only with the help of other people and your own can you overcome depression and the feeling of unworthiness that comes along with it.

But while suicide rates have increased over the years, the ones who are the most at risk of committing suicide are white males by 84%. A study has shown that just this past week with celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain committing suicide, has increased suicide across the states by 25%. Now experts are afraid that suicide contagion may cause those individuals that have been contemplating suicide to take the so-called plunge. Suicidal thoughts may increase when you see celebrities taking their own lives, as it has individuals experiencing a greater sense of hopelessness, thinking that if a celebrity who was living their best life committed suicide, then how could they ever achieve happiness themselves, and thus see suicide as their only way out.

Mental Health conditions and depression aren’t the only reasons people are seeking suicide as a solution to their problems. People experiencing relationship problems and loss of a loved one are at a greater risk, along with those that abuse alcohol or drugs. Stress is also a major component, whether you’re experiencing stress due to employment (or lack of one), money, legal, or housing issues are also at risk for suicide. Not to mention stress due to physical health conditions.

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So what can we do to help?

  1. Don’t leave that person alone.
  2. Separate that person from anything that might harm them.

If you or someone else is thinking about suicide, there is help!

The suicide rate in the United States has seen sharp increases in recent years. Studies have shown that the risk of suicide declines sharply when people call the national suicide hotline: 1-800-273-TALK.

There is also a crisis text line.

For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.

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Review: Yves Saint Laurent – Touche Eclat Blur Primer

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I was really excited when I received this in one of my Allure Beauty Boxes, because the packaging for it was incredibly elegant that I was certain that the product inside would also be of excellent quality. This primer is to be primarily used before foundation, but since I don’t use foundation, I actually use primers as a base for underneath my eyes before I apply concealer as it helps keep my eyes hydrated as well as help the concealer glide on the skin without any problem.

What It Is: Blurring and Illuminating Primer

What It Does: Maximizing Skin Radiance

Active Ingredients: Corn Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Rice Bran Oil

Verdict: I absolutely LOVE this primer! If there’s one word that best describes this primer is luxurious. When you apply this on your skin it just feels so opulent and hydrating. Upon application, you instantly see how it helps create a blurring and radiant canvas on your face (in my instance, it truly helps with brightening up and blurring the dark under eyes I have). The primer has tiny gold flecks that help capture the light and brighten up any dull skin. It’s very rich and nourishing feeling. Not only that, it seems to erase pores, creating an even, smoother skin. If you really wish to have a top-notch primer, I suggest investing in this one, because it’s truly one of the best!

Price: $52

Where To Buy It: https://www.sephora.com/product/touche-eclat-blur-primer-P397615

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7 Things I Learned From Directing a Short Horror Film

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In 2016 I embarked on a very ambitious project, I decided to direct, star, and write the screenplay for my very first short horror. Now, being someone who loves the horror genre, and who loves film in general, I wanted to create a horror film where the woman wasn’t only the victim, but that she could also be the villain. So I managed to convince some friends and my boyfriend to help me bring this project to fruition, and that’s how DEVIL IN THE DETAILS became my first short.

Since it was my first short and the only experience I had with film was working in front of the camera and not behind one, I didn’t quite anticipate a lot of the things that came up later in the process. With a bit of arrogance, I thought, if Quentin Tarantino could direct a film without ever stepping foot in a film school, then I too, could create an entertaining short in with grindhouse horror elements.

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The SEVEN THINGS I learned from Directing a Short Horror Film:

  1. Choose your cameramen wisely. When I first started out, I had two cameramen, and I figured that I could rely on them to know how to take good shots and edit. Well, it turns out that it’s easier to direct both actors and crew to get what you want done when you’re literally behind the camera than rather when you’re also acting in scenes. Being both the actor and director turned out to be far more complicated than anticipated. Also, you need to be able to trust that your cameramen are responsible, I made the mistake of not asking for my filmed scenes till I had filmed them all, which caused for some of the footage to be lost when the cameramen were unable to locate one of the SD cards.
  2. You will bruise or get hurt whilst filming. No one realises how intensive it is to be a horror actor. Hats off to all the veterans of horror and scream queens, because I didn’t realise how labor intensive it is to be a horror actor. I had to put up with fleas from being tied to a post, got bruises on my back from being tied to said post and bruises again from pretending to pass out and trying to make it look natural.
  3. Fake blood will haunt you for days. If you’re one of the actors who dies or gets hurt (as my character did in the short) then you will be splattered with fake blood. The funny thing about fake blood is that no matter how many times you’ve showered, you will somehow miss a spot and won’t know till someone randomly mentions to you two days later, “Are you bleeding?” and then you notice that you have a rogue bloodstain on the inner corner of your elbow.
  4. Don’t have a big cast. If someone would’ve told me just how difficult it is to coordinate everyone’s schedules when most people work on a rotating schedule, I wouldn’t have cast so many characters for the short. So my advice is, start small. Have three characters max, not seven like I did, and three crew members (which makes ten people total), cause let me tell you, trying to coordinate the schedule of ten people is difficult (although since I finished the project, not impossible).
  5. Create a budget. There are many expenses you need to consider when making a short. Some people may have to pay actors (I managed to cut that expense by getting my friends to act), you may need to pay for editing services (again, I managed to cut that expense by approaching a friend of mine from high school that works in film to help me with that, and I greatly appreciate the time and sweat he put behind it to deliver the finished project), buy props (most of our money went towards making the fake blood, but we also had to buy costumes, wig, and lights). Some filmmakers have had to pay for the location, I was lucky that my boyfriend allowed me to use his family’s historic barn house as the location of my film, again cutting expenses. Then there are film fest fees. Some film fests aren’t expensive, you can pay as low as $5, but others will ask as much as $20 or $50.
  6. Be realistic. Chances are your first film won’t be selected to play at Sundance, so don’t even bother sending it to that (not to mention having to pay a $50 entrance fee) because Sundance only accepts around 5% of the films sent to them. You’re better off using that money to enter in lesser-known festivals who are more apt to accept your entry. In fact, you should enter the majority of festivals that fit with your specific genre first, and then enter in ones that are close to where you live as more festivals are apt to select people who will be able to attend the actual festival than if they can’t.
  7. Have fun! Remember, you aren’t making films to make money or become famous (although of course, who wouldn’t want both?), but you must remember that you did this because you LOVE film and want to create something original. If you don’t love the world of film, then you won’t be able to survive the lesser fun and glamorous aspects of film.scream queenAlthough my short fell in post-production hell for two years, DEVIL IN THE DETAILS is finally complete and is currently being considered for several film festivals. Let me know if you’re a filmmaker or an aspiring filmmaker and if you have any advice or suggestions in the comments below!

     

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Avoid These Hidden Sugars to Lose Weight & Acne-Free Skin!

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Hidden sugars is one of the reasons why the average adult in the U.S. is culprit of consuming around 22 teaspoons of added sugars every day. Many times, these sugars are hidden in foods meant to be “healthy.” Normally, one should only be consuming around six teaspoons of sugars a day if you’re female (that’s around 100 calories) and nine teaspoons a day (around 150 calories) if you’re male.

Why is sugar such a huge no-no? Well, apart from sugar being one of the leading causes associated with diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and cognitive disorders (such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease), sugar is now even linked to cancer.

Now, apart from all those scary diseases, sugar is also a huge culprit when it comes to teenage and adult acne and any other skin conditions (because sugar is known to cause inflammation).

But not all sugars are created equal. The issue isn’t with sugars found in fresh fruits or vegetables, but rather it’s the added sugars found in the majority of the meals we consume that are the so-called bad sugars.

So how are we to avoid such hidden sugars? How do we know where they’re lurking? Below is a list of ten most common “healthy foods” that in reality have more sugar hiding in them than junk food.

TOP TEN HIDDEN SUGARS FOODS

  • Cereals and flavored oatmeals
  • Packaged breads (even those of the whole-grain variety)
  • Granola bars
  • “Lower calorie” drinks such as coffees, energy drinks, juices, and teas
  • Protein bars and meal replacements (think Slim-Fast)
  • Sweetened yogurts and other dairy products
  • Frozen waffles or pancakes
  • Bottled sauces, salad dressings, condiments, and marinades (think ketchup, relish, barbecue, or teriyaki)
  • Dried fruit and other fruit snacks (such as Fruit Roll-Ups)
  • Restaurant foods (sugar is found is almost anything cooked at a restaurant, it’s added in various sauces, desserts, and dressings)

So how are we to avoid hidden sugars? Basically, the issue is you must consume the majority of your foods in their natural state (such as fruits and vegetables). Once foods are processed or prepared in factories or restaurant chains, then that’s when unneeded sugars and sodium are added.

I’m not saying that you must avoid all of those foods on the list above ALL THE TIME, but try to consume them in moderation, that is the key to maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Need a healthy alternative for breakfast? Check out my recipes for GREEN SMOOTHIE and STRAWBERRY KIWI SMOOTHIE.

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Poetry: A Haiku for all the Boys I’ve Kissed

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1.
You taste of ashen
smoke. I swallowed bright colored
pills. You were danger.

2.
The snow kissed my hair
You kissed my lips, magically
winter melted, now.

3.
You deserve more
than seventeen syllables
my beautiful love.

4.
In a dressing room
You stole a kiss, tore my
dress, and forgot her.

5.
Before you kissed my
lips, you kissed my nose, and I
fell for you so hard.

6.
Drowning in your lust,
The rain clung to my hair like
your skin clung to mine.

7.
He murmured, “Your bloke
is wrong. All you ever needed
is a man like me.”

8.
Your kiss was deadly,
oxygen escaped like a
thief, in the cold night.

9.
Fire, you burned me through
until there was nothing left
But naked white bones.

10.
Dressed as a doting
nurse, I pushed you against the
wall and claimed you as mine.

11.
Berlin is icy
on my bare limbs, please don’t let
go. I just want you.

12.
A cozy hotel
is where I dropped my dress, and
my bestfriend title.

13.
Give back my records,
Your calloused fingers tugged my
hair, the night sparked flames.

14.
You used to hate me.
But your tongue worshiped every
part of me, for days.

15.
We passed each other,
Pulled me in a soft embrace.
It cut me in two.

16.
Music, two a.m.
You so young, and I so wise.
I stole your CDs.

17.
Your music captured
me. I stumbled into you
and inhaled the stars.

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Review: Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kits

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I’ve been avoiding to purchase anything from the Kylie Cosmetics brand, namely because I’m not a fan of the whole Kardashian-Jenner clan, so I wasn’t too keen to be sending my hard earned cash their way. However, there recently was a BOGO Sale at the Kylie Cosmetics site, (meaning you purchased one lip kit and received the second free), and decided I would give this brand a go.

I know many people are fans of the lip kits and wondered how well they’d compare to my favourite liquid lipsticks (Jeffree Star).

The lipkits I bought were in ROSIE and AUTUMN.

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(Top: Autumn lipliner, Autumn liquid lipstick. Bottom: Rosie lipliner, Rosie liquid lipstick)

ROSIE:

The lipliner went on fabulously, it was soft and feathery and really complimented my skintone. The liquid lipstick itself wasn’t so amazing. First of all, the colour was supposed to be a dusty rose, and instead it was more of a mauve shade (it had a lot more purple tones). Not to mention that this lipstick NEVER dried down, meaning it stayed wet ALL day even eight hours after application! So eating whilst wearing this liquid lipstick was messy and even simple kissing made it transfer on my boyfriend’s lips. Overall, I was completely disappointed in this shade and formula.

AUTUMN:

As with Rosie, the lipliner for Autumn was just as awesome, velvety and very pigmented. When I applied the liquid lipstick, I realised right away that the formula for Autumn wasn’t the same as the one for Rosie. Autumn dried down after being applied, although it takes about two or three layers for the colour to be uniform. The colour itself was beautiful, and although this colour dried out, I still wasn’t too keen on the formula.

Verdict:

For $40* (including tax & shipping & handling fees), although I got the BOGO deal and it did come with lipliner/liquid lipstick duo, I still don’t think that these lip kits were worth the steep price. I know there’s been much debate over Colourpop liquid lipsticks and Kylie Cosmetics liquid lipsticks being essentially the same thing since they’re made and packaged in the same factory. But having tried the Colourpop liquid lipsticks, the formula between those and Kylie lipsticks don’t seem the same at all. Rather, the Colourpop formula is actually better in my opinion for a fraction of the price (just for $6.50!). Overall, although I do love the shade Autumn a lot and may wear it more often than Rosie, I can’t truly say that I’m in love with these lipkits. Ultimately, Kylie’s lipkits are all hype with very little turnout.

Price: $29* (price without tax & shipping & handling fees)

Where To Buy It: https://www.kyliecosmetics.com

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How to Lose 10 Pounds in 1 Week!(Find out what Foods to Cut!)

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Summertime is when people begin to take notice that they’ve piled on some extra pounds over the winter months (ya know like you’ve eaten your weight in cookies and muffins). Trying to shed those pounds in time to strut a bikini at a beach or pool can prove to be taxing. But I’ve got you, girl, it doesn’t have to be that way!

You can easily shed up to 10 pounds (even more!) in ONE WEEK if you eliminate these two food groups from your diet completely:

SUGARS & STARCHES (CARBS)

If you dramatically cut these from your diet, I will guarantee that you WILL see results as fast as ONE WEEK. Why is that? Well, first of all, cutting back on sugars and starches will influence your hunger levels, dramatically lowering them, hence, contributing to the consumption of fewer calories.

But lowering your hunger levels isn’t the ONLY perk. Removing sugars and starches from your diet will also lower your insulin levels, allowing your kidneys to flush any extra water or sodium from your body, removing any bloating and unnecessary water weight.

Essentially, if you’re eating a low-carb low-sugar diet, you will be less hungry than your low-fat low-protein eaters. You will feel less hungry for longer, and in the long run, will have higher levels of energy. Basically, a win-win!

One of the biggest hurdles dieters worldwide encounter is the feeling of hunger that comes with any fad diet. But by removing sugars and starches from your diet, you will automatically reduce your appetite, allowing you to lose weight without the hunger pangs driving you mad!

Instead, opt for these low-carb veggies as snack options:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss Chard Lettuce
  • Cucumber

What’s great about these low-carb veggies is that you can fill up your plate and feel ultra-full without going over the 20-50 net carbs for a day!

Let me know if these tips help you in your weight-loss journey or if you have any to share of your own in the comments below!

Need more diet tips? Check out how to avoid empty calories!

By: Azzurra Nox

Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood: A Chilling Prophecy

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The TV series, The Handmaid’s Tale has been an incredible success (so much so that they’ve already confirmed a Season Three), but before actually watching the series, I decided I wanted to read the novel. I’ve always been a huge fan of George Orwell’s 1984, a futuristic novel that should be seen as a cautionary tale of how the government can control every aspect of our lives, even history (as the protagonist Winston works in doing exactly that, rewriting history). Like Orwell, Atwood hopes that her novel can also be seen as a cautionary tale of how easy it is for women to lose their rights and actually be reduced to silenced slaves if we do nothing about keeping the rights we already have and obtaining new ones that we’re still fighting for today.

The book opens with Offred telling us about her life as a Handmaid. The new government in the Republic of Gilead has outlawed reading for women, they can no longer have bank accounts or jobs. In this new austre republic, women are divided into groups of Wives (who wear blue, much in resemblance to Mary from the Bible and are usually married to commanders), Handmaids (they are used as wombs for the barren wives and made to wear red), Marthas (dressed in green and symbolize those who do chores much like servants), Aunts (they dress in brown and are those who instruct future handmaids on their “occupation”), Jezebels (they’re allowed access to alcohol, drugs, makeup, and garish clothing cause they’re essentially prostitutes), Econowives (wives of those who are lower-rank and dress in stripes), and Daughters (dressed in white). Then there’s the non-women, these group of women are those that have defied authority or are too old to reproduce, hence are sent to the colonies to clean up toxic waste till they die.

In this novel, Atwood seems to want to shake women and tell them WAKE UP! THIS COULD BE YOUR FUTURE! And eerily enough, with more and more politicians and conservative women fighting to strip away rights from other women, Gilead could pretty much become a reality. Whenever one perpetuates rape culture or slut-shames, we’re allowing a future like that to manifest.

Serena Joy, in the novel, is the Commander’s wife in which Offred if the Handmaid to. In her former life, Serena Joy was a conservative religious TV personality. The irony is, that Serena Joy got exactly what she preached for, but at the same time, her rise to fame wouldn’t have occurred if she hadn’t been living in a democratic republic. But, once things began to spin out of control, it was too late for Serena to regret the change she herself had perpetrated.

One of the most chilling quotes from the novel is spoken by Aunt Lydia who tells her handmaids in training, “ This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will.” And that’s where the horror lies. The new society hopes that future girls won’t question their fate, because they won’t have a recollection of a time before, nor would they have access to books to know that such a time ever existed.

With this novel, Atwood wants women to wake up and see that as the Commander tells Offred, “Better never means better for everyone…It always means worse for some.” People like Paul Ryan are hoping that you tire of fighting so that they can have a better society that betters their lives but would ultimately make yours worse.

In the novel, we never know what became of Offred. But if there’s one thing we can take away from Atwood’s novel is this: “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.” (Don’t let the bastards grind you down). Fight on and fight hard.

By: Azzurra Nox

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