Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Obaji Nu-Derm Skin Care System - Week 1

Y’all know that I have a strange addiction... changing my skin care routine. Just two months ago I was beaming and boasting about my new Laura Mercier products. Two months previous to that, it was the Clinique 3 step skin care system that had my heart, and my acne at bay! Well, surprise surprise, I have found a new love. One that comes along with peeling, burning, redness, and after 18 weeks, perfect skin - or so they claim. I’m only on week one, so I’m not sure how it will work for me.

I started the Obaji Nu-Derm line last Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Obaji has tons of different systems that can be customized to your personal skin type. Well, y’all know mine. Oily, red, blotchy, acne prone, and scarred. I went to a dermatologist on Tuesday, not knowing what I was looking for, other than a cure.

Let me recap you really quickly and let you know about my skin. I’ve had acne since I was in 6th grade. My blackheads are untamable, and I have tried anything and everything, including Accutane. If you’ve watched my skin care videos, you know that I was extremely allergic to Accutane, which I tried when I was 14 (beginning my freshman year of high school). I know your skin is supposed to get dry and flaky in the first two months. Well, in the first four days my skin on my entire body was so dry it was cracking. I had slits all down my lips, and 1/2 millimeter cuts on the corners of my mouth, between my upper and lower lips. My lips inflamed to where my bottom lip was down to my chin, and my upper lip was pressing against my nose. We immediately rushed me to the dermatologist, and she told me to stop it for two weeks, then start back up on half the dosage, every other day. I did exactly as she instructed, and I had the same reaction, this time, my eyes also swelled shut.

Now, I am not in any way telling you this to try to scare you! My sister, Elle, went on Accutane 6 years ago and she has the prettiest, porcelain-like skin I’ve ever seen. (Well, if you don’t count Kim Kardashian, sorry sis!) I just had a really awful experience with Accutane. I wanted it to work so badly, I would dream about having skin like Elle’s, and I was furious and upset that Accutane wouldn’t work for me, too.

My skin relaxed after a month of my allergic reaction, and I turned to the Clinique 3 step skin care system to tame my acne. I wanted to get the “acne” version of the system, but ended up with level 3 of the original formula. To my dismay, it worked! Religiously, I used it every morning and night, along with a clinique exfoliator 3 times a week, in the AM. The only time I would skip a day is if I was sick, and couldn’t make it out of bed. I think the consistency of never skipping a morning or eve is what helped my acne, since the system isn’t specifically formulated for that.

I used this routine up until the end of February of 2010. I stopped the clinique simply because I think my skin got immune to it, and to be quite honest, I was kind of tired of it. My skin stopped responding the way it used too, and since I was tired of using the system, I got a little bit lazy, and quit using it every single day and night. Skipping a random morning here, and the occasional night here.

In February, I went to NYC for Fashion Week, and stopped by the Laura Mercier counter in Saks. I picked out a new skin care routine and quickly fell head-over-heels. I went to go get a facial right when I got home from the city, and of course, broke out (I always break out right after facials, since they pull all of the bacteria to the surface). Loving the Laura Mercier products, I blamed the breakout on the facial, but it didn’t go away for a whole month. Still, up until last tuesday, I hadn’t had any luck.

That being said, I still love the Laura Mercier products. If you just had oily skin, but not too much acne, it would do wonders for the texture and look of your skin. Unfortunately, after giving it a two month shot, it didn’t make the cut it for me. Except for the face polish which is the exfoliator! I will never use another one on my face, I’m loving this one way too much!

So on the 20th, I was at the dermatologist, asking for a cure to my acne, blackheads, oiliness, and scars. We had already tried so many failed approaches, that she turned to an extreme. Obaji Nu-Derm Skin Care System. This is a harsh, Retin A, based treatment that is commonly used on older people with lots of scars, wrinkles, discoloration, and sunspots. It can also cure acne, help fade scars, and make the skin quality that of a baby’s bottom.*

Sounds great! Right? Sure, but there’s a downside, a kind of big down side. For the first 6 weeks, your skin is going to be very red and irritated, extremely peel-y, and it burns! Why would anyone put themselves through this? Because the after pictures and testimonials are AMAZING. The reason people don’t hear about it more often? Most of the time, people can’t take the first six weeks, and give up on it. Then leave nasty reviews saying it left their skin blotchy and peeling. Well, DUH! You didn’t give it time to work, dumb-dumb! Oh, and also, it’s an expensive line! Ranging anywhere from $200-$600, depending on how much your doctors office marks the price up, and what products you require.

The first six weeks has such awful side effects because it is pushing all of the “bad” out of your skin, then peels your skin off to reveal a fresh layer of unscarred, smooth, baby butt* skin. Your skin should start looking better after week 4-6, and you will see the full results by week 18. By the way, this seems like an eternity to me...

The point of me sharing this with you? Because every Tuesday, I’m going to update this blog and let you all know what side effects I had that week. So here we go, Week 1.

In the morning I have 5 steps. Cleanse, tone, #4 cream, moisturizer/sunscreen, then eye cream. I also use my Clarisonic facial brush with the cleanse step. Night time is 5-6 steps, depending on the day. I take off my eye makeup with Mac’s Eye Makeup Remover, but that doesn’t really count as a step... First, I Cleanse twice, (once to remove makeup, and the second time to actually cleanse the skin, the second time I use my Clarisonic brush) tone, #3 cream, #5 cream, then eye cream. Every other night, in between the #5 cream and the eye cream, I use this strange, thick, yellow liquid stuff. In two weeks, I’m supposed to move it up to using it every night, for now it’s too harsh.

The first morning, when I started the system, I was so excited! The creams were a little bit thick, so I had to pat them into my skin, instead of rubbing it in, to avoid stretching my skin. I didn’t feel any burning, and I took this as a good sign. That night, I did the night time steps and went to sleep (I did use the yellow liquid this night). I woke up the morning of day two and my nose was SO oily! Like, visibly oily. It was shiny and nasty. I hope this was just the systems way of pushing to oil out. I also noticed my pores were closed and small. SIDE NOTE: When I heat them, like taking a hot shower, they open back up and seem to grow before my eyes! Day two was fine, the oil washed off and my skin looked like it normally did. I didn’t use the yellow liquid this night. Day three, I woke up the same as day two, extreme oiliness, but it rinsed off. This night, I did use the gooey, yellow stuff.

Day four I awoke to look in the mirror and see a RED face starring back at me. Like RED, the exact shade of a cherry. I called my dermatologist and she said this is not only normal, but supposed to happen. It still freaked me out, not only was my skin red, it kind of felt raw, and burned a little bit to put the creams on. That night, my skin was starting to flake, just a little bit here and there, and it burned even more this time around. The next morning was the same as day four’s, minus the calling-my-dermatologist part! That night, it was time to use the evil yellow goo. As I slathered it on my skin got even redder, how this is possible, I don’t know. I wanted to scream it burned so badly. But I got through it. Day six my skin was not only flaking and peeling, I had layers of skin falling off of my face, again the creams burned to high heavens. That night was not very comfortable, either.

The morning of day seven (Today, Tuesday) was the worst of all, so far... Again, red skin, falling off of my face with an awful burning sensation. But this time, when I went to put my makeup on, I couldn’t stand it, I wanted to rip my face off. Running to the kitchen, I was fanning my face, I threw the freezer door open and stood there, with my head submerged into the cool, crisp air. This seemed to help, but it was still too much. I visited my dermatologist today to discuss what to do, and also, that there was no way I was going to prom on May 8th with red skin sliding off my face. She assured me that it would be better by then, and the side effects would be much milder. I told her that I have a really important event to go to on Thursday, the 29th, and she said it was safe for me to just use the cleanser, starting tonight, then use my Laura Mercier face cream and leave it at that. I could resume the Obaji after Thursday, and she said that they first week is the worst. This gave me hope.

Tonight, I did as I was told, just used the cleanser and my own moisturizer. It felt so good! I would quit the Obaji, but the before and after pictures of people who have actually completed the course is just too much for me to pass up. I hope that the first week really is the worst, and that it only goes up from here. Each Tuesday or Wednesday, I am going to update this blog and let you know how the previous week went. Hopefully, this will be the miracle worker I’ve been waiting for!

Let me know how you get your flawless skin in the comments, and I’ll blog to you guys later.

Bbyyyeeee! (insert wave here)


P.S. I wish I would have taken a “before” picture, but I’m not that smart. Also, this is not something I’d recommend buying online... you really need to sit down with an Obaji representative and make sure you get the right system for your skin type.

*I added that little part. Not quoted from the company :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Becoming a Night Owl

It’s 4:40 am and I’m as chipper as a squirrel when it finds a new acorn to add to it’s stash. Previously, I talked to y’all about my new found sleeping habits. Well, it’s been about 3 weeks since I had a “real” nights rest, except for last night, some how I managed to fall to sleep at 12, and wake up at 1 in the afternoon, the latest I’ve ever slept in... in my life! For the past 3 weeks I have been living off of 2-4 hours of sleep, killer migraines, and my skin might be turning a tad grey (a side effect which I am convinced I have, but no one else sees it.) Last nights 13 hour record-breaking deep sleep got me excited! I knew I was back to normal, and I could presume my old sleep schedule, no problem.

I’ve always been one to fall to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. Never having to count sheep or daydream with my eyelids closed. Lately. this is not the case. I find myself tossing and turning until the wee hours in the morning, when I finally fall to sleep, simply out of exhaustion of trying to fall to sleep. I’ve tried everything, the sheep, the day dreaming, a warm glass of milk right before I climb into bed, lighting rose scented candles, benadryl, a soothing bath at night, reading a book... The list goes on and on. I believe these are just rumors that people say help them sleep, I can’t imagine drinking a warm glass of milk, which, by the way, seems like soiled milk to me, but I was desperate and willing to try anything.

One pro that has come out of this, is that it’s easy to do school work in the middle of the night, no noise is around to bother you, no one is walking in and out pestering you, it’s quite a relaxing state of mind. This is why I’ve turned to “I can’t sleep to save my life” time into school time. Getting that extra time to study really helps keep me ahead of my planned track. One con? I think my teachers would think I was insane if I submitted my work at 3:00 AM. Who knows... Maybe it’s common?

Anyways, I just wanted to write this quick blog update to let you all know how I’m doing, and ask if you have have any uncommon tips to falling to sleep, and staying asleep all night. (I’ve tried all the common ones!) Let me know in the comments, and I’ll blog to you guys later.

Bbyyyyeeee (insert wave here),


Saturday, April 24, 2010

prom night!

today's the day. the day that every junior or senior girl in my town wakes up knowing that it will be a memorable night that she will tell her grandchildren about. as she climbs out of bed and into the shower, she thinks to herself about her long dress, the jewelry and shoes she gets to deck out tonight. the manicure, hair do, and makeup application she is about to receive. the junior and senior girls in my town are excited about tonight, that's because tonight is prom night. a night to remember. i night to party. a night to have fun and let loose with your friends. it's also a day to pamper yourself and feel beautiful. tonight is prom night for every junior or senior girl in my town. that is, of course, unless your name is blair fowler.

oh, wait. that's my name! so what does that mean? yep, you guessed it. tonight is not prom night for me, because i am not going to prom. well, not tonight.

you all know that i am homeschooled now. so i don't have a prom. i could have gone to my old high schools prom, but i had to have a date, since i don't go to that school anymore. i was supposed to be out of town this weekend, so i just decided to skip it all together.

but don't forget, i do get to go to prom with jesse! remember? the guy who asked me over a youtube video. click here to watch his invitation. that prom is in connecticut on may 8th. and don't worry, i will be updating this showing you all my dress, (i already bought it, but i don't have it to take a picture because it is being altered) accessories, makeup, and hairstyle!

anyways, tonight is not my prom night, but for most of my friends.. it is! and since i don't have to spend time today getting myself ready, i have time to do their makeup! i have a full day ahead of me. from 12-1 dakota is coming to get made up. ashley will arrive at 1 and stay until 2. emily's "appointment" is from 2-3. at 3 hillary should be pulling into my driveway, and pulling out around 4. then last, but not least, is lori, who gets her make over at 4. i gave each girl an hour just to be safe and make sure that i have time to give them exactly what they want! and also, make sure they have high definition full camera ready makeup on!

you might think that i would be a little bit bitter about not being the girl getting all glammed up today, but i actually feel the opposite. i am so excited to be able to do their makeup. i love when i do a make over on someone, and you can just see their face light up when they look into the mirror. watch the flicker in their eyes when they catch a glimpse on the glass, window, or reflection in a tv screen.

so how do i prepare for doing 5 girls makeup back to back? first, i make sure that all of my makeup brushes are clean and that i have enough disposable mascara wands. if i knew what type of look they wanted, i would go ahead and get the makeup set out, but i have no idea! i also don't even know what skin shade they are right now (since so many girls tan right before prom. yuck! get a spray tan!) which means i can't even set out the foundation. this is another reason i alloted an hour to do each girls makeup. i also ask them all to wear a button down shirt or zip up hoodie, pretty much any top they don't have to pull over their head, which can smear makeup. and i have stocked my fridge with lots of non-bloating drinks, since no one wants to be bloated when there are about to be 2,000 photos taken of you! i got bottled water with the option of individual crystal light packets, green tea, a few different flavors of gatorade, apple and orange juice, and capri suns. i also had mom pick up some fruit, cheese, and crackers that they can snack on while i turn them into glamorous prom night elite. oh, and i didn't forget the gum and mints! if you are going to be that close to someone's face for an hour, you don't want a stinky stench breathing onto you the whole time!

i have also self diagnosed myself with mild insomnia. for the past few weeks i have been going to sleep extremely late, and i wake up super early! naturally! how does that happen? example. i climbed into bed at 11 last night, didn't fall to sleep until about 1 (the last time i remember glancing at the clock it was 12:40something) and i woke up at 3:30, unable to go back to sleep. i would have blamed it on being excited for today, except for the fact that its been going on for weeks, and i haven't been excited for weeks! so my conclusion is mild insomnia. my point of adding that to this blog is because i'm about to have to do 5 hours of makeup non stop... on 2 1/2 hours of sleep. the weird thing? i'm not tired. at all! i haven't crashed once since this started. i need help.

so it is not 7:57 in the morning and i am going to go jump in the shower, get my self ready, eat some breakfast, and await the arrival of my first prom queen ** in my eye's they should all be this years prom queen, along with my BFF lauren, but she's doing her own makeup. she's learned enough tips and tricks from yours truly ;)


btw, i am going to ask each girl if i can take before and after photos, and then do a blog post on it! cross your fingers that they say yes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

stop and smell the roses

many of you know that i signed my baby yorkie, teddy bear, up for obedience school classes at my local petsmart. his first class was on a thursday and he learned to respond to "clicker training" and to sit. i was amazed at how quickly he picked it up! he was a natural. well, his second class we were going to work on "come." the trainer explained that we needed to put a leash on him, and that would help us teach him. i let her know that i didn't have a leash, but she said not to worry, she had one and a collar little enough for him. (btw, i know i'm an awful mother for not keeping a collar on him, he just hates the feel of them, and cries whenever i try to put it on him. it's not like he's ever out of my sight or anything....) so anywhos, we loop the collar around his teeny neck and strap the leash on, she gives me the other end of the leash and told me to walk him. well...... it occurred to me.. that i have never walked him on a leash before! i didn't know it was something you had to TEACH a dog to do. i was under the impression that you strap it on them and they walk with you. this, however, is not the case.

after the trainer/teacher learned that he was a very stubborn dog, and did, in fact, think he was the boss of me, she said we weren't going to work on come. we were going to train him to walk on a leash.

i thought this would be a simple task. it was not. he refused to actually walk and instead attempted to lie down with his four legs sprouting out from his body and he seemed to really enjoy being pulled across the slick floor. i thought this would hurt him, but the trainer assured me that as long as i don't jerk on the leash, and i keep a steady pace, he would be fine. he can either choose to walk, or be dragged along. so there i am, in the middle of petsmart, dragging my dog along the tile. he finally realized that walking with me was the better option.
my homework for the week was to take him on a walk in an unfamiliar place, a.k.a not my back yard, and walk him.

that was 2 weeks ago (i had to skip one week of classes for LA, then the next for my birthday.) i have taken him on a walk every day that i have been in town and i must say, he's getting pretty good at it. that is, until today.

this morning was just like any other morning. i woke up, took a shower, ate some breakfast, blow dried my hair, and decided it was time for teddy's daily walk. i decided today we would walk around the block and that would be enough. well, that was more than enough. first off, today he decided that he was scared, and he was very skittish of anything that moved, i.e. cars, people, birds, and leaves. i could tell he was getting tired and hot by the way he was panting, but i kept reminding him that there was a BIG bowl of ice cold water waiting for him at home. this seemed to keep him moving. until he decided to stop at the neighbors yard, and smell the roses. i am not kidding you. we spent 5 minutes letting him sniff each and every rose before he was content. or so i thought. he then proceeded to lie down on the bed of roses... and SLEEP! yes, sleep! closed eyes, heavy breathing. i mean, come on, i know he's got short legs... but it was 1 block. 1! i carried him the rest of the 5 steps home and gave him his bowl of water. he lapped it up like he had never been given a sip of the liquid gold in his life. i carried him to my room and plopped him on the bed, where he immediately went to sleep.

i would tell myself that a whole block is too much for his little legs to walk, except for the fact that he's walked it at least 7 other times with no problem, running even!

anyways, i decided that i would share this fun little blurp with y'all. maybe one day he will be strong enough to walk 2 whole blocks, but i highly doubt it. do you all have any fun doggie stories?! does your dog like smelling the roses? let me know in the comments. and i'll write to y'all later.