Update–Layla Tries: CND Vinylux Nail System

Update–Layla Tries: CND Vinylux Nail System

Even as I start to write this post, I am reminded of the experience I’m about to relay, and I’m…thoroughly annoyed. To say the least. I had high hopes for this one…

tyra banks rooting for you GIF

What I have now? A lingering sense of disappointment and a fresh, shiny manicure that I know I can count on because I feel mildly traumatized by my Vinyl experience.

Before we go any further, if you haven’t already, please read my first post about this nail polish system here.

Spoiler alert: we didn’t make it to 7 days girls and gents. Oh no, instead we made to day 5.

evelyn awkward face GIF

It’s okay though. It’s cool. It’s fine. Really. Because I really learned something about myself: I value a good manicure for a variety of reasons. Mostly, because it’s a good way to feel polished, put together and ready to conquer for a very small investment. You can change it to suit your moods, tell a visual story and communicate who are. Manicures are important to me. Also, I talk with my hands regularly enough that it matters. It just does. I like what I like.

OK, enough life lessons. Let’s get to the review.

Day 1: My manicure is fresh, shiny and basic. I like basic. I’m turning 30 this year, basic appeals to me. I finish applying the system quickly as it was pretty straight forward and the instructions were easy. I feel like money and am checking my hands every other minute.

dude fresh manicure GIF

Day 2: Nothing new or fancy. Still shiny. No chips.

Day 3: This day was like finding out the guy you’ve gone on 2 dates with has a girlfriend. You’re blindsided. Day 3 wasn’t pretty and neither was my mood. I’m over it already. Keep in mind, I sealed the tips of my nails with color and topcoat. The shine dulls a bit starting today but easily comes back with hand moisturizer or cuticle oil. If I wasn’t writing about my experience, I’d have removed the polish at the start of Day 3. Take a look for yourself (and excuse my cuticles):

Day 3 Vinylux
CND Vinylux, Day 3 (Left Hand)
Day 3 Vinylux _ Right Hand
CND Vinylux, Day 3 (Right Hand)

Day 4: Not much different from yesterday. No change in chipping or wear on the tips. New nail growth is just beginning to peak through but doesn’t look terrible. Thankfully, the new MAC lipsticks I ordered arrive in the mail and I have a happy distraction because I’m still over this. I can’t wait to get rid of this manicure because as Marie Kondo teaches us, it doesn’t bring me joy. Around 8pm, I cave and do the only thing I think can help without full on cheating…file my nails down a tiny bit so it doesn’t look like I’m completely a hot mess. It helps, but doesn’t solve all my polish problems. I give up and go to bed eventually.

Day 5: The chips are making me antsy and I feel self conscious, hiding my hands and nails from anyone who I think might catch a glance and judge my entire life, because honestly, I would. Does this system last 7 days? Maybe for a more relaxed, go with the flow type of person. But with me? NOPE. No sir, no thanks. The “manicure” (can we really call it that if it doesn’t perform? I feel petty) comes off. I’m instantly relieved.

Day 6: New manicure, who dis?

evelyn im back bitches

Final thoughts: I’m glad I tested the mini kit version of this nail system because after being curious about it’s performance for so long and being excited about its color offerings, had I purchased full size bottles and it “performed” the way it did for me–which in my opinion, was to not perform at all–I would’ve been beyond disappointed and annoyed. I obviously take my nails seriously and feel that as far as development and production goes, especially in the drugstore space, it’s relatively easy to get a good formula and keep the price point affordable. With that said, I’m overall just confused about this system and all the rave reviews it gets.

Of course, everyone is different and if you decide to try this system I would do start with a mini kit and go from there.

Would I purchase again? No.

malaysia girl bye

…but it’s good to try new things!!

Until next time!


Layla Tries: CND Vinylux Nail System–Does It Really Last 7 Days?

Layla Tries: CND Vinylux Nail System–Does It Really Last 7 Days?

As you may already be aware, one of my beauty resolutions was to try to leave give my nails a chance to reach their natural, full potential. I like to try different nail shapes and I find that having length is personally the best day for me. However, this would mean I would need to make less frequent polish changes a way of life. Fine, whatever.

So, if I’m going keep this resolution I need 2 things: a long wear DIY system, and a color range that will keep me interested and cover all of my bases (work, play, in between).

Fast forward to earlier this week when I’m at CVS on my way home from work and I’ve got my items in hand, and I make to check out line and BOOM…everything goes quiet because I see the cutest, mini nail polish system kit. Upon further inspection? It’s CND’s Vinylux 7 Day Wear system in one of its best selling shades: “Married to Mauve.” My first thought? “OK, CND–this is genius. Second thought? “Grab. One. Now.”

And, here we are: 20 minutes after application with a shiny manicure in a classic color. But will it last 7 days though?? We’ll see. I’m optimistic. But, I’m also ready for heartbreak. I’ve been on the fence about trying this system for what seems like years now…and each time, I get really close to purchasing a full size color and topcoat (which are the only 2 steps you need, as base is included with color) and then I balk at the potential financial loss of upwards of $20 if the manicure doesn’t work out. Will this mini kit, I feel safer to try and if it doesn’t work out, it’ll be much easier for me to simply throw the tiny bottles away–no guilt, no fuss, just trial and error.

The mini duo sets come in other colors but I won’t lie to you–they’re scattered and hard to find. I’ve only seen the mauve color at my local CVS, and I know that Ulta has the duo in the shade “Wildfire” which you can check out here. But beyond that? Finding other colors may be a full-time search. So, either of the two colors I mentioned are perfectly adequate for simply trying this out. The full size colors are available at many more retailers (including Walgreens, Ulta, CVS, and Target) so if we end up loving this system, we’ll have no trouble building our collection up!

Okay here’s the deal: I’ll test this for 7 days and take pictures on Days 3, 5, and 7 (possibly 8 if I need to stretch through Sunday Brunch before removing) and on the last day, I’ll post an update with my thoughts and a final decision on whether I’ll be purchasing more colors or not. Sound good? Cool. I’m excited too ;)

See you in a week! Stay shining–just like the best manicures xo


I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: The Vitamins and Supplements I Purchase Again and Again

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: The Vitamins and Supplements I Purchase Again and Again

Raise your hand if you eat a well balanced, inclusive diet? What about eating the full recommended daily servings of fruits? Veggies?…no? Me either.

Whether it be a hectic lifestyle, or a picky palette, some of us aren’t getting all of the vitamins and nutritional benefits that our bodies need to perform at its best. But don’t panic, it’s okay. There’s help.

Ideally, doctors and nutritionists say that we should be eating our vitamins and minerals. Good for them. I like french fries. And sometimes, I don’t eat 6 small meals a day (I rarely am able to do this). Sometimes, medications wipe out my appetite for days. Other times, I just have a craving for one thing, and I’ll eat it obsessively for four days straight before moving on to other things. And then sometimes, I’m on prednisone and will inhale everything in sight (good or bad). My lifestyle could definitely be healthier. I’m working on it.

It’s because of this unhealthy fluctuation that I take my vitamins and supplements seriously. I don’t feel guilt about needing and taking the extra help, because something is better than nothing in this case. Stalling my vitamins is better than not getting them at all. But I don’t go overboard. I take enough medicine so I try to keep the ingestion of vitamins to a very strategic minimum. Read on for the top 3 vitamins/supplements that I always make sure are stocked up:

*Disclaimer: I have consulted my physicians, and you should to, before beginning a new vitamin or supplement regimen. These are my personal opinions and are catered to my needs; this is not meant to be or take the place of medical advice* 

Sundown Naturals Cherry Flavored Vitamin B-12, $12.13, Amazon

Courtesy: Sundown Naturals/Amazon

I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which very simply means that Lupus has gradually worn down my thyroid and it is now under active. This can cause weight gain, fatigue and just a general feeling of not having enough energy (among other symptoms). I’ve tried many Vitamin B supplements, but this is the only one that I have tried that has made me feel even remotely better. I’m still sluggish, but less so when I am taking these consistently. And the great thing about this is that it’s dissolvable and tastes like cherries!

Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Formula, Lemon Flavor, $22.07, Amazon

Courtesy: Nordic Naturals

I can’t explain to you how much persuading it took for me to even try this. My doctor had recommended it for its overall benefits (heart, cognition, etc.) but also because my joint pain was getting gradually worse. I heard the word “fish oil” and balked, almost completely shutting him down. I had all the excuses, the most amusing being: “I don’t want to smell fishy.” He was ready for them all and even told me how his children take the kids version and actually looked forward to it everyday. His children. Little people were taking this with no complaints and there I was looking at him like he’d grown another head. I bought the smallest bottle I could find that same day and reluctantly agreed to take it for 30 days–as a trial (because I’m still in control after all!). That was years ago. I take this almost everyday (I forget a lot of days because it’s behind a close cupboard door) and while my joint health hasn’t substantially improved, it hasn’t substantially deteriorated either. It’d be probably be a lot better if I could just remember every single day to take it. Add this to wellness resolutions ;)

On a side note: the version I take is a liquid/ointment consistency and you take it by the spoonful. However, I’ve just recently been alerted that this also comes in capsule form and the capsules are actually a combination of Omega-3 and vitamin D. So, I’m probably going to give those a try. Drop me a comment if you’d like me to share my thoughts.

Olly Women’s Super Foods Multivitamin, $16, Target

Courtesy: Olly

Confession: I hate the way these taste. They taste terrible to me. However, they’re $16, and they contain super foods. So, because I didn’t want to waste money and because they contain ingredients that I need, I started and finished this. And because I felt a mild improvement over all, I keep purchasing this and holding my noise when I go to take my daily allotment. Is it magic? No clue. But probably not. They’re just good vitamins. Maybe not good, effective is the right word. It’s fine. It does the job, but I don’t have to like it.

3 supplements. Once a day. Lifetime of benefits.

If you feel you’re lacking in the vitamin department, I’d encourage you to see a physician, have your levels checked and if you’re in fact in need of anything, do talk to your doctor about how you can address this and help keep your body in its best condition.

Do you have any fave vitamins and supplements? Let me know in the comments below. You know I’m curious!

Talk soon, xo-Layla

The 6 Products I’m Using Obsessively To Keep My Skin Hydrated This Winter

The 6 Products I’m Using Obsessively To Keep My Skin Hydrated This Winter

(Bring this with you on your next beauty shopping trip!)

Winter isn’t inherently evil. Sometimes it’s beautiful (first snowfall), and sometimes it’s it’s just got annoying bits to it (when first snowfall leads to next snowfall, and the next…)

But however you may feel about Winter, we can all agree that it can wreak total havoc on our skin, from head to toe. Between the indoor heating that sucks moisture from the air, and the freezing temperatures that can make your skin dry, chapped, cracked and otherwise uncomfortable, our skin has got its work cut out for itself.

But I’m not going down without a fight. So, keep reading to my personal winter weather skin arsenal. It’s relatively easy and all but one of the products are under $20!

Now, these are not in the order of my love and preference, but rather the order in which I apply them, let’s get into it:

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Milk, $28, Sephora

Clinique's Take The Day Off Cleansing Milk
 Courtesy: Clinique/Sephora

I originally purchased this product after a particularly rough bout of dry, rash ridden skin. It was so sensitive to the the touch and this creamy makeup remover/cleanser felt like a calming dream. You apply this dry, massage it over your face and then add a bit of water to your hands and massage again. Then, rinse off and feel refreshed. It’s pricey, and honestly, after I’m done with this product, I’m most likely try a drugstore equivalent (Yes To Cucumbers makes one that’s got me curious), but for now it’s what I have and I don’t want to waste product, and it’s wildly effective. If you have Ultra Sensitive skin, skip the drugstore and go for this tried and true allergy-free formula. The cost is worth it for peace of mind and it lasts you quite a while because you only need a little at a time to do a big cleansing job.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (Mini Tube), $12, Sephora

First Aid Repair Cream Mini Tube
Courtesy:                                 First Aid Beauty/Sephora

I have the full size tube of this cream. It’s fantastic. I first got hooked on First Aid Beauty through a few samples that were included in an online Sephora order. Ever since then? Nothing but my complete devotion. Don’t get me wrong, Clinique is a classic when it comes to tending to sensitive skin, but First Aid Beauty is innovative in the way it caters to the same market. Products like oatmeal masks, lip exfoliants, glycolic peel pads, serums, firming sleeping cream, and body lotion mists (just to name a few), there truly is something for everyone. You can read about their lip hydration set here.

This cream comes in a variety of formulas and packaging. Their tub boasts intense hydration, which must be superhuman level because their plain old tube is incredibly hydrating already. I prefer tubes because I feel they are more sanitary. You can use this cream any time of the day for a non-greasy, heavy dose of hydrating and soothing goodness.

Boots Hydration Burst 3 in 1 Micellar Cleanser, $6.69, Target

Courtesy: Boots/Target

I will forever sing the praises of Micellar Water, the gentle, effective way to remove makeup and cleanse your skin, without leaving it stripped, dry or tight after. This particular formula is for dehydrated and sensitive skin, which I think can be anyone during winter. Bonus points for being alcohol-free. All you need is a cotton pad and 2 minutes, then you’re good to go! Double bonus points for also being available at Walgreens (although not in every location sadly).

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea, $5-12, Ulta

Courtesy: Mario Badescu/Amazon

The only thing that I might be more obsessed with than sheet masks are facial mists and sprays. I love the Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist ($18, Sephora), but sometimes a girl’s gotta skip the fancy packaging and go the the simple ingredients that just work. 

This mist is the quintessential basic but better situation. 3 soothing ingredients, all packed together to give you a refreshing, completely saturating dose of moisture and hydration. This mist comes in other varieties, including lavender and rose water, but when it comes to perking up dry, irritated skin, this aloe, cucumber and green tea combination cannot be beat. Bonus points for being available in a $5 (!!) travel size so you can mist and refresh throughout the day.

Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Body Oil, $6.99, Walgreens

Courtesy: Palmer’s/Walgreens

I have tried so many lotions. So. Many. Only one has been able to provide the kind of hydration my skin needs year round but especially in the winter. Problem is, it’s pretty rich and after applying, I experience muscle aches and pains and need to lay down (#LupusSucks). So I decided to cut myself a break and find something easier to apply that would still moisturize my skin for a full day. Heellooo body oils. I was first thinking about almond, grapeseed or argan oil. But, on a quick trip to Walgreens, I discovered this product. For the price, I was willing to give it a try and not love it. I tried it. I don’t love it, but it does a nice job so I’m definitely not complaining. Instant hydration? Check. Greasy skin? Nope, not here. Smooth and soft? Double check. The caveat here is that coconut oil can be cosmogenic (that is, pore clogging). I wasn’t too worried about this because I use a soap that mildly exfoliates everyday. If you don’t or can’t exfoliate regularly, I would think twice about using coconut oil on your skin. If you need recommendations on alternatives, drop a comment below.

And last but certainly not least…

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Lip Treatment, $8.99, Ulta

Courtesy: Neutrogena/Ulta

…this surprisingly good lip product. I’ve already hit bottom in one area of this pot. Don’t let the color fool you, this super hydrating balm goes on completely clear. It has a bit of slip at first but seems to thicken a bit when applied and sinks into your lips beautifully. I use in the morning before applying any other lip products and before bed as a lip mask. Put this on and allow some time for this to naturally go to work and do its thing. The best part about this treatment is that it doesn’t make you feel like you need constant application. One application, twice a day will do you just nicely.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this post and find it helpful. Please feel free to comment below with any questions. And I’d love to hear how you protect and hydrate your skin in the winter too.

Talk soon-

xo, Layla




Drawing The Line: Anti-Aging and Personal Reconciliation

Drawing The Line: Anti-Aging and Personal Reconciliation

Today’s chat might seem random. It’s not. This year, I turn 30! I’ve thought about this new milestone a lot in the last couple of weeks, as my family has constantly been reminding me of its impending arrival. I’m not scared or anything, but I honestly never thought much about my thirties beyond wanting to be done with my crazy twenties and hoping for a more relaxing, stable decade of life. Not to mention, there were some periods where I questioned if I’d even make it due to chronic illness flares. But, we’re looking at the upshot here, and I’m now thinking about all the positive possibilities…

You know what I’ve noticed lately? Beauty advice, especially skin care, is often broken into categories based on your age. Popular blogs, websites and even magazines all seem to want to point out what products you have to change out when you’re entering a new decade. Some of that advice, I take. Most of it? I leave. (Let me know in the comments if you’d like me to link you to some of these articles with skincare, beauty and even fashion advice by the decade)

One set of advice that I do really pay close attention to? Which treatments one should consider when transitioning from one decade to another. Lasers, professional facial peels, outpatient procedures like Botox, Juvaderm, or other fillers/injections are all recommended. And that got me thinking: how far am I actually  willing to go to look like I’m still in my twenties (or better)?

Turns out, I’m not willing to go very far. Surprising, right? Also, it’s downright confusing. I love beauty and products so much, that I’m almost baffled at my unwillingness to go under the knife for cosmetic improvement or relief. I’m not completely sure why I feel that way that I do, but I do feel like the answer lies more deeply and will take time to truly unpack.

Some people prefer to age naturally, that is, leave everything as it and as it will be. Laugh lines? Reminders of happy times. Others prefer to take advantage of all that modern medicine has to offer. I truly believe there is no wrong answer.

So, I wanted to ask you…how far are you willing to go? No judgment, just different experiences, thresholds, and genuine curiosity. Do you have a philosophy that drives your level of comfort? Let’s chat in the comments :)

Talk soon, xo-Layla

BeautyBlender Dupe??

BeautyBlender Dupe??

Friends, lend me your ears!

I know, I’m dramatic sometimes. But some things just require a bit of uumph, for emphasis.

Before I get into the possibility of having found a perfectly usable, although imperfect, BeautyBlender dupe, let me set you up with a little bit of background…

I’ve always been responsible. That’s what people say about me, they’ve said it for years. It’s a point of pride more than it’s something I consider a flaw. That said, the balance that stares back at me when I go to check my savings account is…sobering. Am I disappointed? Greatly. Do I know I’ve done my best? Absolutely. Doesn’t change the way my breath catches when I stare at that balance though.

Because of this, I told myself I’d be more diligent about finding beauty products that performed well but didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. The first product that I needed to replenish after having said this to myself? My beloved BeautyBlender. Of course it was. I sucked my teeth a bit when I realized what I had promised and what it now meant that it was time to re-up on a sponge. But, I stuck to my word and I went on a drugstore hunt (which let’s be honest, these days is a lot of fun!)

So, about this potential dupe…

It looks the same. Here it is in it’s package:

Rite Aid Daylogic Your Best Blend Specialty Sponge_Beauty Blender Dupe
Daylogic’s Your Best Blend Specialty Sponge in the High Definition Variety

Basically the same color, same shape. Fine. Great.

Here’s what it looks like after one full use:

Daylogic Specialty Blend Sponge
Daylogic’s Specialty Sponge (After 1 Full Use and Before Washing)

Let’s talk about some major differences you might notice if you’re used to using the BeautyBlender on a regular basis.

First, the price. Whoa my goodness, the price! BeautyBlender’s can run $20 a pop, this drugstore dupe cashed in at $4.99. My debit card hit the Milly Rock at checkout. Ha! The bonus here is that if you’re a Gold Member w/ Rite Aid’s loyalty program, then you can take an additional 20% off of that $4.99 retail price, which makes it $3.99! SCORE.

Weirdest of all things: it’s heavier than the BeautyBlender. Yes, I know–that’s odd. But it is. Especially at what feels like is its core. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s something noticeable so I’m mentioning it. You get used to it after a few minutes so we keep moving…

The application was BEAUTIFUL! I was very impressed with how smoothly my foundation went on and blended out. But, there were a few spots where application was patchy because of small rashes or spots where my skin was extra dry (even though I heavily moisturized last night, UGH). So I built the coverage up a bit to handle that which would probably be what I’d do with a BeautyBlender as well.

The other difference that confused me at first, was that the directions don’t include wetting the sponge before use. It does say to wash after each use though. Personally, I don’t like dry sponges. I chose to wet this sponge. It was fine. We’ll see how it holds up in the long run (a month hopefully with daily washes, but we’ll see).

Bottom line: is it worth a try? For the price, yes. Do I miss the BeautyBlender? Kind of. If you can afford it and it truly is a bright spot in your beauty routine, then treat yourself. But if you’re like me and looking for ways to cut back without causing any real sadness or feelings of deprivation that alter your outlook on your daily living, then run to Rite Aid. And make sure you use your loyalty card if you have one!

Disclaimer: This post was NOT sponsored by Rite Aid. All opinions and remarks are my own, based on my honest thoughts and opinions. 

What do you guys think? Will you be trying this BB dupe?

What other under-the-radar drugstore dupes have you found? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time. xo-Layla


Make 2018 The Year You Kiss Dry, Flaky Lips GOOD-BYE

Make 2018 The Year You Kiss Dry, Flaky Lips GOOD-BYE

If my horoscope for 2018 is anywhere near on-point, then your girl is in for some great changes in the love department. Am I ready? Mostly.

Now, I get a lot of comments about how soft my skin is (thanks to regular exfoliation and heavy, repetitive moisturizing from the inside-out). I also get a lot of compliments and comments about how I love to rock a bold lip. Guilty as charged. But, I’ve got a confession–lean in…*whispers* I don’t exfoliate my lips near as religiously as I should. That’s right, sometimes your girl is out and about dancing on the line of having full blown flaky lip status. It’s shameful. Do not judge me. Save your side-eye. Unfurl that brow.

You can’t fix a problem that you don’t acknowledge right? So, there. That’s that. Now we move on to the solution: First Aid Beauty. Before we get to the specifics, can we briefly talk about how this brand gets a lot of play, but not nearly as much as feel they deserve. They’ve got everything–and it’s safe for sensitive skin. Jack pot. You. cannot. go. wrong. (Hello, Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream) <3

So, about that fix — it’s a one-two punch of a package. It’s fast, easy, but still manages to feel luxurious. The first jab is the Ultra Repair Honey & Oat Lip Exfoliator — I know what you’re thinking: “it’s a lip exfoliator, big deal.” You’re right. It is a big deal. It’s an exfoliator that’s easy to use (apply, gently rub, rinse) and it’s quick. But the kicker here is that once you’re done with gently rubbing and rinsing, your lips already feel moisturized. Do you hear me? You scrubbed your lips and they’re not dry. That’s a pretty big deal to me. I cannot overstate how rare I find this to be, or how much this elevates this particular lip exfoliator above all of the others that I’ve tried (and I’ve tried many, included DIY ones with honey as a base.)

Okay, so now you’re thinking, you’re done, right? Your lips are exfoliated and they’re not dry. But *insert tire screeching noise here* wait a second, you’re not done. I said it was a one-two punch, remember? The second and final jab is the Ultra Repair Lip Therapy which is the petroleum free, soothing and moisturizing balm/ointment formula that you apply to add and lock in moisture to your newly flake-free smackers. It also smells delicious–it has the slightest hint of mint that isn’t overbearing, but it may make you crave mint chocolate chip ice cream, be warned.

I’ve tried these products separately, and together and I honestly have zero complaints. They’re perfect on their own or together. Best of all, I’m not worried about having a negative reaction because my skin is ultra-sensitive. I don’t wish they did anything differently with these products. I just wish that I had found them earlier than I did, but even with that, I’m just happy to have found them and I think you will be too.

Yes, NYE has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only time that you’ll want to have smooth, pillowy soft lips so get your hands on this 1-2 punch of a package and do yourself (and your boo) a favor all year round (cold weather, hot and humid, nights out or in; you name it).

Okay, gotta run. But we’ll talk soon.

Until then…flake free-kisses and smooth-skinned hugs–xo, Layla