Why I Invest in Sephora

We all know it’s true that most of what can be bought at Sephora can be bought elsewhere for less. Affordable brands line the aisles of any drug store and one has to wonder how different the products can really be. I mean from one concealer recipe to the next, from one mascara to another, is it worth the price jump to pick up the designer brand in a Sephora?

I think so. Today I want to share why. Many beauty bloggers share the pros and cons of products from all price ranges in specific reviews for “X brand Y product” but they don’t always share, over all, why their best looks come with a such a pricey list.

I do want to acknowledge that being able to choose a pricey product is a position of privilege. I prioritize this cost in my budget to make it work and I’m here to share why I do so.

Before you even get to the product, the service itself has a dollar value

Once upon a time I thought shops like Sephora were for girls and boys who really knew what they were doing. Like, they were maybe trained make up artists or at least more successful at learning from artists on youtube than I was. I thought Sephora was all about those make up users. I didn’t really feel I fit in.

In reality the staff at Sephora know those products and how they correspond to different needs. They aren’t trained like that for the pros who also have that knowledge. They’re trained to help us – #realbabebeauty squad. When I walk in and say I’m struggling with something like finding a full coverage foundation that doesn’t cake, or a brow product I can use blind, or a face wash to win a battle with my hormonal acne… I know I can trust the staff there.

When I ask the same questions at a drug store I usually get anecdotal answers. “My friend also struggles with… and she loves…”, “I use this and I swear by it!” and so on.

But at Sephora I hear more reassuring things like “This product line contains ingredients x, y and z which are known to help with sensitive skin.” or “This brand can be used this in this way for…”

The knowledge the staff have is reason enough to pay a little extra. When you don’t know all the answers you can place a lot of trust in the staff to help you out.

You have to find products that feel good to use

I tried to go back, okay? I thought hey – I could probably save myself some money if I just bought mascara at shoppers instead of Sephora.

Two hours later with red, itchy eyes I swore I’d never cut my budget in that way again.

If you use more affordable products and don’t have side effects like flaking make up, itchiness, redness, soreness or anything else then I salute you. However for me, this isn’t the case. I have super fair, super sensitive skin and when I sacrifice the quality of my products I feel it (and see it!)

Even some brands at Sephora cause problems for me. Sephora, though, will let you exchange products and work with you to find the right one. When I brought back an expensive foundation that reacted poorly with my skin and made me look diseased they gave me full store credit to find a better formula.

Better Products Look Better

I denied this for a long time but in recent years I’ve come around. Some girls can make anything look pro but I don’t have those skills.

What I lack in skills can be made up for with products that look good to begin with.

That’s it. This one’s pretty simple.

Sephora’s Point System is Actually Pretty Good

As every point system should be, this one is designed to recognize regular customers who are spending a lot on the business. Right from signing up you earn points and at milestones like $1000 spent in one year you get big perks.

That sounds like a lot – once upon a time I thought I’d never be that level. But I’m here. I did give my card to friends a few times so I know some of those points came from their purchases. Even without those purchases though, the side effect of shopping at expensive store is that spend-based loyalty programs are genuinely rewarding.

You can get your make up done, pick up free samples and even attend exclusive events.

It’s not worth shopping there only for the loyalty program but the loyalty program goes a very long way to making me feel appreciated for my decision to frequent the store.

Take a deep breath #realbeautybabe  You deserve a less complicated relationship with your beauty routine

At the end of the day Sephora has made my relationship with the beauty world 1000x healthier. I shop with more confidence knowing if a product doesn’t work I can come back. I get answers from staff I trust. And I get the perks of investing in myself both in my results and in the beauty rewards program.

There a lot of complicated decisions to make in life. There’s a lot of things that can’t be made easier. Why not invest in this and make this one thing a little less complicated?

Who needs a “summer bod” – I need a “summer brain”

Well it’s January and everywhere gyms are advertising solutions for your resolutions and playing off our programmed desire to be in shape and looking a certain way for winter getaways and the coming summer months.

If only they could advertise a solution for the winter blues, instead.

I mean, it’s true that exercise is a known mood-lifter and promoter of balance for related endorphins. So I suppose in an unintended way they are advertising a way to beat the blues.

Except that it’s really just a side affect of working on your body goals, as far as the ads are concerned.

Don’t get me wrong – I’d love a hot summer bod that matches all those ads but what I need more right now is a happy summer brain.

As many of you will know seasonal affective disorder or S.A.D (perhaps the most appropriately named mental health affliction) comes with depression symptoms throughout these cold months. This happens as a result of short days and less access to sunlight along with a greater tendency to stay indoors due to cold temperatures. Our bodies and brains, accustomed to sunny summer days outdoors, really feel the lack of sunlight, fresh air and movement.

In that spirit, here’s a list of ways you can look after yourself and feel a little less blue:

  • Walk outside (when the temperature is bearable)
  • Go to the Gym (for the happiness, not for unhealthy body goals)
  • Make plans with a friend
  • Volunteer somewhere
  • Try something new (like a yoga class, or any kind of class)
  • Go somewhere you’ve never been (even if it’s not far)
  • Watch a new tv show
  • Create something – anything
  • Rewatch a favourite show or movie
  • Read a book

What’s your fave way to boost your mood when you’re feeling down?

Polyamory: You have to have Humour

People tell us all the time they just couldn’t do what we do because they’d be jealous. We definitely understand that! Don’t think we never feel a little green. The secret is we handle it differently (or try to handle it differently) than we would if we were monogamous.

My best advice: Try replacing jealousy with humour. As long as you trust your partner or partners and know, all emotions aside, that you trust them completely you can start to break down jealousy and embrace other reactions.

I emphasize trust here because ultimately I believe it is the cure to jealousy. Jealousy usually emerges with thoughts about someone breaking the relationship rules or putting some other aspect of their life over you. It happens when we think either we have been wronged (broken rules and boundaries) or we’ve been denied something we deserve (like priority or time, etc).

If you don’t trust your partner, if you truly believe they would break that boundary or that they would make choices that hurt you knowingly, it will be impossible to turn off that feeling of jealousy and mistrust.

If you do trust your partner, though, if when it comes down to it you don’t really believe they could do those things then it becomes possible to answer jealousy and replace it with other emotions.

My recommendation? Humour.

Particularly with polyamory or any open relationship structure you’re going to find yourself in situations you never imagined. You’ll have conversations about the moments you share with other partners, and if you habitate you may even walk in on those moments. It’s the reality of making the relationship choices we have.

Living this lifestyle is going to be a lot more challenging in the long term if each time these unexpected situations occur you react with anger and jealousy.

Instead, laugh at it, a little. Laugh with each other about the surprise of it all and support each other through the unexpected encounters.

Remember that you define your relationship boundaries and part of deciding to involve more people in your life should be a mutual mental preparation for all the consequences of overlapping relationships.

On a final note – don’t feel like you have to deny the existence of jealousy. It’s a totally normal, human emotion and it should be acknowledged. However, when you feel jealous you have some choices about what to do with that jealousy. I recommend humour instead of anger so that the role of jealousy can be reduced and you can prevent it from defining your relationships and the relationships of those around you.

Beauty Talk for the #realbabebeauty queens

All right babes, can I call you babes?

Let me tell you a story.  You know how Sephora advertises that they will teach you how to use the products and whatnot? Yeah, I’m the girl they’re advertising to.

I have less and less shame about going to my local Sephora and telling them that I want to use this product or that but need some help.  Most recently I flagged down one of their staff and asked her to help me with contouring.  On multiple occasions, I’ve asked them to teach me how to use different brow products so I could find one easy enough that I can literally do it blind (#glassesprobs).

Things like crazy perfect brows and ultra-defined cheekbones kind of exploded on to the beauty blogs and all of a sudden they were everywhere.  Everyone I knew was adding a little extra and looking gorgeous and I had no idea how.  I tried experimenting on my own but quickly realized I was in over my very-pale head. Every time I tried applying anything contour-wise it looked too dark on my cheeks. I looked more like I’d been in a fight than anything else. And I looked like I lost that fight.

You don’t even wanna know how learning to do my brows went. Honestly, I wasn’t bad at making each of my brows look great but they looked like they belonged on different faces.  Evenness was a problem.

Now I’ve been all about the real talk on this blog.  Y’all know I’ll always be honest with you from my love life to working from home to fitness.  Once upon a time when I started this little mermaid project, I said “Nope, I’ll never blog about beauty” but lately I’ve started thinking more about it.  I see all these bloggers out there killing it with gorgeous makeup tutorials and I love that they’re doing such great work for their blogs.  However, there’s something missing.  Where are the makeup blogs for people like me?  When I look at these super glam beauty bloggers I don’t see someone I can relate too and I don’t feel like I can learn anything honestly because they are in another class of skill and talent.

Now don’t get me wrong – I know a lot of that is in my head.  I’m sure if I really studied it and tried I would find that it’s a little more accessible than I think.  I want to put something out there though that is truly for all the girls that give up easy when makeup gets complicated.  I’m here for you! I’m one of you!

The reason I said I wouldn’t blog about beauty is that I didn’t feel qualified.  Then again – maybe I am qualified for a certain kind of beauty blogging.

The truth is I love makeup.  I do really enjoy experimenting with new products, trying new techniques or new styles.  Sephora is a super happy place for me.  That being said, I’m not super good at makeup.  I can’t transform my face to look like someone else and I refuse to make it more complicated than it needs to be (I’ll get into that in my next beauty post.)

Today I have a big question for you: What do you want to see in a beauty blog?

Are the big questions I can try and answer?

Are there products you want to know more about?

Are there certain looks you’d want me to try and post?

What do you want an averaged girls perspective on? =) Comment and let me know!

 

Let’s Talk About “The Weight Loss Resolution”

It’s that time of year again! Just 4 short days ago untold numbers of us pledged to ourselves – and perhaps our families, friends & followers – that we would change our habits with the intention of loosing weight.

I kinda get it. I mean, for years and years I pledged along with the rest of them. I always used January 1st as the beginning of an imagined weight loss journey.

I can only speak for myself here, but it never really stuck. Or rather, the weight always stuck far better than the resolution.

So what’s with the mass desire to loose weight? Wanting to be healthier is one thing but I can’t help wondering about the marketing happening to create this trend.

More importantly, can we spin this towards deeper meaning. Instead of simply following the idea that we should more faithfully support the health industry or chase a certain body image could we centre on living more consciously?

I think that’s a big part of what has always been missing for me in my weight loss journey. I got the message to go to the gym and to eat a certain way but it always came from outside. It came from marketing, blog posts, health magazines and the like.

What if instead of simply saying we have a resolution to lose weight we had a resolution to nourish our bodies and paid attention to what our bodies actually wanted?

Not simply eating this “superfood” or that “negative calorie snack” because we were told that’s what we should do but instead exploring and experimenting to find what really feels good and gives us energy, strength and health?

I imagine this kind of mental shift is where the real change happens. Not in what we’re told to do but in what we feel good doing.

What about you? What are your resolutions and how are you planning to turn resolutions in to reality?

Making Relationship Resolutions

We spend this week trying to set ourselves up for a great year. We talk about weight loss and career goals. We start planning and prepping and getting excited. Well, Wednesdays are my relationship post day so here’s a question:

Do you have relationship resolutions?
Here are 5 Relationship Resolutions for a happy, health 2019:

Don’t focus on what’s “wrong”

This is hard but ultimately good for all your relationships. When we focus on something we give it increasing power and significance. By focusing on the things that bother us, the things that upset us, any longer than necessary, we slowly let them define our relationship.

When you find your mind constantly circling to something negative turn and face it, address it and mentally close that train of thought. If it keeps coming up remind yourself that it was dealt with.

The sneaky truth about “thinking positive” is that it takes a lot more effort than we ever talk about. We say “think positive” all the time but we don’t talk about doing the work.

Remember to Date Each other

This is kind of the flip side of not focusing on whatever feels “wrong”. No matter where you are in your relationship – dating, living together, engaged, married – remember to date each other.

The thing about this advice is that it’s really just a reminder to think of each other and let yourself enjoy all the happiness, and infatuation that you felt in those early days of dating.

As relationships get more serious it’s easy to let the infatuation evaporate because we feel like it doesn’t have a place in the conversations about bills, families, and daily life. But love – infatuation and unreasonable affection for one another – is what separates adults in a relationship from adults with a functional partnership.

Make time for Each Other

It doesn’t have to be like a “date”. Going out for dinner or to do things is nice. However, it’s not really about that, is it? It’s just about making time to make each other a priority.

Sometimes when we are going to be home, just having a regular night, we think of it as not having plans. We look for something else to do with that time. Somewhere else to be, someone else to see. We choose to go out with our friends or go to an event.

Sometimes we have to just see that open time in our schedule as booked. We have to enjoy that obligation-free time with each other and protect it from the incessant need to fill our calendar with “something else”.

Celebrate and Support Independence

Relationship advice tends to tell you how to be together. I want to remind you that you should also celebrate and support independence. Encourage each other to pursue hobbies and things that fuel your soul.

Be okay with the fact that there is happiness that isn’t shared. Be okay with your partner loving something that you don’t.

Let them talk to you about it and express their happiness without making them feel guilty for loving something that isn’t you.

Take the time to find your own hobbies and interests.

Never Air your Dirty Laundry 

My mother gave me some really great advice as a teenager. She told me that the reason I should never air the dirty laundry in my relationship is because I am in love with someone, so forgiveness is part of the deal but for all the friends and family I might vent to when I’m mad, that isn’t true.

I can go running to friends or my mom or whoever and tell them all about how upset a partner made me or some stupid thing they did. At the end of the day I’m going to go home and forgive my partner because that’s how relationships move foreword.

That person I vented to, though… anyone who saw the dirty laundry… they aren’t in the relationship. They don’t have any reason to forgive. I just make them look bad and their reputation isn’t fixed by my forgiveness.

Keep what happens behind closed doors right there behind closed doors.

What are your relationship resolutions?

2019 Preview

Can you believe we’re already here? Prepping and planning and celebrating the arrival of 2019?

I can’t. It’s been a crazy year and I am so excited to tell you about just a few of the things I have planned for the upcoming year.

I hinted in my review yesterday that I am planning to do a little beauty blogging. I said I wouldn’t be a beauty blogger buuuuut I have always love make up. I just felt like I didn’t have anything to add to the beauty blogging sphere. Yet I think I might have something to add, after all?

More on that later.

I’m also working on an awesome content calendar full of beauty posts and everything else. That means more frequent posting for you. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to be specific! There’ll even be themes. Mondays will usually be beauty and lifestyle posts, Wednesdays will usually be relationship related and Fridays will usually be fitness Fridays.

I’m a little addicted to planning, but that works out well for projects like this!

Most exciting of all: A New Business!

Oh My Mermaid has allowed me a few opportunities to work as a social media manager and build on past social media experiences in the volunteer world. It’s become a bit more than a side passion to be a full blown project.

Fear not – this blog isn’t going anywhere. This brand is just growing to include Seashell Social Media. My specialty is small businesses, like start ups and Etsy shops along with other bloggers and not-for-profits because those are the projects I’ve worked with before and know the most about supporting.

I’ll be launching Seashell Social Media fully in the next week or two but if you’re interested in being a founding client message me to find out about all the perks that come with getting involved now, at the beginning of something beautiful!

Well, that’s all for now – just a little sneak peak of all that’s coming in 2019!

For the last time in 2018,

Carmen