Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hair update

Hey, guys!

Today I am writing about my updated hair care routine and the progress of growing my hair out healthier and stronger.

You can read the background story in this post I did a while back.

I got my hair cut & toned by my sister back in December, when I went home for the Christmas holidays and took advantage of her discount as a professional purchasing new items.
At the moment I am washing my hair every 2-3 days (I always shampoo twice) with this Keune Care Line shampoo & conditioner duo and occasionally use the Leave-In Hair Repair. I'm one of the people that brush my hair wet more often than not (I know), however, I both tend to wait until it airdries as much as possible and have been using the Tangle Teezer for the past few weeks, which, by the way is absolutely amazing.
For care and protection I use the Wella Oil Reflections, which is easily one of my favorite products to use; period. I think it's mostly the smell...?, I just love it so much, I'd use it , even if it didn't work, haha. However, thankfully, it does leave my hair soft, smooth, shiny and tangle free. Before blowdrying I use the Got2b Guardian Angel, after hearing about it from Ingrid on youtube and so far, I really like it. It's light and seems to smooth my hair as well as protect. Sometimes (about once a week or so), if I know that I will wash my hair the morning after, I take about 2 spoonfuls of raw, organic coconut oil and leave it in a braid overnight, which, if anything, at least smells very nice.
For styling I suddenly rediscovered the Gun-Britt Root Lifting spray in my own stash, after, probably, simply using it wrongly before and not getting the wanted results. Now I spray the product in my roots and lightly rub it in before blowdrying my hair with my head down; brush my hair again when dry and I am good to go. For 2nd and 3rd day hair I relay on the TRESemm√© Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo, which I also heard from youtube and this is, no doubt, the best dry shampoo I have tried so far. All the others make my hair feel even more greasy, weighed down and flat. If my hair need a bit of a pick me up, I use some salt water spray - either the Toni&Guy Sea Salt Texturizing Spray, which has a much more crispy finish, or the Cha Cha Cha Professional Volume & Texture Spray (which I couldn't seem to find online, sorry!).

I am just about to run out of my shampoo, so I am open for new suggestions :) My hair is very fine, obviously.

My question to you, however is - do you have any recommendations to fight static hair during winter? It really annoys me, to be honest, but I don't want to weigh my hair down or dry it out with products.

Have you tried any of these? What are your favorites?

Talk to you soon!


Monday, February 24, 2014

MaxFactor Glossfinity polishes

Hey, guys!

Today I am doing a pretty fun post, considering I only noticed the reappearing brand when going through my (already modest) nail polish stash to organize it.

Turns out, I am not only indifferent towards collecting nail polishes, when I do - I am very loyal to what I know works. I am very laid back about my manicure. I love pampered nails, but I don't have the patience to spend tons of time painting & waiting. The more coats are necessary, the longer it takes, right?

The MaxFactor Glossfinity polishes take max 2 coats before I get the color payoff, they dry well, last long and I can always find a pretty shade to try.

I think a good way to judge a brand is by the light shades - whites, yellows and mint colors. This Snow White polish truly comes out non-transparrent white with two coats, which is great, especially for 59,29 dkk! A true drugstore steal.

For information purposes, I always use OPI's Nail Envy underneath - helps my nails grow and prevents them from splitting. I don't wear a top coat.

If you want to see the polishes on, I am more than willing to do an additional post on swatches and my manicure tips.

Until then - my genuine recommendations.

Have you tried these? What do you think? Do you have another drugstore favorite? Let me know in the comments below.

Talk to you soon



Saturday, February 22, 2014

15 things

Hey, guys! Thank you to everybody who added me on bloglovin' and twitter after I finally joined, I really appreciate it. Crazy, busy week, not always the best of times, to be honest, but I am choosing to remain happy and positive, so in today's post I'll talk about some of the recent highligts - random moments and some updates.

#1 Hockey

If you know anything about me, you know that I am 100% latvian, just living in Denmark. If you know anything about Latvia, you know, that ice hockey is joking-not-joking a religion to us. We're also very proud of our 2.3 million nation winning olympic medals, qualifying for the championships and competing with athletes from much bigger countries. Although I've been in Denmark for close to 5 years now (which is my entire adult life, given that I am only 22), this was the first time I actually gathered with other latvian expats to see the games at a pub. We made it to the quarter-finals and after a tough game and a long period of 1:1 result, we had to hand the victory over to Canada. Long story short - I really enjoyed these evenings and I hope to be much more active in the latvian community here, because I could instantly feel how amazing & different that made me feel.

#2 7:30 AM yoga

After a long break from the gym, I have been making the effort to get back to it, because I love, love, love everything about it from the way it makes me feel physically, emotionally, the people I meet, the tips I pick up, the things I learn about myself and what my body can do, it's wonderful and I will definitely keep going. Not for the bikini season, not for a big event, for me, for life, for happiness  

#3 Amazing food

Subsequently, when you become more aware of moving your body, you pay attention to what it craves and what you feed it with. Although I genuinely love healthy food and don't struggle with "staying on track", I find it hard sometimes to avoid crap. Things like tzatziki, hummus and mango to most associates with a healthy diet, but if one contains modified corn starch, the other - countless preservatives and the third has nothing to do with an actual fruit filled with vitamins, fiber and energy - I feel almost tricked into unhealthy eating. For this reason, my view on food has changed a lot within the past couple of months. I try to eat organic more often that before, I will rather cook with real, full fat butter, that a "no-stick-fat-free-zero-calorie" spray (not that I have done it before, to be honest) - but I hope you know what I mean. Real is always better.

#4 Afternoon delight

Tying in with what I have been saying - visiting my boyfriends mom and enjoying a piece of homemade nut and fruit cake with her special mix of creme fraiche, greek yogurt and vanila on the side, whilst having a lovely conversation, made me really appreciate hearty, healthy, soulful and guilt free treats like sweets and good company.

#5 Converse weather returns!

Guys, you have to understand. I've always loved Converses. I've never owned a pair until last Spring. I haven't gotten nearly enough. And then the winter came. Snow, rain, wet leaves and freezing temperatures is not exactly the perfect weather for light weight footwear. And now... slowly, slowly, the air is warming up and even though I could probably get away with wearing boots for a month or two (or three, let's be honest), I am back!

#6 Know, when to stop

I had a rough morning this week. Thing's weren't going my way, I was delayed by things that were stressing me out as it is, but weren't getting solved and now I was also getting behind the rest of my schedule. I repeat: The rest of my not really that important schedule. I mean, it hit me - who cares about your schedule other than you? You don't even have a boss to dissapoint! With that perspective, I decided that I will be a better use for myself with a calm mind and a better attitude. So I did the exact opposite of what I initially was doing which is running around, panicking. I walked into a mall, picked up a magazine (a rare splurge for me), ordered myself a Starbucks vanila latte, sat down and used some good 30 min to catch a break. It worked wonders. I felt spoiled, which made me feel more positive, I felt empowered, I slowered my pace, composed my thoughts, I mean - wonders. Plus, I read some interesting articles, so - a double win!

#7 Romance

When we run as fast as we do, it's sometimes easy to forget to date. And I mean - take your long time boyfriend out for a date. Or organise something special for the two of you. For us, a couple of days at a summerhouse by the seaside with a fire place, wine and music is just what the doctor ordered. The movie usually ends, when the couple kisses and confesses their love, but it's up to you to keep filming.

#8 Shopping

This is somewhat of a sensitive topic to me, because I have a lot of guilt associated with spending money, combined with a great "greed" towards qualitative, reliable, pretty or downright immature cute items. I srive to master the balance. Rememeber my skincare post? I mentioned, that I miss a face mask and an eye cream. Not any more! I picked up the Tangle Teezer on a whim after hearing so much about it on youtube and suddenly coming accross it at the high-end mall I went to for the Bobbi Brown counter. Point is, things like these makes me happy as long as I am very selective and don't go all crazy.

#9 Treat yourself

When you do buy something, next step is testing! Would you believe if I told you, that I have never ever had a face mask done before? Might explain the huge smile on my face, I suppose! My skin's been acting up a bit, I have heard a lot of good things about this product and the brand itself and last, but not least - Matas was doing a sale, so I tried it. I really loved, how it felt and I look forward to experience... clear improvements :) What I am wanting to try is putting the mask on before I hit the sauna at my gym after a workout. Sounds like perfection to me!

#10 Getting healthy freebies on the street

Random? Yes. Pleasant? You bet! Last week, while rushing to my Danish class I was handed a plastic bag with additions to Arla's new Protein range and my life was made easier (and more dellicious) that day. Gotta love some good old promotion.

#11 Making somebody happy will make you happy

I know a little girl. Fact is, she's my favorite little girl. She just turned 5. And I made her a present. I made a book. It was fairytales and pictures, that I drew myself, it has a good amount of pink and glitter and there are plenty of pages for her to add to. Making it was quite the task and I enjoyed every second of it. She took it to bed :)

#12 Simple makeup

I was late to the whole make-up party, to be honest. Then, when I arrived, it exploded in my face and quite literally took a couple of years to get a hang of. I've worn no make-up a lot and I've worn too much often. Recently I've been determined to figure out the way to apply just the right amount. I'll tell you, when I get there.

#13 Laugh

Can I just...? I don't know, if it's really inappropriate to say, but I give myself a good laugh at least once a day. Yes, you read that right - I give it to myself. Because not a single day goes by without me tripping (on my feet or on my words), embarrassing myself (and those around me), saying something, doing something, looking silly, messing up. If that went away, I'd miss it.

#14 Piece of home 

I love carrying little things around, that remind me of where I come from, that are simple, true to who I am and something I am proud to carry. I didn't always know, how much that means to me. This watch for example was given to me by my boyfriend, the first time he visited Latvia with me. He thought I should have it. As per usual, he was right. Do NOT tell him I said that.

#15 A new beginning

We spent a good amount of February looking for a place. We saw the good, the bad and the expensive ugly. It was fun, stressful, exciting, discouraging sometimes, but a very special experience and a bonding one for any couple, in my opinion. The fact we found something we could both see ourselves living in, coming home to, being happy, could afford and could get our hands on, was really, really nice. For some of you this might not be a big deal. I grew up in one house only and never moved until Denmark, where I lived in a dormitory, then moved into my boyfriend's apartment and have never actually went to see a potential place, let alone with another human being. So it was one of life's milestones for me! I'll let you in on a secret - this is not the place we got. The view, though!

Have a great weekend!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Renate's closet diaries #2 Bag collection

Hey, guys!

I have to say, working on posts again made me realize how much I’ve missed it. The thing is, I think I overwhelmed myself when I started. I followed more than 200 blogs, which I couldn’t keep up with and ended up stressing out about it rather than enjoy scrolling through a list of blogs I really enjoy reading.
So I took the time to unfollow blogs that haven’t put a post out for more than 6 months or have a completely different tastes than I do or content I am not interested in (which does not mean, that they are not great, great blogs). I still follow many, but they all inspire and excite me, so it’s all good! I've also signed up for bloglovin' as you can see on the right and finally added my favorite blogs over there. The good thing about bloglovin' is that I am able to follow some of my favorite blogs, that didn't show up on my blogger's reading list, so it was more difficult to keep up.

Moving onto today’s post, I am doing something rather embarrassing, yet true - the second installment of Renate's closet diaries! (If you're wondering what the hell am I talking about, here's a little explanation.) The first edition got so much attention and is still one of the most popular posts I've done. It's been forever since and so I decided to publish my modest and borderline boring bag collection.

I've never been really into bags as an accessory (as the photographic evidence clearly shows) - as long as I found something simple, affordable, black or brown, spacious, versatile and practical - I was a happy camper. I also think it's a pain to repack your bag ever so often, so I am a big fan of the one-bag-is-all-you-need concept.

I actually think, that a few staples is absolutely acceptable as long as your wardrobe is based around the outfits and is pretty simple. However, I am really curious to hear, if you guys have any feedback and will point out clear lacks and advice.

Here's basically the whole thing. And even then I only use 2 of the bags for 95% of the time. Can we say I am stuck in a rut? In the bottom row (from the right) we have my trusty Zara Shopper's bag. With a handling, that would make any fashionista cringe, this bag looks pretty beat-up. I've literally taken it anywhere. Grocery shopping, school, beach, airport, job interviews (you get the point). Apart from being unable to stand straight anymore, I wasn't too happy with the fact, that there is no zipper. I mean, it's just too easy for anybody to not only see the entire contents of my bag, but possibly even reaching in and pulling out random items. So, recently (just before Christmas, actually), I treated myself to a Laura Bag, which you can see on the right. I am very happy with it, as it was exactly everything I mentioned a good bag to be in my opinion - affordable, simple, comfortable, spacious, black and versatile. I've been carrying this bag ever since I got it. Everywhere, all the time. Slightly below and in the middle - my gym + traveling bag. I still love it and even though find it hard to carry it around for a long time, when it's heavy, I am very glad I have it.

Next row is my brown every day bags. From the left - a vintage one my boyfriend got for me last Christmas from a little vintage boutique in our town. It's so cute and high quality, however, I rarely get to wear it, especially in the wintertime due to the small size and the relatively short strap. In the middle - this summer's buy from my Bulgaria trip - a Zara Basic Shopper bag, which is even cheaper now. And on the left - a very old buy. I believe it's from Bershka? Or Pull & Bear some 5 or 6 years ago. To be honest, I think it's time we parted, although we had some really good times.

On the upper rows, we can see my basic strap and clutch collection. Two shoulder strapped ones - one brown, one black, of course. The black one is leather, actually and was an impulse buy about 4 years ago. The other - an even older necessity buy.

The rest - a basic black clutch for going out, a dressy H&M rose textured clutch and a coral bought specifically for the wedding I attended.

Allright, I think that actually concludes this post. What do you think? Just quickly - I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, I am currently writing this at my boyfriend's family's summerhouse, which is the coziest place on the entire earth - the fireplace is lit, the wine is cooling down and the rain & wind is storming outside. It's things like these, that make me feel content and charged again. Talk to you soon!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

My updated skincare routine

Hey, guys!

I am hardly jumping back into the swing of things, considering what feels like a very long pause I have taken from this blog, but here's a no-excuse, no-explanation post about my newest skin care heroes, because I have to start somewhere and I do want to keep bloging from time to time. Let me just say, that I have not been wasting time and 2014 has been starting off nice and busy.

If you have been following me from the start, I wrote this post a while back about my skin care, where I expressed how I try to maintain a "less is more" attitude when it comes to my skin, among other things wanting to keep my routine as simple as possible.

However, I also wrote about feeling like there is certainly room for improvements as I have found my skin to be not only dry, but also sensitive over the years. I knew I wanted to do an updated routine probably ever since I wrote the first one, but reading back at what I wrote made me realize just how much has changed over the past few months. Using better products helped me see, that using the old ones did in fact irritate my skin, I simply had nothing to compare it to back then. My skin is not perfect, it actually breaks out probably about as much, but it FEELS so much nicer and my little routine is something I'm actually looking forward to every morning and night, which is new.

As you can see, it's as simple as it gets, which is a big plus in my book. At night I begin by removing my makeup with Bioderma (just like everybody else in the entire world, it seems) - it's just t.h.e. best at removing makeup in so many ways. I soak 2 cotton pads in the cleansing water and keep them on my eyes for a minute or so to soften the mascara, before removing the makeup. After that or starting straight with that in the mornings I'll apply 1-3 pumps of the Madara Purifying Foam, which is absolutely lovely on the skin - gentle, soft and effective - if I happen to have a spot, the slight sting makes me feel that it's working. I wash my face with water and can then sense my skin feeling very "naked" and dry, so I apply the Comforting Toner, also from Madara Cosmetics and let it dry for a few seconds. Lastly, I apply the SOS* Moisture cream and my favorite lip balm - the Oriflame Tender Care balm in Blackcurrant - that stuff is seriously amazing. And that is all!

I don't have the patience, finances nor knowledge to experiment and come up with my own unique combination of skincare products, I love being able to use a range or a line of products which is already designed to work together and geared towards a specific skintype.

I have talked about Madara before, but it's a Latvian organic skincare brand (although it can easily be bought here in Denmark as well, I tend to stock up when I am home) and I'm actually pretty proud of this line as a fellow latvian, which is why I love to support it! (Trust me, I don't get paid to say this, even though I wouldn't mind at all, haha) I love the packaging and the price range is not too high, considering the quality. The products are natural, organic, cruelty free and all around come from a very good brand, especially the products designed specifically for Nordic skin, where the weather's colder, the wind's stronger and the sun's... hiding :) I recommend checking it out. It also works a lot better under makeup than my Nivea cream did and makes my face feel moisturized and protected all day long.

Now, I only need to purchase an eye cream that I like (Bobbi Brown, I am looking at you) and I am more or less all set, minus the occasional mask or serum :)

What are your skincare heroes and do you stick to a routine or love to experiment? Have you heard  of (or use) any of these products?

Hope you're having a great week and I will see you guys soon!