proactiv+ three step kit

Posted by & filed under Health&Beauty.

*Thanks to Proactiv+ and Her Campus for sponsoring this trial and post. All thoughts, experiences and opinions are, as always, entirely my own.

Alright guys, this post is getting real. I’m always real with you (maybe too real? #bringonthebloopers), but this one is a bit uncomfortable to share. I’ve always been incredibly self conscious about my skin. Because ever since I hit puberty way back in the terrors of middle school, I’ve always had problems figuring out – and controlling – my skin. Sometimes I’d be breaking out like crazy, no matter the time of the month and no matter what the dermatologist prescribed. Other times, I’d be successfully combating acne, but my face would be flaky and dry like the friggin’ Sahara. Not. Cool.

While it settled down a bit post-high school, my skin was still an enigma to me. Was I oily? Normal? Who the heck knows? I was sick of my two good skin days a month, so I figured I’d take the plunge and try something different: Proactiv+.

I’d never before tried Proactiv products, because stories of uber-harsh chemicals had scared the living daylights out of my skin. No way, José.

But, after having already tried the gamut of drugstore options to no avail, I figured the opportunity to test out an entire line of Proactiv+ would be potentially worthwhile. So. For 90 days, I vowed to only use Proactiv+ products in my skincare regimen.

proactiv+ three step kit

Photo c/o:


I was sent 4 products: the three shown here – the Skin Smoothing Exfoliator for cleansing, the Pore Targeting Treatment for spot treating acne, and the Complexion Perfecting Hydrator for moisturization – as well as a mini Purifying Mask with sulfuric acid to be used once-ish a week as desired. Step 1: Cleanse. Step 2: Spot treat. Step 3: Hydrate. Repeat morning and night for 90 days, varying treatment only if reactions occur. Alrighty then. Let’s begin.


First up, pictures to start it all off, taken on October 28th, 2014.


90 days with proactiv+

My skin fluctuates immensely with the time of the month, if ya catch mah drift. I can always tell when I’m a week away from “my time” based on the changes in my skin. It’s like I have a sixth sense or something.

These 4 pics highlight some of my skin’s greatest annoyances: little bumps that aren’t full-blown acne/whiteheads, but don’t go away easily, either. They just leave my complexion looking bumpy and uneven.


90 days with proactiv

By the end of November, my skin was starting to react to Proactiv. I would’ve jumped to saying “ah, so negative!” but I was told ahead of time that Proactiv is known for making you worse before making you better. Apparently, it has something to do with “bringing to the surface” any underlying acne and bacteria, leading to eventual flush-out of sorts on your face. This picture was also taken with flash right after a hot shower, so my skin is redder than usual and breakouts are especially illuminated. #iwokeuplikethis


december proactiv

By December, I wasn’t seeing results like I had imagined; I always envisioned Proactiv being a literal miracle project on my skin. This may or may not reflect my fatal flaw of being the Queen of Expectations. Oops.

While I clearly wasn’t clear-skin status yet, I still felt like some solid results were there. The Pore Targeting Treatment was clearing my breakouts overnight if anything arose, and dryness was minimal; existent dry patches were pretty easily remedied with the hydrating gel.


proactiv 90 day trial

Another post-shower pic, meaning redness and inflammation is higher. This month was more telling, given the frigid tundra that is Pennsylvania in the winter. My skin got D-R-Y, and Proactiv didn’t help this. While I had previously sworn by the hydrating gel, by January I was finding its fatal flaw; it has salicylic acid in it. If I could recommend one thing to Proactiv+’s line it would be this: nix the acid. The one thing truly lacking from the line is a moisturizer not targeted at treating acne. The month ended up being pretty rough, since I got super flaky and dry with little remedy. Proactiv instructed me to lay off the targeting treatment and use only once/day, but it still was rough to find balance and had me resorting to more moisturizing cleansers and lotions in the hopes of exfoliating and evening out.


proactiv 90 day trial

Aaaaaaand VOILA. 90 days just flew by. So here are my thoughts:

  • Like I mentioned before, Proactiv+ needs something truly moisturizing with zilch salicylic acid to really round out the line.
  • The purifying mask is clutch.
  • Dryness was a bit unbearable at times. Following directions as instructed was/is impossible for me, or I’d be able to scrape skin off of my forehead (gross, I know). #realtalk
  • I didn’t see as many results with regards to my scarring as I would’ve liked, especially on my cheeks. Dark spots are still there and still require concealer daily.
  • Since the medicine is quite strong, it got to be a bit painful when I’d be targeting specific spots in a little clustered area. #notfun
  • I really like the cleansing exfoliator. While it is a bit on the rougher side, the granule particles aren’t as big as those in, say, St. Ives Apricot Scrub, making it feel more usable on an everyday basis instead of a once or twice-a-week exfoliant.
  • Pending Thought #1, I would consider using Proactiv+ on an everyday basis and making it a part of a regular skincare routine. Which is big for me, since I’ve been yet to find a skin regimen that has really worked for me with sticking power.

So now that I’ve bared all for you, I’ll call it a night and get back to my at-home mani and Glee reruns.

Have you ever tried Proactiv or Proactiv+ before? If you have oilier skin, what’s your go-to skincare regimen?

See you on the flip side of the weekend! Make it a great one.

links i love february

Posted by & filed under Links I Love, Series.

WHOA FEBRUARY. It’s already the last week of the month, and as usual I’m floored at this and can’t seem to believe how time gets by so quickly. #foreverblindsighted. The past month has been such a whirlwind for me. As of this past weekend, I’m already about halfway done wedding planning because I’m Type A like that. (Details coming on that in a new series soon, so sound off below whether “Wedding Wednesdays” or “Friday Brideday” should be the name of the game!). I gotta say, my list of links for this month was HUGE, so it got scaled back to only the very best.

February. The best new mug for your collection, quinoa and your hair, how to wake up earlier, classic arts meets Mean Girls, the coolest commercial, puppies that look like teddy bears, 15 things emotionally strong people don’t do, and paleo gluten free vegan Red Velvet truffles (say that five times fast).

links i love february

1. 8 tricks to make yourself wake up earlier. I see you 7 am… (

how to wake up earlier

Tip #3: Peer Pressure. The one time it’s okay.


2. Paleo gluten-free vegan Red Velvet cake truffles. Yes, this is real life. (

paleo gluten free vegan red velvet truffles

Can we just acknowledge these puppies? Like, have you ever seen anything that looked any more delicious than this? I didn’t think so.


3. Quinoa is for more than your health cabinet. Here’s how quinoa can stop your hair color from fading. (

paul mitchell quinoa products

I used these in this date night hair tutorial…have you tried them?


4. Art History’s best paired with Mean Girls’ best. Don’t look at this in a public place, or anywhere where you can’t freely laugh until you cry. (

get in loser mean girls

These are pushing the envelope and they’re golden.


5. 15 things emotionally strong people don’t do. (

how to be emotionally strong

If you’ve ever wanted to strengthen your mind and emotional being, this one’s for you.


6. This must absolutely be the next addition to my collection. #bosslady (

ceo mug

And it comes in 15 oz size. NEED.


7. The best commercial. My marketing insides are jumping for joy and I want to hug everything.

8. I want to pick up every single one of these and squeeze them until I turn blue. (

puppies that look like teddy bears

Bless him.


Aaaaaaaaaaand that’s a wrap! Get STOKED, because February’s product favorites are going live ridiculously soon on the YouTubes. There are beauty products, life products, clothing products…you name it. And I was a bit tea-hyped when filming it, so I’m sure we’re going to get on a whole new level together. #weirdo

See last month’s links here.

Enter to win cash to Target here.

Join Operation Beautiful here.

Get introduced to NYNB, become a VIP, and take the plunge networking like a master here.

SUBSCRIBE to Coming Up Roses on YouTube here.

What were your favorite finds this month on the web? Leave a link or two for me to check out below.

Hope you’re having a FABULOUS day. My sock bun and I are peacing out to brave the cold and hit up Entrepreneurship class. You know it’s gonna be a party.



7 Ways to Get Happier Now

Posted by & filed under Life.

Today has been rough. Nothing short of a Monday, but way too short on caffeine. I woke up with a still-wicked cough, having to battle technological woes as I crammed in last-minute prep for an accounting exam and homework assignment due in T-minus 72 minutes.  I had to lug a big Amazon shipment to my apartment, since it was mistakenly shipped to the wrong location initially, I tripped over a big pile of snow (is anyone surprised there, though?), and by 1:44 pm I STILL HADN’T HAD COFFEE WHAT.

monday meme cat

Just one of those days. Are any of you feeling me today?

When a not-so-stellar morning/afternoon/night is on your radar, resort to these 7 tips to get happier in the moment.

7 Ways to Get Happier Now
  1. Close your eyes and breathe easy. Am I the only one who sometimes forgets to breathe? #whoops. When I’m feeling anxious and my blood pressure is on the rise, the first thing I do is shut my eyes on the spot and make a concerted inhale and exhale. For any yogis out there, this is no new concept. But some serious wonders can come from just stopping and re-connecting with your conscious self.
  2. Identify in one quick quip what your main problem or concern is. I’m a chronic snowballer. When I’m getting increasingly stressed, everything seems worse than reality would prove. Take a step back to pop quiz yourself, and be real.
  3. Eliminate what’s not in your control. How often do we FREAK OUT over things that we can do literally nothing about? Way too often, that’s how often. If you realistically can’t do anything about the pain point in the present moment, push it to your mind’s background and carry on with more practical to-do’s in the interim.
  4. Take a hike. Not up a mountain; just around your room (or kitchen, neighborhood, through the makeup aisle…whatever floats your boat). When I need to just clear my head, get centered, and re-focus on what I love, it helps me beyond words to just get up and walk around. If your pain point is coming from frustration over an email, an argument with a friend or family member, stress about your future – just unplug, disconnect, and physically remove yourself from the situation, even if just for a moment. Walk around campus, down a path with nice foliage or flowers, to the local coffeeshop…bonus points if you walk to Target, cos Lord know that’s gonna end with happiness. #retailtherapy
  5. When in doubt, write it out. Sometimes therapists get a bad rap for telling people to write down what’s bothering them. Maybe in the heat of a strong emotion, it feels childish. But it’s actually not stupid – it works wonders. If anything, it might make you feel like your worries are stupid.
  6. Ben & Jerry’s.
  7. Wine.

If I need to explain the last two to you, you need more than 7 steps. So go grab yourself a pint (can we talk about The Tonight Dough???) and a glass of vino, kick up your heels, and reflect on everything that you can (and should!) be happy about right here and now. Time to count yo’ blessings and call out what really matters to you in this life. And as Aibileen so sweetly said in “The Help”:

You is kind.

You is smart.

You is important.

…and you is happy.

To get me feeling uplifted and cheerier in this sub-zero weather, I picked myself up a new swimsuit from Target. And it worked so much, that it got me wanting to give YOU a new Target swimsuit, too. Or really, anything that floats your boat. Here’s the chance to win $40 to Target.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope you’re having a happy day! See you on the hump.