Author: MASbetter

smart, strong, sensual

summer heat solutions

It has been ungodly hot this summer. On the one hand, heat and humidity is good for suppressing appetite. On the other hand, it also makes you sticky and grumpy.

I have a few favorite ways of dealing with the heat that doesn’t revolve around me crying and giving into buying an air conditioner. That’s for wussies. When I was younger, I did silly things like hiding in libraries or going to the malls to bask in their cool area. It gets a little awkward when you don’t buy things. As much as I like mooching, my goal in life is to avoid becoming Mr. Panera. Mr. Panera was a stocky older man who would bring in his big ass MAC computer and settle into a booth. For 8+ hours, he would play World of Warcraft and sip on sugary lattes. I once had to “work from home” and our wifi wasn’t working, so I had to share shitty internet with him at Panera. For some reason, I visited that cafe quite frequently that summer and always noticed him in his corner. At any time of day. Alone. I guess, at least he wasn’t sweating.

Three things that make me feel like I’m not a sweaty mammoth:


cheap and effective!

so luxurious!

so luxurious!



kid tested, mother approved

kid tested, mother approved








1. Rosewater spray. Ignore the hippy shit on the side of the bottle. It’s a great product for a little extra hydration if you layer it under your moisturizer. In the summer, I like to give my face a few spritz of this and get next to a fan. INSTANT SATISFACTION. F-U heat! Bonus: this stuff is cheap as chips (~$6) as opposed to Avene thermal water ($18) or the Evian Mineral Water Bullshit spray ($17.50).

2. Face masks. There is nothing more sumptuous than relaxing with a glass of wine and a nice, rich face mask. Sure, you’ll scare all the children and animals, but it’s 30 minutes of bliss. Also, your skin will thank you when it’s over. I wish they made body wraps for at-home use. You can find these at HMart or on Amazon for about $15 (box of 10).

3. Baby Wipes. Sweat comingling with dead skin is a disgusting combination. Even if you shower multiple times a day, in the thick of the worst humidity, it’s nice to wipe down strategic areas with baby wipes.


Moolissa? More like, BOO-lissa: the dish on dairy + acne

You might know me as the person with the best skincare routine ever. I was preaching the gospel of “actives” across the intertoobs. Not one to toot my own horn, but I pretty much miracle-workered myself. Within 6 months, I went from pizza face to one that was fairly clear, smooth, and healing from hyperpigmentation scars. Since puberty, I’ve always had acnegenic skin that managed to be both dehydrated and oily. Genetics, right? What a bitch. Finding r/SkincareAddiction saved my skin. I learned about BHA and AHAs, how chemical exfoliants performed better than physical exfoliants. Tossing out my face scrubs (go to hell, St. Ives apricot!) and creating a routine that kept my skin moisturized and clear (no more oily skin!) meant that I could go bare face more often.

And then… this happened.


acne 7-1 wm

There’s a cluster of acne on the chin with some closed comedomes and whiteheads joining the party.


There’s a lot of contributing factors to acne, almost as many as the number of treatments out there. I’ve been experimenting with some new skincare products in the past month. I know, I know, why mess with perfection? I couldn’t help myself to new skincare! Luckily, no deleterious effects came from the new products. I always patch test and add one new product at a time. That way, I can easily identify the cause of any skin irritation. Aside from a couple closed comedomes, my skin didn’t explode with this level of acne until a week ago. In fact, I haven’t had a break out this bad for a few months. The last time this happened it was because I was consuming a lot of skim milk. I haven’t consumed dairy in earnest for a number of years. From time to time, I’d have some cream sauce, stilton, or ice-cream, but never made the connection between dairy and acne.




Apparently, I am allergic to dairy. I didn’t know that was a thing. I’ve heard of lactose intolerance, but this is a whole different ballgame. I tried lactose-free milk for a few weeks because I thought lactose was the problem. LIES. These past few weeks have been full of fro-yo and ice-cream bars. Bad for the fitness bet, and bad for my face. I should know better.

Should you abstain from dairy for clear skin? Technically, the scientific literature is unclear about this. THERE IS NO STRONG CORRELATION, much less causation, BETWEEN DAIRY AND ACNE/INFLAMMATION. At least universally.  For most folks, dairy products are harmless. In fact, it’s one of the best high-satiety foods for diets. If you have an intolerance or allergy to dairy, however, you might want to double check your skin to see if abstaining from dairy products will make a difference. I know it’s hard, but put down the cheetos. And walk away.


works cited

Keeping morale high while fitnessing

If you’ve ever tried to change your habits, no matter how far along you are, or how many times you’ve tried and failed, morale is your biggest challenge. Our bodies are fantastically elastic and will respond to any changes we make. It’s our minds that will always give up before our bodies (given that you’ve no major health problems). If you lose sight of how much progress you made and feel bad about it, remember that each small change has an impact. If you think that 5 or 10 pounds isn’t much, try and walk around with a sack of flour or a free weight for a day. That’s what your legs used to carry; that’s what your knee used to bear. When you throw down the extra weight at the end of your experiment, remember that’s how much lighter you are now.


average newborn: 8 lbs

average newborn: 8 lbs

dead weight

[Results] The side bet

WOMP. womp. What a month it has been. My attempts to sabotage @CriticalMAS has completely backfired. I suckered him into trying froyo (frozen yogurt for the innocent) and we both got addicted. He has either stalled on his weightloss or found the metrics to be off. I have definitely gained weight. Haven’t been able to weigh myself since the scale I originally used was at competitor #3’s house. He, unfortunately, is completely MIA when it comes to the bet. As is competitor #4.

We decided on a gentleman’s agreement that the side bet is a wash. I DON’T HAVE TO DO A SOCIAL MEDIA FAST. But this also means I won’t get to witness the humiliation of @CriticalMAS downing Starbucks espressos 😦



Update: @CriticalMAS updated his bet results here

I quit!

My job, that is.

As silly as it may sound, I picked up a labor-intensive job to boost my fitness progress. It made a lot of sense at the time. Ahem. Knowing that I didn’t want to get a gym membership because I really couldn’t be bothered, plus I’d feel guilty about wasting money, what better way to get fit than to get someone else to PAY you to do it? Brilliant, right?

At first, it worked beautifully. I was breaking a sweat a few nights a week and being on my feet for 8+ hours a day. My eating got regulated (I only ate during breaks) and my mood was better. In retrospect, these endorphins primarily resulted from not sitting on my ass at an office job all day. These results were short lived, though.


The [exercise + eating right = WIN] equation was supposed to work. It failed me miserably, because there was another variable looming in the midst. Motherfucking SLEEP. Damn, right. Sleep regulates your mood, your appetite, and more importantly, your hormones. Becoming nocturnal and sleeping every 36 hours severely fucked up my hormones and hunger signals. Think you can keep a vampire schedule? There’s nothing sexy about sun-starved skin and dead eyes.

That’s the story of how I added 32+ hours of physical activity to my schedule, maintained my diet, and gained 5 fucking pounds. It’s not muscle weight, don’t worry. I’ve gained a dress size in the past 3 months.

Regular sleep is the best thing you can do for your sanity, and your waist line.

Top 3 things to quit now for healthier skin

Back to basics. Before you begin your search for the holy grail skincare routine, check to see if your personal habits aren’t detrimental to your skin health. Below are the top three things you can do to keep your skin at its best:

1. QUIT SMOKING. It’s hard. It sucks. But you have to. Really. Luckily, lots of people live in places where cigarettes may be cost prohibitive, or where laws are shunning smokers out of public and private places. With availability and accessibility out of the way, temptation may be easier to resist. If you need any reminders about the hazards of smoking, here they are.

2. QUIT DRINKING. Or if that’s not realistic, make sure you rehydrate well after drinking. Get them electrolytes and sleep it off.

3. QUIT TANNING. UV rays in tanning beds are no better than the rays from the sun. Tanning is skin damage, no matter the source of UVs. Use sunscreen when you’re out and about, and for god’s sake, don’t bake yourself. Melanoma is one of the leading killers of Americans.

Project 10 Pan 2014: makeup + skincare megapost

Project 10 Pan 2014



Lately, I’ve found myself using the same products over and over again. Despite using the same items, I keep buying new products to try out since I’m always on the search for the Holy Grail whatever product that will change your life and make you ride shining unicorns off into the sunset.

My makeup collection feels a bit cluttered, so I want to use up some products that need a little love and attention. Enter Project 10 Pan. The goal is to finish or make a significant dent in each of these items by the end of 2014.

Set aside an assortment of makeup products that you want to make progress on or use up entirely. You might have enough things for several full face looks, or maybe just a few products here and there to incorporate into your makeup routine. It might be a good idea to create a “makeup basket” to store all of these items in the same place. If they’re out of your drawers, you can’t avoid them!

I put a blue dot of nail polish on all of my Project 10 Pan items and make sure to add at least one or two in my routine each day. I’ll update on any progress I’ve made as well as do reviews of the items.


Additionally, I also have some skincare products to finish up:


Project 10 Pan 2014


Missha BB Deep Cleansing Oil [$27]: Dear god, the fragrance in this. Bought this in 2013, but then discovered mineral oil (aka Baby Oil) works even better for me at dissolving makeup and sunscreen. It also breaks my out, so I will try this for my body.
HydroPeptide Cleansing Gel [$40]: Why the fuck is a cleanser that expensive? It was a gift so I didn’t pay for it myself, nor would I ever. It’s an effective cleanser with which to follow up the Missha, but it’s not $40 amazing. It’s a nice unfragranced gel cleanser that cleanses without stripping all the oils off your skin. It’s as good as my Simple Gel Cleanser, which is only $7.
Stridex Sensitive BHA pads [$6]: Use after cleansing to treat any closed comedomes. I used Stridex in the red box but picked up this one because the store didn’t have the red boxes in stock and hey, curiosity. Turns out, the green box does not have the right Ph balance for skin, which means the product is not effective for exfoliation. Boo-urns. I only have a few pads left so I will use it up as a toner.
AlphaHydrox Enhanced Lotion 10% Glycolic AHA [$16]: I’ve started using this for my body because it was a touch too harsh on my face. I got too excited about starting AHAs and irritated my skin by over-exfoliating. I’ve since ordered the Paula’s Choice 8% AHA gel. Based on the reviews and raves, I expect that to be more gentle and suitable for my skin.
Biore UV Perfect Milk PA+++ SPF50+ [$17]: I LOVE this. It dries quickly, matte, and makes a great base for my makeup. I’ve had this bottle on rotation for a while and I also want to finish it up because I want to try other sunscreens.
Trader Joe’s Jojoba Oil [$8]: Tried this for OCM, broke me out. I’ll be using it on my body and scalp. Merp derp.

5 minute face

5 minute face


There are some mornings where time seems to escape me. What do you do when you’ve only got 5 minutes? No matter how short on time I am, sunscreen is always a priority. The Biore UV Milk is really quick drying. It spreads easily on my face and creates a nice base for makeup. My dark circles can be pretty terrible, especially when I don’t get enough sleep. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealor is emollient enough to use in the undereye area and it covers the darkness well because it’s so highly pigmented. I pat that in either with my fingers or with the Real Techniques Shadow Dome Brush (included in the starter eye kit).
I never leave the house without brows if I can help it. My holy grail eyebrow product is Etude House Drawing Eyebrow pencil in #2 gray brown. It is a soft and smooth pencil that gives the most natural look because it’s the perfect shade for people with black hair and pale skin. Lastly, I top off my cheeks and lips with NYX Rouge Cream Blush in hot pink. You need so little of this product because it’s highly pigmented. Pat it on gently and with a light hand, you’ll get a natural looking flush.