Farewell, July! Maybe I say this every round-up, but July was a pretty good month. It was not my favorite month, but some favorite things definitely happened. Before I get into those though, here is my monthly to-do list in review:
Edit my book. I know. Finally.
Read a book. I read a romance, “Homecoming at Hickory Ridge” by Dana Corbit (my aunt!).
Have a family picnic.
Finish my crochet project. (A winter headband). Time to make a matching one for baby!
Teach my baby to sleep through the night. Haha. Oh, cute little naive me. #teethhappen
Use Google Analytics. Did it, but….can I say this?….not totally impressed. EEK, I said it!
Start a new phone plan. Finally, the Samsung Galaxy s7 is mine!!
Watch Season Three of Liv and Maddie. Dropped onto Netflix July 19.
Bake a Funfetti cake. I really loved the cake–but I’ll make a sprinkle icing to match next time!
Try three new recipes. My new protein recipe: a poached egg. Definitely didn’t nail it, but after two attempts, I got something that resembled a poached egg and it tasted fine. I’ll remake it WITH vinegar in the water, as that should help a bunch. My new vegetable recipe: Oven-roasted sweet potato bites…they turned out good by I prefer baked sweet potatoes. My new grain recipe: homemade gnocchi. It was AMAZING, which was a relief to me because usually I hate gnocchi (and I had my doubts while making it).
July was good for the most part. And it was long. But it had some pretty great moments. I focused some attention on expanding my baby’s palette, and after much trial and error, I am happy to say she now likes cinnamon (kinda), carrots (a little), cantaloupe (a lot) and wheat cereal too. I started watching One Tree Hill, which has been fun. And I watched both Camp Rocks, but some things are better left undiscussed. The best and biggest news of all: we will be moving south this fall!!
Hopefully a few of my “surprises” that I hinted about are making difference on this blog (and will continue to)! My new phone is a top change, even though it’s not a surprise. The s7 means a major improvement of photo quality. Also, I joined Instagram, which was a huge step for my socially-awkward self. Please stop by and look at my pictures of the fur babies. The biggest change of all was an “Aha” moment of clarity that I had during an important 1:30am late-night-phone-conversation-with-my-sister-while-I-wait-for-my-husband-to-get-back-from-an-airborne-operation. We talked about my blog and the direction I’m taking it and my hopes and dreams for it. You know, the kind of things that need to be discussed at 1:30am. After our lengthy discussion, I finally felt new wind in my sails and a wonderful future for my blog, founded on my original inspirations it was created for. I hope you enjoy what is coming! August will probably look a little different around here, so I hope you come visit.
Thank you for stopping by and reviewing the month with me. While July was nice, I’m hopeful that August will be even better. August means fall. And that’s my favorite season because, duh, it leads to Christmas! Tune in next post to see my plans for August (hint: they involve the blog!).
Since I just recently posted my mostly-Burt’s-Bees-skincare routine, you may be wondering why I placed a Clinique skincare order the same week. I have my own concerns about that as well. But I also have an excellent explanation.
In my skincare routine, I happened to discuss my go-to revolutionary product, Clinique’s All About Eyes cream. Well, it also just so happened that I was running very low on my go-to revolutionary product. But when I went to purchase it at my local PX, I was a little intimidated by the $32 price tag. For a 0.5oz bottle. Not even a full OUNCE of product. For $32. This is probably an appropriate moment for me to insert the fact that I don’t believe that skincare has a price tag. The way I see it, you only have one set of skin to take care of, and it’s hard (though not impossible) to reverse damage. Prevention is KEY to proper skincare, imho. With that kind of reasoning, I decided to go for the cream and it’s $32 price tag, on one condition: that I got a bunch of free products.
Fortunately for me, Clinique online was having an all-American July celebratory sale. They really get America. They had a deal running that if you spend $40, you get 4 free minis and free shipping. I was almost at $40 with simply my one eye product, so I purchased a basic moisturizing lotion since I’m running low. Then I looked around online to see if there were any coupon codes and was happy to discover a code that would add a mini-duo to any purchase. I felt like 6 free products, even though they were “minis,” was enough incentive to make a Clinique purchase. After all, I had been close to purchasing the eye product at the PX, full-price with no freebies!
Before I move onto the haul, I just wanted to give a shout-out to my sister-in-law who taught me how to “shop Clinique.” She is the person who got me into their skincare in the first place. And she told me the big secret to buying high end guilt-free is to wait until there is some kind of deal going on. Clinique is one of the few companies that gives away multiple products with your purchase, as long as you time your purchase right. Well, I have to say I didn’t expect to spend under $50 on EIGHT Clinique products…but there you have it!
All About Eyes
I’ll start out with the product responsible for my Clinique haul. This is my absolute favorite eye cream in the entire world. As I’m sure many of you know, the eye area is one of the most sensitive parts of the skin, and also one of the thinnest. Translation: it must be treated delicately. But what many might not know is that there actually are eye creams that make a difference. My sister-in-law gifted me a mini size of this cream to take on my honeymoon. I was excited to try out something made specifically for the eyes, but wondered if it would make more of a difference than normal moisturizer put around the eye area. IT DOES.
While this product says it is specifically designed to reduce dark circles and puffy bags, it does much more than that. I have a lot of natural shadowing under my eyes, which this definitely helped. But more than anything, it completely erased my smile lines. Granted, I’m in my twenties and the smile lines certainly were not deep. But they were there and I wanted to treat them. Treat them, this did. And now you know why I got three containers of this cream. Small note–the dark ruby cream pot pictured above is still All About Eyes, but its the *rich* version. It is still designed to target the eyes and correct the same issues as the normal version of the cream.
Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion +
I remember my grandmother using this cream, and giving me her empty bottle to add to my “makeup collection.” Nostalgia might have played a *slight* role in my decision to purchase this. Also, I wanted to give it a try because it’s price was fair and I needed moisturizer. It’s only a few bucks more than my beloved Burt’s Bees Radiance Night Cream, and I was going to purchase some of that soon. I am so glad I gave this a try.
It is buttery, light, and moisturizes my skin very well. A little goes a long way, which I always appreciate in a skincare product. To be honest, it definitely does not have the nicest smell, but it also doesn’t stink. It wears well under my makeup, and I generally like wearing it. One of my freebies was a mini-sized version of this lotion–yay!
Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum
If I wasn’t so blown away by the All About Eyes cream, then this product would definitely win first place in my haul. It is a serum meant to diminish fine lines, lift and firm skin, even skin tone, reduce dark spots, and improve the radiance and texture of the skin. All I can say is that this has to be one of the best products I have ever put on my skin. And I don’t say that lightly.
It comes out of the pump in a semi-lotion form, almost like a thin and watery lotion. It seeps deep into the skin very quickly. I am not exaggerating when I say that it changed my skin’s texture dramatically as I smoothed it on for the first time. As much as I love makeup and skincare, they rarely give me “Aha!” moments, but this product really did. Is it wrong for me to say I wish I never met this product? A 12-week supply is over $150. *bitter tears* Would it also be wrong for me to say it would be worth it?
Moisture Surge Intense
This freebie seems to be a cross between the serum and lotion I purchased. It’s an intense moisturizer that focuses not only on dehydration, but also repairing the skin’s barrier. Apparently it can plump the skin for up to 24 hours, which sounds good to me! I haven’t tried this yet but am looking forward to it.
Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief
This cream focuses more on hydration than repair. While this cream is meant to plump the skin like the one mentioned above, this one also creates a dewy and radiant glow. It does so by enhancing natural hyaluronic acid (which Clinique calls nature’s moisture magnet). It is also a 24-hr cream, which makes me hopeful that a little will go a long way with this one. Which would be great, since I only have a little bit of it to begin with! haha
That is the conclusion of my Clinique haul. Even though it was technically a skincare splurge to spend so much on just two products, I really feel it’s worth it. Ever since my challenge days of not spending money on makeup, I have felt the value of skincare products over makeup products. Note: I still LOVE makeup and wearing and purchasing it. But I have learned that I can get away with using a $5 eyeliner pencil instead of a $25, but that my skin will pay the price if I do the same with moisturizers. Another note: there are MANY lovable drugstore skincare products. Just read my latest skincare routine. But I am very excited to have these products as part of my skincare collection, because I really think they are wonderful and I know my skin will love them.
Thank you so much for reading. If you have tried any of the products, or have one to recommend, leave a comment below! And just as a note, this post was in no way sponsored– I definitely spent my own money on this haul. And it was worth it!
It’s time to unbox my July Glam Bag! Ipsy sends out their bags mid-month, which is perfect. When I was planning our wedding, I remember receiving winter bridal magazines in the middle of autumn and just feeling so out-of-season. I know magazines have to do that to give us brides a chance to plan ahead, but I have to say I love it when my subscription items arrive in the exact season they are made for. (just me?) Ipsy sends their glam bags in the middle of the month so you are totally caught up in the month its intended for.
The July Glam Bag has a fever bright yet sultry, smoldering theme of “Hot Summer Nights.” My version of the glam bag didn’t overly embrace the theme, similar to last month’s punk theme, though two of the items fit pretty well with it. I like that though, because when a theme doesn’t suit my particular style (read: BRIGHT and PUNK), I still get a glam bag full of things that I like. Another reason I love Ipsy–their style-matching quiz is fairly detailed and the company does a great job sticking to it when composing your individual glam bag.
On to the unboxing!
Mellow Baked Eyeshadow – Plum
This baked eyeshadow is probably the most “summer sultry” item in my July Glam Bag. I haven’t tried this brand before, but my last run-in with a baked product from my June Glam Bag (DLS Baked Highlighter in Bellissima, I’m looking at you!) was phenomenal. I have high hopes for this product. While the color is technically Plum, it is definitely a copper-brown plum (though the picture makes it look far more coppery than it really is). It’s my kind of purple! And while I normally wouldn’t associate the color plum with sultry summer nights, this shade gives off that vibe.
Make Up For Ever Mascara – Excessive Lash
Mascara definitely can lend itself to a sultry look, especially one that gives excessive lashes! I feel like mascara is a beauty product for all seasons, so getting this in my July Glam Bag is a great match for the month! I haven’t tried this particular mascara before, but anything that promises excessive lashes (and is made in France) is my style. I can’t wait to try it out! I’m not sure how it will compare to my beloved go-to mascara, but I have high hopes.
Befine Food Skin Care Night Cream
At this point in my unboxing, the products get less sultry-summer, but still get me excited. My July Glam Bag included this moisturizer, made specifically for the face and neck. While it is a night cream and is extremely moisturizing, it’s not heavy at all. This cream’s uniqueness stems from its’ food-based roots and the company’s focus on natural ingredients. It is paraben-free and composed of vegetarian proteins, including cocoa, millet, and rice bran. The label says it has an allergen-free fragrance, but I don’t detect much of a fragrance at all. In my opinion, it smells like unscented lotion. You know, the lotion that is “fragrance-free” but totally has a fragrance of it’s own. It smells like that. And it’s not completely unpleasant.
Eau Thermale Avene Thermal Spring Water
This is definitely the most unique product of my July Glam Bag. It is specifically made for sensitive wearers (yay!) and is intended to soothe irritated patches of skin. Apparently it can be used for a variety of irritations, ranging from sunburns to diaper rashes. It is a soothing and softening water that is made to be sprayed and then patted off after a few minutes (if it hasn’t already dried). The product is packaged in a pressurized bottle like hairspray (a little surprising) in order to create a very fine mist. I’m definitely intrigued my this product and am looking forward to trying it. Yay! Another product from France!
Luxie Beauty Brush – 215 Small Angle
No glam bag is complete without a beauty tool! This particular brush is nice because its gorgeous, cruelty-free, and has an antibacterial coating. The brush handle is the prettiest blush pink, and has the words LUXIE printed on it in gold foiling. So beautiful. The hairs are synthetic fibers (go vegan!) that are compact though not overly long. I think they will be good for cut-crease work and detailed coloring. Though angled brushes are definitely not my go-to shape for eye makeup, I really think this brush will come in handy. And I also just like having another brush to add to my collection!
That is the end of my July Glam Bag unboxing. If you’re an Ipsy subscriber, leave a comment below telling me what you got. I would love to know! And if you’re not an Ipsy subscriber, you can sign up here. Thanks so much for reading!
*Using my Ipsy subscribe link will not compensate me, however it will provide me with Ipsy Glam points to be used towards products!*
I built my current skincare routine for the evening around the dream of having evenly-toned skin that is blemish-free and has a radiant glow. A little backstory: I have normal to dry skin, and am sensitive to many products and brands. I love trying new things, but don’t want to purchase over-priced “miracle products.” Most importantly, I want my skin to last and be beautiful. After some trial and error, I have come up with my favorite assembly of products to use at night.
For the past ten years, I have washed my face every night. In fact, my nightly routine almost always included a moisturizer too. I would sometimes add a toner or a spot treatment, but never gave brands much thought. It was an accident if I ever used two products of the same brand.
That all changed this year. I finally decided that though I have a great love for makeup, I have an even greater love for my skin. When I took it upon myself to give up buying makeup during the month of May, I did so to focus my attention on my skin and hair. I finally pared down my collection of skin products and chose only a handful to be my regulars. I wanted to give my skin a consistent dose of purposeful nourishment, not just random products that promise good things. The results came in and I couldn’t be happier. My skin is healthy, blemish-free, and evenly toned. Allow me to introduce my current skincare routine!
I begin my night-time routine with warm-hot water an Olay Gentle Facials cloth. They are dry paper towels that have soap dried into them. Once wet, they bubble and lather soap excellently. I prefer dry cloths over wet cleansers because they never sting my eyes or dry out in the package and become useless, the way wet cloths can. I will say that their soap can dry out your skin if you don’t add any moisturizer on afterwards, but who doesn’t do that? Perhaps my favorite thing about these cloths is that they remove ALL makeup, even eye makeup. I rarely have to follow up with a makeup remover oil, and if I do its only to remove pesky mascara from a day of heavy use. And that rarely happens. Well, not the heavy use of mascara. I meant the makeup removing oil. 🙂
Burt’s Bees Radiance Toner
Next I like to use a toner. My go-to toner is the Burt’s Bees Radiance Toner. I love this because it is natural, light, and doesn’t sting at all. It gives an extra radiance to my skin by cleansing my pores a little more than the facial cloths and adding nutrients at the same time. At first, I didn’t believe it was possible for a toner to add radiance. But after continual use and careful scrutiny, I really do believe it makes a difference. I don’t necessarily use toner every single night, but I do most nights and my skin is better off for that.
I love the Burt’s Bees Radiance Toner, but if I need a really deep cleanse, I go for the Sea Breeze toner. You might remember my love-hate feelings about that toner. I like it because it is the most effective product I have (besides a facial spa brush) in cleansing my skin. However, there is a difference between a tingling sensation and a stinging sensation, and this one definitely stings. I can’t call it a go-to in my skincare routine, but I definitely have to mention it as something I use.
Burt’s Bees Radiance Serum
Once my skin is cleaned and toned, it’s time to start adding nutrients back in! A while back I learned a beauty secret that I have found to be true: always layer on your products in order of weight. If you put moisturizer on first, and then end your skincare routine with a serum, all you do is waste money and miss out on the benefits of your serum. By putting on lightweight products first, however, you give them the best chance of soaking into the skin. Any heavy products are perfect for the finale, because they seal all the nutrients into your pores.
Anyway, I like using this Burt’s Bees Radiance Serum to begin adding nutrients to my pores. Despite its watery formula, this product is so rich that I only use it every other night. I love the scent and how quickly it seeps into my skin. The glow-factor that this gives is definitely one of the best features of this product.
Clinique All About Eyes Cream
This product is definitely my secret-weapon product. I tried it by chance when I received it as a bridal shower gift. At first, I used it occasionally and while I liked it, I didn’t see much of a difference in my skin. But then I applied it consistently for a week and OH. MY. GOODNESS. The results blew me away!! The fine lines around my eyes had evaporated. The skin near my eyes was practically glowing with health and silkiness. The smile lines–GONE. (Unless I smile, which is okay). If I hadn’t given this cream a chance, I definitely would have guessed it was an expensive miracle cream that promises a lot but doesn’t do much more than a regular moisturizer. However, I can say with confidence that this cream really IS a miracle cream, and is worth every single penny. I really love it.
Burt’s Bees Radiance Night Cream
This is the product that “started it all.” It inspired me to create my current skincare routine in the first place. It is such a good cream that it even convinced me to try the entire Radiance line. This cream is cooling to the touch, buttery, lightly-scented, and extremely gentle. It moisturizes my skin very deeply, but isn’t so heavy that I can only wear it at night. In fact, I currently use it as morning and evening moisturizer. It has been my go-to moisturizer for a while, as I have purchased and repurchased it. I can’t say enough good things about this cream!
Secret Eyelash Serum
I apply this homemade eyelash serum on my lashes a few nights a week. It really is a wonder treatment. I have found my eyelashes grow longer and thicker when I use it, and look so much better in mascara. I only need to use it in bursts of two weeks at a time, because that is about how long the growth goes on for. I take a few weeks off, and then use it for another two weeks. Since using it, my eyelashes have never been the same. You can get my recipe here.
Burt’s Bees Hydrating Lip Balm – Coconut + Pear
My last step is the lippies! I really like this balm as it is moisturizing but not heavy. Sometimes I love a heavy lip balm at night, but other times the goopiness drives me crazy! This balm is perfect because it is lightweight and creamy. The scent and “flavor” are gentle, which I always appreciate. If my lip balm is going to have either of those traits, I want it to be gentle! This is not my first Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, but so far it is my very favorite of those I’ve tried. There is no tingling sensation with this variety, which I like. It really is the perfect way to end my nightly ritual.
That is the conclusion of my night time current skincare routine. Like I said, this is my first time ever having a formal and calculated routine. The results are completely different from my past fun but less-effective days of mix-and-match skincare. Even though it is exciting to try new products and various brands, I try not to make my skincare routine a game of variety. It has been proven that using as many products as possible from a single line is more successful than a routine composed of a variety of brands. Sticking to one (or mostly one) skincare line keeps you from being redundant about a certain nutrient or omitting an important one. My own trial and error have proven this true too!
My post was not at all sponsored by Burt’s Bees (too bad! haha). But I use so much of their Radiance line because have I found it to be effective. As mentioned above, I use eye cream and facial cloths of different brands simply because Burt’s Bees does not make those products and I like the ones I use. For the most part though, I have tried to stick to one skincare line, and to consistently use it every night. I am so pleased to say that the consistency has paid off and my skin is positively the best it has ever been!
If you have tried one of these products and have an opinion about it, please share below! I would love to know what your current skincare routine is. Thank you for stopping by and reading!
My birthday trip to Ulta was teeming with fun! I got so many items, and just so happened to catch their BOGO Maybelline sale! That was my only reason for the many Maybelline items. 0:) This is more than just a regular Ulta Haul, because #1 it was my birthday and #2 I have used each of these makeup items and am more than pleased with all of them! And you know, that is not always the case with beauty hauls.
Maybelline Dream BB Fresh Cream – 100 Light
I made a beeline for this product when I got into the store. A fellow blogger had just mentioned that it was a great summer product and I really wanted to try it. Well, it’s more than a great product for me…it’s my go-to foundation now. I don’t say those words lightly, either. But I have found that this wears comfortably on my skin, doesn’t clog my pores, and looks more natural/attractive than regular foundation. It has very sheer coverage, however paired with a powder (see below), this covers my face just as effectively (but MUCH more naturally) than foundation does. As a bonus, it has many benefits to it that a foundation doesn’t promise: blurs imperfections, enhances, brightens, adjusts skin tone, smoothes, hydrates, protects with SPF 30, and is lightweight. Ha! Foundation, you don’t stand a chance.
Maybelline Fit Me Powder – 110 Porcelain
I got this powder on the recommendation of my sister, and I’m so glad I got it! My previous setting powder was the famous Nyx Finishing Powder, but unfortunately at the time they were sold out of the ever-popular Banana color. I bought the Nyx in Translucent and was never very happy with it. Not only was the Nyx’s extremely sheer coloring unhelpful in providing coverage, but it also didn’t look very natural on my skin. I think what bothered me the most about it, however, was its propensity to be cakey. It just didn’t wear well on my skin, and I didn’t like using it for anything except to set my under-eye concealer. (And now this is becoming a review on the Nyx Finishing Powder). ENTER FIT ME POWDER. I still opted for a lighter shade, but its coverage ability is far superior to the Nyx Finishing Powder. Even though most powders can look cakey on the skin if over-applied, this one is definitely more natural-looking and seeps into my BB cream nicely. It does exactly what it says it will–it sets and smooths. No more Nyx Finishing Powder for me (unless its under the eyes, bc the lighter the better)! I will be repurchasing this Fit Me powder for sure!
Maybelline Master Prime – 200 Blur + Illuminate
I have to attribute some of my BB cream and powder success to this product. I raved about it before. It is a very good primer, and quite affordable. My BB and powder set nicely and will stay on for hours with this product beneath them. I love the pinkish tint it has, as well as its slight rose smell. There are two other primers in this line, one which blurs and smooths, and one which blurs and controls redness. I have yet to try either, but I wouldn’t mind, as I have purchased an repurchased this one!
Maybelline Eyeshadow Palette – The Nudes
This was my final Maybelline item of the haul. I am obsessed with brown and neutral eyeshadow palettes, and anything with a shimmer is my style! I was impressed with the price point of this palette, as well as the variety of shades. Sometimes the larger palettes or shade family palettes tend to repeat colors, but I feel like this palette offers a broad color spectrum. About half the shades are shimmery and half are matte, which is also a good ratio to me. Their color transfer and opaqueness obviously varies from shade to shade, but I have been overall pleased with their pigmentation and wearability. I haven’t experienced color fallout or creasing either, which is a huge bonus. Overall, I would say this is a very good palette for its price point, color variety, and pigment quality. I wouldn’t say its a high-end eyeshadow palette in disguise, but if you are looking for good-quality drugstore eyeshadows in attractive neutral colors, I would highly recommend this one. I am so pleased with it and have been wearing it almost exclusively since purchasing it!
L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow – Iced Latte
As previously mentioned, I adore shimmer shadows. My first experience with the Infallible Eyeshadow pots was with their Amber Rush shade from my PX haul. I totally love it and so buying more was a no-brainer. They are highly pigmented eyeshadow pots with a velvet consistency and absolutely no fallout or creasing. Even though there are a few matte shades in the line, they are almost exclusively glittery. A few of them, like this one, feel like foil eyeshadow, as they are so shiny, pigmented, and opaque. When I wear them, I almost always apply them with my finger and not a brush. They just pat onto the eyelid so perfectly with my finger and stay put that I feel a brush would only break up the product application and fan out the color too much. It is too easy for me to say these are the very best eyeshadows I have ever used. One last word: waterproof. <–but they come off with regular makeup removing wipes at the end of the day.
L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow – Silver Sky
And now that you know how much I love these eyeshadows (see above) you’re probably not at all surprised that I bought two of them. This one reminds me a lot of my Ulta Glitter Eye Top Coat in Put a Ring on It, which is basically a pan of pressed glitter. I would say this is a slightly more delicate glitter than the Ulta one though, as this one has smaller glitter particles and a smoother texture. This color is more sheer than the Amber Rush and Iced Latte Infallibles though. With those two, you get an opaque color that shimmers, shines, and glows. With this color, it adds a glitter and sparkle to your eyelid and whatever color you already have applied. Even though I think it would be gorgeous if this eyeshadow did give off a grey and sparkly pigment, I am still so happy with the product’s velvety texture that I don’t mind. Plus a bonus to its sheerness is that it can be worn under the eye, on the brow bone, or even on the outsides of the eyes for a dramatic touch.
Sexy Hair Hairspray- Spray & Play
Last but not least, here is my truly *birthday* item. The candle cupcake bottle is just too perfect! Too bad I rarely use hairspray, because the packaging is cute enough for me to want to use it daily. I generally use hairspray just to set the top of a hairstyle in, but sometimes I do spray the lengths of my hair if its curled. This is a volumizing hairspray, which is great for down ‘dos, and that’s how I usually style my hair anyways! Even if I don’t use this frequently, it is nice to be able to tuck this into my hair product arsenal for the next special occasion when I need it. Plus I was excited to get this for free, because who doesn’t love freebies?
That is the end of my birthday Ulta haul. I hope you go out and try some of these products! I know it sounds silly but I like reading reviews of products I own, so if you do buy something from my Ulta haul, let me know! I’d love to hear what you think about the product too, and if you write a review on it, be sure to send me the link.