“O come sweet June, my lovely June / The month when first the roses bloom – / A wondrous, colorful display /By sunlight kissed throughout the day” – Valerie Dohren
One of my all-time favorite months is coming to a close. (Or if you’re reading this on the day I *actually* published it, June 2017 is long gone.) But there are so many reasons why that is surprisingly okay with me. I feel like I have a new season of motherhood quickly approaching, as I hit the “half-way” mark this month in my second pregnancy. The fall is going to hold so many new and exciting things for us, that for some reason (many reasons!) I am totally fine with enjoying this summer as it passes by. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself–here is my completed/revised “check-list” for the month:
Read my baby two books a day. Did this some days, failed at other days. Better luck next month!
Write for 1 hour every day. Ha ha ha. I wish this wasn’t so funny. 🙁 One word: anemia.
Drive to 1 new location. Did it, and I’m ready for more!
Catch up on my baby diary. Well, I DID do some catching up, but unfortunately I’m not totally finished.
Enjoy a visit with my sister. SO much fun! I’m missing her, and all my sisters now.
Take a few important photos for my blog. At this point, I like a mix of stock photos and personal ones.
Finish reading my current book. But I’m close…I’m reading the final short story.
Begin daytime weaning. This is making me really sad, but it’s really good for us! And baby #2 coming soon.
Set up bird feeders. I didn’t do this, but I’d still like to.
Celebrate our 3 year wedding anniversary. <3 <3 <3 The best 4-day weekend ever.
Find out my baby’s gender!! Oh my goodness….we did find out.
My motherly intuition proved true… It’s a GIRL!
I was 19 weeks and 1 day pregnant when I got the morning ultrasound. We didn’t have the technician tell us the gender, because we wanted to find out later that night. But she did show us many pictures of the baby, and I can honestly say I could watch our little girl all day! That afternoon, we filled a balloon of surprise confetti at the store, and baked a cake. It was kind of hard to wait–but I knew it would be worth it. Plus, we had already waited 19 weeks, so what was a few more hours? (answer: the longest few hours of my life) In the evening, we popped it and pink confetti fluttered all around us.
I just KNEW it would be a girl! I have had so much fun being a girl mom, I just love it. And getting the chance to do this all over again with our second baby is such a blessing. I can’t wait til she is born! Finding our we are having another daughter was my favorite day of June, besides of course our wedding anniversary celebration!
I might say this every month, but June really is one of my favorite months. And this June 2017 was a great one. It did have a few downers, like the fact that my husband was in the field training during our anniversary. But it had way more uppers, like the fact that we went on a 4-day weekend away trip to celebrate our anniversary. Traveling is just so fun, and “getting away” for our anniversary really makes a difference. It wasn’t really a babymoon, but I guess it is probably our last trip before our second baby comes. It was an anniversary trip, and subconsciously a babymoon. haha It was so much fun, and very romantic!
Hopefully, your June 2017 was spectacular. I would love to know what you were up to– leave a comment below! Comments are pretty much my favorite thing to read. And please come back soon…I always appreciate your readership!
The theme for the June 2017 ipsy glam bag had a punk-centric vibe focused on speaking your mind through your looks. The glam bag’s official catchphrase was “Volume Up” but alas, I didn’t get a volumizing mascara. If you’ve read any of my ipsy glam bag reviews, you might guess that this theme isn’t really to my taste. 🙂 However, I love that ipsy tailors the bag to each individual subscriber’s preferences, no matter the theme, which always guarantees at least a few gems in the glam bag. Sometimes that means the results aren’t super theme-y, but I don’t mind. I’d rather get what I want than get a perfectly-themed glam bag! Onto the unboxing:
MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua XL Eye Pencil– Matte Black M-10
I didn’t get a mascara, but I did get an eyeliner, which is almost as good. (If not better, since we all know how attached I am to my go-to mascara). The eye pencil is “my kind of formula” in the fact that it’s a creamy-based pencil. However, the whole “sharpening requirement” is not my cup of tea. Despite the fact that I can’t get mine into a point now that I’ve used it, this is honestly one of the best pencil liners I have ever used. EVER. I like how this is waterproof (for the waterline), and smudges easily (for under the eye). Versatile is always good, and so I count this as a glam bag score!
Luna by Luna Cosmetics Eye Shadow – Jace
This is an interesting shade. I actually really like it, though I have nothing like it. The red undertones are too strong to consider this a pink, but the peach undertones are too strong to consider it an orange. Like I said, interesting. I am thrilled to have a matte in a “fun” color because I feel like all my mattes are so….basic. The texture is soft and not at all crumbly or dry. It has good pigmentation and doesn’t come on as sheer. Overall, I really like this product…though I don’t feel like it necessarily looks good on my skin. haha And I also don’t feel like I have the necessary eye shadows to put together a well-rounded look with this shadow. Time to go to Sephora? hehe!
NYX Professional Makeup Whipped Lip & Cheek Souffle – Plush
I hope I don’t shock anyone when I say that I don’t really love liquid/cream blushes. If you read my Maskcara Beauty review, then that will most definitely come as a shock. (Because theirs is amazing). I’m also not a lipstick person, as I have established post after post. So I have to be completely honest when I say this product didn’t do a lot for me. The color itself, a nude pink, was nice. But I’m not really a “dual-product” kind of person, and definitely a lip and cheek isn’t my favorite combination. But, to each their own!
Kokie Cosmetics Nail Polish – Gone Rio
I was first introduced to Kokie Cosmetics in my October 2016 glam bag. I really like this polish brand, as it isn’t thin, sheer, or overly “chippy.” It’s perfect for painting my toddler’s toenails because it’s a quick swipe on each little nail–no need for second or third coats. Two of my favorite nail polish colors are pink and red. So I feel really, really silly for saying I didn’t love this color. I feel like its a little too pink to be red and way to red to be pink. Ugh, I sound ridiculous! Am I the only one who likes two colors but doesn’t like them combined?? Oh well, at least I know this nail polish is high quality–that in itself makes it a keeper!
Pure Brazilian Shine Ultra Light Nourishing Oil
So I thought it was a little ironic that the bag is themed “Volume Up” and yet I got a smoothing hair product. haha Volumizers aren’t as useful to me as smoothers, so it’s not a problem, really. The fact that this is a nourishing oil makes it all the more valuable to me. I love oiling my hair, though I don’t do it as often as I would like. This oil has an amazing smell, and is a perfect concoction of exotic oils. I like the fact that it is light, as most oils aren’t! And while heat protectant isn’t on the top of my list for oil qualities, the shine factor and split end prevention is key. This one was another win.
I know I am totally being picky, but the bag design (and theme) just weren’t my favorite of the year. However, all that aside, I felt like this month was a really good haul. I know I say this pretty often, but I can’t believe how inexpensive ipsy subscriptions are, for the amount of product you get each month. If you are an ipsy subscriber, please comment below and tell me what you got! And if you aren’t a subscriber, but would like to be, you can follow this link. Doing so will not compensate me in any monetary way, but it will credit me with some bonus points to use on products in the future!
Thanks so much for stopping by. Come back soon!
Slight editorial note: I published this late, again. Sorry guys! But I back-dated it to fit into the June calendar because I’m OCD and it would bug me to have a June review published in July. Silly me, I know. 🙂
I can’t believe this day finally came! I’ve been talking about getting Maskcara Beauty foundation for over a year. I feel silly that it took me so long, especially considering how innovative, beautiful, and reasonably priced it is. Two years ago, I tried one of their products and loved it, but never got around to purchasing the full foundation palette. This year’s birthday, I finally took the plunge and couldn’t be happier with the results!
How Maskcara Beauty Came into my Life
I began following the beauty blog Maskcara in 2015. I was really drawn to how kind, honest, and down-to-earth the blogger, Cara, was and still is today. At the time, she had a very small line of beauty products going. They were a couple cream foundations and a tube or two of liquid highlight. I was drawn to the concept of “enhancing” your natural beauty, which is Maskcara’s ultimate goal. Her blog, and makeup line, is a total reflection of that creed.
The Maskcara Beauty foundation (called IIID foundation) is innovative because it is designed to limit the amount of product needed to do a full coverage face with contour and highlight. It was right in the middle of the contouring boom that she created the IIID foundation. At the time (and still now), most makeup lines were advocating the same uniform system. It goes something like this: using concealer to hide imperfections, then creating a “blank” canvas with a single-toned foundation, then setting it with powder, then chiseling out features with a contour product, then accentuating other features with a highlight, and then adding warmth to the face with blush, etc. It’s not a bad system, but it can take forever and requires layers of products (which add up on your skin and your wallet!)
The IIID system, dubbed as HACing, focuses on accentuating features without requiring product layering, setting powders, etc. Cara’s own explanation of the process can be found on this page of her blog. In short though, the contour and highlight are both foundation consistency. That means the part of the face meant to be contoured is covered with the contour cream, and the part of the face that is meant to be bright is covered with highlight cream. There is no “basic foundation tone” in the HAC system. And a few squirts of setting spray takes the place of setting powders and translucent powders.
What intimidated me most about purchasing the IIID foundation was the process of creating my own custom palette. There are a few starter palettes for people who don’t know their skin color needs, but I was DETERMINED that if I was going to spend $48, then the palette had to be perfectly tailored to my skin. I hemmed and hawed over my colors for a year. A YEAR. Really silly, I know.
Then, early this year, Maskcara launched an “artists” program, meaning that her makeup line became an MLM company. I started connecting with artists over Instagram, checking out their own color-matched clients. Eventually, I found Amanda Earnest (@ocbeautymom) and she was fabulous. And I mean fabulous. We talked over the phone and she helped me build my palette based on two pictures of my face in natural light. Before I knew it, my dreams had come true and a custom palette arrived on my doorstep (among other things!)
And now for the final reveal…
My Long-Awaited Maskcara Beauty Haul!
I knew I wanted a full-set of foundation, which is at least one contour, one highlight, one dual lip-cheek color, and one illuminator. Each palette holds 4 of these color pans, and comes in two colors: sea glass and marble. I went with marble, because, duh. The last item I put in my cart was the “30-second HAC brush” which is a dual-ended brush specially designed to speed up the HACing process. The IIID system recommends a blending sponge and a setting spray, but I have both of those already (though in different brands).
The IIID Foundation Singles
My singles, in order from top left to bottom right:
Pearl- the fairest of the IIID illuminators. Its used in all the normal illumination places: tip of nose, bridge, etc.
Moonlight- the palest highlight of the IIID system. Meant for the fairest complexions (I use under my eyes)
White Peach- my main IIID highlight shade (aka foundation). Intended for light skin without a lot of redness.
Nude- this is the least “colorful” IIID blush because I don’t love blush but HACing kinda requires a healthy color.
Ash- my contour cream. I got this darker than what my skin “calls for” because I like a defined contour.
Shadow- I already had this. Its very ashy/grey for realistic shadowing–perfect for brows and severe nose HAC. It’s not pictured because it doesn’t have pretty packaging haha. It’s old.
The consistency varies a bit depending on the product’s purpose. For instance, while both the highlight and contour are “foundation” quality, the highlight is a bit denser for better concealment. <–simply because the highlight is put under the eyes and on the forehead which are two serious points of concealment for many skin types. The contour is ever so slightly less dense, though it still provides plenty of coverage. The blush/lip color is even lighter in its consistency, which makes it blend better atop of the other products. It also makes it comfortable as a lip product (nobody likes goopy lipstick). The illuminator is the sheerest of all, and works perfectly when dabbed at the “highlight” points we all love in the world of slaying.
The 30-Second HAC Brush
Allow me to introduce you to the only facial brush I need now. What I love about this brush is how intensely dense it is. The tapered end behaves just like my Eco Tools foundation brush (but thicker), while the shorter end reminds me of my Real Techniques contour brush. Whenever I see a “specialty” brush sold with products, I’m always slightly concerned that the brush isn’t really that necessary. It feels like those are often being sold as a “necessity” for more profit. I will say, however, that the 30-second HAC brush is legitimately necessary (at least for me) in evenly, quickly, and properly distributing the cream products on my face.
Once all the products are distributed, then they are to be blended with a beauty sponge of any kind. I’m not picturing mine because it’s not part of my Maskcara Beauty Haul, but it is part of my IIID routine now! Once the final look has been achieved, simply spritz with a finishing primer spray (I have found my MAC+ works best) and the makeup is set. I have been told that really oily girls can dab powder where needed, but it’s nice that layers of powder is not required for this makeup!
My Favorite Qualities About Maskcara Beauty
I think this entire IIID system has a lot going for it. While I wasn’t particularly desperate to find “that ONE foundation for the rest of my life,” I have really enjoyed adding Maskcara cosmetics to my collection. And I definitely plan to repurchase, so maybe I really have found “it” or at least a strong contender for the “it” category. I could make an entire post about why I like Maskcara Beauty (and I think I will) but for now here is my basic list of favorite qualities:
the packaging is gorgeous–not a solid reason to spend $48, but it makes it stand out from a lot of my products
the HACing system gives me a contoured face in about 3 minutes–which is SUCH a difference from the norm
the makeup is genuinely enjoyable to put on, and to wear–lightweight and comfortable on my skin
it’s build able–you can go from light/natural coverage to severe glam in a matter of minutes (and layers)
the colors are complimentary with each other and my skin–I’ve mixed highlight shades (like others have) and had a lot of success with that. I don’t feel like the makeup line has any weird colors or shade issues. All their options are beautiful and natural looking.
A Few Minor Drawbacks to the IIID Foundation
I call these “minor” drawbacks because they aren’t enough to make me stop using the products. And with the huge industry that makeup is, I find it easy to just dispose of a product when I find one or two flaws in it. There are always other options. However, because IIID is so revolutionary, I can’t just go grab a Maskcara dupe at Target. And I don’t mind that, because having a custom-built palette is just what I was looking for. Anyway, since I’m trying to make this review as well-rounded as possible, I thought I’d mention the few flaws I have found in the products so far:
cream-based foundations and contours take time to get used to–at least for me. I’m in that process now.
the coverage is good for any color correction, but it doesn’t hide bumps on the skin (I’m pretty sure most foundations can’t). Like, it won’t make your skin look plastic-smooth if you have some raised skin.
these first two weeks of wearing it, the makeup lasts for 4-6 hours. When I first put it on, it only lasted for 2. I attributed that to my lack of “piling it on” but it didn’t change the fact I was disappointed. I talked to my Maskcara artist though and she said that it takes about two weeks for many clients’ skin to adjust to the new product. The skin kind of goes through a “drinking” phase where it absorbs the makeup before the day is over. I noticed it gradually stayed on longer and longer, as each day passed, so I think she was definitely onto something about my skin! She also said some clients have ditched primer and found that helped a lot. I don’t know if I can do that because I LOVE the spf 30 in my primer, but I might use my MAC+ spray before and after makeup application.
Would I Recommend Maskcara Beauty to Others
In one word: YES. I think this makeup is beautiful. I think the IIID system is brilliant. And, I think Maskcara Beauty is a wonderful company. Did I mention they have eyeshadows, a brush collection, and innovative 2-STORY PALETTES?? I would highly recommend going through an artist to purchase, because getting color-matched is key to the IIID foundation working properly. (However, if you’re adverse to working with an artist, just get online and order it on your own the way you would order any other makeup online). Follow (or stalk) their Instagram page and see if their work is something you are planning to achieve. You might find a more seasoned makeup artist, or someone who really perfects the IIID look you are hoping for.
Also, I would recommend knowing what you’re looking for in the makeup– do you want an extremely natural look, or a chiseled, “glam” look? Telling the artist your preferences will help decide if you should go with a contour and highlight that are close in shading, or a contour and highlight that a remarkably different. Personally, I wanted a dramatic difference between my two shades, but many, many clients don’t. Your artist will be able to tell you which highlights and contours will work on your skin tone, and often there is more than one shade that you can go with.
But to recap, I would absolutely buy it. Having a palette custom-colored to meet your complexion’s exact needs is a huge step in making sure your makeup is “naturally” flawless. And being able to accomplish a contoured/highlighted face in under 5 minutes is a really big achievement to me–especially as a busy mama. So, if you’re on the fence about trying this, I say take the plunge! I’m really glad that I did.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking around! I hope that my Maskcara Beauty Haul helped you decide whether or not you should try some IIID yourself! Or, if you’ve never heard of Maskcara Beauty before, hopefully now you’ll be interested to try it. I think this company has a lot more in store for its clients, so I’m looking forward to their next product launch! I know yesterday they produced a new silver-mauve eyeshadow called the “Bend and Snap” which everyone is raving about on Instagram. Let me know if you check it out, or if you’ve tried Maskcara Beauty before! I love reading beauty reviews in the comment section. Thanks for stopping by!
~~Tiny but important note: I was not in ANY way paid or influenced to endorse, recommend, or review my Maskcara Beauty Haul. Similarly, finding an artist to work with is an extremely optional and personal decision, and I was not marketed or pressured in any way to make a purchase I didn’t already want to make. I really enjoyed my customer experience with Maskcara Beauty and plan to remain a client!~~
When you’re a new, young Army wife, you hear it all. “Wow, I could never do what you guys are doing!” “I didn’t think you were the military-type.” “Eh, time will fly by. He’ll be back before you know it!” “How are you going to afford anything on such a small paycheck?” “Let me guess…you guys got married for the money.” “Don’t you love that uniform?” The list goes on and on! But amid all the helpful and less-than-helpful comments are usually buried a few golden pieces of advice. Along the way, I heard a few secrets that really ended up being true about writing letters to my husband while he was at Army Basic Training.
1. Write Him EVERY DAY.
This was the best advice I ever got, hands down. It’s not that it wouldn’t have occurred to me to write him every day, but reading stories about girls who never missed a day really motivated me! I made it a point to never skip writing him, and it was amazing. Writing ended up being therapeutic for me. It was a good way for me to collect my thoughts at the end of the day. And it really helped build communication in our new marriage too. Because of the frequency of our letters, we didn’t have to sacrifice sharing the “little” things of every day life and also the “big things” that we needed to talk about: my job, our moving plans, etc. My husband said getting a letter from me every day (even a pile up from a few days of no-mail) was a huge morale booster and made all the difference in the world. He liked knowing that I made him a part of my day, every day, and I liked making him a part of my day.
2. Wait for the Commander’s Letter.
I had no idea what this was at first. During the first two 30-second phone calls he got, I thought he would tell me what his address was. Some girls thought they were supposed to get this from the Recruiter before their solidiers left. What I eventually came to find out is that the commander publishes a letter about 14 days after Basic Training begins. He waits until then, because by that time, the soldiers have almost completed their Red Phase (the tough and gruff phase that helps them detox from the world they have previously known). A lot of letters from home would interrupt the mental training they are putting the soldiers through, and so he purposefully waits to send the letter out for a bit. When it DOES arrive, it will have all the information you need to address your letter.
It is possible (likely) your soldier will have sent you a few letters before you get the commander’s letter. If your soldier is in Reception, his location is extremely temporary and will be changing within a week. He probably won’t even put a return address on his envelope. There is no mail distribution at Reception and so letters cannot be sent to soldiers during that time. If your soldier writes you from Basic Training camp, the return address he uses is all you need–as long as he remembered to put down his Unit information and roster number. In that case, you could technically send a response to that address, but again, your letters probably won’t be delivered until Red Phase is almost over. And it still might be prudent to wait until you get the Commander’s letter, just to verify that you have all the information needed to address your envelope. Read this for a detailed explanation on how to address them.
3. If You have Questions, Write those Last in your Letter, or as a PS.
This one helped me construct my letters a little more carefully. I tend to write down things as I think of them. But I learned it was so much easier for my husband to remember (and answer) my questions if I ended my letter with them. It’s a good rule to practice in any letter-writing circumstances, but is especially helpful for Basic Training letters. The soldiers’ free time is only an hour or so long in the evening, right before lights out. Their free time is split between doing laundry, writing you, reading your letters, and whatever else they need/want to do. So streamlining the information you need from them is just an extra way to make their life easier–and ensure you get the answers you need!
4. Number your Letters
Obviously, I wrote the date on the top of my letters. I also numbered the pages because I wrote long letters with identical stationary. Oops. But numbering my letters became really helpful during the times that mail call was skipped and my letters built up. My husband said it happened quite often that my letters would be delivered in a stack. I didn’t want to mark the outside of my envelope (see why here). But on the initial fold of each letter, I wrote the number of the letter as well as the date. While the date would work too, numbering the letters felt like a mini-countdown. My husband liked how easy it was to know which letter should be read first out of a stack of 11. Numbering probably wouldn’t be a super necessary step if you only write once a week or so, but if you write daily, consider numbering them!
5. Make a Letter Writing Station on your Desk
As I said, I was absolutely determined not to miss a day in writing my soldier. But the “secret” behind my success was setting aside a non-negotionable time every night to write him a letter. And I kept all my stationary needs well-stocked: stamps, paper, and pre-addressed envelopes. I know it sounds silly to pre-address envelopes. But I found that if I had everything “ready-to-go” then it was much less intimidating to sit down and write a letter. Even if I was tired, all I had to do was pull out a piece of paper and write a few thoughts or reflections down. Then everything else was all set-up. It also was rewarding to slowly use up my designated stack of envelopes or roll of stamps. I guess when you miss someone that much, any little daily countdown is a motivator! See this post for supplies I recommend keeping in your writing station!
In this world of advice-givers, you’ll probably run into a lifetime supply of opinions on how you should handle Basic Training as a loved one. It can be frustrating, especially when it’s coming from someone who has never been in your shoes. But as someone who has, hopefully something in here can help you the way it helped me. And if none of it helps, consider visiting one of these sources to get a better idea about Basic Training and letter-writing advice. If you have some words of wisdom of your own to share, please do so in the comment section below! One of your secrets could be the key to someone else’s Basic Training survival story. Thanks for stopping by!
I never like starting a post out with something cliche– but how is it already June?? It feels like just yesterday in April my life was getting turned upside down the moving, pregnancy, and life in general. But it’s June. So I can’t even act like everything is still out of control. Luckily, it’s not, really. In fact, I’m hitting that second-trimester-stride of feeling great and being able to actually accomplish goals. With that in mind, here’s my to-do list for this month:
Read my baby two books a day. Two books always turns into two hundred, but at least this is a good start.
Write for 1 hour every day. Preferably, in the form of authoring my novel, but blogging or diary time counts.
Drive to 1 new location. I realized that my fear/hate of driving sometimes holds me back and I want to fix it.
Catch up on my baby diary. I fell a bit behind and desperately need to catch up!
Enjoy a visit with my sister. I LOVE hosting my sisters and I can’t wait for our visit this month.
Take a few important photos for my blog. At this point, I like a mix of stock photos and personal ones.
Finish reading my current book. I’m reading a collection of short stories by Louisa May Alcott.
Begin daytime weaning. Not an easy step for us, but I think something we need to try.
Set up bird feeders. I’d like a full station, but even a few sprinkled around would be nice.
Celebrate our 3 year wedding anniversary. <3 <3 <3
Find out my baby’s gender!! Pretty much dying of excitement and curiosity. I’m predicting….GIRL.
At the beginning of the year, I decided that I wanted to also make a focus keyword for each month. This month, I want my theme to be “go get ’em.” I feel like the exhaustion from moving, combined with first trimester sickness, kept me from doing a variety of things. When I’m pregnant I feel like I’m training for a marathon (I kind of am) and it takes over a lot of my motivation, perspective, and energy. But, I want to focus on doing things I would “normally” attempt if I’m not pregnant (obviously while staying safe!) –things like driving, writing, socializing, and exploring around our town. I think I can do it, even if it’s just baby steps. Writing lists helps me, both monthly and daily ones, so I will try to keep that up too.
I think June is going to be a great month. In fact, I KNOW it will be because its our anniversary month. And as a hopeless romantic, I love, love love celebrating our marriage–not just on our wedding–but every day! I can’t wait to see what June holds for us. Do you have any plans? Leave a comment below sharing your June to-do list! And come back soon for an Army-wife post. Thanks for stopping by!