The Body Shop Haul & Review: Fall 2017

My The Body Shop Haul and Review

 

I’ve been on the quest for the perfect skincare routine for a long time.  Months actually.  Mostly ever since I went on a skincare-focus-kick (addiction) in May of 2016–but even before that.  I was hoping to find a miracle product along the way, and actually have found a few.  But I was never able to fully establish THE routine, which combined the miracle products, and still left my face flawless.  I haven’t achieved “flawless” yet, but I have discovered some amazing products that have gotten my skin in some of the best condition it’s ever been in.

Enter: The Body Shop.

I had heard about The Body Shop long before I actually purchased one of their products.  It was always positive reviews.  So one day when I ran out of my go-to toner (actually I was rotating between two), I decided to try a new one altogether.  I bought the Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner at my local Post Exchange, since I had had success with tea tree oil in my blemish treatments previously.  GAME CHANGER.  More than a game changer actually–skin changer.  I was shocked at how cleansing this one was.  Even after throughly removing my makeup at night and washing my face, this tea tree toner was able to give me the deepest cleansing that any toner had provided (without that awful menthol-stinging feel that harsh toners give).

Months passed and repurchases of the same toner happened.  But I always wondered what other products, ones other than the “Tea Tree” line, from The Body Shop could do for my skin.  Unfortunately, I ran out of my beloved Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask at the same time that my Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion was running low.  I looked into doing a Clinique haul to replenish my supply.  But then I decided to take a rebellious leap and order substitute products from The Body Shop instead!  So, without further adieu, here is the low-down on what I bought:

 

The Body Shop: My GO-TO Toner

“Tea Tree” Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner

I basically already reviewed this above.  But since I have the space and time to keep going, I think I will.  🙂  This is THE best (hands-down) toner I have ever used.  I can’t say that there is absolutely no tingling sensation when it is used, but I CAN say that it has a very natural and pure finish that contradicts the burning sensation that many harsh toners give.  I can also say that it doesn’t strip my pores of their natural oils.  It DOES clean them, and well.  I even use this twice a day.  And I know if I washed my face twice a day, I would have dry and blemished skin within a week.  With this product, that just doesn’t happen.  It deeply cleanses my pores, leaving them feeling refreshed and ready to absorb the lotion I am about to apply.  Can’t say enough good things about it!

 

“Tea Tree” Mattifying Lotion

I got this to replace my Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (basically my daytime moisturizer).  I wanted something that would give follow-up treatment to my pores, because I was experiencing clogged pores from my makeup.  What I needed was a lotion that sealed out the clogginess (not a word?) of my makeup, but still moisturized my skin well.  This product accomplishes both!  While it is definitely a lotion, it has a sheer quality about it that reminds me of a gel-cream.  It wears well under my makeup, and most importantly, over my pores.  It dries very fast, which kind of took me by surprise and made me wonder if it truly moisturized my skin enough.  But then again, mattifying is all about a smooth and flawless finish, and goopy lotion prevents that from happening.  I really like this product!

 

“Vitamin E” Intense Moisture Serum

I know this is a serum, not a moisturizer.  But I have SO many random, sample-sized tubes of moisturizer (thanks to my ipsy subscription…YAY!) that I didn’t want to purchase a new nighttime moisturizer.  I just wanted to turn those random moisturizers into nighttime ones.  So I got this serum (because of the intensity level) to go beneath my nighttime moisturizer, no matter what brand it might be.  I know a serum can’t magically transform a day lotion into a night cream, but it can certainly help.  It can intensify the moisturizing properties of my nighttime facial routine.  And the added vitamin E can go a long way in the fine-line prevention and skin-cell repairing methods that I like to employ in my nighttime routine.  This serum has a pleasant smell and makes my skin very happy.  I’m enjoying it and so far have loved the results!

 

“Oils of Life” Sleeping Cream

I only paid $1 for this teeny sample.  But I wanted to give it a try because I haven’t used anything from their “Oils of Life” line yet.  I know this is not an eye cream, although they have an Oils of Life eye cream, but I still wanted to try it for my eye area.  If I like it, I will try the actual eye cream next!   While I don’t think anything will ever be able to replace my ride-or-die Clinique All About Eyes eye cream, I still am interested in finding a runner-up product.  I take my eye cream game pretty seriously, and don’t want to run the risk of being completely out of a product.

 

“Drops of Youth” Youth Concentrate

This one is obviously a sample too (but it was free!)  I got it as an alternative to the Vitamin E Intense Moisture Serum that I planned to use at night.  I hadn’t tried anything from their “Drops of Youth” line, and so thought this would be a good place to start.  Plus who turns down a free sample?

 

Hand Cream Winding Key

I have wanted something like this for years….like since I was 8 years old.  (Well, back then I wanted a crank kind).  But this little tool totally fit the bill for what I was looking for, and I think I’ll get a LOT of use out of it.  Or at least, a lot of lotion out of it.  ha!  It was super on sale (like $1.50).  So I decided to do a mini-bitty-splurge and buy this.  I’m really glad that I did!

And that pretty much sums up my The Body Shop haul and review!  Have you tried any of these products?  I’m curious what you thought of them.   And if you are a regular The Body Shop customer, what do you like and recommend?  Please share below!  Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll come back soon!

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November 2017

November 2017

“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.” – Emily Dickinson

It’s officially November 2017 (and a day!)  And I’m just so thrilled.  I feel like November is the kickstart of winter (maybe because I live in the south, so fall isn’t super cold around here?)  I don’t know, it just feels so wintery once November hits.  The clocks change, the weather dips, I shop a ton, and of course holidays galore start happening.  <–dying of excitement.  But before I get carried away with what I want to do, let me put it in list form!

  1. Develop a fixed blogging schedule.  I like schedules and think this could be beneficial around here.
  2. Knit a Christmas stocking for my baby.  I have made one for each member of our family, and it’s her turn!
  3. Write a bit in my novel.  I know this November is going to be busy, but I don’t want to leave my book behind.
  4. Nest.  Because what other activity is there really to do with a newborn??
  5. Get back into pilates.  It’s okay that pregnancy made me take a break, but postpartum pilates will be great.
  6. Take a ton of photos.  Mostly photoshoots of our daughters, but also some family holiday pictures!
  7. Celebrate Thanksgiving.  I just love the holidays and Thanksgiving gives me warm and happy feelings.
  8. Black Friday.  ‘Nuff said.

I’m keeping this list a bit smaller, like I said in my last post.  I know that life with a baby will take our days into a nice, slow routine and I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself to get things done.  I mean, I like to have expectations for myself.  But I also like to be realistic.  ha!  I know myself and I know that the winter is all about slowing down and enjoying little things like baking and online shopping.  And every day with a newborn is slow and full of those “moments” you want to remember forever.  I’m just feeling really grateful for how lovely this fall has been, and I feel so sure that this winter is going to be even more special.  I’m a true homebody at heart and every day with my family is something I treasure forever.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I would love to know your November 2017 plans.  Leave a comment below about them, and I hope you’ll come back soon!

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Round-Up: October 2017

Round-Up: October 2017

“Oh, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun,  / The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run, / And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold, / With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all gold.”  – John Greenleaf Whittier 

It’s the end of October and I’m so happy it’s here!  This was one of my very favorite Octobers ever– so it’s not that I wanted to get it over with.  But it was just such a good month that I’m totally at peace with it ending.  Unlike some busy months, I didn’t feel like this one slipped away from me.  It was a long, fun, and memorable month and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Plus, I am just so excited for November, all the holidays, and shopping a ton, so saying goodbye to October isn’t too hard.  It’s an easy and happy chapter of the year to close.

Here’s my take on my October 2017 to-do list:

  1. House clean my blog  – Didn’t finish, but made progress!
  2. Finish my baby tutu – Done and it was SUCH a fun project.  Frivolous but super fun.
  3. Read “The Beautiful and the Damned” by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Still working on it; not quite done.
  4. Complete my baby diary – OMGEE I DID THIS.  After months of saying I’d catch up–I finally did!!
  5. Buy some clearance fall decor – I didn’t buy autumny “fall” decor, but we did get some fun halloween stuff.
  6. Sign up for a class or study phone photography tips – I might make a post reviewing the course I did!
  7. Spend Halloween with my family –  Needless to say this our best Halloween yet (after 3 missed Halloweens, our very first spent together married!

There is a lot we did this month that was not mentioned above–with my favorites being all the usual fall-welcoming suspects: chilly walks, coffee, decorating, fall shopping, seasonal cleaning, baby nesting, (<–that’s a usual part of fall for me), cooking soup, lighting candles, etc.  And while I’m not a fan of the cold, I can’t deny that it has added to the ambience of the month, and really helped welcome fall in.  Plus, who can say no to extra coffee and cozy sweaters?  Not me!

This month’s round-up had a small to-do list, but I feel really accomplished!  Even though some of these were easy, nothing feels THAT easy when you’re in the final weeks of pregnancy!  I’m glad I made a shorter list because it kept me from feeling overwhelmed, or like I was setting myself up for failure.  I think the last time I got everything done on my to-do list was in January of this year, although my April list was also almost completed too!  I might stick with this “lighter” listing over the next few months, as things pick up speed with the holidays and a new baby.  Or maybe I’ll totally overcommit next post when I come up with my November to-do list.  🙂  Come back soon to see!

Thanks for stopping by!  And happy Halloween!

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Glam Bag Unboxing: October 2017

Ipsy Glam Bag Unboxing: October 2017 glam bag

As usual for October, ipsy chose a spooky-themed glam bag for this month.  They are calling it their “spellbound” bag, and while I’m never one for spooky stuff–I have to say the faux lace design of this bag might be my favorite of their pouch designs yet!!  It is a beautiful raspberry color, with faux lace rosettes (hard to see from photos), and a tiny black bat zipper.  The contents fit pretty well with the theme, and I was overall very pleased with the October 2017 glam bag!  Let’s see what’s inside:

 

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye PencilPerversion 

I’ve gotten Urban Decay twice before from ipsy: a duo-chrome eyeshadow in my June 2016 glam bag, and a highlight/eyeshadow in my May 2017 glam bag.   Both products were great, and I’ve actually tried Urban Decay eye pencils before (and love them!)  So needless to say, I was super excited to receive this.  In case you’ve never tried one, they glide on very easily and have excellent longevity.  Probably one of my favorite things about them is that they aren’t prone to drying out.  There is nothing worse than dry eyeliner.  Except maybe dry mascara.  Anyway, not only does the color fit well with the theme, but it also fits well with my general collection (read: obsession) with eyeliners, particularly of the black variety.  Do you remember my embarrassing photo of all my mascaras at the end of one of my posts?  I could do the same thing with my eyeliners…but its way more embarrassing…

 

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IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder

I often, though not always, feel like a pressed powder is a pressed powder.  I’ve definitely tried a variety, but only a few times noticed a BIG difference between two products.  This is absolutely one of those times where a pressed powder has stood out to me as different among the rest.  The finish is completely flawless.  Not so much for the way it looks as for the way it feels.  It turns the skin to velvet, and doesn’t cake or crack at all.  If you paired this with a good foundation, it’d be killer.  I wish it wasn’t a translucent powder, because if it was pigmented this would 100% be my go-to pressed powder for the rest of my life.  I guess the color fits with the theme though–a nice “twilight” white!

 

Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics Eye Shadow – Bronzed

I’ve tried a DLS highlighter (June 2016 glam bag) and a DLS blush (March 2017 glam bag) but never have I tried a DLS  eye shadow.  Well, the eye shadow is JUST as good as the rest of their products I have tried.  DLS Cosmetics are well-pigmented, soft, and have minimum fall-out.  I’m really pleased with their products, and have never experienced any kind of negative reaction to any of their products.  I’m glad to add this dramatic shadow to my collection, and felt like it was a perfectly spooky shade for the October 2017 glam bag!

 

Hey Honey Trick AND Treat: Active Propolis Cream Concealer

The name alone is cute and perfect for this month’s theme!  I wasn’t particularly thrilled when I first saw that I got this product, but the more I have read about it, the more intrigued I am!  It’s a lightweight concealer, but has build-ability and a fascinating ingredient called propolis (a flower ingredient extracted by honey bees).  I’ve never had a concealer that specializes in hydrating (in fact, many of my concealer are drying), nor have I tried one that is packed with amino acids, vitamin E, other nourishing oils.  Basically, this concealer seems to be more than a concealer, and I’m excited to try it.  I’ve only ever tried one Hey Honey product before, from my May 2017 glam bag.  It’s a lip balm, and it’s VERY moisturizing.  So I have high hopes that this concealer lives up to its promises!

 

Marc Anthony Hydrating Coconut Oil and Shea Butter Oil Treatment

I have received quite a few oil treatments from ipsy.  And I have enjoyed trying each of them.  I have to say, that many oil treatments feel the same.  They smell good, they are thick, they add a ton of shine to my hair, and they make it heavy/overworked by the end of the day.  (By “overworked” I mean that my hair looks fuzzy, tangled, and full of products)  I can’t say that this Marc Anthony treatment doesn’t leave my hair heavy or overworked looking by the end of the day, but I can say that it smells AMAZING, and the oil itself is thin.  I thoroughly liked using this product, and will add it to my oils rotation!  Btw, is it too much of a stretch to say the bottle is a festive-pumpkinesque color?  I like it!

That’s it for my unboxing of the October 2017 glam bag from ipsy.  Are you a subscriber?  Leave a comment below comparing what you got in your glam bag!  And if you’re not a subscriber, but would like to be, you can follow this link to sign up.  Doing so will not provide me with payments, but will credit me with bonus points I can use towards makeup in the future.  Whether you’re a subscriber or not, your presence and readership is GREATLY appreciated.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

 

 

 

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DIY Felted Bunny Baby Crib Mobile

DIY Felted Bunny Baby Crib Mobile

I finally finished it!  This one had been on my craft list for a while.  I’m really excited to be done with it, as seeing it hang makes me feel that much closer to meeting my baby girl!  I was just going to take a few pics of it, but then I thought I might as well add a few pictures of the process as a mini-tutorial.

It was really simple and there is a lot of flexibility with this project.  I feel like you could add as many or as few bunnies as you wanted, and hang them at different lengths or all together.  If I’m ever blest with a baby boy, I’ll probably make different animals too!

DIY Felted Bunny Baby Crib Mobile - Supplies

Supplies:

  • wool rovings (can be bought online or in Hobby Lobby)
  • felting needle and finger guards (I bought this starter kit)
  • foam punching board (Hobby Lobby for 3.99, or here, or as part of this starter kit)
  • floral wire wreath form (I got mine at Hobby Lobby for 1.99, but this one is cheap too)
  • paint/spray paint
  • clear thread and needle
  • crib mobile arm (I bought this one and LOVE it)

Felted bunny for DIY Felted Bunny Baby Crib Mobile

Step One: Felt Your Animals

This one is the biggest and first step.  In order to create your mobile, you first have to choose and make your animals!  I chose to make bunnies, since that is the theme of my nursery.  I plan to make a full-length post all about how to needle felt (and most specifically how I needle felted these bunnies).  But in the meantime, you can visit this page for a quick tutorial, as it’s what I used for inspiration in felting my first bunnies!

Spray Paint and Wreath Form for DIY Felted Bunny Baby Crib Mobile

Step Two: Spray Paint Your Wreath Form

A lot of homemade mobiles use embroidery hoops like this.  But I was worried the metal clamp would make my mobile unbalanced, and my husband was worried about suspending anything with a metal clamp above the baby.  We bought this floral wreath (it was originally green) and my husband spray painted it white for me.  You could paint it virtually any color, with regular paints or with spray pain.

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Step Three: Thread the Bunnies Onto the Wreath Form

I have seen some mobiles with dark thread, and thick yarn is also an option.  I chose to use invisible thread to attach the decorations, just because I’m making a small mobile.  A bunch of strings would be overbearing for the small bunnies and mobile, and it will look better on my mini-crib to have invisible strings.

Anyway, tie a double knot at the end of your thread, so that they are knotted together.  Insert the needle into the tummies of the animals, and up through their bodies.  Then, with the bunnies still hanging at the end of the needle, use the needle end to tie a secure double knot around one of the wire circles.  Cut the excess thread (bunny will be suspended by two strings through it’s tummy, or neck depending on how tilted your animal looks on the string). For double security, use a thread twice the length you normally would, begin in the belly of the bunny, pass the needle through it’s back, over and around one of the wire circles, and then back through the bunny’s back, exiting out the tummy.  Then you can tie the knot at the base of the tummy, and your bunny will be secured by 4 strands instead of 2.  (If bunny rotates too much, you can knot the 4 strands together up near the wire circle).

Repeat until all the bunnies, hearts, and other animals or baubles are attached.

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Step Four: Add Strings for Hanging the Mobile

To hang the mobile as evenly as possible, I cut four identical lengths of yarn and looped each one around the inside circle of the wreath form.  Then I knotted all four together in one big knot so that the weight of the mobile would be evenly distributed.  To attach it to the mobile arm loop, I used a wire twist tie, because it was flexible and easy to adjust.  You could use anything to attach it, really.

Step Five: Attach the Mobile to the Crib Arm

This step will be dependent on what kind of mobile you bought.  My crib mobile arm has a plastic loop to suspend the mobile from, so for me it was simply a matter of securing the mobile with a good knot through the loop.  The hardest part was making sure my mobile hung evenly.  I used yarn because it was easiest to measure and I like the way it looked.  Again, the type of twine (invisible thread, yarn, etc) is optional but this is what I went with, based on what my crib looks like.

DIY Felted Bunny and Heart Baby Crib Mobile

Step Six: (Optional) Finishing Touches

If you used invisible thread like I did, you might see your knots slipping a bit.  Even my triple and quadrupled knots looked like they were opening up a bit.  I dabbed a bead of “Jeweler’s Glue” on each knot, and that helped a lot.  You can also tie a bow (I did) over the mobile’s suspension knot, just for a more polished look and to cover up any possible twist-tie visibility.  I thought my bunnies and heart were tightly enough felted that they weren’t going to come apart.  But if you’re worried about them getting “fuzzy” over time, I believe a light coat of hairspray could be helpful.  Just make sure you know what kind of finish it has, because a sticky mobile would be so frustrating!

And that is pretty much it!  Again, I plan to make a tutorial on how exactly I felted the bunnies, but if there is another aspect of the process you want more details on, leave a comment below!!  And if you make your own mobile, tag me on instagram or send it to me on pinterest so I can see it.  I’d love to know what you did!

DIY Felted Baby Crib Mobile

Note: If I was going to buy a mobile, it would be this little Lambs & Ivy mobile (which happened to be at the top of my baby registry list for a while).  But now that I have made my own, I’m even happier with the results.  I hope my baby will love it!

 

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October 2017

October 2017 - my to-do list!

” O hushed October morning mild, / Thy leaves have ripened to the fall; / Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild, / Should waste them all.” – Robert Frost

It’s October!  For so long, I didn’t really like this month…it’s cold…it’s in the way of Thanksgiving and Christmas…it’s full of scary decorations in all the stores.  But for some reason, this October I’m totally getting into the spirit of fall!  Maybe it’s because I’m in the south and so September didn’t really feel like the fall.  Or maybe it’s because my baby will be here soon, that October 2017 is full of good feelings and anticipation.  Whatever the reason is, I’m just happy to be excited for this month!  And excited for getting my to-do list done:

  1. House clean my blog  – I have some irrelevant content that I want to sweep up and trash.
  2. Write my guest blog post – I still need to do this.  It’s been on my list for a while.
  3. Finish my baby tutu – I’m working on the top ruffle, and then need to do the bottom one and the waistband!
  4. Read “The Beautiful and the Damned” by F. Scott Fitzgerald – For my book club.  And for me.
  5. Complete my baby diary – You guys, I’ve made so much progress.  I just need a FINAL push to get this done!
  6. Buy some clearance fall decor – I never really stocked up, and don’t feel like doing it at full price!
  7. Sign up for a class or study phone photography tips – Mostly for blogging, but also just for us.
  8. Spend Halloween with my family –  I don’t even like Halloween, but we’ve been married for 4 and never spent one together!

Is it bad my to-do list is shorter than normal?  It’s just that last month I made an ambitious list and got like none of it done.  So I’m trying to be a bit more realistic.  And I also don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, as I really want to enjoy this fall and special time!  For some reason, I haven’t been as “productive” lately when it comes to checking off my lists, but I’ve been having really happy and productive days.  So it kinda balances itself out in the end I guess!  Anyway, what’s on your October 2017 t0-do list?  I would love to know, so leave a comment below!  Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll be back soon for my next post.  (Spoiler: It’s a revelation of the baby mobile I’ve been working on!) See you soon!

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Round-Up: September 2017

September 2017 round-up!

“Bronze bells’ breeze of September showers, / Freezing fluttering fragile flowers, / Tearing the time’s tide tactile sense / May leave long love’s lighting lance in tense.” – Marieta Maglas

I love posting round-ups of the month because I get to revisit the past 30ish days and contemplate what we did!  This month, pretty much everything we did was NOT on my to-do list.  Which I was totally okay with!  It was a wonderful month.  I always love September and this was a particularly good one.  But sometimes good = fun which can also mean too much fun, or in my case, just not getting a lot of my “projected” items done.  Here’s my attempts on the to-do list I made at the beginning of the month:

  1. Celebrate my toddler’s birthday!  It was a really, really fun day.  We did a 2-day celebration for turning 2!
  2. Finish my bunny mobile and decorate the nursery.  Finished both!
  3. Get back into writing my novel.  
  4. Invest some time in photography tips.
  5. Enroll in an online class.
  6. Journal more.
  7. Write a guest post.
  8. Do a daily art project with my toddler.  
  9. Finish watching the Gilmore Girls.
  10. Put together my photo album. 

Hmmm… 3/10.  Not my best record.  In fact, I think it’s my worst!  But like I said, we did a lot that wasn’t on the list, and they were (almost) all important things.  We created a (paper) list of things that we hadn’t gotten done around the house that were long overdue, and we did every single one of them!  I can’t tell you how relieving that felt. haha  Plus I need to take a moment to mention that the Starbucks in our area began carrying the PSL and Salted Carmel Mochas, among other things.  It’s too important of a September thing to not make note of.  Besides the aforementioned coffee, this month was full of swimming, walks, and playdates (toddler mom life), and those are the unplanned things that filled up the month with a lot of fun and special memories.

Anyways, enough about me.  What did you do this month?  I hope that you will come back soon to see my hopes and dreams for October.  And thanks so much for stopping by!

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Glam Bag Unboxing: September 2017

September 2017 glam bag -- ipsy unboxing!

The theme for the September 2017 ipsy glam bag is a pretty common theme on social media this month (and a few before it): Beauty Boss. The free zipper pouch is an all-business faux leather clutch, and the products are about empowerment and confidence. I’m pretty sure that’s not a new focus for the beauty world, but it hasn’t been done in an ipsy glam bag yet! I didn’t see a huge embodiment of the theme in my products, but then again, I think that’s because most beauty products fit in the category of “empowerment” and “confidence.” The products themselves were great, so I can’t complain!

Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Radiance Primer

I’ve never heard of a product like this. It’s a combo of a highlight and a primer. Maybe developed from the “glow within” look? It supposedly can double beneath makeup as a hydrating primer, and then be used again for a final finishing highlight. Based on it’s pearlized, rose gold color, I can definitely see the highlight part happening. I’m not sure about it as a primer…I feel like it will give the skin a slightly orange look.

re:p real elemental practice Bio Fresh Mask with Real Calming Herb

This product was a result of ipsy’s collaboration with Soko Glam. It’s a very natural, hyper-sensitive, multi-tasking facial mask. Some stand-out ingredients include Kaolin, calendula, and chamomile. And some of it’s promises include redness reduction, facial calming, and dirt removal. I didn’t try this product out yet since I’m pregnant and have to be careful about what kind of natural remedies I turn to. But I’m EXTREMELY intrigued by this mask, and look forward to trying it! My current go-to mask is this one, and I generally like it.

Pixi by Petra Beauty Blush Duo – Peach Honey

If you can believe it, I’ve never tried a Pixi product! So I was happy to get this full-sized blush duo. This powder is made with mica, which gives it a shimmery finish that translates well as a highlighter. So maybe they should call this a quad, since its two shades that can be use two different ways. A product bonus and a space-saver!

Pretty Woman Nail PolishGirl Boss Because what other color could they send me this month? It’s perfect for the theme. I am a huge fan of pastel nail polishes, but never seem to have enough! This one will be beautiful for the winter. Now if only they would send me a blush pink polish, I’d be all set for the next few months!

Luxie Beauty Luxie Rose Gold Medium Angled Shading Eye Brush 207

This is not my first Luxie Beauty brush. In fact, it’s my fourth! I got two large brushes (think blush brushes) in my April and February bags of 2017, as well as my first Luxie brush ever in my July 2016 glam bag (a teeny angle brush I use every.single.day). I love the quality of the Luxie beauty brush bristles, as well as the smooth and comfortable handle. They come in stylish, pastel colors and never disappoint me in their longevity and practical use. They look cute sitting in my brush jar, but they also work wonderfully on my face!

That’s a wrap for my September 2017 glam bag! Well, I did get one more item, but it wasn’t really a normal ipsy product. I used my bonus points (I earn them through reviewing the products) on an “ipsy” merchandise sweatband, and it arrived with this month’s glam bag. I don’t know if I’ll ever really wear it, but it looks super cute on my toddler! haha Do you have an ipsy glam bag subscription? Please leave a comment below describing what you got in your September 2017 glam bag!  Thanks for reading and come back soon! And if you don’t have an ipsy subscription, but would like one, you can follow this link to sign up. Doing so will not give me any monetary reimbursement, though it will score me some extra bonus points.

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10 Things I Learned During Our First “Real” PCS

10 Things I Learned During Our First Real PCS

After moving 10 times (Army brat life), I thought I pretty much had the whole PCSing thing down pat. (For non-military fam readers, PCS means Permanent Change of Station, and it’s the military term for moving from place to place). Then I made my first official move as an Army wife and learned that I didn’t actually have it all down pat. Big surprise. <–not really.

One important note: this is actually our second “move” but it’s still our first real PCS. It’s the first time that we were being sent somewhere, by the Army, during which they fully helped us with the move (giving us time, resources, etc). Our first move deserves a blog post of it’s own, but to put it simply: it was one of those scrappy throw-your-goods-in-a-Uhaul-and-drive kind of deals that happened in a 48-hour period. We had just gotten married and were moving in together, at our new assignment. This time around, we were given a whole month’s notice to move *gasp!* So this PCS was basically great. Kind of.

Anyway, despite the big “notice” we had ahead of the PCS, and the fact that it was to be my 11th move, I learned a lot.  Quite a bit more than I thought I would, and I plan to keep these things in mind for our next move. Which is scheduled to be in the next 6 months. We shall see if that actually happens or not!

1. Things happened fast.

I wasn’t anticipating such a great (read: TIMELY) moving team. They packed AND moved us in 1 day. That rarely happens. Ever. And their drop-off day was 3 business days after pick-up. That’s also a little (read: VERY) unusual. We literally sat in our apartment and within the same day, it was completely boxed up and emptied out. When we got to our next station, everything was unloaded and in our new house within a week of when it was taken from our apartment. I was utterly impressed. And grateful because I had horrible morning sickness. #9weekspregnant

2. Everything goes.

I knew the packers would pack everything besides perishables and liquids. But on our end of the process, I wasn’t expecting to take everything. We donated one trunkful of items, and threw away quite a bit of open food, but that was it. (Note: sorting through food is NOT a first-trimester-morning-sickness-friendly activity. I do not recommend it). I had totally planned to do a grand and rigorous pack-n-purge before the move. But it turns out I was in the early stages of my second pregnancy when we moved and morning sickness was way too much of an obstacle. We just ended up taking everything, and that was okay in the end. It was nobody’s fault but my own, but I realized that for next move, things aren’t going to throw themselves out! haha

3. Not everyone wants pizza 3 meals a day.

Crazy, right?  Jk.  I didn’t think about how often the packers/movers are offered pizza. It was too hard not to feed the crew because there they were, working in my house all day. But I wish I would have REALLY asked them what they wanted, because no family of three needs $40 worth of pizza. haha They were gracious but pretty much hardly partook of the meal. I learned from this, especially since some crews are understaffed (on purpose) and like to plow through the workday as fast as they can. In that case, maybe having grazable snacks and drinks on hand is more flexible for them, and for us.

4. The truth doesn’t always come out on the paperwork.

I learned this one the hard way.  The head packer told me straight to my face that he wouldn’t notate on paperwork that any of my furniture or belongings were damaged, unless they really were. He schmoozed us reassuringly, saying he didn’t want to just “cover” for his company and that they would accurately describe my items’ conditions. It was all talk. When I got my paperwork and all my belongings on the other side of the move, the paperwork was not accurate for many items. Almost every item that had even the slightest bit of value was marked as damaged and some items were severely misrepresented. To the point that I was like… “Wait, are we even talking about the same item? If my electric keyboard was this horrendously mangled, it wouldn’t even turn on.” It was frustrating to say the least.

5. The paperwork was more detailed than I thought.

While the “conditions” section of the paperwork was heavily inaccurate, I was shocked at how descriptive the paperwork was (in a good way). Any item not in a box, was listed (strollers, chairs, baskets, guitars, table legs, etc.) by name.  And the boxes were all vaguely described as well. I thought we would just have 45 identical boxes with “bedroom” or “living room” marked on them. But no! Each (numbered) box was also given a brief/vague description on paperwork. This made hunting for lost items infinitely easier during the unpacking phase!

6. Things I packed got repacked.

I had plastic storage tubs of winter clothes, college papers, Army equipment, etc. And some bins they left as-is. But others they dumped out and filled with other items that they wanted in tubs. They repacked some of my Christmas decor that we had already packed in cardboard boxes. (<–they didn’t want to be liable for any poor packing on my part).

I also heard a common moving trick is to cling wrap dressers and drawer units, with everything in them. It’s supposed to cut down on time and boxes. That Pinterest hack didn’t quite reach my moving team. But I suppose moving companies can’t take that kind of contents damage risk and so every. single. drawer. was emptied into a box (or 5 boxes). Basically, moral of the story is don’t spend a lot of time packing things yourself, because they will get repacked. And don’t bother organizing your drawers before the move because everything will be taken out of them.

7. It’s hard to lose a box.

I’m not trying to sound like a newbie. I know TONS of people have horror stories of losing important or special items during a move. One day, I will probably join their hallowed ranks. But I pictured our belongings being shoved on a big truck that had other people’s belongings on them.  I figured we would just have to keep our fingers crossed that, when they arrived at our new house, the majority of our boxes would still be on the truck. Our apartment was so small though that we had our own moving truck (not shared) and it was never opened once the packers closed the door for good. It stayed locked up and arrived at our new destination, untouched.

And at our new destination, I was given a sheet (the infamous aforementioned paperwork) and crossed off EVERY SINGLE ITEM (box or loose item) as they were carried into the new house. It was impossible to be missing something, because I literally approved of every item being brought inside, and had total awareness if something hadn’t been brought in yet.  Again, years (and moves) later I will probably be laughing at this after losing a good couple of boxes and items during a PCS.  But for now, I’m riding on the coattails of our previous success and am feeling really great that it was so easy to keep track of our goods.

8. Our hotel bills were reimbursed.

I didn’t quite realize this would happen.  After our first move, we got quite a bit of money reimbursement for “moving ourselves.” We were given a surplus of money that way covered our actual expenses. I thought that since this move was completely paid for by the military, that we wouldn’t get any compensation besides the requisite DLA (Dislocation Allowance Pay–it’s basically consolation money for having to pick up and move houses, which gets expensive because the little things add up). Turns out, the Army paid for our hotels AND our pet fees in retrospect. (Note: they reimburse you for up to 10 days, but we didn’t need all 10).  And that hotel money had nothing to do with the DLA, which we also got.  Yay!

9. I hate boxes.

I didn’t quite comprehend just how much of a pain it would be to get all those boxes broken down and out of our house. Remember my “to-do” list entry from last month? Yeah, that’s because we ended up storing all the empty boxes (full of packing paper) in our unused basement storage room, since bulk trash is on an every-two-weeks schedule. We needed somewhere to put them, but once they were out of sight, out of mind…they just lived there in our basement. Turns out we are just finally clearing the boxes out now. We moved in April. *sigh*

10. The movers rebuild your life and your house for you.

Kind of.  Basically, besides carrying everything back inside, the movers will also rebuild any furniture that was taken apart.  Maybe that’s not surprising to some, but I was in happy shock.  I knew they would put all the boxes and everything in the appropriate rooms. But our movers went above and beyond that.  They actually reassembled furniture.  I have a mini crib that is IMPOSSIBLE to build. I was dreading anything happening to it. But the packers/movers on one end took it apart, and the movers on the other end put it back together. A total relief!  Especially because I’m going to be needing that crib soon! <3

If you’ve already PCS’d quite a few times, maybe you already knew all these things. Or maybe you’re laughing because you know they will never, EVER happen again to me. I’m okay with that–I fully expect every move to be wildly different. And I know moving companies themselves have totally different procedures and policies. Hence why after 10 moves, I still was surprised by some things this time around. But if you haven’t PCS’d a million times, maybe some of these sound surprising to you too.  I’d love to know what experiences you’ve had with PCSing.  Please leave a comment below!  And thanks for stopping by!

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Military Wife Must-Haves

 

Military Wife Must-Haves

I’m sure everyone has their go-to’s when it comes to kitchenware, beauty, fashion, etc.  I definitely have a running list in each category!  Kitchenaid ANYTHING for starters.  But then there are those things that don’t necessarily fit under the same category (or any) but tend to share one common theme: they are must-haves if you’re a military spouse.  Some of these have been gifted to me, some I have bought for other, and some I have bought for myself!  They are either “necessities” for getting through the military lifestyle we live, or they are the perfect way to embrace and celebrate it.  Do you have any of these?

 

1. Address Book

It’s no secret I’m a firm believer in stationary, especially as an Army wife.  But this one isn’t actually meant for all those Basic Training love letters you write.  I have found that the frequent moves (both of our family and our military friends) has created a great need for change-of-address organization.  I think the Kate Spade address book is a cute and classy way to do it.  However, there is a pretty cheeky address book that leaves room for nicknames and shoe sizes.  And then of course there is a classic and more tame little pink book version.  Take your pick and fill it up!

 

2. Push-pin Travel Map

Speaking of moving around, you will probably fill up one of these too!  A push-pin map of the USA not only gives you a visual reality-check on just how many times you’ve set up a home somewhere, but it also is a great way to document your lifetime of travel.  If you want to go all-out (or if you are lucky enough to live overseas) a push-pin map of the world is also a beautiful career display.

 

3.  American Flag

I feel like this is the initiation gift that every military wife should receive, or gift to her husband!  It’s the perfect salute and symbol of what your family stands for.  Fly it proudly outside your home!  And if you have an apartment and no balcony (like my first 2 years of our marriage), then hang it as a wall tapestry behind your couch or in your dining room.  It’s still a beautiful way to celebrate your lifestyle and the country we are all so proud of.  A final option, though it’s a little less visible, is to invest in a glass flag case and keep your folded flag displayed in it.  A very classic, very respectful display of the flag!  If you want the whole flagpole kit, and not just the flag, this is all you need.

 

4. The Army Wife Handbook: A Complete Social Guide

For all my Army girls out there!  There is a complete set of “social rules” and expectations that come with the territory of being an Army wife.  And navigating through those can be tough!  This guide is geared towards etiquette and social obligations, which I find to be one of the least “discussed” topics among Army wife literature.  It’s not really a crash-course about acronyms and what to expect on deployments, which is what this book covers.  But the social rules can be really tough to “pick up” naturally, and having a guidebook is extremely helpful.

 

5. The 5 Love Languages ~ Military Edition

I’m not saying this because I’m a love-book junkie (thought I am), I’m saying this because every military relationship deserves a book celebrating and coaching the tumultuously beautiful journey of a military romance.  I have great respect for Gary Chapman’s interpretation of love languages and how they are spoken.  Even if you’re not a military couple, a firm understanding of how to identify your preferred language, and how to speak your spouses’s is extremely important.  The love languages are a true eye-opener in any relationship, but most significantly in a romantic one.  Curious what your love language is?  Take the test here.  (Then buy the book and learn about how you give and receive love based on it!)

6. His and Hers Silicone Wedding Bands

These are often more necessary for the military member than the spouse.  But for those of us that like having matching wedding bands, or who want to feel a special connection, getting a his and hers set is the way to go!  Wearing a metal wedding ring during training can sometimes be dangerous for your soldier (if he is paratrooper jumping out of an airplane, etc) and other times it can just be painful (pull-ups during PT).  Having a silicone option can be useful for your soldier to slip on before a training exercise, or before he leaves for an Army school if he worries about losing his real ring.  During those times, it can sometimes be nice to switch rings with him, not because you have to, but because he does.

7. Military Wife Jewelry

This one is pretty basic.  It’s like having a tee that supports your favorite sports team.  Everyone should have at least one.  Even if you’re not the kind of jewelry-wearer who wants a black and gold charm bracelet that says “Army” in capital letters, you can still have military-themed jewelry that supports your lifestyle.  (Like this Morse Code bracelet).  One of my favorite ways to connect with my soldier when he is gone is to wear a meaningful necklace or ring that reminds me of him.  When he went to Basic/OSUT in Ft. Benning, I wore a Georgia shaped ring every day.  Other times, even when he is home, I often wear sapphires, as their “Infantry Blue” color celebrates the lifestyle we have chosen together.  Get creative with the meanings and treat yourself to some bling!

8. Amazon Home Services

Not a traditional must-have, but I put on because WHO hasn’t had their fridge break an hour or two after their soldier leaves for a few weeks? *raises hands*  My internet goes out when he is gone, computers crash, and of course some kind natural disaster occurs (Hurricane striking the NIGHT that he leaves).  #myreallife.  Anyway, Amazon can’t control the weather, but they CAN and DO offer home services.  Meaning no matter where you live in the US, you can have someone come over and fix your problem when your soldier isn’t home to do so.  Seriously, they have tons of services: from mounting TVs to painting the baby nursery to ASSEMBLING FURNITURE.  Basically, they’re the magic fairies we always hoped would exist.  Now they do.  Click here to browse their services!

I feel like there are a million military wife must-haves…haha…but that’s really not true.  The only thing I must have is my soldier by my side!  And of course my babies.  And my faith.  Okay, so there are a few biggies.  But the small things can be really fun too, and can make the military wife life a lot easier!  What is a must-have for you?  Leave a comment below, sharing your faves!  Thanks for stopping by, and come back soon.

*Note: the links I provided are affiliate links*

Read next: My Favorite Stationary Supplies for Writing to My Soldier

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