Sunday, December 20, 2015

E.L.F. Cosmetic Brushes...Fave or Fail?

   Admittedly I've been using the same Mary Kay makeup brushes for a while now, along with a few other random brands thrown in. I was just satisfied with my MK brushes because they washed well and have help up for a really long time. But it was definitely time for a whole new set and I had trouble making up my mind on which makeup brushes to try. At first my plan was to snag a few from different companies to see what I liked best, but then E.L.F. Cosmetics had a 50% off sale with free shipping over $35. Naturally I had to give it a shot since I was getting so much bang for my buck. I already knew that I wasn't too fond of their cheaper $1 brushes so I opted for the Studio Line which ranges from $3-$10 and I'd heard great reviews. All together I got 15 brushes (1 didn't make it to the picture) for only $37, definitely a steal! Keep reading to find out if it was worth it. 



















   I am extremely pleased with these E.L.F makeup brushes. The only one that I'm not too fond of would be the Ultimate Kabuki Face Brush, the rectangular one in the 2nd photo. It's supposed to be good for foundation, powder, blush, contour, and highlight but I find that it's too bulky. I've been using the long edge (just the edge) to sharpen my contour if I need the line a tad bit more defined yet also diffused. But it's not one that I reach for, only when I feel like I haven't used it in a while. 
   The rest of the brushes I use almost on a daily basis. I've had no issues with the bristles falling out, the handles coming off...nothing. And even if it were to break, they were only $3 so I feel like I could replace it several times at that price. Overall, these brushes are fantastic considering the price. I will say though that I do not like their $1 brushes, so make sure you purchase the right ones. Another bonus...E.L.F always has some sort of discount code or sale. Wait until they do the 50% off sale and get even more bang for your buck! 

   Have you tried E.L.F brushes? If so what are your favorites? How would you compare them to other brushes? 






Monday, June 22, 2015

Post Baby Body...Planning Ahead

   I'm over half way to meeting our new little princess! At this stage in the pregnancy I'm also thinking about anything and everything having to do with a 3rd child and all the changes that will be happening in my house. Quite honestly, I'm freaking out a little. Of course I'm doing all the typical things parents do when prepping for a new arrival, but I've also decided to take the time to focus on myself while I still can. 

   27 weeks pregnant, which means in 13 weeks or less I will be meeting our new tiny princess. One of the things women typically worry about with pregnancy is the ever so dreaded weight gain that comes with the territory. I can happily say that I've done extremely well with this pregnancy and so far only had a 12 pound gain. But as we all know, the 3rd trimester tends to have the largest weight gain. Since I probably won't have a ton of extra down time once the baby arrives, I've decided to go ahead and start planning to lose the baby weight and get my body back. 

   I've decided that I'll be following the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan at first but won't be doing the workouts until after my 6 week postpartum appointment. It's quite possible that I won't be doing the exact workout routine for this program either, but a mix of P90X and my own stuff. I will be sharing this journey on my blog, along with my workout routines and some recipes. 

   I'm super excited to share this experience with my readers so definitely be on the look out for that to start in a couple of months. 
   

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

   I have been MIA the past few months but I'm ready to get back on the blogging train. So much has happened that I just haven't had time to invest the time & energy I want into this blog. I've had some family emergencies that I needed to travel for, my grandmother passed away unexpectedly, and of course the military has thrown some things our way as well.

BUT...THERE'S GOOD NEWS TO.....




WE ARE EXPECTING BABY #3, and she, yes she, will be arriving in September!!!



   This baby has been a huge part of me being absent from the blogging world. I was so sick and exhausted the first 14 weeks that I was completely miserable. The sickness has passed and exhaustion is still in control of my body, but my energy level is up from the previous trimester.

   3 GIRLS, 5 including myself and the dog, under 1 roof...we are expecting some crazy years to come...lol! I'm not going to lie, we were hoping for a boy this time around, but the universe has something else planned and we're okay with that. Do you know how hard it is to come up with a third girl name? We've had a boy name picked out since the beginning, then we finally decided on a first name but the middle name...this is where it gets us. It's a good thing we still have 19 weeks to figure it out!





Would my readers be interested in a pregnancy update series? I could talk about my experiences with a 3rd pregnancy compared to my others, give trimester updates, that type of thing. If this is something you all would like to see just let me know.






Friday, January 30, 2015

IPSY: December Glam Bag Review

   I will be reviewing the products I received in my December Ipsy bag since I've had the chance to test them out for about a month now. If you don't know already here's the spill. Instead of doing an "unboxing" type of post, I review the products over the course of a month and then let you know what I thought and all the product details. If you didn't see my November bag review you can check it out HERE.

   This post is a bit late, but we'll be getting back on track for February.
   Here's what I received in my December Ipsy Bag...

 
DECEMBER IPSY BAG

1). December's Glam Bag- Not going to lie, this month's bag was a disappointment for sure; it felt cheap, was flimsy, and the zipper was in a weird spot. I will probably end up giving it to my daughter to keep her play makeup in.

2). NYX Butter Lip Balm in Red Velvet- Retails for $4.00 (this is the full size)
   I'm not a big tinted lip balm fan, I'd rather just wear a lipstick. This is the first NYX balm I've tried and I have to say that I did like it. This particular color did leave a nice red color on my lips so if you're someone who wants to try a red lip but doesn't want to be too bold, this may be great for you. They were buttery smooth, hence the name, upon application and felt really nice on my lips. I personally wouldn't repurchase because like I said, not a huge lip balm fan unless it's my Nivea. But I do enjoy receiving a few in my Ipsy bags to try out.


3). Tarte Lights Camera Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara- Retails for $20.00 (for a full size)
   I can't say too much about this mascara because I have a mascara review & comparison coming up and this one is included in the post. But I will give you a bit of a spoiler and say that I really like it. See if your store, Sephora or Ulta, has a deluxe sample available for you to try out.
(My mascara comparison and review will be up sometime next week.)


4). Pixi Fairy Dust- Retails for $10.00 (this is the full size)
   Since Ipsy doesn't come with a description card like some other subscription services, at first I was a bit confused with this one but it's supposed to be an eye shadow. It is a loose power and all of the product is in the clear bottom tube. The top part is an applicator that you have to stick into the tube to pull out the loose product which can be messy. Packaging was just not ideal in my opinion.
   I tried this shadow a few different ways; as an all over the lid color with and without a cream base, as a highlight, and a shadow topper. The best way to apply it is with your finger because if you use a brush or the applicator you're going to have some major fall out. My eyes were so red because product kept falling into my eyes and I had to remove my contacts a couple of times. Needless to say, I absolute did not like this product but I've heard a few people say they do like it. Have you tried this If so please leave a comment on how you apply, exactly how you use it, and your thoughts.


5). Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) Facial Cleanser- Retails for $11.95 (for a full size 8.5 oz)
   First of all let me say that I was very excited about this product because the brand specializes in cruelty free and vegetarian products which I think is amazing. I've been using this cleanser in the evening after removing as much makeup as I can with a Simple facial cleansing wipe, and I've really been enjoying it. The cleanser leaves my skin feeling nice and clean and it's very gentle to use. However, I do have to go back in with eye makeup remover to get rid of any remaining mascara or eyeliner. Which is fine with me because a lot of cleansers don't always get all of the eye makeup off, so I usually do go back in and touch that up to make sure my skin is fresh before bed. This is definitely a product that I would consider repurchasing. You can also buy it at Walgreens but not all stores carry this brand (I know mine doesn't).


6). Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet- Retails for $6.99 (find it HERE)
   Brushes are always a great thing to get in subscription boxes because it gives you the chance to try out something new (duh Brit, that's what the services are for anyway). I personally don't like to purchase new brands of brushes online because I want to feel them first. As far as I know these can only be purchased online so that alone is a no purchase factor for me.
   This brush is double ended with a shadow brush on one side and a crease brush in the other. The shadow brush worked great, it had the right amount of fluff mixed with density which I like in a shadow brush. It picked up product and deposited it nicely, I didn't have to work too hard to build up color because of brush issues. The crease end was a different story! The brush seemed to pick up the product really well but it didn't quite put any in my crease, like the shadow was stuck and couldn't come off. This is probably the most dense crease brush that I now own and I absolutely do not like it at all.
If this brand came available in stores then it's possible that I may purchase something, but as of now it's a no. But I do like having a new shadow brush, we can never have enough makeup brushes!


   I was going to do a sneak peek of what I received in my January Glam Bag, but since it's already the end of the month I'll wait for the review post. Be on the lookout for that in about 2 weeks.

   What did you receive in your Ipsy bag for December? Have you tested the products out? If so I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

   Hope everyone has a fantastic Super Bowl weekend!  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Namaste

   Relaxing, peaceful, spiritual, tranquil, breathe, pose. When you hear the word Yoga, what comes to mind?

   Yoga has become more popular in the United States over the past several years and there are many different types of yoga to learn/practice. Regardless of which type you choose, the basics are very much similar to one another; breathing control, mind to body harmony, meditation, and poses (or asana) that stretch the body and promote flexibility.



   I used to practice yoga 2-3 times a week (why did I stop?) and recently decided to get back into it. What a great decision on my part! One day a week I attend a yoga class on base,  twice a week I yoga it right along to one of my videos, my favorite is the P90X one. Alternating between at home and class yoga is a good balance for me and gives variety to the routine.
 
   Last week was my first time attending this class and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The instructor was amazing, definitely the best I've ever had in a yoga class. She lit a candle, made the room as calm as she could, gave great instruction to everyone and really tried to figure out each person's level of experience. With taking fitness classes on base, it's sometimes difficult to find a good instructor who actually makes the class an uplifting experience. I'm pleased to say that I've found that instructor and therefore I feel more confident in my posing in a classroom setting.

   There are many benefits to yoga which is why I decided to start practicing again. Included in the many benefits are increased flexibility, maintaining a balanced metabolism, improvement of muscle strength & tone, preventive measure against future injuries, an improving your cardio & circulatory health. Of course those are not all of the benefits, but they are some of the main ones. I feel that yoga is also a wonderful stress reliever. If you don't feel like you have much stress in your life, you'll feel even better and more relaxed when you walk out of that class...I promise it is beneficial for everyone.

   After I've been back into a good routine for a while I would really like to try Hot Yoga, I think it would be pretty intense, in a good way. Since we live right by the beach, there are a few yoga studios around that offer beach yoga and paddle board yoga! I think those would be fantastic to try and I'l definitely update you guys when & if I do. Do you practice yoga? If so what type an how long have you been doing it?

 






Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Drugstore Beauty Week of 1/18-1/24

   The drugstores ALWAYS have revolving beauty deals which is the best time to get yourself new products to try or pick up replacements for items you already love. This is how I save money on drugstore brands because after sales, coupons, and store credit I can score some stuff for pretty cheap or even free...what I call "Couponing for Cosmetics."
 
   This is going to be a pretty quick post that I do weekly, usually it will go up Sunday or Monday but with the long weekend I got a little behind.  Where I live there is CVS & Walgreens, therefore I will not typically be posting about Rite Aid.

CVS:
   -Almost every brand is on sale this week for BOGO 1/2 off (which is buy 1 and get the 2nd half off)! This includes Revlon, Loreal, NYX, Milani, Almay, Covergirl, Sally Hansen and more. Make sure to grab an ad at the front of the store when you walk in and also scan your CVS card at the coupon machine.
   -When you spend $15 on select hair care, cosmetics, lotions, & personal care you get back a $5 Extra Buck. What's an Extra Buck? It will print on the bottom of your receipt and you use it just like cash at CVS on anything you want (minus alcohol, lottery, gift cards, etc.). In the ad it does say that this deal of spend $15 & get $5 is a limit of 2, but it is actually a month long deal with a limit of 10.
   -If you are in need of any of these type of products CVS is your best bet! Make sure to get a CVS card and register it online (at cvs.com) and also join the beauty club because for every $50 in beauty retail you will get back $5 Extra Bucks.

***Click HERE for this week's ad***


WALGREENS:
   -Same as CVS, there are a ton of brands that are BOGO 1/2 off this week, but most are not giving back store rewards.
   -Loreal Skin Care is 20% off
   -FREE Bare Foot Diabetic Foot Balm, this is found in the diabetic aisle & not with the other lotions. This is on sale for $3.50 and you will get back a $3.50 Register Reward which will print at the end of your transaction. You can use it on almost anything in the store just like cash.
   -There have been orange tags popping up, which means CLEARANCE! Make sure to take a walk down the cosmetic aisles and see if you spot a good deal.

***Click HERE for this week's ad***


COUPONS:
   -I always use coupons at the drugstore to get an even better deal. I will link the coupon database below which will also tell you if there are printable coupons available for different brands.
Coupon Database

1). Click on the link above
2). Type in the search bar what brand you're looking for. Example, if you are wanting Loreal coupons, simply type Loreal in the search box and then hit enter.
3).  It will tell you all the coupons available for the specific brand. If they are printable you'll be able to click on the link and it will take you to the coupon.


If you have any questions about the sales, how store rewards work, or anything else just leave a comment below and I'll be sure to respond.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Warming The Soul

   The weather has been viciously cold in many parts of the United States this winter. If you are anything like me, that means hot delicious soup to warm the mind, body and soul. Soup is a comfort food staple and I feel like people are more drawn to it between October and March, that's especially true for my family. With Florida weather it's just almost too hot for soup any other time of year unless is storming and chilly out.

   Pinterest is my absolute favorite place to find new recipes, so I wanted to share a few of my soup pins with you. I've made all of these except one, which I'll make a note of below, and they've all turned out delicious.


1). Crab & Corn Chowder- This soup is absolutely delicious and hearty. For me, it was something different and unexpected. Growing up in Kentucky we didn't make soups like this, mom always served chili, potato, or broccoli cheddar soup because those are the southern specialties. If you make any of these soups, please make this one. Which reminds me, I need to put this on my menu for an upcoming week.

Click HERE

2). Cheeseburger Soup- Cheeseburger soup, let me just say that this is always a big hit. I went home to visit family for a bit recently and I made this soup twice in one week for them. My only suggestion with this recipe is DO NOT add any salt because you already have the sodium from the meat and velveeta.

Clcik HERE

3). Lasagna Soup- We've only tried this soup a couple of times and we did enjoy it. But if I'm going to be cooking with pasta noodles, I prefer to make a hearty Italian pasta dish instead.

Click HERE

4). Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup- In my house we LOVE this soup. Here's how I tweaked this one:
-Instead of sun dried tomatoes I used a can of petite diced tomatoes with basil. They are both delicious but I prefer the diced because they're not as expensive and they don't go to waste later.
-I also add in a pound of hot sausage just cooked and crumbled up. This will make the soup thicker but you can always add in more liquids to balance it out to your liking.

Click HERE

5). Chicken & Gnocchi Soup Olive Garden Copycat Recipe- I haven't had the chance to make this soup yet but I plan on it sometime soon. Every time my girlfriend and I go to Olive Garden for lunch this is the soup I get.

Click HERE

I would love for you to share some of your favorites by leaving a link to the recipe in the comments section  below.
HAPPY LONG WEEKEND...ENJOY!

*All photos are courtesy of Pinterest


Friday, January 16, 2015

7 By Spring

   I have decided to join the "Finish 7 By Spring Challenge" that Kristen Kay did on her YouTube channel. Kristen is a wonderful beauty YouTuber who does hauls, reviews, favorites tutorials and much more and I've fallen in love with her channel over these past few months! Make you that you check out her channel and her 7 By Spring video...

Kristen's Channel- https://www.youtube.com/user/thekristenkchannel
Kristen's Video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWJcP1EldFY

 
   I am also joining Kristen in the low buy, which I've actually been on anyway for several months. A low buy is just when you don't spend a lot of money on new products. It doesn't mean that I won't buy anything...just not as much as I would like to. With that being said, I will still be couponing for cosmetics. That means that when I can get something free/super cheap at the drugstore I will, CVS & Walgreens are my favorite. When you have a lot of products in your collection it's nice to shop your stash and use some of those up. But of course we also like to try new products that are released so this is how I balance that with saving money.

   Going through my beauty, hair & skincare collection to pick out my items was actually harder than I thought it would be. There were many products that I decided to use more in the coming months but I also knew I couldn't finish them by Spring, which is March 20th. So here's what I come up with!
*Sorry for the crazy pics, my lighting was bad and I was doing this part in a hurry. :-(


1). Dark Kiss Boy Spray- I've had this for a while now and I really do enjoy the scent. It's just not been what I gravitate towards recently because I have several new fragrances. But I need to finish this and it's about 1/2 full.

2). Vaseline Spray & Go Lotion- During the winter my legs and arms get really dry so I've been applying lotion 2-3 times a day. This is a brand new lotion so obviously full.


3). Nivea A Kiss Of Smoothness Lip Balm- These are my favorite drugstore lip balms! But I've received a few others lately so this one has been put to the side. It's 1/2 used so I'll be throwing this in my purse so I can get through the rest of it.

4). Buxom Mascara Deluxe Sample- I picked this mascara because I honestly don't ever reach for it. I feel like the wand just doesn't work for my eyes & lashes and I tend to make a mess with it. However, I'm going to try it again and hopefully use it up before it dries out.

5). It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer- This was in my Ipsy bag a couple months ago and I've honestly just been lazy with under eye concealer. I did a review of this product HERE so make sure to check it out.

6). Rimmel Stay Glossy Lip Gloss in #260 My Eternity- Totally forgot that I even had this lip gloss! I really like the color and it looks great topped over a nude or brownish color lipstick. It is completely full so I'm going to try to use as much as I can. Since I did pick 8 products instead of 7, this is kinda of my bonus item.

7). Physician's Formula Super CC+ Cream- This is about half full but I tend to wear it more in the summer months. Since my skin has been pretty clear and I haven't really needed any full coverage I'd like to go ahead and use this all up because I've had it for about a year.

8). BWC (Beauty Without Cruelty) Facial Cleanser- I received this in my December Ipsy bag and haven't even used it yet because I have a skin care routine that's perfect for me (posted HERE). As I said before though my skin isn't overly sensitive to new products so I need to give it a go. I'll commit to using it daily and then posting a review.


   March 20th is the end date for the Finish 7 By Spring Challenge. This is my first time participating in one of these so I'm really excited. I'd love for you to join along in this challenge by leaving a link to your blog post or just commenting below.

   Happy Friday and I hope that everyone has a fabulous weekend!






Saturday, January 10, 2015

Make A Statement + BOGO Sale

   I was actually saving this post for the upcoming week but then I received an email about a BOGO sale that Forever 21 was having on ALL of their already marked sale items. Of course I headed straight to the website and found some great statement necklaces for an even better price so I had to share with you all.

   Jewelry is the perfect way to make a statement, bring your outfit to another level, and to express yourself visually/artistically. Throw on your favorite jeans, a plain t-shirt, maybe a muted jacket, sexy heels, and a big statement necklace...your outfit speaks for itself, classy and bad ass at the same time. It's been a while since I purchased a new statement necklace so I've been on the lookout for different pieces. Now that Forever 21 is having such a great sale, it's the perfect time to take advantage. Unfortunately, several of the pieces that I really wanted are already sold out but there's still others to choose from. And while you're shopping for jewelry check out the clothing as well, tons of minimalist items that would pair beautifully with a statement necklace.

Street-Chic Curb Chain Bib $7.99

On The Edge Woven Bib Necklace $6.99
Eclectic Braided Bead Necklace $5.99

Inner Peace Chain Necklace $4.99

Southwest Bound Cutout Necklace $4.99


Friday, January 2, 2015

Make Skincare A 2015 Resolution

   HAPPY NEW YEAR...here's to my first post of 2015!!! How did you ring in the new year? I went to bed at 11:00 after a long few days of everyone being sick. We were able to go to dinner, nothing special just Applebee's, and I had my midnight toast several hours early. Many people make resolutions for the new year, things they want to do, try, experience, become better at...individual goals. If you don't have a daily skincare routine, I challenge you to make that a resolution for 2015.

   Skincare is very important, especially during the colder months and that seems to be when it's the hardest to care for in my opinion. I have pretty normal skin throughout the year but in the winter i have to assure that my skin stays hydrated and moisturized to avoid dry patches, flaky skin, and prevent breakouts. Luckily I can use a variety of products because my skin isn't overly sensitive, so I don't stick to one particular brand for all of my skincare needs.

   Here's my current daily routine when I'm not experimenting with new products. In (...) I will also list the price of each item, based on CVS's online prices.



MORNING ROUTINE: I typically do these steps in the shower, makes life a bit easier

 1). Wash my face with Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash ($7.99). I love this brand! They don't use harsh chemicals, dyes or perfumes and it really does make my face feel refreshed and cleansed. I hate using a face wash that makes it seem as if I'm putting on harsh chemicals.

 2). 1-2 times a week I will use the Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser ($7.99 or $1.99 for a trial size) instead. I have quite a few pores around the center of my face so I need something to help shrink them. I like that it gives my face a tightening feel, but I think there's probably something out there that works better for my pores. I haven't seen a huge difference, although some, since I started using this about a month ago. If you know of a better one let me know.

 3). For the rest of my body I alternate between an exfoliating body wash and moisturizing body wash. Nivea ($6.49) is probably my favorite drug store brand but there are many other good choices like Dove or Aveeno. I'll also be posting a DIY body scrub sometime next week that's absolutely AMAZING!

 4). Lotion is an absolute must for me because during the winter my legs get ridiculously dry and flaky. I love the Vaseline Spray N Go lotion ($7.99), but I do still rub it in after spraying it on. Another one that is less expensive is the Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Body Lotion ($3.79).

5). After cleansing the face I apply a pea sized amount of Simple Replenishing Rich Moisturizer ($13.49). This helps put moisture back into my skin after washing away the natural oils. It is a lotion consistency, but light and non greasy plus it dries really quick. If you have dry skin you may need to use a bit more than I do.

6). I always use a primer under my makeup, not only does it smooth the skin and help minimize pores, but it also acts like a bit of a barrier between my bare skin and the makeup. I personally think this product is overpriced for the drugstore, considering that for the same amount you can get some higher end brands at Sephora & Ulta. I use the Loreal Revitalizing Miracle Blur ($24.99), but there are others like the Maybelline Baby Skin for only $6.99. However, if you have CVS bucks and coupons you can get any of them for pretty cheap.



NIGHT ROUTINE:

1). Before washing my face I like to try to remove as much makeup as possible with facial wipes. I've tried many brands and I'm really not too picky but lately the Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes ($6.49) are my go to's. Depending on what eye makeup I'm wearing, the wipes typically do a good job of removing it. If I need a little extra then I'll soak a qtip in Almay Eye Makeup Remover ($5.99) to help get the eyeliner/mascara off.

2). Facial wipes don't remove all the icky, they just aid in the process. In the evenings I use Simple Moisturizing Facial Scrub ($7.99), the exfoliating beads aren't too rough on my skin and it leaves me feeling smooth and clean at the end of the day.

3). For the 2nd time in the day, I repeat step #5 from my morning routine by moisturizing my face before bed.


This is my daily skin care routine using all drugstore products. There are other things I do to nourish and care for my skin on a weekly or biweekly basis. Let me know if you enjoyed this post and if you would like to see more. Later next week I've got a DIY body scrub planned to share with you, let me just say...AMAZING! Stay tuned and HAPPY FRIDAY!