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Beauty

Skincare + Beauty Favorites

Somehow in the last year I became a beauty and skincare junkie, testing out new products for my skin and scouring the internet for more beauty bloggers to follow for their recommendations. Since I have problem skin and I prefer a more natural look with make up, I’m sharing my favorites that enhance natural features, are easy to use and aren’t crazy expensive. I’m still on the hunt for a great cleanser that fights acne, so always open for suggestions!
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1. Revlon Highlighting Palette in Rose Gold, $11.99. Since I’m no expert in applying blush, I usually reach for this one since it’s easy to blend and builds easily.
2. Buxom Lash Mascara, $19. I recently tried a sample size of this and it became an instant favorite. My lashes appear thicker and longer. It also strikes the balance of being buildable, but one coat looks great too.
3. NYX Eyebrow Marker, $9.69. Merl of Clyde’s Rebirth had this at her apartment last time I visited and it’s revolutionized my make up application. I hate when eyebrows look too drawn on and this one looks so natural and easy to apply.
4. Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, $4.39. I’ve had an issue with over-drying my skin, which I didn’t think was possibly with my oily skin. I shower sometimes twice a day because of my workouts and I was over washing my face. I’ve found that using this between workouts works well for me.
5. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil-Free, $43. Since my skin is sensitive and prone to breakouts, I prefer a tinted moisturizer or BB cream and this product has worked the best. Nothing too heavy, but provides decent coverage without that caked on look. There are so many shades it’s easy to match up too.
6. Josie Maran Pure Argan Oil Light, $48. I always thought I didn’t need a moisturizer because my skin is oily, but I need it especially during the winter and between my chemical peel visits.
7. Maybelline Baby Lips Medicated, $2.99. My lips are so dry this time of the year, I’m constantly applying this in the non-tinted version and I’d like to scoop a couple tinted versions up now.
8. Buxom Full On Lip Cream, $19. I also got this sample a month ago and I love a lip plumper in this soft hue.
9. elf Studio Tone Correcting Powder, $3.00. My skin looks anything but dull after this powder. I’ve bought pricy powders in the past, but this one works better than those and $3 isn’t a bad price either.

Beauty, Inspiration

My Hair & Skin Musthaves

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I’m always testing out new hair products and I’ve got my tried and true and newest obsessions, plus drugstore deals and a couple splurge-worthy items. I might not style my hair a lot or get crazy with my make up, but I do care about my hair since it’s just..everywhere and my skin, because let’s face it, my skin is a dick and it requires constant upkeep.

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Not pictured are my large, oversized Biolage Matrix Smooth shampoo and conditioner, which is my go-to at home. I’ve been trying so many new shampoos and conditioners lately just to have other options and I found the Dove Pure Care Dry Oil shampoo and conditioner to be quite hydrating. Once I’m out of the shower, I let my hair air dry, but not without first applying a serum, curl cream and my most favorite gel in all the land: Biolage Gelee. The first photo pictured in the post features two products I was skeptical of, but tried and loved. My friend Liz bought me the Moroccanoil Intense Curl Cream last year and I absolutely love how it moisturizes my hair, cutting back on frizz. Especially after a blow out and my hair is the most dry, it eats it right up. I was also leery of the BB Pret-a-Powder. I’ve tried a ton of dry shampoos and they either make my scalp itch or looks like I dumped baby powder on my head. This one doesn’t spray out, which I really like and I can control how much goes in my hair and it soaks up the oil without making me itch like crazy.

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I think there are so many great serums out there and no matter the brand, this is an absolute necessary item in my arsenal of hair products. I grew fond of Ouidad’s Shine Glaze since a little goes a long way, but I’ve always loved John Frieda Frizz Ease, especially this new one I tried, the nourishing oil elixer.
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I had such typical teen acne in high school and in college, but once I was out of school, and perhaps it was the stress and my hormones, but it just grew to be so much worse. I’ve gone to dermatologists, been on Accutane and other skin medications, and it somehow reverts back. I’ve used Proactiv since I was 15 and it really helps keep the acne at bay. It’s never completely cleared my skin, but it keeps it in check. I use Proactiv every night (step 1 cleanser not pictured above, not looking photo worthy and still sitting in my tub] and for morning cleanses, I like this Garnier Nourishing Cleansing Oil. I’ll use this or something lighter to take my make up off at night too instead of Proactiv. 
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My wallet was assaulted on such a small bottle of this Kate Somerville Exfolicate. $20 for such a tiny little bottle, but the larger size was $80something. I bought it over a month ago and I’ve been using it twice a week and I still have a ton left in this tiny little baby bottle. I can’t express to you through the written word how much I love this product. It sloughs away dead skin and makes my skin feel smooth. The Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Masque is also a godsend. I used to use a sulfur mask by Proactiv and found it to be extremely helpful when used as a spot treatment before I went to bed. This product comes in a large jar and is worth the price. I use it as a mask and also as a spot treatment for stubborn zits.
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Lastly, for the rare day I take time to do my hair and blow it out myself, these are my go-to products. Both of the Jose Eber tools work great, I can particularly tell a difference with how quick my hair dries with this infrared dryer. I used it again earlier this week when I was in an extreme time crunch post-shower with wet hair..so I straightened my hair quickly and I honestly spent 15-16 minutes on, which is probably the quickest I’ve ever straightened my hair. Used to take me a couple hours in high school!
Anyways, my hair takes a beating from these tools though so I use Ouidad’s 12 minute deep treatment before and after blowouts and use Morrocanoil which is a heavier serum that hair just soaks up.
Beauty, Hair, Inspiration

Date Night with CO Bigelow

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I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m pretty low key when it comes to planning dates. It’s usually centered around “I’VE GOT A FIVE DOLLAR OFF COUPON!” And so then we go. Kyle will change out of his gym shorts and I may or may not change out of my sweatshirt. We also live together, so the excitement of going out together isn’t what it was last fall when I’d nervously apply 8 layers of deoderant and kept up on my manicures and pedicures.

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Since I now work out 6 days a week, it’s more important to me to be taking care of my hair and skin rather than get dolled up with all the extra make up products. CO Bigelow sent me a package of products including the Rose Salve and Mentha Lip Shine that I’ve already been using for years (hello soft lips and minty breath!) along with their lemon body lotion and Not Your Ordinary Daily Shampoo and Conditioner and Lemon Sugar Body Scrub. So, I’d rather not smell like an armpit on a dinner date, but also not have to worry about reapplying eyeliner and all that jazz.
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For this particular date night, when I tried out all the products at once like a mini spa morning, we packed our bags, got dressed in this exact outfit posted on the blog last summer and headed to the little tourist German town in Michigan called Frankenmuth, where Kyle grew up. I’d never been there so we visited all the candy shops, general stores and ate dinner at his favorite hometown restaurant, Tiffany’s, and took James to the dog park to test his agility skills and let him run like a crazy little man. 
CO Bigelow supplied me with the items above!
Beauty, Hair, Inspiration

Back to [Grad] School with Meijer

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If there’s anything I’m good at, it’s getting ready in a pinch. My old coworkers were always astonished when I would say things like “today I woke up at 7:40, got ready in 7 minutes, stopped to get a redbull and I was STILL in the office before 8 a.m.” I had a really short commute, but mostly I could wake up so late because I have my morning routine down. Especially now, in my second year of grad school, I have even less free time. Below are a few time-saving tips that have worked for me!

Step 1: If you’re a curly haired girl, wash your hair the night before and let it air dry. Embrace the natural curl, which is healthier for your hair and saves you a million hours from flat ironing, blow drying, etc. I wake up and mostly just tousle it so it’s not stuck to my head from sleeping on it.
Step 2: I always wash my face before bed, but in the morning, I still manage to find leftover mascara smeared across my face. I use Almay Oil-Free Gentle Eye Makeup Remover pads to clean up the mascara. They work so well! If it’s a super long day, I’ll pack them in my bag with me, so I can wipe underneath my eyes.
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Step 3: I thought once I was done with high school, my acne days would be a thing of the past. Nope. I’m 28 and deal with it still. It’s easy to think it’s better to cake more stuff on top of your face to conceal it, but it really just highlights the blemishes. I found that a tinted moisturizer or BB cream does the trick, especially paired with a sheer powder or bronzer like Almay Smart Shade or Maybelline’s Master Hi-Light. On a typical day, I skip all the extras like primer. Just too many steps and not worth it to me.

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Step 4: Sweep on that mascara. If there’s one product I won’t leave home without using, it’s mascara. I use Almay One Coat Lengthening Mascara for a typical day and may add a waterproof version over top of this it’s hot and humid out. Don’t let the name fool you though, you need more than on coat, but it’s super easy to layer and I pack it in my purse to reapply later.

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Step 5: Lip balm or lipstick! Depending on my mood, I reach for either lip balm or lipstick. I’m not much of an eyeshadow person. My face is too oily and it melts off in an hour and it’s just too high maintenance for me. And it takes so much of my time to get it right, but lipstick is easier. I love choosing between a neutral tone like Revlon’s Super Lustrous in Blushing Nude or something bright and bold like Revlon’s Moon Drops creme lipstick Hot Coral.
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Step 6: If you like to paint your nails, pick your favorite color and add Sally Hansen’s Insta Dry Top Coat. It dries instantly relieving the ADD people of the world including me and you can go about your day with no downtime waiting for nails to dry. Essie colors above: For the Twill of It and She’s Pampered.
Step 7: Voila! Minimal is key for me. I find if I wear less, as the day drags on, it requires less touch up, saving even more time.

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*A gift card was provided by Meijer to pick out my favorite products
Beauty, Inspiration

My Winter Hair & Beauty Products!

It’s only January and I’m over winter, which is a bit premature for someone who lives in Michigan and has at least four more months of it. My face and hair are dry and I feel like a hot mess. Thanks to a few products, they help me appear more lively during the cold, dry winter months.
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Burt’s Bees Soothing Chapstick (tastes like I smeared a cough drop all over my lips, but IS soothing!), Formula 10.0.6 Seriously Shine Free Mattifying Oil-Free Moisturizer and Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream
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Biolage Deep Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner, Moroccanoil Treatment, Ouidad Omega-3 Replenishing Hair Treatment
Any suggestions for hair and beauty products, let me know! I’m open to trying new products!
Beauty, Hair