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Beauty

Spring Beauty with Meijer

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Spring/summer beauty translates into color for me with a bold lip color or a bright nail polish. I was on the hunt for anything coral at Meijer and I found the perfect shade of orange in Maybelline’s Color Sensational in tangy tulip. I’m wearing it in the top photo! James approves!
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My new favorite nail polish shade is e-nuf is e-nuf by Essie.
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No matter the season, I’m always on the hunt for anything to give me an even complexion. I have acne scarring and red areas on my skin and I thought I’d give elf’s tone adjusting face primer a try. It didn’t neutralize any red, but it did create a smooth even surface for my tinted moisturizer. I don’t suffer from dark circles, so a little bit of elf’s concealer was perfect and to touch up blemishes on my cheeks. I use the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte for touch ups throughout the day. It’s replaced my MAC compact powder. It has the same impact, but much more affordable.
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I’ve never been consistent in moisturizer use. My skin is oily and I’ve always felt like I’ve had bigger concerns, but after speaking with my dermatologist and esthetician, I realized it needs to become a permanent part of my routine. Neutrogena’s hydro boost water gel is what I use each morning. It’s light and dries quickly. I also really like The Honest Company’s organic body oil. It was my wild card purchase and I love it. My legs and arms are constantly dry and scaly and this oil has been great to use after showers to soften my alligator skin.
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If you’re interested in similar products, check out Meijer’s mPerks program for special beauty savings through May 16!
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Beauty

Spring Clean Refresh with Meijer

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Spring cleaning and purging is something I enjoy very deeply. I get this sense of relief by letting go of the extra shit I don’t need or no longer use. Of course it’s hard to let go of things sometimes, but I remind myself of friends and family who would appreciate the beauty products, clothing and accessories I no longer use. Here are some ideas I’ve incorporated in my spring cleaning and organization!

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1. As Elsa sings, let it gooooo. Is it old as shit? Is it unopened and forgotten? Does it smell funny and you hate it but you spend $30 on it and feel like you need to keep it? Let it gooo! My first step is the de-clutter phase. My office/getting ready area gets worse before it gets better because I go through every nook and cranny to pull out anything I no longer use. It’s tossed into a pile and then sorted by a. things I can sell on Poshmark b. things that my niece, mom or aunt would like c. things my friend Ashley would appreciate d. items for donation e. actual garbage that needs to go in the trash. After I identify what I’m going to keep, I clean everything off. Dust accumulates in my apartment and if I wash out the containers and dust products, I can continue with the real fun.
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2. Find everything a home. To properly store and organize your items, you might need to make a trip to a retail store or thrift containers for storage. I like the acrylic make up organizers from Target or Homegoods, but I also use cheap pencil holders or old mugs to hold brushes and lipsticks. You could also take it a step further and find cool pieces like my rustic lipstick holder from Citizen Home Decor. Whatever method you choose, if you take a thoughtful approach to spring cleaning, it’s easier to maintain organization and a clean, presentable space where you can find everything you’re looking for.
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3. Organize like products. Perhaps most of you get that, but the concept is relatively new to me. I used to keep hair products in the bathroom, in my closet, bedroom and in the linen closet, the more used products mixed among the rarely used. Now, I’ve created a system of keeping like products that are used the most in my office where I get ready so I can easily locate it. Hair products, beauty and fragrance are now arranged this way and it makes my life much easier each morning.
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4. Move things around. Keep things fresh by rearranging everything from furniture to make up organizers. This is especially hard for me to do, almost impossible, but it creates this sense of excitement and this excitement keeps me motivated to keep it clean and organized. Got any tips on spring cleaning and organization? Please share with me!
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*Post sponsored by Meijer. Thank you for supporting collaborations such as this!
Beauty, Inspiration

Product Review: Curls & Brows!

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I’ve decided to start sharing my thoughts on beauty/hair products more often since I can’t stop buying them and can’t say no to free products (that are relevant to my type of hair.) I want to try them all! I bought this little kitchen cart from Ikea to use to hold haircare product overflow and each hair washing day is like Christmas, with new products addressing quality of curl, moisture and blonde correcting. I’ve been using NYX’s brow pen since it’s so easy and looks natural, but I decided to give Essence’s version a try.
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Essence sent me their How To Make Brows Wow make up box and I love that it has mini tweezers and a shimmery highligher. I tested out the Love Blondes color on the left and the Love Em All next to it with the conclusion that the Love Blondes, though lighter, looks more natural and blends better with my naturally light eyebrows. I also love the highlighter–it created more definition with my brows, especially since they’re a bit overgrown at the moment.
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I’m very loyal to Matrix Biolage Gelee, but I find Deva Curl’s Light Defining Gel just as amazing. It doesn’t make my hair all stiff and weighed down, but it’s also heavy enough to actually control my hair. It’s a tough balance with thick, dense, curly hair. I switch between these two gels now.
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Dove sent me the Quench Absolute Intense Restoration Mask. It’s a more budget friendly option compared to Ouidad’s 12 minute deep conditioner. Directions say to leave on 3-5 minutes, but I left on for 10 and my hair felt soft and less hay-like. Speaking of soft, nice hair, I need a shine serum post shower. I float through different types because most seem to work for me, but Toni and Guy’s classic shine gloss serum smells SO GOOD. Even Kyle complimented me on how great my hair smelled and I owe it to this tiny little product fighting to keep the frizz at bay.
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As always, open to product suggestions! Any hair product that I should try that you recommend?!
And here’s my original step by step hair routine

Beauty, Hair

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