Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Best of April

This month I wanted to share my favorite moments with you. April has been incredibly eventful for me. The best part is that May should be equally as exciting [my birthday and my trip to Mexico]. Let's discuss my favorite moments of April:

Santa Cruz: Earlier in the month, I took a day trip to Santa Cruz with Joe. We had a picnic on the beach, picked strawberries and strolled around the town. It was one of the most relaxed days I've had in a long time. 

San Luis Obispo: Last Saturday Joe and I took a one day trip to our college town. We hadn't visited since the fall and were excited to fit a [semi] spontaneous trip into our weekend. We did it all. After getting up early, we drove the 3+ hours to this coastal paradise. We grabbed our favorite acai bowls, hiked to the beach, enjoyed some sun, went wine tasting and relaxed in the hot springs. It was a jam-packed day and we loved every minute of it. The best part was that we saved money by not staying in a hotel for the weekend. 

Graduate School Acceptance: On Monday I was accepted into one of my top choice grad programs! I cannot express how truly excited I am. It is insane to me that this moment I've dreamed of for years will become a reality. By the end of next week I will be making my decision as to which program to attend. I am a mixture of excited and terrified for my future endeavors. 

What have been your favorite moments in April?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Perfect Starter Shaving Kit For Men

At the recent Sephora VIB Sale, I grabbed The 4 Elements of the PERFECT SHAVE set from the Art of Shaving for Joe. He has been trying out various brands and shaving products to get a sense of what he likes. This little kit was only $25 (before the 15% discount). I like that you get four smaller products that are also perfect for travel. We are going to Mexico for my birthday next month so he can definitely bring this with him. 

This set contains four essential items for shaving: a pre-shave oil, shaving cream, shaving brush and after-shave balm. All the products are unscented and contain 0.5-1.0 FL OZ. The shaving brush was the only disappointment, as Joe says he'd prefer a larger brush. Overall he has really enjoyed this set. He has never used a pre-shave oil and found it has helped him achieve a cleaner shave. 

If you need a gift for your boyfriend/husband/brother/friend, I highly recommend considering this set. 

Have you tried any products from this brand?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil Free Photo Edition Foundation Review

Laura Mercier recently came out with updated versions of their silk creme foundation. The original formula was a highly-pigmented, full coverage foundation. Their latest editions are the silk creme oil free photo edition foundation (normal to oil skin) and the silk creme moisturizing photo edition foundation (normal to dry skin). I selected the oil free foundation, as we are swiftly approaching summer and I anticipate some heat coming soon. This foundation also comes in 12 shades; I opted for cream ivory and it is a perfect match for me. 

I prefer this new formula: it is still full coverage yet more lightweight. It wears nicely throughout the day and is intended to be worn for up to 12 hours. It is a highly pigmented foundation, which blends into the skin and evens out skin tone. This foundation is formulated with silk powder, which helps to absorb oil. I can say with certainty that it creates the perfect canvas for your makeup. Although it does not conceal all of my imperfections, I apply a little concealer on my acne scars and active breakouts and some brightening concealer underneath my eyes and I'm all set. If you're in the market for a new foundation, I say go for this foundation. 

Have you tried this foundation? What are your thoughts?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Switching to Natural Deodorant

Not too long ago I did a review of No More Dirty Looks [a book about the usage of chemicals in the beauty industry]. This book was eye-opening and has made me question the products I buy/use. I have slowly been transitioning to natural deodorant [aluminum-free options]. To be honest, I am not having the best of luck so far. Most recently I have been using the LAVANILA The Healthy Deodorant. I love the way this deodorant smells and it applies nicely. I haven't experienced any issues with white streaks on my clothes. I have a miniature size of the pure vanilla scent and a full size of the vanilla lavender scent. 

Their pit fall: their lasting power. After a couple hours, I start to [mildly] stink. These deodorants are not antiperspirants so they don't prevent you from sweating [the way Secret antiperspirants do]. Aluminum is associated with [breast] cancer, Alzheimer's, and kidney disease [although there is not concrete scientific evidence that there is a direct correlation]. Bottom line--I'm attempting to slowly transition to natural deodorant and LAVANILA is great but isn't cutting it for me. If you aren't a big sweater, these may work well for you. I do love the scents. 

Do you have any recommendations for a good natural deodorant? 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sephora VIB Sale Haul 2015! [Video]

Recently I did some shopping at the Sephora VIB Sale. Come see what I picked up by clicking here!

Did you get anything at the sale?

Friday, April 24, 2015

L'Oreal La Palette Nude 1 Review

After seeing several rave reviews of the L'Oreal La Palette Nude, I stopped by my local CVS. There are two palette options and I opted for palette 1. This palette comes with 10 neutral shades, ranging from shimmery to matte. All the shadows are more pigmented than I anticipated--a pleasant surprise. The back of the palette offers eye looks and four simple steps to help you recreate each. It is pricey for a drugstore palette at $19.95, however, I used coupons to bring down the price. 

My favorite shades are 1 and 2. 1 is perfect for highlighting your brow bone. 2 is great all over the lid. I like to use the Too Faced Shadow Insurance Champagne Eye Shadow Primer as a base--it gives me a subtle sheen under my eyeshadow. What I like most about these shadows is that they are wearable for daytime or nighttime. You can create a neutral look or a smokey eye. I highly recommend picking this palette up. 

Have you tried this palette?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

5 Uses of Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an amazing little product. It has tons of uses and is easily accessible. I often buy mine from Trader Joe's but it can also be found as an ingredient in many beauty products. Here are five uses of tea tree oil:

Acne: Tea tree oil can be used to treat acne. Although it is not as potent as benzoyl peroxide (often used in acne medication), it is less irritating to the skin. Use it twice daily for best results. 

Bad Breath: No one likes to deal with bad breath but it happens to all of us. Tea tea oil in conjunction with peppermint and lemon can be used to reduce bad breath. Make sure not to swallow! 

Dandruff: Tea tree is known for its anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. For this reason, tea tree oil can help to diminish dandruff. Simply add tea tree oil to your shampoo at 10 drops per 8 oz. Use daily for best results. 

Chapped Lips: Add a couple drops to your lip balm to help prevent chapped lips. 

Sore Muscles: Use a few drops in your bath to relax those aching muscles. This is especially effective with half a cup of Epsom salts as well. 

How do you use tea tree oil?

Sources: 1 2 3

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Curent Favorite Blush

Milani never ceases to amaze me with the quality of their blushes. I popped into my local CVS last week to check out their new products. They recently came out with these gorgeous power blushes with rose imprints. I opted for the shade Coral Cove as it seemed appropriate for spring and summer. 

The rose powder blush is absolutely stunning. Not only does the product look adorable but the blush itself is pigmented and long-lasting. It retails for $7.99, however, I generally use coupons at CVS. Milani only has two blushes out; the baked blushes are also to die for. I highly recommend picking up one of the new rose powder blushes next time you venture into the drugstore. 

Have you tried the Milani Rose Powder Blush in Coral Cove?

Monday, April 20, 2015

5 Ways to Destress

Whether it be an unexpected work project or traffic, I tend to get stressed easily. Since college I've made some progress in managing my stress. Although I am not perfect, I have discovered a few ways to calm my worries. Everyone is different and is dealing with different struggles so this won't work for everyone. I do hope this helps someone out. Let's jump into it:

Walk Outside: Whether you have five minutes or twenty minutes, you can go for a quick walk outside. I find so much relief in stepping outside and taking in nature. Walking will help calm you and will get you to move around to remove any tension; this is especially important if you have a desk job or are in class all day.

Breathe Deeply: This is by far the simplest one. You can do this anywhere, anytime. Our breathing speeds up when we are "fight or flight" mode (i.e. under a lot of stress). To help yourself calm down quickly, take deeper breaths. Inhale for 5 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds and exhale for 5 seconds. Focus on your breath for a few minutes. This will switch your focus and provide some relief. Your entire body will calm down and your stress levels should decrease.

Write: I find writing to be incredibly helpful when my mind is racing. When I write down everything that is worrying me, I feel like all my thoughts are out of my head and on paper. I don't have to stress about these things anymore because I have written them down. This is especially important if you don't have anyone around to talk to. 

Self-care: Make sure you are taking care of yourself. Last year I dealt with several family emergencies and I stopped taking care of myself. Focus on nourishing yourself, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Although don't forget to include fun things like bubble bathes and catching up on your favorite tv shows. 

Plan Ahead: If you struggle with consistent stress in your life, try to plan ahead. I like to meal plan (either the night before or at the start of the week), make to do lists (the night before), and organize my planner (decorating and writing in appointments for the week). This really helps me and ensures I don't forget any tasks. 

I hope these tips were helpful.

Do you have any tips to share?

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