Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things: March Edition

Hello friends! I hope the end of March has been kinder to your sinuses than it has mine. I'm so ready for Winter & Spring to end this little disagreement they're having over March and move on. Here's to a less bi-polar April. 

Anyway, as we bid goodbye to March, I wanted to share a few of my favorite things from the past month. I don't know about you guys, but I feel like I haven't been able to walk past a cosmetics section lately without seeing something new I need. Many have been flops, but some have made their way into my everyday routine. See below for details.

The Fresh Effects and Clump Crusher are old standbys that will probably always be "favorites," but everything else pictured is a new find!
  • Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser: This primer has the same texture as the Smashbox Photo Finish primer, and while it doesn't pack quite the same "perfecting" punch, it's under 6 bucks and works great for those days that I'm just wearing a tinted moisturizer. 
  • Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream: Speaking of tinted moisturizers, this one is my favorite. It's light, not too pigmented (which is perfect when you have vampire-pale skin like moi), and has a soft, happy scent. Plus, it's from Olay, so it's gotta be good for my face, right?
  • COVERGIRL truBlend fixStick (in L 1-4): I've tried so many concealers over the years, and I swear, they're all either too dark, too light, or too transparent. This one (from the re-vamped truBlend line) works perfectly! It actually conceals the crazy circles under my eyes (admittedly, it could be getting help from one of the products discussed below), but it also blends in flawlessly and doesn't cake up. Love it. 
  • COVERGIRL LashBlast Clump Crusher: There is no better mascara. Don't even try and argue with me. I can put several coats of this bad boy on, one after the other, and my lashes still look soft and natural (none of that creepy, crunchy spider-leg stuff). Plus, it doesn't flake off throughout the day, yet comes off easily at night. Win-win.
  • Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr Eye Shadow (in Pure Nude and Sleek & Spice): I hadn't tried the Color Tattoo line until Maybelline's new nude collection came out, but I LOVE these two. The Pure Nude is a light, pinky beige that builds nicely and the Sleek & Spice is a really pretty sheer-ish cocoa color. They go on easy and stay put all day - no creasing or flaking or decorating my cheeks with shimmer. These two colors are limited edition, but should still be available for a bit.
  • Revlon Lip Butter (in Pink Truffle): This is a fantastic, slightly pink neutral color. Note: it looks pretty dark in the package, but once on, it's a lovely natural-lip pink. I love the Lip Butter line because they don't instantly dry my lips out like other formulas I've tried. 
For a day-to-day, quick makeup look, this is pretty much all I do. I keep it low-key during the week, and save my fancy stuff for evenings out and special occasions.

In addition to those cosmetics finds, I made quite a few other discoveries that are now competing for space in our oh-so-tiny bathroom (poor hubby).

  • Biore Charcoal Cleanser: Charcoal, who knew? But it's uh-mazing. Black heads? Gone. Super visible pores? No more. I don't know why it's taken us so long to figure this out, but charcoal is my new jam. Never going back.
  • Olay Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream: I have been blessed with my grandmother's (& mother's) skin which means that in addition to the vampire-like pale color it has, it also resists wrinkles like the plague (likely because we pretty much have to eat, sleep, and drink SPF 1000). So, while I see no need yet for "wrinkle cream," this stuff promised to "brighten" my complexion while hydrating. Since I can't get a nice sunny glow (remember the SPF 1000?), I figured I'd give it shot. So far, I'm happy with the results. 
  • Olay Luminous  Dark Circle Correcting Hydraswirl: Glory be! I'd given up hope that I could get rid of the cavernous dark circles under my eyes. I was pretty much resigned to a life of layering on concealer like it was my job. Not anymore. This stuff, you guys. This stuff makes me look normal person with "didn't get enough sleep" circles. Sure, they aren't totally gone, but until I admit that I actually need to sleep, they never will be. So, I'll take "normal dark circles" over "punched in the face dark circles" any day. 
  • e.l.f. High Definition Powder (Sheer): I bought this as a dupe for the Makeup Forever HD powder ($6 v. $34) and I can't complain. Sets my foundation beautifully and doesn't dry or settle in lines.
  • e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set Spray: Add this to my list of "Things I Didn't Realize I Couldn't Live Without." This was an impulse purchase with the above powder, and I probably use it more often than the other. It's refreshing and hydrating, and keeps my makeup in place all day. A couple spritzes between work and nights out is just enough to make it look like I reapplied my foundation from scratch. 
  • Crest Be Adventerous Mint Chocolate Trek Toothpaste: Now, don't scoff. Yes, it's chocolate flavored toothpaste. No, you won't want to eat it. Yes, it leaves your mouth feeling fresh. No, it won't give you cavities. I was a skeptic too, but I love this stuff. The finishing taste is minty, so you get that "fresh, clean" feeling you expect from a paste, but there's just enough chocolate in there to make an impression. So, stop making silly excuses ('cause they all just sound like "I'm a scaredy cat") and give it a shot. 
  • Tree Hut Coconut Lime Shea Body Butter & Sugar Scrub: I bought these in a vain attempt to make the cold weather go away. I mean, if coconut lime doesn't scream "warm weather," I don't know what does. (Spoiler: it didn't work). But that doesn't mean that this little duo isn't amazing. My skin felt soft for days afterwards, and the smell is just heavenly. Besides, who doesn't need another excuse to take a long, hot bath?
  • Venus Embrace Snap Razor: Impulse buy on my part, but brilliant in hindsight. I have to travel back and forth for work, and tossing my regular razor into my makeup bag is just a recipe for sliced up fingers. This little baby comes in an ADORABLE case that fits nicely in any bag, but still packs the same punch as the full size Venus Embrace (my favorite razor by far). Plus, it uses the same refills. Super convenient. 

Finally, I've had to battle a never-ending cold for the past month (or more). All these ridiculous temp changes are wreaking absolute havoc on my system. I have, however, found a few handy little remedies and balms that have made all the crazy more bearable.

  • AdvoCare Spark (Pink Lemonade): Momma introduced me to this, and it's been wonderful to have on hand during all these colds. It's packed with B vitamins which helped me feel human even on days I was pretty sure I looked the exact opposite.
  • Vaseline Lip Therapy (all three!): I consistently have one of these little guys within arm's reach. I keep the Rosy in my purse (for the pretty tint it gives on days I forget lipstick), I keep the Original on my bedside table and use it every night before bed and right when I get up, and I keep the Cocoa Butter in the den for use throughout the day. Chapped lips are a pain of the past (a super exciting thing during winter months).
  • Tylenol Sinus Severe Congestion & Pain: I hope they don't find something terribly wrong with this stuff, because I've been downing it like it's water. I swear it's the only thing that's kept me sane (and possibly alive) for the past month. It's a power-packed combo of pain killer, decongestant, pressure reliever, and anti-mucus meds. My only complaint is that I only get 12 doses in a box. 
  • Corn Huskers Lotion: This old-school formula is dry skin's worst nightmare. I typically use it on my feet (every night, combined with those super sexy looking spa socks), but lately I've been dousing it everywhere - hands, elbows, legs. Plus, it's made by J&J so it has that soft, baby-shampoo type smell. Super soothing.
  • Lancaster Caramels: No, they aren't medicine, and no, they don't cure a cold or anything like that. But...everyone needs a little pick-me-up when they feel icky. I can confidently blame this find on binge-watching Hulu. I don't think I've seen any other commercials lately. At least it's a cute one. I fell for it, hook-line-and sinker...but that's probably just because I'm a caramel junkie. No apologies, no regrets.

That's pretty much it for March favorites. Hope you find something up there you like, too! Enjoy the last few days of this crazy month. 'Til next time!

PS: I have no idea what happened to my blog design...working to get it fixed...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Well Hello, March!

Hi guys! How's it going?

You may not have noticed, but I took last month off, blogging-wise. I'd hit a point where I felt compelled to capture, document, remember, tip-ify every moment I encountered, and honestly, it took a little of the spontaneous joy out of being a newlywed.

So, I decided to let it go for a month. To focus instead on just being with my husband, learning our new city, making new friends. It was actually really nice.

Now, that's not to say that I didn't still take tons of pictures and make all sorts of fantastic memories. In way of a brief recap, we:

  • got lots of snow
  • puppy-sat for some friends
  • found a new church
  • saw lots of movies
  • tried out new restaurants
  • took like a thousand "What [anything you can think of] are you?" quizzes
  • had our first married Valentine's Day
  • drove to Memphis for a weekend to see Wicked and spend time with the family
  • spent a week apart while I did my once/month stint in NWA with work
  • moved all of my stuff (...again), this time to a storage unit down the street
  • ate Girl Scout cookies
  • celebrated National Margarita Day
  • fell in love with all sorts of houses
  • re-resolved ourselves to be content with where we are right now

Not bad for the shortest month in the year, right?

And then, in the blink of an eye, it's March (the weather doesn't know it, but it is). We're gearing up for a productive month around here, starting with this: 40 Bags in 40 Days.

It's a forty day period (coinciding with the 40 days of Lent) where you focus on cleaning one area per day (junk drawers, file cabinets, closets...the garage piled to the celing with moving boxes). In this one area you challenge yourself to declutter, simplify, decrapify, and get rid of things you don’t need. The goal is one bag a day but you can have more or less.

Most of us can understand the soul-crushing guilt that comes with having to move and realizing just how much crap you're carrying around. I look at all the stuff in my life and feel burdened, heavy, slow, and cluttered. It's not happy. It's not what I want. So why do I have it?

Honestly? Because it's somehow easier to just keep it shoved away under a bed or in a box than to get rid of it.

Why is that? I know there's some apathy and lethargy to blame, but a lot of it is that I honestly don't know where to start. I get overwhelmed every time I try. So I've almost given up.

But then, my friend Nicky posted a link to Ann Marie's blog, and I thought: "Hey, I can do THAT." So, I'm going to try it.

One day at a time. One spot at a time. One bag at a time. 40 days, 40 bags. 40 small steps to a home that feels clean, light, and free.

We start tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.