Wednesday, August 31, 2016

This Is Not The End

It's with a heavy heart that I'm writing these words, I might as well get it over with in the first sentence, lovelifeoutloud is going on hiatus and I can't tell you when I'll be back. I began this journey three years ago because I was missing something and somewhere along the way I think I found it. Life happens and with mounting responsibilities I don't have the time necessary to dedicate to this blog anymore nor do I find the drive to push through everything else to get here. I hope to return one day, maybe as a slightly different blogger focused on topics and the big picture instead of just beauty and makeup.

To all who have ever stumbled across this blog I thank you and you will be missed. This isn't a good bye, this is a see you later.

Monday, August 29, 2016

What's in my Trash?! #34

So this month I finished up a whole bunch of favorite staples as well as discovered some new favorite items which is always exciting. It was also a ton of full size items that I conveniently all finished at the same time so I'm really looking forward to sharing these things with you all. My skin has really been unhappy lately, I think it's a number of factors and changes causing it so I'm happy to find some things that are working with my skin and sadly I'm having to come up with a whole new skincare routine, but I love testing new things out and hunting out new products so really I don't mind TOO much.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Unboxing: August 2016 Birchbox

I keep wanting to do a side by side comparison of my Play box against Birchbox but for some reason my Play box always ships really late in the month and it just doesn't make the cut. Once again, here's an unboxing of my Birchbox. This post no longer includes any affiliate links because I do not endorse this subscription any longer but still wanted to get an unboxing up there so I can give an honest opinion on how I think the box is doing.

The sample choices this month were all hair care items which you can just imagine thrilled me (not..) but in my experience if you don't pick a sample there's a higher chance you will receive 2 or even all 3 in your box which is the last thing I want to stack my odds against. The biggest positive of this month is no perfume, so that's a very small win. Let's see what I picked up this month. Also sidenote when I went to upload all the pictures I took, the files were corrupted and since I already passed on some items...we're going with the pictures from the website!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Things I Really Want

It's a short list today but let's be real, I'm starting to think about my birthday which is in exactly one month and the things I wouldn't mind magically appearing in front of me. Some things on here I know I will eventually get in the future and other things are widely unpractical (for now) that I probably will have to keep resisting.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Nails of the Week #91 Coconut Nail Art by Incoco in Wild Blooms

I'm getting quicker every time at applying these and now I found a new method using my cuticle tool to really seal those edges. I use the side that's like a little pick which I believe is used to clean out under your nails and kind of press the stickers down on the edges so it wraps around the nail better. I've always had issues with the part where the nail meets skin on the side (is there a technical term for this?) in that it would always end up kind of rolling up and bunching so this technique helped remedy that!

This time I have Coconut Nail Art by Incoco in Wild Blooms. I'm not sure if you can tell but each nail is black cheetah print with some flowers over top. Three of the nails have white stripes running on top of them to kind of break up the overall pattern of this one. I must say that I ended up picking up a lot of white based designs which makes sense since this is the summer collection but I've found as it wears on, the white really starts to show any wrinkles or imperfections on your nails and the edges are never that clean. I love this pattern because it is still white and chic but the bright pattern helps distract from those tiny bubbles and ridges that are just my nail.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Fresh Finds Friday

Recently I've picked up quite a few mystery boxes and grab bags as well as some small purchases here and there. Instead of doing one giant haul of everything I want to just showcase the things that I really love. I guess I should go ahead and list out the places this stuff came from so I don't waste valuable real estate down where I'm describing the products.

First up is the Popsugar All-Star Mystery Grab Bag where for $20 a box they took apart leftover stock of their curated box and mixed the items up to ship out mystery boxes for half the price. I haven't been subscribed for at least a year now so I went ahead and purchased two and surprisingly still got some repeats. Next I also picked up the New Beauty, Beauty Choice Awards Box that is similar to the Allure Beauty Thrills where it's a $50 box stuffed full of BCA winners. I had compared the two boxes and decided I would like this one better, actually just one SAMPLE sized product is what swayed me, and it also had a lot less hair products than the Beauty Thrills. I also got the Bareminerals Mystery Bag which was stuffed full of Bareminerals products. I also featured some items from my Sephora Play! bag this month which is $10 for a bag of samples from Sephora with a crazy wait list to even subscribe. There's also an item from my Bookish Limited Edition Harry Potter Box which was a one time purchase for $35 of Harry Potter goodies (I went ahead and ordered the Game of Thrones box too!) as well as something from the Serendipity by Little Lace Box which is $12.99 for every other month (I used a coupon and scored a year for $55!) which is a whimsical collection of beauty, lifestyle, jewelry, actually anything they find and want to send. Lastly there is something I actually picked out myself from the Birchbox shop using up some leftover points before I graciously exit that service.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Review: Freeman's Apple Cider Vinegar 4-in-1 Foaming Clay

It's been quite some time since I sat down and did a review for you guys, but then again I'll admit nothing has really been wow-ing me lately and deserving of that review. I've actually had this particular product for a month or two now but I feel comfortably reviewing it as I've been able to thoroughly test it!

The item I have for you today is the Freeman's Apple Cider Vinegar 4-in-1 Foaming Clay! This can be used as a cleanser, scrub, toner, and mask! In their description they bunch cleanser and scrub together as well as toner and mask however at the end of the day I feel like it's all the same. The only difference is as a cleanser/scrub you rinse right away and as a toner/mask you wait until it's dry. Anyways, I digress.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Nails of the Week #90: Coconut Nail Art by Incoco in Endless Summer

Are we sick of these yet? Probably, but I'm not! Things are so hectic for me lately and these are just so convenient. Plus I'm very pleased with the health of my nails lately which I'm pretty sure is due solely to the fact that I'm not slathering nail polish of them every week. I must say that taking these stickers off is kind of a pain. Yes it does come off with nail polish remover but there's also the sticky glue-y stuff that needs to be scrubbed off. It's a process but I'll take that any day seeing as how long and strong my nails are right now.

This week features Coconut Nail Art by Incoco in Endless Summer. It's this really nice swirly line design in white and navy with some nice floral accents. This seems to be about 90% of the nail designs in the line, some sort of abstract design and then they slap on some flowers. To be fair this is from the summer line and I guess this is what they deemed summery. Either way I love it. I find that these designs sans glitter or shimmer apply a lot smoother and the sticker seems a little bit thicker and sturdier so I'm able to put them down flatter and clean up the edges better.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday 5 Faves!

I have a full list of things this time around and a lot to say! Weirdly enough I've fallen off my usual song favorites, I guess nothing new is really hooking me lately. I have some treats that I'm loving as well as a game and something to watch. I had a hard time narrowing it down again this month but I think I chose a few things that evenly touch on different things I'm in to lately. So without further ado, let's just get right into my current favorites.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Review: Birchbox CEW Prestige Box and Mass Appeal 2016

My love hate with Birchbox continues but I've done it every year now that it's almost a tradition, so I'm here with a Birchbox offering. Also quick shout out to Haleigh for signing up with my referral link which gave me 50 extra points! Moving forward I won't be posting that link up anymore since I just don't suggest anyone sign up for this service but still thanks for signing up through me!

Anyways, I got sidetracked again. Today I'm doing a quick unboxing of the CEW award boxes. Each year Birchbox releases two Limited Edition boxes curated from the Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) Beauty Insider Awards, a prestige box and a mass appeal one. Usually there's a bundle offer that saves you about $5 so I typically buy both boxes because they're always great value with some solid items to stock up on. This year I definitely wasn't wowed by either box but I still went for it anyways. The mass appeal box came with a mix of full size and sample items and the prestige box was all samples this year. Let's get right into it.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Nails of the Week #89: Coconut Nail Art by Incoco in Perfect Match

Surprise another week of nail stickers! Now I'm just encouraged to continue because my nails are longer and healthier than ever and I highly suspect it's due to NOT using nail polish. Nail polish chips and when it does it takes off huge flakes of my nails which causes this whole peeling disaster and thin brittle nails. I know that base coat is suppose to help with that but I feel like it still doesn't. So for now I will enjoy my long nails and continue with the stickers because there are just so many beautiful designs to try. Don't worry at one point I'll tire of long nails, I'm already struggling a little typing with these so maybe soon.

This week I have Coconut Nail Art by Incoco in Perfect Match. It's kind of hard to tell on the nails but in the box you can see that it kind of looks inspired by Victoria's Secret. Those three center nails are actually a background of opalescent white and light pink stripes much like the original Vicky's bags. The thumb and the pinkie finger has some silver and polka dots and one four of these nails there are artfully placed flowers. I absolutely love this set and I feel like I might be able to recreate this one day!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Fitness Friday!

I killed it in the middle of the month, it's just the beginning and the end that weren't so great. Actually both the first and last week I came within 5000 steps of my target so I say not too shabby in general for July. The crazy thing is it's that Pokemon Go has been a huge help in this. I found a walking buddy at work to go for walks with during our lunch and that easily adds a few thousand steps to my day. So I guess the goal of getting people active is sure working!

For August I'm going to repeat this challenge, I'd like to get a full month of hitting my goal followed up with a second month so I'm not quite ready to up it just yet. Again this means 45,500 steps per week (roughly 6,500 a day) and we'll see how we do this time!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

July 2016 UNfavorites

It's been awhile since I've done an unfavorites post but there were just a good handful of products I've tried out recently that I just hated that it made sense to do one of these posts. Keep in mind what didn't work for me might work great for you since everyone's skin chemistry and environment is vastly different. I just thought I'd share some of my unfavorites if there is anyone else out there like me. I have oily acne prone skin that is typically triggered by hormones and not products. I wear no face makeup (just mascara and brow pencil) on a daily basis and do a full suite of skincare products morning and night. I also like to use double cleansing at night and my Clarisonic with a mild foaming cleanser in the morning. I guess the last factor in my skin is the fact that I live in California where the weather is constant and mild year round.

Monday, August 1, 2016

July 2016 Favorites

Kind of hand in hand with empties, I didn't really have that many favorites for July. Again just a small handful, and I kind of like how I did it last month with just links to the products instead of pictures so I'm going to try that again this month. I did find quite a few products hat I'm not a fan of, mostly because it's new skincare stuff that's breaking me out horribly. Maybe I should do an unfavorites..hmm will consider it.

Friday, July 29, 2016

What's in my Trash?! #33

I really didn't have that many empties this month. I kind of started a whole bunch of new products this month after purging the last few months so I just really didn't have anything to empty. I still have a small handful to share mostly small random things. Sorry for the super yellow lighting in a few of these I just couldn't adjust the white balance and in the end just decided it still got the point across.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Subscription Box Journey

I’ve done a previous post about all the subscription boxes I have and what happened with them but since then things have changed yet again. Today I wanted to explore the entire journey of subscription boxes for me, how it started, where it went, and where it's going now.

So I can actually pinpoint my subscription box fascination to two videos (which coincidentally also started my YouTube obsession). One is this Elle Fowler video which isn't the exact one. But it was her video that unboxed her Little Black Bag that had that purse in it but I can't find anymore. I was in love with that bag and that's when I really started looking into subscription boxes as a service. This was back in the summer of 2012 and probably when the subscription service model was really just beginning. The next video that specifically pointed me towards beauty boxes is another one I can't locate anymore but it was a Leighannsays Birchbox unboxing that included a tiny Make eyeshadow sample. That along with meeting a real life person who was subscribed to Birchbox finally pushed me over the edge and I signed up for a month to month subscription of Birchbox in March 2013.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Nails of the Week #88: Coconut Nail Art by Incoco in Full Volume

Another week, another set of stickers. I know, I know, but they are so easy and pretty! Nail polish is still packed away for the foreseeable future so we will just need to live with these beauties for a little while longer.

This week I have Coconut Nail Art by Incoco in Full Volume. This is a fun mixed print set with two chevron designs, a sort of pointy ruffian manicure interpretation and then some little diamonds. Yeah, great description of the designs. So I did these on naked nails, last week when I tried with the base coat it was horrible. It wouldn't apply evenly and they actually started chipping and cracking at a week! Let's see how these go. My nails are at an all time long right now, they tips are getting a little brittle and peeling so there are a few nails were it is actually a little uneven but thankfully because of the pattern it's not noticeable at all. I think after this I'll need to trim my nails short again to let them get healthy again.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Unboxing: Birchbox July 2016

This month is a little different. I can't actually get my hands on this box until August but I still wanted to get the unboxing up before that. I'm doing this based off my online box profile. This means, no pictures but I'll provide some links to the products. Honestly my heart isn't in this review at all since I'm so disappointed with what Birchbox has become. I can't wait for my subscription to be up, I already turned off the automatic rebilling for my year subscription and I managed to snag a spot for the Sephora Play! Box, so keep your eyes peeled for a new unboxing post coming soon.

July 2016's theme was My Morning Routine and the sample choice was a mascara. Great...So here are the sad items I got in my box.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sigma + Sephora Haul!

This is just turning into a haul filled month. I guess it's just one of those spendy months. To round out the hauls, or at least the ones I'm willing to share, is this collective haul of Sigma and Sephora items. I thought it was about time I started investing in my makeup brushes and taking better care of them. Coming soon I'm purging my collection throwing out old or cheap ones and just keeping some good favorites. Sigma was having their site wide 30% off sale and I decided it was time to snag a few of those beauties. As for Sephora, a coupon became available for a free travel size of a product I'd been dying to try but I couldn't pick a color so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get that mini for free and pick up the other color in a full size. Kismet I say. Anyways, it's a very small haul but I just wanted to share anyways.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nails of the Week #87: Coconut Nail Art by Incoco in Double Dare

Second consecutive week now of nail stickers. I know. But I just got a few different patterns plus all my nail polish is still packed away somewhere. This design is quite classic and nice and since my nails are being troopers and have grown fairly long, it looks really nice on my nails! I had a tougher time applying this time, I tried it with a base coat underneath because somebody said they were even more hardier that way. Didn't work out for me, so the next time I won't be doing it. I found it was a lot harder to get a smoother application so my nails have a bunch of bubbles and wrinkles this time. Trying to look past it, and at a glance it's fine.

This week I did the Coconut Nail Art by Incoco in Double Dare. It's this white base with cool black art deco patterns. If there were some gold in it I would say it's very Gatsby. I love it and it looks great on my longer nails despite the hiccups when it came to applying it.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday 5 Faves

After our weird break last month where I talked about some things that were irking me, we're back to our regularly programmed favorites of the month. It was hard narrowing it down because I've definitely had a few strong favorites but I think I figured it out. As usual I threw in a song, some new addictions and weirdly enough a beauty product!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Unboxing: Walmart Trendsetter Beauty Box Summer 2016

Walmart Beauty Boxes, I'm still pretty undecided about them but for the price and being just seasonal, why not. You can look at this in two ways: it's a $5 box or a free box with $5 for shipping. Either way it's $20 a year for some samples and full sized items that are typically very practical. They have two different boxes, the Trendsetter and the Classic box, I get the Trendsetter which is for women 35 years and younger. Honestly it's boxes can really vary and it seems like the later you get a box, the higher than chance is you get the leftovers. Mine actually came a month ago but I've been quite busy with a few things and I'm only just now getting around to posting this unboxing. Let's take a look at what I got.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Nails of the Week #86: Coconut Nail Art by Incoco in Desert Rose

So this is that weird post that will come before the unboxing on Wednesday where I actually get these strips, and then strangely enough I'll be talking about these again on my Friday post. It's one of those weeks...Anyways, I have quite a collection of nail stickers and fake nails that I've just amassed from subscription boxes that just go into a box where I forget about them. This time around, a pattern arrived that I would actually enjoy wearing and it was festively appropriate (writing about the past here since I actually used these for 4th of July weekend, yes I'm a tad bit behind).

These are the Coconut Nail Art by Incoco in the design Desert Rose. These are a fun geometrical tribal print in blue and red on a white background so I thought color wise it was very festively appropriate. I guess a little about these nail strips, they are strips of actual nail polish meaning they are thin and delicate without that much give. Luckily all the strips provided fit my nails perfectly (except one pinky but that was my fault, I chose the wrong size which I fixed on my other hand). Basically you stick them on and you're able to gently stretch them (but not that much) and then you file off the excess. I put a top coat over it since I was skeptical about how long they would last but you probably don't need to do them. It did take me some time to do it, probably 30-45 minutes for the full manicure but I can imagine this is something that gets quicker with practice, I was having some issues peeling the strips off the backing and actually ruined a strip in the process. Overall though I love how it's mess free and I can get some intricate patterns that would normally take me much longer to do. I'm already planning on seeking out some more patterns!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Ulta Skincare Haul!

And now we have the second haul promised for this week! This time it was an email advertising the fabulous Platinum perk of a 22 piece beauty kit that did it for me. That along with cobbling together my Birchbox Wishlist post that inspired me to go hunting for some products that ended up in my shopping cart and here we are with haul number two of three. This Ulta purchase consisted of head to toe skincare/beauty care items, not a stick of makeup in sight. I discovered some interesting new products that I can't wait to test out and hopefully a review or two will come of this.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

elf Haul!

It's a "haul"-iday week indeed for me. This is the first of a series of hauls that will be featured on this blog this month, apparently I was just in the buying mood. What happened with this particular haul was that I was actually looking at my blog analytics and for some reason "elf pink diamonds" was a keyboard used to find my blog. How that happened? I have no clue. Naturally that lead me to google the phrase myself and I stumbled across some (kinda new) baked mineral highlighters. Way back when I picked up a number of baked mineral eyeshadows from elf which I loved so after looking at swatches for these highlighters I decided I needed them. That caused me to shop around on the site and pick up a few more things so here we are with a haul.

I must say there are two items I tried to purchase which I was able to checkout with (and they are STILL listed as in stock on the site) but once the order actually shipped they refunded me the amount of the items. Curious. It's a shame because one of them was the elf Hydrating Bubble Mask which sounded really interesting and the other was the elf Blemish Control Primer which I'm a little more apathetic about. Anyways, let's check out the items that actually made it into my hands as well as the "surprise gift" which was free with a $25+ purchase. Surprise gift ended up being a random assortment of products mixed in which was kind of annoying since they were all listed on my invoice mixed in with my order so it was a little hard remembering what I actually ordered and what was a gift.

Monday, July 4, 2016

June 2016 Favorites

Image Source
Everything is a HUGE mess right now in my life, as in I'm living construction zones and I'm really not sure where anything is. That means I'm not able to photograph my favorites this time around but I'll add links to each item! Don't worry all the links are non affiliated, I'm not cool enough to have partnerships like that, yet. I actually have quite a few makeup favorites which is probably the reason why I've been breaking out but it's a good thing I've also discovered some good skincare to balance it all out!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Fitness Friday!

So fitness in June didn't go so well. A combination of being lazy and unfortunate incidents with my Fitbit(s). In general I wasn't feeling to great throughout the whole month, I was (and a still a little) having some horrible congestion, breathing, and allergy related issues with an extremely erratic sleep schedule plus the hot temperatures, it hasn't been good. So that goal of 45500 weekly steps? Didn't go so well. I just had a lot of days where I wasn't able to track steps very accurately so these numbers from last month are a rough tally of whatever I was able to track with a Fitbit and whatever I was able to track with my phone. I actually went through a few Fitbits this month. My original Flex just died on me, wouldn't hold a charge no matter what, so then I got an Alta. Then I had issues with that one and was stuck a few days without a charger too so that was a few days where I didn't have a Fitbit. Finally I got my second Alta and so far so good (knocks on wood). I managed to get a little bit more on track near the end of the month so I guess finishing strong is what matters. That 30 day sit up challenge too? That was rough.

So for July we're going to just go ahead and act like June didn't happen and repeat the same things. 45500 steps per week plus sticking to the 30 day sit up challenge app. So let's take a look at what happened in June. I used a * to denote days I had to pull data off my phone's app. It's not very accurate because it doesn't count steps very well and there's a lot of times during the day where I walk around without my phone on me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What's in my Trash?! #32

Going through some construction lately meaning I've been having to do a lot of cleaning, organizing, and basically soul searching. That's when I realized just how many foil packets I've been "saving for a vacation" and that's when it hit me. Vacations are (sadly) far and few in between and anyways the thought of spending time away from home drives me to bring the tried and true products otherwise my skin will really rebel. Therefore I made a conscious effort to go through a good amount of foil packets this month giving me a plethora of trash to share. I also finished up some favorites of mine that I'll have to remember to go out and repurchase.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Nails of the Week #85: Maui Mermaid

I've casually mentioned this a few times but currently I'm in the midst of a construction zone so the majority of my things are packed away in various places, nail polish and tools being one of them. While I had the idea to attempt ombre again, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Enter in this gorgeous polish I received from a mystery box and the surprising revelation that such a bright color was easy to work with.

Those lovely mermaidesque color is an indie brand Hula Polish in the color Maui Mermaid. It's gorgeous and bright and perfect for summer. I'm wearing three coats on my nails, I probably could have gotten away from two but I found some of the polish dried unevenly so I had to go in with that third coat to smooth it out. For a bright color, it's surprisingly not runny or thin but still very easy to work with. I also love the scallop design on the bottle. I'm tempted to buy the rest of the colors that they offer however since I'm trying to downsize my collection right now, that's kind of counter intuitive. I highly recommend checking them out though, the formulation was beautiful!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday 5 UN-Faves


Normally I would talk about how much I'm obsessed with baked sweet potatoes and agave nectar, or the new song that I'm totally digging but this month I wanted to try something different and do just the opposite! I want to talk about the five things that I'm not crazy about lately. Different right? Sometimes I like to shake things up, but don't worry next month I'll come back with my faves again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday Wants: Birchbox Edition

Image Source
With the end of the amazing Birchbox point program and also the cancellation of my subscription (I still have 7 months left in my pre-paid year, but as of last week I cancelled the auto rebilling so I'll no longer be subscribed), it's high time I used up my remaining point balance. After next months last round of sample reviews I'll have about $32 to use it. This week I bring you a Wednesday Wants: Birchbox Edition to give myself a list to work off of. Some of these things I'll definitely be hunting for a better bargain so stay tuned for a Birchbox haul sometime next month when I make my final decisions.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Nails of the Week #84: Marble Manicure Attempt

The one manicure I always look at pictures for and wish I could do is the water marbling. You know the one where you drop nail polish into a cup of water and swirl it slightly to make a marble effect and then somehow you magically transfer it onto your nails? Yeah every since I did ombre that one time and it was a headache of a mess to clean up I haven't been brave enough to try something like that. Random internet browsing brought me to a page that claims you can achieve the same marble effect with the help of a cut up sandwich baggy so naturally I just had to try it.

The idea is to drop colors onto a white base on your nail then take a small square of plastic and gently tap the wet polish to get it to mix and marble. Sounds easy right? Well what I discovered is that it doesn't really marble and half the time when you go to pull off the plastic it takes all the color with it. I had success with a nail or two but the other ones just kind of look like watercolor splotches. I mean it still looks nice and I am getting better at clean up so here's my marble attempt! For the base I used OPI in Alpine Snow and the colors are Essie in Sunday Funday, Essie in Resort Fling, Essie in First Timer, Essie in Bikini So Teeny, and Color Club in Pardon My French.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Unboxing: Birchbox June 2016

I guess let's just talk about how beautiful this box is? But really, if you've been following my unboxing posts for awhile now you've distinctly seen my opinion of Birchbox go sharply downhill. It's unfortunate since it was my first subscription box and I was overly excited about it for a long time even though that first box I got was kind of awful. I just feel like that they're always sending the same brands now and things that are so similar that I swear I got them a previous month but in the end it turns out it's a difference of volumizing and curl defending (excuse me I put down I have pin straight hair) shampoo samples in identical foil packages. It's turned into less of an excitement because at first glance it's just the same old things. Anyone else feeling this Birchbox rut? And now they're also changing the point system where you can only get 50 points per year. I've officially unsubscribed from this box but I hate that I had a year subscription so now I'll still be getting mediocre boxes until February.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Birchbox it is one of those monthly beauty sample boxes where they send you a box of 5-6 (sometimes even 7 with bonus extras) samples and deluxe samples. Occasionally there will be full size products too! The brands they send are all fairly high-end and they have a point system and customer service staff that just can't be beat. For $10 a month you are able to select a sample from a select group of choices and have more surprises delivered to you based on your beauty profile! Have I convinced you to sign up yet? If so I would love it if you would do it through my referral link here! Feel free to also go to www.birchbox.com if you want to look around without any strings attached to me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Review: Nivea In Shower Body Lotion vs. Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer

I know it's been quite awhile since both of these products came out but seeing these two bottles next to each other in my shower has inspired this comparison review. In an effort to make this a more thorough review I went on the hunt for ingredient lists, fragrance variations and more to really get a 360 look at these two products. Both of these products I've used two different scents so I can give some insights on those particular scents and my preferences. First let's talk about these products separately and then bring it altogether at the end. I guess I should mention this is a review comparing two in shower lotions that claim to save time by moisturizing while you're in the shower.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Nails of the Week #83: Melon Kiss

The name of this manicure seems odd but what it comes from is a color scheme that I tried to feature but apparently my orange isn't orange enough to make that obvious. Overall I'll admit that this didn't turn out as I envisioned it but I got something on my finger nails so that counts for something. I think the problem is I didn't use thin enough tape so I did go in and clean up some edges so when you look at the nails with thinner lines it does look better. I think the other problem was I picked colors that were too dark, if they were a little more neon this would have worked better too. This did put me onto a new technique though that I'll need to try out for my next manicure look!

This look took me a long time to do. It involved carefully layering on four colors in a line and waiting until they were just almost dry to sort of "blend" them together with a top coat. And then of course it involved taping over the colors to then paint the black over it. This resulted in some pretty unclean edges and accidental drops of black in the colors that I couldn't always clean up. I think if anything it's the ragged edges that isn't doing it for me. Anyways, the colors I used were all Essie in the shades Bachelorette Bash, Sunday Funday, First Timer, Hide & Go Chic, and Licorice.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Things That Didn't Clear My Acne

In this next installment about my acne adventure I want to talk about things that didn't work out for me. Again, like I said before, just because these things didn't work with my skin doesn't mean it won't work with yours. Everyone has a different skin chemistry and stuff that works great for me could horribly break someone else out. I don't have very sensitive skin so it could be some of these products just weren't powerful enough for me but would work out great for you. I've had a long battle with acne going as far as an aggressive treatment of antibiotics and prescription strength topical creams. This isn't a comprehensive list of everything, but just things I had tried recently or I can remember.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How I Cleared My Acne

Image Source
Of course I need to start with saying what worked for me isn't going to necessarily work for you. None of these products are magical but by sticking to a strict daily regime I've seen a dramatic improvement with the consistent use of these products. I guess we'll start with the back story of how I was horribly plagued with acne as a teenager and it just carried through college. Now as an adult, I'm less prone to large clusters of them but I would get small clusters of tiny bumps or single, huge, red monsters. It's annoying, especially comparing my skin to others so I've been in a long battle to find the fix for my acne. I've tried a ton of different things and finally I can confidently say I've found what works for me. How did I know that my acne has cleared? Besides the overall glow of my skin now, the key indicator was that I've had an extremely clogged pore on my right cheek that has just vanished. It was just a tiny bump that clearly wasn't a pimple but nonetheless a blemish that would not clear up which I've had for close to 5 years now and after maybe a month or so it had finally smoothed out and is on the mend.

Now don't get me wrong, I still get the occasional blemish, primarily hormonal ones which you can't escape, but overall my skin is smooth and clear for the majority of the time. Even when I do get these bumps they are small and usually run their course within a day or two. Also I get pimples far less commonly on my forehead or cheeks now.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Nails of the Week #82: ??

I'm having some serious nail issues lately. I think the problem was I let my nails grow too long so they started getting bent which led to some painful peeling and broken nails. And then I did a horrible job trimming them, it's just all a wreck. In lieu of a fancy design this week, I'm using my brand new polish that I fell in love with a few weeks ago and finally managed to track down for a very simple manicure.

This week I'm using Essie in Lady Like. This perfect nude for my skin tone for a nice and simple look. I love this polish because it has some slight purple pink undertones instead of being a blue undertoned nude. An easy two coater, I didn't do anything fancy at all.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fitness Friday!

Completely killed it in May. Except for one tragic day where my Fitbit died at the beginning of the day and I couldn't charge it until the end of the day, I completely demolished my step goal each day. While we're on that topic, does that ever happen to people? This is probably the third time I was convinced my Fitbit just completely died on me. It had been fully charged the night before and for some reason in the morning the battery was just completely drained. No warning email or anything to let me know! You can imagine I spent a day freaking out between the thought of having to buy a new Fitbit, what it would mean for my step challenge, and whether or not the account was transferable to a new device since I wasn't going to go and hunt down all my friends again. Alas it worked out and here we are, one unnecessarily long story later.

Anyways, so I think for June I can finally step it up (hah) and strive for 45,500 steps per week or roughly 6,500 steps a day. After two successful months of my previous goal I'm confident I can meet this new goal, or at least come close. I mean it did take quite a few months to get there but I'm not sneezing at my accomplishments. On top of that I've also downloaded a 30 Day Sit Up Challenge app on my phone, so this is the first month I will attempt to follow that. It's like those images that float around on Pinterest but it's portable in your phone as an app. I'm not confident I can do this perfectly the first time, but I thought it would be fun to throw something new in. Anyways, let's take a look at the number break down of steps from May. The Monday through Sunday week worked out kind of awkwardly this month causing the first "week" to be 8 days and the last to be 9, but that's fine!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May 2016 Favorites

So I have a small handful of products this month. I don't know what happened, I was just very on the go all month and ended up not straying from my regular routine. In fact I know I didn't keep up with my usual skincare or anything because the right side of my face decided to freak out and break out like crazy. Anyways, I did try a few new makeup products which is exciting and have some new (and old) favorites there. Let's just dive right into this.

Monday, May 30, 2016

What's in my Trash?! #31

Traaaaaaaaaaash time! Some pictures that ended up upside down and proof that I did participate in my 30 day mask challenge. I didn't think I had that many empties this month until the items really started piling up in the throw away box as I was taking pictures of everything. It always makes me happy when there's a lot of things, one day the rate in which I accumulate items will match the rate in which I finish them up.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Current 5 Nail Favorites and 30 Day Mask Challenge Recap!

Image Source
Welcome to this slightly random post today. It's nearing the end of the month and I just realized I never put in an update on my mask challenge, but at the same time I really wanted to rave about some nail polishes. Naturally it made sense to just mash the two posts together for just one big post of random! As you can probably tell from my Nail of the Weeks lately, I've been very into the polish game. There are five polishes in particular that I find myself gravitating towards a lot so I think it was worth shouting them out individually.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Unboxing: Birchbox May 2016

This was almost like the box from hell for me. For once since I discovered that you can peek into your box I decided to let myself be surprised in hopes of rekindling the excitement and love for Birchbox but I was let down in a HUGE way. There's pretty much one product in here that I like but it's also completely unusable. Let's get on with the disappointment. 

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Birchbox it is one of those monthly beauty sample boxes where they send you a box of 5-6 (sometimes even 7 with bonus extras) samples and deluxe samples. Occasionally there will be full size products too! The brands they send are all fairly high-end and they have a point system and customer service staff that just can't be beat. For $10 a month you are able to select a sample from a select group of choices and have more surprises delivered to you based on your beauty profile! Have I convinced you to sign up yet? If so I would love it if you would do it through my referral link here! Feel free to also go to www.birchbox.com if you want to look around without any strings attached to me.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Nails of the Week #81: Mellow Yellow

I don't know how I feel about this color at all, when I bought it I thought it was one of those textured polishes and it definitely isn't. It ended up being a shimmery polish however the color looks horribly sickly against my skin so sadly I don't think I'll really be going for this guy. It would definitely look better on paler skin so I think I might try again in winter, or perhaps on my toes. In general it wasn't a great polish to work with either, it was streaky and clumped together so I actually had to go with shimmer top coat to kind of smooth everything out. The topper didn't really take away from the natural color at all, it kind of just enhanced the shimmer.

So this marigold color is Sephora Formula X in Turbo and it's just a shimmery yellow color. As I mentioned above it wasn't the best formula to work with, but for a yellow it actually went on fairly opaque. On top I used Essie in Shine of the Times to kind of smooth everything out and fill in some of the bald patches with some distracting shimmer. I'm just not in love with this, I feel like it looks kind of juvenile and tacky. Does anyone have tips on how to wear this better? Perhaps as an accent nail instead of a full hand manicure?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Things I've Bought Recently

Image Source
Now I remember why I don't read blogs, simply because it drives me to buy random things! This is especially bad when it comes to subscription boxes, I'll just be perusing my blog feed and something will catch my eye and suddenly I'm $500 poorer drowning in a sea of boxes. Okay that's a bit of an exaggeration but you get the point. Reflecting back on some of my purchases, it's a little ridiculous, so naturally I decided this would be a great blog post and possibly entice someone else to buy into these silly little things I've picked up recently.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Throwback: 4MM May 2015

Earlier this month when I was putting together my 4 Minute Month for April I stumbled across some unseen footage...my very first 4MM that I never published! Last May I started this project and missed the last two days of the month and apparently decided this wasn't worthy to be published. I thought it would be fun to still edit it together and this time around I just took out the dates so really if you weren't reading about it here you wouldn't know that it wasn't a full month. And as a shameless self promotion you can also check out my 4MM from August 2015February 2016, and April 2016!

As you can see, nothing really is different but there was the addition of a weekend trip to Reno which was pretty neat with some beautiful scenery and wild horses in the backyard. I think the biggest difference was back when we were a one dog home, my (not so little) puppy didn't come along until a week after this video ended. That's something I really wish I did, a few seconds of everyday with a puppy, I think the next set where we have the crazy idea of having two Great Dane puppies at once, I will have to do that just so you can watch these pups grow.

Anyways, without further ado, here is my throwback video of what I did in May 2015!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Nails of the Week #80: Pixar Up Inspired

Continuing on with bright and fun nails, it's been a challenge to work with this lighter colors but I'm really perfecting the skill of thin and even coats so that's a win. I'm also impressed with how many weeks I've managed to keep up the fun designs instead of just being boring with solid colors. This week features nails inspired by one of my favorite movies, Up! You know, that movie about the flying house with the balloons? If I was very skilled I would have drawn in the house too but I'm not quite to that level. The cloud nails actually remind me of Toy Story too, so I say these are just very Pixar nails.

I used SO many colors for this manicure because of the balloons and frankly it's hard to distinguish, let's start with the base coat. For the background of the balloons I used my new OPI in Alpine Snow for that white background. I felt that an accent nail with the balloons would stand out better with white and the balloon colors would be brighter versus sticking them onto a blue background too. For the blue nails I actually used a matte color Essie in Sea the Sights simply because these matte colors are easier to work with since they are a more opaque color that aren't as runny so it is much easier to achieve the look with fewer coats. The clouds were drawn on with my trusty Color Club Duo Pen in White. As for the balloons, I'm going to just list out the colors here: Essie in A List, Essie in Sunday Funday, Butter London in Cheeky Chops, Essie in The More the Merrier, Essie in Butler Please, and Essie in The Girls Are Out. The strings were drawn using the Color Club Duo Pen in Silver Glitter.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday 5 Faves

Favorites favorites favorites! No not product favorites, just the usual monthly Friday 5 Faves. I have some strange ones this months, but of course I'll always lead off with my song favorite, so there's a constant. I guess it's worth mentioning that an unofficial favorite of mine has been nail art. I've been really into it and I think I'm getting a lot better at it! I realized any type of dot based designs I have a lot of control over and I'm really good so flowers, clouds, dots...all over it. Anyways, I digress.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Review: Valentia Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask

This partnership if you can call it that with Brandbacker is pretty great. It gives me the opportunity to work some different brands and try some stuff that I might not have normally gotten my hands on to. Lately I've been working a lot of Valentia Skin Care and I've had the chance to try out and review a range of their products. When I was contacted about their newest product the Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask, I just knew I had to get my hands on it because it would be perfect for my congested skin. First let's take a look at the company itself as well as a little information about the product.

About the Company
The Roman Goddess of healing, Valentia, relied on nature’s gifts to heal the citizens of Umbria. Whether matriarchs seeking to maintain their youthful look or farmers seeking help for sun damaged skin, Valentia used berries, herbs, barks and other natural ingredients. We also rely on all natural ingredients due to their protective, preventative and corrective powers.

Just like our namesake, Valentia Skin Care products have been formulated with natural and organic cosmetic ingredients that will repair and protect the skin.

After performing extensive research into what skin care customers find most important, we found an overwhelming demand for skin care that is natural, free of toxins and paraben-free. Natural ingredients with an organic base have proven most effective at repairing skin damaged by sun or wind, preventing signs of aging such as wrinkles, dark spots, and reversing the effects of oxidative stress on the skin.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Nails of the Week #79: Awesome Blossoms

I'm running out of flower puns, but at the same time I really can't stop with the flower manicures because it's finally something I mastered. I think it's also safe to say something finally clicked and I pretty much mastered my base coat application, or at least the last few ones have been on point. I'm very proud. Random though, my hands are extremely dry lately despite my constant application of hand cream and it's especially painful after a manicure session even though I usually wait a day between taking off the old polish and applying the new stuff. Hmm.

This time around I used the always lovely Essie in Bikini So Teeny for the periwinkle base and my trusty Color Club Duo Pen in White to draw on the little flowers. Originally I wanted to add some gold glitter to the centers but then I realized I did some flowers real tiny and didn't want to go digging for some dotting tools so I pulled out my Color Club Duo Pen in Black to dot the centers and I actually love how it turned out. Very clean and fun plus easy to do! It takes longer waiting for all the thin coats of base color to dry than to actually draw on the flowers and since it's just little dots that don't exactly need to be precise even my shaking left hand can handle doing it without any help.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Fitness Friday!

April was a pretty good month, I only fell off the train towards the end of it but I put a pretty strong showing for most of it. I'm extremely proud of what I was able to accomplish, and the the vacation plus weekend adventures really helped to contribute to that.

So for this month I'm putting in the same goal that I've had for a few months now which is 42000 steps in a week or roughly 6000 steps in a day. I don't want to graduate to a higher goal until I can meet this goal again. April did give me some hope though, I was prepared to pull back to the lower goal of 5000 steps/35000 weekly because it was starting to get depressing. I had a lot of incentive to walk this past month so I want to see how I can do with a more regular month after a high achieving one. Anyways, let's take a look at April.

April 1st: 3412
April 2nd: 11630
April 3rd: 6004
Week Total: 21046/18000

April 4th: 7317
April 5th: 6184
April 6th: 6681
April 7th: 7440
April 8th: 4602
April 9th: 8026
April 10th: 10346
Week Total: 50596/42000

April 11th: 21071
April 12th: 20043
April 13th: 22336
April 14th: 11157
April 15th: 20548
April 16th: 5255
April 17th: 3832
Week Total: 104242/42000

April 18th: 10272
April 19th: 7187
April 20th: 11204
April 21st: 11324
April 22nd: 10356
April 23rd: 6050
April 24th: 7848
Week Total: 64241/42000

April 25th: 3366
April 26th: 3092
April 27th: 3092
April 28th: 10095
April 29th: 10573
April 30th: 6236
Week Total: 36454/36000

Water life is going great. Controlling my portions and knowing what is going into my lunches has help astronomically with the bloating. Overall I'm feeling less fluffy, even if visually you can't tell, I can tell just by the way my clothes are sitting and how I just feel that I have slimmed down a bit which is great!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

30 Day Face Mask Challenge

I know May has 31 days but I didn't start this until the 2nd making this actually a 30 day challenge! If you've been following my blog, you know that picking up face masks is a huge weakness of mine. I have a stash of over 200 sheet masks and somewhere between 30-40 bottles and tubs of assorted face masks. I always tell myself to just work through what I have but I find myself finishing out and buying another 3 masks without fail. As an attempt to make a dent in my monstrous stash I want to do a 30 day challenge of using a face mask everyday for 30 days straight. Now my skin is either going to be flawless and glowing by the end of the month, or horribly disfigured. Wish me luck. I've come up with a rough schedule for the month alternating the different types of mask I have to give my skin a break as well as what fits conveniently in my schedule. If you wanted to follow along with me I'm off by one day so even though today is the 4th, I'm on Day 3 meaning I would be doing a sheet mask tonight. I know it's confusing. Anyways, I'll give an update closer to the end of the month, I probably won't have an entire dedicated post but I'll put it in somewhere.