Ulta Haul – The Essentials & Freebies

Bonjour babies!

I recently placed an order with Ulta and thought I would share this haul with my loyal readers, despite being filled with mostly boring essentials. Yess let’s go!

What I love most about ordering Ulta online, rather than shopping in-store is the amount of freebies! I have received their emails for years and unlike so many other emails that clutter up my inbox, the Ulta ones are actually worth a damn. Always a coupon, always a gift with purchase and always samples. If you do not currently get the emails from Ulta, do it.

Here’s what I got for $50 exactly: (apologies for the sh*t pics)

Makeup Revolution Renaissance Flick Liquid Eyeliner

I purchased this one based off a recommendation from the lovely Emily Noel. And MAN am I glad I did – this product is AMAZING.

Here is one tiny swipe, not even pressing down hard:

Black AF.

Covergirl Supersizer Mascara

This is my favorite mascara. YES it is tough to remove (just be patient!) but it literally keeps a curl, is separating AND lengthening AND voluminous. It is a freakin’ workhorse.

IT Cosmetics Celebration Illumination Powder Foundation

I decided to just bite the bullet and repurchase this absolutely stunning face powder. I also really like the Benefit Hello Flawless powder (seen here) for under my eyes, but this one just takes the cake in terms of face powder. I purchased the “light” shade if you are curious.

Ulta Cotton Rounds

Told you this was haul was going to be thrilling.

So Totally Clean Micellar Cleansing Water

I needed a new micellar water and since Bioderma is still not sold in the US anywhere, I went with this one.

And now for the freebies!

I received all of these items FREE for spending $50.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Covergirl Cheekers Blush in Iced Cappuccino

This blush is a TOTAL throwback. My girl Lacey and I used to pile this on in high school and I have to say – it is still such a good color! I am in love once again.

Winky Lux Highlighter in Charm

This bite-sized highlighter is almost too cute to use. The packaging? I MEAN. Be still my heart. The highlight itself is an iridescent pinky color, very creamy and very pigmented!

Maybelline Vivid Hot Lacquer in Charmer

I like the consistency and color payoff of this gloss but the color is horrible on me. I’ll be passing along!

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Illumination 

The sample size of this product is LEGIT. I have used it a handful of times so far and it really isn’t my fave. It is nowhere as good as the Celebration powders.

Annnd last but certainly not least….

Coach Floral Eau De Parfum

This was not a freebie. Haha I wish. David picked this up for me the other weekend while we were on a date and casually handed it to me at the movies. It smells amazing (you can tell I have already used it ALOT) and the bottle? COME ON. I die.

 

Baby Registries – A Rant

Hi pigeons!

So…baby registries. Registries in general. A list of sh*t you want people to buy for you. Unlike a wedding registry, a baby registry is not really about YOU so much as the human you are growing. But like, YOU are growing the baby and you own it so it IS kinda about you. And the baby does not get a say. Wouldn’t it be great if the doctors could tell you the baby’s preferred color palette and sleeping arrangement at the ultra sound? Is the baby more of a winter or summer? Would it prefer co-sleeping, a bassinet or something that rocks? I guess what I mean is, registering for your baby is a little cart-before-the-horse if you ask me.

When I asked my best friends with kids what ONE item they loved with ALL of their kids, the results were scarce. My friend Carey was like, “all my kids were so different! at first all they really need is you, diapers and a blanket”.

That sounds easy.

But then hundreds of baby websites and apps and Pinterest start popping up and make you feel like you NEED a bottle warmer. Or a freakin’ WIPE warmer.  They focus on taking all of your money! I feel I cannot rely on those resources. I decided I would approach this subject as I do with most things in life, in a practical manner.

I am 34. My husband already has a kid. It is not amateur hour over here. We have a smaller home and ideally I would prefer it not be hemorrhaging baby crap. So what does that mean?

  1. Stick to the necessities.
  2. Try to get things that are multi-purpose.
  3. If our home has to contain ugly baby stuff, lets make it the cutest ugly baby stuff we can find.

Additionally, KNOW THYSELF. I know my kid will have an abundance of clothes, books and toys. Why? Because – my mom. Because – Goodwill. And because – baby girl stuff is very hard to resist  due to rampant cuteness. THEREFORE, I will not be registering or buying items like toys, HOARDS of clothing, books or random contraptions. And speaking of contraptions…

The amount of apparatuses (not apparati, I looked it up) to hold, swing, rock, vibrate, swaddle or otherwise contain a baby is astounding. You’ve got your rock’n’plays, your pack’n’plays, your dock-a-tots, your bouncers, your walkers, your freakin’ mamaroos. It’s  a little ridiculous. Is all this sh*t really necessary? I mean, our little house is already going to be taken over by baby stuff – why add more unsightly, primary-colored gadgets with smiling lions and elephants into the mix?

And I know they are starting to make nicer looking ugly baby stuff, more sleek and modern.  Believe me, I know…

hhhhelllo lover…

nice to meet you 😉

But you know how much these items cost? $1,200 and $200 respectively.

To put it into perspective, here are examples of items within my budget:

Do you see the distinction?

Can you say, Restoration Hardware taste on a Craigslist free section budget?

And it’s all a gamble! The baby could hate being in a swing or being rocked. A white noise machine could make the crying worse. The baby may hate being strapped to my chest in a Baby Bjorn.

My point is, there is so, SO much . It seems to me that a baby registry should happen like 3 months after the thing is born. But how practical is that Natalie?!

C’est la vie.

In creating our baby registry, of course David’s expertise came in mighty handy. We talked through what kind of sleeping, feeding and diapering situations to shoot for, knowing perfectly well that all of it could go flying out the window based on the level of asshole our baby decides to be. Here is a random sampling of some items from our registries (Target and Amazon).

A Pack’n’Play

Our hope: She will sleep on top in the bassinet for awhile. Then we can move her halfway down when she starts rolling over and moving more. Then we can move her to the bottom when she gets bigger. She will get used to sleeping/existing in it and we can take it with us everywhere.

Stokke High Chair

This expensive MF-er looks nice and apparently you can have it forever. It grows with the kid.

Nose Frida

This thing completely grosses me out but David swears it works amazing.

Diapers

We have decided to do disposables because when it comes right down to it, I don’t feel like carefully dealing with baby excrement. We registered for Pampers too, but the designs on these Honest Diapers are completely to die.

Clothes

I KNOW I will have cartloads of clothes but I could not resist adding  a few things. You’ll understand why…

And yes, I threw in the white onesies too.

Random Crap

One thing I have absolute power over is the decor of our extra room she will (fingers crossed) eventually sleep in. I’m going full-bore ballerinas, swans, shabby-chic blush pink AND I AM NOT LOOKING BACK.

And of course we need Little Mermaid bath toys. This girl will be singing Les Poissons with a perfect french accent by age 2 SO HELP ME GOD.

Loungewear 

Full disclosure: I registered for some new nursing/post-maternity pajamas and lounge clothes for myself because DON’T I GET SOMETHING?! I almost added some Sunday Riley Good Genes serum but thought that might be pushin’ it.

In all seriousness though, having some cute new lounge clothes to wear home from the hospital is going to make the fact that I am wearing an 8-inch thick diaper a little easier to swallow.

And if you’re interested in all the items we registered for, check them out here:

Target

Amazon

*I did register for a bottle-warmer. Haha.

Nostalgic Beauty Haul

Lately I’ve been feeling quite nostalgic.

Maybe it’s because I am growing a female human and am therefore having elaborate fantasies about the person she will one day become. Will she prefer Berenstain Bears or Amelia Bedelia? Will she be a lipstick or lipstain girl? Blue-razz or cherry icees? Tube tops or Carhartt bibs?

And it’s also got me thinking about the kind of girl I was. As an example, I was the girl who kept a steady supply of Malibu Musk, Exclamation and Love’s Baby Soft body sprays in her gym locker. I was the girl who begged my mom for a green Covergirl compact, for Lip Smackers peach shampoo and sparkly shirts from Abercrombie to pair with my low-rise L.E.I jeans. I wanted clear skin, perfectly curled lashes and a cloud of Charlie White to follow me wherever I went.

And lately, I have picked up and been sent a few things that have swept me back. Transported me to a time when my biggest worry was the possibility of my Loveable Beginnings training bra showing through my ONLY white Roxy tee shirt. When my college-ruled, 5 Star binders and pee chees organized my life, a good day was getting picked up first after basketball practice and sipping a Wild Cherry Clearly Canadian was the perfect accompaniment to any meal.

Here’s the highlights:

Honestly Margo Roll-On Lipgloss in Alexis Watermelon

OK GUYS. How cah-ute is this packaging?

For real though.

I love the 70’s vibe and the fact that this brand is women-run. All of their products are super unique (hello unicorn fizzy bath dust!)and contain wholesome, natural ingredients. I love that they came out with roll-on lipglosses because the last time I owned one of these was in 7th grade.

As a matter of fact, my pencil pouch from 6th-12th grade was STOCKED with Bonne Bell. I pretty much kept them in business. And I used to put on SO much of this specific gloss, it would literally drip off my lips:

Needless to say, as SOON as I applied the Roller Girls Roll-On Lipgloss it brought me right back!

Check out that shininess!

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser

Due to the current state I am in (pregnant), my face has decided to rebel against me and break out. Annnnd again, I am right back in 9th grade! Shopping for acne products and realizing they still make Oxy Pads has been quite fun, actually. I decided to switch my face wash to this work horse of a face wash and so far I am happy to report that my skin has been A LOT better!

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel

In addition to the Cetaphil face cleanser joining the battalion, I have also enlisted the help of a salicylic acid spot treatment. Prior to being pregnant (or B.P.), my skin had always reacted best with benzoyl peroxide but now I am alll about that salicylic baby. I basically dab dab dab a good amount of this all over my forehead (my most problematic area) and am usally substantially more clear in the morning. And if putting on a spot treatment every night doesn’t remind you of 9th grade, I don’t know what will.

Abercrombie & Fitch 8 Fragrance

I know everyone is shaking their heads at me for this one, but frankly I could care less. This was MY signature fragrance freshman year of college and sometimes you just need to go with what works. I caught a whiff of this stuff last time I was actually in an Abercrombie store and knew I had to have her again. If you have never smelled this before I would encourage you to do so. It is a very unique, feminine scent.

I also picked up a couple of samples at Abercrombie of their other women’s fragrances and so far I really like the Wakley scent.

Essence Get Big Lashes Volume Boost Mascara

I bought this one based off a recommendation from Casey Holmes but I should have stuck to the Lash Princess because this mascara is TERRIBLE. The amount of product that actually gets onto the lashes is dismal. It is a decent second mascara at best but I will never buy this one again.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish

I nabbed two of these polishes for less than $3 each at Freddies which is a STEAL considering that they are $10 a pop at regular price. You do need to have the gel topcoat for these polishes and often times the stores will carry a duo-pack containing the top coat and a color for a special price. I find that while the formula takes FOREVER to dry, the polish actually lasts on my nails for up to 10 days and can withstand dish-washing, warm laundry folding and bathtub scrubbing. HIGHLY recommend these polishes.

 

Treets Traditions Nourishing Spirits Hand Lotion + Revitalizing Hair & Body Wash

I was sent these two products complimentary for testing and have very much enjoyed them both so far. As a side note, I have noticed the brand popping up in T.J Maxx so that is a WIN in my book!

Tate is Three

To the tune of “Oh Christmas Tree”.

Oh Tate is three, oh Tate is three

he makes us smile and laugh with glee!

Oh Tate is three, oh Tate is three 

he makes us smile with glee.

Not only does he love his cars,

but he can jump not very far.

Oh Tate is three, oh Tate is three!

He makes us smile and laugh with glee!

Goodbye Summer

Summer is officially over and that makes me kind of sad.

It is my favorite season. It is happy. Sunny. Dressing for the day is effortless. Giant sunglasses are always appropriate and eating half a box of popsicles is totally acceptable. So as I tossed in a couple of pumpkin spice wax melts into m’trusyty Yankee Candle warmer the other night, I thought, “I never even said goodbye to summer”. So here it is, folks.

Adieu. Adieu. To you and you and summer.

At the end of this summer, we planned to meet my family in Priest Lake for our annual family vacation. First though, we met up with some friends from the North and spent a few days in Coeur d’Alene. Even though the smoke levels were at an all-time high, we ended up having a great time with their family. We also got to spend some time with sister Amy and my beautiful sister in law Shannon!

One of the days, we decided to brave Silverwood. And lemme just tell ya, theme parks ain’t NO place if you are with child. While the crew was having a blast on roller coasters…(or log rides)

I was off to the side like this: (check out the snaggle!)

As the week progressed, my family ended up deciding to cancel the cabin on Priest Lake due to the piss poor air quality. It was sad but did not kill our spirits. We ended up driving to good ol’ Kennewick for a family shanghai tourney (with cash prizes!) and some time at the FAIR.

Can you believe in all of the years I lived in the Tri, I never once went to the fair. Ok, maaaaybe in like, middle school but it had been some yurrs. I decided to commemorate the momentous occasion by dressing the part. Mostly though, I just wanted an excuse to not shower, eat an elephant ear, wear dirty Adidas slides and American Eagle jean shorts circa 2004.

Oh, I also sported some black liner ala Junior High.

Sister Meg was sick in bed so we got to take Taterbug with us and had THEE best time toting him around the fair.

David ended up winning him the most giant stuffie of all time doing the basketball game.

The two best parts about the fair and Tate’s relationship to it were going on rides and using the bathroom. He is currently in potty training mode and peeing outside is a new, fun option for him. A couple of times he started pulling his pants down to go pee in the middle of the rides and we had to pick him up to pee behind a dumpster. He fit right in!

The rides were also tough for little Tate. E tried her best to get him excited about a little baby roller coaster but he just wasn’t having it. Luckily, Uncle David is a master of distraction and got him to ride the Wiggly Worm with no issues. And he loved it!

The end of our trip was spent with ice cream at McDonalds,

and taking tons of selfies.

We returned to Portland that weekend and had a day to spare so David and I ended up doing a little maternity shopping (more on THAT later) and picnicking in Washington Park.

And while maternity shopping was fine and all, buying baby clothes is infinitely better as evidenced here:

Our picnic that day was so quintessential Portland. We went to the Saturday market and purchased Portland Cider Company cider, Portland Creamery herbs de provence goat cheese, Olympic Provisions sausage and a cheesy and salty pastry from Grano. All I needed to really look the part was a monocle.

Makeup Table Additions

Hello little plushies!

To me, there is nothing more pleasing than a neat, well organized vanity. Clean brushes resting patiently in cups, like flowers in a vase. Lipglosses in shades of purple, red, pink and nude shining bright, providing inspiration for so many looks. My vanity does not look like this. Usually it is in a varying state of disarray, ranging from a few items carelessly left out to a full on I-tried-to-do-falsies-and-a-red-lip-in-5-min kind of scene.

For our wedding, sister Meg brought me a few goodies from Daiso to help spruce things up a bit. And spruce, they did. Oh, and if you have never been to a Daiso you better skedaddle! It is basically a Japanese dollar store and everything is about 9283 times cuter than you could ever imagine. Here is proof:

This would be a standing mirror, brush holder and false eyelash case. ALL from Daiso!

I mean…

The eyelash case is TO DIE and is actually something I have been meaning to buy for awhile!

The other item I have been meaning to get for a while now is the Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner.

This brush cleaner is not a shampoo. You simply pour the liquid into a small cup (they even sell one!), quickly dip the tip of your brush into the liquid and wipe onto a towel. This stuff takes EVERYTHING out of the brush and dries very fast. It is SO much easier than cleaning brushes at the sink and waiting all day for them to dry. I AM HOOKED.

I paid $23 for an 8 ounce bottle + tin combo.

And that’s it! What else do I need atop my vanity?

Benefit Brow Contour Pro Review

Hello my jiggly cheesecakes!

It has been quite a while since good ol’ Influenster sent me anything. I was beginning to think I had totally fallen off their radar and that they had completely forgotten about me and my need for complimentary products. But then I got a survey and fiddle-dee-dee! I received a little box in the mail containing a product just for me, and for FREE. Pretty neat.

Seriously, sign up for Influenster here. It’s totally free AND you can opt out of the emails. Especially if you have decent numbers on social media!

This time it was all about brows. Enter the Benefit Brow Contour Pro!

Obviously Benefit is killing it will their whole line of brow products. The packaging is killer, the products work great and the offer a wide selection of colors.

I received mine in Brown/Light since my hair is (let’s be honest) constantly a different shade of bronde.

This product features four different “products” in one, including two brow shades (one lighter and one darker) a definer and a highlighter. YOU KNOW whoever masterminded this creation was a child of the 80’s because, duh:

Here is the way Benefit recommends the product be applied:

APPLICATION

Other than the fact that I thought the tip of the brow colors were a bit large (I am used to the ABH Brow Whiz) I was very pleased at how easy the colors applied. They deposited color throughout my brows evenly and easily. The definer shade does require a bit of blending as the color was not a dead-on match for my skin. I found that with a small flat brush, it blended out like a dream.

FORMULA

I would say the formula is a bit softer than the ABH Brow Whiz, but not as creamy as a typical liner. I like eyebrow pencils to be a bit firmer, as the idea of a smudgy pencil in my brows makes me cringe. The pigmentation for all four colors is very good.

WEAR

This product lasted very well on me which is sayin’ alot because right now I am actually a bit on the oily side. I found that it did not fade in any funky way, yet removing it with my typical face wash was a breeze.

What products DO YOU love for the brows?!