Self Care Products Round-Up

Well we’ve been stuck inside for a year now!

Remember how back in March 2020, we were all like, “Did you hear that this might last until May!?”. Or in June when we were like, “Oh it has to be over by the holidays!”. For me, the cute quarantine-themed songs to the tune of Katy Perry hits are met with a deadpan gaze. The funny covid memes and hopeful quotes are just scribblings, words on a page. I know we’re at the “end” of all this with vaccinations on the uptick and cases decreasing but man has it taken a toll. To say anything else would be a lie.

Several things have pulled us through this. For me, it’s my husband, Grandma Lisa and Aunt Sandi, Liberty Creek Pinot Grigio, my cute daughters and a healthy dose a’self curr.

Today I bring you some new (to me) products that have helped me. Mind, body and soul. Or should I say hair, face and body?

T0112 Sea Salt Serum

I have been using this spray serum for a few weeks now and I think I am in love. This stuff is packed with, you guessed it – sea salt, but also jojoba seed, argan and tamanu oil. The sea salt provides that realistic beachy texture but the oils add a wonderful dose of moisture. I find that SO many sea salt hair products are very drying. This stuff is actually hydrating! What an amazing product.

FactorFive Skincare

I have been using these three mini-sized products for about a month now and am seeing some beautiful results. FactorFive uses ethically derived human stem cells that work to replenish the skin at a cellular level. All of these products are non-scented and apply very nicely to the skin. I have loved using these while I go through the IPL laser treatments. Read more about that here! I feel they have aided the cell turnover process and provided necessary nourishment my skin needs.

Ecoslay Hair Products

Ecoslay is a small, vegan, 100% homemade hair care company with products so fresh, several have to be refrigerated!  You all know I suffer from a dry scalp, and the Peppermint Schnapps hair wash provides a invigorating scalp experience like none other. Next I applied their thick and rich Banana Cream and left it on a solid 5-10 minutes. This stuff seriously coats each strand with a thick layer of moisture and I loved the look and feel of my hair as I rinsed it out.

I have been using the Moonshine Hair & Body Oil on my dry heels and it has really been making a difference!

Peace Out Retinol Eye Stick

I have been using this concentrated eye balm for a couple of months now, once or twice a week. I ordered mine from Sephora but it is available for 15% off on their website! I wanted to try due to the stellar reviews and so far I have noticed a diminished appearance of my crows feet!

La Parea Ecuadorian Rose Candle

You all KNOW I can get down with a candle. They really make a break a day for me. You might also know that I am super fond of anything rose-scented. This candle is probably the truest rose-scented item I have ever encountered. It really does smell like you stuck your face into a bouquet of luscious, fresh roses. The candle burned evenly and the wick performed like a champ. I highly recommend this one, but am anxious to try some their others like Beach Day!

Country Bathhouse Body & Home

YOU GUYS. These are huge, donut-shaped bath bombs that smell like cotton candy!! I am so beyond impressed with both the size and quality of these products.

These bath bombs use a certified organic goats milk soap base, are non-staining and hypo-allergenic. I am totally in love!

They also make a whipped soap + shaving cream in a Love Spell scent that I am dying to try! I MEAN, just look at this stuff:

Maybelline Sky High Mascara 

Finding this mascara was the highlight of my day! It has blown up due to TikTok and I was stoked to try it out. While it definitely is nowhere near the best drugstore mascara out there, it is super lengthening.

Dr. Teal’s Shea Butter & Almond Oil Epsom Salt

Ok guys, this might be my new favorite from Dr. Teal’s. I really love the coconut epsom salts, but this kind was SO wonderfully moisturizing! Also I am obsessed with the scent – very comforting and rich.

All for now – Leave a comment with your favorite self care products!

Dark Spots Progress + My First IPL Photofacial

Hello friends!

It’s been nearly a year since I provided an update on my dark spots. And I know you all have been on the edge of your seats waiting for this. I am sorry. I have failed you. Despite my abysmal progress reporting, I have continued to stay true to my skin care in an effort to rid myself of the damn things.

The current lineup as of late includes:

You may or may not notice that I have stopped using the Ambi Fade Cream. But let me make something clear, this is NOT because this product does not work. I think this $5 cream actually made a huge dent in the severity of my dark spots. Click here to see those before and after photos.

The reason I stopped using it – well, constitutes a quick story. About a month ago, I had a virtual consultation with a med spa. I wanted to learn about all the “procedures” (read: botox, injectables, laser treatments) and get a doctor’s take on options for me. The appointment went fine, albeit a tad awkward over FaceTime. We discussed a small amount of botox on my forehead as well as laser treatments for my dark spots and collagen treatments for the “loss of volume” in my cheeks. They were keen on getting me scheduled for a couple of these procedures but I explained I am simply not ready.

Mostly, I am not ready to fork over the thousands of dollars this would all cost.

After some thought, I decided to tackle what has made me the most self-conscious all these years: my dark spots. And I want to tackle it head-on! The next day I purchased 6 sessions of IPL photo facials from a salon near my house with great reviews. A couple weeks later, I had my first appointment.

All in all, it is a relatively quick, moderately painful treatment. Google it for the details, but essentially a gel-like cream is rubbed on the face and the laser moves across your skin, zapping as it goes. It is not pleasant. But honey, pain is beauty.

After the appointment, the esthetician warned me that small, coffee ground like flakes might appear on the skin and that this is totally normal. After a couple of days I did notice this happening.

As reference once again, here are my before photos from May of last year, after using Ambi for a couple of months.

Here are a couple of photos documenting my skin 3-4 days after getting IPL. These photos were taken in February and also document my general state after not showering for 4 days.

The spots look much worse but I am told this is normal. I will continue to provide updates during my “IPL journey” (haha) and plan to take photos after each session.

Anyone out there gotten IPL? If so, tell me your experience!

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

Happiest of holidays to you all!

This year has brought with it many a crappy thing.  Corona, Charli D’Amelio, wildfires. I am sure you are all aware. Today I would like to provide a list of what Martha calls “good things”. Items that warrant perpetuating good ol’ fashioned consumer-driven materialism. Sure to provide the giver with all the warm fuzzies  and the recipient with some quality goods.

Here we go!

Makeup/Beauty

Casablanca Eyelashes & Adhesive – $20, $15

  • Perfect for: That person who loves a false lash! This is a small brand and you are sure to impress.
  • My description: Lashes that are comfortable, fluffy and gorgeous and idiot-proof glue.

Formula 10.0.06 Soak It In Vitamin C Revitalizing Lip Balm – $4

  • Perfect for: A person living in a cold climate with lips!
  • My description:  It’s like a blanket for your lips, with a very subtle sweet orange scent.

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil – $25

  • Perfect for: Anyone with dry skin.
  • My Description: This is the ultimate in moisturization for the bath/shower.

Lyda BeautyLydLyda Beauty Cleopatra Cat Eye Stamp – $25

  • Perfect for: The person on your list with chronic uneven winged liquid liner.
  • My Description: This eyeliner glides on like a dream and the cat-eye stamp on one end makes achieving the perfect wing a CINCH. I did my liner in the above photo in approx. 20 seconds.

Home

David Rose Travel Mug/Mug – $18, $11

  • Perfect for: The rampant Schitt’s Creek fan or someone named David or (in my case) someone married to David.
  • My Description: I hear Moira and Alexis’ voice every time I see this.

First Edition Little Women Framed Cover Art – $65

  • Perfect for: The literary!
  • My Description: How cute would this be in a lil’ reading nook? They also have Pride & Prejudice, The Secret Garden and several others. The site Uncommon Goods has some really neat stuff (yes, I just said neat).

Oster Cordless Wine Opener – $17

  • Perfect for: The budding wino (read: all of us).
  • My description: Sadly this might be my most used household gadget. It also comes  with a handy dandy foil cutter.

SOi Alluring Amber Shimmer Candle – $18

  • Perfect for: Just about anyone who appreciates a good smellin’ home with a feminine touch!
  • My Description: A candle that smells amazing and doubles as a very nice Q-tip holder afterwards.

Kids

Scenties Hair Ties & Scrunchies – $7, $11

  • Perfect for – The scrunchie or hair accessory obsessed pre-tween.
  • My description – These are stretch and sniff hair ties y’all. A kid with some Scenties around their wrist is definitely going to MAD COOL.

Rainbow Suitcase Set – $33

  • Perfect for: Any child like mine who enjoys, wait for it… opening and closing things. And also…putting things inside of other things.
  • My Description: These are cute and functional! A gift that would please both the child and their parent.

Sleeping Beauty Replica Journal –  $30

  • Perfect for: The emotional, die-hard Disney enthusiast.
  • My Description: I audibly gasped when I saw this at the Disney Store. It is as stunning as it appears. And yes, it is a journal. Could there be a more majesty place to write down your T&F?

Hess Trucks – Prices Range

  • Perfect for: Any little kid (or big!) who appreciates trucks or cars or things that go!
  • My Description: These are top of the line toy trucks. So realistic and detailed.

Clothing/Accessories

Minnetonka Men’s Moose Hide Fleece Moccasins – $77

  • Perfect for: The man with huge-ass feet.
  • My Description: My husband wears a 15. Any shoes is hard to come by for him, but especially slippers. These go up to a 16X and he absolutely loves them.

Nordstrom Frosted Plush Robe – $79

  • Perfect for: Anyone who is ALWAYS cold.
  • My description: This is the the warmest, most buttery soft piece of robe I have ever felt.

Cath Kidston Pajamas – $54 (on sale)

  • Perfect for: Your mom
  • My description: The cutest printed pajamas I have ever seen. And they’re from the UK, cheerio!

Men’s Patagonia Nano-Puff Jacket – $199

  • Perfect for: Any male living in the PNW.
  • My Description: A wardrobe staple, this jacket is lightweight, warm and waterproof!

Summer Skincare Must-Haves

No matter how hard this Portland rain comes down, it is still summer guys!

And I do not know about you, but I am  100% here for it.

As you may or may not know, I have been workin like a dawg on my skin as of late. I have been trying new products from The Ordinary, as well as a $5 drugstore cream that has been making a huge improvement with my dark spots. I cannot lose steam here folks! I must keep chugging along. Here are some products keeping me in tip-top shape.

ESK Hydroxy Overnight Mask

The lovely folks at ESK Evidence Skin Care sent me a couple products to try from their amazing cruelty-free, Australian-made line. I have been using the Hydroxy Overnight Mask, which uses aloe to remove keratin and old skin cells while you sleep. It leaves my skin feeling rejuvenated and refreshed in the morning. I have really enjoyed using this each night, and truly feel like it is helping my skin greatly.

Coola Classic Sport SPF 50 Sunscreen for Face

Of course I have to mention a sunscreen! This one is really great for the face. I have been using it almost everyday ever since I found out that the blue light from your phone can give you dark spots! The HORROR. It smells amazing, is light-weight, non-greasy and absorbs into the skin so easily. I have yet to find a sunscreen for the body that I love, so please let me know your favorites below!

Pure & Care Sheet Masks and Collagen Serum

I think what I love most about the items I received from Pure & Care is the straight-forward packaging. I see more and more skincare companies featuring the main ingredient on the packaging to make things simple for the consumer and I am HERE for it! For me, summer and winter are such a great time for sheet masks! So far, I have tried a couple of the face masks from Pure & Care and they are all very high-quality. Here’s a pro tip: put your sheet masks in the fridge after a long day outside and grab a glass of rose. You can thank me later :).

I have also started incorporating the Pure & Care Collagen Serum into my skincare routine because HELLO who doesn’t need more collagen over the age of 30? This serum is on the thinner side, which I really like. It absorbs easily into the skin and does not have any fragrance. Two thumbs up from me.

I cannot wait to try these eye masks next:

Here I am in the Vitamin E mask!

Wet’n’Wild Jungle Rock 3-in-1 Face Mist

This is summer in a bottle. It smells like coconuts, gives off a beautiful shimmery-ness when shaken and makes skin look dewy. What is not to love? I have been using this by itself, as a primer and also as a setting spray. I really like it and I adore the scent!

Eco Lips Lemonade Lip Balm

If lemonade lip balm doesn’t say summer I don’t know what does! And this stuff REALLY DOES smell exactly like lemonade. I am obsessed! These lip balms go on so smooth, are such a superior product to Chapstick, and cost only $2 a tube. Eco Lips really has my heart when it comes to lip balm, they just do it right.

What else should I try out for this summer? Let me know.

Ambi Fade Cream Review + Dark Spot Progress

Hullo friends.

I blame my recent obsession with skincare on this GD virus. If it weren’t for the ‘rone, I would not have countless hours to devote to inspecting each and every dark spot, line, wrinkle and yes, RAISED mole on my body. If it weren’t for the ‘rone, I would still be blonde. If it weren’t for the ‘rone, my consumption of Liberty Creek would be somewhat sporadic. Maybe this needs to be a new thing – “if it weren’t for the ‘rone….” GO!

Over a month ago, after spending countless nights reading through forums and trying to find miracle products that are affordable, I happened upon an ingredient that I’d been sleeping on – hydroquinone. Apparently it has been around for ages and can be prescribed in concentrations of up to 4%. However, you can get it in 2% over the counter. One of the most popular products featuring this ingredient is called Ambi Fade Cream and you get it for less than 5 bucks on Amazon! I promptly placed my order and began incorporating it into my current skincare routine.

Here is my progress with that routine and use of the Ambi cream at almost 8 weeks of use, once a day.

*I am applying this cream directly to the age spots, after serums and moisturizer.

BEFORE

AFTER

SIDE-BY-SIDES

After actually inspecting these photos on my large monitor here at my home office (my computer stacked on a couple puzzle boxes on our kitchen table) like…guys – I think the spots look a wee bit better, no?

It should also be noted that I just ran out of my products from The Ordinary, so I placed an Ulta order today! I ordered another Alpha Arbutin 2%, as well as this:

Anyone out there used hydroquinone for dark spots? What were your results?

Quarantine Skincare Routine

Hi hi hello! Happy hunkering to you all.

Among the millions of quarantine activity ideas out there, I have seldom seen skincare mentioned. The horror!  You see to me, skincare is a legitimate activity. It takes a good bit of time, can be quite therapeutic and makes us humans better-looking. You see? It’s perfect.

As promised, I am here to present my current skin care routine. I am very excited about sharing this information because unlike so many other times in my life – I am actually being consistent with my skincare. And you guys…I can actually see the difference! I feel like my skin has improved since I bought and have started using products from The Ordinary and Erno Laszlo over a month ago. Click here to read more about that.

Without further ado, here is my current skincare route from start to finish!

Step One – Cleanse

The first step in this routine is probably where things vary the most. Most nights I am too tired to wash my face so I use a makeup wipe. I would love to tell you that I buy really high quality ones but the reality is that I usually get these Up & Up ones at Target:

When I have the energy to stand at the sink to wash my face, I use the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser. It is a great, affordable cleanser that does the job! I am also weirdly obsessed with the way it smells.

Step Two – Tone

Man I love a good toner! As per my recent haul from The Ordinary, I have been using the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. I only use this stuff at night, as the directions state.

This toner is not for the weak. It definitely would not work for anyone with sensitive skin because it does cause a very mild irritation on the skin. It also leaves a bit of a film behind. Not necessarily tacky, just a little something left behind. It definitely is not comfortable or soothing but I actually kind of like the sensation because I feel like it is WORKING. I dunno. I’m weird.

For daytime…

As a daytime toner, I love using the Erno Laszlo Hydraphel Skin Supplement. I was lucky enough to receive a bunch of Erno Laszlo products from our Aunt Sandi and so far I have LOVED everything I have tried. This toner is like the polar opposite of the glycolic acid toner. Super soothing, feels great and leaves the skin feeling hydrated.

Step three – treat

I am currently using two face treatments from The Ordinary . First, I apply the Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA and then the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. I use about a 1/4 of a dropper for both sides of my face and pat it in lightly. I try and let the Alpha Arbutin dry as much as possible before applying the Niacinamide. Both feel slightly tacky when applied, but do not cause irritation. I will say however, that neither feel particularly “soothing” on the skin.

After that, I apply a small amount of The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG under my eyes.

For daytime…

For daytime, I start with the Alpha Arbutin and follow with the Erno Laszlo Transphuse Day Serum.  This serum has a green tint and really wakes up the skin. I really love this combination and it feels like the perfect base for primer + foundation.

Step four – moisturize

At night, I apply all of my moisturizing products in bed. I love looking at them all lined up on my bedside shelf like a little cavalry. First, I take a small amount of the Erno Laszlo Hydra-Therapy Memory Sleep Mask and apply that to my entire face and neck. A little of this stuff goes a long way and it is SO luxurious. I compare the hydration level to that of La Mer. I seriously wake up in the morning and can still feel this stuff working!

Under my eyes, I apply the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. This is just a simple, hydrating under eye cream and similar to the Laszlo moisturizer – it is SO soothing.

On nights where I have time and need a little extra somethin’ under my eyes – I have been using the Everydaze Gold Charcoal Hydrogel Eye Patches. These babies are seriously hydrating and they feel ahhmazing on my face. How I lived this long without doing eye patches is totally beyond me because I feel they make such a difference. These ones are on sale for $28 for 60 patches right now which is a steal!

If David is staying up later than me, I will also throw on this adorable sleep mask from Everydaze. I mean….HELLO! So cute.

For my lips, I have been working through the ever popular Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. It feels great on the lips and is very hydrating. This product claims to leave lips so moisturized they are soft to the touch the next day. I do not notice hydration the next morning, but I also feel like that is an impossible feat, especially if you are a tummy sleeper!

For daytime….

For my daytime moisturizer – I have been loving The Organic Skin Co. Daily Rituals Moisturizer. It smells amazing, is the perfect thickness and feels refreshing on my skin.

On my lips, I have been loving several products from Eco Lips, namely the Nourish Lip Balm and the Mongo Kiss Lip Balm in Vanilla Honey. If you have not tried products from this brand, definitely check them out next time you’re at Whole Foods. An added bonus to purchasing these lip balms is that they are fair trade, gluten-free and use cruelty-free ingredients!

extras

I cannot talk about skincare without mentioning masks! I love a good mask. I really feel like they make a visible difference and usually make my skin feel amazing. Recently I tried a sample of the Erno Laszlo Pore Cleansing Clay Mask and oh brother was it nice! Totally recommend this one.

This one is the Erno Laszlo Firm & Lift mask. It was such a luxurious experience! Like I was at the spa.

I cannot sing the praises of Grande Lash – MD enough. If you want to see before and after photos click here! I use this serum once every other day or so and yes, it works wonders. It also costs about 1/3 of the Rodan and Fields version :).

Also worth mentioning are two new body care products I have been loving! David got me this Bath & Body Works Into the Night Body Cream and I looooove the scent. It is definitely a rich, more evening appropriate smell with hints of jasmine. So good.

David also gave me one of the new Lush reusable bubble bars! This is the Candy Bubble Brush which smells like my all-time favorite thing – cotton candy. The bubbles from Lush products are seriously unparalleled. And the scent lingers FOREVER too!

So there you have it everyone! My current routine extensive but like, what else am I supposed to do during these trying times? Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite skin care item at the moment!

*The products from Everydaze, The Organic Skin Co. and Eco Lips were sent to me complimentary for testing. All opinions are my own.

The Ordinary Skincare, Take Two

Hullo friends.

You may remember that I tried a smattering of products from The Ordinary about 2 years ago before baby (or BB) to assist in eliminating some dark spots, brightening and hydrating the skin and for general anti-ageing purposes. Check out this post for my before and after photos. I feel like it did a decent enough job and I was on a roll, so to speak.

Then I had a baby.

My skincare routine fell victim to extreme fatigue, excessive Little Debbie consumption and far too many Netflix binges. I could barely drag a makeup wipe across my face let alone apply multiple serums, creams and tonics AM & PM. And so, my beloved products from The Ordinary sat in the cabinet and collected dust.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago, when baby girl turned one and I took a good hard look in the mirror at my poor, neglected mug. I decided it was high time I dust the cobwebs off my skincare shelf and get back in the saddle! I quickly made the sad discovery these products had likely expired and therefore, much like The Office, I needed a re-boot.

So, I made David bounce Clara around Ulta while I squatted in the aisle for 30 minutes, bent over my phone like a mad scientist trying to figure out which “regimen” I should go with. Do I go for a retinol? Squalene? Is hylaraunic acid still the IT ingredient? Do I need a peel!?

After my research, I decided upon the following:

The first three items are all to help with my dark spots while the caffeine solution is for my atrocious under eye circles. If you would like to read more about these products and the science behind them, I would check out their website. 

And for accountability purposes, here are some “before” photos (taken a little over a month ago):

Obviously I am using other products besides these 4 from the Ordinary. I am working on a current skincare routine which I will share very soon so stay tuned for that!