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.

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:

  • Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA
  • Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
  • Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
  • Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

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!

Laneige Kiss Me at Midnight Set Review

Good day sugar cookies!

And happy November. I feel that every person falls into one of two different camps this time of year. Those that scoff at the idea of Christmas decorations going up days after Halloween, and those who relish it. I consider myself more a relisher but also a realist. I am not dragging the holiday totes down just yet but gimme a week or two and don’t you worry I’LL BE THERE.

But no matter which camp you fall in, there is no doubting that the holidays are quickly approaching and I find it only apropos to blog about a sweet lil holiday set I have been digging.

This would be the Laneige Kiss Me at Midnight set from Sephora.

I knew I needed to try the Sleeping Mask after my sister and so many others have raved about it. You see, this time of year my lips just take a beating. My husband buys Carmex (in the tub not the tube) in bulk and swears by it, but I am not a fan.

So when I saw this little set come out for the holidays I knew I wanted to get it. It contains:

  • A full size Lip Sleeping Mask in Berry
  • Two smaller (.10 oz) Lip Sleeping Masks in Mint Choco and Sweet Candy

The set retails for $28 which I thought was a good deal, as the full size retails for $20 on it’s own. I realize paying an additional $8 for the two smaller sizes might feel unnecessary but when I saw the flaves I knew I had to try. Even so, $28 for chapstick?  Yeah, it’s a little extra. Esp considering the fact that I do not exactly have voluptuous lips.

So what’s the verdict?

It is a great lip product. Is it earth-shattering and awe-inspiring? No. It hydrates and feels very nice on the lips. I like the Sweet Candy scent the best (go fig) and kinda wish I would have just bought the full size of that scent for $20 but whatevs. It will be nice to have the extras to keep at work and in a purse. Overall,  if you have super dry lips and an extra $20 bucks lying around, go get you some!

Makeup Revolution Conceal and Hydrate Review

Good day little buttons!

I’m back with you today for a review of some v exciting products.

Those of you that know me well, are well aware of my affinity for a dewy face. It has yet to dew me wrong! (Sorry – hard for me not to pun when it strikes like that). So when I saw that Makeup Revolution had released a new sister concealer (that is hydrating!) to the ever-popular Conceal and Define – I knew I had to try!

When I went to Ulta to grab it, I realized two things:

  1. There was also a Conceal and Hydrate foundation
  2. Ulta was running a gift with purchase for spending $15 on Makeup Revolution

Mystery GWP

The tightwad and makeup hoarder inside of me was singing! I happily grabbed both, used $3 in points I had been banking and was on my merry way. When I got to the car, I tore into the mystery GWP I was just handed and let out a gasp.

There was a good $50 worth of products in there! See below:

So exciting!

I was looking forward to trying out the lipsticks especially, until I saw the colors…maybe for Halloween?

Anyway, let’s get on to the foundation review!

I opted for shade F3 after doing some quick jawline swatches with the in-store testers. I had Clara with me and doing this one-handed was no easy task. 

I was pleasantly surprised to learn they put a pump on this version, rather than the large doe foot applicator. I am a big fan of the pump.

Now, onto the concealer!

I went with shade C2. Again, I wish I had more time to select the right shade but MOM LIFE.

Onto application! Here we are fresh-faced. Here, I am wearing moisturizer, primer and eye cream.

Here is photographic proof of why you should stay the F out of the sun.

I decided that I would try a beauty sponge AND a makeup brush with the foundation. 

Flower Beauty Sponge

Sephora Mini Airbrush

The color was a pretty good match for me. Maybe a teensy bit too light, but overall not bad. One pump of this stuff covered my whole face and the consistency is more on the watery side.

Here we are with one coat of the foundation. I did not apply under my eyes.

As you can see, one layer does not provide full coverage. I did dot a little more directly on my sun spots directly, which did provide a bit more coverage.

Now, onto the concealer. (C’s sweet face in the background hahaaaaa). The color of the concealer was just a tad too dark. I do enjoy me a very light concealer.

Here we are all serious and blended out.

I really liked the concealer right away! Good coverage, VERY hydrating and easy to blend out. 

For fun, I decided to dip into some of the freebies to finish off the look! Here is the contour pallete in Fair.

Of course I had to dip my finger RIGHT ON INTO the highlight shade to see what it was packing. It is actually a really gorgeous highlight!

Here we are contoured, blushed and highlighted! I also set my face with the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder FTW.

To finish, I added some mascara – this is the YSL The Shock mascara. It is a good one but you know how I feel about prestige mascaras. Drugstore mascara 4 LIFE.

Here we are with a little bit of brows and mascara on.

You can see a tiny part of Clara’s little hand in the bottom right of this photo.

Next, I decided to try the flawless foil eyeshadow.

There did not seem to be any directions provided on the box, but the liquid inside indicated it was a primer, so I placed a drop or two on my finger and patted it on my lids. Then, I dipped into the shadow (again, with my finger) and was surprised that it had a creamy texture. I patted the product on top of the primer and was left with the following effect.

Definitely pretty, but I am not sure it is worth the fuss of doing two separate steps. 

And can I get an amen for my lashes? 

I am telling you guys, go get you some Grande Lash. It works very, very well.

Overall – I liked both the foundation and concealer. I think I like the concealer a little better but I need to get a slightly lighter shade. The foundation is nice but I do not think it is ground-breaking. I do like the finish on the skin and how little of the product you need to cover the whole face.

Special thanks to my trusty sidekick Clara. 

Baby Faves – 6 Month Edition

Hello and welcome to the first installment of a series I like to call BABY FAVES.

As some of you may or may not remember, before I had  a baby I did a fair amount of fretting over all the godforsaken baby stuff. Read more about that here! Blankets and bouncers and binkies and bottles and boobs and everything else one feels they must acquire before a tiny human enters their life.

Then you have the thing and realize the #1 thing they need most: YOU.

But of course, the odd doohicky can also be a lifesaver. So here are our favorite doohickies, thingamabobs and whosie-whatsits.

  1. The Halo Swaddle Sack

Clara busted out of her swaddle the very first night we spent at home from the hospital. We were swaddling her with a blanket in the hospital for a week (I was in there for awhile due to unforeseen circumstances) but somehow at home she would houdini out. We immediately bought the Halo Swaddle Sack and she literally slept in it until she was 3 months old and started rolling over. We would have kept her in this FOREVER if we could. She slept through the night in this baby for a solid 2-3 months. We are talking 7-8 hours at a time, people.

2. The SwaddleDesigns Transitional Swaddle Sack

This is the garment we’ve been in for over a month now. Once she started rolling around and needed her hands out to push herself back up – we realized we wanted something like this. We also have the Zipadee-Zip but this one from SwaddleDesigns works better for us. The ends of the sleeves can be open or closed (as shown in the picture) so we can also use this if she wants her hands out.

3. Copper Pearl Drool Bibs

Anything by this brand is amazing, but the drool bibs are my favorite. Clara drools a swimming pool’s worth by the minute and as a result had a nice drool rash to boot. I started putting these on her when I noticed she was turning on the ol’ water works and they are perfect. SUPER soft on the side that touches their skin and surprisingly absorbent. Plus the fact that they’re bandannas with really cute patterns? Come on.

4. Desitin Diaper Cream

Clara had some serious diaper rash in the beginning. We tried several different diaper creams, including the bougie organic ones that cost $17 a tube. Desitin won every time and the ingredient list was very similar. We also used this on her drool rash and it cleared it right up.

5. A Bouncy Chair

My Mom purchased Clara this exact bouncy chair from Burlington Coat Factory a few months ago and girlfriend has loved it ever since. This model actually does vibrate but we have never put batteries in it. She loves the subtle bounce of it and playing with little toys (we’ve attached more) along the bar that hangs over. Any of the good ol’ fashioned bouncy chairs would do the trick!

Also good for a little snooze

And those are just a handful of our favorites! Stay tuned for the next installment in a few months.

Postpartum Hair Loss and Me

Hello world!

Its me, your thin-haired friend!

Today, it is my pleasure to delve into this topic. It is not going to be pretty (duh), but I think there is value in sharing the experience.

It is not an easy thing, hair loss. It does not matter who you are. It does not matter if it is due to disease, stress, age, genetics, having a baby or just a bad chemical job…losing your hair just plain sucks.

For me, a little background on the subject goes something like this:

My hair basically stayed the same throughout my entire pregnancy. Some women report glorious mermaid-esque locks while they are pregnant due to all the hormonal changes. Apparently the body holds on to all the hair it normally sheds (about 100 strands a day) which accounts for this wonderful phenomenon. Unfortunately my hair decided to stay in it’s normal, somewhat vegetative state.

I started noticing hair loss around 3 months after having Clara. For reference it was also the time my Postpartum Anxiety decided to flare up…read more about that here.  So lovely for these two fun side effects to kick in at the same time. Thanks side effects! And I noticed it right away. I was shedding absolutely EVERYWHERE. My hair would somehow wind up in the glove compartment, all over the coffee table, in the refrigerator! Not to mention it was completely covering Clara at all times. Her little hands just grabbed fistfuls of it. 4-5 passes through my hair with the brush would produce a thick coating of hair in the bristles. I could run my fingers through it at any point of the day and be left with this:

Then I started getting, like, super depressed about it.

Lots of breakdowns after washing my hair, or seeing a picture of myself, or looking at the back of my head with a mirror.

Then I started to do what anyone would do…researched wig toppers. What the hell is a wig-topper you ask? Basically a toupee for women. Just watch this video.

But then I realized that a good one (real human hair on silk) was going to cost upwards of $800. If I knew this issue was going to be my reality for the rest of my life, I would probably make the investment. But for now, I could suck it up.

So I texted my sister-in-law Shannon who is an amazing hairdresser and super knowledgeable about allll the products. Should I try Nioxin? Rogaine? A stimulating scalp scrub? Shannon told me the best way to fix the problem is from the inside out. ENTER: Collagen!

Shannon sent me a big bottle of collagen. I take 5 every day and plan to do so for the foreseeable future. So far, I have been taking it for about a month and it seems the severe hair loss has stopped for now. I do not seem to be actively losing handfuls like I was before. I am not sure if this is due to the collagen or that my body was just done..but whatever it is I AM HAPPY. The collagen will also help regrow the hair and will likely give me some fatty baby bangs. But I am here for it, tbh. I will take any kind of growth that I can get!

The next item to address was the immediate state of my hair which was abysmal at best. Don’t believe me? The proof is in the puddin’ as they say…

Just look at this sad pony…

I MEAN:

IT IS SO BAD

Barely the circumference of a magic marker you guys. And the bald spot surrounding my horrific cowlick on the back of my head ain’t helping matters. I texted these pictures to the person who does my hair and she wrote back immediately. “We need to cut it. As much as you are comfortable with.”

So I had four inches taken off.

MAN does this make a difference, am I right!? I feel like I could have even got an inch or two shorter? It feels WAY better and doesn’t seem quite as pathetic.

In addition to my new shorter ‘do, I am also switching up my hurr curr to include a few more volumizing products, such as:

Biolage Volume Bloom Aqua Gel Conditioner (for Ultra Fine Hair)

This conditioner smells amazing (I love how ALL Biolage product smell) and is perfect for not weighing my hair down.

Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray

This is probably the best salt spray I’ve tried. It provides the perfect amount of grit to achieve the tousled look, even with super thin hair.

Pureology Instant Levitation Mist

I have been using this product as a root-booster and while it does not give as much volume as the Big Sexy Hair, it does a fine job.

And in the end, yes…it is just hair. And as India Arie reminds us, “I am not my hair”. But then again, it grows from our head and is a big part of who we are. And while I am sad about losing it, I am MORE than okay with the reasons why I lost it. Namely – this little tike ♥.

the baby bangs are FO REAL you guys

And that’s the regiment folks! Have you experience postpartum hair loss? If so, what did you do?

Grande Lash Review

G’day little rasburries!

A major change has taken place in my life as of late. And a significant one at that. But before I tell you about it, allow me to provide a bit of backstory.

When I got pregnant, I worried about lots of things. If you’ve been around for a bit, you know this.

One thing I was particularly horrified of were the pictures taken of me AFTER giving birth. I knew they were inevitable. And even something as strong as my vanity could not stop them from happening. These photos are like mammograms. Hugely important, necessary even. But like, nobody LOOKS FORWARD to it. That’s how I felt about photos taken of me after the baby was born. I knew I would want them but was sort of cringing at how they’d turn out.

And really, I feel that society is to blame for this. I mean look at the examples set…

Aunt Becky’s slicked back hair and Catherine Heigl lookin’ buckled.

But I’m not stupid. The best defense is a good offense, as they say. Some women have babies in full glam,  with perfectly tousled beach waves, full-coverage makeup and custom-made hospital gowns to compliment their complexion. NOT REALISTIC. At least for me.

One thing I also noticed so many women are doing nowadays (especially before child birth) is  getting eyelash extensions. I have seen these look absolutely stunning on some people and atrocious on others. I feel the more natural they look, the better. The thicker and curlier the extension, the more cartoony they look, providing a perfect example for the word “full-on Monet”.  Hence, they photograph beautifully but in real life they can be kindof a big mess. They are also quite costly to install and maintain.  But man, did I want some big ol’ doe eyes in my post-baby hospital pics.

So then I decided on an eyelash serum.

That’s right, I decided to grow my own goddamn extensions. But where to start?

I’ve used Rapid Lash in the past and actually gotten decent results. It provided crazy length, but not much in the way of volume. I have also used castor oil on my lashes for years but that was really the extent of my efforts. I decided to throw a little more money in this time (Rapid Lash runs about $35). I have seen and heard about great results from Lash Boost, by Rodan and Fields but it also retails for $155. No way man. Grande Lash MD lands somewhere in the middle at $65 so I decided to give it a shot when it hit Haute Look for $50.

Here are the results!

*Disclaimer – To be fair, my eyelashes weren’t terrible to begin with. And I also did not take proper “before” shots.

Before

During 

After

sorry about the nostrils

 

I think the results are pretty amazing. And even though I did not look super cute in my after-baby pics (click here to see those) I am pretty satisfied with the results.

Have YOU ever used a lash serum? What are your thoughts?