Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Top 10 Makeup Products of 2016

Well there are only a few hours left in 2016 and it seemed like a good time to reflect on the makeup products that I relied on the most during this past year.  I have my top ten, in no particular order, to share with you today.  (And a little bonus of a few other great products, because more recommendations never hurt, right?)

1. elf makeup mist and set, $3.00 - I love this setting spray for taking away the powdery look after my face makeup is done.  I also like that it doesn't make my makeup look dewy, but just blends everything together and makes it look more natural.
2. covergirl clean matte bb cream in fair, $7.99 - Over the summer I felt like everyone was raving about this bb cream.  I gave it a try to see what all the hype was about and I have used it almost every day since.  I don't usually want a lot of coverage but this just makes my complexion look really even without looking like I'm wearing a ton of makeup.  This bottle is actually almost empty and you can assure I already have a backup ready to go!
3. maybelline colossal volum' express waterproof mascara in classic black, $7.77 - If you've been with me for a long time, you know I've loved this mascara for ages.  However, lately I've noticed some flaking off in the inner corner.  I love how it holds a curl though so I use it as my first layer of mascara.
4. covergirl clump crusher water resistant in very black, $7.99 - After applying colossal, I layer this on top and it still holds a curl but this mascara does a great job of not flaking and keep anything under it from flaking as well.  It adds great length and some volume and I also love how it's water resistant but at the end of the day, it comes off really easily.  These two mascaras paired together are a perfect match!
5. milani eyeshadow primer, $7.00 - I've tried other eyeshadow primers but I just always come back to this one.  It does a great job of making my shadow last without creasing.
6. benefit erase paste in fair, $26.00 - I first tried this product back in December of 2015 and I've basically used it almost every day since then.  I have extremely dark under eye circles and this is hands down the best item I've found to cover them.  I love how emollient it is so it adds moisture to the dry under eye area yet is still incredibly opaque.
7. elf instant lift brow pencil in neutral brown, $2.00 - I love the ease of eyebrow pencils but they are usually too warm toned for me but this one is perfect!  I've almost used the whole thing up and this is another item I already have a backup for.  You can see how well loved this product is by how haggard the packaging is.  For the two dollar price tag, I think you get an amazing product that comes in cheap packaging.  As you can see, my spoolie end has broken and I've taped it back up.  But I like it so much I could still use the pencil side and just a different spoolie.
8. rimmel scandaleyes waterproof kohl eyeliner in nude, $3.97 - This liner is great at making you look less tired when applied to the waterline.  I use it almost every day.  You can see I've used a lot of it up but it lasts a really long time.  It's good stuff!
9. carmex classic lip balm, $0.98 - While this might not be considered a makeup item, seeing as how it's colorless, it would definitely be my absolute number one top makeup item.  I have tubes of this in so many different places in my life.  I use it absolutely every single day, many times a day.  Even if I do nothing more than wash my face, I will always have this on.  It's a dry lipped girl's dream come true!
10. essence matt touch blush in berry me up! - I'm not sure what the price of this item is or even if it is available in the USA yet but for my European friends, you need to get this!  I bought mine while I was in Berlin this summer and I have been loving it every moment since then!  It's just the easiest, quickest and most easy to blend blush.  I've had to force myself to branch out to other ones ever since I bought this one.

Bonus Items!  
11. manic panic dreamtone color corrector in virgin, $8.73 - This product has been amazing for me.  I'm so fair that a lot of concealers and foundations are too dark for me, even in the lightest shade.  I add just a bit of this to a product that is too dark and then I can make it work for me!  I've used it most often mixed with the elf hd lifting concealer.  However, beware that if you add a lot of it to say, a foundation, it can change the consistency of the foundation.  I don't find it to be too big of an issue but it can make the foundation or concealer set faster than it normally would.  But it's not a deal breaker by any means.
12. elf hd lifting concealer in fair, $3.00 - This concealer is fantastic!  I love it for blemishes because (when combined with the color corrector) it blends out amazingly, lasts really well throughout the day, and is easy to work with.  I've already gone through one or two other tubes of this and I have a backup too.  For three bucks, I can keep one in my bag for touchups too.
13. milani color statement lipstick in pretty natural, $6.00 - This is the perfect professional lipstick.  There've been several times that I've had an impromptu meeting on days where I hadn't done my hair or makeup as nicely as I'd like and I just throw this on and immediately feel more put together.  I even have two tubes of it, one for my makeup desk and one in my purse.
14. essence sheer and shine lipstick in bff, $2.99 - This is a lipstick that just makes your face immediately look brighter and healthier.  It gives just enough color and shine to really give something back to your face without looking unnatural.
15. maybelline baby lips in cherry me, $4.49 - This product is quite similar to the sheer and shine lipstick but it's more moisturizing.  I don't feel like I need a mirror to apply it and it works with any other makeup you're wearing.  Just like the milani lipstick, I have two of these so I can have one in my purse and one in my makeup desk.
16. elf mad for matte eyeshadow palette, $10.00 - I switch around with eyeshadow a ton and rarely use the same thing more than once a week but I find myself going back to this palette a lot.  Every shadow in it is fantastic and the palette is great on its own but also works really well with other shimmery shadows.  It's got all of the basic matte shadows a girl could want and I really love it.  If you like matte shadows and don't have it yet, go to Target and get one!  You won't regret it.
17. essence gel eye pencil waterproof in black blaze, $2.99 - This liner is amazing for tightlining!  It's really black and goes on smoothly but lasts fantastically on the upper waterline.  I haven't really tried it elsewhere on my eyes, but for that purpose, it's wonderful.
18. wet n wild color icon eyeshadow single in brulee, $0.99 - This little eyeshadow is a total workhorse and I use it almost every day.  It makes a great brow highlight shade because it's matte.  I also like to use it a lot all over the lid with just a medium matte shadow in the crease.  It's a basic that gets a ton of use from me and I've been through multiples of this little shadow.

What makeup products were a staple for you in 2016?  I'd love to hear any product recommendations you have!  What's your favorite drugstore makeup item?

Friday, December 30, 2016

My Plan to Get Back on Track for the New Year

Let me just say, I am not a New Year's Resolution person.  For me, most of them just don't stick past the first three weeks of the new year.  What I'm really preferring to call this is: My Plan to Get Back on Track for the New Year.  Allow me to explain.

Back in August, I had written about how I was having some minor health issues due to my poor lifestyle choices.  After talking with my doctor, we agreed that the best plan to fix my problem was for me to eat healthier and exercise more often so that I could lose the ten pounds that I had gained in the last year.  I took this very seriously and for all of August and September, I ate really healthy and worked out like a beast seven days a week.  I did really well with losing weight, steadily shedding half a pound a week every week.  However, it became exhausting working out like that.  My entire life was revolving around exercising and it was taking up all of my free time during the week.  Constantly denying myself fries and sweets and the things I loved was creating a constant mental battle between my cravings and my willpower.

When October rolled around, I started to slow down on the exercise.  I switched from cardio and strength training to doing yoga seven days a week but I was still eating a very restricted diet.  Then November came and the week of Thanksgiving I had a really bad cold.  With the combination of the holidays and not feeling well, I basically slouched around on the couch for the twelve day duration of my cold.  I didn't exercise at all and I ate whatever made me feel better - ramen noodles, mashed potatoes, leftover pie... you get the picture, right?

When I finally started feeling better, I got back on track with eating a little bit better but I made no effort any more to exercise.  I still was getting 10,000 steps a day every day but a lot of the time that was achieved by walking in place while watching YouTube.  Needless to say, after Christmas feasting, I've gained back quite a bit of the weight that I had lost.  Some of it is water that I'm retaining from all the excess salt but a good bit of it is also just extra fat that I've gained back from all those extra holiday calories.  I definitely don't want to continue in this pattern, so I've formulated a plan to get back on track for the new year so I can eventually meet my goal of losing that ten pounds.

1. Make healthier food choices.
Losing weight is a numbers game.  You have to burn more calories than you're taking in.  What I've found is that it is easier for me to just eat healthier than try to burn a ton of calories through exercise.  My problem is that I love to eat!  But cleaning your plate when it's full of spinach and vegetables is still a lot less calories than cleaning a plate of chicken fingers and French fries.  I know how to eat healthy, I just need to make an effort to do it.  For me, that starts with having lots of fresh produce and healthy snacks in the house and not having a bunch of junk food around to tempt me.

2. Exercise routinely... only five days a week.
Next, I know I need to get back to exercising routinely.  However, when I was doing thirty to ninety minutes of cardio and strength training and exercising seven days a week, I burnt myself out.  I plan on doing yoga, which I really enjoy both physically and mentally, but only five days a week and for thirty minutes.  Giving myself a couple days off leaves me permission to work around my schedule more.  If I have a particularly busy weekday, I can take a day off and workout on the weekend instead.  Or I can do sixty minutes the next day instead of thirty twice.  Also, I feel like yoga is exercise that I can sustain much better.  Cardio and strength training were making my blood sugars plummet - which caused me to consume more calories to raise it - which caused me to want to do more cardio to burn the calories - horrible cycle.  For me as a diabetic, yoga is much more gentle on the body while still building stronger muscles, increasing flexibility, and calming my overly active mind.

3. Get 10,000 steps six days a week.
Another way I burnt myself out was setting the expectation that I should get 10,000 steps a day, every day.  Even on weekends.  This time, I'm giving myself permission to spend one day out of the weekend just relaxing and recharging for the week to come.  Just that little thing gives me a lot more energy to accomplish my other goals throughout the rest of the week without feeling so exhausted and stressed out about getting steps in.

4. Go to sleep earlier.
Sleep!  It's the missing piece for a lot of people who are trying to lose weight.  Your body needs sleep to power your workouts but also some people who are sleep deprived have an increase in cravings for excess calories.  Plus being sleep deprived makes you age prematurely!  I'm pretty good about getting into bed early but those darn electronics keep me distracted and awake way longer than I need to be.  I need to work on putting the phone down and actually going to sleep.

5. Leave some wiggle room.
Finally, I need to give myself some wiggle room.  Having a piece of chocolate or some ice cream every now and then will not ruin me but depriving myself completely until I have a mental food breakdown may.  I feel like that's sort of what happened around Thanksgiving and Christmas when I definitely had some Cookie Monster moments.  And if I only get in four workouts in a week, that's okay!  I need to learn to not be so hard on myself when no one else has crazy unrealistic expectations for me.

Do you have any New Year's Resolutions?  How do you maintain a lifestyle of eating healthy and exercising?  I'd love to hear from you!  I hope you all have a wonderful, safe New Year's Eve!  Here's to a great 2017!  ðŸŸ 🥂 🎉 🎆 🎇

Saturday, December 17, 2016

BuddhiBox December 2016

With just a few days left until Christmas, I was excited to get my BuddhiBox in the mail, as I had kind of forgotten about it in all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  And I was pretty excited by what I saw inside!  If you missed any of the other boxes I posted about, the links for all of them are below.

November 2016
October 2016
September 2016

Lip and Cheek Tint
(shade name is Glisten)
by Orglamix 
$18.00 for full size (equal to $4.50 for the 2.5g size I received)
*Cruelty Free, Vegan
As a makeup lover, I was really excited about this at first.  A lip and cheek gelee in a pretty neutral tone!  Upon closer inspection, this product is laden with shimmer.  On the lips, the golden shimmer is very noticeable and borderline frosty.  I tried it on my cheeks today but I wasn't wearing any other makeup so I'm just not sure how it will look.  It's very balmy, which makes the texture great for lips but not so great for cheeks.  I don't think it will set and therefore will look very dewy with the possibility of sliding around on the cheeks.  It might set well and could work really well for those with dry skin.  For me, I'd rather use a matte powder.  And if I'm going to use it on my lips, I don't want shimmer in it.  We'll see about this with more trial, but I'm a little disappointed.

Sugar Lips Peppermint Scrub
by Bear's Beauty
$20.92 for full size ($0.92 for approximately 2.5g size I received)
*Cruelty Free, Vegan
I always like a good lip scrub!  I just finished up my elf lip balm scrub so this is a perfect time to try out a trial size of something else.  This smells great and the texture looks really nice.  I'm excited to try this one too!

Peppermint Tea
by TeaPigs
I've been on a total tea kick the past month, including having bought a tea kettle just this week so I was really thrilled about this!  I made myself a cup of this last night.  While peppermint tea is not my favorite and wouldn't have been my personal choice, this was still really good and truly tasted like authentic peppermint and not weird artificial peppermint flavor.  It definitely had a "minty cool" flavor as described and I like that it's caffeine free.  As far as peppermint tea goes, this is a really good one!  I think it would be great for someone with a stuffy nose.  I can see myself using the whole pack of 15 bags but it will probably take me awhile.  I just prefer my boring old orange pekoe tea.

Gratitude Candle
by Pure Candle Company
*Cruelty Free, Vegan
I love candles during the holidays and I'm really happy to have received this one.  I'm looking forward to burning it and I'm glad I received this scent, which is described as white spruce, cedar, and rose wood.  Although I swear I detect a hint of lavender.  Either way, it's a great Christmas scent.

Sparkling Mala
by BuddhiBox
I love love love this mala necklace!  I think it's a simple yet beautiful piece that I can see myself wearing a lot.  I think the lovely moss green color would look great with a burgundy sweater on Christmas too!  I can see myself wearing this quite a bit.  I'm already picturing it with jeans, a plain top, and ankle boots [sort of like Audrey's wearing here].  This is probably one of my favorite items in this box.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar
by Amazing Grass
*Organic, Vegan
I guess we were supposed to get the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt flavored bar, as that's what is listed on the card, but I got the chocolate peanut butter flavor instead.  I'm totally okay with that though, because I don't particularly like dark chocolate but I love me some chocolate peanut butter!  I was so delighted to eat this, as those are two of my favorite flavor combinations.  As soon as I was done taking these photos, I tore into this baby... and saw the most unusual texture and color ever.  Allow me to tell you that this tastes just like it looks on the inside - gross.

The texture was nasty.  It was difficult to chew to the point that it sort of made my jar sore.  I didn't notice any taste of peanut butter but it sure tasted weirdly salty.  The flavor was just off in every way.  I had my husband try it and he thought the same thing... nothing about it was right and it had a bitter gross aftertaste.  Even the chocolate was wrong.  This was so incredibly disappointing and yucky.  I don't know how you screw up chocolate and peanut butter but somehow this did.  If this is what healthy tastes like, I'll stick to my regular unhealthy Reese's cups, thank you very much.

Raga Nail Polish - BuddhiBox Bonus!
by Raga Varnish
(shade name is Ganesha)
*Cruelty Free, Vegan, 5 free, paraben free
I could not have been more pleased with the color of this polish.  I know this may show what an incredibly boring person I am but this shade is one of my favorite nail polish shades ever!  I think a light grey creme shade is perfect for a sophisticated, professional manicure.  I'm looking forward to trying it and seeing how it compares to my normal polishes.

BuddhiBox Extras
And of course some of my absolute favorite items are the cards that come with each box.  You get a quote that has the items listed on the back, a beautiful yoga pose, and this month you also got a recipe for Earl Grey Maple Hot Chocolate.  The yoga pose is the plow pose - which is exciting to me because I can actually do that pose!  A lot of times I feel like the poses are too difficult for me.  And the card with the pose is exceptionally lovely this month.

Total Value: $79.86

I absolutely loved this month's box!  Last month I just felt a bit disappointed but I'm totally digging this month's surprises.  I also feel like it was a really good value for what you got.  The most disappointing item to me was the chocolate protein bar (although I'm sure there are people out there that would love it) and the item I liked the most is the mala necklace.  What about you?  What do you think stands out as great in this box?

Friday, December 2, 2016

All the Ankle Boots

For the longest time, I have been opposed to ankle boots.  Since I’m so short, I thought they would make my legs look even shorter and stumpier than they already are.  Then a few weeks ago, hubby and I went on a double date with our friends and she was wearing the cutest pair of ankle boots.  And they didn’t make her legs look short!  They made her plain T-shirt and jeans outfit look totally stylish and cute!  Then I started to wonder why I even care how my legs look to other people if I like the shoes I'm wearing.  That was the moment that I converted from a naysayer to a lover of ankle boots.  And now I want to own all the ankle boots!  And I've also decided that ankle boots are perfect footwear for Florida because I want to wear boots but Florida is hot enough that you really only need 1/4 of a boot for warmth.  :-P

I have since purchased four different pairs of ankle boots and because they are all still currently available, I thought it would be a good time to review them and share my thoughts.  And if you happen to be Christmas shopping for someone else this weekend and decide you should treat yourself to a little something too… well, I won’t tell if you won’t!

Black Western Boot
purchased from Walmart [link]

This was the first pair I purchased and I consider them my “gateway drug” into the addicting world of ankle boots.  I bought this pair at Walmart on Black Friday for under $20.  They are a western boot style and though they are described as “cowgirl style”, I don’t think they look costumey or too western.  I wore them on Monday and received a ton of compliments on them.  One of the things that I particularly like about this pair is that they have the little cutout in the front that makes your legs look a bit longer.  And they are comfortable!  I had a busy day Monday and walked 10,000 steps in them without my feet hurting.  They do have a bit of a heel, but it’s only a two inch heel so it’s quite manageable.  They also have a pointed toe and they zip up on the inside.  If you’re not sure if you’ll like ankle boots, theses are a great pair to give the style a try with little financial risk if you don’t like them.  For reference, I usually wear a size six wide in shoes and the six and a half fit me just fine without feeling tight at all.

High Heeled Buckled Bootie
purchased from Famous Footwear [link]

This is the second pair I bought and… I don’t know what I was thinking.  They are really pretty but just so uncomfortable and impractical.  I wore these for part of the day on Tuesday and I regretted it the entire time I had them on.  I basically only walked from my car to my office and then sat in meetings all morning and my feet were still killing me.  And not only my feet, but also my hips!  I don’t know if it was the way I had to walk in them, but my hips hurt for the whole next day as well.  They have a three and a half inch heel, the fabric is incredibly rigid and stiff, and they were so difficult to walk in.  I felt like I was clomping around like a Sasquatch the whole time I had them on and my feet even hurt when I was sitting.  At the first chance I had, I changed into my slippers I keep under my desk and kept them on the rest of the day.  I’ve already returned these and I don’t recommend them.  Though they served as a good reminder that I am not a high heel person.  For reference, I bought them in a six and a half and they both pinched the wide part of my feet and hurt my toes.

Brown Western Boot
purchased from Famous Footwear [link]
Also Available on Amazon in several colors:
     brown [link]
     cinnamon [link]
     sand [link]

When I went to return the other pair of boots to Famous Footwear, I found two more I liked and this was the fifty percent off pair.  (Famous Footwear is running a BOGO 50% off sale until 12/3.)  These are really similar to the black pair that I bought first but in a brown tone.  The other differences are that these have a higher boot shaft height and they are pull on.  I don’t have any trouble getting them on or off without the zipper though and I sort of like the sleeker look without the zipper.  I found these to be just a bit tighter in the area where my feet are wide but they are still not uncomfortable and they don’t pinch.  Again, I bought these in a six and a half because they didn’t have wide sizes.  And this same style is available on Amazon in different colors!  I kind of want them all.  😆

Low Heel Buckled Boot
purchased from Famous Footwear [link]

These boots were my solution to the uncomfortable high heeled buckle ones above.  I really wanted a pair with straps and buckles that were similar to the pair my friend wore that originally convinced me that even I could wear ankle boots.  These ones had a much more practical heel height of two inches and were a lot more comfortable.  I wore them to work two days this week, both of which were very busy days and my feet didn’t hurt for a minute.  These ones are cut straight across your leg so some people may find that they are a bit less flattering than the two western style pairs that have the cutout.  However, I still think they look really cute, just in a different way.  I really like how these look with chinos and jeans but I think the western style boots look better with skirts and dresses.  For reference, I had to buy these in a size seven because the store didn’t have a six and a half in stock for me to try on.  However, I don’t feel like they are so long on me that I’m tripping on the toes or anything.  Maybe they run small?  And they are made of real suede as well.

In summary, I would recommend either pair of western boots or the authentic suede buckle ones with the low heel.  As far as those high heel boots, I wouldn’t recommend them at all.  Even if you just needed to wear them for a short time, I think you would regret it the entire time those shoes are on your feet.

Have you gotten on board with ankle boots?  If so, how do you style your ankle boots?  I’d love to hear from you!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

BuddhiBox November 2016

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I've been fighting a cold since Wednesday and I've spent most of my time off drinking orange juice and hot tea and blowing my nose.  So even though my November BuddhiBox came in the mail late on Tuesday, I haven't really had the energy to even think about it until now.  But I'm finally starting to feel a little better and I mustered up the energy to get off the couch and take some pictures so I could share with you what came in my box this month.  If you're unfamiliar with BuddhiBox, I've written in more detail about it in the September and October box posts.

Almond Orange Face Scrub
by SkinYoga
$2.00 for sample size ($18.00 for full size)
* Cruelty Free, Vegan
The first item we have here is a tiny little bottle of almond orange facial exfoliator.  At first, I was not very excited about this.  I have incredibly sensitive skin and exfoliating often irritates it even further.  However, I got brave this afternoon and decided to give it a try.  I used about one fourth of the bottle with some water to make a paste and quickly rubbed it over my skin and I am impressed!  It's a very gentle exfoliant but it's definitely effective!  My skin feels incredibly soft.  And the little wooden box it came in is so cute!  I hate to throw the box away so I think I might use it to store my earbuds on my desk at work.

Watercolor Cards
by Purely Zen
$16.00 ($4.00 each)
These cards are amazingly beautiful!  I especially love the lotus and the butterfly girl.  They are blank inside and have matching blank envelopes.  These will be perfect to send a sweet message to a friend.  Who wouldn't love getting one of these?  That would be a card I would actually keep!

Vega Coffee Sample
by Vega
$2.00 ($18.00 for full size)
* Cruelty free, Vegan
I can always get excited about coffee!  I think I got the light roast sample, just based on the color of the grounds.  I haven't tried it yet but it's set to brew for breakfast tomorrow!  I start every day with a big ole' cup of coffee and sometimes indulge in a cup or two mid day as well.  Coffee is always a welcome item in my book!

Elements Headband
by Urban Siren
* Cruelty Free
To be honest, I wasn't too terribly excited about this headband just because of the fact that it isn't my style.  I'm not a smoke/flame/whatever-this-is print kind of person.  But I do enjoy headbands some times so I'll give it a try the next time my hair is dirty.  Maybe I'll end up really liking it but my first impression is to be turned off by the print.

Organic All Natural Whitening Tooth Powder
by Smart Ash
* Organic, Cruelty Free, Vegan
To be honest, I just can't get excited about toothpaste.  I'll try it out but I'm pretty disappointed about this.

BuddhiBox Extras
The next two items were considered BuddhiBox extras.  Each box included two items from past BuddhiBoxes so the next two items varied from box to box.

Sports Wash Detergent
by No Sweat
Right there with the toothpaste, I can't get excited about laundry detergent.  I'm not even sure if I can use this, because my washer is an HE.  But I'm thinking I'll try it as a sweat stain remover.  On their website, they said you can use it on sweat stains by letting them soak and then laundering as normal.  My husband and I have some white shirts that we've set aside to try this with next laundry day.

Hair & Body Butter
by Co-PÅ«r
I was really excited about this at first because I loved last month's shea butter so much.  But when I opened up the jar...
Apparently it needed a good shaking! LOL

??  When I think of body butter, I don't usually think of this texture.  "Butter" to me would be a soft moldable solid but this is a chunky, oily, liquidy gross texture.  I'm not sure if it went bad or if it's supposed to be that way or if it just needs stirred up or what.  [Edit: Stirring did not help.  What did help was shaking the jar really hard for a good 60 seconds.  The texture you see to the right looks much better!]  But, my hair could use a deep condition and I'm also out of shave gel and need to shave my legs tonight.  So I think I'm going to slather some in my hair, slather some on my legs and then hop in the shower.  I think it will both moisturize my legs and make shaving easy.  We'll see.  I tried just applying this to my skin but it was just totally oily and nasty and really did have a texture like I had smeared a stick of butter on my hands.

Detox Stix
by Tranzend
$3.33 (full size is 30 packs for $49.99)
While I totally don't believe in the need for detoxification (a friend of mine that is a doctor says that's what your liver and kidneys are meant to do), I'm all about taking in some extra vitamins and minerals when I have a cold.  And these are basically powdered vitamins in my mind.  I thought they would taste really nasty but I tried one this afternoon and it was pretty good!  It had a light citrus flavor without tasting like Tang.  And it did better at dissolving in cold water than I thought it would.  Normally, I would have no use or interest in a product like this, but I think it was a nice little treat for a sick day.

And there are always the little cards that come with the boxes too.  The first one is a quote and also has the product information on the back.  There was also a yoga pose (this month was peacock pose) and a vegan recipe.

Total Value: $64.23
As best as I can figure out, the total value for my box was $64.23.  It was a little hard to figure out just because there were so many sample sizes but I think my math is right here.

So overall this wasn't my favorite box.  We'll save that honor for last month's box, where I seriously loved every item.  I still think there were enough items that I liked and will use to satisfy me though.  And I think this month was a great value for what I got.  I'm looking forward to December's box!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Products I've Used Over Fifteen Years

I realized the other day that there are a few products in my life that I have been using consistently since high school, which for me is over fifteen years now.  That's a long time to be loyal to a product!  Packaging on some of them has changed a bit but the products are still the same and obviously if I'm happy with them after all this time with all the other things out there on the market, then they have stood the test of time and I would definitely recommend any of them.

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner
I recall having used this early on in high school but I believe back then the packaging was beige and there weren't a bunch of different types.  My favorite is the 3 Minute Miracle Moist but I think all of them still work great.  I use this once or twice a week to deep condition my hair.

Stridex Acne Pads
These 2% salicylic acid acne medication pads have been preventing acne on my back and shoulders for so long and I just think they really work!  When I use them consistently when I wake up in the morning, I have zero breakouts in that area.  I also notice that they help to keep my keratosis pilaris in check too, along with exfoliating in the shower.

Carmex Classic Lip Balm
This lip balm is the best!  I still remember when my dad first introduced this to me (though he preferred Carmex in the little jar) when I had extremely bad chapped lips one winter.  I ended up loving how it kept my lips moisturized but also added shine like a gloss.  I've fallen in love ever since and I keep so many tubes of this on hand, it's verging on ridiculous.  I have Carmex in at least six different locations in my life and I never leave home without it.

Cover Girl Cheekers Blush in Soft Sable
Well my blush here is depotted because it lives in a Z Palette but the color is still just like I remember it back in high school.  I love how this can almost serve as a blush and highlight in one because it has a sheen to it.  It's just a really pretty and affordable blush that's not too pigmented on my fair skin.

I'd love to hear from any of you who might have some products you've been using for a long time too!  Whether you were in high school fifteen years ago, or in college, or having your first child, I'd love to hear about anything that has stood the test of time for that long.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Quite Possibly The Most Perfect Dress Ever

Friends, I know this looks like the world's most boring dress ever but it's quite possibly the most perfect dress ever.  I am so excited about this dress that I just had to snap a few photos and get this post up as soon as possible so that you can snatch this baby up while it's still in stores.  So let me explain my psychotic passion for this incredibly simple dress.  I've been on the hunt for the perfect black dress for literally years.  Now I'm not talking sexy little black dress that you wear on rare occasions when you want to remind your husband why he's happily married.  That's a whole separate thing.  I'm talking about a classic black basic dress that you can wear for well... all the other occasions.

Why is this dress perfect (at least in my opinion)?
* It has sleeves!  If I'm too lazy to think about wearing something over top, I don't have to. And the sleeves are still thin and comfortable enough to layer something over it in the winter.  And though it's long sleeved, it has the button tabs to roll the sleeves and convert them to 3/4 length.
* Layering ability also makes the dress more versatile.  I can wear this with a cardigan or a blazer.  On me, the sleeves are the perfect length to cuff back over so you still see them when layering. [like this] A scarf would look nice with it or I could also see it with a long colored necklace.  Details like that can take it from just a dress to an outfit if I'm feeling less lazy when I get ready that morning.
* It's comfortable while still flattering.  I want to look cute and accentuate my small waist but I also want to eat burritos every now and then and not suck in my stomach afterward.  This dress is perfect because it has an elastic waistband with a belt (removable) that makes it slightly fitted to make me look like I'm not wearing a sack but it isn't as tight as say, that little black dress.
* The length is right at the knee on me.  I needed this dress to be a length that I could wear to work or other conservative events.  I also don't want to feel like I have to wear opaque tights or leggings or something with it every time.  Living in the south means that more than half the year it's too hot for that.  This dress is conservative enough to be perfect for work, casual date night, a wedding, or a baby shower.
* It has hidden side pockets!  And the pockets do not make my hips look any bigger than they already are.
* It's a shirt dress!  Shirt dresses are by far my favorite style of dress because I can disguise my insulin pump between the girls and the details of the dress make it really hard to tell it's there.  #diabeticproblems
* It actually fits me!  That seems like a no brainer but that has been the biggest reason why I've passed up (or bought and ended up not loving) most every other black dress out there.  Since I'm so petite (I'm only 4'11" tall, with very narrow shoulders), it's really hard for me to find dresses that fit.  Very few stores even sell petite size dresses.  The ones that do are usually much more expensive than what I'm willing to pay and a bit more formal, uncomfortable, and stuffy than what I wanted.  Dresses in styles I've liked before have been too wide at the shoulders, which causes the dress to be really uncomfortable and also to ride up at the waist when moving and then all your bits are showing.  A lot of times dresses end up being too low cut because they fall differently on me than people who are average height.  This dress is sold in sizes XS - XXL so it has quite a generous size range and I found that the XS was perfect for this hobbit sized woman.

I sold you with the pockets, didn't I?  I bet now you're wondering where I scored this amazing, perfect dress that I'm sure you're now itching to buy as well.  Well you can run right out to your local Target and pick it up for $27.99!  That's right, Target!  And if you don't have a Target near you, I have more good news!  Between now and January 1 of 2017, is having a free shipping & free returns deal going on!  So if you want, you can order it risk free.  But wait, there's more good news!  (At this point I feel like an infomercial so I'm just going to go ahead and say that this post is not sponsored and I bought this dress twice with my own money and Target I'm sure has no idea what a weirdo I am for this dress.  LOL.)  The dress comes in multiple colors and prints, in case you don't need a perfect black dress but need something else.  I also bought it in the black and white print below.  I wore the black and white one today to work with maroon fleece lined leggings and a black cardigan over the dress.

If you do want to buy this dress, there are two separate links on to check out.  Just FYI, these are not affiliate links.

This link will take you to the dress in black, black and white print, olive green, or cobalt blue. [link]  I'm seriously considering ordering the olive green one because it wasn't sold in either of the Targets I frequent.
This link will take you to the dress in tiger print, burgundy, or black and white vertical stripes. [link]

And for my beautiful plus sized friends out there, has some lovely options for convertible sleeve shirt dresses for you as well.

Here's an olive green utility shirt dress that's fantastic looking.  [link]
And I really wish this grey full button down shirt dress was in my size! [link]
This chambray style dress would be adorable now with boots and in the warmer months with sandals! [link]

If anyone else out there has a dress they love as much as I love this one, let me know!  I've been wearing dresses to work a ton lately because it's just so easy to pick out one thing to wear and then be on my way and I know I'll be shopping for more again soon.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

September/October Empties

The empties were just piling up around this house so I figured it was time to talk about what I've used up in the last couple of months.  We'll kick things off with makeup and then move on to the rest.

maybelline colossal volum' express waterproof mascara in classic black X2: For the longest time, this was my absolute favorite mascara.  But then I started noticing that every day, I would have a smudge in the same spot in the undereye area of my right eye.  I'm trying out a different mascara right now.
carmex lip balm X3: I love this stuff!  And I always seem to run out of the tubes in my stash at the same time.  I keep it in multiple different places in my life, which is how I just happened to finish three up around the same time.
elf makeup mist & set: I use this every day to set my makeup and take away the powdery look.  It's super affordable and does just fine for me!
covergirl simply powder foundation in ivory: This powder is okay.  I have another compact of it but right now I'm using my l'oreal true match powder, as I find it much softer and less dry looking.
elf clear brow & lash mascara: I received this in an elf subscription box awhile back.  It holds my brows just fine but I feel like both ends come out with too much gel on them and then my brows look and feel wet.  Lately I've been preferring brow wax to gel.

Skincare #1
olay daily facials X2: These are dry cloths that you get wet and then lather them up and they contain soap that gently cleanses the skin and removes all of my makeup.  If anything at all is left the next morning, it might be just a bit of waterproof eyeliner or mascara.  I love these things and I've already bought more.
topcare makeup remover wipes X2: I use these to get off those waterproof eye makeup bits that might be left over the next day.  I get them at Winn-Dixie and they are really inexpensive, gentle on sensitive eyes and contacts, and they work great!
sweat cosmetics skin balancing cleansing towelette: I got this in my September Buddhi Box.  I think it would remove sweat just fine but I wouldn't count on it to remove makeup like it says it can.  I found I still had to go in with an olay daily facial after this to get off the remaining makeup.
kuddles baby wipes: I use these to clean up swatches and keep my makeup area clean.  They are really inexpensive and work great!
up & up wet cleansing towelette: I bought these when I needed makeup wipes but wasn't going to Winn-Dixie soon to get my TopCare ones.  These are okay but they usually cost more than the TopCare ones and aren't as gentle on my eyes.  But they still get the job done.

Skincare #2
topcare skin cleanser: This is generic for Cetaphil's Gentle Skin Cleanser, as is the Publix one.  This one is really cheap at Winn-Dixie and works just as well as the brand name.
publix gentle clean:  Another generic for Cetaphil.  They all seem to be the same formula to me so I'm fine with saving a few bucks.
cetaphil moisturizing lotion: If I had seen a generic for this fellow, I would have bought it.  This lotion is so gentle that I can use it on my hands, feet, or even my face.  It doesn't break me out or irritate my face at all but it does look quite greasy on your face.  I wear it to sleep so it doesn't matter to me.  I think it's great if you need lots of hydration!
olay sensitive skin spf 15 moisturizer: My face is really sensitive to high levels of SPF but the SPF 15 in this gives me some sun protection without causing me to break out in itchy hives.  I'd like a higher level of SPF in my day time moisturizer but I haven't found one yet that my skin could get along with well.
up & up sensitive skin spf 15 moisturizer: This is the Target store brand equivalent of the Olay.  It's not nearly as good.  I'm not sure why but this formula just doesn't absorb into the skin as well and it's thinner and more runny.  I think the best store brand equivalent is the Walmart Equate version.  I've tried it before and I like it but when you're at Target, I think it's best to buck up for the real deal in this case.
avon lotion: A few years ago, my mom bought me a ton of little tubes of this Avon lotion and I've been working through them ever since.  The lotion itself works really well but they all have the same scent that I can't put my finger on.  But it's really strong and I find it unpleasant so I don't enjoy using the lotion but I'm trying to work through the last two or three bottles of it.
cerave eye repair cream: This is a weird thing.  I've tried this eye cream before and really liked it but I happened to order this particular tube from Amazon and noticed a distinctly different texture to it than ones I've purchased from Target or Walmart.  I also noticed that the Amazon one separated in the tube but the others didn't.  I think this is an absolutely amazing and inexpensive product but I guess I'm saying that I don't recommend buying it from Amazon.  Something was just weird about the tube I got from there.

Body Mist - Lavendar Fields, Juicy Grapefruit, & Vanilla Bean
I bought all three of these in the travel size from Target.  Let me just say that they make terrible body mist.  They last all of about five minutes.  Once they dry on your skin, you won't smell them any more.  I used them instead as aromatherapy while I did yoga but they weren't very good for that either.  I don't recommend them.  I've also tried the coordinating Vanilla Bean and Coconut Water lotions as well.  The vanilla lotion is pretty nice but the coconut water smells just disgusting.  It doesn't smell like coconut at all too me and the weird scent lingers on.  I just don't think this line of You Are Amazing products is good at all in my opinion.

Hair Care
not your mother's double take dry finish texture spray: I love this stuff!  It smells great and it really does add texture without making your hair hard.  It's great to give hair some grip for any kind of updo!
salon grafix invisible dry spray shampoo: This stuff in the old formula shown here was good.  Now they've changed the formula and I've changed to a different brand.
garnier fructis root amp: This stuff is so inexpensive and yet so effective!  I use it on damp hair and it adds volume to my fine roots.
aussie 3 minute miracle smooth: I love the aussie deep conditioners!  This one has a different scent, not coconut, that I can't put my finger on.  It still smells nice though.
aussie 3 minute miracle moist:  This is my favorite aussie deep conditioner though.  I just love that coconut smell and it really moisturizes my hair!
not your mother's beach babe texturizing sea salt spray: I've really been loving almost all of the not your mother's products that I've tried and this one is no exception.  I've already repurchased but this time in the tropical banana scent!

I'd love to know what items you've used up lately and how you felt about them!  You really get to know a product when you use the entire thing!