Planning, Etsy Haul, and Giveaway – July, Averie’s Birthday Party, Week of 7.2.18

Hello, interwebz! I have been working on this post for awhile, but have been sick and busy. So, it’s a few weeks late, but you might get something out of it (literally!) I found a birthday scrapbook kit from Tuesday Morning and ordered some stickers from Etsy. Then, I mashed them all together in my planner for the monthly overview and first week of July.

I gathered together all of my stuffs and prepared myself for some epic planning…and then worked on it five minutes at a time throughout the day.

I ordered a few stickers from XOXO Prints on Etsy. I mean, penguins, you guys. Penguins. Also, I wanted to do a mermaid or sea theme for the week of my stepdaughter’s birthday because she loves mermaids and sea creatures so much. XOXO Prints had both! I just love Natasha’s work and these photos cannot do justice to the vivid colors. As a member of the Facebook group, I also got some freebies that I want to hug. I placed all the stickers in the back of my planner on some extra pages to make sure I have access to the penguins as the moods strike my planning soul.

Then, of course, I ordered some Gertie stickers from WilaWalaCo. Jenna recently moved across the country and I was kinda feenin’ for a Gertie fix. When I saw the “Pants Are Evil” stickers, that was it! I had to buy them! I want one for every day of my life. Pants are worse than bras. Pajamas for life!

I also picked up some Gertie stickers to remind me to be creative and track my instagramming. Gertie is the unicorn mentor that I’ve always wanted. Le sigh. I’m a Gertie Gal on Facebook, so I got some freebies with my order. In addition to another sticker to add to my discount card.

The Stickery was recommended to me, I believe, by my good friend, Sarah. The store had great prices on some social media productivity stickers as well as a Christmas countdown sheet that I loved. With these stickers, I might actually be inspired to get stuff done when I’m not dying from stress and the heat! Woo hoo!

First, I worked through the scrapbooking kit and added it to the last week of June, which is when we celebrated Averie’s birthday. There was a little folder and a few questionnaires. I think Averie will both be humiliated and love looking back on these in the years to come. Lilah actually took all of the pictures since I was in no shape to do so. Extra thanks to Lilah for preserving these memories for us!

Then, I started on July. It’s a busy month, and I’m really looking forward to our family vacation this month. I apologize for all of the green boxes, but I’m trying to protect people’s privacy. So many birthdays, doctors, memories, and events this month!

So, I focused on the first week of July next. As you can see from the monthly view, it’s a busy week. We celebrate Independence Day in the U.S. on Wednesday and I’m off work, but I’m also on call and will be out of town. Work is complicated by the holiday. Life is complicated by the holiday. What’s a gal to do? I just loaded the pages with beautiful and happy stickers to remind me of the good parts of each day.

I went in and filled out all the events afterwards and tried to keep it looking semi-pretty. By the end of this week, there will probably be no white left on these pages. Until then, breathe in stickers…breathe out stickers…Wait. Eww.  Gross.

If you have read through all of this, then you deserve an award! This month, I’m actually going to give one of my supercoolreallyawesome readers an award. Remember those XOXO Prints penguin stickers? If you win, then you will get your choice of a full sheet of the coffee penguin, sick penguin, or celebrating penguin stickers. Do you know how hard it was for me to not use these yet?! The contest starts on July 4th at 12 AM CT and ends July 11th at 12 AM CT.  Click on the RaffleCopter link below to enter the giveaway for a chance to lay your hands on some of these cute stickers!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/008275071/?

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Advertisements

Haul and Review – Marshall’s, Ipsy, and Pimple Patches

Hello, interwebz! Today, I’m going over a few products from a few different places. I got these products in May and have had plenty of time review and test most of it.

First up, was my trip to Marshall’s. As I said in a previous post, I got a crappy brush for my hair the last time I went to Marshall’s. So, I tried a new one. The Swissco Pro Vent Brush works very well on my hair. I only brush my hair before I wash it (2-3 times per week) and have no idea how it works as an actual vent brush since I don’t blow dry my hair. It does remove tangles easily, pulls stray hairs from my head, and massages my scalp as I brush.

The Skinfix Gentle Lotion was intended for babies with eczema. (That’s me!) In all seriousness, I absolutely love this lotion! It soothed my skin right away. My back is slowly improving from using this. I tried using it on my face, but it healed eczema while creating pimples. So, that was a bit disappointing. This lotion has helped me stop scratching my back in my sleep, and for that I am grateful.

I bought the Alba Fast Fix for Undereye Circles after using their fast fix tinted moisturizer spot treatment. This did work well as a concealer, but didn’t last all day. However, it didn’t bother my skin. So, I still like it. If you have sensitive skin and are looking for a concealer, try this one.

Ipsy is an online subscription service that offers five full size beauty and skincare products for $10/month. If you want your products sooner or want to know which products you’ll be getting, then you have to hassle friends on social media to get them to sign up too. If you’re patient, you can get the goods and keep your friends. For every dollar you spend on the site, you get one point that you can use towards ordering other items on the site. If you like the products in a specific bag, you can order more of them on the site, often at a discount. Leaving reviews on things helps specialize the items that you get each month. May’s glam bag had a super cool travel-themed makeup bag, NYX Soft Matte Lip Créme, Elizabeth Mott Pop! Goes the Shadow eyeshadow, Grace & Stella Dead Sea Mud Mask, Eyeko Eye Do Liquid Eyeliner, and a SLMISSGLAM eyeshadow brush. (I thought that the eyeshadow brush wasn’t included in my set, but I found it in the bag the stuff shipped in after I wrote and edited this post. I edited the post again, but didn’t retake pics.)

I loved the bag because I love all things travel. The eyeshadow and lip créme match and are both colors that I use, but I didn’t try the eyeshadow yet. The lip créme was soft, but I didn’t see much of a change to the color of my lips. I have never been able to put on my own eyeliner, but I tried the Eyeko eyeliner a few times before washing my face at night and really liked how smoothly it went on, even over the dry patches on my right eye. I can’t speak to it’s staying power since I immediately washed it off my face. The mud mask is great! I loved how clean my face felt afterwards without feeling too dry. I will say that any open sores on my face stung a bit, but that was to be expected. Otherwise, it felt like the mask did a decent job at both cleaning and shrinking my pores. If you’d like to try Ipsy, you can use my referral link. I get 250 points, but I’m not sure what you get. Maybe a discount? I wish the site were clearer on that.

Now, the part I have been waiting for *drumroll please*. Medca M Universal Acne Patches vs CosRX Acne Pimple Master Patch. I tried CosRX first and was pleasantly surprised at how well they stuck to my face and how much junk they pulled from my pores. I tried the Medca patches because they were a bit cheaper and I knew I’d be going through lots of acne patches. The Medca patches were nowhere near as sticky as the CosRX patches were. If you got them to stay in place, then they would pull a decent amount of gunk from your pores. However, you couldn’t touch any part of the patch without losing both the stickiness and the effectiveness of the gunk pulling. Since you apply the patches with your hands, I couldn’t figure out a way to guarantee that the Medca patches didn’t fall off my face before I even made it to bed. I am now on my third package of CosRX patches and am leery about trying any other brands for fear of disappointment.

Those are a few things that have been helping my eczema, acne, and desire to try new things. Have you ever tried Ipsy? What was your experience like? Do you recommend any other brands of pimple patches? Let me know in the comments what kind of shopping and skin experiences you’ve been having! Thanks for reading!

Unboxing – Love With Food May

Hello, Interwebz! As I type this, I am listening to The Indicator episode about delayed gratification and am trying to figure out if I will be successful in life. I used to tear into these Love With Food boxes immediately, but now that I write about them, I wait for weeks to open them. If you’ve ever wanted to try the snack box that also donates meals to food banks, then now is a great time. The semi-annual snack sale is going on through June 30, 2018!

This month’s theme is Thrive. It’s a reminder to “not just live, but thrive!” The box flyer also reminds us to be thankful to the people who help us thrive.

As for the contents of the box:

  • (TRUWOMEN) You’re Mocha Me Cocoa Protein Powder – Haven’t tried this yet, but you mix it with water for a chocolately protein drink.
  • (You Love Fruit) Fruit Leather – Yummy, but hard to eat.  They are multiple thin slices of fruit (mine was mango) that you peel off a piece of paper and eat separately.  They were so thin that I couldn’t really chew them and they stuck to my teeth.  Delicious, though!
  • (Stoneridge Orchards) Montmorency Cherries – These cherries are huge!  They are dried and taste like cherries instead of sugar, so that’s good.  I like them alone, in a homemade mixture of dried fruit and almonds, or added to my yogurt.  They would probably be good added in anything and everything.  Chocolate chip cherry cookies, anyone?

  • (MadeGood) Vanilla Crispy Square – I was most surprised by this item.  It is a big puffed rice cereal square with no gelatin/marshmallow in sight.  Seeing as I looooove marshmallows, but I do not eat gelatin, these are absolute heaven for me!  Not as sweet as a typical puffed rice treat either.
  • (Ruger) XOXO Mini Wafer – Kinda like having a shot of cookie instead of a shot of vodka
  • (Salty Road) Passion Fruit Salt Water Taffy – Haven’t tried this yet, but I have had this company’s other taffy flavors in other boxes and they were soft and tasty!

  • (Bacon’s Heir) Pork Clouds – I’m vegetarian and did not eat these.  I’ve had them in boxes before and gave them to my husband, who though they were good and interesting.  This time, I gave them to a coworker who has yet to eat them.

So, that’s it for my May snacking box.  Maybe I’ll be extra motivated and review my June snacking box in June!  As mentioned earlier, the Semi-Annual Snack Sale is going on right now at Love With Food.  If you use code “SASS18” when you buy a plan for at least six months, you can get $10 off and a free box worth $20!

***I am not affiliated with Love With Food and will not get anything from this promotion.  I just enjoy the company’s items and what they support.***

Let me know if you do try Love With Food and what you think about the subscription boxes.  Let me know what you think of any of the snacks you buy on the site too.  Do you subscribe to any other subscription snack boxes?  Would you recommend them?

If you love free stuff, make sure not to miss any of my upcoming blogs.  I will be announcing a giveaway soon from another company that I love.  In the meantime, thanks for reading!

Review – a.c. care Bee’s Skin Care 2pcs Set

Hello, interwebz! In the last part of my skincare saga, I began a skincare routine to deal with severe acne, pimples, irritation, eczema. After about four days, I switched out products to an even more gentle routine.

This was when I tried the horse oil toner that worked so well. I also used CosRX Acne Pimple Master Patches, which is what really started making a difference on my cystic acne around my nose and chin. Afterwards, I realized that my problem was less of a pimple issue and more of an irritation issue.

I went to the Shiseido store and picked up some cotton squares that don’t fall apart the way the dollar brands do. They didn’t have anything to treat acne or eczema, but I got some samples of products to help with moisture and color spots. I also got an Esfolio Banana Mask to see if it would help. It was amazing! The mask immediately calmed my skin and took away the redness from anything that wasn’t a scab or sore. It smelled like a banana milkshake and the fragrance didn’t bother my skin or nose. Shiseido sunscreen has also been the only sunscreen that I’ve tried so far that hasn’t caused breakouts, has no scent, and withstood my constant sweating in this Texas heat. I used a sample, but will be buying a full size container soon.

Near Shiseido was another Asian beauty store that sold a brand I had never heard of before – a.c. care. I was told that this is what all the teenagers with acne buy because it’s on sale often, whereas Dr. Jart never goes on sale at that store. a.c. care products are supposed to be made with bee venom and other natural ingredients. Buying the treatment set meant that I also got the face cleanser, trial kit, and samples for free. Along with the “buy 10, get 7” masks deal, I believe everything came to a little less than $94. I had never spent that much money on beauty products in my life! I have always tried to stick to the $5 and under range, but I was desperate. Ben ended up buying it all for me as my Mother’s Day gift and we joked about me getting a new face for Mother’s Day.

Now, you may be thinking, “Hey idiot! How is bee venom any better than horse oil?!” It’s not. When the sales woman said, “bee venom”, I thought, “bee spit”. It might be a little gross, but that’s basically honey, and I knew that honey was good for my skin. Stupidity is no excuse, though.

When I read the ingredients lists, most of the products had bee’s venom at the end of the ingredients list. That made me feel better because we were basically paying for the words on the box and not the actual venom. However, I did decide to write up the first five ingredients in every product and link them to reports on how good or bad the ingredients are (see the end of my post). Some of the links provided are easier to read and understand than the actual research papers I read on them. Most of the ingredients actually weren’t very natural and has questionable side effects. I didn’t want horse meat on my face, but I was willing to try butylene flycol and denatured alcohol to see if they might give me some relief.

***None of the photos of myself have been edited in any way other than cropping.  This is me in all of my inflamed skin glory.***

IMG_5666

IMG_5667

IMG_5669

IMG_5671

IMG_5672

fullsizeoutput_179b

After three weeks of using this stuff, I do think it’s helping. Pimples aren’t really an issue anymore, just the inflammation, texture, and sores. The eczema is all over my neck, chest, and back too. I even have spots of it on my fingers. So, I think the heat is aggravating my eczema all over. I have seen improvements on my face and neck in terms of calming new irritations. I have no new cystic acne and have slow improvement on parts of the eczema. I have a bad habit of picking at my skin during the day and don’t even realize what I’m doing until my hands are bloody. So, that is not helping. Mostly, I am trying to be consistent and patient. Surprisingly enough, my new skincare routine seems to be working.

***I only researched the first five ingredients on each list because they will be the most concentrated. Afterwards, you’re usually looking at ingredients in the 1% or less range. That is a negligible amount unless you are highly allergic to a specific ingredient.***

Two Piece Set plus free Cleanser

a.c. care Bee’s Pure Skin Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Alcohol Denat., Glycereth-26

a.c. care Bee’s Moist Lotion Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Glycerin, Cabbage Rose Flower Water

a.c. care Bee’s Foaming Cleanser Ingredients: Water, Stearic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Lauric Acid

a.c. care Bee’s Trial Set

Contents of set: Bee’s Foam Cleanser, Bee’s Water Essence, Bee’s Spot Serum, Bee’s Control Cream, Bee’s Shield B.B. Cream

Bee’s Water Essence Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol Denat, Propanediol, Glycereth-26

Bee’s Spot Serum Ingredients: Water, Alcohol Denat, Butylene Glycol, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer

Bee’s Control Cream Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin

Bee’s Shield B.B. Cream Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Dimethicone Copolyol, Titanium Dioxide

Skincare Haul & Review – Silicone Applicator, Guerisson 9-Complex Toner, Innisfree Green Tea Cleansing Foam, and Ample: N Hyaluron Shot Cream

Hello, interwebz!  I am addicted to Korean skincare and the multi-step skincare method.  In this post, I’ll show you what I did to deal with the acne breakout that happened after I used BB cream that my skin did not like.  Eventually, the pimples turned into eczema and it has become a whole disaster that I’m trying to deal with in the cheapest, yet most effective, way possible.

***None of the pics of me are touched up in any way.  I just cropped them so that you can focus on the natural anger of of skin.  With irritation like this, who needs blush?***

Here are some products that I ordered for this post.  Because my skin is so fussy, I try new items one at a time so that I can see how it works before incorporating a grander scheme.  Only the cleansing foam was actually used the night the photos were taken, but I do include my reviews below on the other products.

fullsizeoutput_17a5

I got the applicator for less than $2 from WalMart when we were visiting my in-laws.  I ordered the Guerisson 9-Complex Toner, Innisfree Green Tea Cleansing Foam, and the Ample: N Hyaluron Shot Cream on Amazon.  These were some of the first Korean skincare products that I’ve tried and I started, as always, with the cheapest stuff.  Everything from Amazon was under $10 with Prime shipping.  After a week of using the Guerisson toner, I realized that it was made with horse oil, which is not like tiger balm or horse shampoo.  Horse oil is not made from plants and is not used on horses, but is a byproduct of processing horse meat.  The Guerisson toner worked better than the toner I used in this post, but I couldn’t continue rubbing horse innards on my face.  I also found out that something in the Ample:  N Hyaluron Cream irritates the skin on my eyes.  I used it for three nights and my skin was okay, but my eyelids were puffy.  My right eyelid was so puffed up that I could only open my eye halfway and I eventually developed eczema on that eye.  So, I’m not sure if the eczema was in reaction to the cream or if it was already there and the cream made it worse, but I have put the Hyaluron Cream aside for now and will try it again when my skin clears up completely.  I haven’t actually used the applicator on any face masks yet, but I have used it on every cream and lotion that comes in a tub.  I’m paranoid about adding germs to the creams and changing the way they work, so this $2 solution was great!

Here is my face before I washed it.  You can see the biggest pimples and quite a bit of redness.  I should’ve taken a picture of the side of my face too because it was red and irritated.  I also needed to dye my gray hairs, but wanted to try to soothe my skin a bit before I added harsh chemicals to my head.

fullsizeoutput_17ab

Here are the items that I actually used for this post.

fullsizeoutput_17ad

For the last year or two, I have basically been washing my face with water and putting aloe gel on it before bed or any time that it starts feeling dry.  I knew I’d have to change things when I started wearing makeup, but I didn’t anticipate having such a crazy reaction from my skin so soon.  The Korean skincare system has been the only thing that seems to work right now, and this was my first attempt at most of the steps.  This video from Beauty Within, this one from The Beauty Breakdown, and this one from Gothamista are some of my favorite skincare routine videos.  I have the products above in the order that I used them.

  1. Kopari Coconut Cleanser
  2. Innisfree Green Tea Cleansing Foam
  3. Sephora Pink Clay Mask
  4. Dickinson’s Pore Perfecting Toner
  5. Aura Cacia Tea Tree Oil
  6. Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
  7. Sample of Avon Anew Clinical Eye Lift Pro Dual Eye System

First, I cleansed with an oil to really break down any goop, sweat, moisturizer, sunscreen, etc.

fullsizeoutput_17ae

Then, I used the cleansing foam to really clean everything off of my skin.  When I first heard about double cleansing, I thought it was crazy, but now I get it.  Two different cleansers for two different reasons.  The green tea cleanser comes out rather creamy and you work it into a foam by adding water to your hands and rubbing the cleanser between them.  The instructions didn’t say this, so I tried to put it on dry skin without anything else first.  It worked much better after adding water.

fullsizeoutput_17b0

The cleanser was supposed to be calming, but it stung a bit since I had so many open sores on my face.  However, I didn’t feel squeaky clean afterwards, which meant that it was not stripping my skin of essential oils and would not tell my skin to overproduce sebum for more pimples.

fullsizeoutput_17b1

I followed up the foam with a clay mask to try to pull extra junk from my pores.  I just want all the junk out so that I am not piling good ingredients on top of pimple goo in my pores.  The mask is something that I only use once or twice a week.  I used it instead of an exfoliator because it was less irritating to my skin than a physical or chemical exfoliant would have been.  This specific mask doesn’t dry either, which I have noticed my skin likes more than the ones that dry on your face.

fullsizeoutput_17b3

Instead of rinsing off the mask over the sink, I went ahead and took a shower.  I like to take showers at night because it helps cool down my body in these brutal Texas summers. (It’s technically spring, but when you’re hitting 100 degree weather, it’s summer no matter the date.)  Washing off the mask during my shower meant that I didn’t have to worry about getting it all out of my hair or getting the mask on the bathroom counter.  Win-win!

Next, I put some toner onto a cotton pad and swiped my skin lightly with it.  This step is supposed to prepare your skin to accept the active ingredients that will be treating problems.  This toner is super cheap and works well, but it wasn’t doing much for my eczema issue, so I switched to something else a week or two later.  After the toner, I patted tea tree oil onto my pimples.  Normally, you’re supposed to use a carrier oil to dilute the tea tree oil so that it’s not so strong.  With the giant pimples I had, I did not want to add any extra oils that were not going to work specifically towards clearing my skin.  I don’t use the tea tree oil unless I have crazy pimples like this, so it didn’t really bother my skin, but it did nothing to help my eczema on my cheeks.  As a moisturizer, I used coconut oil.  I used the silicone applicator to spoon out a little oil and pat it all over my face and neck.  Overnight, it soaked into my skin to moisturize and calm my skin while treating acne (or at least pulled the gunk to the surface to remove from the pimple).  Finally, I tried my samples of Anew eye cream for night.  I don’t think it did any good, but it didn’t do any bad, either.  I didn’t have an allergic reaction and my skin was smooth.  So, I guess it worked well.

fullsizeoutput_17b5

Overall, I think you can see how much calmer my skin was at the end of the skincare routine than it was at the beginning.  If you are looking into Korean skincare or even just trying to calm down angry skin, then the items used in this post should work pretty well for most people.  Even though I have very sensitive and combination skin with eczema, none of the items I used were bad for anyone with dry, oily, combo, or sensitive skin.  You always have to try things out for yourself to see.  I definitely saw a difference in my skin after doing this routine for a couple of days.

Thanks for reading this long post!  Have you tried any of the products mentioned in this post?  Do you think you’d try skincare products made with horse oil?  What are your favorite tips for calming down angry skin and clearing up pimples?  Let me know in the comments!

Planning – Week of 5.14.18

Hello, interwebz! Today, I have a planning post for you. There aren’t as many pictures as I normally post because I recorded a video of this and took pictures for possible thumbnails. Then, I lost of all of it. Then, I found everything. I don’t have time to edit the video, though. So, I’m going to try to do a June video, but I still wanted to get this one up on the blog.

fullsizeoutput_178e

First up, I wanted to show you an end of the week pic of my planner. I left lots of empty space for doodling, but I ended up being so busy that I didn’t get to doodle. You can see how much I add in here other than just my planned events. I use my journal to track health info, work hours, etc. it’s a record of my life, one week at a time.

fullsizeoutput_1790

For the new week, I kept things pretty simple because I was doing the video. Again, I wanted to leave room for doodling. So, I brought out my washi and stickers.

fullsizeoutput_1792

I had some new mini binder clips that I got from Tuesday Morning. These work well in my planner as a marker for the current week by helping me find the current week when I open up the journal.

fullsizeoutput_178f

Above is my finished before the pen spread. I left lots of space for recording my week as well as any other notes that I needed. I finally got to use my Japanese washi from Daiso. I really could have used a vacation to Japan at that point. That week, exhaustion hit me pretty hard. I think my body was starting to realize that I am back on the day shift and it’s not just temporary. Plus, the temperature outside was getting into the triple digits. I don’t do well in the heat. Exhaustion and migraines have become my two best friends until it starts to cool off in November (I hope!)

Lastly, there’s the end of the week pic. My week was full and I was exhausted. My in-laws were in town (an hour away on the opposite side of the metroplex), so my husband had to drive out there after work every day that they were here to show them where to eat for dinner. That meant that I didn’t get to see my husband much, but I also didn’t have to feel guilty for being exhausted and having a headache all week. I was also oncall, which makes me feel stressed and guilty. That was a hard week and I was grateful when it was over.

Next time, I hope to have a planning video up with the blog post. What do you think about my sparsely decorated planner? What do you do to cope with exhaustion? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Beauty Haul and Reviews – Sephora, Target, Daiso, and Marshall’s

Hello, interwebs! Let me begin this post by saying that I do not have a lot of money and did not get all of these things at the same time. This is stuff that I got over the course of about two months from various stores. Also, I got all of this stuff before I went to Daiso the last time, but the pics were originally lost. With my sensitive skin, there is a lot of trial and error, mostly error, so I thought this post would still be beneficial to anyone wondering where to find skincare products for sensitive skin, how much they cost, and if they work.

This Caudalie set was actually my free birthday gift from Sephora last year, but I never used it. I still haven’t tried it, but will soon because it fits into the Korean skincare routine. I only add one new product to my skin regime at a time, so I may try these in a few weeks.

Christina gave me this gift set of Soap & Glory Heel Genius and Hand Food. The foot cream has urea, so the smell bugs me. I slather it on my feet before bed and put on socks, though, so I don’t really smell it. I really like the hand cream, even if the grape seed oil bothers my nose. It doesn’t help the eczema on my thumb and forefinger, but it doesn’t make the eczema worse either. As far as softening your skin, both products do a pretty good job. These do contain parabens and sulfates in addition to the urea, so I won’t be buying them when I finish these. I am grateful for the quick relief on my sore skin, though. They are available at Sephora, Ulta, Target, and Amazon for under $10.

After deciding to try the Korean Skincare Routine, I figured that I should stop at Daiso. Why start with the expensive stuff if the cheap products will work? I got a beauty blender because I wanted to try it when I start working with liquid makeup. I thought it might only take a few weeks to heal my skin and then I’d move on to finding the right makeup for my skin, but I was wrong. The first thing I tried was the coconut mask and it was amazing! It soothed my skin, healed some sores, and moisturized. It didn’t remove the giant pimples even though it brought them closer to the surface, making them easier to treat with other products. I use the charcoal wipes when I get home from work or any other time that my skin is itching and hurting. I start picking at my skin if I can’t soothe it, and the wipes have been good for calming my skin between washes. The concealer stick was okay. It’s the exact same color as my skin and blends easily. It doesn’t make blemishes or the circles under my eyes disappear, but it doesn’t settle in wrinkles, lines, or pores either. Most importantly, it does not break out my skin. I’ll keep using it for now, but will need to find something better later. I haven’t tried the vitamin E mask or charcoal blotting papers yet , but I’m sure they will be fine. Overall, I was surprised with how well these Daiso products worked, considering none of them was more than $3.

On a shopping trip at Target, I picked up some Biore Charcoal Pore Strips on sale ( box of 6 for $5.99) and Shea Moisture Smooth and Tame Treatment Masques on clearance. I’ve used Biore pore strips before, but not the charcoal strips. I think the charcoal pore strips I got at Daiso worked better than these. The other kinds of Biore strips worked better for me than these too. The box I got came with a single packet of Biore Charcoal Self-Heating One Minute Mask. I had tried the non-charcoal mask before and liked it, but I’m not sure if the heat was good for my eczema. My face always feels clean, but soft after those masks, though. Using the masks before the strips actually works better. I think the heat opens your pores, making it easier for the strips to grab gunk from them. I haven’t tried the Shea Moisture hair treatments yet because I prefer to use them after dyeing my hair. These were on clearance for $.64 and I couldn’t pass up such a deal! The Shea Moisture packs have no sulfates, parabens, pthalates, don’t test on animals, etc. This is more like the type of beauty products I try to buy when I’m not desperate for solutions to my skin problems.

When Sephora had their VIB sale in April, I went with Christina to check out the deals. I found a Sephora Pink Clay mask that was $8 for 4 treatments. I thought the pink clay might help soothe my skin. Christina ended up buying it for me, along with “the best beauty blender on the market” and a mo fo Glam Glo Glittermask!!! I argued with her about buying all this stuff, but she said that she wanted to treat me. I have only used the pink clay mask so far, but it does a decent job of calming my skin.

For all of the birthdays and holidays in May, I stopped by Marshalls to try to find some nice gifts at low prices. While there, I picked up a few things for myself. I bought the Jeunesse Anti-Aging Treatment ($5.99) and the Mon Amie Rose & Collagen Face Serum ($5.99) as items to try for moisturizing steps in my new skincare routine. Collagen is known for helping your skin retain its elasticity and rose oil is a mild moisturizer. I haven’t tried the Jeunesse moisturizer yet, but the rose & collagen serum works well and doesn’t seem to clog my pores. It also seems to calm my skin well. As much as I have loved that oil, the Earth Therapeutics Bamboo Natural Bristle Paddle Brush ($4.99) was a huge disappointment. That brush is trash! The bristles fell out on the first use and were not able to reach my scalp. I will admit that the brush did not make my hair frizzy, but I only brush my hair before I wash it (2-3 times a week). #CurlyHairGirlRules If it can’t even reach all my hair, who cares about pre-bathing frizz? I’m going to use this one on the cats.

Overall, I spent less than $40 on all of the products above even though they are worth more than that. It helped that Christina bought the most important things, but she also gets to enjoy all the bonus points! Have you bought any new beauty products lately? Do you try multiple new skin products at the same time or do you tend to ease into new items? Let me know in the comments section!

Gardening – April and May

Hello interwebz!  I haven’t done a post on gardening or yard work in over a month and our plants are going crazy.  Because of the heat and random downpours, some of the plants are growing quickly and others are frightened and wilting.

Back in March, we had some friends over for a cookout and used the grill that came with the house for the first time since we bought the house.  I cleaned up the grill and Ben made sure everything worked.

It was around this time that I realized that I had been so concerned about the plants that we hadn’t really taken care of the rest of the backyard.  Since moving in, we have had phone, internet, electric, and cement workers digging up parts of the backyard to fix various problems.  Our yard is xeriscaped, or it was.  After all of the workers coming and going over the past few years, they have really done a number on the xeriscaping and anything else that got in the way.

I think this is the best example of the electric workers tossing aside the xeriscaping and then throwing things back on top.  You can still see where the rocks are askew.

We really need to work on the yard.  It’s more difficult to do now that it’s gotten so hot.  I did get the mulching started in April.  You can see where I added leaves to the pile, where there were already leaves that fell IN MARCH onto the yard, and where the acorns that fell from the tree have already started growing into small trees.  I’ve been thinking about seeing if any of the plant nurseries around here want to buy these tree saplings from us.  We have to dig them out and throw them away each year because we can’t deal with a forest in our backyard in the suburbs.

Our sad little rose bush from March started doing well in April.

By May, we had some flowers in full bloom!  I did end up cutting these so that new buds could grow and bloom, but wow!  In less than one month, we went from a dying rose bush to blooming roses.

IMG_5493

The plants that I repotted for my stepmom aren’t doing well.  They’re still alive, but I think the storms have taken a toll.  They were drooping pretty low in April.

By May, they needed alot of help.  I need to look into how to revive these.  I may need to bring them inside, but I’d have to hide them from the cats. I’m not sure if this is from too much sun or from the bad weather we had.  Also, Pad Kee likes to sneak outside and chew on them when Ben or I open the back door.

IMG_5490

In the planter where the lawn guys pulled out all of the mulch and plants in March, there is new growth!  Leftover Jasmine vines are growing as well as some of those acorn trees I mentioned earlier.  Those things grow everywhere!

IMG_5491

My other big planter in the backyard is now barren.  I have no idea what happened with the plants inside.  I have an inkling that it might have been our friend’s kids because they disappeared after the girls were playing in the backyard.  I didn’t say anything before they went into the backyard, so I couldn’t get mad.  I’ve been trying to decide what I want to do with this planter now.

IMG_5489

So, that’s our backyard right now.  The front yard has some new growth where I trimmed back all of the bushes, too. These are from April after doing nothing to them.

IMG_5414

The plants in the foreground have since been removed by our yard guys for some reason unbeknownst to me. They used to do a better job. Maybe this is why our neighbors don’t use them anymore…

IMG_5415

I lost other photos, so I’ll try not to lose anything for the update for June. Hopefully, everything will still be in bloom and not dried up and dead at that point. Thanks for reading! Do you work on your yard or have people do it for you? What kinds of challenges do you have with local weather?

Review – L’oreal True Match Naturale Mineral Foundation Powder & L’oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream

Hello, interwebz!  First of all, I’m very disappointed as I type this because I lost a boat load of photos for the blog and had 20 minutes of video for my first vlog post.  I did manage to rescue some of the photos, but all of the videos are gone, including one of my son’s spring band concert.  The last two photos on this post were taken last minute on my iPad in crappy lighting because my other photos were lost.  I’m trying to focus on the bright side of things and decided to work with what I have so that I could still put up a post I’ve been working on for awhile.  So, slap on a smile and here we go!

The Short of It:

L’oreal True Match Natural Mineral Foundation Powder worked great with my eczema even while in the humid Texas heat.  L’oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream tore my skin apart.

The Long of It:

***None of the pics of my face have been touched up in anyway so that you can see the true dorkiness and skin conditions.***

I decided to try some new beauty and skincare products one at a time so that if anything bothered my skin, I would have an easy time figuring out who was the culprit.  So far, Kopari face oil worked well on cleaning my face without breaking me out or bothering my eczema.  I was ready to move on to a foundation since that is what goes under all other makeup.  I had heard good things about L’oreal True Match Naturale Mineral Foundation Powder and was eager to try it.  I tried color Nude Beige (W3) since I have yellow undertones and the color matched pretty well.  The kabuki brush that comes with the powder worked well for a couple of weeks, but hairs started falling out of the brush after that.  I tried a few brushes that my friend, Christina, gave to me and finally found a good one in the Real Techniques brush.  I cannot believe that this brush is so cheap and readily available at Target!

After using the face powder for a couple of weeks with no issues, I was pretty happy.  In fact, just as I had heard and read in many reviews, it actually improved my complexion, helping blemishes and eczema sores heal faster!  What are you oh magical power of mine?!  At this point, I’m feeling pretty good about L’oreal face products and decided to try the BB cream.  (Here’s a good YouTube video about the purpose of  BB and CC creams.)  I went with L’oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream in Light 812.  I applied the BB cream the way I’d seen so many people do  in video tutorials and was okay with the results.  I mean, I still had blemishes and eczema, but they were blurred out a bit.  It also seemed to even out my skin tone and soften my skin texture.  So far, so good.

After two weeks of using BB cream in the Texas heat, I came to understand that this stuff wasn’t going to be my makeup BFF the way my mineral powder was.  I broke out like crazy.  I saw some new blemishes here and there, but though they were just a result of my oil cleansing pulling things to the surface.  One day, I wore BB cream and spent alot of time outside instead of in the office like usual.  You could see a line of deep and red blemishes every place where my fingers applied the BB cream – my forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, and neck.  From the initial touch zones, the blemishes spread out.  It was a literal map of how I applied the BB cream to my face and neck.

I spent the next two nights washing my face with coconut soap, treating with tea tree oil, and calming with thick layers of aloe gel.  The coconut soap is my body wash (Alaffia Everyday Coconut and Coffee Berry Body Wash) and is pretty gentle on skin, but maybe not on my face.  I was just desperate and wasn’t thinking.  I used Aura Cacia tea tree oil from Target (on sale!)  Normally, this stuff is too rough on my face, but these were giant cysts and were painful.  I wanted them gone.  The tea tree oil worked, but dried all the skin around the blemishes.  After a night or two of that, I switched to cleansing with Kopari and doing a Sephora clay mask.  After washing the clay mask off,  I finished each night with a layer of aloe gel to kill the bacteria, calm my skin, and moisturize my skin.  It worked well.

After a few days of that, I switched to washing my face with pure coconut oil.  Coconut oil is the same PH as skin, fights bacteria, and moisturizes.  I always have a jar of Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin coconut oil.  You need something that has barely been processed so that all of the good stuff is still on the oil to help your skin.  First, I scooped out some oil into my hands.  It was solid, but melted as I rubbed it on my skin.  I rubbed it in circles all over my skin and neck, concentrating on the most problematic areas of blemishes and eczema.  Normally, I would place a warm rag on my face and lay down for 10 – 15 minutes, but this time, I didn’t want to lay in the bed with the wet rag on my face.  I repeated this as I made my way around my face and concentrated on the parts with the worst blemishes and eczema.  The goal of this was not to get all of the coconut oil off, but to take some of it off, while easing things out of my pores.  I think you may want to do something to close your pores afterwards, but this time, I wanted my pores open so the coconut oil would soak into my skin overnight.  I went to bed and woke up with a much calmer face.  You could still see plenty of blemishes and eczema, but the redness everywhere else was gone.  I rinsed my face with water and put a thick layer of aloe gel over, adding a bit extra to the problem areas.

I’ve been doing this routine for a few days now and my skin looks much better.  Where all of the blemishes and eczema were are now just spots that are healing.  Your skin heals from the outside in, so it takes time.  Aloe gel and coconut oil also helps brighten skin so that the sore spots fade quicker.

While going through all of this, some other health problems came up and my skin hurt all over my body.  After doing the treatments with coconut oil and the wash rag, my face felt better, even if the rest of my skin and body hurt.  That reminded me why I spent so much time taking care of myself in years past.  I have looked into the Korean skincare routines and decided to give it a whirl.  So, stay tuned for my reviews on that!  Also, I haven’t given up on BB Creams yet.  I may try another kind in another month

Planning – Week of 5.7.18

Ready for another planning post? Cool, because that’s what this post is about! The second week of May is another week with multiple birthdays and a holiday. Needless to say, I’m leaving plenty of space to fill in as needed.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use any washi this week, but I knew I wanted lots of stickers. So, I just gathered all of my stickers and washi just to see where the wind would take me.

My eye immediately went to a colorful strip of paper that I cut out of a magazine months ago. So, I decided to use that as the color inspiration for the rest of the week. I cut the strip of paper to fit it across the bottom of the right page to add a little oomph since the basic layout was pretty bare.

Some sticky notes were already on the pages to remind me of events. Instead of removing the notes and writing the info directly onto the pages, I left the sticky notes where they were. The colors matched this week’s theme and I am also lazy. I added some pretty washi and everything started coming together.

***I’ve noticed that when I crop my photos, they become blurry. I’m not sure why, but it’s not the camera because I’ve tried multiple cameras. I’ve also edited in multiple apps. If you have any suggestions, let me know so that I can post better pictures!***

Then, it was time for stickers. I wanted to denote Mother’s Day in a big way, so I used a couple of Mommy Lhey die cuts of flowers and a character named Lola to set that day apart from others. I decided to add some stickies and notes for lists and include stickers for writing notes about my in-office work days this week. A few other stickers to pretty up my To Dos and the stickery was done!

Normally, I end with a Before The Pen pic, but I wanted to show you why I like so much space in my planner. After adding daily To Dos, recording my work times to enter in my work time card later, writing my daily health notes, and anything else that comes up, my planner is full!

Now, planning this week is done and I have to go out and live this week. Sometimes, that’s the not so fun part of planning. As much as I like drawing clouds and suns, this week is going to be hot and I already have a headache. I may need to add extra cute stickers to cover up the weather and health info and keep me thinking about happy things this week!

Do you plan holidays with special stickers? Do you record health or other info on a daily basis to analyze later? Anybody else hate the heat (i.e. anything above 70 degrees)?