Makeup

For the love of Balm…

I have never put too much stock in cleansing balms. The thought of cleansing with the balm and then having to cleanse again with my normal cleanser just didn’t seem a great use of my time. Then I started using Beautycounter’s Counter+ Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm. This is by no means a plug for this product, but if you are interested in trying I can send you a sample. There are others that I have tried as well and I will share a list below.

Let me start by saying that this is still an extra step that may seem unnecessary, and it totally is. That said, I am absolutely loving this step. It is nice to take the extra few minutes to massage the cleansing balm into my face and removes my makeup like a dream. As a mom, I find that I have less time to myself to take care of my skin and my sanity. This extra step in my skincare gives me a few minutes to myself to slow down and breathe and enjoy the few minutes of self care that I can take.

So, self care aside, what does it actually do for my face? Well, as I mentioned above, it is amazing at removing makeup. Even the waterproof or long lasting varieties. While it is doing that, it is also hydrating the skin and helping create a barrier to keep the moisture in. Once the product is rubbed around all you do is rinse off. You can stop here for a bit more hydration or continue on with another face cleanser. I tend to go that route on most days just to make sure that I have removed all impurities from my skin. You can also use as a hydrating mask overnight on already clean skin.

Here are the products that I have tried and what I love about them:

Counter+ Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm ($79 for 2.5oz) I absolutely love the texture of this product. It is silky, but I don’t find it too greasy. The smell is also dreamy. Very earthy and creates a bit of a spa experience. To by honest, I keep using it for the smell! Though a bit pricey, it lasts a really long time. You only need the smallest amount for each use.

Farmacy Beauty Green Clean ($36 for 3.4oz) I love the formula and ingredients of this product and the price tag doesn’t hurt either. This formula is a cleansing balm and cleanser in one so there is no need for a second cleansing step.

I would love to know if you have every tried a cleansing balm. If so, what are you thoughts? If not, why?

Uncategorized

And just like that…I did it!

It seems like an eon ago that I started my Master’s Program, but I have done it! I have FINALLY finished. After hours and hours, years of schooling and research (and a 68 page paper) I have graduated. I now have my Master’s Degree in Cosmetic Science!! It has been a long time coming and I can’t believe I was able to get it done with a new baby (now a toddler) and during a pandemic no less. It is crazy to think that I am done. I have essentially been in some sort of school for most of my life and now there is this empty space in my time. It’s incredible. And frightening. Now what?! What should I be doing with this new degree?! The answer is…I have no idea. In a different stage of my life that might have been an easy question to answer, but now, not so much.

I have always had a clear path (maybe winding, but clear) as to what my next goal was, but now I feel like I am stumbling in the dark a bit. I am in a stable job that pays the bills, but is it something that I can see myself doing for the next several decades. Unfortunately, no. So here I am, sitting at my computer, in the process of buying a new house and pregnant with our second baby and I have ABSOLUTELY no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life. Would it be nice to say that I can be a stay at home mom and do a little something on the side for some extra cash. Yes, it would, but we aren’t there yet. Would I absolutely love to be in the lab researching new and interesting beauty products…of course, but there isn’t that opportunity where we live (at least not that I have found yet!). Where does that leave me? I just don’t know.

For now, I will continue to sell my wares in my Etsy shop (and hopefully get more time to do that!)…shameless plug, I know…and try to make it to my due date. Once that has happened I will revisit the job hunt 🙂

Uncategorized

Holy Grail of Deodorant…

Let’s get real. People sweat. People stink. I am people!! Another AMAZING side effect of post-pregnancy hormones is extra stink. Prior to pregnancy, I wasn’t super stinky and didn’t really care about the deodorant I was using. Anything that was cheap and easily available was what I used. When I got pregnant, I started paying more attention to the ingredients that were in my deodorant products. I moved to what I perceive to be a healthier (for me and baby) deodorant option (i.e. Native). I loved Native deodorant while I was pregnant, but it just wasn’t cutting it with the post-partum hormones.

Enter my holy grail of deodorants–Beautycounter’s Clean Deo. I was really skeptical that this product was going to be any better than the Native deodorant that I was using. How can one clean deodorant be substantially better than any other clean deodorant? Well, let me tell you…it can! There are three main aspects of this deodorant: aluminum-free, sustainable, and IT WORKS!!

Quick lesson about antiperspirants vs. deodorant: Deodorants (like The Clean Deo) work to neutralize odors, whereas antiperspirants are typically made with aluminum, which works to stop odor by plugging sweat glands and preventing sweating (from Beautycounter.com). As gross as it sounds, you need to sweat! This deodorant really, really works! I put it on in the morning and can go all day smelling like coconuts. It holds up through a workout, through running around after my daughter, etc. The best part about this deodorant, other than the fact that it leaves me smelling fresh, is that it is refillable. The product outer shell can continue to be used with the dispenser can be recycled. Ingenious! It comes in three different scents: coconut, lilac, and rose. I have only tried the coconut (because…who doesn’t want to smell like a beach vacation!), but have heard nothing but excellent things about the other two scents.

Makeup

The Best DIY Body Scrub…

I know, I know, I know…it has been too long since my last post. Once again life has gotten in the way. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get all of the items on my list checked off. This blog just keeps getting pushed to the bottom. So, here I am making a go of it…again.

Since being pregnant (and having my beautiful baby girl) my body has needed a bit of extra TLC. I haven’t really been crazy about any of the commercial body scrubs that I have tried and the few that I have made weren’t super great either…until now. I adapted the Vanilla Latte Body Scrub from The Compassionate Girls Guide to DIY Beauty and I think that I have found gold. Here are the ingredients and directions:

  • 1/2 cup almond oil
  • 1 cup ground coffee freshly ground
  • 1.5 cups Sugar in the Raw

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a glass jar.

I like my scrubs extremely scrubby so if you want it a little less harsh you can sub in a finer grain sugar (the original recipe called for vegan granulated sugar) or less of the raw sugar and more of the coffee. The original also called for vanilla powder. I didn’t have any of that at home and I don’t think that it is really necessary. I suppose that essential oils may add a nice note to this product. A little of this goes a long way and it smells amazing. The almond oil (or you can use coconut oil) leaves my skin feeling soft and silky. For just a few dollars you can have a body scrub that rivals even the most expensive options.

Life

The Year of the Pandemic…

I don’t think that anyone would call this year an epic year. It has been hard for everyone. For me it was just strange. Most of last year I dreamt of what the first year as a mom would be like and all the things that me and our little one would do…little did I know that none of it would happen. Just leaving the house was a bit panic inducting. No visitors at the hospital when we delivered, no newborn photos, no visitors at the house when we came home. Just masks and visits through the front door and lots of separation. The worst part was that we couldn’t go and experience life outside of our little bubble. It made the year very isolated.

But it wasn’t all bad. 2020 brought me so much joy and happiness that I couldn’t possibly put it into words. I became a mom and she came at just the right time. Because of COVID, my husband was furloughed for the first few months of her life and we had such an amazing time becoming a family of three and watching our daughter grow and thrive. We were able to spend the first 4 months of her life as our little family unit without much interference from the outside. Because of COVID, when I went back to work after maternity leave I was able to work at home half time. I didn’t have to send my baby to daycare and I was able to watch all of her little milestones. What a luxury to be there when she started to crawl, started to babble, stood for the first time, took her first shaky steps with her walker. She has been such a blessing and light this year.

Other blessings that we had this year include:

  • My niece Everly Rae was born
  • My niece Violet Theresa was born
  • My sister got engaged (FINALLY)

So, while there were trials and heartache this year, there were so many blessings and I am beyond grateful for the lessons that this year has taught. I am looking forward to what 2021 will bring and hope that we can find normal…whatever that may be. I hope that you all can remember to hold your loved ones close, make time for those that matter, be grateful. Happy New Year!!

Makeup

Products I have been loving…

Algenist Genius Sleeping Collagen – $98.00
I have tried tons of moisturizers and overnight creams and this has to be one of the best. Yes, it is pricey but it is really worth the money. A very tiny bit goes a long way. What I enjoy most about this moisturizer is the texture. It feels thick when you scoop it out of the tub, but applies so nicely and doesn’t leave a greasy feel on the skin. Their ingredients seem to be pretty clean and they do not test on animals.

BeautyCounter Countermatch Recovery Sleeping Cream – $56.00
I do absolutely love the Algenist moisturizer, but was looking for a cheaper alternative. While $56 is still on the pricey side, this sleeping cream ticks all of the boxes. It is a thick cream that soaks into skin beautifully. The smell of this cream is so nice. I have been enjoying using it and this 50mL jar will last me quite a while. If you are unfamiliar with the BeautyCounter brand they are a company that is committed to safer products by not using ingreditents such asformaldehydes, parabens, phthalates, toluene, triclosan, etc. (and they do not test on animals).

Hourglass Caution Extreme mascara – $29.00
Dare I say holy grail product! For a while now I have been on a glow-y skin kick. With this glow-y skin comes a bit more oil. Even though I use an amazing setting powder (see below), my under eye area is a bit more oily. This has caused my usual favorite mascaras to transfer to my under eye are throughout the day. I could use a waterproof mascara to combat this, but have tried to stay away since it really isn’t that great for my lashes. This product has helped immensely. No transfer! I have been blessed with long lashes already, but this makes them so much longer and thicker. It doesn’t clump at all or flake off throughout the day. I find it really easy to layer a few coats on without it looking gunky.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Finishing Powder – diffused light – $48.00
As mentioned above, I am loving glowing skin these days. I was finding that my usual setting powder was leaving my face looking dry and cake-y (pregnancy has also added to this dryness in my skin). It was time to make a change. This powder is finely milled and gives a lovely glow to my skin while setting my foundation.

Colourpop Eyeshadow Palette – Going Coconuts – $12.00
While this isn’t the most mind blowing palette on the market it gets the job done. It has a beautiful array of neutral tones which I find flattering and easy to use. I would say that this is a lovely palette for beginners or for those looking for a cheap, easy palette to add to their collection. I love Colourpop shadows. They are always soft, pigmented, and easy to blend. I find myself grabbing for this palette on a daily basis especially when I want a quick and easy look.

**All products purchased by me.

Life

A bit of a hiatus…

Sorry I have been absent for so long. I hit my third trimester in January and to say it has been interesting would be an understatement. I have been blessed with an incredibly easy pregnancy….no morning sickness! But as I have started to expand, I have been experiencing nerve pain, sciatic pain, and a bit of swelling (sorry for the TMI). Don’t get my wrong, pregnancy has been the coolest, most unique thing that I have ever experienced! As I sit here typing the baby is moving and hiccuping and it is such a strange feeling.

I took this extra time to pay more attention to what I need and what the baby needs. January has been a very busy one. I started another semester of my master’s program, started putting the nursery together, and had my baby shower. I just needed to take something off my plate and unfortunately this was the first thing to go by the wayside. But now that I have had a few months to acclimate I am back at it! Looking forward to continuing this blog. If there is anything in particular you would like to see more of please let me know in the comments.

Recipes

Turkish Red Lentil Soup…

Admittedly, I have been lax at learning about (and trying to cook) traditional Turkish cuisine. Lately though our go-to weeknight quick fix meal is Turkish Red Lentil Soup. It takes less than 30 minutes to prepare– including prep time–and is hearty, delish, and comforting. I would like to point out that I am just a beginner at this recipe, but I can get it pretty close to my mother-in-law’s soup. I based my recipe off of the this one, but have made a few tweaks.

Ingredients:
* 1 tbs olive oil
* 1 large yellow onion, diced
* 1 large carrot, diced
* 5 cloves of garlic, minced (we like a lot of garlic)
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper (or red pepper flakes if you like it mild)
* 16 oz red lentils, rinsed and picked over for debris
* 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
* 1 can of tomato paste (6oz–we like a lot of tomatoes)
* 1 lemon cut into wedges for serving (don’t skip this–it makes it extra delish)

Directions:
1) In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the carrot is starting to soften. Add garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper/red pepper flakes, and lentils, and cook for 1 additional minute, or until the spices are incredibly fragrant. Add chicken/vegetable stock and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are completely tender and falling apart.

2) This step is optional and we choose not to do this part–Transfer half of the soup to a blender and purée until smooth, then stir the purée back into the remaining soup. Remove from heat and season with salt to taste.

3) Serve with lemon to squeeze into the soup.

Makeup

Brow gel fails…

Here’s the thing. I had a great brow gel, but in my move to go cruelty-free this brow gel is no longer an option. So, I was on the hunt for a great brow gel from a cruelty-free company. I am sure that you can tell by the title that my hunt has not been going well. The two brow gels that I have tried are E.L.F.’s Beautifully Bare Sheer Tint Brow Gel in Medium and CoverGirl’s Easy Breezy Volumizing Brow Gel in Medium.

To be fair, I did not do my homework on these products and they were both spontaneous buys while I was at Target or the grocery store. Let’s start with the E.L.F. product. To start with a positive–I really like the color of this product. It perfectly matches my eyebrow color. Unfortunately, that is where the positives end for me. The product is quite wet and doesn’t seem to set or hold my unruly brows. I wish it was a slightly drier product. The product wand is what I disliked most. It is super long and flexible. I found it really difficult to use and the bristles are very short. Basically, this product just didn’t perform the way that I had hoped.

Photo from E.L.F. website

CoverGirl’s Easy Breezy Volumizing Brow Gel has a more traditional wand that I like. It is small, compact and stiff–the type that I need to get through my unruly brows. Although the color is light, it doesn’t show up much on my brows which is perfect. My brows are very prominent and i don’t need any extra color in them so this color worked for me. The only thing that I don’t care for is the formulation which was way too waxy. It made my thick brows feel stiff and gross. This formulation might be better suited to someone who doesn’t have the excessive amount of eyebrow hair like mine.

Photo from CoverGirl website

For now, I am working through these two products—you know the old adage: waste not, want not. Ultimately, it is back to the drawing board. If anyone has any cruelty-free brow products that they can recommend I would love to hear them!

Life

Out of touch…

I have been slacking a bit on the uploads lately and I am sorry about that. So much has been happening in the last few months. I was finishing up my summer semester and have taken on a pretty heavy load for my Master’s Program this semester. Work has been super hectic lately and I have been trying to manage that on top of schoolwork. In order for me to reduce some of my stress level something had to give and unfortunately it was this blog. And the reason for reducing my stress level is…

We are so excited to announce that we are expecting our first child next year! Though it has been a breezy pregnancy thus far, I have been trying to limit the amount of stress that I am putting on myself. Now that I have made it to the second trimester I can start to relax and hopefully post on the blog more regularly!