05 March 2014

The one with February's favorites.

feb favorites copy 2 copy


puella tunics

In addition to my beauty favorites, I wanted to share some of my February lifestyle favorites -

  • Books: The books I loved in February were No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics by Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt (a book I'm sure I'll refer to again and again) and Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier. Son of the Shadows wasn't as good as the first book in the series, Daughter of the Forest, but I still loved it and already started book three. I also read The Sky is Everywhere and Orphan Train. Both of these books were fine, but they didn't leave a lasting impression on me. I would not go out of my way to recommend them.
  • Shows/Movies: During February I bought Camp Takota - a must watch if you are a fan of Hannah, Mamrie, and Grace. And I have to mention Sherlock Series 3. That show is perfection. The wedding episode was especially good.
  • Music: I listened to a lot of St. Vincent in preparation for the concert last Saturday. I still haven't gotten over it. Her music is, of course, amazing, but I wasn't prepared for the choreography. If you have the chance to see her perform live, don't miss it. I also have decided to start wearing blue eyeshadow since she made it look so cool. (If you need some new music to listen to, I created a playlist of my most-played songs in February.) 
  • Style: I think I could dedicate an entire blog post to my love of the Puella tunic. I have two (pictured above) and would wear them every day if I could - such a great basic!

Hope you each have a wonderful March. : )

The one with the dry brushing basics.

Dry Brushing Basics

After getting a new dry brush for my birthday (thanks, Mom!), I purposed to make dry brushing part of my morning routine. I was very consistent with it during the month of February and saw some great results (the skin on my legs is so much softer). So I thought I would share some dry brushing basics with you. My information is coming from the Joyous Health blog and Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet - both fantastic resources.

// DRY BRUSHING BENEFITS
  • Improves circulation
  • Stimulates the lymphatic system
  • Softens skin
  • Releases toxins

// HOW I DRY BRUSH

I take a natural-bristle brush. Mine (pictured above) is from the Joyous Health website, but they can be found at health food stores. I have even seen them at Bed Bath & Beyond. My favorite time to dry brush is before my morning shower. I start at my feet and using a light pressure (it should feel good and invigorating - not painful) brush upward toward my heart. I have read that you should use long strokes while others recommend circular motions. I do a combination of both. I try to get most of my body, spending extra time on my inner thighs and my underarms.  

I feel like dry brushing is such an easy step, yet it yields great results. Have you tried it?
01 March 2014

The one with the Spirit Beauty Lounge Customized Sample Kit.

Spirit Beauty Lounge Customized Sample Kit
Kjaer Weis Cream Blush
Wearing Spirit Beauty Lounge Samples

One of my favorite parts of researching ingredients and natural beauty products is discovering new brands. The downside? A lot of the brands I see mentioned again and again are considered luxury natural brands with good-for-you ingredients, stunning packaging, and the price tag to match. These brands are carried online, so I can't run down the street to Ulta or Sephora to get color matched or to try a sample.

I'm very fair with pink undertones and have moderately sensitive skin, so it is hard to order these products sight unseen with any confidence. One item in particular I wanted to try is the Kjaer Weis cream foundation. The online description of their lightest shade, Like Porcelain, reads, "perfect for a fair, rosy complexion, Like Porcelain refines even the most sensitive, delicate skin." It sounded perfect for me, but with a price tag of $68 (!!), I wanted to be sure.

While searching for reviews and swatches of the foundation, I read about the Spirit Beauty Lounge Customized Sample Kit Service. Spirit Beauty Lounge describes themselves as a "virtual candy store" of organic beauty. SBL carries natural, organic, and sustainable products from brands they have researched and vetted.

This program sounded perfect to me. Here is a general description (you can read a lot more about it on their site) -

// For $25 you get to choose six products to sample (shipping is free).
// You receive a $5 voucher toward a future SBL order of $40 or more.
// The samples will give you enough product for 1-2 uses.

I read a lot of reviews as well as found a YouTube video where the content creator showed the different samples she chose. Because of the reviews as well as the description on SBL, I knew that the sample sizes were not going to be overly generous (the sample size was the main complaint I saw in reviews).

If I had bought everything full-sized the total would have been almost $300. So for myself, I was perfectly happy with the size of the samples as well as the $25 fee. It gave me a chance to try out the products and check color matches. Here's what I got -

  • Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation in Like Porcelain
  • Kjaer Weis Cream Blush Compact in Desired Glow
  • Kjaer Weis Lip Tint Compact in Romance
  • W3LL People Narcissist Foundation + Concealer Stick in Pale Ivory
  • Pai Rosehip BioRenerate Fruit & Seed Oil Blend
  • Dr. Alkaitis Organic Exfoliating Enzyme Mask

The Kjaer Weis products were an immediate love. In fact, after wearing the cream foundation for three days, I have ordered the full-size. The W3LL People foundation stick went on smoothly, but the color is actually a bit too light (in the picture above, I'm wearing the KW cream foundation all over and the W3LL People as a concealer under my eyes and around my nose).

I have used the Dr. Alkaitis mask once and thought my skin felt so soft after rinsing it off. This was a good size sample. I'll probably be able to get three total uses out of it.

And how cute is the sample packaging of the Pai Rosehip Oil? I haven't used this yet, but I'm very excited as it has great reviews.

Overall, I was very happy with the Spirit Beauty Lounge sample service and would do it again in the future. Thanks for reading!

photo (21)
26 February 2014

The one with the recent empties.

recent empties


Occasionally I like to share the products I've recently used up. At this point I've had a lot of time with each of the items, so I can give a pretty fair review. Plus I always think it's interesting to see if people will repurchase something.
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask: a complete skinsaver for me this winter! It provides a lot of moisture and gives me a little glow.
  • Paula's Choice RESIST BHA 9 (full review): I actually haven't been reaching for this very often since I started using the RESIST Weekly Retexturizing Foaming Treatment 4% BHA. The foam has been doing a great job of keeping my pores clear, so I'm not repurchasing the BHA9 right now.
  • Paula's Choice RESIST C15 Super Booster: I went without using this for a few weeks and really missed it. The Vitamin C helps brighten my skin and just gives my complexion an overall radiance.
  • Paula's Choice Hydralight Shine-Free Mineral Complex SPF 30: my favorite Paula's Choice sunscreen. I would recommend it to those with oily, sensitive skin.
  • Paula's Choice Gentle Touch Makeup Remover: a nice option, but I found the Bobbi Brown one worked quicker and required less work to get all my eye makeup off.
  • Bobbi Brown Instant Long-Wear Makeup Remover: I apply this to a cotton square, lay it over my eye, and let it sit there for a few seconds. It works quickly to breakdown my eyeliner, shadow, and mascara.
  • Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Ultra-Hydrating Body Butter: The texture of this body butter is luxurious - very light and whipped. I love that it sinks in immediately.
  • Bumble & bumble Bb. Thickening Dryspun Finish: As someone with fine hair, I am always looking for a product that gives me some texture and volume. On days I use the Dryspun Finish I don't need to tease, and my hair stays voluminous for longer.
  • Benefit Stay Flawless 15 - Hour Primer: If you have issues with your base makeup disappearing throughout the day like me, you might find this primer useful.
  • Dior Diorskin Nude BB Creme in Light 001: I loved this base - great coverage for a BB cream, blended well, and the color match was perfect. I would definitely recommend this, but I plan on trying out something different so I will have a new foundation to review. I currently have my eye on the Kjaer Weis cream foundation.
  • MAC Brow Pencil in Lingering: my favorite brow product for getting a defined, fuller brow.
  • Benefit Gimme Brow in Light/Medium: my everyday, running-out-the-door brow product. It gives me a bit of color and hold.
  • Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara: the best mascara for under $3 that I have ever tried.
  • YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Babydoll: While this provided a dramatic lash look, I found it weighed my lashes down by the end of the day.
  • MAC Paint Pot in Painterly: such a great makeup staple. I love using a matte cream base to create an even canvas for light makeup days.
Do you have any products you repurchase over and over?
20 February 2014

The one with the tiny no-bake cheesecakes.

Making mini cheesecakes w/ raspberry sauce for dessert tonight. ♥️

I came across a recipe on Pinterest that is so incredibly good I had to share it.

Jeremy loves cheesecake. I have tried to make whole cheesecakes in the past but have never gotten it right (lots of cracks on the top). When I saw these tiny no-bake cheesecakes, I thought it sounded much easier and more my speed. They were fun to make and delicious to eat (Jer said they were better than a lot of cheesecakes he's had at nice restaurants!). I couldn't find crème fraîche at Harris Teeter, so my mom grabbed me a small tub when she was at Whole Foods. I really think it's the crème fraîche that makes them so creamy. I have made them twice already and will definitely keep them in mind the next time I need to make a dessert for a party or for company. You can find the full recipe on the blog oh, sweet basil.

Have you had any Pinterest successes lately?

Untitled
19 February 2014

The one with the radiant orchid makeup.

Radiant Orchid Makeup



I love Pantone's Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid. Purple is known to be a universally flattering color, and I think Radiant Orchid with it's pink undertone is especially pretty. I have found myself wearing it a lot lately, so I thought I would pull out my favorite Radiant Orchid makeup products to share with you.

  • Benefit Lollitint: a candy-colored orchid stain for cheeks and lips. I love both the color and the lasting power of this product, especially on my cheeks. 
  • Benefit Hervana: one of my all-time favorite blushes. I frequently layer this over Lollitint to intensify the color and add a subtle warmth.
  • Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Berry Allure: a birthday gift from my lovely friend Sarah. Lollitint can leave my lips feeling a little tight, so this gloss adds shine and makes my lips feel more comfortable.
  • YSL Glossy Stain in 16 Pourpre Preview: an outstanding stain formula. This fuchsia color goes on creamy and opaque and lasts for hours on my lips.
  • Too Faced La Crème in Lollipop: not a color for everyone! The intense glitter in this lipstick gives the lips a metallic-like look.
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Flush: not a blush for the faint of heart. If you have a deep skintone, I think this blush would be amazing on you. If you are fair like me, try applying bold blushes with a duo fiber stippling brush for a softer look. 
  • Laura Mercier African Violet: a violet shadow with a significant amount of gold shimmer. I like to pair this with the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Orchid for a more intense eye.
  • L'oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in 759 Burst Into Bloom: super metallic and fun. I either dust this lightly into my crease or use a damp brush to really pack this onto my lid.
  • butter LONDON Molly Coddled: a little more on the lavender side, but still a gorgeous polish. It is opaque in two coats and wears well.

Check out the video for swatches and to see me try on a lot of these products.
15 February 2014

The one with the 2014 goals update.

Make Today Lovely Notebook

On my Facebook page I posted some beauty/blogging goals I had for myself in 2014 - that was on January 2nd. Now a month and a half into the year, I thought I would list them and share how I have been doing.

// Figure out how to get the piecey, messy hair I always admire on other people (example)

Definitely not there yet. I have found, thanks to a suggestion from a reader, that alternating the direction of my curling iron really helps, as do texturizing sprays. I have used up a bottle of the Bumble and Bumble Bb. Thickening Dryspun Finish and started using the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray just this week. I will talk about both in my Empties video which will go up later this month.

// Redo my blog design

Complete! I could not have done this without the help of The Blog Boat. Robyn was a dream to work with, and I could not recommend either her templates or her custom work enough. I'm really pleased with the clean look and happy colors.

// Post consistently again (I'd like to have a mix of beauty & lifestyle posts on That is All)

This is still a work in progress. When I started YouTube, I never dreamed it would take the amount of time and effort that it does. The filming and editing are one thing, but the constant comments and messages with questions are both the most fun thing and the most time-consuming thing about YouTube. If I have extra time in the day, I would much rather respond to some of those questions than write a blog post, but I also missed this outlet during 2013. I am trying to find a good middle ground and make both a priority.

// Find a natural deodorant 

Currently I am using this one that my friend Joy sent to me from her own line. Here line is very new, but this product is already getting great reviews.

Let's have a TMI moment - honestly, I sweat a lot...like Degree Women Clinical Protection Anti-Perspirant Deodorant doesn't always work for me. So somedays with the Joyous Health deodorant I'm golden, and other days it's not pretty.

If you have made the switch to a natural deodorant, did you experience an adjustment period?

For now I will keep using the Joyous Health one, and I will also be testing out the popular Soapwalla Deodorant Cream.

// Learn more about ingredients so I can make better purchasing decisions and give better reviews

Probably the hardest out of all of these goals. I'm a little confused by all the differing opinions, and at this point I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed. I thought I'd share some resources I've been using (thank you to everyone who left recommendations over on Facebook!) -

No More Dirty Looks
Paula's Choice Ingredient Directory
Paula's Choice Expert Advice
EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database
The Beauty Brains

I'm trying to keep an open mind during this research. I did just place two small orders with Eco Diva Beauty and Spirit Beauty Lounge. I'm really excited to test out the products and samples to see how they compare with products I'm currently using.

// Complete the Joyous 10 Day Detox again

I want to dedicate an entire blog post to this very soon. The best thing I have done for my health was joining the Joyous 10 Day Detox last year. I'm am participating again and this time I've added the yoga portion and absolutely love it.

So that's my update for now. As always if you have any recommendations or advice, I love to read it.

Make Today Lovely
 
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