Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2018

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and if you’re like me, you probably struggle a little every year with what to get your mom. Most moms are basically superheroes, so I’m always a fan of giving my mom something she can pamper herself with. With that being said, here are a few ideas for something you can get your mom this Mother’s Day.

  1. Last year, I bought my mom a few things from an Etsy shop called SlightlyMelted. They sell homemade bath bombs, bubble bars, whipped soaps, and sugar scrubs, among other pampering items. Their prices are reasonable, and my mom said she really enjoyed what I got her. I’m not sure if the shop is still in business, because they don’t have any items listed on their Etsy page right now, but I highly recommend items like this.
  2. A gift card to get a massage or a pedicure. My mom almost never stops moving, so giving her an hour or so of time that she can take just for her is a big deal. She’s also still very active riding horses, so she likes to get pedicures to keep her feet happy and from getting too rough or cracked. If you’re on a budget and don’t want to spend too much, Groupon usually has great deals on these kinds of things.
  3. Experiences that the two of you can share. When I asked my mom if there was anything specific she wanted for Mother’s Day this year, she said all she wanted was to see me. I live in a different state now, and although they can travel easily since my dad is a retired pilot, I don’t always get to see them as often as we’d like. Groupon is a great way to find something that you can do with your mom. Wine and painting classes are a great option, and I know some bars or restaurants even have terrarium nights, which look pretty cool. I also took my mom to one of those escape games, and she loved it, because she loves mysteries and we used to play Nancy Drew games together when I was little.

In the end, no one knows your mom better than you, so trust your gut when deciding what to get her. Hopefully she won’t see this, but my mom loves cornflowers, so I found a really pretty cornflower and gold flakes resin necklace on Etsy that I’m planning to get for her, and she’s hopefully going to get to come up and see one of my volleyball games. What are you planning to get your mom this year?

Spring Cleaning 101

I’ve spent most of the morning so far today working on cleaning out my house. A little spring cleaning, if you will, even though it snowed here all day yesterday. I tend to be a little bit of a hoarder, but most of it comes from laziness, rather than having any actual attachment to the stuff. Because of this, I thought it might help some of you who are like me to hear my approach on how I get started when I finally work up the nerve to attack the clutter.

  1. Start wherever you feel comfortable. Decluttering your house can seem really overwhelming, so feel free to start wherever you want. Today, I started by cleaning out my makeup drawer and just throwing away anything I hadn’t used in the last 6 months or more. There were some things I didn’t even know I had! I was tempted to keep some of those, but realized I had lived this long without it, so I probably didn’t need it. Plus, who knew if it was even good any more.
  2. Make piles to help you stay organized. When I started cleaning out my closet, I made a pile that I was going to take to Plato’s closet (stuff that was in good shape that I thought they might buy), a pile for Good Will, and a pile to trash. Then, I put those piles into marked garbage bags, so I could take them to their respective destinations.
  3. Clean immediately after decluttering. I know it can be tempting after you’ve decluttered to take a break for the rest of the day. However, your floors and counters will never be clearer than right after you declutter, so that is the perfect time to clean them, as well.
  4. Stay hydrated. Decluttering your home is no small task, so make sure you don’t undertake it without taking care of your body, too. Take short breaks to grab water every now and then and just to sit down for a minute.

I hope everyone’s spring cleaning journeys are going well and that these tips helped you out a little! What is your favorite spring cleaning tip?

Product Review – ULTA Lilac Breeze Exfoliating Body Scrub

One of my friends recently asked me for a body scrub recommendation, and I realized it might be something y’all are looking for, too. You guys know how much I like ULTA, and their body scrub is one of my favorites. It smells amazing (they have other scents as well; my friend bought coconut cream), they make my skin feel amazing, and they’re so cheap! They make great gifts or are perfect for treat yourself days. I like to use mine mostly on my arms and shoulders, but I will also do my legs right after I shave sometimes. What’s your favorite body scrub?

Product Review – Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso

I’ve had this lipstick sample sitting around for a while, but red lipstick kind of terrifies me, so I hadn’t tried it out. However, a couple days ago, I was bored at home and decided, what the heck, I’ll try it on. I honestly cannot wait for a chance to actually wear this color now. It’s a great red shade that I feel would look good on a lot of different skin tones. As a red, it’s pretty medium, not to dark and not too bright or orangey. It has a velvety feel and a matte finish. Plus, it was easy to apply, and I didn’t have trouble not getting it all over my face. It’s a little pricey, but it seemed like a shade that would have great staying power (I haven’t tested this through food or drink, but it felt like it would stay). I will definitely be looking into some other colors for this lipstick, because it exceeded so many of my expectations. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for a new red lipstick.

Professional Makeup

I’m very excited, because I recently got offered a new job, and today is my first day. With that, I wanted to talk a little today about what makeup is appropriate for a professional setting. While it does depend some on the kind of work you do and your office setting, the type of makeup that is acceptable is generally consistent.

When it comes to lip colors, I like to stay with nudes and neutrals or mauves. Red is sometimes acceptable depending on your field, but I would usually stay away from anything too dark or too bright. I like a good gloss, because it’s easy to apply throughout the day, it keeps my lips from drying out, and they usually aren’t terribly bright. Mattes are also a great option, especially if you can find one that lasts all day. One of my friends has had really good results with Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink, and I will definitely be checking some of their colors out soon.

For eyeshadow, again you probably want to stay with lighter colors or something more neutral. I would keep away from anything that is going to be too bright or distracting, because you want people to pay attention to your work and what you have to say, rather than your makeup. I would also recommend choosing something matte or that has a slight shimmer, rather than anything that’s glittery. I like to use ULTA’s colored eyeshadow primers, because they last quite a while and offer a good pigment without being overwhelming. I have a peach gold and a rose gold that both look good, have a slight shimmer, and really bring out the blue in my eyes, which I’m always a fan of.

When you’re in the office, you may not get much opportunity to touch up your makeup, so you’ll want to find ways to make it last. I recommend finding a good primer that works for your skin type and using a setting powder when you’re done. These two things will help keep your makeup in place, so you won’t have to worry about any touchups. I have several primers that I really like. BECCA Backlight Priming Filter is great, albeit a little expensive, as is Benefit’s Porefessional. For drugstore primers, I like NYX #NoFilter Blurring Primer and Maybelline’s Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser. For setting powder, I just use ULTA’s mineral setting powder.

Overall, keep it on the simple side, and you should definitely be safe. What are your favorite makeup tips for professional settings?

How to Find Your New Favorite Perfume

Perfume is probably the weakest point of my beauty game, because I think it’s way too expensive, and I forget to put it on a lot. However, when I do put it on, I tend to feel really put-together and sexy, so I’ve been trying to do it more often lately. I still refuse to buy perfume though, and I’m not super picky with mine, so I’ve found a lot of success using samples I get from different places. Below are some ways you can get different samples, so you won’t have to buy a full-sized bottle, unless you happen to find your new favorite.

  1. Ulta has an option on their online checkout to add free samples to your order. You can choose from skincare samples, fragrance samples, or random beauty samples. I’m not really one for surprises, so I always choose the fragrance samples to my order, and they haven’t let me down yet. I’ve really liked all the fragrances I’ve gotten. I even got a Marc Jacobs one once that I absolutely loved. I definitely recommend this method, because it’s free on top of makeup you were already going to buy.
  2. Subscription boxes sometimes put perfume samples in their monthly packages. I know I got several from Birchbox, so I would imagine Ipsy and other ones would add them, too. It’s not a guarantee, though, that you will get perfume samples at any given time, so this may not be the best method if you’re specifically looking for a new perfume.
  3. I’m not 100% confident on this, because I haven’t tried it myself, but I have heard that Sephora has a makeup sampler you can do where they give you mini bottles of different perfumes that you can take home and try out before you buy a full-sized bottle. I don’t have many details on this one (cost, number of samples, etc.), but if you’re looking for a new perfume or have a specific one you want to try, this may be the way to go.

Hopefully, this gave you some ideas on how to save money on perfume. I’m really cheap when it comes to things like that, so I’m always looking for ways to avoid spending much on them. What are some of your favorite fragrances? How did you discover them?

Ipsy vs Birchbox

Both Ipsy and Birchbox seem to have gained a lot of traction over the past couple of years, but is one better than the other? Let me start by saying that I have not tried Ipsy, but I have done Birchbox and have several friends who have done both. For those who don’t know, Ipsy and Birchbox are subscription services that for around $10/month, they send monthly packages of 5 sample-sized beauty products. It could be makeup, hair care, skincare, or really anything in between. I even got a little packet of almond butter as a bonus once. Birchbox sends their samples in cute little paper boxes, and with Ipsy, you get adorable makeup bags.

First, let me say, they do send a good mix of really good brands (Benefit, Oribe, etc) and brands I’ve never heard of to help me find some things I’ve really loved. However, I always felt with Birchbox like I was getting less actual makeup than I really wanted and more skincare and hair care. There was a place on their website to update what I wanted more of, but I’m not sure it really made a difference. For me, I have a skincare routine I like, but I just wanted to try new types of makeup. I think this was my main problem with the service. Now, I have tons of skincare products that are just tucked away in my closet, which may be great one day, but for now, it’s kind of a nuisance. I don’t say this to say I haven’t gotten some amazing makeup from Birchbox. I really have. I got a Benefit Porefessional primer that I’m in love with, some ColourPop eyeshadows that looked great, and even a Cynthia Rowland silver eyeliner that I wasn’t sure about, but ended up loving. Friends of mine that have used both say they definitely prefer Birchbox and recommend it if you don’t care about the bag.

Clutter is another problem I had with them. I ended up keeping most of the boxes I got, because I felt like they’d make good gift boxes. They have the approximately 3 times I’ve used them, but I still have around 30 boxes just hanging out in my closet. Plus, they almost all still have samples in them. I tend to let clutter accumulate, so these were probably not great things for me to take part in, but if you are a hoarder as well, I recommend Ipsy simply because makeup bags are much easier to store. However, they did help me discover a lot of things that I really like, so I’d say it was worth it overall for me.

Have you tried Birchbox or Ipsy? Both? What was your experience? Did you like the service? I hope if you’re on the fence that this was at least slightly helpful in making your decision easier. Let me know!