Best of December: Beauty

Monthly Favorites

For the new year I think I am going to try a Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule which, is why this post is a few days later than I had planned. In past years, I have taken Blogmas right up to the 31st but was a bit burnt out on holiday posts and called it quits on Christmas this year. I cannot believe that Christmas has come and gone, yet again – I also cannot believe that New Year’s Eve is tomorrow already! I remember the week between Christmas and my birthday seeming like it was months away, now it’s already upon us. The weather has been incredibly horrendous, we had rain on Friday that turned into an ice storm on Saturday then more rain and now about 4 inches of snow. I don’t mind the snow but the ice I can do without. I think it will be here for awhile though since temperatures are supposed to plummet this week. I have this whole week off still but was already looking to see when the next federal holiday was because…I’m tired. In fact, I’ve had two people comment on the fact that I look tired recently and I’m like bitch, this is just my face at this point. Anyway, I had quite a few beauty favorites this month and here they are!

There was a time when I exclusively used Bare Minerals products but I couldn’t tell you what they’ve released over the last decade or so. I stopped wearing mineral foundation but when I decided to switch back to it, I was surprised at all of the new complexion products they had to offer. I decided to try their new stick foundation instead and am really glad I did, it’s a very light formula for a stick foundation with just the right amount of coverage. It claims to be hydrating and it does feel really good on the skin but it’s also long wearing. They really nailed it with this product although, I am miffed that they convinced everyone that liquid foundation was poison and then are selling that shit back to us. Well played.

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Next is a total impulse purchase that I snagged while in the Bare Minerals section. In my defense, it was in a two pack and it was 40% off. Their Lashtopia Mineral-Based Mascara is pretty awesome, it is volumizing and a deep matte black. It plumps up my lashes but leaves them so soft and natural(ish) looking. I also like how it washes off, this is the only mascara that I’ve tried that actually comes off with just micellar water. I really like it, I’m glad I snagged two tubes.

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I’m back on the Buxom Full-On Lip Creams but I’ve always loved these. I don’t know how plumping they are but I like the minty scent, my go-to shades have been a mix of Hot Toddy and Brandi.

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I have two new skincare items that have been helping me battle the winter flakiness and redness. I hadn’t tried tula until I stopped in ULTA one day when a rep was there handing out samples and doing demos. tula is a clean beauty line, cruelty free, made in the USA and packed with probiotics. I have been using their glycol toner and gel-cream along with my regular skincare and they are both great. The toner is mild enough to use everyday and has helped to clear up some of my most stubborn dry patches. The gel-cream is similar to an emulsion or serum and adds an additional layer of hydration that my skin has been needing. I am looking forward to checking out more of the brand when I use up my other skincare products.

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This next one is a beauty tool really, I dermaplane at home but this is something that I’ve been using to touch up areas when in between full dermaplaning. The Flawless Touch does really well at removing unwanted peach fuzz and stray eyebrow hairs without irritating the skin. I am curious to know how long a single head lasts, I have been using this well over a month and it seems to still be plenty sharp.

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I usually steer clear of the holiday scented lotions and body products because most of them are gross but Hempz did an awesome job with this Pumpkin Spice & Vanilla Chai scent. It’s sweet and spicy, I only picked up a couple of the small bottles because it’s pretty potent and I can’t imagine that I will wear it all year round.

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My last pick is this tinted brow gel from Colourpop that I picked up when I ran out of my Glossier Boy Brow. This gel is less than half the cost and honestly, just as good. I like natural looking brows, this gel shapes them up just enough and adds enough to tint to look polished.

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That’s most everything that I’ve been loving this month – what products have you been loving? Let me know if you have tried any of these!

Blogmas Day 25: So This is Christmas

Blogmas - 2019

It’s raining & foggy in Minnesota, on Christmas. Most of my merry making happened yesterday since that’s how we did things growing up. Christmas day was spent at Mass & eating dinner. I also spent a large portion of the day cleaning. I tried relaxing in the bath but then noticed that the tubs needed cleaning, then I decided to go through my bathroom cupboards and throw out at stuff I wasn’t using. This led to cleaning the kitchen cupboards out and then the oven πŸ˜‚ Then I watched Die Hard and had some pie. I just have a few items to take care of tomorrow before my vacation. I was supposed to post my December beauty favorites today but do you ever start something that ends up taking way longer than anticipated? That was like everything I did today. I will post them tomorrow and hopefully the sun will come out for photos. Anyway, I’ll just wish you & yours a Happy Christmas. What did you get up to today? If you don’t celebrate Christmas, what do you do on the extra days off? I’ve always wondered this, to a lot of folks this was just another Wednesday. What’s your Christmas wish? Mine is for greater understanding & empathy for others this year.

I think I’m going to get in one more viewing of The Grinch & enjoy some tea ☺️

Blogmas Day 23: Merry Christmas Eve, Eve

Blogmas - 2019

I can’t lie, I’m kinda ready to be done with Blogmas πŸ˜‚ It’s fun but hard to come up with content that’s unique. Although, I love reading all of the festive posts and will be a little sad going back to business as usual. Tonight’s post will just be a bit of a catch up ☺️ I’m enjoying some hot cocoa and listening to some Christmas tunes, I feel very festive but wish it was snowing.

Today was my last day of work until January 6 and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s been a long year, I’m ready to not be at work for awhile. Two blissful weeks of sleeping, snowboarding, snowshoeing and sleeping.

I almost finished wrapping all of my gifts, I’m loving the new wrapping paper and how sparkly it is. I need one of those bins for storing paper though because my cats like to futz around in the rolls. I plan to hit Target bright and early to score some more string and will look for one then. I’m loving the rustic look of the string against the glitzy prints.

I received an Echo Dot as an early Christmas present and it’s the coolest thing! It’s the perfect size for my bedroom and I’m already thinking about one for the living room. I don’t own a television and my apartment can be too quiet at times, I can play just about anything on the Dot and it’s awesome.

I went to confession, it was as boring and sad as I thought it would be πŸ˜‚ I’m all set for Christmas Mass though which is the only reason I went, that and the damn sign. Confession does have this weird ability to make you feel shiny and new, it’s hard to explain but glad I got it done.

That’s about it in my neck of the woods, a quiet evening before the hustle and bustle of Christmas celebrations commence. I hope you’re having a Merry Christmas Eve, Eve ☺️

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Blogmas Day 17: Winter To Do List

Blogmas - 2019

So, I’m cruising into work this morning and there’s a Catholic church right before my turn, they have one of those enormous marquee signs out front. Usually it just has some corny Christian humor on it but today it said, Have you been to confession lately? Which made me feel immediately guilty because I haven’t been in quite awhile. Also though, I’ve been living the life of a saint for well over a year now. Alcohol – who is she? Physical relations – I don’t know her. The closest I’ve been to a man in the last year is at work and let me tell you, it’s slim pickings and they might all be married but I digress. That’s the Catholic in me though, even when you aren’t doing anything sinful, you still have to go tell a priest about it because it’s a sin not to. Needless to say, I’m going to mass tomorrow night.

As mentioned in an earlier post, we’ve had about 20 inches of snow and temperatures well below zero over the last couple of months. It feels like winter but it doesn’t even start until December 21st so I have plenty of time to get some things checked off my list.

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Most of these things, I do every year but some of them are new things that I would like to try. I love doing things around the apartment during the winter; tidying, cleaning, organizing and just enjoying my home. I have never been to a full day spa treatment but I think that’s what I am treating myself to for my birthday and my snowboarding trip. Let me know what’s on your to do list this winter, thanks for reading!

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Blogmas Day 12: Winter Manicure

Blogmas - 2019

That isn’t very wintery at all despite my best efforts. I had not planned to get my nails done last night but spinning was cancelled because of the weather, apparently. I still don’t understand why it was cancelled because it was just cold outside, the snow wasn’t supposed to hit until this morning. Which it did, which led to 150 crashes across the state of Minnesota.Β People.Β Anyway, so I call the nail salon to ask if my gal could take an appointment and she said to come in. Well, I think we got our signals crossed because I assumed that I was scheduling an appointment but clearly I was a walk-in which was fine since I hadn’t planned ahead. I sat there reading magazines for about half an hour, then it took almost another hour to get my nails done because she kept getting interrupted and was doing that thing where she was doing two clients at once. I felt bad because had she just said she was busy, I would have come in on another night. I picked navy but clearly this is purple, it’s a dark purple so I guess it looks wintery. I almost asked for something else but I had already been there for almost 2 hours and just couldn’t. I dunno, I feel like the nail swatches are never totally accurate. I like the sparkles, I think I will try again in a few weeks and do a grey. That was a whole lotta’ complaining to show off my new manicure πŸ˜›

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Anyway, I’m hitting the gym tonight because that seems overall less stressful πŸ˜›

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Blogmas Day 8: Winter Skincare Night Routine

Blogmas - 2019

I’ve used a lot of different skincare in my lifetime, loads of brands at varying price points and I find myself less interested in splurging on the next big thing and more interested in finding a simple routine that works. I have dry, sensitive, acne prone skin so it’s tricky to find products that work for me. I’ve recently changed my routine up and have experienced some improvement.

For the first step in my double cleanse, I have been using the Garnier Micellar Water for wateproof makeup. You can’t see it very well in this photo but a portion of the liquid is oil which removes makeup really well and doesn’t dry out my skin. I recommend the value size because it’s way better value and less plastic waste. I wish brands would find another material, I hate how much plastic there is in my bathroom.

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Currently, I am using up three cleansers all from CeraVe. The Foaming Facial Cleanser is leftover from this summer when my skin runs a little oilier. I really like this cleanser, it is formulated for normal to oily skin and is fairly gentle. The cleanser that I use during the winter though is the Hydrating Cleanser for normal to dry skin, I really like the texture as it feels like I’m washing my face with lotion and it actually leaves my skin feeling hydrated. I have been exfoliating every other night with the Renewing SA Cleanser which says it is just for normal skin but since I don’t use it every night, it doesn’t bother my skin and helps with keeping it clear and smooth. Then I tend to use a facial oil followed by plain ‘ol moisturizing lotion. I like this lotion because it goes on thin, absorbs without any greasyΒ  feeling and doesn’t pill if I feel like I need additional layers.

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I also wanted to mention this nifty little silicone tool by Conair that I picked up when my skin was feeling especially congested. It has three different textures and two speeds, I use this on nights when I’m not using the exfoliating wash but want a deep clean. I wouldn’t use it every night if you have dry or sensitive skin but 2’ish times a week works for my skin. Also, not pictured, I found these knock-off makeup eraser cleansing cloths at ULTA recently and they work like a charm. I use them with cleanser but have really noticed a difference in how quickly and thoroughly my makeup comes off.

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I haven’t found an eye cream that doesn’t clog the pores around my eyes, I just pat onΒ  a little additional moisturizerΒ  instead. I am currently taking a break from retinol because I was experiencing quite a lot of irritation from the one that I had been using. I hope to work it back into my routine soon though since I get such good results from it. Currently, this routine is working for me but it’s been a rocky start to winter so far! Let me know if you have any winter skin holy grails, I’m always on the hunt for great products and thanks for reading!

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Blogmas Day 3: Winter Wonderland Tag

Blogmas - 2019

I’m so over Christmas carols already, it’s my own fault since I turned on the oldies station on Thanksgiving and haven’t turned it off since. I need some new carols in my life, and not that Michael Buble album. He has a lovely singing voice but I can’t with his Christmas carols. Adele should do a Christmas album but is that the end of career cash grab? I mean, don’t we all feel sorry for the pop stars who decide to release a holiday track (looking at you Wham!)? Maybe not Mariah Carey but Elton John…? Anyway, are you satisfied with the current carol offerings or do you want some new ones? We are doing a tag today because it wouldn’t be my blog without a good ol’ tag πŸ™‚

Amilya Regular

The snow! I love snow, it makes the world so crisp and clean and quiet. I hate driving in the snow but I’m that person who will head out right after a storm when the roads are mostly clear but not clear enough for the city slickers and enjoy the mostly deserted city. I do get stressed out living in such a densely populated area, I much prefer cruising around small towns or country roads in the snow because there are less SUV driving jackasses. I love snowboarding, snowshoeing, running on snowy trails – I think you get the point.

Amilya Regular

Definitely scarves, I think they work more as an accessory than a hat. A hat means business, I’m probably going to be outside for a prolonged period of time and don’t care what I look like. But a scarf can be dressed up or down while still serving a practical purpose. Also, I have a huge head and most hats squeeze my forehead which is stressful.

Amilya Regular

Just one?! If I had to pick, it would definitely be Home Alone because it’s a classic. It’s one movie from my childhood that I distinctly recall watching with my family and it always puts me in a Christmas mood when I watch it. Hell, if I am feeling down or homesick in the dead of July I will put it on πŸ™‚ I love the house, the setting, the very plausible 90’s plot line – it’s just so good.

Amilya Regular

Probably red or gold sparkle or both.

Amilya Regular

I hate them all! None of them taste like they have an ounce of coffee, they are all sugar and syrup – yuck. Back in my early 20’s they had a drink that I really enjoyed but I don’t think they make it and I can’t recall what was in it. I like black coffee with a shot of cinnamon and splash of coconut whipped cream as my festive drink. The Starbucks holiday blend is very good too but I don’t care for their drinks also, they are all about 500 calories which is a whole freaking meal! Am I missing something? What’s your favorite drink?

Amilya Regular

Burt’s Bees lip balm, it’s the only lip product that keeps the sides of my mouth from splitting. My snowflake coffee mug that makes all coffee taste 100 times better and I swear keeps it hotter. My black lounging cardigan that’s actually just a regular cardigan that I wore so often that the elbows wore out and I can’t wear it in public anymore. It’s so thin and worn and soft, I am going to be totally bummed when it just disintegrates πŸ˜€

Amilya Regular

It’s actually a necessity and I’m just gonna have to suck it up and purchase one, I need a new Patagonia. I hate spending the cash, it’s not that they don’t make really good clothing but their coats are just so expensive and I only wear it for a few months. For my body type, it’s hard to find a coat that doesn’t make me look like a stuffed turkey but their coats are just so nicely cut and flattering. Anyway, it has to happen but maybe Santa will surprise me πŸ˜›

Amilya Regular

Ugh, I can’t but if I had to choose one…no, I can’t.

Amilya Regular

Nope – never do, never will. I did stop at Target for some potatoes but I don’t think that counts.

Amilya Regular

Burt’s Bees Original lip balm for day time and the Mamonde Lip Sleeping Mask at night. Can we talk about lip fillers though? I have these little lines that look like smoker lines but I’ve never smoked, they are from pursing my lips when I am reading or writing or driving – I don’t know why I do it but you know how your granny would tell you that if you made ugly faces that it would get stuck that way? Wrinkles, she was talking about wrinkles and she was right. So, I’ve been doing some research on lip filler and did you know that a risk of this procedure is that the filler can be injected into a blood vessel and your lip will literally fall off? If you know of any potent lip line products, let me know.

Amilya Regular

Not really, I have a festive turtleneck that doesn’t really look that idiotic. I just can’t purchase something with such a specific purpose that I can only wear once a year and don’t actually need.

Amilya Regular

Most every year and I cannot imagine living somewhere that doesn’t get snow.

Amilya Regular

Champagne Toast, I think this is the first year that I won’t be purchasing one and it bums me out a little.

Amilya Regular

Same as usual, snowboarding.

I hope you are having a beautiful day and if you do this tag, be sure to let me know!

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Blogmas Day 2: Winter Watch List

Blogmas - 2019

Oh, the weather outside is frightful and staying inside and eating everything in my pantry sounds so delightful πŸ˜› Actually, the weather isn’t that bad but I would like to stay inside until we’re in above zero temperature but alas, I still haven’t married rich. I’d also like to stay inside so that I can catch up on some shows! I’m in a television mood lately, probably because I’m inside more, here’s what I’ve been watching.

The Crown: I might be the last person alive to tune into this historical drama series and my interest was only piqued when I saw the star-studded season three cast. Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, Tobias Menzies and Gillian Anderson?! I mean, come on – I am only on the first season but I’m hooked so far. I think that Princess Diana debuts in season four and I suspect I won’t keep watching it. Does anyone else find it difficult to watch historical style dramas about things that happened in their lifetime? Anyway, this show chronicles the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and it’s really good.

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Modern Family – Again, probably the only person in existence to check this show out but I think it’s hysterical. The personality dynamics play so well together and make the family so perfectly quirky. It’s such a fun show and reminder that families come in all shapes and sizes.

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Jack Ryan Season II: I watched season one on the first day it premiered in one sitting and it was worth all of the stuff that I didn’t get done that day. I haven’t tuned into the second season because I haven’t had the time. This series is an adaptation of the Tom Clancy thrillers starring Jack Ryan and the first season was awesome. I really have to find the time to watch season two. Also, who knew (besides Pam) that Jim was such a fox underneath all of those ties and button ups?

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Mindhunter Season II: I started watching this but only made it through the first episode. Again, an awesome show that I really want to finish but never find the time. I’ve heard that the likeness of the actors to the serial killers they play is uncanny in this season. We got a taste of that in season one with Ed Kemper, I’m dying to see who signed on for the second season.

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I just realized that none of these shows are remotely festive πŸ™‚ I think the only show that feels Christmas-y to me is Mad Men, I associate the 50’s with Christmas for some reason not clear to myself. Anyway, this is how I will be spending my nights in this winter. What are you watching, are any of these on your list? There’s so much good television out there, it’s hard to know where to start!

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Blogmas Day 1: Winter Favorites

Blogmas - 2019

It’s snowing & blowing here in Minnesota, which is my favorite kind of winter day if I didn’t have to be to work in a couple of hours. It seems like the perfect day to kick off Blogmas, I’m only doing 24 days of posts as I am leaving on a snowboarding trip for the last two weeks of the year and I don’t think I would have time to blog. Anyway, today’s post is a handful of products that I’ve been enjoying lately.

Happy Wax Scented Soy Melts: I found these on Amazon and they have quite a few flavors. I’ve been melting the Spa Blend which is a medley of lavender, eucalyptus and cotton. It’s a clean scent, the melts are shaped like cute bears and the throw is decent. I melt way more than the recommended 1-2 pieces but I like my home scents potent and I’m sure 1-2 pieces would be just fine.

tgin Miracle Repair Leave in Conditioner: Winter arrived overnight along with dry hair, dry skin, chapped lips and all of those seasonal discomforts. My hair dresser recommended switching to a leave in conditioner for the winter and this one is really nice. It has a light, fresh scent and does a great job at keeping my hair healthy and soft. It also hasn’t broken my face or neck out which is an issue I experience with moisturizing hair products. This was around $10 at ULTA and it’s been worth every penny.

Acure Marula Oil: I think I’ve talked about how much I enjoy the Drunk Elephant marula oil before but at $80/ounce, I’m always on the hunt for a more affordable product. This one isn’t bad, it’s a bit lighter consistency than the DE version but still deeply moisturizing and repairing. This was another ULTA find and cost around $12, I also like this component more since it’s a pump and not a dropper. I think it’s a fantastic alternative to the DE oil.

Frank Body Peppermint Coffee Scrub: I’m not one to futz around in the bath or shower with body treatments but if you have dry, flaky skin and want a physical exfoliator that isn’t terribly abrasive, coffee is pretty awesome. Yeah, it’s a complete mess but it does the trick and this one smells amazing.

LUSH Cosmetics Karma Kream: Still my favorite body lotion, it smells heavenly with notes of sandalwood and citrus and the scent stays with you all day. It’s by far the best of all the body lotions.

Mamonde Lip Sleeping Mask: If you want a lip mask that falls somewhere between Vaseline and a lip balm, this is it. It’s just enough to feel like a mask but not suffocating, Mamonde makes great skincare with simple ingredients and this is a winter lip savior.

Let me know what some of your winter must-have products are and if you are participating in Blogmas this year! Do you have any Christmas decorations up? Has it snowed where you are? I hope you enjoy these festive posts and I’m looking forward to reading yours!

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A Week’s Review

Random

Spring has sprung, I have officially started taking allergy meds again, have seen at least 3 dead squirrels in the road, I have no idea what to wear and am still recovering from the time change. Ahhhhhhh – Spring, can you feel it? The sunshine has been a welcome change but the rest of Spring can go straight to Hades. Here’s a little rundown of what I got up to this week.

One full week in the new car went mostly OK, it doesn’t feel like my car and still has that new car smell. My old car had a very distinct scent to it because I have a very distinct scent, I miss that familiar scent but I suppose the patchouli seeping out of my pores will eventually transfer to the new car πŸ˜‰

Some of the Lulroe leggings that I ordered have arrived and they are interesting. I didn’t realize that there was such a bustling market for these leggings on apps like Mercari and Poshmark but I managed to find quite a few Halloween prints that are awesome. It’s interesting how varied the pricing can be, some sellers will list certain patterns as being unicorns or rare while others don’t. Mercari I feel has less variety than Poshmark but sellers can offer their items at reduced prices for a limited time and some even offer free shipping. The leggings themselves are very unique feeling and remind me of the material that seamless undies are made of, they have the infinite stretch thing going on. They don’t provide a lot of support and I couldn’t see myself wearing these in public. I’m not a big leggings in public person anyway but these feel like you aren’t even wearing pants. The patterns also don’t stretch weird on the body, the Wolfman pair are so far my favorite. I have a few others on the way and kinda’ want to do like 31 Days of Leggings for October or something, I’m literally just sitting here waiting for Halloween πŸ˜†

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I started listening to the Serial podcast and am so hooked! I enjoy police procedural books and documentaries so it’s right up my alley. I just finished season one, I almost want to listen a second time over in case I missed anything.

My hair is slowly but surely getting longer, I’m almost to that weird phase where I’ll just want to cut it but so far so good. I don’t have plans to grow it out terribly long and will probably end up with super short hair again in the future but it’s growing for now.

Have you been following the Operation Varsity Blues bust?! First of all, who got paid to come up with that name? Second, I know that there were loads of wealthy people involved but it especially irks me that people like Olivia Jade got into a great school by lying. Like, what was the point? You’re already rich and pretty and that will get you a long way in today’s society. Didn’t anyone involved think at some point that they were testing their luck? Also, I had no idea who Felicity Huffman was and am now mired in season two of Desperate Housewives.

That’s about it, oh, I joined a bags league with some co-workers to get out of the house this summer. It starts in June, I’m already exhausted 😭 What’s new with you?

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