beauty · life curation · luxury · relaxation · wine

Glimmers of My Future Life

I completed a workshop a few days ago, and the goal of the entire program was to see my future life and lining up with that reality. Here’s the thing: if you have a vision, you can absolutely create it. But there’s a catch: you can unravel your dream by being unprepared and overwhelmed. The best way to create a dream life that you can sustain is to get ready for it now.

One of the exercises I completed was to bring an object from my future reality into my current world. I sat quietly and the idea came to me: champagne flutes. My future self always has something to celebrate, so she’d have gorgeous champagne flutes at the ready. I went ahead and ordered glasses from a collection named after one of my totem animals, the Black Swan.

I realized that my recent order history has several items that reflect my future self and what’s normal for her. I had essential oils that smell incredible and have cultural significance (both scents are Southern-inspired). I combined these to make a lusciously scented body oil. My future self is always glowing, hydrated and smelling fabulous.

Speaking to my hydrated, silky-skinned future self, I also know that maintaining the softness of my skin is a priority, both now and in the future. So I invest regularly in exfoliating products and debriding creams. I re-purchased my debriding cream recently (I just finished up my supply), and I will be repurchasing my facial exfoliating pads if I don’t get the result I desire from some of the other exfoliating products I want to try.

Finally, my future self is prepared for emergencies and makes sure that herself and her family. My future self isn’t undertaking this responsibility by herself (my future husband is at my side, being even more prepared than I am!) But, having emergency supplies always ready is something she prioritizes. I ordered some additional “bug out” bags a few days ago, for my grandmother and her sister (I already have some at my house).

Those are some of the glimmers of my future self, as well as little ways that I’m acclimating to my dream life. How have you all been injecting little bits of your “dream life” into your current reality? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links.

beauty

Review: The Ordinary Mineral UV Filter Sunscreen

Hi friends! I hope you all had an amazing weekend and a great Monday so far. The weekend was a whirlwind for me, so I’m taking it easy for the next few days so that I can restore my energy.

Today’s post is a really quick review of The Ordinary’s Mineral UV Filter Sunscreen. I’d usually hyperlink the product so that you all can check it out for yourselves, but in this case, I have to refrain. I was not please with this product AT ALL. I know, I know: I’m usually such a huge fan of The Ordinary’s products. But this was a big FLOP. As it turns out, I wasn’t the only customer that was displeased with this product. More about that later: let me tell you about this sunscreen.

In my attempt to try every single product made by The Ordinary, I purchased the Mineral UV Filter Sunscreen. I wear sun protection pretty much every day (even when I’m spending the day indoors). So, out of curiosity and to meet the minimum amount for free shipping, I decided to try the sunscreen. I received the product and decided to try it in place of my usual sunscreen. Imagine my horror when my face turned BLUE in reaction! I realize I had on all of my serums and potions, and I applied sunscreen as my last step (per usual). I experimented with using the sunscreen on top of bare skin, and, while I got a better result, I STILL turned blue. Here’s my video reviewing the product – it has a lot more details about my experience:

In conclusion? This is big NO. I’ll use it as a sunscreen for my arms and legs until I use it up, but I can’t use it on my face UNLESS I plan on staying indoors, where no one will see my blue face!

That’s all for today’s post. See, I told you all it would be short! Take care, and talk to you all tomorrow!

beauty · food

5 Ways to Enjoy Tea Without Drinking It

If you enjoy tea as much as I do, you will probably find yourself with quite a tea collection at some point. It’s also inevitable that, the more teas you try, the more likely you are to come across a tea that you don’t enjoy. Whether it’s too bland, too bitter, too strong, or just not very tasty, getting a tea that you don’t enjoy drinking is always a bit disappointing. And let’s face it: some of us just don’t enjoy the flavor of tea.

That being said, I have good news! All hope isn’t lost when you purchase a “dud” tea, or when you find yourself the proud owner of a tea that you won’t be drinking (whether you purchased it or it was gifted to you). In fact, it’s possible to use tea in quite a few different ways around your home and within your beauty routine. Of course, you’ll want to pay attention to the ingredients: certain teas shouldn’t be used near your eyes or allowed to sit on the skin unless you don’t mind having some discomfort (“hotter” tea ingredients, like ginger and cayenne come to mind). As always, use wisdom and discretion with any of these recommendations.

Without further ado, here are five ways that you can re-purpose tea leaves. Enjoy!

Bath/bath bomb additiveIf you make bath bombs (like I do), you can add some dry tea leaves to your recipe before you put the mixture into molds. It adds a little additional fragrance and beauty to your bath bombs. If you don’t make bath bombs, you can always just add the leaves directly to your bath. Certain teas, like mint and lemon balm, have invigorating scents and can be a refreshing addition to your bath. These teas can also be mixed with epsom salt for an especially relaxing soak.

Herbal facial steam – Similar to baths, you can use tea to make an herbal facial steam. Some teas (like rose and lavender) are known for their relaxing and beautifying properties. Do a little research on your tea and see if the ingredients are suitable for a face steam. Keep in mind, simple black, green or white teas (without added herbs or florals) are perfectly fine for most skin types. Of course, always proceed with caution, even when using “safe” teas.

Face tonic – Just like herbal facial steams, you can steep the tea in hot water then use it as a toner. Camellia sinensis (the scientific name for tea) is generally considered an astringent natural product. The tannins in it constricts body tissue, making it perfect for pore-tightening and giving the face a very toned appearance. The higher the amount of tannins (generally, these are more numerous in cheaper teas), the more astringent the tea will be. Try using a full strength tea tonic on your skin, then, if you find it is too strong, add water to reduce the potency.

Oil infusion – This is actually my favorite way to use teas that I don’t want to drink. Infusing tea into oil can create a luxurious natural product that can either be applied to the skin, the hair, or added to vinegar or another acidic item (like lemon juice) to make dressing. Infusions are simple: add herbs to as many ounces of oil that you want, let it sit in a dark (preferably cool) area for at least four weeks, and shake the mixture occasionally. Personally, I love adding inexpensive chamomile tea and other herbs to coconut or olive oil, then letting them infuse over a month or two. Once these are infused, I strain the oil, put it in a lovely bottle, then apply it to my hair and skin.

Hair rinse – Certain teas are great for rinsing the hair. You brew the tea as normal, then pour the cooled tea onto the hair after shampooing and conditioning. Chamomile is great for lighter colored hair, while sage is fantastic for dark hair. Also, teas that contain rosemary and lavender can be beneficial for dry, itchy scalp, so keep that in mind. You can also just add dried rosemary and/or lavender to the tea that you’re brewing, then you get the added benefit of those herbs for scalp health.

These are some of my favorite ways to use teas that aren’t so tasty. Do you have any recommendations for re-purposing tea leaves? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

beauty

Review: Pixi Rose Tonic

I will be showing a bunch of my May empties tomorrow, but today, I wanted to spotlight one noteworthy “empty”. This is a product that I’m certain I will purchase again.

The Pixi Rose Tonic is a refreshing product that I tried for a few days in May. For those that have been here for a while, you all know that I use a slightly modified version of the Korean ten-step method, which calls for a toner (to balance the skin and remove any traces of makeup or cleansing product) and an essence (to add additional nourishment to the skin). So this rose tonic was intriguing to me: I wanted to see whether it was more like a toner or if it was more similar to an essence.

Pixi Rose Tonic

This gentle, alcohol-free product combines the features of a toner with some of the benefits of an essence. Yes, it is a toner: it will help to balance the skin, neutralize the skin mantle (this prevents the mantle from being compromised, which can result in damaged, more sensitive skin), and remove any remnants of makeup or previously applied skin products. However, the product contains aloe vera, chamomile, elderberry, tea extract, and the extracts of several different rose variations (including Rose of Damascus and dog-rose). These act as skin soothers to leave the face feeling clean yet hydrated and nourished.

One of the ingredients in the tonic is dog-rose essence

My bottle was a sample size, so I didn’t have enough product to use for longer than about 10 days. However, I LOVED the way that this made my face feel. My skin felt hydrated and not stripped at all. I also love that this product didn’t conflict with any of the other products that I use on my face.

My sample was teeny-tiny but I was still impressed with the product

Would I recommend this? Absolutely! I intend to purchase another bottle as soon as I’m done with my current toners. I looked at a few vendors to see who had the best price, and the cost on the Pixi website is significantly less than Amazon, and a bit less than Ulta. This is NOT a sponsored link, so if you’re curious about the product, please know that I’m endorsing it without any personal motivation LOL!

That’s my review on Pixi Rose Tonic. Have you tried this product before? I’d love to hear all about your experience with it!

beauty

April Empties: A Quick Review

 Happy Monday, friends! I have never reviewed my product “empties” (products that I’ve used up completely) but since I’ve been trying to be mindful about my consumption, I have far more “empties” than normal! Instead of buying products out of boredom or curiosity, I’m far more focused on buying products as I actually need them.

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Most of the products I’ll discuss are very inexpensive, while one product (in particular) is mid-range price. I love that I’m able to share some inexpensive empties that I can highly recommend!

Without further ado, here are my April empties.

I love the Dermasil Oil-Free Daily Retinol Cream. I used this moisturizer on my face at night, and I love how it doesn’t make my skin feel oily. It also didn’t clog my pores or cause breakouts. The best part? This cream is only $1 at your local Dollar Tree! If you are unable to get to a Dollar Tree, or if you are unable to locate this product at your local Dollar Tree, then it can be ordered in packs of 3 on Amazon for a reasonable price.

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I regularly cleanse my face with Mary Kay products, though I occasionally use African black soap to switch things up. I recently finished off my last bottle of Mary Kay Timewise 3-in-1 Cleanser. MK has recently updated the cleanser formulation, so I’ll be trying the new formula to see if I like the changes that have been made.

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My consummate favorite, The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% +Zinc 1% serum, is an inexpensive skincare option to treat skin blemishes. I use this daily so I go through the bottles quickly. I’m thrilled that The Ordinary is now selling this product in a larger bottle (60 ml), so I can purchase the bigger size and create less waste.

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For my hair, I actually enjoy very inexpensive products, so long as they are effective. There’s no greater thrill for me as a wise shopper than to buy a product for a pittance and then that product over-delivers on its promises! This Softee Coconut Oil Hair & Scalp Conditioner is a hair grease that I massage into my hair to protect the ends and seal in moisture. This product can usually be purchased for less than $5 a jar, and it lasts a long time. I’ve had this jar for a few years, but I used it sporadically. With weekly application, a 12-ounce jar could last me at least 6 months.

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Finally, I’m featuring another Dollar Tree product. Lustee’s Olive Oil Hair Sheen is actually not an oil-based product but, rather, a water-based moisturizing spray. It is great for the “L” step of the LOC method (there are many hair gurus that can explain the LOC method far better than I can). It was also just $1, so it was a great buy. I was unable to find this product online, but I’ve seen it at every Dollar Tree that I’ve visited, so you should be able to find it with ease.

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That’s it for my April empties. I’m excited about sharing some new empties with you next month, as I continue to focus on using what I have and only replacing items when I need to. Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

 

 

 

(This post contains affiliate links)

beauty

Shelter-In-Place Skin Care

While sheltering-in-place, it can be tempting to “let ourselves go”. After all, the only people that are seeing us regularly are our families and friends that we choose to either 1) quarantine with or 2) video chat with regularly.

But while I’m inside, I’m amping up my skincare. Why? Well, *one day* in the not-so-distant future, I’ll be going outside again. And when I do, I want to look great! I want to look good and feel good when life returns to “normal”. So my skincare isn’t taking a break while I’m at home: in fact, I’m learning new ways to improve my skin.

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I’m still doing a version of the Korean 10-step skin care regimen, but I felt like my skin could use a little more care than normal. So I looked up different beauty treatments for the face and body. I created a fabulous coffee & brown sugar scrub using this recipe from Living Chic on the Cheap. I love using this on my body to soften my skin. I prefer to use this after I apply and rinse my soap off while showering. That way, a light layer of coconut oil (one of the scrub’s ingredients) will remain once I leave the shower. However, I have noticed that it helps to use a dark towel after using the scrub: some of the coffee color can remain on your skin if you use the scrub as the last step.

Next, I found this great video showing how to give yourself an at-home facial. I am a HUGE fan of gentle skin care, but there are times where a little more “elbow grease” is required to get the results that you want. This video shows you ways to gently extract impurities from the skin, and how to effectively steam your face. I’ll likely add a relaxing, inexpensive herbal tea to my steaming water, just for the aromatherapy benefits. Also, instead of using a mechanical scrub, I’ll employ a chemical one (I bought one from The Ordinary that I’ll review once I’ve used it a few times).

 

This week, I’ll be using my coffee scrub as well as doing my at-home facial. I’m going to give my skin the extra TLC it needs and deserves!

That’s all for today. I hope you all are doing well! Take care.

life curation

This Week’s Happenings . . .

Despite these difficult times, I’ve been making the most of things. This week, I’m focusing on BALANCE, both internally and externally. I’ve taken some mini-breaks from social media to help keep my spirits high, and I’ve also been doing some other things that I’ve found beneficial.

I have made it a point to avoid in-person shopping as much as possible. I’m extremely thankful for grocery pickup services offered at local grocers such as Kroger. I fill my virtual cart, select a pickup date and time, pay for my order, then get it when it’s ready. It’s fantastic! I also love that I’m able to give cash tips to the person that brings the groceries to my car. I’d like to think that if most of the customers gave these hardworking people some sort of gratuity, it could help make up for the fact that they are generally overworked and underpaid. Besides, we can all use a little kindness during this time.

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I’m not doing any leisurely grocery shopping trips right now

I haven’t done much online shopping, except for items that I actually needed to restock. I bought some inexpensive acne cream and cotton pads from Amazon, since I was running low on both.


A new acne cream that I’m trying for the first time: Acne Free Terminator 10 Acne Spot Treatment (updates will be posted soon!)


Always necessary: cotton pads (Bellacotton Premium Cotton Rounds)

I also bought a couple of things from The Ordinary. I recently watched a YouTube video demonstrating how to do a facial at home (more about that tomorrow!) and I bought a chemical peel for when I decide to give my face a treatment. All the details will be in tomorrow’s post.

I’ve been using yoga and gentle stretching to help calm my mind and ease any physical pain. I have tried several different yoga videos on YT, but I haven’t gotten a “favorite” video yet. Once I have my “favorite”, I’ll be sure to share it here.

That’s what’s happening with me this week. How are things where you are? I’d love to hear all about it!

Disclaimer: this post has affiliate links.

beauty

Rest in Peace, Brandon Truaxe

A few days ago, the founder of The Ordinary, Brandon Truaxe, passed away. Truaxe’s brand is brilliant: it finally brought professional grade skin care to the masses at affordable prices. The Ordinary’s powerful, effective serums and solutions have been a staple in my routine for quite some time.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BskBx68HkNQ/

Truaxe experienced a tumultuous year, and was eventually ousted from the company that he started. Aside from the controversy surrounding his company, I suspect that he was deeply troubled and experiencing many personal struggles as well. I hope that he is able to finally rest in peace.

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(Photo courtesy of DetailOrientedBeauty.com)

beauty · luxury

Beauty Review: Sephora Mud Mask Purifying and Mattifying

It’s been AGES since I did a mud mask on my face. I used to use clay- and mud-based masks regularly for my oily skin, but as my life got busier, I just didn’t have as much time to wait for a mask to dry, then all of the extra time needed to rinse it off was more than I wanted to commit to . . . So I let mud masks go.

This past week, though, I had a little extra time. AND, I had a trial size of Sephora Mud Mask Purifying and Mattifying in one of the Sephora Play boxes that I ordered. So I decided to give it a whirl. My skin isn’t as oily as it used to be when I was younger, but I figured this would still be a fun treat for my combination complexion.

So shiny, so silver: it looked more like an eyeshadow than a beauty treatment

The product is described as being made with ” with zinc, copper, and white clay”, and it’s supposed to “cleanses and purifies pores, absorbs excess sebum, and reduces the appearance of blemishes without overdrying. Skin is left clean, matte, and soft after each use.” I figured that, with all of those promises, I should give it a try.

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When first applied, it’s a dark grey hue

I applied a thin layer after washing and drying my face. The consistency of the mask was smooth overall but there were a few lumps (I’m not sure if it was just my sample or if that’s how it usually looks). The smell isn’t too strong, but definitely noticeable. I let it dry for about 15 minutes.  I then rinsed off the mask: it came off easily and quickly. In fact, this is the only mask I’ve ever used that rinsed totally clean without needing a washcloth to assist in removing the product in stubborn areas.

When dry, it’s chalky white (left to right: partially dry and fully dry)

My skin felt very clean and more matte but not stripped. My skin felt very soft but balanced. I skipped my hydrogen peroxide toner and followed the remaining steps of my skin routine.

This mask retails for $20 and I would definitely purchase it and use it again. It’s difficult to find a mask that rinses clean and doesn’t strip all of the moisture out of my skin. I also liked the smell: I couldn’t pinpoint it, but it had a very clean essence that is familiar and (fortunately) not cloying. This one gets a thumbs up from me!

beauty

Skin Care Updates

Hi everyone! I’ve been eager to do this update because it’s been a few months since I started my Glass Skin routine and I wanted to let you all know about a few changes I’ve made that have made my skin even better than before.

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So I ran out of toner and I was at a loss for what I should use on my face. Picking up Caudalie would have required a 30 minute drive and I couldn’t have even gotten to Sephora until the next day, anyway. So I used the only thing I had available: hydrogen peroxide. I used it in the evening and the following morning and I was so impressed with the look and feel of my skin that I decided to keep it in the rotation until further notice.

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CVS Hydrogen Peroxide

After doing some research, I learned that hydrogen peroxide is great for skin, especially if you’re acne prone, like me. So I’ve been using it and my skin has been loving it! It’s very inexpensive – around $1USD per bottle – and can easily be purchased at any drugstore. It’s been a great addition to my routine!

I also made a few other small modifications:

  • I don’t use an oil-based makeup remover: I use makeup remover towelettes on most days. I sometimes use coconut oil to remove stubborn eye makeup but I don’t apply it all over my face unless I have on a TON of makeup (which is rare).
  • I only use my Dr. Gross exfoliating pads a few times a week. I find that I’ve been able to stay glowing and even-toned without using them daily. The moment I notice any dullness or unevenness in my complexion, I’ll go back to using them every day.
  • Instead of the “Buffet” serum by The Ordinary, I’ve been using the Argireline solution. It’s thinner and seems to absorb really easily into my skin. I’ve been liking the results so far.

Other than those changes, my skin routine is pretty much the same! I can get everything done in less than 15 minutes at night, and my skin has been looking wonderful! I’m still trying to figure out the best way to reduce the appearance of my pores, but since my skin is oily, large pores are generally part of the deal. I’d rather have oily skin than dry skin, so if I have to just suffer through visible pores, then so be it.

That’s all for today! Talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!