🎵 These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…🎵

Hi friends!

We’ve now been in quarantine for over five months and what a time it has been! It’s actually been a bit longer for me because my maternity leave slowly turned into the pandemic / WFH life. Needless to say, it’s been one loooong 4th trimester, y’all! 😉

That being said, I have not been shopping for clothes these last 10 months because #PostBabyWeight [Mamas, can I get an “Amen?”] But don’t let me fool you, my amazon cart has gotten a workout with the other things I’ve purchased instead. 😬 And while “things” are just things and will not make us happy, today’s post is all about the little joys I have discovered or have been using during quarantine that have brought a smile to my face. Cue Julie Andrews’ 🎵 ‘These are a few of my favorite things…’ 🎵 [which my toddler insists we play on repeat!]

JEWELRY

Alright y’all, let’s get down to business. First thing’s first: bracelet stacks and gold necklaces have been QUEEN this summer. I have curated my own little arm stack, gold and silver Apple Watch band included. [Wish I could take credit for the band but I cannot! One of fave bloggers, Courtney Kerr, has been sharing about it all summer long!]

GOLD BRACELET STACK [left to right]
  • Zoe Lev beaded bracelet
  • Waves Chain bracelet: this bracelet is made by adults with autism and is less than $15! It’s beautiful and actually good quality for the price. I love it! Only issue is it’s pretty long for my wrists and I’m going to get a few “waves” taken out once the pandemic is over.
  • Chain to the left of my watch was given to me by my mom ages ago!
  • Gold and Silver Apple Watch band: this watch has held up great so far and I love the silver and gold mix. It goes with all my jewelry!
  • Tortoise Shell Apple Watch band: not pictured above but I love it!
  • These bracelets are not gold but I recently got them from @janeandjunecollection and they are so fun! They are made of vinyl and I love the bright colors. 😍 I am also eyeing these because if you have followed me on this blog or Insta for a while, you know how much I love a camel hue. [Ryan, a blogger I went to college with, shared these and I’m so glad she did!]
GOLD NECKLACES

[Awkward car selfies coming your way… I just wanted y’all to see what they look like close up!]

  • Gorjana Link: my husband gifted me these two Gorjana necklaces for my birthday and I love them! The link necklace is actually longer than what’s pictured above but you can clasp it at whatever length you want, so I made it into a choker.  
  • Gorjana Star: I’ve been wearing this one a lot, both by itself and paired with the Link chain necklace [as seen in pic above.]

  • Etsy Medallion necklace: you’ve seen the medallion necklaces everywhere and I found one that is really nice quality off Easy. This is probably my favorite gold necklace that I’ve gotten this summer.

  • Etsy Chain Necklace: I love how delicate this necklace is even though it’s a chain. I didn’t want something big and clunky and this necklace was not that. Also, great quality.

FITNESS

Now that life is slowly getting back to normal in regards to ‘baby’ life, I’m trying to get into a good workout routine. [It’s so tough with all the competing activities of life – work, kids, husband, friends and family – but that is a whole separate blog post! 😉]

C25K

One of the ways that I’ve been enjoying excercising recently is by using the C25K app. It stands for ‘Couch to 5K’ and is designed to teach you to be able to run a 5K [just as it sounds! 😉] I have really enjoyed it because the program switches off between walking and running and eases you into it. 

STRONGLIFTS 5 X 5

I have also gone back to my tried and true, 5 x 5 app. This is the exercise program I was using before my wedding and it got me more toned than I ever had been previously. I was never a big weightlifter and always felt super self-conscious about trying to do weights at the gym. This app has videos that show you exactly how to do the exercise. You’re technically supposed to go up 5 lbs each week but I pace myself depending on how I’m feeling.

BEAUTY

Naturtint Hair Dye

Naturtint Hair dye: since COVID, I have not gone to the salon, but these pesky grays have not stayed away. I was nursing up until a few weeks ago [and I’m always on the hunt for more natural products as it is], so I decided to use this hair dye from Whole Foods to cover up those roots! This brand of hair dye is vegan-friendly, plant-enriched and has minimal chemicals. That all sounded great to me even before I tried it but the product stood up to the test. My color has lasted for over 3 months and it was gentle on my hair. [Side note: my mom colored my hair and taught me a trick to reduce damage from the dye: apply a layer of coconut oil onto your hair first to protect it as much as possible. My hair was super shiny and soft after she colored it.]

Rahua Shampoo and Conditioner

Rahua classic shampoo and conditioner: after I gave birth to my second last October, the texture of my hair completely changed! [Thanks, hor-mo-nes!] I went from having fairly dry hair that could easy go a week without washing to super greasy hair as soon as I got out of the shower. It was so frustrating because I felt like I couldn’t ever get my hair clean, even immediately after a wash! I decided that I needed to switch up my shampoo and that did the trick. I started using Rahua’s normal shampoo and conditioner and it gave me the clean feeling I was used to. Rahul is also a really neat brand that focuses on sustainability and using as many natural products from the rainforest as possible. You can check out their story here.

Depileve Wax

 

This wax works very well and does not irritate my sensitive/dry skin! I actually tried out another one before I found Depileve and not only did it not remove all the hair, but it also caused breakouts.  

Since March, I have not gone to see my lady who threads my eyebrows and waxes my lip [this may be TMI, but I wanted to share in case any other girls out there are suffering!]. This wax did the trick! I got this warmer along with it.  Also, I always apply Aquaphor to my lip after waxing and that really soothes the redness.

FASHION

Last but not least, I want to share what has probably been my favorite purchase over the last couple of months: the Kurt Geiger leather tote [holding in pic above]. I knew I wanted to have a big tote bag that I could throw all the kids’ stuff into without having to also carry a diaper bag around. Well let me tell you, this bag has been that and much more. First off, it’s a very nice bag with soft, buttery leather and it feels high-end. So while you might be shlepping around diapers, snacks, toys, books and whatever else you had to throw in to your bag of tricks, you still feel put together and presentable. This bag is not cheap but it’s been worth the price.

We just went on a staycation recently and this is the bag I took everywhere. It fit all the kids’ stuff as well as my wallet, water, sunglasses, sanitizer and more. It was so nice to not have to carry multiple bags around. I was worried that it’d be too heavy at times but it really wasn’t. It also has zero form to it. I was worried about that when I purchased it because I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about a full-on floppy bag. That has actually turned out to be a great feature because when my toddler gets out of the double-stroller, I can drop my bag in his seat and it takes the shape of whatever “vessel” it’s in.

Hopefully some of these items can be a source of inspiration for you as you put together your next bracelet stack or look for new workout tips and tricks. [Frankly speaking, anything that makes a run in this TX heat palatable has my stamp of approval!]

Let me know if there’s anything you’ve been loving lately that’s brought a smile to your face!

My Skincare Routine for Dry / Sensitive / Acne-Prone Skin

Skincare can be tricky. There are so many factors that go into finding the right products for your skin. On one hand, you might be unsure of your skin type. On the other, you might be completely overwhelmed by the sea of products on the market and not know where to start. I know I used to [and still] fall into the latter. It has taken me years of research [and frustration 🙃] to find products that work for my dry, sensitive, acne-prone skin that are also somewhat “clean.” In addition, I knew I needed a simple routine so that I would actually follow it. [I’m still not great at washing my face every single night and I’m trying to get better and turn it into a habit.] I mean I love an extensive, luxurious facial like the next girl, but for day to day…#AintNobodyGotTimeForThat.  

SKIN TYPE

Let’s start with skin type. I have dry / sensitive skin that is prone to redness and acne on my chin and upper cheeks. I think it’s so critical that you understand what kind of skin you’re working with before starting to try different products. A moisturizer that works wonders for oily skin could prove a nightmare for dry skin. Once you know your skin type, you can start exploring the different products that are available.

If you’re struggling with figuring out what type of skin you have, you can find a dermatologist in your area that subscribes to the “Skin Type Solutions” methodology. It was developed by cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Leslie Baumann, and is a science-based approach that diagnoses your skin type and then gives you a list of products that have been tested and proven effective for your skin. [This is no an ad and I’m not sponsored by Dr. Baumann.  I found her and approach online through my own personal research.]  I ended up seeing one of the doctors in Dallas who uses this method to confirm my unique skin type and also give me some direction on the products I should be using for it. He diagnosed my skin and gave me a list of recommended products.  [I was nursing at the time so I didn’t end up using the eye cream or retinol but am excited to try them out one day in the future.]  

For the most part, I was on the right path in terms of my skincare routine, which was very reassuring.  At the time of my appointment, I already knew I had started to figure it out because my skin redness started to calm down, the acne on my chin reduced significantly and my skin was glowing and hydrated after each time of using my “lineup.”  I share the products that I use both morning and night below.  

If you’re having a hard time determining your skin type and what products to start with, finding a doctor that follows this approach in your area is a great place to start!

SKIN CARE ROUTINE

Now onto the fun part…to all my girls with dry/sensitive skin, I have the dewiest / glowiest [yes I realize these are not real words, but stick with me here…😛] skincare routine just for you. I think it would even be great for normal skin that gets dry during the fall / winter months and needs some extra TLC. [Oily gals, I’m sorry to leave you out of this one but I don’t think this routine will give you what you need because it’s all about bringing hydration and moisture back into the skin, specifically with products formulated for dry / sensitive skin.

MORNING ROUTINE

Below is my morning skincare routine in the order I use the products:

  1. Eminence Organic Coconut Milk Cleanser: I found this cleanser through Annie Lawless’ post about her dry skin routine.  It is so rich and creamy and hydrates my skin after every use.  It’s one of the first cleansers I’ve used that does not strip my skin of its natural oils and does not leave it tight or dry [the worst feeling!!] It is specifically formulated for dry skin and it actually works! Bonus: it’s made of organic ingredients and is not formulated with any of the bad stuff [i.e. parabens, phthalates, etc]! 
  2. Belli Beauty Acne Spot Treatment: Although this is not the strongest acne treatment on the market because it’s safe for pregnancy and nursing, it works great on my skin.  The second I stop using it, I see my redness flare up and some small pimples start to form.  I use it on my chin, upper cheeks and forehead, almost like a serum post-cleanse.  [I blogged about it here.]
  3. FAB Ultra Repair Sleeping Cream: Another Annie Lawless find! I love this brand and all of the products that I have tried from it.  They only use clean products [there are 1300 products on their list that they exclude] and are known to cater to sensitive skin.  This cream is so moisturizing and my skin drinks it up.  
  4. Pura D’Or 100% Pure Organic Argan Oil: To seal in the moisture, I apply this argan oil.  I think that if I had to pick one product that has been the most effective for my skin, it’s this one.  The argan oil is what really seems to clam down the redness on my chin and cheeks. It is also so moisturizing and once I’m done with this step, my skin is dewy and glowing!
  5. EltaMD Sunscreen for Sensitive / Acne Prone Skin: I have used this sunscreen for years, per my dermatologist’s recommendation and I love it.  It has never irritated my skin and is a great last step before applying make-up.  [It doesn’t pill and has worked well with any foundation I’ve ever used.]  

NIGTHTIME ROUTINE

Below is my skincare routine at nighttime:

  1. Garnier Micellar Water or Neutrogena Hydrating Wipes: Micellar water and wipes were all the rage as the first step in a double-cleansing routine for several years.  Then they got a bad rap from beauty editors and bloggers for not being the best for skin cleansing.  I personally use them to clean off my eye makeup from the day.  I’m sure I could use the oil in step 2, but I don’t personally like to rub oil over my eyes.  Therefore, these hydrating wipes do a great job without irritating my skin.  I will sometimes follow up with the micellar water on a cotton pad to get the final remnants.  
  2. DHC Cleansing Oil: Ahhh, when I put this oil on my face, I sometimes want to just leave it on because it feels so soothing on my skin! Of course I do not because this is the oil I use to remove my makeup from the day. 🙂 It is so hydrating, so soothing and does a wonderful job of getting off all of my makeup.  I remove it with a face rag.  
  3. Eminence Organic Coconut Milk Cleanser: I follow up the oil with the cleanser and use a rag to remove the face wash as well, to get any last traces of makeup off my skin.  Steps 4 – 6 below are the same as above!
  4. Belli Beauty Acne Spot Treatment
  5. FAB Ultra Repair Sleeping Cream
  6. Pura D’Or 100% Pure Organic Argan Oil
  7. Laneige Lip Mask: At night, I apply this lip mask and it has the consistency of a super glossy, thick lip gloss. I love it because its so nourishing and I still feel a very light layer on my lips in the morning when I wake up.  

WEEKLY ROUTINE

  1. Fresh Sugar Face Polish Exfoliator: I use this every Sunday night to exfoliate my skin for the week.  If I’m ever experiencing a lot of dry patches for whatever reason, I might use this a second time throughout the week as well.  It’s mad with brown sugar, strawberries, plum seed oil and grapeseed oil, and is free of parabens and phthalates.  It’s such a gentle, yet effective, exfoliator that leaves my skin dewy and glowing.  
  2. FAB Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration: While this is not something that I put on my skin or neck, I use this cream on my body whenever my hands get crackly or my knees/elbows/feet need some extra TLC.  It’s so rich and creamy and does wonders for very dry skin.  I usually put it on at night before going to bed.  

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You might’ve noticed that I excluded any toners, serums and retinols from my routine. I have personally tried various toners over the years [even those that say they are hydrating], but they do not work for my skin.  They tighten and dry it out and I have decided that they are not for me.  

I don’t use a serum at the moment because of pregnancy but I do hope to incorporate a Vitamin C [or other targeted serum] once I’m done with nursing.  Similarly to the serum, I will bring in a retinol for anti-aging purposes post-nursing!

Have you tried any of these products and have they worked for you? Or do you have any other favorite items that are effective for dry / sensitive skin? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Shop the Post: Eminence Organic Coconut Milk Cleanser // Belli Beauty Acne Spot Treatment // FAB Ultra Repair Sleeping Cream // Pura D’Or 100% Pure Organic Argan Oil // Laneige Lip Mask // EltaMD Sunscreen for Sensitive / Acne Prone Skin // Garnier Micellar Water // Neutrogena Hydrating Wipes // DHC Cleansing Oil // Fresh Sugar Face Polish Exfoliator // FAB Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration // Robe (old, same brand shorts pajamas, same brand pants pajamas

Photography by: Angie Garcia 

Top 5 Pregnancy Beauty Products

Hey friends!

Happy Spring! I love this season because everything that was once seemingly asleep is now coming back to life.  The trees have started to bloom, the flower bushes are budding once more, spring fashion is upon us, and this mama-to-be is 28 weeks along!

There were certain things that came along with pregnancy that surprised me.   For example, the changes in my hair and skin!  My hair has become much thicker during the first two trimesters.  A lot of the places where I had previously lost hair [in the baby hair area around my scalp], welcomed new growth.  My skin on the other hand, became extremely dry and flaky.  I have combination skin which is oilier in the T-Zone and dryer in all of the other areas.  Pregnancy turbo-charged the dryness to a whole new level.

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Designer vs. Drugstore Lipgloss

Hey y’all,

Happy Monday! In honor of #nationallipstickday a few weeks ago and all the beauty vibes it evoked, let’s talk lip glosses.  Do you need to shell out $25-35 per tube for the designer brands, or are the drugstore versions just as good? I’ve always wondered that as the only high-end lip glosses I used to use were the Lancôme samples that my mom would give me 🙈. I kept them for years (my newly aware self cringes at the thought of how expired they probably were…) But now that I’m becoming more beauty product savvy, I will share what I learn as I go.  I hope this saves you the time from having to test these out and brings some ease into this part of your life!

Ok, so here’s the skinny. I tested the following six lip glosses over the last month and these are my thoughts from best to worse:
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Best Men’s Products for Women

Ok, ladies. Can we just get real for a minute here? There are several “men’s” products that I have been using for the last couple of years that I absolutely love. I would’ve never heard about them or even tried them had I not been living with a man who uses them on the daily. So when I would run out of soap or a razor, I’d have to open up one of my husband’s, and lo and behold, I liked them so much better than my own! This post is all about the best men’s products that women can use as well.   My favorite ones that I use on a daily/weekly basis are below:

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