Beauty Resolutions

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Mid-January isn't too late for a resolutions post, is it? I don't tend to make too many New Year's Resolutions anymore, usually because I only stick to them in January and then feel bad about myself the rest of the year. But I do like to set myself some beauty-related goals that I'm more likely to achieve.

Use Less Stuff

I feel like ever since I turned 25, I've been battling my skin. No matter what I do, I just can't shake these pesky breakouts that pop up with no rhyme or reason. Instead of jumping on the defensive and changing up my skincare products every single day, I'm going to try to pare back and come up with a routine based on more simple products to really nurture and soothe my skin. I have a lot of skincare to get through, but I want to really try to use whole products up before subbing something else in - or at least use something long enough to know what kind of results it's giving me.

But Also, Use More

On the other hand, I also want to try to use more - more of my own stuff, that is. I find myself giving in to hype and the mentality to buy, buy, buy the next new thing way too often, and I need to sit back and use what I have first. I have way more makeup than the average person needs, so this year I want to make the effort to use more of it up - I think switching up my makeup bag on a monthly basis is a good start, as well as frequent digs into the depths of my makeup drawers to resurrect forgotten favorites.

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Put More Effort & Research into Helping My Skin

I've mentioned already I want to help my skin this year, and I'm really going to need to do some research about what to do. I know the acne is hormonal because of the placement and how my breakouts vary from month to month. I want to help it from the inside as well as the outside, cutting down on dairy and adding more exercise into my routine. Hopefully things will be looking up by the time my wedding comes around!

Practice, Practice, Practice

Speaking of the wedding, I've opted to do my own makeup for the occasion - sitting down to do my makeup has always really helped my anxiety, so I think sitting down with an hour or two to myself on the big day would be the perfect idea. And I don't know if I could ever let go of control enough for someone else to do it! I'm mediocre (at least when it comes to eye makeup) at best, so I'm really going to dedicate some time to practicing and figuring out what kind of looks will look best not only in person, but also in photos. Oh and I should probably start figuring out how to apply false lashes, too. I can't wait to sift through my collection and start picking out what products I'll use on the big day! It's still five months away, but I'll do a post on that when the time comes for sure.

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Do you have any beauty-related ones this year?


Feeling Fresh All Day Long

This post contains sponsored content by Secret.

One of the biggest challenges I face day-to-day in the summer is keeping on top of feeling fresh, bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed all day. I take good care of myself in the morning, but on hot days I need a little more help so as to not devolve into a sweaty, greasy mess by lunchtime. I’ve added some bits into my routine that’s really helping me feel bright and healthy throughout the day.

I’ve been starting off my day with the Secret Invisible Spray deodorants - I used to always be a stick deodorant kind of gal, but these have seriously wowed me. The spray is super convenient and easy. One quick spray is all I need, and it gets me out the door that much faster. They feel dry as you spray them on, so you’re not going to have to wait around for it to dry. These just launched in July in four scents: Cool Waterlily, Luxe Lavender (my favorite), Glam Grapefruit, and Boho Berry, and are formulated to help you feel clean and fresh for up to 48 hours. The scents really do last all day long, and rather than mixing with your sweat, they work to capture and lock away underarm odor - I can really attest to this, as these kept me feeling clean and fresh even while moving into a new house in 90 degree heat. They’re also formulated with Fade Resistant Scent Technology, so you’ll never go nose-blind to your chosen scent.

Along with making sure my body feels fresh to get ready for the day, I also need to take care of my face - a detoxifying face wash is my first step in my skincare routine on days I know I’ll need a boost. It creates a really clean, bright canvas for the rest of my skincare and makeup. If I have time, I also like to prep my skin with a moisturizing mask. They help to cool down and plump up my skin as well as keep it hydrated all day. My last necessity in the mornings to feel fresh is a minty lip balm. Not only does this keep my lips hydrated and smooth, but the mint provides a cooling kick that feels refreshing.

On my way out the door, I’ll make sure to take a few bits with me for touchups. The Secret Invisible Sprays are perfect for on-the-go because they won’t stain your clothes, and again, there’s no wait time after applying. So far I’ve been good with just one spray in the morning and won’t need a touchup, but I like to carry around my scent for the day as peace of mind. I’ll also pop a setting powder into my bag, because the Secret may keep sweat at bay under my arms, but I still may need a few touchups for my face. Face mists are a must to carry around as well - if I’m feeling overheated and a bit grimy, they feel refreshing and cooling right away.

Since I’ve started using the Secret Invisible Sprays, I’ve really amped up my “freshen up” game - they’re game changers for sure!

Have you tried the Secret Invisible Sprays yet? What do you use to make sure you feel fresh all day?

All opinions are my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.


The Spending Ban | One Month (and a bit) Down

It's been a little over a month since I posted about trying to slow down on spending in preparation of buying a house, so I thought I would check in and let you know how it's been going. I've tried spending bans many times before and they never stuck, but I'm pleased to say I think I've actually done really well, and I've surprised myself with how well I stuck to it.

Lesson 1 - I was addicted to receiving packages

The first couple weeks were the hardest - I had honestly been ordering and receiving packages from Sephora or other beauty websites at least once per week. It was hard to get used to not coming home to exciting packages waiting by the door. But that feeling passed, and rather than looking forward to material things, I looked forward to spending my evenings hanging out with Brett and Lilo - saving money and cherishing time with loved ones is a win-win, wouldn't you say?

Lesson 2 - I was dependent on new products for content

Because of this constant influx of new products, I never had to struggle to think of new blogposts. But once that stream stopped, I had the worst writer's block I think I've ever had. I got so used to writing about new things that I didn't know how to blog about what I already had anymore. I took a week off from blogging while I was on vacation, and I think that time away helped. Now I'm finally getting back into the swing of it - I've got several ideas and drafted posts ready to go, and it feels good. When I stopped buying so many products, I also gave myself more time to really use and get familiar with PR samples I've been sent - I've always been incredibly grateful for the opportunities blogging has given me, and I'm glad to not have a backlog of products to try/review now.

Lesson 3 - I wasn't using what I had

As you can imagine, it was getting hard for me to stick to any kind of routine and I changed up the products I used on an almost daily basis. Now, I've been using a fairly constant lineup of products, and I've been able to really discern what works together and what doesn't, and my skin and makeup are looking better because of it. Trying new products is still fun, but I love having a solid core of products I really trust and can depend upon (spoiler: it's basically all Glossier).

Lesson 4 - It cured my impulse-buying (??)

I'm hoping this is a lasting effect, but actually stopping myself from ordering something the second I decided I wanted it taught me to really think about the money I was spending, and if the product in question was something I really wanted and would use in the long run. The wishlist tip from my original post was a godsend here - I was constantly adding and then scratching out entries as I realized it wasn't something I really wanted.

Lesson 5 - A little leeway does a world of good

I think the biggest problem with my spending bans in the past were that I tried to go absolutely cold turkey, and then when I failed, I'd just think "oh well it's over now" and go back to my wild spending. This time, I allowed myself a couple little things here and there, and it really helped. Again, it really helped me think each purchase through. I had promised myself I could order a couple of the new Bite Liquid Lipsticks when they launched, and besides that I haven't ordered anything else until today, when I made a small Sephora order to finally replenish my Milk Makeup Flex Concealer - even that took a lot of thought, and it was something I "needed." And to celebrate a little bit that I had a great few weeks in terms of Glossier orders (thank you!!), I treated myself to a Lancome Juicy Shaker in Cherry Symphony, which has been on my wishlist since the beginning of July (and this post on Instagram definitely ensured it stayed on my wishlist that whole time).

I've really surprised myself, and I think I'm going to go forward being a lot more mindful about my spending - and as I'm still broke, the ban will continue indefinitely!

Have you tried a spending ban before?


The Monthly Review | June

June has definitely been the fastest month of the year - I seriously can't believe tomorrow is July. It was quite a stressful month, but a few recent events have made it the best of the year so far.

Beauty

This month I took a long, hard look at my beauty spending. I wrote a post this week on how I'm going to stick to a spending ban because the amount of money I've spent this year alone on beauty is insane - I requalified for VIB Rouge for next year in MARCH. I did a huge declutter and managed to fit everything back into the little acrylic storage units and Ikea drawers I originally got for makeup storage. It's been so nice to have everything back in one place, and I'm sure Brett's super happy about it being out of the living room.

I've still been loving a few products despite downsizing a bit. My favorite release of the month was Glossier's Birthday Balm Dotcom (20% off here) - I always have at least two Balm Dotcoms nearby, and now I have a whole new obsession. It smells just like fresh out of the oven vanilla cake and has a little bit of holographic shimmer in it that makes it really pretty on the lips as well as cheeks and eyelids. When I haven't been slathering that on my lips, I've been going for the Buxom Wildly Whipped Liquid Lipstick in Devious Dolly - I was sent the White Russian shade earlier this month (post here!), and I fell in love with the formula so much that I got this more wearable rosy shade. The formula is super comfortable an looks beautiful on the lips, although it doesn't last as long as other liquid lipsticks I've tried. Other honorable beauty mentions have been the BECCA Sunlit Bronzer in Bali Sands, which I have now officially decided is the best bronzer I've ever tried, and the Milk Makeup Flex Concealer. Both have been helping me look much more well-rested and awake.

Speaking of looking awake, I'm also on my second month of Ritual vitamins, and I've been loving them. This month I got one of the new bottles that have a tab infused with peppermint oil in it, and it makes the experience so much better - before I found they had a fishy/seaweed taste, but now it's just minty and refreshing. I've noticed my moods and energy improving now that I'm taking them consistently.

Books/TV

Since I've become obsessed with My Favorite Murder (I'm so close to catching up, and I don't know what I'll do when I have to wait a few days between new episodes), I've started also reading a few true crime books. This month I've been reading The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule, all about Ted Bundy - the cool thing about this book is that Ann Rule worked with Ted Bundy before he became a serial killer, and she was assigned to write about the murders that were happening around the University of Washington campus before anyone knew who was behind them/before she knew she actually had been friends with the killer. I'm about halfway through, and it's such an interesting read. I've got a book about the Night Stalker on my to-read list next.

Brett and I have also binge-watched The Keepers on Netflix, and it was so good - even better than Making a Murderer. It was so hard and harrowing to watch at points, but it was such a great documentary. Now that we've finished that, we've started Bates Motel, and we're hooked.

When we've been looking for something a little more lighthearted, we've been watching old episodes of The Office - you may have seen me putting clips from the Dinner Party episode in my Instagram Story because it's my favorite episode of any TV show, not just The Office, ever.

Other Highlights

I'll start out with the biggest highlight of the month - we're buying a house! We started seriously looking at houses this month with a realtor (who's awesome!), and just last week we put an offer on one that was accepted! The inspection is happening today, so hopefully everything else in the process moves forward smoothly and we can be moved in by the end of the summer. We're both so excited to have our own house and start this new adventure. I can't wait to be able to paint and decorate exactly how I want.

We also passed our pre-anniversary this month - we're getting married June 8, 2018, so we spent the day of June 8 this year together. We also had a dinner tasting for what food we want served at our reception this past weekend and have all of that picked out now. My sister's maid of honor dress came in, too. It feels like everything is slowly starting to fall into place, and I'm so glad it hasn't been too stressful yet.

What were the highlights of your month?


How I'm Actually Sticking to a Spending Ban This Time

I've tried putting myself on spending bans multiple times, and I always fail. This time, I'm getting serious, buckling down, and saving money. Going through my makeup and skincare collections this past weekend made me realize I really don't need anything else for quite awhile. I had gotten into the habit of buying things for the sake of just having them, always justifying the purchases with "but I can write about it." I have plenty of makeup and skincare to get me through many many months of posts.

Actually Have No Money to Spend

I'll admit, the reason I'm finally getting serious about curbing my spending habits is because I'm literally going to be draining my savings account very soon - we're in the process of buying a house! And planning a wedding! And all of those things really add up. Now that I'm in full-on saving mode and feel like I literally cannot afford one single thing, I really haven't even had the urge to make a Sephora order - who knew?

Delete Saved Card Info

This will definitely help me if/when those urges to place spontaneous orders come back. If you need to go find your card to put the information in to place the order, that gives you crucial time to rethink and re-evaluate if you actually need the products in your cart. Plus if I'm vegged out on the couch looking around on Sephora's website, nine times out of ten I'm going to be too lazy to get up and get my card out of my wallet. Impulse buys - vanquished.

Clear Your Online Carts

Going along with the point above, another thing to do to curb impulse purchases is to clear out your online carts. I used to just keep things I wanted in my Sephora cart, and it just made it easier to order at a moment's notice, even if I didn't need the products. Instead of keeping your carts full, try writing down a wishlist instead - this is what I've been trying to do lately. Then I can check back over time and see if I still want what I had written down. My wishlists are full of crossed-out items I decided weren't really necessary.

Unsubscribe from Brand Newsletters/Unfollow Beauty News Accounts

This is a big one for me - if I see an email pop up about a sale or special gift with purchase, it would be so easy for me to justify making an order just to take advantage of the sale. But as my dad tells my mom when she gets 30% off Kohl's coupons in the mail, "you're still spending 70% more than you were originally planning." I've also unfollowed account like Trendmood - seeing the latest releases and knowing exactly when they're being released was just too much of a temptation for me - I was becoming obsessed with being one of the first to get a new product to review on the blog. Now I'm blissfully unaware of most new releases, and I don't just buy for the sake of having the newest thing.

Allow a Little Wiggle Room

Ok, so this would make it technically not a spending "ban," but I've learned going cold turkey just doesn't work. I'm still working out a budget, but for now I'm allowing myself one new product per month. Being able to pick up something new here and there will help me not go on a huge buying spree the second I decide my "ban" is over.

Have you ever done a spending ban? What are your tips?


The Monthly Review | May

UM - how are we just one day away from it being June? May was a whirlwind of a month that started with a bang - trips to New York City with Glossier and Newport with Brett, and has since settled down a little. 

Beauty

This month my beauty picks have been all about Glossier - the new sunscreen, Invisible Shield, launched this month (review), and I've been using it every day since. I haven't been able to love a sunscreen enough to wear every day until now. It's truly weightless and feels like nothing on the skin. I've been all about Glossier products for my base too - Priming Moisturizer, Perfecting Skin Tint, and Stretch Concealer. It leaves a beautiful dewy base that lets your skin show through. You can get 20% off your first Glossier order here.

I've also been super into cream cheek products lately, especially in stick form. They're super quick to apply and add a lovely flush to the cheeks. My go-tos have been the Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Color in Naughty 'N Spice (review) and the Smashbox LA Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color in Mulholland Mauve. Another group of products I've been loving this month are sheer, glossy lip products. I can't stop wearing things like the new Wander Beauty Beach Balm,* Nudestix Gel Color Lip + Cheek Balm in Pulse, and the NARS Lip Tint in Ephelide (review). 

One last beauty update - I'm still head over heels for my Byredo Rose of No Man's Land Perfume Oil, but this month I've been wearing Byredo Mojave Ghost more and more. My friend Miran is an absolute babe and saved a bunch of leftover goodies from the Glossier rep meetup she organized at The Wing and passed them onto a few of us when we met up with her in New York. I can't describe what Mojave Ghost smells like at all, but I absolutely love it, and now the scent reminds me of what a lovely time I had in New York.

Music/TV

For most of the month I wasn't listening to much music because I was constantly listening to My Favorite Murder instead. But Harry Styles's new album came out in the middle of the month and I haven't been able to stop listening to it. I like every single song on the album, and I can listen to the whole thing start to finish on my way to work. Brett and I saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 this month, too, and it got me back into that kind of music. The movie was just as good as the first one, I think!

As for TV, I've been binge-watching series left and right while Brett is on his new work schedule. I watched all the episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend that were on Netflix and absolutely loved it. I'm a huge fan of musicals, so this was right up my alley. Once I finished that, I watched Schitt's Creek - it's such a good show! It wasn't quite laugh-out-loud funny, but all the actors in it were great and fun to watch. I've now started watching Veep and Frasier over from the beginning (I go for Frasier when HBOGo freezes up), and it's reminding me how much I loved them.

Other Highlights

The most obvious highlight of the month was my trip to New York with Glossier - it was honestly a dream come true. I wish I had taken my camera around so I could write a whole post on it, but it was such an amazing, inspiring experience. It was awesome to meet the GTeam, see the "Gloffice," and we even got to see behind the scenes of Invisible Shield before it launched. The whole trip was just one big highlight to me, but standout moments were getting to meet an incredible group of women (including Amelia and Jodie, who I had been talking to online for almost a year!), seeing Emily Ferber go through her favorite beauty products over breakfast, having dinner with Emily Weiss, and being recognized by my Instagram handle when introducing myself to people at Glossier ("You're Dadmunk!"). 

Brett and I also took a quick weekend trip to Newport, RI this month, and it was a nice little getaway. We saw an improv show that was so good (just like Whose Line Is It Anyway?), walked the Cliff Walk (which was beautiful even though it was gloomy outside), and had the best breakfast ever.

This past weekend was a highlight, too - my sister came home for the weekend, so it was nice to spend time with her and my parents. We had lunch with my grandparents, too, which is always one of my favorite things to do when we're both home!

On the wedding front, there haven't been many updates, but we did find a photographer! She's the sweetest, and I'm looking forward to the day even more now. Her style is exactly what I was imagining for the day - every photo looks so natural and candid, and I felt so at ease speaking with her. 

What were the highlights of your month?