My Quest For The Perfect Nude Lipstick

My Quest For The Perfect Nude Lipstick

If you have followed my blog from the beginning, first of all, thank you, and secondly, you are well aware of my quest for the perfect wedding lipstick. I really should document my journey for makeup more thoroughly, but sometimes I get caught up in the quest and forget the picture taking part (which is also totally okay – not everything has to be a blog post).

One of my most sought after beauty products is the nude lipstick, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. Partly, the struggle to find the perfect nude shade, is that we all have a different natural shade, so what is nude for me is not nude for you, which means while we can all gather information or inspiration from our online beauty communities, in the end we all must conduct some beauty experimenting. This, of course, is complicated by the fact that often our our skin tones deepen and lighten along with the changing seasons. I feel like it can be especially tough for me at times, because of my freckles, as well. And while all of this adds to our trials, if you love makeup, then you also realize that sometimes the difficulties are the best part because you always get to keep trying new products, even if you find one you like, because you can never be sure when the brand might stop producing it.

Besides dealing with the complexity of our skin tones, when looking for lipstick you must also decide what kind of “nude” you want. Do you want a nude red, pink, tan, or maybe one with a hint of gray-purple? Plus, you have to consider what kind of finish you want. Do you want a matte, gloss, semi-gloss, or something in-between? There are no easy answers when it comes to lipstick, which is probably why I own so many tubes of nude-ish shades that all are just slight variations from each other.

My go-to shades are still the same as my wedding trials: BareMinerals Gen Nude Radiant Lipstick in Heaven, Urban Decay Vice Sheer Lipstick in Liar, and MAC Lipstick Plum in Soar. These are all creamy or sheer lipsticks, so even the plum is more of a deep nude (it’s the one I ended up wearing in my wedding and I’m so glad I did because it looked perfect in the pictures). My favorite matte shade is Tarte’s Birthday Suit in their Creamy Matte Lip Paint (I’ve also covered this lip shade before in a previous post). I’ll be honest, I love the look of matte lipsticks, but I wear them rarely because of the drying effect on my lips. I probably own another three shades of true matte nudes, but I wouldn’t ever call them my favorites because of how drying they can be. However, Tarte’s line of Creamy Matte Lip Paint isn’t drying at all. I’m dependent on this line for my matte looks.

As you can see, my quest for the perfect “nude” lip is well documented, and I have found plenty of great products that I still wear today, but true to my word, I also continually look for new products. And over the weekend, I think I found another nude favorite to add to my shelf – the Josie Maran Argan Lip Sting Plumping Butter in Honey. I ordered it as a sample, it came over the weekend, where I tested it out, and I was pleasantly surprised.

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Let’s first talk about the whole “Lip Sting Plumping” thing. It worked for me. It definitely stung and it even plumped. Of course, with any lipstick, this is an effect that wears off. If you want the plumped look continually – you’ll need to reapply this often (or get fillers). While plumper lips were a nice bonus, that’s not why I was interested in this product. It was actually for the color, and I was happily surprised. It looked soo good on that even my husband complimented me, and he had no idea I was trying a new lipstick shade.

Also, I should mention that I already love a lot of products from Josie Maran’s line, and the fact that the line falls under “clean beauty” is a huge plus for me. Honestly, I usually stay away from lip plumping products because I’m afraid I’ll have another allergic reaction and have to be rushed to the emergency room – one lipstick related allergic reaction is enough to last a lifetime if you ask me. I was willing to try this line knowing that Josie Maran products fall into the clean beauty category.

Sephora’s website says the active ingredients are “100 Percent Pure Argan Oil, Volulip™ (a natural peptide and plant extract), Manuka Honey, Moringa Butter, and Konjac Root Ultra-filling spheres. These ingredients do a variety of things, and cover everything from soothing and smoothing to plumping and improving elasticity. While I personally did not find this lip butter especially hydrating, I also didn’t find it especially drying. The product is something I can use regularly, it’s a pretty “nude” color, and it does what it says it does. Overall, I think it’s a win. Plus if you like the way things look (like I do), even the casing looks super pretty.

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We’re Jumping Into March Around Here

We’re Jumping Into March Around Here

Wow, sorry I ducked out for a few months there. I was really embracing the whole “new year, new me” thing. But it’s not so much about being new – it’s more about being the truest version of myself. And wow, that’s difficult, because guess what? I’m kind of a people pleaser. I really didn’t realize that about myself until recently, because I’m not someone who spends a lot of time worrying about what others think of me.

It wasn’t until I took the Enneagram quiz and found out I was a type 3 with a 2 wing. When I read up about my “type” nothing was shocking (In fact, I felt very grounded in everything I read like, “Oh yeah, that’s definitely me,” but what really stuck with me was the part that said in type 3s’ eyes, sometimes achieving (type 3s are often competitive and value being successful and achieving things) means succeeding at whatever their loved ones’ deem valuable, not what we deem valuable. And honestly, I think that’s been me for most of my life.

The great thing though, is that I do know a lot of things that I love, and now I’m just being sure to more actively pursue those things. I’m lucky that I have a lot of love and support in my life so it’s actually pretty exciting going forward. For instance, I love writing, and I’m going to keep doing just that right here. The crazy thing is that for the last few months I’ve been taking tons of pictures of everything around me for all these blog posts I was mentally planning. They just never made it out of my phone and head and onto an an electronic piece of paper (aka this post). I’m finally getting there so hang in there with me while I get myself caught up, and then let’s hope I can commit to some regularity going forward in 2019!

Another thing I’ve been exploring more? My love of flowers. About a year and a half ago, I started an instagram account for my love of flowers @rosemaryandribbon. I attended a few floral workshops and over the summer I used flowers from my own garden to practice even more. In January, I had the opportunity to have my floral designs in a couple of styled shoots.

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I made that bouquet. Ugh, it’s so pretty, it still gets to me. I’m willing to make flowers for you too! Just reach out to me via dm (on Instagram) or email (via my website). I’m really proud of my progress and I’m extra excited for my garden this summer (also, can’t wait for the spring weather to get here).

Also, I’m still working on my hydration. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve probably heard me reference how I’m noticeably bad at staying hydrated while at work – to the point where a student commented on it. Well, for Christmas, Eric got me the water bottle of my dreams.

This is my bkr water bottle and I love it (it comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and textures!). It’s what my dream water bottle looks like. It’s glass, which means no weird plastic or metal taste in the water, and I can attach my lip balm on top, which if you know me, you know I have a penchant for skin care. In fact, I actually fell in love with bkr’s lip balm before I even knew they made water bottles.

See, Eric is perfect and in being perfect knows how to give me perfect gifts. For my birthday last year he got me a subscription to Allure’s beauty box (I’ve tried other similar boxes in the past and so far this has been my favorite). One month, bkr lip balm was included as a sample and it got me hooked. So when I used my sample gone, I went online to look for more, and that’s when I discovered that bkr makes water bottles and they can hold the lip balm bkr makes. When I showed Eric in excitement, he downplayed it and sneakily purchased it as a Christmas gift. And the best part is that it has helped me be better about keeping hydrated (both my body and my skin!).

Now students don’t comment on how little water I drink! Instead they comment on how cool my water bottle is!

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December’s Beauty Round Up

December’s Beauty Round Up

December is a busy month for pretty much everyone. In between shopping for presents and staying on top of work, you have to squeeze in the holiday parties, cookie making, card sending (My family card picture is below), and more.

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It’s easy to let our self-care fall aside during this time, and while this can manifest itself in many ways, for me, it usually looks like letting the little things fall to the side. I suddenly forget to take my vitamins, and it’s harder to wash my face at night, when I’m already tired because it’s dark at 6pm. What drives me crazy is that I know better. I know taking care of myself is even more important in the winter months, even when it comes to your skin. So this December, while I concentrated on drinking water and remembering to take my vitamins, I also focused my efforts on pampering my skin, keeping it healthy and hydrated.

If there’s one thing I need to learn more about (there are a lot of things) it’s oils. But this December I got the chance to try one when I received an order full of family Christmas gifts from Sephora. With the order, I received a Youth to the People Maqui and Açaí Prickly Pear Gigi Superberry Hydrate and Glow Oil sample. Youth to the People’s website claims that the oil’s ingredients help fight free radicals, revive dull skin, hydrate, and soften lines.

I tried it and I did end up loving it. It did make my skin feel more hydrated than usual, and every time I use it I definitely notice my skin looking a little brighter immediately after application. Will I buy it once my sample runs out? Maybe, but I’ll probably want to try some other brightening oils first to see which one I like best (this one will be some pretty tough competition).

My brightening run didn’t end with oil. I also used a brightening face mask in December.

I got the Lapcos Pearl mask from my Allure Beauty Box during its partnership with Anthropologie. Lapcos, a Korean beauty brand, has many different sheet masks in its metallic collection. The Pearl mask is said to brighten skin and revitalize dark spots. Once again, I did see immediately changes after using the mask, and I love when my face glows so I was pretty happy with this mask. Also, Korean beauty is really big right now so it was fun to get to try the brand.

Finally, my last product to round out this roundup is the Patchology FlashPatch Eye Gels.

My eyes are the bane of my skincare routine. For some reason, I didn’t start using masks specifically for my eyes until about a year ago. Now I’m eager to experiment with any eye mask I can get my hands on. This one did not disappoint. I’m obsessed. This is a product I’m planning on purchasing in the near future. It felt so nice on my eyes, calming and cooling. Also, I love how the little mask gels are a bit sparkly (not the gel that gets on you, just the mask). These eye gels are supposed to revitalize eyes hours after they are removed. They have caffeine to get rid of puffiness and the rest of the ingredients help moisturize the eye area, encourage collagen production, and brighten the eye area. All-in-all, I love them. You might even be able to call them my current obsession.

Ok, well that’s my current beauty round up for December, the products that are keeping me refreshed and moisturized. Do you have any winter go-to’s? If so, let me know! I’m always looking for new products to try.

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Let’s talk about skin safety (because yes it matters in winter too)

Let’s talk about skin safety (because yes it matters in winter too)

I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to visit my sister this Thanksgiving. I’m lucky that I got the chance while she is living in the Caribbean. Yes, I escaped the cold of the Midwest for a whole week, and don’t worry, I have plenty of cute vacation photos to show you. If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen enough already, but thank you for persisting.

 

While I was visiting my sister, I had a lot more exposure to the sun than I did back at home in the Midwest. In fact it was more sun than what I had been getting in months, and while I was very happy about it, I really had to be careful with my skin. My husband and I doused ourselves in drugstore sunscreen daily, using brands that I had grown up using and trusted. I don’t know if it was my skin’s inability to adapt to the quick increase in SPF, some failure on my part to apply correctly, or something different altogether, but this sunscreen wasn’t cutting it, and I was frustrated.

My sister pointed me toward the pharmacy, where her friend had found European brands. Years of obsessively protecting my skin had taught me that European brands contain ingredients that haven’t been approved in the US but are great at protecting us from UV rays. I was elated at this news from my sister and I ended up basically running down to the pharmacy to get my hands on those better ingredients.

Sure enough, the brand I purchased, Vichy (you can also get it in the US, but it won’t have those good ingredients), worked perfectly, absorbing quickly into my skin, smelling pleasantly, and most importantly, keeping my safe from the sun. After my new sunscreen purchase, the rest of our trip went smoothly, and honestly, I was excited to get to spend time with my sister.

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But why does this matter now? Because you should wear sunscreen year round, and not enough people realize this (yes, people who live in the Midwest with me, you need sunscreen year round). I am now a passionate believer in the importance of sunscreen, but I didn’t always feel this way.

If I’m being honest (and I am!), I hated sunscreen growing up. I disliked the smell, I disliked the oily feel, and I disliked the inconvenience of constantly needing to reapply. Obviously this is a toxic combination for this blonde-haired, freckled lady (especially since I basically spent my entire childhood outdoors playing softball).

Eventually, as I got older, I mostly got over my dislike of the smell and the oiliness. I think at some point my vanity (goodbye unnecessary wrinkles) outweighed my dislike of those things, and I sucked it up and started wearing sunscreen regularly. I’ll tell my mom it’s because I matured, but really it’s because I didn’t want to badly sun damage my body because I care too much about how I look. But who’s to say? Maybe that is it’s own kind of maturity.

Around the same time that I got over my repulsion toward sunscreen, I found out that really I should be wearing it every day. Young adult Anna couldn’t understand how to regularly wear sunscreen and reapply it with her makeup, and even though I probably only wore makeup about once a week, I used that as my excuse as to why I couldn’t wear it all the time. Then, I started buying the foundation that had SPF in it and I acted like that was sufficient, even though I knew that SPF needed reapplied regularly and I had read many articles explaining that the SPF found in makeup usually doesn’t cover what you need anyway.

Sometime during my college years, I finally held myself accountable and thought about why I was refusing to wear sunscreen like I knew I should be, and I realized it was because my skin usually reacted terribly with the normal drugstore brands that I used every summer on the softball diamonds. I knew there was no way that was what all the beauty experts were using on their faces, and I knew my reasoning for not wearing sunscreen was logical, but there was also a logical solution. At this point, I began my research. It didn’t take long for me to discover that sunscreens existed that didn’t smell terrible or leave your skin oily and gross feeling. In fact, there were sunscreens that were formulated just for your face and even meant to be reapplied over your makeup.

Let me tell you, this was a game changer for me. I used a gift card to a beauty store and I purchased my first for-face sunscreen. It was pricey, but I soon found out it was worth it. I now own multiple bottles of beauty expert approved sunscreen and I love them and I wear them year round just like all those beauty articles I read so long ago told me too.

Don’t worry, though, I still have work to do. I’m still working on my reapplying game, and if that’s something you’ve mastered, please tell me your secrets!

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Summer Is Ending, But The Summer Feeling Doesn’t Have To

Summer Is Ending, But The Summer Feeling Doesn’t Have To

It’s officially August, which means that summer is sizzling to its end. For some people, that means heading back to school. For others, it means ending their vacations, or it possibly means sending their kids back to school. For me, it means returning to school as an educator.

Like everyone else with a career, my summers aren’t spent free of work. I’ve spent a lot of time working on licensure and professional development opportunities. Regardless of my work this summer, these next couple months usher me into a period of constant work, as I prepare and begin this coming school year. One thing that I’ve learned from being a teacher is that it can be really hard to balance your time (I have no clue how so many of my coworkers and friends with kids handle it). And I know, that as true as this is for me, it is also true for others, especially as we leave the summer and it’s time of adventuring and relaxation.

Through my time as a teacher, I’ve learned to deeply value intentional “me” time, as well as surrounding myself with things that help me relax or bring about intentional relaxing practices. If I’m honest, often when I’m busy and stressed, I’m not in the mindset to find something that will help me relax. Or sometimes my husband sees that I’m stressed and wants to help me relax. Because of this, I’ve developed an Amazon wishlist. It’s an easy go-to, and I’m not the only one who thinks having a wishlist on hand is a good idea.

Today, I’m going to share a few items off my wishlist that I think you might enjoy, that might help you relax as well.

1. Meaningful Artwork

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My sister made this cute little pot for me and it’s just the best thing! Sorry, there’s no link for this one! But I truly believe that art (and in this case pottery) can bring people so much joy. I love looking at and it’s lovely aesthetics. Blues are my favorite, and this one means even more because my sister made it.

2. Ban.do Work It Out Water Bottle

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I know I struggle to stay hydrated once I start working if I don’t actively carry a water bottle around with me. Real story: I had a few students last year who used to scold me for not drinking enough fluids. So I’m working on it, and the inspirational words will help me move forward in my goals (both about hydration and otherwise).

3. Cravings: Hungry For More, By Chrissy Tiegen

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So Chrissy’s latest cookbook isn’t out yet, and it won’t be until September, but I have this on my preorder list because I know it’s going to be great. I already love cooking all of the recipes from her first book, and I’m not the only one who loves them! All my friends and family, who I cook for, love them too. Chrissy is the person who taught me to enjoy cooking, to not let it stress me out, and instead take my time and find pleasure in the process. That reason alone has made me a lifetime supporter of her cookbooks.

4. Farmacy Natural Facemasks

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If you don’t know my love of skincare, then obviously you don’t know me and haven’t read much of my writing. Seriously, I’ve already blogged about how  important skincare is to me multiple times. But, I’m really eager to try this collection Farmacy facemasks. I love Farmacy as a brand. They use natural, clean ingredients, which is important to me. I also love that this selection includes soothing, brightening, and deep moisture (all things my skin will definitely need during the school year).

5. Be You Boxed Calendar

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I’ve always loved quotes, and I have always felt inspired by other people’s words. A calendar like this would is a great addition to a work desk, something to find words of wisdom in every day.

6. IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel

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I’m really bad about regularly styling my hair on a regular basis once I start my regular 7:30 to 3:30 hours. I got this hair product as a sample, and I instantly loved it. I have naturally wavy to curly hair patterns, and a great product like this can make the biggest difference when it comes to getting the most out of every minute in my morning.

 

So that’s it! If you want to check out my list, you can see the rest of it here. I hope that as your summer comes to an end, you find ways to milk every ounce of adventure and relaxation out of it, and even more, I hope that you can find a way to extend the spirit of summer throughout the rest of 2018!

 

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Things I Love

Things I Love

Loyal readers, thank you for your patience. Eric and I have been undergoing some major life changes (hello, home ownership), and so blogging has taken a back seat to packing, and cleaning, and moving. Luckily, I need a break from unpacking and there’s nowhere I’d rather be than at my blog. Unfortunately for me, because I’ve been so busy, taking pictures to upload to my blog has also fallen to the wayside. I wish I was on top of things enough to remember to do everything, but I know that’s just not possible. I’m doing the best I can, and I’m happy with what I AM accomplishing.

This post is going to be in list format. It will most likely be short and sweet. I hope you’ll read it and you’ll love it, and it’ll be helpful to you. Because I feel like so much has happened in the time that I’ve been gone, I’m going to try to catch you up on my favorite recent home, beauty, health, etc. finds. Without further ado . . .

The Things I’ve Been Loving Recently:

Glossier Balm Dot Com – Birthday – $12

 

While Balm Dot Com comes in a wonderful assortment of flavors, the one I ordered is Birthday. It smells and tastes like cake, and it’s shimmery. I love it. There’s really no tint, just shimmer, so if you’re looking for something with some color this isn’t for you. Some reviews said that the glittery tube started rubbing off in people’s purses and bags, and I have found this to be the case, but it really doesn’t bother me. The inside of my bags aren’t as neat as they should be anyway, and I don’t buy beauty products mainly for their packaging so this still works for me. It’s definitely not a big enough downside to keep me from ordering it. Other people have found that the cost feels hefty for essentially a tube of Vaseline. I personally think the price is fair, but I also love Fresh’s $24 Lip Treatment, which makes Balm Dot Com significantly cheaper for me. I will say that I mostly use Balm Dot Com for moisturizing, but it isn’t great for outdoor summer use because it doesn’t have any SPF. Balm Dot Com is great at moisturizing my lips and I love that, but I need some SPF protection too!

Rachel Allene Candle Collab with Candelles

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I just checked Rachel’s shop and I don’t see any candles listed there currently, but if she does another collaboration in the future with Candelles, you can be sure I’ll be participating. I ordered one of her mystery boxes earlier this year, and I got a Be Mine Candle in my box when it arrived. It was in one of my favorite scents, Fig and Sugar (you can order a non-collab version of the scent in that link), and it’s cute as pie (even though you can’t get one of Rachel’s candles, you should totally check out her shop for lots of other cute things like this pin, this tank top, or this meal planner). I’ve been burning it constantly in the new house (because the previous home owners left it kind of dirty and smelly, but that’s another story for another day). The point is that this candle has brought pretty smells into my house and made me happy.

Binny’s Coconut Butter – Coffee Macaroon – $13.45

 

For year’s I’ve been making a conscience effort to be thoughtful and careful about what I put on my face and the rest of my body. I wrote about how I came to that point here. I am lucky to grow up in a family where my mom often made homemade dinners using home grown ingredients. I’m even luckier to get free, healthily grown beef (free of hormones and additives) as a Christmas present every year from my parents. But recently, I’ve found that I’m choosing convenience over health when it comes to what I put into my body. And I want to make sure I’m being thoughtful in regards to the meals that I prepare for my husband and I. That being said, my husband is already very against food groups like vegetables but insists he’ll eat anything as long as it tastes good. So one of my first “healthy” purchases was Binny’s Coconut Butter in the Coffee Macaroon flavor. It’s delicious. I love the texture and the taste. It’s filling, and I love the simple ingredients that are in it. It makes me feel so much better about putting it in my body! I’m eager to try the brand’s other flavors too!

Ban.do Sunblock Phone Case – $32

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I’ve needed a new phone case for awhile, and I’ve been obsessed with Ban.do for awhile, so buying a phone case from them seemed like a natural and easy fit. Especially when I found out that they have a sunblock phone case. Guys, I’m a believer in sunscreen. You can hardly get through any conversations with me regarding the outdoors or summer without me mentioning it. This phone case allows me to live my truth. But, if sunblock isn’t your thing, they also have lots of other cute styles including coffee cups, cassette tapes, and floral cases.

Bamboo Toothbrushes – GoWoo – $12.89

 

Along with trying to cover and fill myself with healthy things, I’ve also spent the last couple years trying to make changes to help the environment. I believe that I am a steward of the earth, and I know that I have not been doing enough of my part. One simple and small change I can make is switching over to bamboo toothbrushes. Our normal, plastic toothbrushes never disappear. Every toothbrush I’ve ever used is sitting in a landfill somewhere, and that makes me incredibly sad. One of the biggest problems I’ve faced in being more environmentally conscious is the high prices that come with buying things that are good for the earth. That’s not the case with bamboo toothbrushes. They are biodegradable and they are affordable. The link above is for a four pack. Isn’t that exciting?! There’s lot’s of brands out there, but this was a quick and affordable option for me. I’m also looking into switching to stasher bags. If you have any other affordable earth-friendly switches for me, please let me know!

 

Alright, y’all, that’s all I have for now. If you have things that you’ve been loving, please let me know, because I’d love to hear from you. If you try out any of the things that I wrote about above, let me know what you think!

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I’m Looking for A Sleeping Mask

I’m Looking for A Sleeping Mask

I feel like this has been the longest winter ever, which is weird because the weather hasn’t been THAT bad. Maybe it’s because it’s still January, or maybe it’s just because of who I am, but I’ve been feeling like I need to invest in a nighttime sleeping mask.

This summer, right before my wedding, I tried out a sample and I loved the results. Recently, I’ve had a new sample I’ve been milking every last ounce out of. Now I’m ready for suggestions. I’ve tried just two, and I’m ready to get more opinions. Is this something I should be using regularly? What qualifies as regularly? What do you use?

The sample I’ve been using is Laneige’s Water Sleeping Mask. From my experiences I love it. It’s a gel, and it feels like the embodiment of relaxation in a moisturizer. The packet says to apply the product 1-2 times a week, and I’ve been using it for about three weeks (like I said, I’ve been milking it). This sleeping mask won a Best of Beauty Award from Allure, comes in at only $25, and receives overwhelmingly positive reviews from all its users (not just me).

One of my favorite beauty writers/editors, Sable Yong, also sings Laneige’s praises in her review of its sleeping mask. Her review also gives super helpful application tips. She says start thin and then layer. I wouldn’t know because I only apply a thin layer to stretch out this product that’s worth it’s weight in gold.

Does it get any better than this? I think it might not, but let me know if you know better. Until then, I’ll be loving the feeling of my refreshed and replenished skin after my weekly uses of Laneige’s water sleeping mask.