Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Skincare Secrets with Organaca

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It's no secret that I have a bit of a beauty obsession -- I could talk to anyone about lipstick, perfume, and eyeliner forever, it seems (or at least until that their eyes glaze over).   But truth be told, even the newest, fanciest, priciest designer makeup product is a waste of money if your skin isn't in its best shape.  As much as I love makeup, it will ALWAYS take a back seat when it comes to skincare.  I can't seem to emphasize this enough -- good skincare is a million bajillion* times more important that good makeup. 

Makeup is nothing without skincare.  It's like delicious pizza on a cauliflower crust -- what the hell is the point? Even the gooiest cheese and a plethora of toppings can't make up for the fact that it's CAULIFLOWER.  Christ, people.  I blame Pinterest.**

Anyway. Where was I?

Right. After this post, I got quite a few emails asking about my favorite skincare products and secrets.  While I'm working on a post with my full routine, I did want to share my favorite (and possibly #1) secret with you guys today...

Oils.

Yes, I said oils.  Yes, I put them on my face (and my body, and my hair).  No, I'm not crazy.  In my experience, my skin is happiest when I pester it the least.  Therefore, I've been making the transition to all-natural products with as few additives as possible (with the goal being NONE!).  What's more natural that 100%, pure, organic, oils derived from plants found in nature?  Nada!

An amazing resource for oils is Organaca, an online retailer that sells only organic, eco-friendly, cruelty-free beauty products.  After chatting with a company rep about my skin's needs, they were kind enough to send me a few products.  I've been using them for a few weeks, and I can say with the utmost confidence that Suki Balancing Oil and 80 Acres of McEvoy Ranch Verde Body Oil have earned their way into my daily beauty routine. 




The Suki Balancing Oil was actually designed to help regulate and balance moisture on oily-skinned folk.  Yes, oily skinned people can benefit from oils too!  I have normal to dry skin and I didn't find it quite moisturizing enough for winter time (I'll have to try their Nourishing version next year), but the Balancing Oil is a lifesaver now that the temperatures (and humidity level - ugh) are rising in the South. I mix 2-3 drops in with my moisturizer in the AM, and my skin in supple and glowy all day long.  This hasn't caused one breakout either.  Hooray!  This will probably the only oil I pack for our European vacay.




Two months ago, I never thought twice about splurging on a body oil.  Now that I've tried 80 Acres Verde Body Oil, I'm not sure that I could live without this blend of oil, jojoba, and sweet almond oils.  I'm the worst when it comes to putting on body lotion (I. hate. it.), but I can hardly wait until after my shower to apply this oil.  It sinks in so much faster than lotion does, it makes my skin soft, and it smells DIVINE.  Literally, divine.  I'm pretty sure this is what heaven smells like. Since this is such a luxurious treat, I usually only allow myself the pleasure after post-workout showers.  So really, it's helping me fit into my jeans too.  

Remember, everyone's skin is unique so when it comes to these two products, your mileage may vary.  I urge you to check out Organaca's site, and chat with one of their reps about what your skin needs.  They make sure that every product that they carry meets their impossible high standards, and stand by the purity of each and every item.  



Go place your order and make your skin and the earth happy.  Then, I give you permission to reward yourself with some pizza!  But for goodness's sake, make sure to get real, carb-based crust, okay?










*Real numbers, real facts.
**Passionate about makeup and skincare; equally as passionate about pizza.







Thank you to Organaca for sponsoring this post and supporting ATT, etc!

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Edition

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

European Destinations | Part Two

So let's see where we left off -- the first half of our trip will be spent in Brussels, Bruges, and Amsterdam.  From there, we'll take an overnight train to the beautiful city of Munich, Germany!

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My "cool" side is excited about the pretzels and beer gardens and my nerdy history-lover side is practically foaming at the mouth to see Dachau and Neuschwanstein Castle.  We'll be in Munich for four days, so we'll have plenty of time to explore and take it all in.




After Munich, we'll make our way to the last stop on our European tour -- Prague, Czech Republic.


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Prague is the city that was recommended to us more times than any other city combined. It's funny, when I ask people what they liked most about Prague, the answer is always the same -- "everything".  Needless to say, my hopes are high!  We don't have any sites or day trips planned while we spend our four days in Prague -- we figure we'll just wander (with lax jaws, I'm sure).  Prague veterans, if there is anything that we absolutely, positively cannot miss, holla at your girl.  



So there you have it -- the itinerary for our first European adventure.

How'd we do?









Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Edition














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Monday, March 31, 2014

Beauty Review | NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

I'll be honest.  Most days, I don't even wear makeup.  Working from home, I just can't motivate myself to put on makeup before running to the gym, Target, or Publix (the three places I go most often :)). If I do prettify myself for the day, I typically wear tinted moisturizer since it's sheer, natural, and easy to apply.

However, every girl needs a good foundation for special occasions.  Whether it be a night on the town, a nice event, or just because you feel like lookin' good -- sometimes, a tinted moisturizer just doesn't cut it.  I've tried a million different foundations (only the slightest of exaggerations), but my current favorite is
NARS Sheer Glow.


According to the Sephora website, NARS Sheer Glow is "a glowing, satin-finish foundation with sheer and buildable coverage."  This is pretty spot-on.  Sheer Glow applies to the face with ease (provided you prep correctly -- don't forget to exfoliate and follow up with a moisturizer or primer).  After one layer, I felt like any discoloration was evened out, but it was still sheer enough to see my a few freckles.  I decided to do a second layer (you know, for science), and was very happy to see how well it layered.  Two coats covered pretty much everything, my skin still felt like it could breath, and I didn't feel like I was wearing a "mask" by any means.

I don't have a fancy schmancy camera, but I did snap some iPhone photos in front of a window, to give you an idea of what it looks like in natural (albeit not direct) light. 

BEFORE 
Clean, exfoliated skin prepped with Vitamin C serum, Argan oil, and SPF30.




AFTER
Two coats of NARS Sheer Glow (plus the rest of my makeup routine!).







Type: Liquid.  Application was smooth with both a Beauty Blender and MAC 187 brush (I used the brush for these photos).
Finish: Satin, aka not matte, but not dewy either.  It's really nice for normal to dry skin, but those of you with oily skin will probably find it too rich.  For you oily skinned gals, NARS has another version of this foundation in a matte finish.  Fellow dry skin folks who want even more glow, Makeup Forever Face & Body foundation is my go-to for a really dewy look.
Shade Selection:  Excellent.  Whether your undertones are warm, cool, or neutral, you should be able to find a nice match.  They also have a great selection of very light shades for my fellow fair maidens.  I'm wearing Gobi, which is "light with yellow undertone".
Wear: It lasts a solid 8+ hours on me without fading (again, with proper skin prep).  Note that my skin is normal to dry, so oily girls might not be so lucky.
Price: $55 for an ounce. Yeeeeeeeesh.  However, one bottle will last forever -- several months with daily use, and even longer with periodic use.  I've had my bottle for over a year and still have about 30% left.  Regardless, I've never found a drugstore foundation that I like even half as much.

OVERALL GRADE: A- 
It's pretty close to perfect, but the price is a doozy.




Next on my list to try: Yves St. Laurent Touche Eclat Foundation. Because the grass is always greener.





Have you tried NARS Sheer Glow?  Do you have a holy grail foundation?







*NARS did not ask me to review their product, nor was I compensated in any way.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

European Destinations | Part One

When someone tells you that you have two weeks to see the highlights of entire continent, you kind of freak out.  I mean, I don't even think two weeks is enough time to do the southeastern part of the US justice, let alone ALL OF EUROPE.  

Levi and I both agreed that we would rather spend our time really getting to know just a few places, rather than try and city-hop our way across Europe.  Our philosophy is that immersing ourselves in a culture and exploring the nooks of crannies of one city is better than just scratching the surface of four or five places.  After all, this is not going to be our only trip to Europe (that's what I have to keep reminding myself!).

Making the decision to only make a short list of places really added to the pressure.  What if I pick the wrong cities?!  Right off the bat, Levi requested that we pass on London and Paris this go around.  London (in his mind, not saying it's true) is too much like the US, and Paris is a little too girly for him.  Okay, that's fair.  We also eliminated Italy right off the bat, only because Italy has so much to offer, that we felt it deserved it's own trip (the same can be said for France and Spain, frankly!).  We'll tackle those countries another day :).

The next step was to go on Facebook and post a status asking what others recommended.  While there were a few cities that were mentioned often enough to pique our interest (more on that later), most of the suggestions were all over the map (literally).  Still stuck.

So, we decided to leave it up to fate.

Aka, we decided to check flight prices and said we would fly into whichever city was offering the best deal, and then go from there.  And that's how we got to our first stop....


Brussels, Belgium

Waffles, chocolate, and mussels galore.  Fate, you've got the right idea!

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We'll spend two nights in Brussels eating, drinking Belgian beer (my favorite), and enjoying the little shops and cafes.  On our second day, we'll make a little day trip to a little Belgian town called....


Bruges, Belgium

Have you seen the movie In Bruges with Colin Farrell?  In the movie, Bruges is referred to multiple times as a "f*cking fairytale town".  If it's anything like the pictures, it most certainly is.

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After our short stay in Belgium, we'll spend several days in the city that Levi is most excited about...


Amsterdam, Netherlands

From my research, Amsterdam seems to be one of the coolest cities around (and not just because of the Red Light District and "coffee" shops).  The city seems to be a mecca for artistic, open-minded, and creative souls.  I really enjoyed reading the Design*Sponge Guide to Amsterdam.  We'll go to the Anne Frank house, the Van Gogh museum, and just spend time riding bikes throughout the city (there are more bikes than cars in Amsterdam!).  Did I mention that we'll be in Dutchland during tulip season? Squeeeeee!

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And that, my friends, is the first part of our trip.  We've still got two more countries to visit, so be sure to check back!  Any guess as to what those countries might be? :)


Have you been to Belgium or the Netherlands?  Any attractions we need to see? Places we need to eat?  Cute shops to get my closet a souvenir?