Target beauty box

Have you tried the Target Beauty Box yet? It’s not a subscription service, but it’s kind of like Birchbox or Ipsy in that you get trial-sized samples of items that you can buy later if you like them, but only for $7, and you only commit to buying one at a time!

My friend Kelly first told me about the Target beauty box and I kept meaning to try it, but kept forgetting. For my birthday, she gave me a beauty box and I was so excited about it that I finally ordered one for myself! This month, I ordered the November beauty box. For seven dollars, you really can’t do much better! I received 6 different items. Here’s the breakdown of my box this month:

Dove Dermacare 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner:  Scalp formula for dandruff and moisture. I don’t have a problem with dandruff but I’ll try it out anyway!
Skinfix Ultra Rich Hand Cream:  Supposed to be an amazing and award-winning hand cream. When I put it on, my hands immediately felt relief and felt sooo smooth and silky. My hands get really dry and cracked in the fall and winter, so I’m always looking for a new secret weapon that isn’t greasy.
MISSHA Snail Hydro-Gel Mask:  Anti-aging, healing and hydrating mask with SNAIL SLIME! This was a cool and strange experience. I was super freaked out to do this mask, but also intrigued, so I put this on and let it sit for the recommended 20-40 minutes (I did 25). I have sensitive skin, but when this came off, my face looked super hydrated, soft, and dewy! I patted in the rest, like the packaging said. I felt a little weird about that, but it makes sense not to rinse it off if you want it to soak in! But can we all agree it’s super weird to put snail slime on your face?! I guess it’s a thing?! I’d do it again!
Tom’s of Maine Creamy Coconut Bar Soap:  Gentle and moisturizing. I have really sensitive skin so it’s nice using something new that you can trust.
Maybelline Great Lash Mascara:  Always a favorite and a classic. One of the first mascaras I ever used back in high school, and it’s still kicking years and years later!
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Facial Cleanser:  This face wash didn’t foam up when I used it and there’s nothing I love more than a nice foam on a face wash, body wash, or shampoo. It kind of felt like rubbing lotion all over my face mixed with water; not for me. But this way, I know what I think about it without having to buy the whole bottle!

Overall, I’m hooked! The snail mask alone made the box worth the $7 (with free shipping!) It was a full use mask and in the store it costs $6.00 alone! So the price of the box was totally worth it. If you want to buy any full-sized items from your box, you could obviously head out to your nearest Target, or you can shop the box items. Usually nothing is more than $15.00 full price! AND, you get a $3 off coupon for any beauty product purchase of $15 or more!

I’ll definitely be purchasing the Target beauty boxes for the coming months. A fun and exciting gift idea, too! My favorites from this box were the snail mask and the hand cream, but I’ll be happy to have some of the other samples for when I travel and need small-sized toiletry items!

My 8 favorite hair products


I’ve mentioned before that I have thin, lifeless hair, and I never used product on it at all until a couple of years ago. Even when I would get my hair done, I’d ask my stylist not to use anything on it. But since I’ve let my hair grow long again and since I’ve been styling it regularly with heat for a few years now, I’ve tried some different products – some winners, some failures.

I can’t use anything too heavy because it makes my  hair look greasy and weighs it down. My arsenal of favorite products for styling my hair is below – most are under the $15 range, because you know I’m always ballin’ on a budget, but I have included a couple of splurges, too. These products are all light, smell delicious, and leave my hair looking – and staying – much more full and polished.

1. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo:  There is no match for this dry shampoo. I LOVE it and I ration it because it is a little pricier than I’d like to pay for dry ‘poo. I usually use this one for my daily use and use the Living Proof for weekends or special events. It smells so good and it makes your hair completely free of oil without residue. It’s the only dry shampoo I’ve used that actually makes me feel like I re-washed my hair.
2. Dove Curl Defining Mousse:  I have been using this for years, and it comes in at under $5! To make my hair wavy, I scrunch it using this. No conditioner, no brush or comb, just shampoo and scrunch with a ping pong ball size of this! Andrew calls it “squishing” my hair. Perfect for days when I’m running late!
3. Ouai Memory Mist:  Whitney got this for my birthday this year, and it’s so good. It smells incredibly floral-y and it helps protect your hair from heat while “remembering” your hair’s style so you can make your hair last extra days. I have loved using it and love the way it makes my hair feel and smell.
4. Marrakesh Oil Hair Styling Elixir:  This is my #1 can’t live without after combing my hair when I get out of the shower. I got it in a birch box or as a sample at some point, and I loved it so much I’ve kept buying it! It is very light and moisturizing. I only put it on my ends and then very lightly run my fingers through my hair a couple inches away from the roots.
5. Tresemme Heat Protector Spray: I’ve mentioned this one before. It’s inexpensive, and I spray it on my hair after the oil, before blow drying. Easy and doesn’t add any extra weight or residue to my hair.
6. Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Volumizing Spray Mousse  or Aquage Uplifting Foam:  I only use these for special occasions because it takes a little time and effort, but both smell great and work about the same for my hair. I section off my hair and spray these right onto the part line back and forth. Then, I massage it all around the roots and spend time actually blow drying my hair with my round brush. It really helps give some lift at the roots and helps my hair hold on to any curl.
7. Amika Obliphica Un.Done Texture Spray:  I use this when I need more life and lift. I lift my hair after styling and spray up under my hair as it falls back down. It gives some grit and hold, but the volume and smell are nice side effects!
8. Kenra Volume Spray 25 Hair Spray:  The best hair spray I’ve used, ever. This doesn’t make my hair crunchy, and it gives a strong flexible hold. I love it!

Most days I just use the Marrakesh oil when my hair is wet, heat protector spray before blow drying, and then the Ouai memory mist before curling. I don’t use a lot of product daily because I am trying to protect these thin locks! But when I’m trying to really style and need some extra help, the others are a dream, and the dry shampoo reallllllly can’t be beat!

What are everyone else’s favorite hair products?!

photo by j parker photography

Back to life, back to reality

horseshoe bend, arizona 

I am back from Arizona! The trip was absolutely amazing, and I’ll write up a post about it soon – I have to sort through my hundreds (and hundreds) of pictures first! I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. We landed late Sunday night, and I had to wake up at 5am to teach! So I’ve also had to do laundry, unpack, get back in the swing of things with school, and try to catch up from the three hour time difference!

I have a super busy week ahead of me, like always! There is a lot of stuff going on at school this week, meetings after school, work on Wednesday at the pub, and I’m trying to get back on track with cooking meals and packing lunches since I was mostly gone last week and eating only salads indulging with my mom!

Fall is (pretty much, almost, basically) here! I am in the mood for a nice deep berry color like this for my next manicure, or if I’m feeling froggy, a nice dark blue (colors are “raisin’ the bar” and “less is norse – dark ice blue.” Is anyone else obsessed with color names like me? Someone has that job!) I love this lip paint in “Fomo” or “Manbun” for fall, and I can’t wait to start shopping for some tall boots to wear with leggings and cozy sweaters! Call me basic if you will, but it’s time for those cozy fall favorites. Some year-round favorites I’m hoping to re-stock soon include my Philosophy Amazing Grace lotion, my Benefit Hoola Bronzer, and my splurge mascara (I missed it when it was on sale for $10 and I am kicking myself!). I also do not need another bag – I repeat – I do not need another bag – but if I did, I’d get this one in gray! I mean, it’s not even really a bag, right? It’s a clutch…totally different?!

I hope everyone has a great week & makes it through to Friday the 13th without any spooky and strange happenings! 😉 Before you know it, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas. It always feels like it comes faster each year!

FriYAY feels!

source

I am so glad it’s the weekend because that means I am THAT much closer to my trip to Arizona next week with my mom!

This week was happy but went by quickly, especially since I missed work on Monday for my 30th! My week at school was full of paperwork and to-do items that really had to be accomplished, so it felt good to knock some of those out and get them checked off of my constant, ongoing to-do list!

I am so obsessed lately with everything this color.

I scooped up this little number yesterday afternoon and it looked so good on. I always try things on with an attitude of, “It probably won’t fit right, but it doesn’t hurt to try!” But this dress looked so flattering. I love the colors and the gold button detailing on the back. The length is great for work or play, too! And I love anything that covers my arms, because that’s one of the areas I’m least comfortable with on myself. I’m dreaming of wearing it in the fall with booties or heels, in the classroom or out to dinners or weekend events!

For my trip to AZ, I picked up some travel items. I love to buy travel-sized items for trips. Of course the miniature sized items are cute, but I think what I really enjoy is the idea of feeling like I’m jetting off somewhere that I need a few smaller items to save space in my luggage! And I also think I like the fact that I can try new things without committing to an expensive item. For this trip, I got travel sizes of this shampoo and conditioner, this cleansing water that I’m really excited to try, and this body wash. I also picked up some travel size face cleansing wipes for my mom and me to use. I’ll take my all-time favorite face wash in its sample size container. I know I’m not looking for anything new in that department! Temperatures are going to be over 100 degrees while we’re there, and we’re doing a lot of hiking, so I am just going to pack light:  Workout clothes (including my favorite leggings ever), a couple of fun outfits for dinners out, and a few athleisure outfits for beboppin’ around town with my mom. I got this backpack for hiking. It rolls up into itself and will hold water, snacks, and sunscreen.

Have a happy FriYAY! Andrew and I are off to another date night tonight. We’re so hip.

Four days until I’m in the desert!!!

Date night dress, two ways

dress, necklace, similar sweater, booties, similar clutch

Andrew and I don’t always go out for fancy date nights; typically, we have dates at casual places for dinner or we just stay in and hang with the dogs and cook something at home. Time together is what’s most important to us! But we do love to go out to a nice dinner every once in a while so we still feel hip and get to see each other all dressed up! Tell me we’re not the only boring couple out there…?! But we recently did have a date night out and I wore this dress for the first time and loved it!

quay sunglasses

I’ll admit it, I do have a little bit of a “safe” style when it comes to clothes. You know my motto:  Classic with a twist! But I do like to throw in a good surprise twist here and there. This dress is perfect for that! I love the color and the fact that it isn’t too low cut or too short. It’s from Tobi, an online boutique for women. A lot of their clothes are a little more edgy or bold than what I would usually go for, but they have so many options that you can easily find some more basic items if you’re a more classic with a twist girl like me! I loved the way this dress fit, which is something I’m hugely picky about, and it also has a cute strappy T-strap back. My necklace and earrings were a gift from my dear friend Abbie for my birthday – everyone knows I’m obsessed with Elisabeth Ashlie.

My sister made me try the dress with her faux leather moto jacket and scarf from Swoon, one of our favorite boutiques! She is an expert stylist and definitely knows a thing or two about fashion. Even though it is still wayyy too hot here in NC for the jacket and scarf, it was great to know that I have a different way to style this dress as the weather gets more crisp!

looking for stuff on the ground like kylie jenner

For makeup, I went for a full face with my new favorite Bare Minerals BarePro liquid foundation, my favorite powder of all time, this Too Faced Natural Eyes eyeshadow palette, and always, my Stila stay all day liquid liner. I used two of my sister’s lipstick shades to get this one here – a nude and an electric purple. I loved this date night outfit (I went with the white sweater to beat the heat). As for Andrew? He says I always look pretty, but he likes me best in my soft clothes. He’s a keeper!

photos are of course by my talented and beautiful best friend at j parker photography

BarePro foundation review

I recently bought the new Bare Minerals barePro liquid foundation from Ulta. I have been a long-time wearer and believer in Bare Minerals products, but for full coverage needs and special events, I love a good liquid foundation. Especially for taking pictures! When I started seeing great reviews about this foundation on Instagram and YouTube, I had to try it for myself. I got the shade “Cashmere 06” and it was a PERFECT match for my fair skin – even though it looks a little off from the shade of my hands in the picture!

This foundation has A LOT of claims. I will spare you all the specific details, but basically this foundation is supposed to give an incredibly flawless finished look, the site says it is amazing for your skin, “so pure you can sleep in it,” good for hydration, pores, texture, and more, great for photos, etc. So clearly I had to see if it lived up to the hype. And I think that, overall, it does!

I wouldn’t say that the foundation lives up to every single one of its claims necessarily, but I am really loving it! It sits on your skin softly, without feeling greasy or thick, and gives coverage throughout the whole day. With my job teaching high school, I need to be able to put my makeup on at 6 in the morning and then not look at it again until about 4pm, and I can do that with the barePro foundation!  You can use as little or as much as you want – it is very build-able. And I love that if I’m too tired at night for a full skincare routine, I can just use a makeup wipe to clean my face and put on my moisturizer, because there’s nothing in the makeup that will clog my pores or cause a breakout.

For school days or special events where I really want a full face of makeup, I use 3-4 drops on a foundation brush or damp beauty blender. For a quick daily face, I use 2 pumps on my fingertips and spread it on my face like a moisturizer. I finish setting it by dusting my favorite powder of all time over it with a brush, and then I complete my look with whatever else I want to use that day!

here’s my before, with just mascara on & a big shiner hanging out on my chin

beauty blender (i got mine cheap from target but there are nicer ones)

I run the beauty blender under water for a split second, then squeeze it out and pump my foundation on it. I start with 2 pumps, because this foundation is pretty liquid-y and it runs! I dot the foundation all over my face with the sponge – a few blobs on my cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin. No rhyme or reason, just spreading the love.

always make sure to look super glamorous while doing this

Then blot, dab, blot, dot, dot, and before you know it, you’ll have a full face on! Try not to rub the makeup around, because then the sponge will absorb it more than your skin. You’re just using a stippling motion to set the foundation nicely on top of your skin. Then, finish with the rest of your face!

my daily face lineup

if no one is around to take 5 million photos of you, use a tripod and clicker

let your dogs steal the show for a minute, as always

and there you have it! makeup is done and now you have selfies galore

I think what I love most about this foundation is that it just looks so natural and soft – in real life and in pictures! I hate feeling like I have a cake face or like people think I look like a totally different person with my makeup on, so this foundation does a great job of bridging that gap without going too overboard. It’s a win for me!

For a less expensive foundation, I’m a longtime fan of Revlon ColorStay for combo/oily skin. It lasts FOREVER and gives a really full-coverage, flawless finish without looking cakey. But for now, I’ll keep enjoying this Bare Minerals liquid foundation until it runs out!

Pamper yoself.


Summer has taken such a toll on my skin and hair this year. I’m sweating constantly at the pub, my hair gets blow dried and curled often so there’s a lot of heat damage, and I just tend to get more breakouts in the summer. On top of that, I have a worry wrinkle between my eyes that I swear gets deeper every week. Life, man.

So what’s a girl to do?! I decided I needed to start a pampering routine for my skin. I’ve never been great at keeping up with a routine, plus I have very sensitive skin. I typically just wash my face and use either my daily moisturizer or my night time anti-aging moisturizer, and that’s it. But this is a weekly or bi-weekly routine even I can keep up with!

I received this cucumber + aloe face mask in my Christmas stocking this year and this was literally the first time I have used it! (See? I told you I’m bad at keeping up with skincare routines!) A lot of times, I’ll break out badly a few days after using face masks, so I typically stay away from them. I used this one last week, though, and no issues! It felt so cool and refreshing, smelled clean and comforting, and rinsed off easily. I really enjoyed it and actually look forward to using it again!

I picked up this hair mask at Target while I was getting groceries. It was around $3 and looked good for my fine, thin, color-treated and heat-damaged locks. I am interested in trying other products from this line! It smelled so good in my hair and wasn’t overwhelming. Like with any deep conditioner for your hair, it left mine pretty oily at the roots after rinsing out and air-drying, but I just planned to wear my hair up the next day before re-washing. My hair was noticeably softer and sleeker. It just felt like a win!

So here’s the routine if you’re in the mood to pamper yoself this summer (or anytime!). I took a nice long shower and used my regular philosophy face wash plus a detoxifying pore scrub from Olay (I love their products for my skin). The pore scrub was very gentle and felt exfoliating without hurting or scraping my skin. I used the scrub after washing my face.

Then, after using my favorite body lotion, I wrapped up in a fluffy robe and applied the hair mask and face mask. I kept the hair mask and face mask on for longer than recommended because I just feel like it must work extra well if you do that (is this just a me thing?). I just pinned up my hair with a duck clip while I sat and did some things around the house with my green face. I used warm water and a wash cloth to rinse off the face mask. When I rinsed out the hair mask, I combed through my hair and let it air-dry. Finally, I used my Olay Regenerist night cream and slathered on a good bit, being delicate around my eyes of course and using circular motions from my neck up! I finished with a thick lip balm and I was relaxed, pampered, and ready for bed.

glamorous

And that’s it! Other than my dogs trying to lick the cucumber aloe mask off of my face, everything went off without a hitch. Something easy to do once a week or so, not too many steps, and safe for sensitive skin like mine! What other products should I be trying? Let me know if you have any favorites!

Summer faves, from me to you

It’s another scorching week here in Raleigh! I don’t know why it’s always such a surprise to me when I step outside and my makeup immediately begins melting off my face. Why do we find it necessary to keep saying, “It’s HOT out there!” when we finally get inside the sweet, sweet relief of cool AC? But we do – maybe it’s a southern thing.

This summer, I’ve been saving every penny since teachers don’t get paid in the summer acting like I have an unlimited supply of money, and I’ve bought a few new products I want to share! They’ve helped me through these hot months, and hopefully they’ll carry me into the next few that are still coming!

Since I’m generally rushing from hot yoga to nannying or from nannying to hot yoga, and as I’ve mentioned, it’s hot hot hot out, I have kept my makeup and hair routine super simple this summer. I also mostly use items from Target. I don’t have a fat wallet, so when I can find awesome products that don’t deplete my money for food and rent, I latch on.

Summer Faves1) Dove dry shampoo and curl defining mousse: my hair is stick straight, fine, thin, and needs to be washed daily. I could have cried when I finally discovered dry shampoo. I love this Dove one and have used it for months and months without looking elsewhere. I use the mousse after shampooing to “squish” my hair, as Andrew calls it (the rest of you might refer to it as scrunching your hair). It’s my summer ‘do because I don’t have to use heat to dry my hair, and I just shampoo & squish – no conditioner (or combing) needed, because it makes my hair too soft and straight to squish. It also saves a ton of time!

2) Heat taming spray: When I DO blow dry my hair, I like to use a heat spray to help protect and volumize my fine, limp hair. I have been happy with this one from L’Oreal! An older spray I used to use before looking for one with a volumizing boost is this one from TRESemme.

3) Olay cleansing wipes and moisturizer: Both are gentle, have a nice subtle scent, don’t break me out, and my sensitive skin doesn’t burn or react to these products.

4) Tea Tree Oil mattifying toner: I have always loved The Body Shop, and this tea tree oil toner is so refreshing. It makes my skin look soft and velvety. I use it am and pm, after washing and before moisturizing. My sweet roomie Lauryn hooked me up with it because she got one free 🙂

5) Philosophy purity made simple face wash: this is my one splurge this summer. I know it’s more expensive than what you might normally buy, but my skin is sensitive and prone to breakouts, and I have noticed a HUGE difference in the few weeks I have been using this. So. Worth. It. I got the 8oz. one for $24 and it will last a long time.

6) This Sephora collection dry clean brush cleaning spray has been an amazing find! You can use it and keep on doing your makeup since it’s not a wet product. Just spray, wipe on a towel, and keep on keepin’ on!

7) Essie spa many many mani lotion: I always seem to have dry hands and feet, so I love putting this on both right before I get under the sheets at night! It smells great and is silky smooth, not greasy.

8) These linen shorts from Target:  I have them in green, red, and gray/black…they have literally saved me this summer. Elastic waist, light and airy, not too short…what more could a girl want?

9) Maybelline Dream Pure BB cream: I use this one to help keep my skin clear, moisturize and even out my skin tone, and as a layer that my powder can sit on top of.

10) My favorite sunscreen: I have been using this for a few years and always make sure to get the SPF 30 and reapply often. I love the hydration aspect of this sunscreen. I always buy the face one, as well!

My summer makeup routine:

After washing/toning/moisturizing, I’ve been using the NYX photo loving primer in green to fight redness and fill in any pores or smile lines. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll skip the primer and put on some Maybelline bb cream. I’ve been loving the Covergirl trublend fix stick concealer for under my eyes, redness, and blemishes. BB cream or not, I always use a powder brush to dust on my forever favorite powder, Lorac porefection baked pressed powder (I’m shade PF 3.5). Next, I hit the hollows of my cheeks and go in a “3” motion on the sides of my face with the tarte Park Ave Princess bronzer, and then I use my bronzer brush to hit my cheekbones and around the sides of my eyes with my new Urban Decay highlighter (shade is sin-champagne). After that, it’s an eyebrow pencil, mascara, and tinted Baby Lips balm from Maybelline (a long-time fave!), and I’m finished! Simple for busy days carting around kids and running errands, and easy to wipe off before teaching a hot yoga class at Hot Asana Durham.

Summer makeup 1

Summer makeup 2