Ulta Haul


I’ve been away for a while because as summer winded down, I just wanted to enjoy the last month or so with my family.  We spent a week at a beach visiting family and then we decided to take a few day trips to local beaches and towns we had yet to explore.  It was a lot of fun and it really energized me.  The funny thing is, I hate the summer, but I was determined to get the most out of it this year.  I also forgot how much I love the beach.  I’m not a sun person, so I convinced myself that I just wasn’t a beach person, but really, it’s one of my favorite places to be.  I don’t lay in the sun (it just isn’t my thing and never has been), but I could fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing and I could probably happily live on a beach, despite my hatred of the heat.

Other than that, I chopped off 10″ of hair (down to collarbone length), had school-related activities to do with my children, and overall, just relaxed.  Did you do anything interesting this summer?  Anything to commemorate the end of summer?  (Or, maybe it isn’t summer where you live and you’re enjoying cooler weather.)

I did have time to shop at Ulta and these items were purchased during a 20% off sale.  As always, I purchased a discounted gift card to cover the purchase.  If you want to read more about that,  wrote about that here.  Now that I’m done blabbing, here’s what I got:

Ulta Haul

Here are the items I purchased from the left:

1.)  Ulta Contour Lip Liner in Flesh

2.)  NYX Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand in Beige

3.)  NYX Wonder Pencil in Medium

4.)  Ulta Gel Eyeliner Pencil in Smoke

5.)  Ulta Gel Eyeliner Pencil in Black/Brown

6.)  Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer in Medium (I like this; this is a repurchase.  My suggestion is to remove the sponge applicator portion and use the product that way.  It’s cleaner and you save more product this way.)

7.)  Maybelline Clean Express Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover 

8.)  Super BB All-In-1 Beauty Balm Cream in Light/Medium  (I really like this product, it’s highly rated on Paula’s Choice Beautypedia, and it’s pretty inexpensive, especially if you wait for coupon and/or sale.)

Have you purchased any holiday palettes yet?  I haven’t and I don’t know if I will.  I typically purchase a blush palette, but I really don’t need one.  :)

⌘ Pricing & Availability:  Pricing and availability are subject to change. This post does not include an affiliate link.


Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray Review

I’m not the only one that feels a wee bit silly buying canned water for my face, right? Well, I did just that several months back and I really, really like it. The mist on this spray is far finer than any spray bottle I have found. The fine mist doesn’t spray everywhere, either. You can easily spray this water wherever you need or want it and by the time you have put the cap on, the water has already sunk into your skin. This is not a product that will provide a glow, but this is a product that will provide you with hydration you may not have even known you need. I use this product in every season and over or under makeup, though I do prefer it under my makeup. I know it seems silly, but I will not be without this overpriced water can.

After reading the reviews, I found that you are not supposed to shake this bottle like you might with a hair spray. If you don’t shake the bottle, I can almost guarantee this product will last you a long time. I have had this product for months now and even after using it daily, including a single spray on each of my kids (it’s a nice tactic for allowing me to finish applying makeup), it is still going strong.

If you have tried other products like this, but you aren’t impressed, give this one a try. I know it’s pricey, but if your skin is a bit parched (and already moisturized), you may find help with this. I know I tend to get dryness around a pimple (usually from applying overnight products) and a moisturizer just doesn’t do enough to help cover the slight flakiness from concealer. The Avene spray, even being a fine mist, just helps seal the flakes to my skin, making the concealed pimple appear less, well, like a concealer-covered pimple. I don’t know that I’ll be without this product, but I’m definitely open to trying other sprays like it.

⌘ Pricing & Availability: A 10.58 fl. oz. bottle retails for $15.00 on Amazon. Pricing and availability are subject to change. This post does not include an affiliate link.

Avene Spray

Avene Thermal Spray

Yes to Grapefruit Dark Circle Correcting Eye Cream Experience

I’ll tell you now, this is not a review.

I received this as a freebie from the “Yes To” brand. I can’t remember all the details, as it was a while ago, but I think the first 500 to sign up on their website received this product free to try.  I was excited because who doesn’t love free stuff? I tried it and sadly, it caused a horrible reaction on my lids and eye area. I almost looked like a reverse raccoon; I had angry, red, puffy circles all around my eyes.  I wore sunglasses for about two weeks straight, inside, outside, rain, shine, etc.  I did take photos, but they are really horrible that I think most people would be disgusted by seeing them. I like looking at “gross” things, which is why I took the photos, but I’ll spare you. Haha.

I would be curious to know if others experienced a similar reaction to this product or to any specific ingredients near their eyes.  I’m not one that is prone to skin sensitivities, but something in this did not agree with me when I tried it. I’ve considered trying it again at some point later, but as I tend to do, I just decided to use it as a moisturizer for my elbows and knees. My elbows and knees are also prone to darkness, so I thought it would be a good thing to try.  For what it’s worth, I saw no difference.

On to the next eye cream….

⌘ Pricing & Availability: A .5 fl. oz. tube is $15.97 on Amazon (currently with a 20% off coupon, too!). Pricing and availability are subject to change. This post does not include an affiliate link.

Yes to Grapefruit

Yes To Review

Aveda Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight: First Impression

I purchased this almost immediately after watching MsGoldGirl’s video on how this product changed her hair life.   :wink:   I’m in need of a new hair life and I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it.  I ordered it online because I’m impractically impatient (waiting for it to arrive when I could have picked it up on a Sunday and used it that night).  Oh well.  It arrived on a Monday and after my workout, I took a shower, shampooed and conditioned with Kirkland products (Pureology knockoffs that are sulfate- and paraben-free) and anxiously awaited my results.  I was really not expecting much, as I know a lot of these products only work on certain hair types.

Before I continue with my story, I should tell you that I have very long, very coarse, and very frizzy hair.  I wear my hair up 363 days of the year and on the other days, it ends up in a bun or ponytail within a few hours because the frizz and texture are unbearable.  My hair isn’t curly, but it isn’t straight, either.  I have ringlets underneath my hair, waviness in the “middle layer”, and the top is just a poufy, frizzy, semi-straight mess.  Sounds really sexy, right?

Okay, so after showering, I towel-dried my hair and sectioned it into two, neck-level ponytails.  I looked at the circumference of my ponytail and applied the appropriate amount of product.  You can watch this video to see how the pro does it.  I dried my hair with a round brush and hairdryer and then gave it one final brushing/smoothing with my Tangle Teezer (must have!).  My hair was about 93% better than it is when I just use a hairdryer and brush.  It was minimally frizzy, pretty smooth, and straight.  When I lifted my hair up, I had a few light waves underneath, but I used a flat iron and it straightened them out without issue.

My hair normally takes a very long time to dry and it typically ends up poofy, frizzy, and worse than if I had just let it dry naturally.  With this product, the process to dry my hair straight was probably 20-30 minutes.  I was left with hair that I would confidently leave the house with.  I didn’t want to fuss with it too much, so instead of spending time flat-ironing it, I just went to bed.  (Keep in mind, I took about 5 minutes to flat-iron the underneath wavy bits.)

After my second application in four days, I will tell you that I could not be happier with this smoothing treatment.  I was very skeptical, as I said, but it really works well with my difficult hair.  My hair dries quickly, straightens to a great look, and I’m able to keep my hair straight for three days before washing, even with pretty heavy workouts.  When testing this product out, I’m not using a dry shampoo or any other products (i.e. hairspray, serum, oils, heat protectant, etc.).  I’m not sure if I will continue to avoid other products for the five total uses, but for now, I really don’t need much else.  I did use a flat iron on the bottom layer of hairs after the first application, but I just didn’t need to after the second application.  My hair would look even sleeker with a flat iron, but it isn’t necessary and I want to avoid the heat if possible.

If you have hair like mine or if you’re always flat-ironing your hair, definitely give this product a try.  I purchased it from Nordstrom (because I received a lot of free samples and used a 5% off gift card) where you can return beauty products if you aren’t satisfied.  I know it’s a lot of money for one hair product, but you really don’t need that much and if you extend washes (I know some people find this icky and I used to, too), it will last a long time.  This product might just change my hair life; it’s already changed my hair week.  :wink:

⌘ Pricing & Availability: A 5 fl. oz. bottle retails for $26.00 on Nordstrom.com.  Aveda products can be purchased from Aveda salons.  Pricing and availability are subject to change. This post does not include an affiliate link.

Aveda Smooth Infusion

Amazon Subscribe & Save July 2014

Well, it’s that time again and this month I needed a few things and then found one that really worked out for me. Below I list what I purchased, sometimes sharing why, and also providing a price list on competitors’ current pricing. The Amazon pricing is the price I paid this month.

1.)     Marshalls Creek Spices Dill Seed Whole, 10 Ounce        

I make homemade pickles and found that I was going through a lot of dill seed. After finishing my first jar within a couple of months, I decided to purchase a larger bottle. Amazon had a great price for it, compared to anything I could buy locally, so I purchased it there. I have already used it on a batch of pickles and they taste great.

2.)     Navitas Naturals Organic Goji Berries

I purchased these on a whim and I’ll tell you right now, I won’t do it again. They are imported from China, which is something I just don’t and won’t do when it comes to food items. I didn’t realize it when I purchased it, but noticed it when the item arrived. That’s simply a personal preference thing, but I wanted

3.)     Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Fragrance Free Shampoo & Wash

I use this and shampoo from The Honest Company for my children. They like it, I like it, their skin handles it well, etc. It isn’t the most natural option out there, but I’m happy with it. I found a great deal on the 3-pack through Amazon and with the coupon savings and Subscribe & Save discount, it ended up being pretty reasonable.

4.)     Jack Link’s Beef Jerky

I purchased this with my husband in mind. He takes some snacks to work to keep in his office and I figured this would make a nice addition to his not-so-healthy candy stash. :smile:   This stuff isn’t cheap and isn’t all that great in terms of ingredients, but I still went for it and my husband was happy I did.

5.)     CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 1 Kit Shadow, Champagne

I needed an extra filler to take me to five items for the month and at 33 cents, I couldn’t resist. I might use this as a highlighter for my face, I might give it away, I’m really not sure. But, I love finding cheap makeup deals that bring me over the five item limit to receive a 20% discount on everything in my monthly order.

      • Amazon:  $0.33 for a .09 ounce pan
      • Ulta:  $3.99 for a .09 ounce pan
      • Walmart:  $3.09 for a .09 ounce pan

⌘Disclaimers:  This post does not include an affiliate link. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

Amazon Subscribe and Save

June Jacobs Papaya Enzyme Masque Review

I received a deluxe sample of this product as part of a beauty box I subscribe to and after reading a little about it and perusing the various reviews, I was excited to try it out. The product is said to be a “body masque that gently digests dead skin cells and impurities as it moisturizes and tightens the skin”. I love the idea of a body mask, but the expense of this item would really prohibit me from using it as such. I figured I would stick to my face and just use cheaper exfoliators for my body, so that’s what I did.

The mask is a creamy white consistently and smells slightly fruity, though there is a hint of something else, but I can’t quite figure out what it is. Overall, the scent is pleasant to me and not overpowering. You leave this mask on for 3-10, as your skin allows, and then rinse it off so you can apply your serums, moisturizers, etc.

After using this mask for over a month (once, sometimes twice a week), I have come to the conclusion that it really works well for my skin. This mask makes my skin really soft and supple. This mask isn’t as moisturizing as the Befine Warming Clay Mask, but that could be a good thing for summer months or those who aren’t prone to very dry skin. I didn’t see any tightness, but I don’t really struggle with sagginess yet, so I can’t fault the product for that. This product really does give my skin a nice boost and I love having it on hand for when I need extra hydration.

Have you used any June Jacobs products that you love?

⌘Pricing & Availability: A 3.7 oz. jar retails for $62.00 on Dermstore. Alba Botanica makes a 3 oz. papaya enzyme mask that retails for $10.36 at Amazon. I purchased it recently via Subscribe & Save and I hope to do a review of it after I’ve tested it several times. I may even compare the two masks to see how they differ. This post does not include an affiliate link. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

June Jacobs Mask

Burt’s Bees Healthy Treatment Repair Serum Review

I picked up this item while looking at Amazon reviews for skincare products. I haven’t heard anyone talk about it, but with such high reviews, I had to try it. I had been eying the Tarte Maracuja oil, but I wasn’t willing to splurge on it without waiting for a good discount. This Burt’s Bees oil was one-third of the price of the Tarte oil so I went for it.

They market this as a serum, but I would consider it a facial oil. It’s a very light, non-greasy oil that I apply onto my skin prior to applying any creams. I find that it sinks into my skin well and though it has an earthy scent, it isn’t overpowering or too earthy.  I did not use this product with a night cream because I wanted to see how it worked on its own and I am really impressed. I do use it under my CoTZ sunscreen and I have no problems combining the two, although I wait a little while for the oil to sink into my skin before applying my sunscreen.

In terms of results, I wasn’t sure what to expect, as there are a lot of claims – diminished lines, sun damage repair, etc. I didn’t notice any diminished lines or reduction in sun damage, but I found that it gave my skin such a wonderful glow, a natural softness, added moisture, and a great base. I don’t have a lot of wrinkles, but I do have a tiny bit of freckling on my right cheek and this didn’t correct it or change it in any way.

If you are looking to try a facial oil, definitely take a look at this one. The results are good, the ingredients are pretty impressive, and if you don’t care for it, you can always use it as a cuticle oil.

⌘Pricing & Availability: A 1 fl. oz. bottle of the Burt’s Bees Healthy Treatment Repair Serum retails for $15.97 on Amazon. Pricing and availability are subject to change. This post does not include an affiliate link.

Burt's Bees Serum Review

Burts Bees Serum


St. Ives Renewing Collagen Elastin Advanced Body Moisturizer Review

I saw this in a drugstore one day while I was puttering around the aisles. I noticed it was inexpensive (around $1.50 for a small tube) and had a green label that said “100% Natural Moisturizers”. I am always looking for a small tube of hand cream to keep in my purse and this was the perfect next victim.

This lotion really leaves my hands feeling soft without that feeling that you’re picking up dust and dirt along the way. I’m not the only one that experiences that, right? I often use lotions that feel like they sink in, but leave me with dirty-feeling hands because the lotion just attracts dust and/or dirt. This lotion is marketed as a body moisturizer and since I haven’t tried it on my entire body, I can’t speak to how well I would like it. But, I really can’t imagine it would surpass my love for the Gold Bond Ultimate Skin Therapy Lotion. I have dry skin and that is my holy grail body lotion.

The St. Ives moisturizer is quickly becoming my favorite hand cream, specifically to keep in my purse. It is inexpensive, lightweight, non-greasy, and really does moisturize my hands.  In fact, I loved the small tube so much I purchased a large bottle on Amazon.

⌘ Pricing & Availability: A 2 fl. oz. bottle retails for $1.43 on drugstore.com. This item is also readily available at most local drugstores, Target, or Walmart. This post does not include an affiliate link. Pricing and availability are subject to change.


Amazon Subscribe & Save Monthly Order

I have been absent after having a few house guests over the course of the last few weeks.  Things got a little hectic between that and trying to get my home in order so I had to take a few days to relax.  Anyhow, I decided to do another one this month, as I purchased some body/skincare deals and received 20% off each item on my order.

Below I list what I purchased, sometimes sharing why, and also providing a price list on competitors’ current pricing. The Amazon pricing is the price I paid this month.

1.)     Nurtured by Nature Environmentally-Sensitive Diapers

I cloth diaper during the day, but I use disposables at night or when we’re away. I don’t always purchase environmentally-sensitive diapers, but this was a pretty great deal so I wanted to give them a try. I can’t vouch for how well they work, but the reviews are pretty good.

2.)     Thinksport SPF 50 Plus Sunscreen

I used this for my children last summer and I really liked it. My husband also used it and was pretty content with it. This time I purchased this sunscreen. Both get great reviews, they are well-reviewed on the Environmental Working Group’s safe sunscreen list, and both are pretty reasonable.

3.)     Seventh Generation Nourishing Body Wash

I’ve never tried this, but the price was too good. I love plain glycerin soap, but my husband likes body wash, so I try to have it on hand for him.

4.)     Pond’s Luminous Clean Wet Towelettes

I haven’t tried these before, but they were so reasonable, I just had to try them.

5.)     Olay Normal Wet Cleansing Cloths

Because, why not?  I don’t really care for these, myself, so I may pass them on or have my husband use them, as he isn’t terribly picky.


Pangea Organics Facial Toner in Italian Green Mandarin & Sweet Lime Mini Review

I’ve been using this product off and on for a few months, so this isn’t a first impression, but it isn’t an in-depth review. I was excited to try this product, as I’ve always loved the idea of a toner. The biggest problem I’ve encountered with toners is that they often contain alcohol, which is drying. As someone with combo/dry skin (specifically in the winter), my skin needs hydration.

I like this product – the ingredients, the fresh feeling, and the way it works, but for this particular item, I just didn’t care for the smell. I can’t even describe it because I do smell mandarin and maybe a hint of lime, but together, I just didn’t care for it. Since fragrance is subjective, I can’t completely knock this product for the scent. Not to mention, the light scent does fade very quickly, so it would probably work well for people who are sensitive to fragrances.

Aside from the scent, it’s a pricey toner ($24 for 4 fl. oz) compared to the benefits. My skin does appreciate the small amount of hydration from this product, but I just don’t think it warrants such a high price tag.  And, I didn’t feel energized, something this product claims to do.  There are a lot of recipes for DIY/homemade, alcohol-free versions and I would probably play around with a few recipes before splurging on this toner.

⌘ Pricing & Availability: A 4 fl. oz. bottle of Pangea Organics Facial Toner retails for $24.00 on Amazon. Pricing and availability are subject to change. This post does not include an affiliate link.

Pangea Organics

Pangea Organics Review