Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Beauty Blogger Book Club

I know this post is a bit early but we are heading out of town before I can post on the first of the month.

For July, Lisa of Uncommon Wife Life chose Paper Towns by John Green.  I usually try to get the books from the library and that was not going to happen because this book is very popular right now. I'm guessing it is due to the fact that it will be a movie soon.

Quentin has always loved Margo from afar.  One night she enlists him to participate in her revenge plot and then the next morning she has disappeared.  Quentin starts finding clues that he believes she left for him as to her whereabouts and goes on an adventure to find her.

I have not read any books by John Green because the young adult genre is not usually my first choice of books.  That being said, I was curious due to the popularity of his books and the movies.  This book was hard for me to get into as Quentin discovered a variety of clues with no end in sight.  However, about halfway through I became more engrossed and interested in if he would ever find Margo and where she might have gone.  I think Quentin coming to terms with his version of the Margo he loves and the real Margo was very interesting, but also the way this adventure changed the relationships with his other friends along the way.

For the month of August, Lisa P of Blush and Back Roads chose The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Klein.  This is another book I have heard a lot about so I am looking forward to reading this one.

Check out what the other members thought of this month's book:
Ashley:  If You Give a Girl a Ring
Lisa:  Uncommon Wife Life
Lisa P:  Blush and Back Roads
Stephanie:  The Wonky Brow

Any recommendations for the book club or for me?


Sunday, July 26, 2015

12 Empties of Christmas Update #3

I am changing up my updates a little bit.  Since the 12 Empties of Christmas project will end on December 25th, I am switching my updates to around the 25th of each month.  This will be my 3rd update on this project.  I started the project on May 2nd.  My first update was around June 1st and my second update was around July 1st.  I have a Project 20 Pan running until September 1st so I haven't started with some of these products since I am using similar products in my project pan.

Here is where I am at with progress.  I haven't worried too much about progress because I feel like December is still so far off.  I'm sure that thinking will come back to bite me in a few months.

The two face washes were full when I started the project.  You can see I am about halfway finished with both of them.  I keep one by my sink and one in my shower.  The astringent was a little more than halfway full when I started.  You can see the line towards the bottom on the right side and I hope to finish this one soon.  My original product included two more of these astringents, however, I am taking them out of the project.  I am no longer a fan of this face wash for my skin and would rather give them away than continue to use them.

These are the other products from the project that I'm seeing progress with.  I have repressed the shades stubborn (pink) and snobby (yellow) and have already hit pan since repressing them.  I have been focusing on a look using Seductive, Stubborn, Snobby, and Sassy so those are the shades with pan at this point.  They will be finished shortly and I will move on to other shades.  I also use Sexy to line my lower lash line.

I added in the Marcelle moisturizer (and another one) after I took the Olay Regenerist cream out at update #2.  The Olay gave me a horrible reaction.  The Marcelle was full when I started and I'm about halfway finished.  It is a deluxe size sample, not full sized.  The Snow perfume I am continuing to make progress on. I am about halfway finished with this and haven't been using it most days since I am trying to finish a body spray in my project pan.

The products above are ones I am using every day but there isn't a good way to mark progress on them or I can't see through them.  I use the Kerstin Florian peel pads once a week, usually a weekend morning when I probably won't be wearing much makeup so my skin can breathe.  I use the Mario Badescu Serum and Loreal Revitalift every night before bed.  I use the lip balm throughout the day and the bronzer every time I do my makeup.  I'm sure I will finish the Loreal.  I'm pretty sure I'll finish the serum and lip balm.  The peel pads and bronzer are a maybe because there is just a lot of product in them.

These are the products I haven't used yet.  They are all completely full except for the foundation which I have used a bit of.  The foundation is too dark for me so I have mixed it with another product and put them into a pump bottle to try and use them up.  I am guessing these will all be finished by December, I am just trying to use one of a category (moisturizer, perfume, etc) before I open the next one in the project.

Even though I have taken out the two other astringents, I still have a total of 17 products in this project.  I put in the Marcelle moisturizer and Olay tone perfecting moisturizer when I took out the Olay Regenerist Cream.  I think I will be able to finish 12 of the 17 (fingers crossed).  I am hoping my update next month might have a few empty products and some completed shadows from my palette.  I will be updating around August 25th to stay on track for the end of December.

Let me know if you are participating in this project!  I would love to check it out (either blog, Instagram, or Youtube).


*All products shown were purchased with my own money.  I was not compensated for this post.

Friday, July 24, 2015

June and July Birchbox

Well, summer finally arrived here.  We've gone more than 2 days with no rain and it is humid and in the 80s and 90s.  Looking forward to fall which is my favorite season - football, boots, jeans, sweaters!

My June Birchbox came later in the month, only a few days before we left on vacation so I didn't really have time to try anything out and review it for you.  July's box came early in the month so I've been using all the products from both months and even finished a few of them so I figured I'd get my reviews up for you.  Birchbox is $10 a month and has a great points system.  See past posts if you'd like more information on how it works.

I'll start with June:

Temple Spa Good Hair Day Shampoo - I liked this shampoo because it didn't bother my scalp or dry out my hair.  On the other hand, I don't think it was special enough to purchase a full size.  The full size price is $14.  I've tried other shampoos I prefer.

Temple Spa In Good Condition Conditioner - I preferred the conditioner to the shampoo because it was a nice lightweight conditioner that didn't weigh my hair down, especially once I cut it short and wanted to have some more volume.  Again, I'm not sure it was great enough to spend the $14.

Supergoop Everyday SPF 50 - This was great for a recent trip to Austin and I have used up this whole tube (empty spoiler:).  That being said, it was too greasy for my skin and made me way too oily (more so than other sunblocks I've tried).  It works well on my arms and legs that are more on the dry side.  A full size ranges from $19-$48 depending on size.

Well People The Expressionist Mascara - I honestly haven't opened this product.  I am working on two mascaras now and I don't want to ruin this one by opening it and having it dry out.  I will be replacing my mascaras at the end of July and will put this one in the rotation so watch out for updates.  A full size is $23.50.

Marcelle Waterproof eyeliner - The shade I received is Blue Lagoon and it is a pretty teal color.  It has been a fun color for summer.  I run it along the bottom lash line or the top lash line.  To tone down the color when needed, I've put the teal in a thick line along my top lash line and then run a brown closer to the lash line so only a bit of the teal peeks through.  A full size is $11 and I'd purchase more neutral colors in this formula.

L.Erickson Ponytail Holder - I really liked this.  It didn't pull on my hair but it was also very stretchy and it didn't hold my thick hair as well as I'd like.  The card that comes in the box says a full size is $12 and I hope that is for a few ponytail holders and not just one.  I won't be purchasing now because I have a ton of hair ties and recently cut my hair off and aren't using them much.

On to July Box:

Coola Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer - This is a nice light moisturizer and it doesn't make me as greasy as a traditional sunblock.  I have a sunblock and moisturizer I really like so I think I will just stick to that combo.  I do love the cucumber scent though.  A full size is $32.

Dr. brandt Microdermabrasion skin exfoliant - I have tried this before and I really like it.  I have a few other exfoliators already open so I didn't use this one but I know it is a great product.  It isn't too harsh and has never bothered my sensitive skin.  I love how smooth my skin feels after I use it.  A full size is $78 so it is an expensive product.

Still Look at Me Liquid Lipstick Trio - I got a bright orange shade called Venizia.  This color is way outside of my comfort zone.  I usually stick to pinks and nudes.  I will try it, maybe with some different glosses to make it more wearable for me.  This comes as a shade in a set of 3 for $20.

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream - I'm a big fan of this product.  It is a very light cc cream that provides just a bit of coverage.  When I put a powder over it, I loved the amount of coverage it gave me, even for an every day look (I prefer light to medium coverage).  I have been wanting to try the It Cosmetics CC Cream but if I don't like that one, I would buy this one as my every day foundation.  A full size is $39.

Amika un.Done Texture Spray - I love the Amika dry shampoo so I was excited to try this.  As I mentioned, I have recently cut my hair so this was the perfect product to mess it up and give it some volume and texture.  It worked well although I felt like I had to use more than I wanted to get a good amount of volume.  It also made my hair greasier so it would have to be a product I use only when I know I'm washing my hair at night or the next morning.  A full size is $24.

I enjoyed the products in both of my boxes.  I know people don't always like the small sizes and lack of makeup in Birchbox but I am able to try a product and know if I like it or not without wasting it if I don't.  Also, I love trying new skincare more than makeup so I love the amount of skincare they send out.  How have you been feeling about your products?  Find any gems?


*All opinions are my own.  All products were purchased with my own money.  I was not compensated in any way for this post.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cleaning my Makeup Brushes

I have never posted about how I clean my makeup brushes, so I thought I would share.  I used to be very bad about washing my brushes but I am trying to do it on a more regular basis.  Keeping your brushes clean keeps dirt and germs out of the products you are dipping them into and I find it keeps my skin clearer because I am keeping dirt off my skin as well.

A long time ago, I watched a Youtube video from GlowofGrace and she used a bar soap to wash her brushes.  Ever since then, this has been the method I use.  She also used a brush cleaning glove from one of the brands which I don't use.

I use the bar soap from Dr. Bronner's.  I am currently using the lavender scent.  I keep the bar soap in a plastic soap dish from Target.

1.  I run water and make sure the brush and soap are nice and wet.  I swirl the brush around on the bar of soap.

2.  I then swirl the soap brush around in the lid of the soap dish under the running water.  This gets the product and the soap out of the brush.  I don't find this method to be too harsh on my brushes or resulting in lots of shedding.  I rarely need to replace a makeup brush because it wears out.

3.  I then squeeze out any excess water and lay them out on my bathroom counter to dry.  I use a few towels to prop them up so that the water runs out of the bristles instead of down into the brush where they may come unglued.

I have purchased this brush egg off of Amazon to clean my brushes.  But I honestly feel that swirling them around in the lid of the soap dish cleans them just as well.  It wasn't expensive so I will keep it around but I don't feel it is necessary.

This is a super simple technique but I feel that it works for me.  I can see the product running out of my brushes and they definitely look cleaner when I am done so it must be working:)

Do you have any tips or techniques that work well for you?  Please share!


*All opinions are my own.  All products were purchased with my own money.  I was not compensated in any way for this post.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Project Pan Update

It has been two months since I started my Project 20 Pan and 12 Empties of Christmas on May 1st.  I have two months left of my Project 20 Pan ending September 1st so those are the products I am concentrating on for the most part.  Although I did try to pick products for the two projects that wouldn't overlap two much in terms of use.  I didn't really use any makeup or skincare during my vacation due to a reaction on my face so I have some catching up to do.

I'll start with my 20 Pan.  I have finished 3 of the 27 products so I am happy to finally have some done.  I picked quite a few lip products so I'm glad to have 2 gone.  Just a reminder, I have 27 products because I have a group of small lotions counting as 1 product.

For reviews of the finished products above, go check out my June Empties post.  I included all empties in one so I'm not wasting your time with duplicate info  You can check those reviews out here.

The other products that I have good progress on are pretty much the same ones as last month.

Many of the products I am using are hard to mark progress on or the package is too dark to see inside.  I have another small lotion going and am about halfway through.  I've been using my masks but the tubes are too dark to see progress.  I started using the body spray now that I'm home for the summer and can spritz throughout the day.  I don't feel that the scents last to be wearing them all day at work.

The blush has bigger pan showing and it pretty thin in spots and the eyeliner will probably be gone soon with regular use.  The eye cream had a lot of air in it.  I just started using it in June and have gone through it quickly.

I am also doing the 12 Empties of Christmas.  I have more than 12 empties because I counted all my face washes as one and all my toners as one because I'd like to use them all up.  Technically, I have 18 products in the 12 Empties.  I'm concentrating on my Project Pan products so there isn't much to report on the 12 Empties.  I am obviously using the face washes and toners every day.

I've used the rollerball perfume some because it is good for travel and you can see progress on the second line down.  I am also using my palette every day still.  I repressed the pink and yellow shades with big dips at the last update which is why you don't see the pan anymore.  Looking forward to having a few shades finished.

I have made one change to my products in my 12 Empties.  I started using the Olay Regenerist Micro-sculpting cream and had a horrible reaction on my face.  It was either this one or a serum but it was so incredibly painful that I am not willing to try this cream again.  Therefore, I am making a substitution with my products.

I am pulling out the Olay cream and putting in these two smaller sized moisturizers in its place.  I am using a Loreal moisturizer from my 12 Empties project and I'll use these at some point as well.

Progress has been slow but I am excited to have some empties for my Project 20 Pan this month.  I will keep chugging along!  I love seeing those empties, especially when it is a product that I wasn't absolutely in love with.

Are you participating in any projects?  Let me know so I can follow along!


*All products were purchased with my own money.  I was not compensated in any way for this post.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

June Beauty Empties

I want to start off by saying I did very well with purchases this month!  I only bought one chapstick for $4 because I was on vacation and ran out of chapstick.  The few items I took in (eyelash curler, rollerball) were purchased with a Sephora gift card or free.  And then there were my few Birchbox items.  As always, I will recap the month at the end of this post.  Let me start with empties...

Project 20 Pan Empties:  I don't want to keep these empties around for months so I will post about them and refer back in the coming months.
1.  Soap and Glory The Righteous Butter Lotion - I bought this in the aisle by the checkout at Sephora awhile ago because I hadn't tried any Soap and Glory products.  I liked this lotion.  It had a very different scent than anything I had used before.  I thought I was smelling boys cologned the first time I put it on.  But the scent definitely grew on me and I really like it!  If we find these products pop up in the US again, I'd buy this lotion.
2.  Urban Decay Lip Junkie gloss in Wallflower - I got this gloss with my Naked palette a long time ago.  I really liked this gloss and I'm sad that they don't make it anymore or I would purchase it.  This shade was easy to swipe on whenever and was a nice light pink color.
3.  Mac Viva Glam IV - This was one of my oldest lipsticks and I am glad I was able to finish it up instead of having to throw it away.  It is a nice neutral pink but I wouldn't repurchase it again.  I wasn't absolutely in love with this formula.

Shower Empties:
4.  Olay Fresh Outlast body wash - I liked the scent of this and it was an okay body wash.  I might purchase it if I found it on sale.
5.  Sephora Cotton rounds - These are my favorite cotton rounds but they are kind of expensive for the how many you get.  They appear frequently in my empties posts.
6 & 7.  Whish Shave Cream - I have the grapefruit and blueberry scents.  I get about two uses out of this tube.  It isn't a very thick cream and washes away very easily, often before I'm done shaving.  I liked the grapefruit scent, the blueberry made me gag.  I won't buy these because I don't think they are worth the money.

Face Empties:
8.  Marcelle eye makeup remover - This was a sample I chose one month from Birchbox and I really like it.  I'm not sure how much the full size is but I would consider purchasing this once I finish up my others in my stash.  It didn't sting my eyes and worked pretty well.  (It looks full because I filled it with remover from a bigger bottle for a recent trip).
9.  Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment - This was a gel for nighttime and I really liked it.  The smell was a bit strange but I liked how nicely it absorbed and it wasn't greasy at all.  I'm not sure it did anything for my skin but I might consider purchasing another sample to try it again.  I think the larger size comes in a pump bottle which I prefer too.
10.  Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation - I really liked this moisturizer.  I used it with the invigorating treatment at night but it was light enough and absorbed well enough that I think I could easily use it in the morning as well under makeup.  I am not a fan of the tub though and have tried other moisturizers I like just as well that I want to purchase first.
11.  Benefit Pore-fessional - This is a small sample size from a Popsugar Box.  I am not a huge fan of the feel of this primer and I don't have huge pores that I need to blur.  I wouldn't purchase this product in a full size but I will use samples if I get them because it is an okay primer.
12.  Prescriptives Super Line Preventer - This is not empty but is going in the trash.  I used it for two nights on vacation with the Olay cream I'll talk about next and I had a horrible reaction.  I looked like I had a horrible sunburn and my face was covered with small bumps.  After about four days of painful bumps, they started peeling like I had burned my skin with the product.  I know some potent wrinkle creams are supposed to have a pretty brutal reaction when you first start using them as they improve your skin.  And if this is what that was, I'm not interested in those:)
13.  Olay Regenerist micro-sculpting cream - This came in a Walmart box and I was going to use it as a night cream since I had finished my other ones.  It is not empty but I am not going to risk having a reaction again by trying to use it.

Other Empties:
14.  Tresemme Tres Two Spray - There are a lot of Youtubers who like this.  Its okay.  I like my Garner Fructis one better and that is what I will repurchase.
15.  Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Keratin Cream Rinse - This is the second tube I've used.  I have no idea where I got these or if you can even purchase them anywhere.  It was okay as a hair mask but I won't purchase.
16.  Jouer Lip Enhancer - I bought this from Birchbox a long time ago and I thought I would love it.  It was okay but I didn't like it enough to purchase it again.  I found it more drying than moisturizing.
17 &18.  Chapstick - I bought a bunch of these a long time ago because they were cheap and I'm working my way through them.  They are okay.  I don't mind a waxy chapstick but I have a lot of other ones I would like to try once I use these up.

For the month of June I took in 12 products with a total cost of $4 (most were Birchbox or I used a gift card).  I have spent $182.43 so far this year.

I started June with 323 products (according to my inventory I did at the beginning of the month).  I used up 22 products (includes 4 samples not pictured here).  I am starting July with 312 products.

I used 6 full size, 10 deluxe size, 2 went in the trash, and I used 4 samples (see my Instagram if you would like to know about the 4 sample sizes since I don't post them in my empties).

I have used $777.45 in products this year.
$174.21 have gone into the trash because they were old or caused some sort of reaction.
My empties budget is at -$54.43.

I didn't really use makeup during the last two weeks of June while we were on vacation due to the reaction my skin had.  I am hoping I'll finish some more makeup products during July.

Follow me on Instagram or Twitter for more updates during the month - @hmills79


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Beauty Blogger Book Club

Welcome to July!  We have been on a family vacation for the past two weeks leading to the lateness of my book club post.  I also have empties and project updates coming over the next few days to catch you all up on where I am at.  I did not post a Birchbox for June because the box came just days before we left.  I will include June product reviews with my July post later this month.

I chose the book this month for the Beauty Blogger Book Club.  I chose The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson.  This book has been on my "to read" list for awhile and received a lot of hype when it was released awhile back.

This story follows the members of one family beginning in the 70s and continuing through the present.  It is the story of their journeys and where their choices lead them throughout the years.

I must say I did not pick well.  I had heard so much about this book and was disappointed when I finally read it.  I found the characters very hard to relate to.  There was no one I could identify with and root for.  The characters seemed to have very little interaction, their stories were almost told individually so the chapters felt very choppy.  The interaction, when it did happen, seemed forced.  There were a lot of characters which made it somewhat confusing.  And due to the jumping forward through time, I feel like I missed important pieces of what was happening with the characters.

My one success was finishing this book because I have a bad habit of giving up on a book if I'm not liking it and moving on.  Because I wanted to give a thorough review for you all, I did push through and finish this one.

For July we will be reading Paper Towns by John Green.  Lisa from Uncommon Wife Life chose this one and I haven't read any of his books (even though they are very popular) so I'm excited to read this one.

Check out what the other members of the book club thought of this month's book:
Michelyn:  Brains, Beauty & Basketball
Ashley: If You Give A Girl A Ring
Lisa:  Uncommon Wife Life
Lisa P: Blush and Back Roads
Stephanie: The Wonky Brow

And if you have suggestions of what I should read, I'm always looking for what to read next!