Recent Beauty Buys

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Recently, I had one of those moments when, at the exact same time, you run out of a whole slew of everyday products that need immediate replacing. All in the same weekend, I ran out of moisturizer, shaving cream, body wash, toothpaste, and I'm running low on shampoo and conditioner! Here's some of the things I've picked up lately.

'Dirty' Shave Cream | Lush
Somehow, I had never tried any Lush products before this one! Since I needed shave cream, I headed to the store and tried out each of the creams they had before settling on 'Dirty'. It's incredibly hydrating and smells great as it's made with cedarwood oil, oat milk, shea butter, lavender, sandalwood, and tonka. I will say my one qualm with Lush is that I don't love a lot of their scents, however this smells amazing.

Charity Pot | Lush
I went ahead and picked up the Charity Pot body lotion as well because 100% of its sales go to small grassroots organizations, primarily benefiting animals and the environment. Like the shave cream, Charity Pot smells warm, using ingredients like olive oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, ylang ylang, vanilla, and aloe. 

Personalized Shampoo + Conditioner | Function of Beauty
I was planning on going to my salon to get shampoo and conditioner from Aveda's Damage Remedy line, but then I saw a blog post about Function of Beauty and decided to try it out instead. It's basically a personalized formula specifically for your personal hair concerns. I have a full review of this coming up soon!

Tinted Brow Freeze | Sephora Collection
I wanted to cash in my VIB points for a set of Fresh products but had to spend a small dollar amount in order to place the order, so I decided to try out the Sephora Collection Tinted Brow Freeze. It's essentially a brow crayon with a slightly waxy consistency. I prefer this consistency over a pencil or a gel because it looks more natural and has a matte finish. I wouldn't say it's the best brow product out there, but it's pretty good for the price. 

Coconut Face Wipes | Sephora Collection
I had seen these before online and thought the packaging was so cute. When I ran out of my Clinique wipes, I decided to give the coconut ones a try and I love them. They're effective but also hydrating rather than stripping your skin like so many other wipes do. Plus, they smell incredible---similar to the smell of Too Faced's Hangover Rx primer. 

Wild Rose Creamy Body Wash | Weleda
Previously, I've been using a giant bottle of Dr. Bronner's peppermint castile soap for everything from body wash to stovetop cleaner. Now that I've run low, I'm picking up an old favorite which is Weleda's Wild Rose body wash. I used to use this in college and realized that I miss the scent! The product is really creamy, which I like as it feels more like a lotion and the scent always makes me feel like my shower is some sort of botanical garden.

Skin Food | Weleda
After running out of moisturizer, I ordered Skin Food from Vitacost where you can get a great deal on price and really fast shipping. This moisturizer is really different---it has a balmy consistency rather than silky like other moisturizers. I do like the feeling of it, but I personally wouldn't use it in the daytime as it is heavy and the smell reminds me of the A&D ointment that you slather all over fresh tattoos. I like it, but I don't think I will purchase again.

Instant Age Rewind | Maybelline
It had been awhile since I used this product but I wanted an under-eye concealer so I picked this up while at the grocery store. It's always been my favorite product for under the eyes and I know that it's beloved by other beauty bloggers, too! I'm fair complected, so I use the shade Light. The formula contains goji berry and haloxyl, so it's treated to diminish dark circles in addition to covering them on a daily basis.

True Match Blush | L'Oreal
I also picked up this blush at the grocery store. I wanted a slightly darker, tan shade so that I could use it as a bronzer/contour instead of my traditional rosy blush, so I chose the shade Bare Honey. So far, I really like it. It's a great shade for summer.

What are your favorite recent beauty buys?

The Weekend List (No. 2)

Happy Earth Day, everyone! I'm trying to get outside today to do something fun in honor and also think about ways that I can improve my carbon footprint. What are you guys doing to celebrate?

This week went by so quickly! I'm not complaining though because that means only two more weeks until my vacation. This weekend, I'm catching up on reading and meeting a friend for a little blogging date! I'm not going to lie, one of the highlights of this past week was the mid-season premiere of Pretty Little Liars. It's my not-so-guilty pleasure and after watching for the past seven years, I'm ready to get this thing over with and know what's going on. I'm pretty sure I know who "Uber A" is, so I'm curious to see if I'm correct.

On a very different note, I saw this funny piece on McSweeney's about math problems for English majors. I wasn't an English major but I really enjoy these as a literary person.

Have you guys heard the new music from Harry Styles? I heard his new single a few weeks ago but then he was on SNL and I'm really into it! I have to say, he might tie with Zayn for making the best solo music outside of 1D.

I finally got my hands on the blush pink Nike Air Max Theas that I've been wanting forever and they totally live up to the hype. I can't wait to wear them around this weekend!

Also, I've been loving the new Bernie Sanders podcast! His first episode was a conversation with Bill Nye centering on climate change. Honestly, it's just nice to hear from people with a level-headed perspective and an optimistic view of the future but also a realistic sense of urgency to get there.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Weekend Buys

8 Candles That Smell Like Summer

Every year, I love choosing my seasonal scents and filling my home with smells that evoke the feeling of that season. Fall candles are always a big deal, but there is a lot to be said about summer candles, too. The scents of summer are some of my very favorite---citrus, salt, flowers, coconut, lemons, grassy field, and fresh leaves. Here are eight candles that smell just like summer.

Vineyard Hill Citrus Blossom
Fruity citrus and sunshine.

Maison Margiela Replica Beach Walk
Bergamot, coconut milk, lemon, pink pepper, musk, sandy beaches, cedarwood, rolling waves.

Byredo Fleur Fantome
Lemon petitgrain leaves, rhubarb, tulips, violet leaves, suede.

Boy Smells Lanai
Coconut, pink peppercorn, volcanic sands, tropical foliage, orange blossom, clove, coal.

Paddywax Ocean Tide & Sea Salt
Ocean water, sunshine, surfing, salty beach hair.

Capri Blue Volcano
Tropical fruits and sugared citrus.

Diptyqe Mimosa
Flowers, hay, honey and the sea.

Jo Malone Green Tomato Leaf
Glasshouse tomatoes, leafy, sunshine, crisp, artemesia, cassis, moss.

1. Paddywax Ocean Tide & Sea Salt | 2. Capri Blue Volcano | 3. Diptyque Mimosa | 4. Jo Malone Green Tomato Leaf | 5. Vineyard Hill Citrus Blossom | 6. Maison Margiela Replica Beach Walk | 7. Byredo Fleur Fantome | 8. Boy Smells Lanai 

10 Nutritious Add-Ins for Your Smoothie

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For me, smoothies are one of life's greatest joys. I love desserts and sweets, so a healthy smoothie feels like a guilt-free way of indulging. I've been drinking even more smoothies lately as I've been focusing on increasing my protein intake (more on that next month)! I've always been a bit of a scientist when it comes to smoothies, but drinking more lately has given me the opportunity to experiment with lots of different add-ins. Here's my top ten favorite add-ins for magic smoothies.

Protein Powder
Obviously, this is the baseline add-in. At some point, I'm pretty sure we've all had a smoothie with protein powder but there are so many these days that it can be hard to decide which one to try. My favorite go-to brands are all plant-based: Vega, Perfect Fit, and Moon Juice. I know so many people love chocolate protein powder, but I like to stick with basic vanilla to keep things easy and if I want a chocolate shake, I just add a bit of cacao. However, Perfect Fit sometimes offers seasonal flavors that are fun to try out. Their coconut flavor was delicious.

Nutritional Powder
Nutritional powders differ from protein powders in that they focus primarily on micronutrients and adaptogens. My all-time favorite is the Raw Beauty Green Superfood Powder. It tastes like mint chocolate chip and you can simply mix it in with almond milk and a banana. This powder contains a blend of wheatgrass, chlorella, spirulina, alfalfa grass, and barley juice powder plus acai, goji, cocoa, moringa, matcha and grapeseed and adaptogens such as ginseng, astragalus, licorice, ashwagandha, eleuthra, and rhodiola and a probiotic blend. Basically, it contains all of the superfoods you need in one, easy powder. 

Cacao Powder
Cacao is the raw, pure form of chocolate making it far less processed than your average cocoa powder. In powder form, most of the nutrients are still intact and it contains more fiber (and calories) than traditional cocoa powder. It's also a great source of protein, vitamins, and more. Use this just as you would any chocolate powder. I love blending cacao, almond milk, banana, and frozen cherries for a delicious dessert shake.

Maca Powder
Back in college when I worked in day-of event coordination, I used to go to the juice bar down the street from my dorm and get a maca smoothie before working all night. Nothing really makes that kind of work easy, but it certainly helped sustain my energy without any spikes or crashes. Maca is also known anecdotally for helping skin and mood issues. It's full of vitamins B, C, and E as well as calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and amino acids. It has a nutty taste on its own, but I honestly am never able to taste it in my smoothies. I especially like maca blended into a peanut butter shake.

Spirulina
Did you know that spirulina is one of the most concentrated sources of protein on Earth? It is also rich in vitamin b1, iron, and calcium as it is a form of blue-green algae. Be careful when buying spirulina, though. First, make sure that you buy spirulina powder or liquid drops as opposed to the tablets which are hard to work with. Also, ensure that you are purchasing from a clean source to avoid heavy-metals. My personal opinion is that spirulina works best in fruity smoothies, so mix it with berries and pineapple for an ocean-inspired drink.

Raw Honey
Most of us use honey in our smoothies already, but you should consider making the switch to raw. It is a little harder to work with outside the blender since it isn't a liquid but it's great for blending. It's a wonderful source of antioxidants and phytonutrients that heal your body. 

Reishi Powder
Reishi is a medicinal fungus, essentially a mushroom, that is anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic. You may have seen some bottled reishi drinks on the shelves at Whole Foods if the word rings a bell. Just like all adaptogens, reishi helps the body adapt to stress side-effects like inflammation, low energy levels, and hormonal imbalances. On its own, it isn't the most delicious thing but you can easily mix it into your drinks (especially chocolate ones) to mask the taste but still reap the benefits. 

Bee Pollen
I've spoken about my love for bee pollen before. It is rich in protein and amino acids and has tons of benefits for the body from energy and digestion to allergies and the immune system. This ingredient is super easy to incorporate into just about anything. In a smoothie or smoothie bowl, it will quickly dissolve and has a sweet flavor (sort of like a powdered honey). 

Ho Shou Wu
Amanda Chantal Bacon of Moon Juice (my queen) inspired me to look into adding ho shou wu to my diet. It is a powerful Chinese herb derived from a plant root known as an anti-aging tonic because it stimulates longevity-promoting substances in the body as well as DNA repair processes and rejuvenation. It has a sweet taste like chocolate, so you can mix it into your smoothies or even your cup of tea.

Collagen Powder
Collagen is incredible. That's a well known fact. It accounts for 70% of the protein in our skin and is vital for anti-aging. Obviously you can get it in your beauty products, but did you know you can drink it too? Blend it with greens, lemon, ginger, and berries for the ultimate anti-aging smoothie from The Skinny Confidential.

What are your favorite smoothie add-ins?

My Beauty Rules

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I don't have many rules in life and, actually, don't really like them in general. But, there are a few things related to beauty and skincare that I think important enough to consider rules. Most of them are pretty obvious, but it's always good to remind yourself!

Always remove your makeup.
You're never too busy or too tired to take off your makeup. I've been a college student, I've had late nights so I get the feeling but, without fail, I always force myself to remove my makeup and cleanse my skin before passing out in my bed. Go all the way with this one, double cleanse with a makeup remover and cleanser no matter the situation. This should be as required as brushing your teeth.

Moisturize twice daily.
Again, you're never too busy to moisturize. In fact, I think I'll write a short book called The Importance of Moisturizing. Not only will moisturizing make you look good in the short term, but hydration is the key to properly functioning skin. Remember, your skin is your body's largest organ and we should be treating it as such. 

Wear SPF every day.
Whether it's sunny and hot or cloudy and cold, wear SPF on your body and face at all times. Even if you're just in your car or inside your home, wear SPF. The only time you don't need it is at night.

Wash your pillowcases frequently.
Ideally, we'd all wash our pillowcases every 2-3 days but I know that that's not entirely feasible for everyone's schedule so a good rule of thumb is to clean your pillowcases and sheets once a week. I like to do mine every Sunday. Even better, invest in a skin-friendly pillowcase like the ones from Slip or Skin Laundry

Love yourself and have gratitude.
This may be the most often overlooked rule of beauty. Everyone has moments when they don't feel their best, wished they looked different, or feels uncomfortable in their skin. The most important thing to do is love yourself in these moments and the easiest way to do it is by expressing gratitude. Be grateful that your body can carry you through a challenging workout or even just up the stairs. Be grateful that you have working eyes, a mouth that can speak, and for the face that you were given because it's one-of-a-kind. It's cheesy, but true! As Audrey said...

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
— Audrey Hepburn