Beauty Essentials

I wish I was one of those ladies who have a flawless, perfect complexion... but alas I am not one of the lucky ones. I am fortunate to not deal with massive breakouts, but the occasional pimple, dry skin and some evenness have left something to be desired. Plus I tend to have really sensitive skin. Like REALLY sensitive. You will always know when I've started a new renovation because I will usually have some form of reaction to whatever is going on around me.

Instead of covering up any of the issues I have with makeup I prefer to spend my efforts and money on managing it so there isn't much to cover. Plus face poweders seem to only irritate me more, so it's key to make the best of my own skin.

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Bioderma was an impulse purchase last year and it is one of those things I will never be without again. It is basically the most effective yet gentle makeup remover I've ever tried. I actually stopped wearing some eye makeup in the past because just using makeup remover would irritate my eyes to no end. But this is so gentle you can actually even swip it on and not rinse if off if you are in a pinch. It is a lifesaver for mascara wearers!

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I have sang the praises of Dr. Haushka cleansers in the past and I still adore them, but locally my cleanser is out of stock about 80% of the time. So the last time I ran out I decided to try a new product and discovered this Korres cleanser. I had never thought to try this brand but I have found it to be super soothing and gentle but also really effective.

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This is where my routine gets into the nitty gritty. I discovered Indeed Laboratories's Retinol Reface a little while ago and I am amazing by the results after a few weeks of use. My skin is softer, is more even and has a smoother texture. I did find it was very potent so I only use a light amount before bed. For the price this is the best value I've seen in a home treatment!

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My day treatment is again by Indeed Laboratories and it is their Hydraluron serum. I use it around my eye area and a little on my forehead. It is one of those products that you have to use for about a week to build up results but I have been very pleasantly surprised at how effective it is! I am only recently 30, but any fine lines  I had around my eyes have disappeared. It is not moisturizing so if you have dry skin you still need some hydration with a moisturizer but I don't think I will ever be without this product again.

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This is probably the single most expensive item in my routine but it is the most important. I am religious about wearing sunscreen and finding a day cream that has it without causing a ton of irritation has taken years. I will usually be fine for a day or two and then notice my eyes stinging and getting red, I have no idea if it is the fragrance or ingredients but it is a near guarantee it will happen. So when the girls at Murale told me to try this Bobbi Brown primer and bring it back if that happened I decided to make the splurge. A year later I am using daily with no issues and my makeup seems to go on beautifully as well. This is what they call a win-win my friends (except for my wallet of course...). I use a handful of Bobbi Brown make up items and have always been pleased so I'm not surprised this is just as great of a product.

Looking through the list it seems like I spend a lot of time and money applying stuff to my face, huh? But I think my skin looks and feels better today than it did 3 or 4 years ago. 

What are your beauty staples/routine?

Scrap Week: Fabric Braid

Today we're gonna put a romantic/country spin on braiding! Unfortunately, you will have to know how to braid (I am not a great teacher but there are plenty of helpful youtube videos out there!), nothing fancy, just your run of the mill french braid. 

The only twist is that we will twist it around our head like a crown.
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I actually wear my hair like this once a week or so anyways. When your hair gets longer it starts to hurt to wear pony tails too much so I like trying out different braids, especially french braids, because they tug on your scalp a lot more evenly (that doesn't sound any more comfortable, does it LOL).

Here is today's braid without any fabric embellishments, but I think we can kick it up a notch.
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Let's start with the fabric. I used three 1 inch strips of fabric that I cut about a foot longer than my own hair.
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To get it braid-ready I got out my thread and needle and stitched 2 of the lengths about 3.5 inches from the top of one. This might not make sense, but when you start braiding you don't want too much fabric bulk at your roots. We are going to hide the start of our braid and too much fabric is hard to hide.
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In this photo the braid closest to my face is where we start. You can just barely see a bobby pin in the middle of my scalp and that is what is holding our fabric in place. You can also hot glue the fabric to a bobby pin or clip if you find it easier. I started my braid with one fabric section and 2 hair sections to get my 3 braid pieces.

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You will braid until you reach the part of your fabric where you stitched the other two pieces. Fan them out and incorporate them into your other 2 hair sections. By this time even your 'fabric only' section will have hair in it as you pull in new sections for the french braid. I like to try and 'wrap' the sections in the fabric so it doesn't get lost under your hair and you can easily see it in the braid. Also, you may notice that my braid appears really neat on one side and that is because I personally prefer to only 'french' braid half the braid, meaning I only pull hair in on one side of the braid. I know that sounds hard, but I actually find it easier! Again, it takes practice and patience if you aren't a natural at braiding keep trying!
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On this opposite side just keep braiding around the face, even as you start to run out of hair! This is the beauty of braiding with fabric:
1. Your hair looks extra 'full' and thick because you are adding so much volume with the fabric.
2. If you wrap the hair in the fabric as you go, when you start to run out of hair you can keep braiding the fabric and the hair won't fray out of the braid. This means you can try styles that otherwise only work on really long hair, like this!
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Keep braiding until you feel like you are near your ear again, wrap the braid in an elastic and pin in place. I like the whimsy that the loose fabric gives, but if you want a tidier braid just cut those (making sure you aren't cutting any hair!) and tuck under the first row of braids. 
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Of course, you will need a handful of pins. And a good ice pack for your aching arms! No matter how many times I braid my hair my arms are always killing me by the end.

Good Times, Good Finds

What a crazy few days, sadly it seems to feel like a struggle to pull together a few minutes to sit at the computer and type out all the blog posts flying around in my head! So I apologize for being a tad sporatic over the last few days, and probably over the next few days as well. Every day seems to bring new adventures, challenges, fun, and usual life stuff. Looking for another property to start work on is taking a lot of energy, along with all the work at ParkView. And Saturday I brought home a yet-to-be-named baby, a new car. Well, an SUV to be exact. Wren calls it the earring car (?????), but I think I want something cuter for a name. Please tell me I'm not the only person who likes to name their vehicles!!

New car means tightening up the purse strings, but I'm a shopper so I'm gonna have to take being a bargain-ista to a whole new level. Here are a few of my current bargain finds.

{ love is all you need }

I am all about hearts right now. They just add a positive vibe to my day, but really who doesn't love a little love? This is my absolute favorite buy in recent memory, a set of 5 dainty, colorful little rings. The whole set was a cool $4.80 at Forever21!!! Alone, stacked, layered, they are my new 'must wear' accessory.

Yet another Forever21 find, my happy shirt! I am a huge WildFox Couture fan, their clothes are so snappy and fun, not to mention beyond comfy. I'll admit to buying their beach sweatshirts (with a giant glitter heart on it, of course), but momma can't afford to buy the real thing for $117 when there are EXACT replicas for a measly $5.50 at F21. 

I am soooo happy I tried the new Dove dry shampoo! I was a firm Batiste user for last few years but when I saw these on sale for $2.88 about a month ago I gave it a shot. The best part is that Dove has a coupon for $2 off any purchase of 2 items right now so I got two giant cans for less than $4!!! If you are a brunette and live by dry shampoo like me you will love this stuff because it doesn't leave a white residue after brushing.

I am sorry this might not be a deal for everyone, but if you are near a SuperStore run over and check out their Essie display!! Quite a few colors were on sale for $4 so I stocked up on some shades I might otherwise have never given a go, like this awesome grey Yogaga color and Tart Deco, a fun pinky-peach.

Have you been finding any good deals lately?? I need to update my Fall wardrobe a little and have to keep it budget friendly!

Happy Wednesday Friends