Confessions of a Stressed Out 28-year old

Baby lips

This post will have absolutely nothing to do with beauty. I hope you don’t mind that. Sometimes I need to write about something other than a mascara, ya know? I used to write in diaries and journals daily. I miss those days. Even now if I wanted to write in a journal, I’d be consistent for a good week and then fall off the wagon.

Can I be honest? I mean, REALLY honest? I am crazy stressed out. I could blame the pressures of being a new mom but honestly, I think I was stressed before Elle Belle. I’m just one of those people who happens to always be on the edge about something: finances, job circumstances, weight, location, health. You name it and I stress about it. It’s just who I am. And stress isn’t always a bad thing. But lately, I’ve just been wiped out. Do you ever feel like you work too hard but at the same time you’re not working hard enough? It’s so tough to find a balance.

You ever want to get away? I mean, REALLY get away? Not worry about a thing and just jet to an island where the sun is plentiful and the only disturbance you hear are the waves crashing? I’ve been to Miami, Jamaica and the Bahamas…I know what paradise looks like. And man, how I’d love to visit again. But investing in a trip seems crazy when there are so many other expenses in my lane.

I’m not complaining. I’m grateful for every breath I take. I am thankful for my beautiful family, the opportunities that have come by way and the doors that I know will open for me in the future. I am confident and positive but hey I’m all about accepting ALL of my emotions and sheesh…I’m stressed.

I say all of that to say that posts may be slow and inconsistent. My only free time to really blog is after work and I’d rather spend time with Elle and prepping for the next day. And even after she goes asleep sometimes I want to sit in the dark and do nothing. Think about nothing. I just want to be.

Sometimes we DO so much. It’s as if we forgot how to BE. Be in the moment. Be still. Be quiet. And maybe it’s the Capricorn in me but I love the quiet. I need it sometimes.

Tomorrow I’ll put up Baby Elle’s 5 month update. And then after that, I’m just going to go with the flow. :cool:

 

XOXO,
B

The Lipstick League: Weekly Links, Volume 92

OCC Lip Tars

Yay for another post from the The Lipstick League! We are a group of beauty bloggers, bound together by the desire to save the world with beauty, one post at a time!

Vampy Varnish – is in love with the new Punk Rock Collection from Deborah Lippmann for Fall 2013!

we heart this – brings you the boldest and brightest orange nail polish they’ve ever seen; ORLY Mayhem Mentality, and asks the obligatory question of “orange you glad you’ve seen it?”

Beauty Junkies Unite – 10 winners are going to have the smoothest lips on the planet when they win Amber’s NIVEA Lip Butter Giveaway! The winners will receive the entire collection of NIVEA Lip Butter goodness. (Ends 7/2)

Clumps of Mascara – can’t stop staring at those gorgeous Obsessive Compulsive Lip Tar Stained Glosses. Have you seen them yet? You pretty much need all of them.

EauMG – reviews a gorgeous tuberose floral inspired by Mexico, Arquiste Flor y Canto. It wears wonderfully in the summer!

Gouldylox Reviews – Why does no one talk about this? The seven perils of having long hair.

Lipglossiping – takes a refreshing look at some zingy body treats from indie company Marshmallow Blends.

My Beauty Bunny – Wondering about the latest “it” ingredient popping up in beauty products everywhere? We’ve got the answers! What’s the Deal with Argan Oil?

Nouveau Cheap – If you haven’t been to your local Big Lots lately, here’s a very good reason to pop in and check out the beauty aisle!

Pink Sith – has a list of 10 bronzers for under $10. Why not save a little green while you are getting your bronze on?

Prime Beauty – got her feet sandal-worthy with the Micro-Pedi tool–it really works!

Phyrra – Lusting for some ‘naked’ colors? Check out the Meow Cosmetics Stripped Collection!

Guest Post of the Week, as chosen by Vampy Varnish – Cristina from Let Them Have Polish does some amazing nail art and her KB Shimmer Totally Tubular Inspired Nail Art is an amazing example!

Question of the Week:

What are your favorite perfumes to wear in the summer?

B says, “Yours truly doesn’t wear perfume. Nope! It gives me migraines. Which sucks because I adored wearing it years ago.”

Any perfumes on your must have list this summer?

China Glaze Texture nail polish collection

My nails are going through some craziness and right before they all popped off I got the chance to swatch China Glaze’s Texture collection. I am still obsessing over texture nail polishes. China Glaze’s are a little different from the Zoya Pixie Dust nail polishes though. These are TRUE textured polishes. They feel bumpy , matte and eccentric. I received this collection to review and if you are a fan of the textured nail polish look, I’m thinking you’ll love these.

China Glaze Texture collection

See!

China Glaze Unrefined

Unrefined is a baby pink. Y’all know I’m no fan of pink polishes but this one definitely has some personality.

China Glaze Of Coarse!

Of Coarse! is a bright, cobalt-blue and I thought for sure this one would stain the nails but a good base coat prevented that from happening.

China Glaze Itty, Bitty & Gritty

Itty, Bitty & Gritty is a melon that I actually looks nice. I’m always iffy about shades like this one but somehow it works.

China Glaze In The Rough

In The Rough is a light lime green. I had a hard time photographing this but it is definitely as bright as it appears. I’m not sure how flattering it is on me though…

China Glaze Toe-tally Textured

Toe-tally Textured is tangerine-orange but it is really very neon. I mean CRAZY neon. I like it!

China Glaze Bump & Grind

Bump & Grind is a hot pinkish-red. I had tough time photographing this one too but it’s probably the most “regular” of all of the colors.

Must Haves:
Toe-tally Textured: It’s just crazy bright and awesome.
Itty, Bitty & Gritty: It’s perfect and sweet and great for those who aren’t really into textures but want to try something different.

I like these textures. A LOT. I really didn’t think I’d like them this much. I found the formula to be easy to work with. For foolproof application try waiting a good 3-5 minutes before applying the second coat. I’m not sure these last as long as a regular nail polish though. In fact, I found them to chip pretty quickly. But whatever…they are still worth the effort because I just think they are that captivating. Way to go China Glaze! Of course you can get these anywhere China Glaze polishes are sold but if you don’t mind waiting and paying for shipping, you can snag them for $3.25 a pop at Head2ToeBeauty.com.

Yay or nay to these polishes?

Put Some Shimmer In Your Life With Oro Gold Cosmetics

Oro Gold Cosmetics

Image Source: orogoldcosmetics.com

I remember going through this insane “gold everything” phase in middle school. I had everything from gold necklaces to gold bracelets, rings and earrings. And the worst part is, I would wear them altogether. Just about everyday. Crazy, uh? I’m not as in love with gold as I used to be (I love white and rose gold though) but I am all over the brand Oro Gold Cosmetics.

You have heard about Oro Gold, haven’t you? Technically the name of the brand is “Gold Gold” because “Oro” is the Spanish word for gold. Ha! And the crazy thing is, there is actually GOLD particles in these products. Yeah, I know…who knew gold was actually good for skin? Oro Gold Cosmetics has cosmetics for everyday use as well as skincare products that promise to transform your skin after multiple uses. I have yet to try anything from them, but I’ve got my eyes on quite a few of their products. The good thing about their products is that they are so specialized. Like, where else do you find a brand that has products JUST for neck care?

I’m not sure but I’m pretty sure when aging first starts to show its signs, one of the first places it hits is the neck. I think I’m saved by genetics because neither my grandmothers nor mother have sagging neck areas. But, just to be safe I’d love to dabble in Oro Gold’s 24K Neck Lift Cream. This baby promises to lift and adds a ton of moisture to the skin. I’m guilty of not really paying attention to the neck area and it’s high time that I start preventive care in that department.

Then there’s the Oro Gold Cosmetics 24K Vitamin C Facial Cleanser. I mean, who wouldn’t want to use a cleanser that has Vitamin C and 24K gold in it? The foaming action is supposed to be great for not only cleansing the skin but for removing makeup as well. Um, yeah…that’s definitely up my alley!

Wanna feel super fancy? I do! Oro Gold Cosmetics 24K Collagen & Caviar Mask looks spectacular! This product contains 4 super products: 24 Karat Gold, Caviar, Collagen and Aloe. I can’t pretend that I knew caviar has been used in skincare products but hey, I’m all for putting some on my skin if it promises to hydrate beyond belief and keep those wrinkles at bay. The things we do for great skin, huh? A tub of this is pretty pricey but directions only tell you to use it once a week. That seems reasonable enough for me!

Orogold Cosmetics

So yes, I’m all for taking care of the face but what about the body? I am huge about taking care of the skin all over. I couldn’t ignore my skin if I wanted to, as it is super sensitive. I so need that Golden Body Butter in my life. I’m a fan of all body butters but I tend to adore ones that are shea butter dumped in them. Shea butter is a stable in my life so it only makes sense that I obsess over skincare products that have shea butter in them.

Have you ever tried anything from Oro Gold Cosmetics? Be sure to follow Oro Gold Cosmetics on Twitter!

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own. 

Obessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ Lip Tar Stained Glosses ROCK!

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. Just the sheer utterance of those words sends sparks flying. I could marry a beauty brand, I would marry OCC. We’d get along great too in our happy, vegan, multi-purpose world. OCC is just…amazeballs. And yes I know I featured them last week but baby, I’m back!

OCC Lip Tar Stained Gloss

And then some. I was sent these new stained Stained Glosses of theirs and well, yeah…I’m in love. Esposo, baby, you better watch out. These glosses are stealing my heart!

OCC Lip Tars

Have I told y’all bout my reoccuring obsession with all things rainbow? I fell hard for rainbows when I was in elementary school. Somehow the bug has bit me again and now I can’t stop hoarding rainbow’y stuffs. Or giving rainbowd’d kisses.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

I know. I am just in love with color these days. Or…everyday. Let’s do a rundown of these beauties, shall we?

OCC Jealous

Jealous is a popsicle pinkish red. I find this Lip Tar Stained Gloss to be the most wearable out of the 6. Jealous is just perfect by herself. I didn’t need an additional or anything. Sheer perfection!

OCC Androgyne Lip Tar

OCC Androgyne

Androgyne is a sheer orange gel. I almost looks neon in the tube but it’s surprisingly wearable once worn on the lips. I didn’t think I could pull this one off but I love it!

OCC Voyeur

Voyeur is a yellow glaze and I’m pretty sure this won’t look flattering on anyone. I reckon this gloss will better be used as a mix with other glosses.

OCC Rhythm Box Lip Tar

OCC Rhythm Box

Rhythm Box is my absolute favorite of the bunch. This purpled burgundy is just stunning and I could easily wear it every day. I found it to be the most pigmented of all of the Stained Lip Glosses.

OCC Lip Tar Meta

OCC Meta Lip Tar

Meta is a red orange shellac and I didn’t think it would work well for me, but it did! I tend to wear blue toned reds but this one shocked me. She is a beaut!

OCC Lip Tar New Wave

New Wave is a glassy neon pink. It isn’t as neon on the lips as it is in the tube. Still pretty nice though.

Mixin’ the lippies…

OVERALL:

Man, I love these. It’s really hard not to love stuff from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics though. These are $18 a pop at Sephora so they aren’t cheap but I’ve spent my lunch money on OCC lippies more times than I count. My favorite? Jealous and Rhythm Box are niiiiiice. I hope OCC does more of these Stained Gloses. The “stained” power wasn’t as long-lasting as the regular Lip Tars but they blend nicely, moisturize the lips and are more pigmented than I thought they’d be. So yes. I adore them. And I want more. I needs more!!

Any OCC lovers in the house? Have you tried the Stained Glosses yet?

3 Reasons Why I Really Need To Try Vine Vera

Vine Vera

Image Source: VineVera.com

Oh darlings…skincare. You know it’s my think. I adore everything cosmetics but my truest love is skincare. When the mascara has dried up and the eyeshadow has run its course, it’s your skincare products that will truly be your best friends. I’m not even kidding. I may not always have time to put on a full face of makeup but I certainly have time to take care of my skin. It’s a lesson that I learned many years ago from my Mama and will certainly pass it on down to my daughter.

As a beauty blogger, I am forever getting the opportunity to test drive products and brands. Vine Vera is a luxury and higher-end brand that rocks for socks for several reasons. For one, I don’t typically wear a lot of higher end skincare products but when I do get my hands on them, I feel like I am truly pampering my skin. That said, check out the 3 reasons why I really need to try Vine Vera.

They care about the eyes. Many skincare brands forget about products for your eyes. It’s kinda crazy too, because a lot of time when when first start complaining about sagging skin that is started age, it is usually around the eye area. I love when brands have options when it comes to taking care of the skin around the eyes. From the Resveratrol Eye Collection Dark Circle Eye Cream to their Resveratrol Eye Collection Age Defying Eye Serum, Vine Vera has us covered in the eye maintenance department. Could care less about the skin around your eyes? It’s better to start preventative action now than to wait before something pops up.

Vine Vera Cosmetics

-The collection names are wine-inspired. Yours truly isn’t much of a drinker (no seriously, I can’t even handle a sip of wine without making a childish “It’s gross face.”) but I can’t deny how marvelous and creative the collection names are of this brand. Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc…I mean how fancy, can you get? I absolutely adore it! Each collection has products whose packaging are fitting to their collection. For example the Chianti collection has products that are decked out in gorgeous shimmery burgundy packaging. I love when brands get creative like this. It doesn’t happen often enough!

-They have fantastic products for men. Okay, so my man isn’t the type to slather a mask all over his face. But there are men out there who don’t mind it! And why shouldn’t they? Men have skin too! Vine Vera has wonderful products that are fitting for men. Vine Vera’s Resveratrol Men’s Renewal Mask is packed with plant extracts and Witch Hazel and it looks like it would feel just wonderful and soothing on the skin. My guy doesn’t know what he’s missing. You know a skincare product looks good when you’re a gal and yet you’re more drawn to it than your man is. Ha!

Vine Vera doesn’t come cheap but hey, like I always say, skincare is an investment. The next time I have a few pennies to blow on skincare products, I’ll be checking on Vice Vera.

 

EDIT: I was given the chance to test drive some Vine Vera goodies and girls, I am in love!


Vine Vera Resveratrol Vitamin C Cleanser
Retailing for $136, the Resveratrol Vitamin C Cleanser is no bargin but it is perhaps one of the most gloriously decadent cleansers that I’ve ever used. The reviews don’t lie and I too can confirm that the added dose of Vitamin C is nice to have on my sun beaten skin. It’ll take a few more months to see if the Resveratrol helps the condition of my skin but for now, I love how it thoroughly cleanses and how moisturized my skin feels after use.

Vine Vera Resveratrol Vitamin C Day Cream

And then there’s the Resveratrol Vitamin C Day Cream ($188) that feels like a bit of heaven on the cheeks. It is more perfumed than I like my day creams to be but if you can handle stronger scents, I’m thinking you’ll like this cream. While it works just fine on my dry skin, the added Vitamin C, I think will work wonders on oilier skin, as well. However, I do think that this is a cream more fitting for the cooler months. It is on the the thicker side and may be too heavy for those of us living in warmer climates. Still, it is likely one of the best facial creams that I have ever tried.

-Follow Vine Vera on Pinterest.
-For customer reviews, visit Vine Vera reviews.
-Check out the Vitamin C Product Demo here.

Any higher-end skincare lovers in the house?

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own. 

Got breast milk? Use Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump!

It’s about time I get started doing some reviews on baby products, uh? I get a lot of questions about what I use with Elle and I am finally going to start cranking out some reviews. First things first! Since pumping is my life I figured I’d start with a breast pump. I received this one for review and it has been such a great asset to my exclusively pumping life.

Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump

I typically use an electric breast pump to express milk and I highly recommend that mamas who do more pumping than nursing do the same thing. However, a manual breast pump fits in my life well because I don’t always have time to connect myself to the electric breast pump. Sometimes I get caught up with working or I’m traveling or I just don’t feel like going through the whole “finding time to pump” routine. And that’s when the manual breast pump comes in handy.

Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump box

I’ve been amazed at how much this baby can express in a good 5 minutes. I find it works best when I am slightly engorged. It does enough to relieve the pressure and cleanup is a breeze.

Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump top

Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump open

I actually have another manual breast pump that I’ve purchased and I prefer this one over the one I bought because this one seems to be 10x more comfortable. I attribute that to the silicone flange.

Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump silicone cover

The pump is also effective without the flange and I find that my output is MORE when I don’t use it. However, if I’m going for comfort and to take the “edge off”, I use the silicone flange. Clean up is easy because there aren’t that many parts that I had to tinker with. The pump comes with a nice booklet of instructions. It looked easy to dissemble but I actually had to refer to the manual to find out how to do it.

PROs

-It’s affordable. It is only $30.
-Larger Nuk bottles can fit into the pump. Perfect for pumping and then feeding baby right away.
-Easy to find. You can get it Target, Walmart, etc..
-Parts are easy to clean.
-Comfortable and has a nice suction.
-A bottle nipple comes with the pump.

Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump additional nipple

 

CONs

-Dissembling the parts is tricky the first go round.
-Can be messy. But so are all manual hand pumps.
-There are several parts to clean.

I’m a fan and I’m actually going to purchase another one to keep in the car for an emergency expression situation. You laugh but there is nothing funny about engorgement and not being able to express it quickly. Remind me to tell you about that time I had to hand express milk for Elle when I accidentally left one of her bottles at home and she had gulped down the one I brought. :wink: Yah. The exclusively pumping life is somethin’ else, I tell ya…

Breastfeeding mamas, do you ever use manual breast pumps?

Mascara Monday: Maybelline Volum’ Express Falsies Big Eyes mascara

Goodness gracious. Mascaras have the longest names these days. I mean, my goodness….! I guess when you’ve been making mascaras since 1914, you run out of short and to the point names. I get it. Maybelline has a new mascara on the block and while I am usually excited about their new mascaras, this one didn’t excite me too much at first glance. Which is shocking because I usually go gaga over dual-wand mascaras. Did application and performance of this baby change my mind?

Maybelline Volum' Express Falsies Big Eyes mascara

Nothing fancy in the packaging department…

Maybelline Falsies Big Eyes mascara

Price: $7.99 in drugstores
Packaging (brush wand): 3 out of 5
Overall: 3.5 out of 5

What It Claims: “Revolutionary dual-ended Mascara for 360° all around Lash Glam. Two brushes specifically designed for top and bottom lashes. Special quick-dry formula holds lashes in place” (source)

The Truth: I’ve had better Maybelline mascaras but this one isn’t too shabby.

What I Loved About It: I do love the option of having two wands. Not ideal for everyday use but if you’ve got the extra time, it works!

What I Didn’t Like: The volume power is just so so.

Maybelline Volum' Express Falsies Big Eyes mascara wands

Overall: This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a wand like this from Maybelline. Back in the day they had mascaras with dual wands. One wand was for a primer and the other was the actual mascara. Those were just so so. I actually like this mascara a little bit better because at least you can see the impact that is made. I like the idea of being able to have a mascara for those hard to get smaller lashes. Most wands make it difficult to do because the wands are large. The baby wand is fantastic for this purpose. Look how wittle she is…

Maybelline Volum' Express Falsies Big Eyes skinny wand

I found that this wand is also great for grabbing the inner lashes too. And I suppose if you have super tiny lashes, they work for those too. The regular wand, however just isn’t plush enough to provide a ton of volume. I mean it does ohhhhkay.

Maybelline Volum' Express Falsies Big Eyes mascara larger wand

It’s a nice wand. I think it’s great for separating and attempting to straighten out wonky lashes but I didn’t find it to be insanely impactful for those seeking crazy huge lashes. If you’re desirous are defined lashes without much POW, this mascara will work. But if you’re like me and need for folx to see your lashes before they see you…well, you may be disappointed. On the good side, the formula was easy to apply and I didn’t get any clumps. Score! So yeah, it’s not my favorite mascara but hey, if you are serious about maintaing those bottom lashes, me thinks you’ll like this baby. I also found it to be pretty lightweight. No heavy lashes here. I had nice and fluffy lashes all day. But on the downside, fluffy lashes don’t stand up too well in Florida humidity.

Bare Lashes



DSC_2773

 

Lashes after 2 coats

 

Mascara on eyes

Do I recommend it?: Meh. I think Maybelline has better mascaras in stores these days. Even the Rocket is better than this one.

Okay Maybelline mascara lovers, what did you think about this one?