Let’s Do This

Guys! Let me start off by saying how good it feels to finally start this project…After years of constantly DIY-ing something, traveling, and figuring out all of the little (& big) things that I feel make life so much better, I found myself really needing a space to not only keep my ideas and projects, but grow as a creative and find community in the things I love with all of you.  The concept behind by Kristen Harbin has long existed in my head, in photos on my phone, in my immediate circle of friends and family…and I can’t tell you how happy I am to make it a reality and see where it goes.

2017 was full of change…in pretty much every major milestone way possible. From planning our entire wedding and truly pulling off (IMO) the B E S T day ever with my amazing husband, to moving from our beachy, easy comfort zone to bustling, crazy-awesome and just crazy-crazy metro-Atlanta, starting new careers, getting a puppy, and checking off some big long-term goals, it’s safe to say we broke out of the norm and made it a damn good year.

For this next year, my big goal is to hone in on more of my personal passions and focusing on developing, improving, and growing, because if I’ve learned anything in my early twenties, it’s that getting out of your comfort zone is the biggest favor you will ever do for yourself. That’s where the magic happens. That’s where you’ll learn about the world and people around you. That’s where you will meet you.

I started this blog to make sure I stay creative no matter how life busy gets, to stay accountable in the kitchen + going out by staying healthy and balanced, to start and keep up with my writing again, and and to of course stay on the move and document my trips along the way. By trial and error I’ve experienced a lot in life and I couldn’t shake the feeling in my heart to share it in a bigger way.

Here’s a little sneak peek of what you can expect on by Kristen Harbin :

ALWAYS ON THE MOVE

Whether it’s a road trip, long flight, day trip, move to a new city, trip abroad, or work trip, I am always up for it! I have lived all over the state of Florida and moved more times than I can count. I love visiting my favorite, familiar places or going somewhere new, so on this blog expect lots of travel tips, tricks, and recaps of my go-to spots. I’ve learned the good and the bad of being a frequent flyer and hope to share some insight to anyone feeling nervous or overwhelmed by travel planning!

IS BUTTER A CARB?

I’ve always loved to cook, understand my ingredients, and of course eat! A main goal of mine for the new year (like most of us) was to get a grip on my diet and get more balance with my health, so a big part of starting this blog is to keep myself accountable, on track, and excited about my choices. In September of 2016, I became familiar with the mega-popular Keto/LCHF diet, and successfully dropped my pre-wedding weight to be just where I wanted for our wedding. I’m really ready mentally and physically to go back to Keto, this time without the goal to just get into a dress…but to achieve balance, not beat myself up if I stray, and to learn how to finally turn my lifelong serial-fad dieter habit into a happy, healthy lifestyle. Expect tons of Keto/LCHF recipes here that are tried and true by yours truly, along with potentially the occasional splurge on a good cocktail or meal because *as noted above* BALANCE 😉

RENTAL REVIVAL

Living in a big city absolutely has it’s perks, but moving into a tiny apartment didn’t feel like one of them…at first. With some problem solving storage and organization, curated furniture & accents shopping, and good ole DIY I’ve made our modern but vanilla apartment a true (temporary) nest for our family. A house is in our near future, so expect lots of planning and inspo as well!

PRIMPIN’ AIN’T EASY

Fun Fact: When I was in late elementary/early middle school, I was DEAD SET on being a makeup artist. My favorite gifts growing up were either those kid-friendly art kits with a million colored pencils + watercolors, or the huge, thick black plastic makeup kits with 20 different shades of green eye shadow (necessary? necessary.) My choices in color may have changed since then, but my obsession over products, tools, and the latest lip color fad is here to stay. I’ll share my favorites, hits + misses, dupes, and another new goal for me this year – prioritizing my skincare routine (hi, late twenties).

JUST TO LIVE THIS HERE LIFESTYLE

I have always been a “Jill of all Trades”, into everything kind of girl. When I’m not going somewhere or making something, I’m most likely at or watching a game, or a concert. I love sports and Football is a HUGE part of my life, so for the months of September-February expect lots of Garnet and Gold, Red and Black, and Black and Teal. I’m a firm believer everyone needs a good soundtrack, so expect some tunes too.

A big part of my professional career growth has been organization and planning, and i’m excited to use this outlet to share how I keep my personal and professional life in check. Fellow obsessed-list-makers, let’s be friends.

CREATIVE LADY

My lifelong love of art and making has evolved into so many different mediums it’s hard to keep track. My latest obsession is digital design and hand lettering, and I’ll be sharing my favorite platforms + tools to use, and my pieces, because #practicemakesperfect! I also love filling my home and spaces with art and will share how I give a personal touch to essentially everything I look at day to day.

Thanks for following along on this new adventure with me! Always feel free to reach out either through a DM or on the contact page to collaborate, make a suggestion or request, or just to say hi! ❤

 

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So Fresh & So Clean: The Easiest DIY Brush Cleaner

There is something so satisfying about getting all your makeup brushes and sponges super clean and back to their original, fluffy glory. It’s so important to clean your brushes (and often); not only will your makeup apply so much better with a clean brush, but your skin will thank you for it too. In order to prevent breakouts and uneven coverage (especially with foundation), I give my brushes a thorough wash at least once a week, and wash my beauty blender after each use or at the very most every two uses.

Anytime I’m traveling and am not able to wash my brushes within about a week, I notice significant changes in my skin and definitely break out. It’s now happily part of my #selfcaresunday routine and I love the way makeup goes on with a fresh brush! I’ve tried several store bought cleansers for my brushes, but ever since finding the viral-pin with this makeup brush DIY several years ago, I haven’t looked back! Unfortunately I don’t have the original source because I’ve seen this so many different places on Pinterest, but I wanted to share here too:

To get super clean, fluffy, like-new brushes, simply mix one part olive oil with one part dawn dish soap.

In a small dish, pour your olive oil and dawn dish soap in the 1:1 ratio. Instead of mixing together, simply dip one brush at a time into the mixture, so you can easily control how much soap and oil are on each brush. This is helpful if you have a highly pigmented brush (like for bronzer or a bold brush), so you can put a little more soap than oil to get the color fully washed out. The dawn dish soap is a powerful degreaser that will get any product out of your brush, while the olive oil conditions the fibers to leave your brush clean and soft.

Only a small amount of your cleanser mixture is needed per brush. Using your fingers or a textured brush cleaning pad, distribute the mixture completely through your brush (like you would wash your hair!). You will be able to see the bubbles working out the product from your brush – simply rinse with lukewarm water and repeat if needed until your brush and water is rinsing completely clean.

Lay your clean brush on a dish towel/highly absorbent towel to dry. For beauty blenders and sponges, I have used the beauty blender liquid soap (found here). This cleanser is $18, and IMO has not been worth the money and is underwhelming. It takes multiple pea-size applications of washing and rinsing to even get the blender clean of product, and doesn’t have a super appealing smell. Because I bought the full size bottle, I’m sticking to using this until it runs out, but I definitely have another product that I like way more, and is also much more affordable and multi-use.

For beauty blenders and sponges, I love using Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap!

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This is a great natural option for a lower price point than the BB cleanser, and works so well at completely cleaning your blenders. I love the lavender scent, however you could use any of these (the unscented would be a great option for blenders, or tea tree for acne-prone skin!). Ranging from around $7 for 8oz to large 32 oz. bottles for around $16, it’s a great simple option that feels a lot more practical than the designated BB cleanser. Most Target’s do stock this soap in the natural-beauty section, as well as Ulta, Amazon, and most drugstores. Because the olive oil in the mixture above conditions brush fibers, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend using Dr. Bronners for makeup brushes because the fibers may get dry. However, for sponges, it truly is the perfect soap.

Make sure to leave all of your brushes and sponges out to dry in a ventilated place until they are completely dry. I like to shape my brushes back to their original shape using the towel, and move them around after an hour or two to make sure all sides are dry.

Do you use this method to clean your brushes or have another DIY way you like? Leave a comment below to let me know your favorite way!

xo,

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Back to black: the charcoal products I can’t put down

There is nothing better than finding something that just works for you. Whether it’s a scent, an ingredient, a brand…finding your tried and true that works with your body is like finding a little hack that makes everything better (and easier). I am always trying new products but have recently found myself always reaching for the same ingredient any time I see it – Charcoal. While I’ve known about how amazing activated charcoal can be for a few years now, I’ve found myself subbing out my daily products with more and more charcoal based products and my skin, hair, and body are thanking me for it.

Charcoal is extremely purifying and is like a real-life magnet for toxins in your body. My first ever intro to Charcoal are the activated charcoal capsules below – a total impulse buy on Amazon when I was ordering my other holy-grail, Bentonite Clay. Fast forward to a few years later and it’s safe to say I’m obsessed (and forever hunting for the newest charcoal goodies I can find).

Here are my absolute favorite Charcoal-based products and why they’re just so important to my daily routine:

Pictured left to right: 1. Bioré Charcoal Cleansing Micellar Water | 2. Primally Pure Charcoal Deodorant | 3. Boscia Luminizing Black Mask | 4. Activated Charcoal Capsules | 5. Active Wow Activated Coconut Charcoal Powder | 6. Hask Charcoal Purifying Dry Shampoo

  1. Bioré Charcoal Cleansing Micellar Water – I’m such a fan of Micellar Waters to begin with, so when I found this charcoal based water I knew I had to try. True to other micellar waters I’ve used in the past, this is great for taking off makeup (even a full-face), and leaves a super clean feeling to your skin. I prefer using Micellar Waters to traditional makeup wipes or face wash, and this Micellar water is amazing for eliminating excess oils and keeping you matte throughout the day. While I think this micellar water would be a little too abrasive for sensitive skin and drying for dry skin, it is perfect for oil-prone skin or t-zone use.  Where to buy: Target/Drugstore
  2. Primally Pure Charcoal Deodorant – This one is the newest addition to my arsenal, but also my complete favorite and kind of life changing. I am late to the natural-deodorant game to say the least, mainly because I really did not want to give up my traditional shower-fresh Deo and was not willing to risk smelling gross (tbh). However, I really started thinking about giving it a try after going through a pretty intense experience last year that required surgery due to a skin condition under my left arm. It’s been almost a year and my arm never truly healed back to normal, and spraying aluminum-filled deodorant every day just felt wrong. After doing some research I found Primally Pure, and knowing how well Charcoal works for my body I had to give this a shot. Long story short, the transition has been effortless and I’m so happy I made the switch. Added to the list of things I never thought I’d say: I could go on and on about how amazing this deodorant is. Happy to help answer any questions on this for those of you thinking about making the switch too! Where to buy: Primally Pure
  3. Boscia Luminizing Black Mask – This one…now this one is something special. I love how popular face masks have become recently, because it truly is one of my favorite ways to treat myself and take care of my skin. This mask is a cult favorite for a reason – it is a peel off mask that dries so satisfyingly tight on your face, so when you remove it you’re left with baby soft, completely clean, nearly invisible pores. The mask is a pretty jarring jet black when you apply, due to the activated charcoal in the formula. This has been phenomenal for my oily skin and is seriously getting me closer to feeling good about going foundation-free. This has become such an essential product for me and is great to use once or twice a week. Where to buy: Sephora
  4. Activated Charcoal Capsules – Like I mentioned before, this was my first ever charcoal based product and I’ve kept them on hand ever since. My favorite DIY mask is Bentonite Clay & Apple Cider Vinegar, and I bought these as it was suggested to add in a capsule into the clay/ACV mix for added cleansing properties. It truly does make one of the most effective (not to mention super affordable) deep-cleaning masks. I like this brand of capsules because they are super easy to separate open to get all of the magical powdery goodness into my face masks. Adding in a drop or two of tea tree oil into the mix makes a very glam-glow like mask, for much less $$. Another great use for these capsules are to break two open into a small container, add a very small amount of water to make a thick paste, and take a spare toothbrush to circulate the mixture on the surface of your teeth. Brush for a few minutes, add water and swish around, then rinse out and brush your teeth as normal after. The charcoal is like a magnet to surface level stains, leaving you with a super clean, bright smile with none of the crazy chemicals or tooth-sensitivity that whitestrips have. Where to buy: Amazon or Drugstore
  5. Active Wow Activated Coconut Charcoal Powder – Super similar to the benefits listed above, this is a charcoal based powder made from coconut shells that whitens teeth beyond any at-home kit I’ve ever used before (and I used to be obsessed with them, yikes). I like this product over just using the capsules because the results are pretty dramatically noticeable, and it honestly is a little less messy than breaking open the capsules. A little goes a long way and gives such a clean feeling to your mouth and teeth. Because this will truly coat your teeth and toothbrush in a jet-black charcoal paste, make sure to set aside a separate toothbrush just for using this.  Where to buy: Amazon
  6. Hask Charcoal Purifying Dry Shampoo – Last but never least, this Dry Shampoo is so phenomenal and the fact that it’s a drugstore product is just the cherry on top. The charcoal is super cleansing to give you truly clean feeling hair, with a super refreshing citrus scent that smells equally as clean. It gives a fair amount of body (not as much as living proof or some of my other favorites), but definitely enough and a great daily option (at a great price point). This sprays as a true white like other dry shampoos, but does not leave a residue so it’s suitable for blondes or brunettes. I always have a can on hand and really love the way this product smells and works on my hair! Where to buy: Target/Drugstore

I truly have come to rely on these products and love how they’ve changed my skin since using. I’m so happy Charcoal has become so popular and will forever be stalking the aisles of target and sephora looking for the latest and greatest. Do you have a favorite charcoal product that I missed? Leave me a comment below to let me know what I need to try next! ❤

xo,

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Summer Nights: The June Play! by Sephora Box

Alright guys – while I had some great finds in my past few Sephora boxes, I’ve really been underwhelmed with the last few months products and haven’t prioritized reviewing for you all. I’m playing catch up for June and July before I get my August box, because I really do want to review each product if I keep my subscription.

What is it about subscription boxes that inevitably become super mundane and repetitive? Once you do a few it becomes super obvious that only certain companies even make sample size promo items, so you end up receiving the same items several times over. Not a biggie if it truly is a free item or something you can use your Sephora points on, but paying each month you’d think there would be a way to make sure people aren’t getting the same generic items over and over again. It’s safe to say I’ve got high hopes for August and am in need of a killer box – otherwise I think i’ll move on from Play. Rant over 🙂

June is my favorite month of the year for so many reasons (not just because it’s my birthday month 😉 ) I love the sunshine, outdoors, pool/beach/lake days, baseball, parties, and tan lines that Summer brings, and Summer nights are always the best. June’s Sephora Play! box is intended to revolve around just that – those easy products you can throw on in the summer to feel light but put together.

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  1. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation in Y245 (Full Size: $43) This MUFE foundation is a subscription box regular that I’ve tried several times. Coverage is lightweight and feels good on the skin during those hot summer months where you need some extra moisture. This isn’t a foundation that I grab for on the regular however, and it doesn’t sit well on oily skin.
  2. Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes, and Lips (Full Size: $19) This is another regular giveaway product I have a stockpile on, as its regularly in the Clinique gift with purchase bags. This is a good makeup remover, however not one of my favorites or go-to’s. Again a bit of a miss for me and redundant product.
  3. Too Faced Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Matte Lipstick in Queen B (Full Size: $21) My favorite product in this month’s box, the Too Faced Melted lipsticks are so nice and this color is super pretty. While it isn’t the most summery shade in my opinion (and looks a bit cakey when I have  a good tan), this would definitely be a go to shade in fall/spring. The formula is very long wearing, and has a nice scent and finish. Their sample sizing is also pretty well sized and gives you plenty of wear.
  4. Murad Nutrient-Charged Water Gel (Full Size: $60) This moisturizing gel does a great job at plumping up a clean face to leave you feeling glowy and fresh. I’ve really liked applying to my face and neck alike during the summer to help moisturize a tan and prevent peeling. While the sample has gotten good use, this isn’t something I would buy full size especially for oily skin concerns.
  5. Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream (Full Size: $38) I’m a bit of a broken record in this month’s review, but this is another regular giveaway product that I’ve tried several times. I personally prefer Moroccan oil compared to styling creams and while living proof products are great, this was underwhelming for me and not something I reach for a lot.

This Month’s Bonus: BVLGARI Omnia Pink Sapphire (Full Size: $84) A really soft, elegant, feminine perfume that I’ve used a few times now. Again, there’s no replacing my go-to but this is a nice change of pace.

June Total: $265

For those of you Play! girls who got the Milk Kush Mascara – I AM SO JEALOUS! I was hoping and praying I would get it in my box, as I’ve been dying to try. I am super close to buying the full size but have heard mixed reviews on it being really clumpy. If you’ve tried, let me know your thoughts! Overall this is the first box where I’ve felt super underwhelmed; many of these items are pretty standard samples that I’ve tried over and over again with either subscription boxes or gift with purchases. Good thing Sephora’s Birthday Month gift made up for this month’s box – Glam Glow is always a good idea!

xo,

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The Good Stuff: The July Play! by Sephora Box

Take two of playing catch up on this Summer’s Play! boxes…thanks for bearing with me! July’s box was definitely better than June, packed with feel-good natural based products that are so fresh and so clean. I’m really not a big follower of natural beauty lines and probably aren’t as careful or educated when it comes to that subject (hence my love for matte lipsticks, full coverage foundation, baked contour, etc..oops), but I did love a few things that came in this month and my skin definitely notices a difference too.

july

  1. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Paaarty (Full Size:$29) This powder blush is super silky and the perfect warm muted rosy color – I really do love it! My daily go-to for blush and contour is the also tarte, so the formula is definitely a favorite of mine. This is a great summertime blush as it is super long wearing, so I’ve loved putting a little on before pool days and know it’ll stay in place. It’s pretty concentrated and a good size sample too, so this will probably last a while.
  2. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Natural (Full Size: $26) I am always looking for super healing lip products to keep my lips smooth and hydrated (especially when I’m wearing a lot of long-wearing, matte lipsticks which can be so drying). This Bite mask is really nice and does a great job healing cracked lips. I love applying before bed as it is really thick and stays in place well, but have also been dabbing a little bit on during the day for some extra moisture and plump. A little goes a long way and I just discovered this comes in a few shades as well (versus the natural), so I’ll definitely be getting a full size once this is out! This is by far one of the best healing lip balms I’ve ever used.
  3. Farmacy Honey Drop Lightweight Moisturizer with Echinacea GreenEnvy (Full Size:$45) Moisturizers aren’t in my everyday skincare arsenal as I have oily skin and really need oil control more than anything. This gelly-cream has a nice scent and did feel good applying, however I didn’t notice really anything to write home about nor is it something that addresses my skin concern or needs. This is really mild and I would think would be safe for sensitive skin too – just not my cup of (honey) tea 🙂
  4. Caudalie Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence (Full Size:$42) Now toners on the other hand? SIGN ME UP! I much prefer applying toners than moisturizers and any kind of concentrate/astringents/etc do much better on my skin than gel or lotion based moisturizers. This brightening essence feels so good sweeping on and makes your face feel really clean, bright, and exfoliated. The sample is a bit small so I’m hoping it lasts several uses so I can really get a feel for long term results, but this seems like a great option for brightening and evening skin tone!
  5. Ren Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask (Full Size: $38) I love a good face mask, and typically reach for high-power exfoliating, extracting, tightening, intense face masks that leave me feeling brand new. This mask is one of the few that is way more subtle, calming, and surprisingly enjoyable. This applies like a lotion and acts like a calming recharge for just the right amount of fresh. It feels really good on (especially after a day in the sun or angry skin day), and leaves a clean, refreshed finish. I really liked this product!

This Month’s Bonus: Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Shampoo (Full Size: $24) I have really thick hair (that is also pretty long right now), so this wouldn’t be something I would reach for on the everyday, however I liked using it prior to blowing my hair out straight for some added volume and thickness. I would think this would be amazing for thin hair and have seen on a ton of reviews that regular use does help your hair grow! It has a super fresh, clean scent which I loved too.

July Total: $204

Overall this natural-based box was pleasantly surprising and felt very healing on tired skin+lips. Here’s to hoping my August box comes in soon so I can dig in to more goodies!

xo,

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Beauty Goals: The May Play! by Sephora Box

Let’s go ahead and call May’s Play! box the “better late than never” review…we have been non-stop since early May and with an upcoming move to the ‘burbs (never thought I’d be so excited!), there’s really no slowing down for us until August. While I’m tightening up my schedule to try to prioritize some fun projects I’m working on and posts I have in the works, I wanted to play a little catch-up on my Play! reviews for last month and the June box.

May’s box featured cult-level favorites to celebrate Play!’s two year anniversary. Some I have tried and love, some were new and completely loveable, and some were not worth the hype IMO. Let’s take a look at the good, bad, and…annoying?

 

May

  1. Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara in Noir (Full Size:$26.00) It’s no secret that I have recently and unapologetically become obsessed with mascaras, lash boosters, and lash primers. I have been fighting off the urge to get lash extensions for almost a year now, and while I think I will inevitably end up with them (especially if kids are in our future – the easiest and quickest way to look awake and ready with no effort!), I’m not quite ready to take the plunge. The good news is through all my trial and error, my lashes have never been longer or healthier, and I’ve found some great mascaras in the process. This Marc Jacobs mascara is gorgeous, and has a beautifully rich velvet finish with no-clumps. It is extremely thickening and luxe, and has great wear. While I prefer thinner, comb like brushes, this wand is thicker and fluffy; if that is your preferred wand, this is absolutely worth going for the full size.
  2. Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper (Full Size: $20)  I have yet to have a less than stellar experience with any Kat Von D products, and this cult-classic liquid eyeliner holds true to my high standards with her line. This is widely popular for a reason: the felt tip makes for super easy application, it is extremely long wearing, and pitch black. Whether your an exaggerated winged-liner kind of gal or a reserved, tightlined minimalist, this liner is sure to please.
  3. Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer (Full Size: $31) The Play! boxes tend to be a bit primer-heavy, which I know for some can be a little frustrating. This primer is well-known and well-loved, and truly is a great staple product if you’re looking for a full size everyday go-to. I have oily skin and larger pores around my t-zone, so this product really does help to combat the shine and create a smooth matte finish that for the most part lasts throughout the day. Great product, but I do wish Play! would take it easy on new primers every month…when you have a go to full-size, the samples do a lot more sitting around than actually being used.
  4. Sephora Collection Mud Mask Purifying & Mattifying (Full Size: $20) This “detoxifying mud mask that clarifies skin with zinc and copper” is truly a great product if you have oily skin/larger pores. The Play! boxes have honestly been killing it as far as matching my skin/hair concerns and feel almost personalized, which I love and still can’t believe only costs $10 a month. This is a great mask with results even after just one time. Is it acceptable to have a face mask on while at the office? No? Are we sure? Can that be a new thing?
  5. Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo (Full Size: $23) After hearing rave reviews on this dry shampoo for such a long time, I was really excited to finally give it a try and fully expected to love it. I love dry shampoos and use daily. However, this was honestly such a letdown for me! The smell to me is completely overpowering and not appealing to me at all – it has almost a musky, manly, chemical smell to me and reminded me of a men’s body spray. Compared to my go to NYM dry shampoo (which is also about a quarter of the price), there wasn’t great volume or body, and I was underwhelmed with the finish, along with totally overwhelmed by the smell. After using I seriously could not get over the smell and had to hop in the shower to wash my hair. Overall this was a total miss for me, but I’m happy I was able to try the sample size instead of trying a big bottle like I almost did!

This Month’s Bonus: Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium (Full Size: $91) Let’s start with the good: this scent is super luxe, sexy, feminine yet strong and overall I totally get the hype. Again, it’s not going to replace my go-to, but it’s a great scent. However the bad (and as mentioned above downright annoying) is this borderline comical sample sized bottle and design! This is by far the smallest sample size I’ve seen out of any fragrance sample, and the design is so poor that I wasted the product itself. The top is a pop-off and not resealable, so after some time struggling to even open, I spilled a good bit on my hands and threw away the rest to make sure it didn’t spill anywhere else. Super wasteful and might as well have been a paper-fragrance sample.

May Total: $211

While there were some hits and definitely some misses in this month’s box, I thought it was a great box for those who wanted to try some cult-classics if you haven’t already. Are any of these products favorites of yours? Let me know below!

xo,

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These are a Few of my Favorite (Keto) Things

After a long holiday weekend filled with lots of eating + drinking whatever I wanted, I am so completely ready to hit restart on Keto and get back into my normal routine. While I love doing Keto and rarely get bored of making new recipes and combinations to stick to no grains or sugars, I’m in the bad habit of cycling on and off the diet based around trips/vacations/events we have planned. I’m really determined to stick to it without a clear cut end date in mind, and am stocking up my kitchen for the long haul and a clean, healthy summer.

Sticking to a Keto/LCHF diet isn’t hard, if you stock up on the items that help pull you through on even the busiest of days. For those days (sometimes weeks) where you don’t meal prep & grocery shop, it can feel impossible to stick to Keto without feeling like you’re aimlessly looking for food all the time, or living off of grab-and-go salads. There are so many products I’ve found that significantly make my days avoiding carbs easier, either on their own or to add to my kitchen arsenal. I find myself constantly telling others about these products and really rely on them to stick to eating clean, and can’t wait to pull this list together AND hopefully keep adding to it as I find those lifesaver items.

Here are my absolute favorite, always on hand items, and some helpful parings/uses for them!

These are a few of my Favorite (Keto) Things

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EAS AdvantEDGE Carb Control Protein Shakes: Cold Brew Coffee Flavor

On any given day, chances are you can find one of these in my hand, cup holder, or purse, and I may have already talked your ear off on how obsessed I am with them. These protein drinks are my absolute must have item – whether I’m eating clean or not. All of the flavors of these AdvantEdge Crab Control drinks are yummy (Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate), but I am obsessed with the cold brew coffee flavor. These drinks have NO sugar, 17g of protein, and are only 100 calories per shake – making them an amazing breakfast to tide you over until lunch, or mid-afternoon pick me up when you get a little hungry and are tempted to snack. Plus they do contain caffeine (as much as a cup of coffee; nothing crazy), which helps curb my appetite even more and gives me the boost I want. I drink one of these on my way into work in the morning or at the office in the afternoon so I can leave work and go on a run without immediately wanting dinner. If you are a coffee fan or cold brew obsessed like me, you’ll love these! They are best really cold, so keep them in the fridge or pour over ice.

Where to get them: Target does carry EAS protein drinks, however my local target does not carry the cold brew flavor (I obsessively check every time I go and it’s a let down every time). Check your local store and hopefully you’re lucky enough to have them there. You can get the cold brew flavor at Walmart or Amazon.

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Quest Bars

Quest Bars are my protein bar of choice, as they are packed with protein, have a ton of fiber to bring the net carbs down to a really low amount, and most flavors have little to no sugars. With these you still will need to check the nutrition label for each flavor you try, as some are higher in carbs and sugars than others (mainly any of the chocolate flavors). These are very filling so I like to eat half in the morning and half in the afternoon if I need. My favorite is the cookies and cream, but I’ll let you in on a little secret…flavors like the Blueberry Muffin or Cinnamon Roll are SO GOOD if you pop them in the microwave for around 15-30 seconds! Make sure to remove the wrapper and place on a plate (it will most likely stick if you put it on a paper towel), and zap away. They really do taste like a desert treat and are so much healthier for you!

Where to get them: Luckily over the years I’ve noticed that you can find these EVERYWHERE. Target, Walmart, GNC, Amazon, Trader Joes, Publix, etc.

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Torani Sugar-Free Syrups

These Sugar-Free flavored syrups are such a staple item in my kitchen and truly make cutting out sugar easy. I love using in my coffee and the flavors really do combine and layer in together well so you can get creative with your favorite combinations (a splash of Vanilla, Caramel, and Hazelnut in coffee is divine). I also use these in cold keto-friendly deserts like cheesecakes or fat bombs. I really, really wish these were sweetened with Stevia, as the sweetener is Splenda and I try to avoid artificial sweeteners, however I can’t complain because they are all so good. They sell large bottles (like what you would find at starbucks), or have smaller bottles so you can try flavors without committing to a giant bottle.

Where to get them: My favorite place to get these is kind of unexpected – it’s World Market! If you have a Cost Plus World Market near you you’ve probably explored their fun grocery section, and they have by far the best assortment of flavors and sizes of these that I’ve ever seen. They are also really well priced at World Market. You can also find these on Amazon, and I’ve found them at Kroger. Unfortunately Publix doesn’t carry them but I hope they start to; they are just too good not to have on hand!

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Trader Joes Organic Liquid Stevia

While we’re talking about sweeteners, I couldn’t skip over my favorite – Trader Joes Liquid Stevia. This dropper style is my favorite because it is super concentrated and you only need a couple drops to sweeten anything you may be using it for. I keep a bottle in my purse to add to coffee/tea when I’m out, and a bottle at home. It’s also much more affordable than some of the other glass bottle dropper-style stevia brands. One bottle lasts me a long time and I really do enjoy the taste. It isn’t as bitter as some other stevias (especially powders), so even if you are new to using Stevia this is a great one to start with to get used to the slightly different taste than traditional sugar.

Where to get it: Trader Joes, in the Sweetener/Baking section

Cheese Crisps

Cheese crisps act as a keto-friendly chip alternative and are perfect for dipping. I love the Whisps brand and Trader Joes Cheese bites! I always keep these on hand as they are packed with protein and can totally be a full meal if paired with a keto-friendly dip like pimento cheese dip, chicken salad, a sour cream based dip, etc.

Where to get them: I stock up at Trader Joes when I can find them (they sell out FAST), otherwise you can find these at Walmart, Costco, Amazon, and Starbucks regularly carries the Cheddar Flavored Moon Cheese in their chip section.

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Silicone Donut Pan

This Amazon find is a game changer – this silicone pan easily creates Donuts OR Bagels using your favorite keto-friendly recipes! Use Almond or Coconut Flour for delicious gluten free goodness that feels like you’re eating the real thing. I’m working on recipes to share using this pan, but pair this with the amazing Trader Joes Everything but the Bagel seasoning for super good grain-free Everything Bagels!

Where to get them: Find them on Amazon here

These products are perfect to add in to your normal keto meal prep to make things easy and satisfying. Have any of your favorite items you want to share or love any of these, too? Drop a comment below!

xx

In Her Suitcase: It’s Saturday in Athens

There are few places more magical than Athens, Georgia on a Saturday. Football season in the Classic City rivals any college town atmosphere in the country, but the off-season is just as sweet (and a WHOLE lot easier to get around). We have ranted and raved about Athens to pretty much anyone who will listen, but especially to my mom, for years now…so for Mother’s Day this year we knew exactly what to treat her to. Mother’s Day weekend made for the perfect time to visit; Graduation was the weekend before and all of the students had already left town, leaving us with no traffic, no lines, and no need for reservations (we walked right in to Mama’s Boy..that’s how you KNOW you’ve hit the jackpot! #BLESSED).

I love how close Athens is to Atlanta; it makes for the perfect weekend away out of the hustle and bustle. For this trip we got to bring Chief, thanks to the gorgeous (and super dog friendly!) hotel called The Graduate. It was a short and sweet weekend trip, so I wanted to make sure to pack light yet cute and fun. Spring is feeling like full-on Summer here in GA, so I brought pieces I am loving right now to soak in allllll that sunshine. I’ve linked all of my favorites down below!

Brewery Tours + Downtown Exploring

We made the drive over from ATL to Athens early Saturday Morning, so we had some time to kill before Check-In. Chief was with us so we needed dog-friendly options, which is thankfully easy to come by in Athens. We hit a few local breweries and walked through downtown to show my mom some of our favorite spots. I have been wearing this Madewell Rainbow Stripe Button Up Tank on repeat, and it made for the perfect easy and super comfortable outfit – it got up to 94 outside this day!

acs_0167I also brought a new Bamboo Tote I ordered off of Amazon that I love so much – these Bamboo bags have been everywhere and this is a super great option that is really good quality without the investment bag price tag. The shipping was quick, careful, and even had a thank you note and free silk scarf.. so cute! This size pictured is the Small, and it comfortably fits a phone, wallet, and lipstick. I do love the idea of getting the large if you’re using more as a beach bag, or want a big statement piece. I love how it looks with a Madewell scarf tied on, and ended up using it all weekend.

These Universal Threads sandals from Target are super cute, comfortable, and go with everything. I wanted to pack light for the weekend and wore these with a few different outfits and did a LOT of walking in them.

This strapless jumpsuit was such a lifesaver after a super hot day and quick check-in to drop off Chief left us all wanting to take as little time as possible to freshen up and change before dinner. I got this at Forever 21 in store while in Maui, and unfortunately couldn’t find it online. Here are a few similar options from F21 that are super cute! I stuck with the same bag and sandals for this outfit too to keep things easy. These rose gold colored sunglasses are a new favorite and another Amazon find! They are really great quality and have a super nice weight to them; they feel just like RayBans!

Mother’s Day Brunch

This Jumper is so adorable and the best find from Target! Another super easy piece to throw on, I paired with these Universal Threads Wedges that I adore. And of course, THE BAG 🙂 And can we talk about how cute my mom is?

The Graduate ended up being a perfect weekend spot, and we will definitely be staying there again. The decor was so cute and it was perfectly dog-friendly in the rooms.

Athens is ALWAYS a good idea, so if you haven’t been yet make sure it’s on the top of your list! The perfect mix of southern-charm, artsy quirk, and tradition. We already can’t wait for our next trip back!

What are your favorite Athens spots or weekend road trips from Atlanta? We love being so close to so many great cities and have a fun summer up ahead! 🙂

xo,

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Insta Beauty: The April Play! by Sephora Box

April’s Play! box may have taken way too long to get to me (anyone else have such a hard time with mail delivery living in an apartment complex? I am so over it!! #APARTMENTPROBZ 😦 ) but these products were worth the wait because they are SO good y’all…packed with products I’ve been dying to try & definitely lived up to my high-hopes! The April box was curated around “products that deliver quick, camera-ready results” which also means flawless, natural-but-better makeup that makes everyday looks just that much better. Lately I have been all about products I want to reach for time and time again rather than things that will crowd my vanity and rarely get used, and I can’t wait to get the full sized of a few of April’s Play! goodies!

Insta Beauty

  1. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Perfector (in Shade #6) (Full Size: $36) This “Lightweight skin tint that blurs imperfections and protects skin” was selected for my skin tone in the shade #6: Warm Sand. I applied with my beauty blender over the Primer in this month’s box (read below), and love how this product feels, looks, and even smells. I do prefer more full coverage foundation usually but this is PERFECT for summer days, vacations and easy weekend days! The SPF is super lightweight and has no fragrance itself, but the foundation has a subtle yet bright, crisp smell that I loved while applying in the morning. As expected from Make Up For Ever, this product is fab and in my opinion super similar to the ever-popular IT Cosmetics CC cream but WAY more lightweight, breathable, and natural looking.
  2. Urban Decay Hi-Fi Lipgloss in SPL (Full Size: $20) This “On-trend, iridescent lip gloss that visually plumps while it moisturizes lips” is shimmery-sparkly-pepperminty heaven. I’m not a gloss girl or typically any kind of shimmer (unless it’s neutral eyeshadows) but this gloss is too pretty to not break out of my norm. Wearing alone it looks and feels great, but based on this particular shade I would probably layer over a light/medium pink liquid lipstick to tone it better for my skin. This shimmer has a lot of purples and blues, and I like to warm up my lip color to best suit me.
  3. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Poreless Finish Airbrush Pressed Powder (Full Size: $29) My skin tends to get really oily throughout the day, so I am and always have been on the hunt for great powders. This IT Cosmetics pressed powder has been on my radar for a bit, so I was so excited to get a sample beforehand to see what it’s all about. This “Translucent pressed powder that reduces the look of pores for an airbrushed finish” is so divine, and I can’t wait to get the full size. It is feather light, has great brush pickup unlike some pressed powders, and truly fits the description. The shade “Translucent” was sent and it truly is sheer and gives a flawless finish. I have been wearing this without even using my usual Urban Decay Deslick setting spray, and still stay completely matte. Love love love this and can’t rave enough!
  4. Peter Thomas Roth Skin to Die For No-Filter Mattifying Primer & Complexion Perfector (Full Size: $28) This primer made for a great trio with the foundation and powder in this months box. I started with this primer and love the consistency and how breathable it still feels. This “weightless primer that blurs imperfections and reduces the look of pores” is one of the best primers I’ve tried and I’ll definitely be getting the full size once my sample tube is finished.
  5. Fresh Lotus Face Mask (Full Size: $62) This Fresh face mask is described as a “five-minute facial in a jar that targets dull, rough, and dry skin”, and after a few tries I have to say i’m not all that impressed. I love the Fresh line and although this mask smells great and feels good to apply with the slightly gritty pieces to exfoliate, I just don’t see or feel enough of a difference to buy a full size. I applied according to the instructions and left on for 5 minutes, but personally prefer face masks that can sit on a bit longer and have more dramatic results.

This Month’s Bonus: MIU MIU L’eau Rosée (Full Size: $81)  “Scent Type: Fresh Floral with key notes of blackcurrant, lily of the valley & musk. soft floral with sophisticated musk.” At first try I was not a fan of this, as the musk hit me first and was pretty strong. However even just a few minutes after spraying and the fragrance adjusting to my skin, it smells divine and just keeps getting nicer throughout the day. It’s not as bright and fresh as my go to Chance by Chanel, but this is a nice change and reminds me of the diptyque fragrances with the complex musks.

April Total: $256

Overall I couldn’t be happier with my Play! Boxes so far and have been so impressed with the brands and quality of products you get for so little each month. This month’s bag was a simple and sweet canvas bag that goes along with the theme and says “Make it Snappy”.

Many of these products are really good sizes for just being samples, so I’ve already noticed that my Play! products tend to help supplement my normal makeup routine & purchases. I feel like I am actually making less trips to Sephora just by using my samples with my normal go-to’s; win win! What did you think of your April Play! box? Are any of this month’s products your go-to favorites? Drop a comment below and let me know what your favorites are!

xo,

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Five Quick & Clean Meals to Get You Through the Work Week Grind

There are some nights where I can’t wait to get home, light some candles, put on a good playlist (or Grey’s episode on my iPad), and setup shop in the kitchen to put together a leisure & awesome meal. However, there are those nights where my heels are off halfway through the front door, I’m beat to shreds from what the day has thrown at me, and the last thing I feel like doing is standing over a stove top to make dinner.

While I do love to cook, trust me when I say that I get how hard it is to get home after one of those days and put together a good meal, much less make it healthy and clean. It can be way too easy to just get takeout and call it a night. However, with learning the ins-and-outs of keto and clean eating in general, I have a handful of meals that have really become my tried-and-true’s, that I know are always delicious, diet-friendly, quick, and satisfying. I wanted to gather those in one place, not only as a reference to myself (must.stop.picking.up.Zoës.Kitchen.takeout), but to of course share with you all in hopes that the work-week struggle becomes a little less daunting. These meals save my waistline, my time, and my wallet. And are delicious whether you’re on keto or not.

My go-to’s all use pretty similar ingredients, and all are easy stove top/oven meals that make for max flavor and min time and effort. I keep most all ingredients to these items on hand at all times, most being from Trader Joes. Here are a few of my favorites:


The Basics

Protein

My usual picks are – Chicken Breasts (Trader Joes has great boneless/skinless chicken breast bags in the frozen section), Ground Beef, Lean Pork Chops, Tilapia/Mahi (I personally do not like Salmon but wish I did!), Shrimp, Sirloin Steak, Burger Patties (Again, I stock up from TJ’s with the frozen grassfed beef patties)

Veggies

Cauliflower (I go with bags of organic riced cauliflower and keep a ton on hand, at all times. and mildly freak out (slash break keto) when I run out), White or Baby Bella mushrooms, Cabbage, Spinach, Brussel Sprouts (again, bags of the frozen TJ’s ones), Broccoli, Zucchini, Spaghetti Squash, Onions, and Garlic

go seasonal – stock up on veggies in season (and usually well priced & easily available)

Fats

Avocado/Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Kerrygold Grassfed Butter, Cheeses of choice, Sour Cream, Cream Cheese, HWC


Now, I won’t even go as far as to call these recipes, because they are as simple as my favorite combinations of the above ingredients along with whatever I have on hand and feel like throwing in. While my version on these is low carb, high fat/keto based, many of these dishes can be altered to fit your tastes/diet. Leave out the dairy and up your veggies if you’re Whole 30/Dairy Free, use beans/veggies in place of meat if your vegetarian, use olive oil instead of kerrygold if you’re not LCHF/Keto, etc. These make great quick dinners; make extra for easy meal-prep for lunch the next day!

The Go-To’s

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Chicken & Mushroom Cauliflower Rice Risotto

Sauté riced cauliflower, garlic, and mushrooms in kerrygold (add chicken stock for extra flavor), add a little cream cheese once cooked, top with a chicken breast or slice up chicken and add in. Easily sub in lean pork chops here for an equally great flavor combo. Top with green onions or parsley if you like.

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Blackened Tilapia or Mahi with Garlic Parmesan Asparagus

Bake asparagus topped with olive oil, garlic (I slice thinly instead of dice to leave nice roasted pieces), salt + pepper, Parmesan. Use blackened seasoning on tilapia/mahi filets (or garlic/lemon/butter) and cook stove top while your asparagus is finishing up.

Chicken Cauli Rice Stir Fry

Chicken or Steak Stir Fry

Two easy ways to prep this: for more “fried rice” based, sauté riced cauliflower and veggies you have on hand in avocado oil, add in sliced chicken and add a liberal drizzle of liquid aminos. pan fry until incorporated. For more veggie based, slice up + sauté cabbage, onions, carrots (omit if you’re strict keto), and any veggies you have on hand with protein of choice. Add in liquid amminos + sriracha if you’re feeling spicy!

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Cheesy Garlic Butter Spaghetti Squash

Pasta lovers rejoice, because this dish always kills my pasta cravings. Slice spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds and drizzle in avocado oil. Bake until done, use fork to shred inside, add in kerrygold, garlic, salt + pepper and cheese of choice (shredded cheddar for more mac + cheese vibes, shredded Italian blend for a more traditional pasta feel), and stick back in the oven until brown. Can easily be built upon: add tomato sauce and pepperoni, add ricotta and spinach, add chicken etc. I like to use the small spaghetti squash because it creates the perfect portion + fits right into Tupperware for lunch the next day.

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Protein Burrito Bowls over Cauliflower Rice

Sauté cauliflower rice (add in scallions/cilantro and a squeeze of lime for more flavor), and layer Chicken/Steak/meat of your choice over top with cheese, sliced avocado or guac, lettuce, onions, tomato, any veggies you like! Top with hot sauce/salsa/dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and you’re good to go! Homemade guac gives this a chipotle-but-better vibe.


As you probably noticed, the pictures above aren’t plated super fancy, and are in Tupperware or even paper plates, with photos snagged from my Instagram stories. These meals truly are the quick go-to’s that keep you on track and *sane* while on Keto. I genuinely enjoy cooking, and am living proof that frequency in the kitchen does equal some pretty enviable home-chef skills. It’s not about spending hours upon hours slaving over a complex meal, its about making the most of your time (even if it’s 20 minutes) to be intentional in what ingredients you’re using, how you’re prepping them, and how you’re pulling it all together. Cooking can (and in my opinion should) be a creative & personal craft, and you’ll never know your style and potential if you don’t push yourself out of your comfort zone and experiment a little! It’s okay to try new things and not have them turn out the best; you learn from it!

The more you try to make new things, the more confident you become in making great meals (without a recipe or sometimes even an idea of what you’re making). Even if you’re a picky eater, chances are you can figure out a way to make things that completely suit your tastes. I used to think I hated mushrooms, but I’m telling you…I can make some damn good mushrooms now, and they’re basically a staple item for our mostly keto household.

I’d love to hear some of your go-to meals or if you’re a fan of any of the above! If you’d like to see an actual recipe for any of these or have questions, please feel free to let me know! Hope these help you stick to cutting out the grains & sugars and show just how easy it can be sometimes!

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Festival of Beauty: The March Play! by Sephora Box

Happy April y’all! So far 2018 is flying but I am just so happy we are *almost* out of the dreary, cold, grey weather that is an Atlanta Winter/Early Spring…Maybe it’s my inner Floridian, but I need sunshine, pool days, lake weekends, beach trips, and tan lines to be my happiest and i’m crossing my fingers sunny days are up ahead soon!

Earlier this week I posted the first of my Play! box reviews for the month of February , so I wanted to dive right in to my March box – full of Festival-friendly multi-benefit products to help you look your best with minimal effort.

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  1. Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick in 35 Bohemian Purple (Full Size: $14): Described as a “Silky lip stain in a wearable purple shade that doesn’t require reapplication”, the consistency on this Sephora lipstick is pretty impressive. At first glance I wasn’t super thrilled with the shade, as I’m not big on purple…however, upon applying this was surprisingly wearable as described and perfect for the festival theme this month. This shade would be GORGEOUS on darker skin tones or very fair, porcelain skin IMO. While I won’t be reaching for this for an everyday, office appropriate look, it’s perfect for a spunky night out and would be so fun to play up for a festival look. I’ve tried quite a few lip products from the Sephora line, and for the price point they have all been pretty nice!
  2. Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector (Full Size: $38): Described as “Mattefying primer that minimizes the look of pores and makes your look last”, my initial thoughts on this primer were not positive…upon applying it felt tacky and thick on my face, and hard to distribute compared to other primers I’ve used. However, after a few seconds of drying and applying my foundation, I have to say I really love the final look. This primer does a great job at fully covering your skin texture to create an even, smooth base, and MAN did my makeup look good even at the end of the day. This helped to control my oil-prone t-zone, even well into the afternoon where I’m typically a melty-mess if I don’t blot or reapply. While I do think it’s a bit heavy and thick and prefer more breathable primers, it did work really well. I’ll definitely be reaching for this for long days where I go straight from work to a Braves game and don’t have time to redo my makeup, or for weekends where we spend all day out on the belt line (aka the best days).
  3. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Illumination Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer (Full Size: $24): I had high, high hopes for this “Waterproof under-eye concealer that provides anti-aging benefits” simply because I love all other IT Cosmetics products I have tried thus far, however FAIR WARNING on this concealer…use a tiny amount and work your way up if need be. Upon trying for the first time earlier this week, I applied entirely too much (applying how I typically use concealers in my under-eye area) and was left with a cakey, thick mess. I could not wait to wash this off by the end of the day and felt like I had a rubber mask on all day. The texture is extremely thick and latex-y feeling, and it is extremely full coverage. This is also not a matte concealer, as it does have some illuminating features that on my skin looked super oily. I do think this would be a good product for mature skin that runs more on the dry side, and if you’re looking for a very full coverage. I personally favor concealers that feel lightweight and breathable, but still have full coverage (cue Shapetape), so this was a big miss for my skin type. However…for the purpose of this box, this concealer definitely would do the trick of covering up tired (and possibly hungover, no judgement here) festival eyes from the night before.
  4. IGK Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm (Full Size: $29): Upon first trying this “Nourishing leave-in balm that boosts your hair’s hydration for frizz-free style”, I didn’t quite have noticeable results in my hair while still wet. I used this after using this months bonus item (below), and the combination of the two left my hair feeling weighed down and greasy, even right out of the shower. The combination of both products did feel very moisturizing, but left my hair super flat and oily. I really couldn’t do anything with my hair other than flat iron super straight, as it was so weighed down. Typically I can go a few days after washing with dry shampoo to get more life out of my style, however after a day I couldn’t stand how greasy and heavy my hair felt and had to re-wash. I may try again after using a purple shampoo which typically is more drying, but overall wasn’t impressed.
  5. Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45 (Full Size: $39): This “Concealing, sun-protecting beauty balm that brightens and smooths skin” felt great upon application and made my skin look super radiant and healthy. The SPF is not noticeable at all  fragrance wise or texture wise (which typically is a turn off for me using SPF products), so this is a great multi-benefit product that you can apply quickly and easily and be on your way. I’ll need to give it a few more tries to decide if I would buy this on my own, but I can totally see this being a great gym-bag addition for active mornings when you’re short on time, or on tropical low-key trips where you’re going minimal on makeup. This and some mascara would make for a perfectly protected, fresh face.

This Month’s Bonus: Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo & Conditioner (Full Size: Shampoo $31; Conditioner $34): I really, really wanted to love this duo. This was my first time trying Bumble & Bumble product, and after all the hype I was excited to finally try for myself. Fun Fact: Shampoo & Conditioner are kind of the last product category out there that I really do not splurge on. My hair does well with so many brands that can be found at target/drugstore etc that I don’t even browse Sephora/Ulta or my salon for higher end Shampoo and Conditioner. I am totally open to trying new lines and would be down to spend $30-ish a bottle if I really saw a reason to (like, a big, big reason to), but so far I haven’t found anything worth the difference… including this Invisible Oil line from B+B. Between this and the IGK balm mentioned earlier, my hair was way too weighed down and oily feeling, even through heat styling and a touch of dry shampoo. Maybe one day I’ll find a shampoo and conditioner that change my mind on this, but for now I’m sticking to $10-ish a bottle straight into my Target cart. (Want to know my drugstore favorites for shampoo/conditioner/hair products? DM me or drop a comment below to let me know!)

March Total: $209

IMG_3919This month’s bag was also super cute, and a perfect stretchy material to hold your small items in a weekend bag or gym bag. I use these around the house to store my sample sized items, and for more costume-jewelry pieces that don’t necessarily need to crowd my jewelry box. Does anyone else have a ton of costume jewelry that you just can’t part with? I have so many pieces that I would never wear out in public but have the hardest time parting with…eek!

Overall while I wasn’t blown away by the products in the March box and many of the items didn’t work well for my skin/hair type, I was still happy with the assortment, brands, and products so I could try for myself. Many of these items have caught my eye in Sephora and I’m glad I didn’t get stuck with a full size item that I wasn’t crazy about! Many of these products were very full coverage, heavy, one step products that I found to be not breathable at all, which I don’t like even for a regular day much less out in the sun at a festival.

I just got my sneak peak for April’s box and will be reviewing as soon as it hits my mailbox. As always, drop any questions you have on the products above down below!

xo,

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