Brows On Fleek


When it comes to makeup, I really enjoy trying new products to see if I find something new to incorporate into my daily routine. One thing I have never tried experimenting with though is brow products. I’ve never really liked the look of having super ‘defined’ brows—anytime someone used a brow pencil on me it made my brows incredibly dark and I didn’t like how pronounced they looked. I even distinctly remember on my wedding day telling my makeup artist to NOT touch my brows with a pencil, I only let her use a tiny bit of clear gel to keep the hairs in place. I have always stayed away from brow products, that is, until now!

I get my brows shaped at the Anastasia Beverly Hills counter at Nordstrom, and the girls have always tried to get me to purchase the Brow Wiz mechanical pencil and I’ve always passed on it, thinking I didn’t really need it. But when the brow duo pack went on sale for the Anniversary Sale, I decided to just try it because it was such a good deal! I can honestly say I don’t know why I waited this long to get it! I don’t go crazy when I apply it, just a few strokes on each brow and then a quick swipe of the clear gel and my brows instantly feel ‘put together’. When I did my brows one day last week, Freddy made a comment and said that my brows were “on fleek”, which is something he has never said before! Clearly this product works ;) I got the Medium Brown shade which matches the color of my brows really well, and I make sure not to go too dark so that my brows don’t overpower my overall look.

Sadly the duo pack that was on the Anniversary Sale is sold out, however, the same exact products are still available and sold separately! Click here for the Brow Wiz and here for the clear brow gel :) I will definitely be buying more of these 2 products whenever I run out! Forever a new staple in my beauty routine!

My 10 Minute Everyday Makeup Routine

My 10 Minute Everyday Makeup Routine
My 10 Minute Everyday Makeup Routine

I sometimes get questions from my friends asking me how I do my makeup, and I often laugh because I’ve never considered myself an “expert” in the beauty world. My mom taught me everything I know when it comes to applying makeup—she always said “less is more” and I’ve carried that with me throughout my entire life. The only time that rule didn’t apply was when she did my makeup for my dance recitals and made my eyeshadow darker and really piled on the blush! I’ve never shared my everyday makeup routine here on the blog, so I thought it would be fun to share my process—it only takes 10 minutes, which is great if you’re rushing in the mornings like me and need something quick and easy!

My 10 Minute Everyday Makeup Routine
My 10 Minute Everyday Makeup Routine

Step 1: I start with clean skin and apply BB cream with SPF by Jane Iredale (I use shade Bb3) using a Beauty Blender.

Step 2: I apply a bronzer/blush powder by Amy Nadine which my mom gave to me. I can’t find her products online but this Bobbi Brown duo is very similar to the colors I use. I do a couple swipes on my cheekbones to add a bit of color.

Step 3: All about eyes! I use a MAC Paint Pot in ‘Vintage Selection’ as my all-over eyelid base—it’s the perfect amount of shimmer without being super sparkly. Then I apply a slightly darker shade in the crease of my eyelid with Laura Mercier’s Caviar Stick Eye Color in ‘Amethyst’. It’s more of a taupe shade and sometimes I’ll add a bit beneath my lower lash line as well. If I’m doing more of an evening look, I’ll use the same product in ‘Plum’ which is a gorgeous deep purple—I love the way it plays off of my hazel eyes! To finish it off with mascara, I use my favorite Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara. I love the size of the applicator brush and it really adds volume to my lashes—’Eye Opening’ is definitely an appropriate name!

Step 4: For the lips I use Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in ‘Spice’, but this moisturizing lip color comes in so many beautiful shades! I first discovered this brand in my Sephora birthday gift last year and I’m totally smitten! The formula doesn’t dry out my lips and has such a buttery smooth texture—I don’t know if I’ll ever find a lipstick that I love more!

Step 5: Last but not least, I set my look with the refreshing and hydrating Mario Badescu Rosewater Facial Spray. I was introduced to this spray by a co-worker a few years ago and haven’t stopped using it since! It’s my absolute favorite $7 beauty product that I can’t get enough of! A bottle usually lasts me about 6 months, and I rotate between the Rosewater spray for morning/daytime and the Lavender before bed.

There you have it, my 5-step, 10 minute, no fuss morning makeup routine! Are there any products that I mentioned that you’re interested in trying out? I’d love to hear what your favorite beauty products are in the comments! Happy Monday friends! xo

My 10 Minute Everyday Makeup Routine

Maintaining Healthy Hair In The Summer

Maintaining Healthy Hair In The Summer

Every few months or so, I love trying out new beauty products to see if I love something enough to add it into my permanent routine. Growing up, my best friend and I loved making beauty potions and concoctions for fun, so I guess you could say I’ve always enjoyed testing out new products! During this time of year, the weather starts to warm up immensely, with temperatures creeping up into the high 90s. Add that on top of our year-round dry air, and my hair starts to feel pretty frail and brittle! When it comes to switching up my hair products, shampoo and conditioner is usually the first place I start.

Maintaining Healthy Hair In The Summer

This isn’t the first time I’ve switched up my shampoo and conditioners—I’ve tried Kristen Ess’ line, Purology, and Head & Shoulders for dandruff control. Purology was my favorite out of those 3, which I used mainly when I was color treating my hair, but I ultimately always went back to Biologe—what I have been using for most of my adult life. I decided to start looking for a more nourishing shampoo and conditioner that didn’t have sulfates, and focused on promoting hair growth. I read several online articles that reviewed tons of different brands, and that’s when I stumbled upon ArtNaturals Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner which has over 3,000 5-star reviews on Amazon. You could say that definitely peaked my interest! I was excited to learn that this shampoo and conditioner set has no parabens or sulfates, and it’s infused with Argan Oil and Keratin, which helps to restore, enhance and grow your hair! Plus, I was incredibly surprised (in the best way) by the price—only $26 for the set. I’ve been using it for 2 months now and am so pleased with the results so far! I typically wash my hair 3-4 times per week, and I try to use a hair mask at least once a week. ArtNaturals also sells a matching hair mask that I really want to try!

Maintaining Healthy Hair In The Summer

Similar to a hair mask, I recently bought this scalp scrub from Nexxus that I have been loving! It also doesn’t have any sulfates or parabens, and it feels so nourishing on the scalp, removing any product build-up as it slightly foams while you massage it in. I use this scrub 1-2 times per week, and it’s the first thing I use to exfoliate my scalp so that the Keratin and Argan Oil in my shampoo can really soak in. Plus, it smells so good—as any great hair product should!

Maintaining Healthy Hair In The Summer

On the off days when I don’t wash my hair, I’ve been using this Dry Shampoo Foam and Dry Texture Finishing Spray. A little bit goes a long way with the dry shampoo (it foams up very quickly!) and it also provides great volume! After I massage the dry shampoo into my scalp, I curl my hair and complete my look with the finishing spray to help hold my curls in place. And perhaps the best part about these Nexxus products I’ve shared is that you can get them at your local Target! I love when I discover new beauty products on my Target runs, because then I know that I can easily and conveniently replenish when I run out.

My First Spray Tan in 5 Years

My First Spray Tan in 5 Years
My First Spray Tan in 5 Years

As we were leading up to the first day of spring, I was worried it would never come due to the cold weather we were having in Scottsdale. Well, it was cold by our standards, considering it was in the low 60’s just one week before! But thankfully our weather turned around as soon as the new season was upon us, perking up into the mid 70’s—it was glorious! I was so happy to pull out some of my favorite spring dresses from last year, only to be horrified when I looked in the mirror and saw my pasty, white legs glowing back at me.

My First Spray Tan in 5 Years
My First Spray Tan in 5 Years
My First Spray Tan in 5 Years

I’m naturally very pale, and when I have time to lay in the sun I can get fairly tan, but it takes a lot of effort and diligence (and tanning sunscreen!). I don’t always have the time to dedicate to laying by the pool on the weekends, so I decided to add on a spray tan to my monthly sugaring appointment at Sugar Sugar. I had gotten a spray tan at Sugar Sugar once before, about 5 years ago, before I got married. I loved the subtle, sun-kissed glow it gave me on my wedding day and it helped me feel that much more confident in my skin! Getting spray tans regularly isn’t something I’m really into, but every once in awhile I think it’s fun, especially with the onset of the warmer months when I’m ready to show more skin.

My First Spray Tan in 5 Years
My First Spray Tan in 5 Years
My First Spray Tan in 5 Years

I’ve been going to this day spa ever since they opened over 5 years ago for sugaring, and they use only natural and organic ingredients in all of the services they provide. I only trust them when it comes to sugaring, and now tanning! They provide a customized spray tan experience and only use natural ingredients (like apples!) in their tanning mixture (idk if there’s a specific term for the solution they spray on you lol) which I think is so cool! It totally puts me at ease knowing there’s no harmful ingredients being sprayed on my body. They let you choose the “strength” of your tan, depending on how dark you want to go. I just wanted a sun-kissed glow and something that looked natural for my skin tone, and I love how it turned out! If you’re local to the Scottsdale/Phoenix area, Sugar Sugar has 2 locations and I highly recommend checking them out!

My First Spray Tan in 5 Years
My First Spray Tan in 5 Years
My First Spray Tan in 5 Years

You may not think I look darker at all in these photos, but I can definitely notice a difference. There’s just something about having a tan that puts a pep in my step and boosts my confidence! Now that I’m reminded how fun it is to have a little color, I want to have this glow all the time! I’m definitely feeling summer-ready with this sun-kissed glow—when does the next flight to Hawaii take off? Wait for me!

What One Month Without Dessert Did For My Skin

Last month I did my own version of “Dry January”, and until last month I had never heard of that term! Some people give up alcohol during January, and I did my own version of that by giving up dessert. People who know me know that I looooove sweets, specifically chocolate. Freddy loves to bake and I’m always first in line to lick the spatula of batter or try his first batch of test cookies. Towards the end of last year leading up to the holidays, we were having some form of dessert every single night, whether it was ice cream, brownies, cookies or Sprinkles cupcakes. As much I love dessert, I wasn’t loving the way it made me feel. I always felt so lethargic afterwards, sometimes falling asleep on the couch before 9pm. I also hated the effects it was having on my skin. My skin felt puffy, irritated and I was getting breakouts left and right, which I hadn’t really dealt with since I was in my early 20’s.

As 2018 was coming to an end, I knew I wanted to take a step in the new year and make a positive change in my daily dessert habits. I decided that I would give up all chocolate in January, which after a couple days turned into no dessert period. If I was going to give up chocolate then I might as well forego any form of dessert all together! The first week was a huge struggle—I found myself craving any sort of sweets at all times of the day: in the morning I wanted donuts or a chocolate croissant, at lunch I wanted a cookie, and at dinner I would have killed for a scoop of ice cream! I bought a bunch of fruit to try and curb my sugar cravings and I used raspberries, blueberries and grapes as my form of dessert at night if I felt like I was going crazy.

Once the first week passed I started to feel like I could really stick with it; I even waited in the car as Freddy went to Sprinkles one night and I turned down the cupcake he got for me! That’s when he knew I was really serious about my “Dry January” plan haha. It took a couple weeks for me to notice a difference in my skin; I think it took some time to mellow out and adjust to the fact that I wasn’t constantly putting refined sugar in my body. I was also making a concerted effort to eat healthier too—less pasta and rice, more veggies and protein. January was also the month I kickstarted my BBG workout program and constantly worked out 3 times a week (still going strong this month!) and I was feeling really good about the choices I was making to stay active and eat better foods. You know what the best part was? About halfway through the month I wasn’t even craving dessert anymore! I could walk by the dessert aisle at the grocery store and not even feel tempted to run over and take something home. I honestly felt free; free from the chains of sugar addiction.

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As you can see from my before and after photo (#nofilter) I have significantly less breakouts than I did when January started. I still have some acne scars which isn’t uncommon for me, but overall my skin feels infinitely better than it did one month ago! I have mentioned in previous posts that self-confidence is something I’m working on improving this year, and to be honest, it’s hard to feel confident when my skin looks like it did in my before photo. But aside from my skin, I feel so much better all around! I have more energy during the day because I’ve been sticking to a consistent sleep cycle and getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night, and I’m eating foods that actually fuel my body rather than making it crash 30 minutes later.

On February 1st I decided to “reward myself” and bring some donuts to the office. I ate three (yes definitely way too many but it had been a long time since I had a donut!) and I immediately regretted my decision. Not even joking, that night I had a breakout form on my face and I decided that this wasn’t just going to be a January challenge, but rather a complete lifestyle change. And the best part is Freddy is joining me! He stopped eating dessert about halfway through last month and instantly noticed a difference in his body, too. Now this doesn’t mean I’m never going to eat dessert again, because that would just be insane! But I am definitely saving it for special occasions and moderating the amount that I eat. Maybe instead of having a whole Sprinkles cupcake I’ll split one with Freddy. I just realized that it’s honestly not worth it to feel so sluggish and tired after eating some cookies or a brownie. I only have one life to live and I want to feel happy and energized and ready to take on each day that God puts before me!

I hope my journey encourages you in some way, no matter what mountain is standing in your way. I still have a long road ahead of me to achieve my health and wellness goals, but if I can take one small step then I absolutely know you can too! I’m cheering you on, and if you want to share your goal in the comments below, I’d love to encourage you in that! xo

Smiling With Confidence + cariPRO Ultrasonic Electric Toothbrush Giveaway! 

Back on January 1st I wrote a post about some things I wanted to intentionally focus and work on this year. One of those things was boosting my self-confidence. I recently took a personal assessment at work that took a deep dive into our personality traits and gave us the framework for self-understanding and development. It was a 4 hour course that was so insightful and thoroughly explained all of the different personality types, and it felt very timely taking this course within the first week of 2019. During the last half of the course we were given our personality profiles and to be honest, it was scary how spot-on mine was! I felt like I was reading a novel about myself; the details were so exact and it was truly eye-opening to read through my strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for growth. 

Speaking of weaknesses, it didn’t surprise me that lack of confidence was on there, stating that “she tends to take the things she does well for granted and usually underrates and understates herself.” Wow. Reading that statement resonated with me so deeply, and I suppose it’s something I haven’t given much thought to before. This exercise further confirmed my desire to not only give myself more credit than I normally do, but to be confident in myself and who God created me to be. 

In that blog post I talked about some areas I’m focusing on to help build my confidence, such as working out to improve my posture, and improving on my public speaking skills, but perhaps something that I feel comes before either of those things is being proud of and confident in my smile. After all, it’s one of the first things people see what they talk to you! And if I’m being honest, it’s something that I’ve lost a bit of confidence in over the last several years. 

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I wore braces for a little over a year in middle school, and I felt great after that! My teeth didn’t need to be corrected too much, just my jaw alignment and my bottom row of teeth that were a little crooked. During my last appointment where I got to take my retainers home, the hygienist told my 14-year-old self that I really only needed to wear my retainer for a couple years after getting the braces off and my teeth would stay straight for life. What was my response to that? SWEEET! And that’s exactly what I did—I stopped wearing my retainer nightly after a couple years, and only wore it when I felt like it, which was maybe a couple nights a week at best. I didn’t start to see a noticeable change in my teeth until maybe 3-4 years ago, when my bottom teeth started shifting back to how they were pre-braces. I’m totally kicking myself because a) my parents spent a lot of money for me to get braces in the first place, and now it looks like I never even had them at all, and b) now I’m self-conscious about how my bottom teeth look. 

I eventually want to get braces again, perhaps Invisalign or something similar, but in the meantime what I can focus on is the overall health of my mouth and teeth, which is why I’m so excited to tell you about the cariPRO Ultrasonic electric toothbrush from Smile Brilliant I’ve been using this month! I had used an Oral B electric toothbrush starting in middle school and all the way up through college and really enjoyed it. My teeth felt really healthy, and I’ve never had a cavity to this day (knock on wood!) and I feel like a lot of that is attributed to using an electric toothbrush for 10+ years. After college I suppose laziness took over and I reverted to my manual toothbrush, and have been using that for about the last 5-ish years. Over the last few months I was talking to Freddy about wanting to invest in another electric toothbrush, and when Smile Brilliant reached out it was honestly perfect timing and I was so excited to try theirs out! 

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 When I received the cariPRO, Ultrasonic the first thing I noticed is that it has 5 brush modes (clean, white, massage, gum care, and sensitive)—all of them are great! I’ve been using the “clean” mode 4 times a week and “white” 3 times a week. I also alternate between massage and gum care because let’s face it, I’m not the best flosser in the world, so these modes help me feel like I’m giving my gums some TLC when I don’t feel like flossing. I also like that it has a 2 minute timer built into all modes, and 30 second intervals to remind you to move to a different quadrant of the mouth. This has really helped me make sure I’m brushing for the full 2 minutes, because I know for a fact that I wasn’t doing that with a manual toothbrush! The only thing I was skeptical of in the beginning was that it doesn’t have a round, rotating brush head like I was used to with the Oral B toothbrush. But after several days of using the cariPRO Ultrasonic I was already used to the brush head and my teeth looked and felt so much cleaner!

After the first couple days my gums were definitely sensitive because they weren’t used to the deep clean that an electric toothbrush provides, but after using it for two weeks straight my teeth look and feel so much cleaner, whiter and healthier overall! I’m really excited to continue using the cariPRO Ultrasonic this year—I know it’s going to be a game changer in helping me boost my self-confidence and embrace my unique smile! If you’re ready to start the new year with a beautiful, healthy smile too, follow the link here to enter to win a cariPRO Ultrasonic electric toothbrush from Smile Brilliant! If you don’t end up winning, use my code “blushfulbelle20” to get 20% off the cariPRO Ultrasonic electric toothbrushes :) I know you’ll love it as much as I do! 

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Natural Beauty: The New Foundation I've Been Wearing and Loving

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Way back in January I did a discussion post on natural beauty products and my desire to start changing the way I buy makeup. I was on the hunt for skincare and makeup products that were free of parabens, fillers or any other synthetic materials. After I wrote that post I went to a local natural beauty store and got matched with RMS and Jane Iredale foundations. I felt like I was getting more coverage from the Jane Iredale BB cream so I decided that when I ran out of my current foundation I would make the switch. Well, I'm happy to report that it's now September and I finally using my new foundation! 

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At the end of August I ran out of my Bare Minerals foundation, which apparently lasted me a lot longer than I anticipated! My reason for switching isn't because I was unhappy with the product--Bare Minerals was actually the first foundation I had ever used after being mesmerized by the infomercial I watched with my mom when I was in elementary school. It's a product that I've worn for a very long time, but this year I have been wanting to switch things up and try the all-natural route. 

I had always heard wonderful things about Jane Iredale's products and how they are non-GMO, free of synthetic fragrances and only use ingredients from nature. I've been wearing the Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream and love how smooth it goes on! I feel like the product enhances my complexion without feeling like I'm caking on product and wearing a mask. I definitely prefer a more natural makeup look anyway so this product is suitable for that. I also love that it has SPF 25 which is something we need here in Arizona! I mean, I'm inside pretty much all day but it's nice to know I'm still protected :) And a little bit goes a long way--I watched this application video and it's amazing how such a small amount can give you all day coverage. 

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I'm very eager to try more Jane Iredale products after having success with this one! The highlighter, eye concealer, and lash conditioner are on my list of things to try, hopefully before the year is over! I'll keep you posted as I test out new products, and with the onset of cooler weather I'll be changing up my routine slightly to keep my skin hydrated. xo

All Things Beauty on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

I can't believe the best sale of the year will be over on Sunday! Part of me feels like it just started, while another part of me feels like it's been going on for months. One of my favorite categories of the sale is beauty because there's so many amazing deals that only happen once a year. Since there's only a few days left to snag these items at these prices, I felt it was time to share some of my favorites with you! 

In last week's post where I shared the 8 things you should buy on the #NSale, I mentioned that eye shadow palettes are one of my favorite items to purchase this time of year. They're always a great value because they generally include more colors or also include a blush/bronzer duo as well. This one from Bobbi Brown has some gorgeous neutral shades that would work with any skin tone, plus has a blush, bronzer and highlighter! There's also this one for $65 that has some really pretty gold and pink tones. 

There's also a lot of great deals on lipstick, like this MAC lip trio set where you can create multiple looks from just a couple colors. I also love the neutral colors in this Anastasia Beverly Hills duo which are great for an everyday look. A couple years ago during the sale I bought a Laura Mercier lip kit that I absolutely loved! It came with a liner and it was in a really pretty rose shade, and this year they have essentially the same thing but this time it also comes with a gloss! #winning

When it comes to skincare, I have a few trusted brands I turn to time and time again, one of them being Mario Badescu. While I haven't tried all of the products from the line, one of my favorites is the Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater Facial Spray. I first tried it out a couple years ago (figured $7 wouldn't break the bank if I ended up not liking it) and I definitely ended up loving it! It's such a simple spray but smells wonderful and leaves my skin feeling hydrated and refreshed. I'll spray it on after I wash my face in the morning and night, and I'll also spray it on after I put on makeup to help set it. Last week I discovered their newest scent, Aloe, Chamomile and Lavender, and I immediately knew I had to have it! I've been using it before bed at night--the lavender scent is so relaxing and helps me unwind for the night. For the Anniversary Sale you can buy a 4-piece set which includes both sprays, a cleansing gel and their famous drying lotion (for breakouts) for just $30. 

Last but not least let's talk hair care! I'm a huge fan of Drybar's dry shampoo collection ever since I tried it for the first time last summer. You can get a 4-piece set that includes full and travel sizes for $52--I love that it includes the travel size! I've also heard wonderful things about Oribe hair products and they've been on my wishlist for some time now, and now is the perfect time to get them! This set comes with shampoo, conditioner and a texturizing spray and it's only $38. 

There you have it! Just a few of my beauty picks from the #NSale. Stay tuned this week as I share more last-minute finds before the sale ends! 

New Curling Iron

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This post has been a long time coming, well, I mean getting a new curling iron has been a long time coming! Until now, I've used the same Conair curling iron since middle school, so for about 13 years!! Needless to say, I was really overdue to get a new one. For the past couple years, it seemed like every time I got a hair cut, my ends were split and fried again just after one month. I was trying to figure out what was going on, and then it dawned on me...DUH my curling iron is ancient and probably ruining my hair! 

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I had been researching a few different brands to decide which iron to invest in. I knew I didn't want to buy a drug store brand, just because I use my curling iron every single day and I wanted to find a higher quality iron that would be more protective for my hair. I was contemplating the t3 Twirl curling iron because I had heard great things about that one, and it's nice that it has the interchangeable barrel option so you can change the size of your curls. However, most of the individual barrels start at around $80 each, which caused me to steer away from that brand and look at something else. 

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I then found the GHD "curve" soft curl iron, which has a 1 1/4" barrel to create super soft, wavy curls. It had great reviews so I decided to bite the bullet and order it, and it has been amazing! It heats up literally in seconds, compared to my 3-5 minute wait time with my old iron, and it promotes healthier hair by only heating up to a specific temperature to prevent heat damage. I've been using it for a month now and I'm so glad I've been able to retire my Conair buddy. My ends have been so much healthier since I've been using the GHD iron; no more dead or split ends for this gal! Happy Friday lovelies, I hope you have a fun weekend! xo

New Summer Beauty Products

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We are in full-on summer mode here in Arizona, with triple-digit temperatures just around the corner. That also means the air feels that much more dry when it's 100 degrees outside, so locking in moisture any way that I can is key! I've been itching to try some new beauty products over the past couple months, and I finally pulled the trigger. I can't wait to share my latest purchases with you, so let's jump right in!

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When I ran out of shampoo a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to try a new brand to switch things up a bit. Side note: is it just me, or does everyone else always run out of shampoo before their conditioner? I always have like 2 random bottles of conditioner laying around because they are leftovers from the previous cycle! Anyways, I was most recently using Pureology because I had colored my hair in the fall, but since my hair is au-naturel right now, I really wanted to try the Kristen Ess line of shampoo! Since she's been doing Lauren Conrad's hair for awhile now, I feel like I can totally trust her, can I get an amen? Honestly though, I love these 3 products! They smell heavenly, which is a very important factor in my book, and leave my hair feeling weightless and healthy. Plus you can't beat $10 per bottle (and 5% off with your Target RedCard)! 

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Staying on-topic with Target beauty, I also picked up these makeup removing wipes because I forgot to pack my facial cleanser on an overnight hotel stay a couple weeks back. I still use an oil-free makeup remover liquid on a cotton ball to take care of my eyes, but these wipes have been very refreshing for my skin. I'll admit, it kind of stings a little when I use them, so I may not continue using them depending on how my skin reacts over time, but I'm glad that I branched out and tried something new. 

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This exfoliate scrub is honestly the best I've ever used. This brand previously had a similar product without volcanic clay that I enjoyed, but I didn't feel like I was getting enough exfoliation. I had intended to re-buy it at Target but since I only found this newer version I thought I'd give it a try! I first discovered Alba Botanica when I was on a summer vacation with my parents in Hawaii, so this brand always makes me feel like I've been transported onto the tropical island (#summervibes). If you're looking for a new scrub to try this summer, I highly recommend you give this a try! 

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Perhaps my most favorite product that I've tried is the RMS Beauty Oil. I've read about how wonderful it is from other bloggers, and when my friend Bryn was doing a giveaway for it on her Instagram, I just had to enter! It must have been my lucky day because I won and I was so ecstatic when I got it in the mail! I've been using it as my sole moisturizer, morning and night, for a couple weeks now and have seen such an amazing difference in my skin. I can truly see more of a "glow" and radiance that I didn't have before. Seeing the positive differences in my skin make me eager to try some of the other RMS beauty products too. 

What are some of your favorite beauty products? Any that you're wanting to try after reading this post? Let me know in the comments!

My Spring Beauty Wishlist

Back in January I wrote a blog post about natural beauty and how it's really gained momentum in the last few years. I talked about wanting to try more products that are organic and all natural, so I've been doing some research and in the process have discovered new brands I want to try! In January I also tested two different foundations I had been eyeing, the RMS 'Un-Cover Up' and Jane Iredale BB cream, and fell in love with the BB cream! I've been waiting to run out of my BareMinerals foundation to purchase it, and I'm soooo close! So once I get the BB cream I will definitely write a post on that to let you guys know my thoughts on it. 

Just in the past couple weeks I discovered Kora Organics, which was created by Miranda Kerr, who you probably remember as one of the popular Victoria's Secret models! There's a Calming Lavender Mist that I'm dying to try (the perfect bedtime remedy!) and the Rose Quartz Luminizer. You may have also heard the buzz surrounding the Jet Lag Mask from new skincare line, Summer Fridays. I want to try this product SO badly, and it just got re-stocked! It's been selling like hot cakes, and with all of the reviews I've read, I'm not surprised! It's an antioxidant-rich mask packed with tons of vitamins; I seriously can't wait to try this. 

The products I've mentioned barely scratch the surface of everything I want to try, but I have this thing called a #budget haha, so one thing at a time :) I'm linking more products below, and I'd love to know what beauty items you're dying to try this season! Happy Monday! xo


A Discussion About Natural Beauty

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Happy Friday friends! Today I wanted to talk about a topic that is new to me, but something that I've had a growing interest in and I hope I can learn something new from you guys, my readers! The natural and organic beauty space has been growing rapidly over the past 5+ years, and it's something that I haven't really paid much attention to until recently. This year I want to devote myself to a more healthy lifestyle (as I mentioned in this post) and truly consider what products I'm putting in my body and on my skin. 

I've mentioned my love for Fresh skincare, and appreciate that they use natural ingredients in their products. It's mind blowing how many companies out there put parabens, sulfates and other synthetic materials in their products just to cut on costs or save time in the development process. What I hadn't fully grasped or realized is that our skin is one of our largest organs in our bodies, absorbing all of these potentially hazardous ingredients very quickly. WOAH. Learning this fact was so eye-opening for me, and has really made me question what products I'm using, whether it's shampoo, body wash or my makeup, and if they are truly beneficial for my health. 

I'm not super familiar with all of the natural beauty brands out there, but have heard great things about Tata Harper, Herbivore, and Josie Maran (I've used her Argan Oil and loved it!) just to name a few. I'm curious if any of you have used these products (or others) and what your thoughts are on them! In terms of makeup, I've also heard amazing things about RMS Beauty, Jane Iredale and Chantecaille. I found a natural beauty store in Phoenix called Citrine that I'm planning on checking out today! I've decided the time is now to make the change and I don't want to keep putting it off. I'm hoping I can test out a few different makeup lines to see which works best for my skin and determine the correct shade I should be using. 

I'm really excited to start this natural beauty journey and to share my experiences with you all! If you have any tips or recommendations I would absolutely love to hear them. Feel free to leave a comment, or send me a tweet or DM on Instagram. 

New Year, Same Skincare Routine

Fresh Rose Skincare

Ever since I was introduced to Fresh about 2 years ago, I've been obsessed (#notsponsored). Before I tried their products, I had just been using a Trader Joe's facial cleanser and moisturizer since it was inexpensive and seemed to work just fine. I honestly didn't understand the importance of skincare and what amazing ingredients can do when they're used correctly. I've been able to try several different products from the Fresh skincare line and I have yet to find one I don't like! However there are a few staples that I can't live without...

Fresh Rose Skincare

The Soy Face Cleanser is hands-down my all-time favorite product from their line. If any of my friends or family ask for a cleanser recommendation, I always tell them about this one. It has a rich texture, yet feels so light on the skin and it smells so, well, fresh! Another great thing about this cleanser is that it doesn't burn your eyes, and it's great at removing eye makeup, too. A full-size will last me about 4 months, and it's also available in a travel size which is perfect for your next vacation!

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My other "secret weapon" is the Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment. It comes in so many colors depending on what mood you're in, and it's extremely hydrating for your lips! Not to mention it has SPF 15 as well. Freddy got me the entire Sugar Lip Suite Set for Christmas and I literally squealed with excitement! Up until then I had only tried the Rosé color, but now I've been able to try them all and have really become fond of Petal and Tulip

Fresh Skincare Routine

I'm so glad I'm stocked up on the Rose Face Mask because I'm almost out of my other jar! It actually lasted me over a year which is pretty amazing. I use it about twice a week, sometimes more depending on my skin and if it's feeling extra dry. It's a very gentle gel-like mask infused with rose petals that hydrates and soothes your skin. Who needs to go to the spa when you can have your own at home?! The only product from this kit that I have yet to try is the Rose Hydration Face Cream, which I'm so eager to use! 

Fresh Rose Skincare

I also need to give a shoutout to my brother-in-law who gave me this set for Christmas! It was so thoughtful of him, and Freddy was able to give him some hints (basically anything Fresh and I'm a happy camper!). If you're looking to switch up your skincare routine this year but aren't sure where to start, maybe try integrating one or two new products to see how you like them. In the past there were times when I tried to do too much too soon when it came to trying out something new on my skin, which really aggravated it. So just take it slow and see how your body reacts. 




Happy Hair Days

You know when brands do Instagram giveaways where they make you tag some friends and then you sit there and cross your fingers, hoping that you win? Well, I don't have a very good winning streak at all, but I got lucky a couple months ago and won the Detox Dry Shampoo set from Drybar and I'm so obsessed with it! I've never really been into dry shampoo because I usually wash my hair every other day, that is, until I learned that it's really not great for your hair. Lately I've been trying to wash my hair just 2-3 times a week, which is hard when you're used to washing it on the regular. So now that I've been going longer in between washes, I hate how oily my hair can get at times, but this dry shampoo has come to my rescue and I love using it!

I've been using their new Lush scent and it smells so lovely! I have always been hesitant to use dry shampoo in the past because I'm a brunette, and other brands I've tried have left my scalp looking white and powdery and just not cute! However, this product doesn't leave any residue and also provides great volume, which is perfect for styling. The dry conditioner is also great because it helps to hydrate the ends of your hair and give them more body and fullness. 

Perhaps though, what I love even more than the duo is the dry shampoo made specifically for brunettes! Hollllaa! It's my favorite one to use because I don't have to work it into my hair as much, and I never have to worry about people noticing any sort of product in my hair :) If you're on the fence about what kind of dry shampoo to get, I highly recommend Drybar! Speaking of which, apparently it was #NationalBlowoutDay yesterday and had no idea! So I think I need to book an appointment to make up for it :) Happy Saturday everyone, and as always, thanks for stopping by! xo




Teeth Whitening At Home + Giveaway

When it comes to style, chic and timeless pieces appeal to me the most. A black dress, patent leather pumps, and a red lip are all things I would consider to evoke an effortless, classic style. However, something I’ve learned to be even more important than those is a white smile you can be proud of. Keep reading for a chance to win a whitening kit that will change the way you feel about your smile forever, and view my own before and afters!

Throughout most of my adult life, my smile has been something I’ve felt fairly confident about. When I was a little girl, about 5 years old, I had a gap between my two front teeth. Although everyone says it’s cute when you’re young, I’m thankful that gap closed on it’s own a couple years later. Fast forward to middle school, and braces became my new BFF thanks to my crooked lower teeth. I wore them for about a year, and got them off just in time before high school started. I was able to start that new chapter in my life with straight teeth, but of course, braces also bring on stains that are hard to remove. Not to mention, my coffee drinking habits that developed in college didn’t help either! Even though my teeth weren’t severely discolored by any means, I still never really felt like I had a “white” smile. I had contemplated getting my teeth whitened at my dentist office in my early twenties, but after hearing how much it would cost, decided to settle on the fact that it just wasn’t meant to be. But that all changed when Smile Brilliant reached out to me and helped give me the smile I’ve always dreamed of!

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What makes Smile Brilliant so unique is their accessible approach to the teeth whitening process, which you can do in the comfort of your own home! By eliminating the dentist visit from the equation (which makes up for 70% of the cost normally), it cuts the cost of teeth whitening immensely, giving you a dentist-grade whitening kit for under $200! Too good to be true? Absolutely not. After I answered a brief questionnaire about my dental history, my personalized whitening kit was delivered right to my doorstep. From there, I made my own molds (which I still had nightmares about from when I got my retainers over 10 years ago, but this process was a dream!) and shipped them back in the pre-paid packaging. Within a week, I had my custom whitening trays and began the whitening process.

Even after using the product for a few days, I could already see a difference in my smile. Now just two weeks later, I’m so happy with the results and can’t believe that my pearly whites are actually white again! Now, when I see teeth whitening commercials on TV, I don’t immediately cringe with envy wishing that could be me. Instead, I smile, because now I too have one that I’m insanely proud of. #smilefearlessly

I would love to answer any questions that you may have about my teeth whitening experience, and here’s a helpful article that answers some questions if you’re thinking about starting the process. 

GIVEAWAY: If you would like to win a FREE Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit, you can enter the contest by clicking this link!


If you don’t win the giveaway and would like 10% off your Smile Brilliant Whitening Kit order, use the following discount code: sodasippinsister10

Thank you to Smile Brilliant for sponsoring this post.

Lip Color That Lasts

You know the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Without realizing it, this has pretty much been my life motto. When I find something I like, I stick with it and don’t really change things up. When I go to a favorite restaurant, for example, I order the same thing 99% of the time because I know I love it and don’t want to potentially “ruin” that experience by ordering something I’m unfamiliar with and be disappointed with it. The same is true for my beauty routine. 

My beauty routine has been pretty consistent for awhile now; I like to stick to products I know I can trust and that work for me. I have been using BareMinerals foundation and eye shadow products since I was in middle/high school, and I love that their products are all natural. I’ve always admired natural-looking makeup—something that feels fresh on your skin while still looking put together. When it comes to my lip color, I’ve never been very adventurous in that department. I think the most lip color I’ve ever put on was for my dance recitals when I was young! I usually stick to softer, neutral tones for everyday wear, and an occasional bright pink if I’m feeling a bit more sassy. Recently, my friend Christine turned me on to a new lip product that has livened up my beauty routine that I’m excited to share with you!

LipSense is a long-lasting lip color that is smear-proof, waterproof, kiss-proof and lasts up to 18 hours, which means never having to re-apply throughout the day (PTL!). If I’m being honest, when I first heard about it, I was skeptical. Aren’t there other lipsticks out there that claim to have the same benefits? What makes this product so special? After wearing only LipSense products for the past month, I have truly noticed a difference in how my lips feel, which I didn’t think was possible! 

Living in Arizona has it’s perks, like mild winters and beautiful mountains, but as you’ve heard me say before, the summers here are brutal. The air is extremely dry, and my lips usually take the brunt of that by being chapped all. the. time. However, since using LipSense on a daily basis, my lips have become smoother and fuller, feeling moisturized even when I don’t have anything on my lips! During the first few weeks of using the product, I definitely noticed a transformation beginning to take place right away. As Christine warned me, your lips will shed the first couple weeks of use, getting rid of wax build up from years of using various chapsticks and other lip glosses. But once my lips stopped shedding, they felt so much smoother and more alive (if that’s even a thing!). 

There are so many colors to choose from, and the great thing is once you get a few colors, you can mix them together to create a color that’s unique to you. I started with First Love, and just recently added Aussie Rose to my collection, which is what I’m wearing in these pictures. But there are so many more colors (& glosses) that I can’t wait to try, which you can see below! To learn more about LipSense or get a starter kit of your own, Christine would love to help you, and you’ll be able to see the results for yourself! I never really used to get excited about putting on a lip color after I finished putting on my makeup each day, but now it’s something I look forward to doing. I’m even excited to start mixing some colors together to see what combinations I can come up with! Let me know in the comments below which color you’d love to try! xo

Thanks to Christine's Wonderfully Made Long Wear Cosmetics for sponsoring this post.

Summer Beauty

Now that July is officially here, it's the month that is usually the hottest and longest here in Arizona. Towards the end of the month we usually see some relief with the massive monsoon storms that come through the valley, but since it seems so far away, now is the time that my skin and hair is needing a lot of TLC! The triple digit temperatures that we experience can really take a toll on you physically (& mentally!), so that's why I've rounded up some of my favorite skincare and hair products that keep me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated in the heat of summer!

This Mario Badescu facial spray is at the top of my list for so many reasons. It's the perfect remedy when my skin needs a refresher, like in the morning when I'm ready to begin my day. I'll pump two sprays on my face just after I've washed it, and I'll use it again after I've put on my makeup to help set it for the day. It contains aloe, rosewater and a variety of herbs which makes it smell so amazing! I'll use it again before I go to bed after I've washed all my makeup off and put on my moisturizer (I'll get to that in a minute) allowing me to fall into a deep sleep feeling relaxed. My daily routine honestly doesn't feel complete without this jack of all trades, and the best part is it's only $7 for this 4 oz bottle! If you ask me, that's the best beauty steal if I ever saw one.

I mentioned that I spritz on the Mario Badescu spray after I moisturize, and my favorite one to use is the face & body cream from Infinite Aloe Skin Care (see first image). I was first introduced to this cream from my mom who saw the company selling their products at Costco one holiday season, so she thought it would make great gifts. You know that saying that goes "Mother knows best?" Well, it applies here, once again! Ever since I first used it a couple years ago, I've been hooked! The Aloe Vera in the lotion is so healing and hydrating, I've seen a noticeable difference in my skin after using it even just for a few days. I use this lotion as my facial moisturizer and on my entire body because it's that amazing! But lately I've just been using it for my face, because I'm running out and need to order more--oops!

Next up is this Hawaiian Facial Scrub from Alba Botanica. My esthetician had recommended this scrub for Freddy a couple years ago, and I basically steal it from him on a weekly basis so that I can use it too! Not only does this scrub smell like summer with the scent of pineapples, but it is a very gentle scrub that doesn't make you feel like you've just rubbed sandpaper all over your face. I typically use it 2-3 times per week, as to not over-exfoliate, and my skin instantly feels smoother and softer afterwards. 

My hair tends to get very dry and brittle from all of the styling I do on a regular basis, so I try to take extra good care of it during the summer when the hot temps dry it out even more. During the summer I try to limit curling my hair to 1-2 times per week, which is a significant decrease to my typical daily curling session. While this helps the overall health of my hair by eliminating heat, the Aveda Smooth Infusion cream has also helped my hair in controlling those fly-aways (due to dryness) and feel nourished. After I wash my hair, I just use a dime-sized amount and run it through from root to tip, and let it air dry. 

Do you have any favorite summer beauty products you like to use? I'd love to hear about them! As always, thanks for stopping by! If you'd like updates on new content and weekly inspiration, you can sign up for my newsletter here! xo




Three New Mascaras

It's been some time since I've written a post about beauty products, mainly because I'm not an impulse beauty buyer (like I can be with clothes!) I really plan out what products I'm going to buy after doing some research and maybe even test out some samples. So, with that being said, I'm really excited to share 3 new mascaras with you that I've been dying to try!

Some women have their "thing" when it comes to beauty products. Some are lip color fanatics, while others might be obsessed with eye shadow palettes. I can say that I truly love experimenting with different mascaras! There are some people who don't feel that there is any difference between mascaras that you find at a drugstore vs. a beauty or department store, however after using multiple different brands over the years I have noticed a difference with the wear and overall longevity of the tube life. 

For the past couple years, I have gone back and forth between Le Volume de Chanel and Dior Blackout mascara. My preference between those two came down to how easily I was able to take them off with makeup remover at night. The Dior mascara didn't come off quite as easily, and at the end of the day I would notice black goop in my eyes that had formed, and it just didn't feel too great! So, when Nordstrom had their Mascara Madness event last month (where you buy 2 get 1 free!) it seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand my horizons and go for some new formulas. 

Since I just got them in the mail a couple of days ago, I haven't had a chance to try them all. However, I have tried the Bobbi Brown 'Eye Opening Mascara' and so far I'm loving the results! I am wearing it in this selfie I posted on my Instagram yesterday, but it went on really well and I felt like it gave my eyes a "pop" that I haven't seen with other brands. 

It's a little hard to tell from the photo, but the tip of the brush is actually quite large and full (bushy, if you will lol) so it gives great volume when you're applying it to your lashes. As I test out the other two mascaras I will keep you updated and hopefully narrow down to my favorite! 

Thanks for stopping by! xo




Back to Basics

When it comes to makeup, I'm all for a natural look. At least, that's my go-to now that I'm in my mid-twenties, but when I was younger it was a different story. When I was in high school, I didn't like how many freckles I had on my nose and I would try to cover them up as much as possible with concealer and foundation. As I've gotten older, I've come to love my freckles and now when I apply my makeup, I don't want to hide them all under my foundation. I can now appreciate the saying that "less is more" and I definitely take that to heart when applying my foundation.

Over the years I have tried countless brands of foundation, such as YSL, Dior, Chanel and Josie Maran. But, there's one brand in particular that I keep going back to, and that is bareMinerals. I remember sitting on the couch with my mom when I was maybe around 10 or 11 years old and we had seen one of the infomercials for bareMinerals. I was mesmerized by the "swirl, tap, buff" technique they had used on these women, and seeing the before and after photos was unreal! I couldn't believe that this foundation was made from minerals and was actually good for your skin! My mom and I got so excited watching it that she decided to order some for herself, and she's been hooked ever since. 

I've always enjoyed trying out new things, and I think because I had been wearing bareMinerals  from middle school into my early 20's, I kept thinking to myself, "Am I missing out on anything? Is there something better out there that I should try?" This is what brought me to explore all of those other brands and seeing how they worked for my skin. After a few years of experimenting, I'm so happy to say that I've come back to bareMinerals! There truly is nothing quite like it, and I love the natural effect it gives while still providing glowing coverage to even out the redness in my skin. 

I am using the original powder foundation which comes in 20 different shades to match your skin tone, but they also have a variety of formulas to choose from. I have tried BareSkin before as well which is a liquid base but goes on smoothly, and offers as little or as much coverage as you want.

After being on the market for 20 years, they've expanded from just foundation to a whole collection of beauty and skincare products. I love their eyeshadows and eyeliners, as well as mascara. It's been neat to see how this company has grown from those infomercials I used to see on television, and that they have remained true to their roots of pure, natural ingredients. Perhaps one day I can pass along my love of bareMinerals to my daughters as well, and they can come to appreciate their natural beauty.

Do you have a favorite cosmetic brand that you love? Let me know in the comments section! Thanks for stopping by! Have a beautiful weekend!



Signature Scent

It's pretty amazing how a particular scent can instantly transport you back to a particular moment, or point in time. The sense of smell is, I believe, one of the most powerful in that way, and I love how certain fragrances take me back to a particular season in my life, or remind me of someone special. Fragrance has a beautiful way of leaving a lasting impression, and one of my absolute favorites is the ever classic and lovely, Chanel No. 5. 

I was first introduced to the scent by my mom, who rotates through a few different signature fragrances of her own (Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan, Bvlgari, among others). I remember oohing and ahhing over her beautiful arrangement of perfume bottles as a little girl. Each one was unique and beautifully crafted, and I loved helping her pick out which one she should wear for that day. Chanel No. 5 always stood out to me, and as I got older I would continually ask her if I could wear it for special occasions.

As a gift for my 25th birthday last week, my mom gave me my own bottle to enjoy! This is my first time owning this perfume, and I love putting it on in the mornings as I get ready for the day. For this fragrance specifically, I prefer the body lotion for it's softer scent, and I feel that it actually lasts longer than the eau de parfum. I also can't help but love the blush bottle it comes in with the gold cap; still just as beautiful as a glass bottle!  

Another fragrance my mom introduced me to is 'Cashmere Mist' by Donna Karan, which is another softer scent that doesn't overpower or smell too intense. Perhaps what I love more than the scents themselves, is who I will always be reminded of when I wear these special perfumes. I hope that one day if I have a daughter, I can also share these scents with her and continue the legacy. 

What is your signature scent? Do you have more than one favorite? I'd love to hear in the comments! 

Happy Monday!