March 2017 Boxycharm Unboxing

Woohoo, it’s Boxycharm time! My box arrived later than usual this month, but as always it’s worth the wait. If you don’t already know, Boxycharm is a monthly makeup subscription box that costs $21 a month. You receive 5 full-size products (at least most of the time) that add up to be worth much more than the price you pay for the box. This month’s theme is “Creepy Cute.” It isn’t my favorite box that I’ve gotten, but it still came with some pretty neat items:

  • Smashbox Photo Finish Primer ($16)
    Unfortunately, the primer we received in our box is only a sample size (0.5 oz), but I’ll take it! It has really great reviews on Ulta and Sephora. At full-size (1 oz), it retails for $36. I can’t wait to see if it lives up to its price tag!
  • Crown Brush SS023 Deluxe Fan Brush ($18.99)
    This is quite possibly the biggest, fluffiest fan brush I’ve ever seen. Like other Crown brushes we’ve received, it is very soft to the touch and good quality. It seems great for applying bronzer and contouring!
  • Naked Cosmetics Urban Rustic Palette ($39.99)
    First off, holy pigment, Batman. Secondly, all three of the shimmery shades in this palette are amazing, and I’m so excited to start creating looks with them! I especially love the orangey-red shade in the center pan. They are very soft and highly pigmented. It’s going to be fun playing with the colors in this palette!
  • Real Her Matte Liquid Lipstick in “I Will Succeed” ($15) and Lip Liner in “I Am Unstoppable” ($12.50)
    I love the formulas of both of these lip products; they are creamy and easy to apply. Once the liquid matte lipstick dries, it doesn’t transfer! It does feel a bit sticky when you press your lips together, but that seems common in “kiss-proof” lipsticks. The rosy shades are just gorgeous as well. Very happy with these!

March 2017 Boxycharm Unboxing
Swatches of the Real Her Lipstick and Lip Liner

Swatches of the Naked Cosmetics Urban Rustic Palette

Total of this month’s box: $102.48

That wraps up this month’s Boxycharm. Again, not my favorite box that we’ve received, but I still think it was a good box overall. I have yet to be disappointed by a Boxycharm, but I’m hoping next month’s is a bit more exciting!

There are a million articles and blog posts on the internet about having anxiety. As someone who struggles with my own strain, I find solace in hearing others’ stories. It seems having anxiety is becoming the norm, and I’m not sure if that has to do with our evolving modern lives or if people are more comfortable talking about it now. Either way, it seems like most people find themselves face-to-face with the monster at some point. Even though it’s common, everyone experiences it differently. No case is exactly the same, but knowing that you’re not alone brings much needed comfort. So here I am, adding to the many people who have bravely shared their stories.

I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember. The most noticeable form is my social anxiety. Growing up, other kids would ask me all the time: Why are you so quiet? or Why don’t you talk? I didn’t have an answer for them because, honestly, I couldn’t understand it either. Anytime I’m in a social situation where I’m not comfortable (which is basically every instance), my mind blanks; I can’t come up with a single thing to say. I think my demeanor gives off vibes that I’m aloof or stuck-up when in reality I’m just extremely uncomfortable. I rehearse food orders and phone calls to make sure I don’t mess up. I’m an absolute mess before, during, and after a job interview. When the tables are turned and I find myself interviewing people, I’m pretty sure I’m more nervous than they are!

School was the absolute worst for my social anxiety. I never spoke during any class unless I was directly called on (which happened more than I liked) and I dropped classes if I found out there was a presentation involved. If a presentation was inevitable, I read the words verbatim from my note cards and occasionally looked up at the wall in the back of the classroom to feign even just a hair of confidence.

Considering I’ve suffered with social anxiety since I was a kid, I’m not really sure what it stems from other than a fear of rejection or fear of feeling embarrassed by what you say. When I finally muster up the courage to say something and it happens to be embarrassing, I dwell on it forever. I guess not saying anything at all is just a defense mechanism to avoid that feeling! But then I’ll feel guilty for not saying anything…it’s a vicious cycle.

Most people, whether they understand what it is or not, can see my social anxiety. It’s something I’ve never been able to conceal. The other anxieties I experience are much more internal. I carry them with me as invisible emotional burdens, but I try to make sure they don’t affect my everyday life. These are just things I think of day in and day out that worry me. Will I still have a job tomorrow? Where will I be next year? How bad did I just screw up? Are we safe? Remember that really embarrassing thing you did 7 years ago? Did I forget to turn the stove off?

Anything and everything that could possibly cause a worry crosses my mind more often than I’d like. There are certain things that cause spikes in my anxiety like traveling, traumatic events, bad social experiences, and deadlines. Sometimes I get what I like to call “sender’s anxiety” because I will stare at the screen for several minutes before I push any sort of ‘send’ or ‘confirm’ button!

As far as living with anxiety, I’ve learned to mostly accept that it’s just a part of who I am. More often than not, I have such a hard time getting out of bed in the morning because I feel depressed for seemingly no reason. It’s a feeling I wish I could shake for sure. I try mostly to do what I’m comfortable with, but I also find sometimes I have to bite the bullet and go out of my comfort zone. For me, I don’t see a magical cure-all in sight, but I do consistently try to stop worrying so much about things out of my control. Luckily I have found an amazing husband who has been my rock and offers an abundant amount of emotional support. I think having someone you trust, can confide in, and who can talk you down is key in helping you manage your anxiety.

This is just a broad overview into my experience. Anxiety is a looming monster, but I try not to let it control me. I know it’s just the power of the mind at work – things really aren’t that bad, but your brain tricks you into thinking they are. It’s always a process trying to cope with these feelings, but I’m hoping I eventually get to the point where I can figure it out…at least a little bit.

Natural Everyday MakeupNatural Everyday Makeup

Natural makeup looks are so refreshing to see. As much as I love artistic and glam looks, they just aren’t practical for everyday wear. If you tend to be a little bit lower maintenance in your beauty routine like me, you probably don’t like to fuss with foundation and false lashes every time you apply makeup. Lucky for us, there are still ways to enhance your features without using a ton of products! Today I’m going to share with you my own natural-looking makeup routine.

  • Step 1: Wet N Wild Coverall Primer
    I always like to start off with applying a bit of primer where I’m going to place my concealer. This helps prevent the concealer from creasing so much and keeps everything in place.
  • Step 2: Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer
    Next for the red, dark, and “imperfect” areas of my face, I’ll go in with some concealer.  The only places that get concealed are under my eyes, around my nose, and on my chin.
  • Step 3: Neutrogena Shine Control Powder
    To set and mattify, I use a powder. This will help the staying power of your concealer and get rid of any excess shine.
  • Step 4: Wet N Wild Blush in “Pearlescent Pink”
    Since I’m so fair-skinned, I like to use blush to bring some color to my face. Otherwise, I tend to look washed-out! I apply this to my cheeks and use whatever product is left on the brush to lightly dust my nose.
  • Step 5: Vintage by Jessica Liebeskind Highlighter Duo
    I like to apply highlighter just to give my face a fresh, dewy look. This step is completely optional for this makeup look, but I do like the extra layer of depth a highlight gives. I apply highlight to my cheekbones, bridge of my nose, and cupid’s bow. I also apply some to the inner corners of my eye and brow bone after I finish up the eyeshadow step.
  • Step 6: NYX Tame & Frame Brow Pomade
    To darken and fill my brows, I like to use a brow pomade. The formula of this product also helps keep the hairs in place.
  • Step 7: Milani Eye Primer
    This step is pretty obvious, but keep your eyeshadow from moving by using an eye primer!
  • Step 8: Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette
    This is one of my go-to palettes, especially when I’m going for a natural or minimal look. I start off by popping the color “Nudie” onto my crease. Then I apply “Cashmere Bunny” in a C-shape on the outer corners. To add some brightness and shimmer, I use the shade “Silk Teddy” on the remainder of my lids. I make sure everything is blended and soft before mixing “Cashmere Bunny” and “Nudie” to apply to my lower lashline. Once that’s done, I use “Sexpresso” on an eyeliner brush and line my upper lashline. And voilà! The eyeshadow is done.
  • Step 9: Maybelline Falsies Mascara
    I like to make my lashes as thick, long, and full as they can be on their own. This mascara does just that! I apply it to both my upper and lower lashes.
  • Step 10: bareMinerals Moxie Lipgloss in “Birthday Babe”
    Some people are very anti-lipgloss, but I LOVE it! I especially like when the shade of the gloss closely matches the natural color of my lips. I think the extra shine makes this minimal makeup look even more fresh.

Natural Everyday Makeup

There you have it! My natural, “everyday” makeup routine. (That’s in quotes because I definitely don’t wear makeup everyday.) What are some of your go-to “everyday” makeup products? Let me know in the comments!

The Ultimate Thrift Shopping Guide

Growing up, my mom used to beg me to shop in the clearance section at stores. I am the youngest sibling in my family, and that means hand-me-downs! The rebellious nature in me always wanted new, new, new, and I kept this mentality for the majority of my life. That was until I discovered thrift shopping and how fun and adventurous it can actually be.

Clothes shopping in a thrift store can be overwhelming. Oftentimes they have racks full of clothes lining the entirety of the store and you may not know where to start. Well, I’m here to help you! Here is how I personally tackle thrift stores, and hopefully you can try out some of these tips!

  1. Make a day out of it.
    If you want a fruitful thrift shopping experience, you really have to set aside the time for it. You will increase your chances of finding clothes you like by going to multiple thrift stores, and that can take a big chunk of your day. I usually spend about an hour to an hour and a half in each store. Some big name thrift shops here in the U.S. include Goodwill and Plato’s Closet, but also be to sure to check out your local thrift shops as well. You will spend a lot of time looking through all of the racks, so mark off a Saturday to do so!
  2. Be patient.
    Some days you get lucky and find tons of cute clothes in your size, and other days you may only scrape by with a couple of items. It’s a game of chance as you never really know what these stores are carrying at the time, so go into it with an open mind.
  3. Figure out how the store is organized.
    Thrift stores organize their clothes by color, size, type of clothing, or a combination of the three. It’s pretty easy to figure out once you get into the store, but it’s good to know so you can navigate the racks more efficiently. For instance, if the store is organized by color, you can flock to the colors you’re most likely to wear. If you never plan on wearing chartreuse green (and I don’t blame you), you can skip over that section!
  4. Location, location, location.
    I haven’t actually tested this one out, but I’m going to go ahead and say location matters. The closer you are to a bigger city, it seems the more selection you’ll have. I live in a decently-sized college town, so that means there’s a good amount of clothes I’d actually wear since the population skews younger. If you happen to live in a location like this, take advantage of it. A few weeks ago I found several barely-worn Banana Republic tops for $6 a pop!
  5. Early bird gets the worm.
    You’re more likely to find good clothes earlier in the day as opposed to right before the store closes. They don’t usually do their stocking at the end of the night!
  6. Go on the weekend.
    Just like you’re more likely to find good stuff earlier in the day, you’ll also increase your luck by choosing to go on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. These places know the weekends are when people are out and about, and they definitely plan for it!
  7. Look through everything.
    And by everything, I mean everything. You never know if the shirt of your dreams is tucked between two ugly Christmas sweaters. Spend time looking through all items on the rack. They rarely have two of the same item, so don’t miss out on anything!
  8. See through the flaws.
    Sometimes you’ll come across a piece of clothing you adore, but you notice it has some flaws. Maybe there’s a small stain or a frayed edge. If it’s an easy fix, go for it! If you’re a creative type and think a little DIY love could turn it around, throw it in your cart! These are obviously used clothes so they won’t always be perfect. If you see the potential, you can turn an otherwise overlooked piece of clothing into something completely your own.
  9. Make sure you really want it.
    Most thrift stores don’t offer returns, exchanges, or store credit so make sure the items you choose are things you’ll actually wear. Just because it’s a bargain doesn’t necessarily mean you need it!
  10. Bring a shopping buddy.
    Let’s face it: two sets of eyes is better than one. Having someone with to tell you HELL NO when you hold up something truly heinous isn’t such a bad idea. They can also help you look for any damages to the garment, find something you accidentally skipped over, and just make the experience a lot more fun overall. There are some pretty laughable items in thrift stores!

These are just a few tips you can follow next time you head out to go thrifting. Happy shopping!

Are you an expert thrift shopper? Do you have any tips not listed here? Let me know in the comments!

Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Exfoliator

All skin types have their pros and cons. I happen to have combination skin, which means I get a lovely mix of very oily areas and very dry areas. I’ve tried multiple exfoliators, but nothing seemed to work on my resilient skin.

In the February Boxycharm, everyone received a Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion exfoliator. I’m going to be honest here. If I hadn’t received this in my subscription box, there is no way I would have ever bought it on my own. Why? Well it’s simple: this baby retails at $79! It’s very much on the higher end of skincare, and I just don’t prefer to waste that kind of money on a product I haven’t tried before in case it doesn’t work for me.

Well… I lucked out because this product works like a charm!

At first I scoffed at the size of the bottle. It’s only 2 oz, but I soon realized a little goes a long way. I barely use any product and it manages to cover my entire face! This tube will probably last a while, especially since you only need to use it once or twice a week.

I noticed results immediately after the first time I used it. My face felt so smooth and soft! Any rough patches of skin on my cheeks had magically disappeared and it toned down the scaliness on my nose. The texture of my skin looked much better, even with foundation and concealer! It’s very rare that a product works perfectly after one use, so needless to say I was thrilled.

Here’s my step-by-step process for how I use this product:

  1. Wash face as normal.
  2. Make sure face is wet and apply very small amount (less than a dime size) to face.
  3. Massage gently all over face for 2 minutes. I spend extra time on my driest areas.
  4. Rinse off, continuing to be gentle.
  5. Pat dry.
  6. Moisturize!

This product has been a game-changer in my nighttime routine. I just love the way it makes my skin feel. It has a bit of a strange citrusy smell, but I rarely let these types of things be deal-breakers unless they’re unbearable (which this isn’t).

Overall, I’m really happy with this product and glad I was introduced to it. It will more than likely be on my re-purchase list because I’m not sure if I can go back to how my skin was before it!

Have you tried this microdermabrasion before? What did you think of it? Any skincare holy grails you can recommend? Let me know in the comments!