Just call me a Lush

Hello again! It has been a long time since my last post, but I am happy to be back. I still owe you a vacation recap (we spent 2 AMAZING weeks in the Philippines in late February) and can’t wait to give you a tour of our new house (moving day is 4 days away!), but tonight I am thrilled to share my new skincare routine.

I have always struggled with my skin. I’ve tried everything from Accutane to Proactive and nothing has really helped. While the constant breakouts have subsided to occasional flare ups, I am now left to deal with the aftermath… dark spots. When I turned 30, I decided enough was enough- it was time to step up my skincare game. After a lot of research, I decided to give Philosophy a try and purchased Purity and MicroDelivery for cleansing and Renewed Hope in a Jar. I love how rich and creamy Philosophy products are and they did wonders to smooth out my skin. I really credit Philosophy with stopping the breakouts. I have been using them for almost a year now and while I still love them, I have been on the hunt for something a little more natural and a little more powerful on those stubborn spots. I found my match with Lush!

I had always passed by Lush stores in the mall and passed them by thinking that they were just a fancy Bath and Body Works. It wasn’t until my mother-in-law asked me to stop in with her. A friend of hers had mentioned that she just started using a Lush moisturizer and that it was a miracle cream. Obviously, I had to learn more!

Lush is know for fresh, handmade cosmetics that use natural ingredients and organic ingredients to bring out the best in your skin. My MIL ended up purchasing Gorgeous. At the nearly $90 price tag, I was skeptical, but the salesgirl gave me a generous sample to try. After a week, I was hooked. It is the top of the link moisturizer for Lush and uses organic ingredients like orange blossom honey, extra virgin olive and wheat germ oils that leave my skin feeling soft and matte, the perfect mix for my combination skin!

Gorgeous

I also received a sample of Movis, a spongy face soap full of wheat-based ingredients and rich in vitamin E to help skin look smooth and radiant. Like its namesake, there are whole wheat breadcrumbs to help exfoliate and get rid of any dead skin. I immediately felt a difference the first time I used this product and it has quickly become one of my favorite products- ever! The vitamin E has already started to fade some of my newer spots and I will continue to use this to reap all of the benefits. I have high hopes for this one.

movis

Another cleanser I love is Dark Angels. Made with black sugar and charcoal, this cleanser exfoliates and absorbs excess oils. This one is recommended for oily or acne-prone skin because its rhassoul mud base deep cleans to prevent breakouts. This product has been amazing for brightening my skin. It has never looked fresher.

dark angels

Full of Grace is an unexpected favorite. It is solid moisturizing serum that is full of hydrating tropical butters, calming chamomile and antioxidant mushroom extract. It is amazing for scaring and adds brightens skin. I had never used a serum like this before and now I can’t imagine not using one.

full of grace

I love a good mask. Lush makes what they call, “Fresh Face Masks.” True to form, they are homemade masks, like you would make in your own kitchen. As such, they need to be refrigerated and unfortunately are not sold online. They also have a shelf life of around 3 weeks (depending on the mask)to make sure you are getting the best out of all of the ingredients. I am currently using Brazened Honey,  made with free-range eggs, honey, lime, almonds and warm spices to brighten (are you sensing a theme here?) and exfoliated draw out impurities. It is an amazing deep clean! honey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During my last visit to my local Lush store, I received a sample of Ocean Salt. This is arguably one of Lush’s most widely used products and I can see why. Made with fresh avocado, coconut, sea salt, lime, and vodka (yes, vodka!) to unclog pores and freshen skin.I will be going back for a full size version soon!

 

ocean

Well there you have it! These have been on heavy rotation on my vanity these days. What are your favorite Lush products?

 

Honest Review Part II

Funny story… when I ordered my first Honest Beauty Bundle set my shipment frequency to every 8 weeks. 4 weeks later, I received my second Bundle! I cannot say enough good things about Honesty Beauty and could not wait to receive more products to try.

Just to review, my first bundle, reviewed here, included 2 cream foundations in camel and almond, everything primer, demi lip crayon in honey kiss, lip gloss in dream kiss, and the elevated hydration replenishing mist. The second time around I have several new products to share with you.

Tinted Moisturizer

First up is the Everything Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free SFP 20. While I love the cream foundations, I also wanted to try this formula. One of the advantages of the tinted moisturizer is that it has SPF 20. We are getting ready to go on vacation and SPF will be very necessary. This product is pretty thick for a tinted moisturizer and has a medium coverage. I applied it using my fingers and blending with my beauty blender. I chose the color Praline and it was a perfect match for my skin. On a side note, I have been very happy with the color matching help Honest Beauty offers. So far I have not had to return any products for color issues and my skin tone is usually difficult to match. Anyway, the coverage was great and is an easy alternative to the cream foundation. This is my new go-to for easy weekend and “no makeup” makeup.

I also tried the luminizing powders for the first time. I ordered colors Dusk and Midnight as part of my bundle. I really like the baked formula and the colors are very nice. I am still trying to figure out the best way to use it. It is not shimmery, but adds a nice glow. The Honest Beauty website offers great video tutorials and I followed the instructions in the Sunny Makeup look video when applying the powders. I started with dusk reflection by applying it to the hollows of my cheeks, on the sides of my nose, along my jawline, and around my hairline. I also added midnight reflection on the top of my cheekbones, down my nose, on my cupids bow (between my nose and upper lip), and around the outside of my eyes. I really like the look. It is a little more done than I’m used to, but it would be great for a night out with the girls or date night with G.

concealer

The Concealer Duo may be a Godsend for the dark circles that have moved in under my eyes. Again, the color match is perfect. The two colors will helpful as my skintone changes with the seasons. Right now the lighter shade helps cover blemishes and the darker shade is great for the shadows. Honestly, the foundation formulas have great coverage and I don’t need to use the concealer everyday, but when I am looking for a truly flawless face, this does the trick.

kind kiss

Hands down, my favorite Honest Beauty products are the crayons and lip glosses. The honey kiss crayon is the perfect nude lip shade and is the perfect base for any gloss. With this order, I received Kind Kiss. The gloss is just as described, a sheer, apricot pink. It tend to stick to the nudes when it comes to my lips, but this is a fun color that will fit nicely into my collection.

We are heading out on vacation next week, so of course I had to add the Travel Kit. The kit (only available as a bundle add-on) comes with a travel case, cleanser, replenishing mist, oil free SPF, balancing moisturizer, and Magic Balm. I will admit that I was a little disappointed that the products were so small. The cleanser, SPF, and moisturizer were the same size as the samples in the trial kit. On the bright size the replenishing mist is a great size and refillable and the magic balm was full sized. The case is super cute and will fit great in my carryon luggage.

papers

I also ordered the Blotting papers. Haven’t tried them yet, but will let you know how they go!

I am really happy with all of my new makeup and Honest Beauty is quickly taking over my drawers and countertops. I am looking forward to trying out the eye products and have already added the eyeliner, brow filler, and eyeshadow quad to my next bundle. I really want to add the mascara too and stalk the website waiting for it to come back in stock. Have you tried Honest Beauty yet? Let me know what you think!!

An Honest Review

 

Happy New Year! Like many others, I like to start the new year off with resolutions. One of my resolutions for 2016 is to incorporate more natural/organic products in my life. Since having Dash, G and I have been very vigilant to make sure he eats the healthiest foods and uses the safest products. In 2016 we are vowing to treat ourselves as well as we treat Dash.

As a first step, I am cleaning out my makeup bag. Last year Jessica Alba expanded her Honest empire to include beauty products. I tried a few when they first came out and really liked the quality so last week I ordered my first bundle. Similar to the Honest Company diaper bundles, the Honest Beauty bundles are subscription-based. You can pick 3 products for $50 and add up to 5 more at 25% off. You can cancel your bundle at anytime, but it the cheapest way to try the line. Also, there is a great 365 day return policy and they have a good faith exchange policy. If you don’t love a product, you can do a free exchange (they will send you a return label) and they will send out your new product right away. Overall, I am very happy all of my new makeup. Here are my thoughts on the products I received:

Everything Primer:

primer

This product is what initially drew me into this product line. I like using a primer to even everything out and to provide a bit of a buffer between my skin and makeup. This product did not disappoint. It does exactly what it says- smooths skin and makes pores less noticeable. It also has a subtle golden glow which is great if you want to wear it alone. I require a bit more coverage, but it could be great for those days when you don’t want to wear make up. I will definitely be buying this one again.

Elevated Hydration Mist:

mist

This is the first mist I have tried. I like the idea of a moisturizer and toner in one and this product also has a light, spa-like fragrance to it. I used this after cleansing and before the primer. I feel like it helped balance my skin and provided the perfect amount of hydration- I did not need to use an additional moisturizer. You can also spritz this throughout the day for a quick pick-me-up. I really like this product, but I think it is a nice to have, not a need to have.

Everything Cream Foundation

I have used tinted moisturizers almost exclusively for the last few years so I was hesitant to try a cream based foundation. Sometimes they can be too heavy or cakey. One of my favorite features of the Honest Beauty website is that it offers pictures of how the products look on women of various skin tones and ethnicities. I found myself to be in-between  “Almond” (darker shade) and “Camel” (lighter shade). I purchased both intending to keep the one that was the closet match but ended up keeping both and blending to create my perfect shade. I use the lighter shade near the center of my face, the darker shade around the edges and blend using a beauty blender. My skin tends to be oily and sometimes gets shiny throughout the day. After wearing the foundation for an entire day, my skin still looked fresh. I am very happy with my decision to create my own custom color and love the quality of this foundation.

Magic Balm:

magic balm

This all-purpose beauty balm was one of the first products I tried. I was initially excited about its versatility- you can use it really anywhere, but I have to admit that I am not always sure what to do with it. I think that because it does not have a specific function, I tend to over look it in my makeup bag. I always like it when I do remember to use it, but that is not very often. Verdict is still out on this one.

Truly Kissable Lip Crayons:

The line has two kinds of lip crayons, a demi-matte which offers a lipstick- like consistency and a sheer crayon with a lighter, hint color. I do not like to wear a lot of color on my lips. I am always on the hunt for the perfect nude and the “honey kiss” color (left) is my absolute favorite. Sometimes crayons are dry and end up creasing or cracking. This one has a great texture and is very moisturizing.  It is great alone and also as a base for lip gloss. I was not as impressed with the “blossom kiss” color. It did not do much for my lips. It is a beautiful color, but too sheer for me. I ended up exchanging this for another “honey kiss” crayon so I can keep one at home and one in my purse.

Lip Gloss:

I LOVE these glosses. They layer so well over my beloved “honey kiss” lip crayon and come in beautiful shades. “Generous Kiss” on the left is a beautiful pink-nude and “Dream Kiss” is a true nude gloss. The gloss is smooth, non-sticky, and it lasts- the lip gloss trifecta! I can’t wait to try “Creative Kiss,” a grape-nude, and “Kind Kiss.” an apricot-pink, in my next bundle!

Speaking of my next bundle, I am excited to try out more products soon. I opted for delivery every 8 weeks, but might move up my next bundle so I can get my hands on the tinted moisturizer, luminizing powder, and concealer. Let me know what you’ll be trying!

XO,

Andrea

 

Holiday Gift Picks from A-Z

The most wonderful time of year is here! The holidays (shopping) season is upon us! I really love everything about the holidays: the music, shopping (sales!), festive decorations, and food… lots and lots of food. There really is nothing I dislike. I don’t even mind trying to find parking at insanely busy malls or longer than usual checkout lines. To celebrate the first shopping weekend of the season, I am sharing my A-Z shopping guide. It includes items from my wish list as well as thinks I am hoping to pick up for family and friends. Enjoy 🙂

Adele: 25 is Adele’s first album in 4 years and it is epic! I have been listening non-stop since it came out last week.

A for Adele

Personalized Book: I picked up one of the for Dash and one for his cousin Xander for Christmas this year!

b is for book

Clarisonic Mia: I use this religiously every day. Great gift for mom, sister or friend!

clarisonic

Denim: Greg is in need of of a denim upgrade this year. I think this pair will be his new favorite!

denim

Eyegoodies: This pair of Karen Walker Super Duper Strength Sunglasses has been on my wish list for a while now.

eyegoodies

Burt’s Bees Family Jammies: Who doesn’t love being matchy-matchy?! These topped Oprah’s favorite things list this year. I picked up the gray ones in the perfect sizes for the whole family.

family jammies

Gloves: Some how I always lose one. This year, I will keep an extra close eye on this gorgeous pair!

gloves

Hope for the Holidays: I am a new fan of Philosophy’s Hope line. This gift set is a great way to try out a few of my favorite products.

hope

Sonix iPhone Case: I got a beautiful new rose gold 6s iPhone a couple months ago and would love to top it with this beautiful case.

phone case

J.Crew Everything: J. Crew is outfitting my family for the holidays. Here are a few pieces we picked up. PS- J. Crew is having a great 30% off sale on most items and J.Crew Factory has everything priced at 50% off. Stock up!

 

IKEA Play Kitchen: Dash loves playing in our kitchen so we just might get him one of his very own this year.

kitchen

Living Proof No Frizz Set: This is the absolute best product I have found for my hair. This gift set is a great way to try it out.

living proof

Freshly Picked Moccs: Dash may or may not have 10 pairs already but we are definitely adding to his collection for Christmas. Freshly Picked just had their annual Black Tuesday sale and I am excited to get some great deals from some of our other favorite mock shops like Sweet n’ Swag and Bare Soles Moccasins.

moccs

Novelty Tees: I love shopping small and have found some awesome shops like Wild World Clothing, Trilogy Design Co, and Slyfox Threads to outfit Dash. I have already picked up these two new tees and look forward to scooping up a few more during the holiday sales.

ho ho yo

OMG Bag: I have mentioned this beauty before, but it is the absolute best bag for work/travel. I have the army green one, but I have been lusting after this classic black one.

omg

The Mindy Project Pencil Set: These are sold out, but I am obsessed with this show and these beautiful pencils that feature some of Mindy’s best quotes. “A best friend isn’t a person. It’s a tier,” “Life, liberty & chicken wings,” and “love me in a way I can show on Instagram” are a few of my favorites! I will be stalking this store until they are restocked!

pencils

Quilted Boots: I have had the same pair of Sorel boots for the last 3 winters. They are still in excellent shape but they could use some new friends in the closet.

boots

RH Baby and Child Robes and Slippers: These are just adorable! I can’t wait to wrap Dash up in the charcoal one.

robe and slippers

May Designs Stationery: I picked up personalized stationary for my sister in laws this year. Such a fun gift to give and receive!

stationery

Land of Nod Teepee: I can’t wait to get Dash his own little hide away!

teepee

Unique Picks: Items like the Toothbrush-WringerJ.Crew pocket dial, and Macaron Kit are great choices for those on your list that are hard to shop for.

Vintage Honey Shop Necklaces: This is a great gift for new moms. They are also great for baby showers and Mother’s Day.

vintage honey shop

Apple Watch: I have been eyeing this since it came out and decided this  beautiful rose gold one will go great with my new phone!

apple watch.jpg

XX XX Infant/Toddler Scarf: Mama Sew Happy has the coolest scarfs for stylish tots. This is the perfect accessory for Dash’s holiday looks.

scarf

Yeti Tee: Yetis are the new reindeer this holiday season 🙂

yeti

Zara Must Haves: By now you probably know about my love affair with Zara Kids. I suspect a few of these items will end up under the tree.

 

Happy Shopping Everyone!!

Thankful

In honor of Thanksgiving, I am so excited to share what I am most thankful for- my family! Greg and I moved to Boston shortly after we got married in the summer of 2010. Living away from both of our extended families, we have really worked hard to build our own little family unit. Last year, our family grew to include Dash and together with our pup, we have a happy little family of four. Things are not always “Instagram perfect,” but I would not change a thing. Every year we take fall family pictures to create our annual holiday photo card and this year we have some awesome pictures to share with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving from our little family to yours!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

3 day Jus Cleanse

Hard to believe it has been over a month since I last wrote. October is my craziest month at work. I work in employee engagement and October is our month of service for our employees. The month is filled with signing up and deploying volunteers into the communities where we live and work. Overall the month was a huge success, but it was extremely busy, not to mention stressful! I don’t know about you but when I am stressed out, I eat… and usually not healthy stuff.

Now that it is November I am committed to kicking my diet back into gear. Since college I have been a huge fan of juice cleanses to reboot my metabolism and get back on track. My go to cleanse of choice is usually the Master Cleanse, but I decided to go with a 3 day juice cleanse by Jus by Julie.

3day-shots_1_6

Day 1: Other than missing solids, it went pretty well. The juices were surprisingly delicious. Day 1 included:

  • Morning Glory- kale, lettuce, spinach, celery, apple, banana, strawberry, rice milk
  • Spicy pomegranate- lemon, pomegranate, cheyenne pepper, maple syrup (similar to the master cleanse with a little twist)
  • Sweet Spin- kale, spinach, pineapple, mango, rice milk
  • Chia Berry- Chia seeds, strawberry, lemon, pomegranate
  • Matcha Chia- matcha, chia seeds, apple, mango, cinnamon, almond milk
  • X-treme Greens- hemp seeds, spinach, kale, orange, lime, pineapple

Overall, it was extremely satisfying. I was also battling a cold and I think all of the juice and antioxidants (combined with a few meds!) helped to relieve some of my symptoms.

Day 2: This day went pretty smoothly, with the exception of G making super yummy food that I will hope to enjoy as leftovers in a couple days when I can eat again! On day 2, I had:

  • Morning Glory- kale, lettuce, spinach, celery, apple, banana, strawberry, rice milk
  • Spicy lemonade- lemon, cheyenne pepper, maple syrup (exactly like the master cleanse)
  • Sweet Spin- kale, spinach, pineapple, mango, rice milk
  • Chia Berry- Chia seeds, strawberry, lemon, pomegranate
  • Matcha Chia- matcha, chia seeds, apple, mango, cinnamon, almond milk
  • X-treme Greens- hemp seeds, spinach, kale, orange, lime, pineapple

The only new one in the bunch was spicy lemonade and despite being a believer in the master cleanse, that was the hardest one to drink. I would have to say that my favorite is Chia Berry with Sweet Spin and X-treme Greens rounding out the top three.

Today is Day 3. The scale has moved a little and I am hopeful that this little detox is the jump start I need to get my diet back on track. I started the cleanse on Saturday so today is my first day “cleansing” in the office. Luckily today was a pretty busy day so I really did not miss my missed meals. While I think I could keep going, I am thankful that tomorrow I can enjoy a meal that I can chew :). Today’s juices were:

  • Morning Glory- kale, lettuce, spinach, celery, apple, banana, strawberry, rice milk
  • Spicy lemonade- lemon, cheyenne pepper, maple syrup (exactly like the master cleanse)
  • Sweet Spin- kale, spinach, pineapple, mango, rice milk
  • Chia Berry- Chia seeds, strawberry, lemon, pomegranate
  • PB & Jus- peanuts, strawberry, banana, rice milk
  • X-treme Greens- hemp seeds, spinach, kale, orange, lime, pineapple

IMG_7448

I am writing this post as I sip my last juice. I am proud for challenging myself to complete this cleanse and look forward to a healthier diet… with the occasional cheeseburger of course!

Try your own Jus by Julie cleanse here or take advantage of this awesome groupon deal here.

Fall in New England

Happy first day of fall! My favorite season is officially upon us! There is nothing I love more than visiting pumpkin patches, picking apples, sipping hot cider, and baking pear-apple crisp (seriously, this is the only dessert I bake well). Here is our fall itinerary and scroll down for my crisp recipe!

Fall Family Activity List:

  1. Apple picking, hayride, and corn maze at Bolton Spring Farms
  2. Pumpkin carving while watching Hocus PocusCoraline or the Nightmare Before Christmas
  3. Wine tasting and picnic at Nashoba Valley Winery
  4. Baking halloween cookies with cream cheese frosting and candy corn toppings
  5. Hikes in the Fells Reserve
  6. Chili Cook-off in Portsmouth, NH
  7. Spend a weekend at Acadia National Park
  8. Boston by Foot Halloween walking tour in Beacon Hill
  9. Hocus Pocus Tour in Salem, MA
  10. Trick or Treating with Dash in Charlestown

Oatmeal Apple Pear Crisp 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups apples (approx. 2 large apples)
  • 2 cups pears (approx. 3 large pears)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup water

For the Crisp:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine, melted

Directions:

  1. While peeling apples and pears, sprinkle with lemon juice so they do not brown
  2. Place apples and pears in a greased shallow 9″ square baking pan
  3. Sprinkle 2 tbsp brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and water
  4. Combine remaining dry ingredients in a separate bow; add melted butter, mixing until crumbly
  5. Sprinkle crumb mixture on top of apples and pears
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until fruit is tender
  7. Serve with vanilla ice cream