Seersucker Sass

Monday, May 22, 2017


Confession - I love beauty samples.  I have sensitive skin, so I love the opportunity to try something out for a couple of weeks before committing.  It's so frustrating to try something once in a store, love it, and then get it home and immediately have some kind of allergy to it.  

One of the things I love most about trying skin care samples is that I can see how it works in my beauty routine.  If I'm at Ulta playing around with moisturizers, I may find one I love.  But what if I get it home and it just feels too greasy when paired with the plethora of products that I use every night?

In today's post, I'm sharing reviews of nine of the products I've sampled lately!  Just to let y'all know, I have sensitive skin, and I would define my skin type as combination, with some parts being super oily and some parts being super dry.

MAC Prep + Prime Skin ($31)    I didn't love this.  I wanted to, and I kept trying to, but I didn't.  It gave my skin a weird sheen, similar to how I look when I'm sick.

Received this sample via Nordstrom
Would I purchase?  Nope.  I've had much better experiences with this primer.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Poreless Finish Airbrush Powder ($29)  I really liked this powder!  It didn't eliminate my large pores, but it did minimize their appearance.  However, I have a ton of unused translucent powder.

Received this sample via Ulta (gift with purchase)
Would I purchase?  I can't justify purchasing more loose translucent powder.  However, I have considered purchasing the compact version of this product to carry in my purse.

Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet ($39)  I love this stuff.  The "sorbet" formula is great for my skin type.  It's not too heavy and it's not too light.  It soaks in just enough, and it leaves my dry skin feeling softer than usual.  I'm weird about scented products on my face, but this one is lightly fragrant and smells wonderful.  A little goes a long way; this sample lasted about a month.

Received this sample via Sephora (birthday gift)
Would I purchase?  I almost did.  But I started trying a new moisturizer sample after this one, and now I'm a little torn between the two.

Peter Thomas Roth Mega Rich Body Cleanser ($20)  This stuff is amazing.  The scent is clean, refreshing, and really wakes you up... without smelling like a citrus scented home cleaning product.  It lathers nicely, and I give it bonus points for being a unisex scent.

Received this sample via my stay at the Hilton Downtown Nashville
Would I purchase?  Already have!  For reference, the bottle contains half as much product as most Philosophy shower gels.

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream ($52)  I loved this gel moisturizer.  It was light and soaked immediately into my skin.  While using this, my skin was the clearest that it had been in quite some time.  My only frustration is that it didn't do much for the drier parts of my skin, so I had to layer on a sleeping cream in the evenings to be sure my entire face was properly moisturized.  A little goes a long way with this product; I used the sample for about a month.

Received this sample via my monthly subscription to PLAY! by Sephora
Would I purchase?  I almost did!  I went to order via Nordstrom (I'm a cardholder and I like buying everything possible there for points), but it was backordered until mid-June.  I've decided to sample one more moisturizer before trying to decide between this and the Caudalie sorbet.

Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover ($11)  I didn't find this product to be anything special.  It worked okay, but I don't use many waterproof products, so it's not necessary.  I typically use coconut oil to remove my eye makeup, and I had better results with the coconut oil.  I'll keep this product just in case I try out a waterproof product, but I doubt it will get much use.

Received this sample via my monthly subscription to PLAY! by Sephora
Would I purchase?  No.  If I needed a waterproof makeup remover, I could purchase one at the drugstore for much cheaper.  I just wasn't that impressed with the formula.

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream ($48)  I already had an eye cream when I received this sample, but I gave it a try because I love IT Cosmetics so much.  Y'all, this eye cream is amazing.  A little bit of this goes a long way; I've been using this sample for about three weeks now, and there is still a good bit left.  The packaging advertises that you'll notice a change in your skin after one use, which I didn't believe, but... surprise!  There was actually a change!  (I wish I would have taken before and after photos now.  Haha.)  The product has a bluish hue, which makes your eyes look brighter and whiter.  On days that I know I'm skipping face makeup, I'll apply this in the mornings, as well.

Received this sample via QVC with my purchase of IT Cosmetics Brow Power & Anti-Aging concealer bundle
Would I purchase?  Yes!  Hoping to find it in a bundle on QVC, but if not, I will suck it up and pay full price, because it is worth it!

Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil in Black ($21)  My blonder hair has left my face looking a little washed out, so I've been meaning to pick up a new eyeliner to help with that.  (I know that sounds crazy, but my eyes have looked very pink lately, and eyeliner helps for some reason!)  After trying this, I will stick to liquid liner.  It didn't go on very smoothly and was kind of chalky.

Received this sample via my monthly subscription to PLAY! by Sephora
Would I purchase?  No.  This product was a little too high maintenance for my liking.

Diorshow Maximizer 3D Lash Primer ($30)  Following the removal of my lash extensions, I was desperate to look like I actually had lashes again.  This stuff was a lifesaver.  It basically creates little white tubes around your lashes, and the tube extends beyond your natural lash.  You apply like a mascara primer, then immediately coat with your regular mascara, then move on to your other eye.  It's imperative to apply the product immediately to get the best results.

Received this sample via Nordstrom
Would I purchase?  Already have!  I absolutely love it.  It's a little pricy, but I imagine it would work well paired with just about any mascara, as it does the heavy lifting and the secondary mascara mostly just provides color.

What do you think - see anything you'd like to try?  What have you sampled lately?

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mother's Day Gift & Experience Ideas

This year, I was really determined to make an awesome gift guide for Mother's Day.  I did polling to see what y'all's budgets were, and I perused pages upon pages of products on Nordstrom, Amazon, Uncommon Goods, Draper James, and QVC.

I think the reason that I am struggling so hard to make a gift guide this year is that my family is focusing on experiences this year.  We all have so much stuff, so instead of adding another item to the pile, we're going to spend Mother's Day with my mom.  She wants to go to a local museum, so my brother and I are planning to cover the tickets and lunch.  I realize that some of y'all may be in the same boat this year, so I'm sharing a list of experiences.  I totally realize that experiences aren't everyone's gift of choice and aren't always possible, so I've also included three gift options that I think your momma will love, and they're under $50!

Gift Options

Arrangement from BouqsLast week, I learned that all flower companies are not created equally.  Bouqs came highly recommended to me from multiple people in my life, but I didn't use it because I felt like paying for a vase on top of a $50 arrangement was ridiculous.  Instead, I used Teleflora, paid basically the same amount, got an arrangement that didn't look like what I ordered, and was met with horrible customer service.  I learned my lesson, and I will order from Bouqs next time.  If you order from this link, you'll get a $10 credit that can be used to upgrade your blooms or for a free vase!

L'Occitane Nourishing Favorites • I love L'Occitane products because they feel luxurious and smell amazing.  If you're looking for an "every day upgrade," give this to your momma.  It's a sampler, so the hand cream and lotions are perfect for tossing in her handbag or gym bag.

One in a million necklace • This necklace is absolute darling, and the messaging behind it is even sweeter.  It comes in gold and silver.

Mother Knows Best trinket trayThis trinket tray is only $18, and shipping is free!  Order this, pair it with some of mom's favorite candy or a handwritten list of lessons you learned from your momma.

IT Cosmetics Five Piece Travel Brush SetWhen was the last time you bought new makeup brushes?!  This little set is only $30!  It's great if your mom travels a lot or carries a makeup bag with her.

Gift Experiences

Museum Passes • Including this because it's my family's gift of choice this year!  These can be expensive at retail value, so be sure to keep an eye out for coupons, AAA discounts, promotions, etc.

Family Photo Shoot • This one may be a little more difficult under $50, but if you have siblings or split the cost of the gift with someone else, this is an awesome option!  My Christmas gift to my mom was a gift card for a family photo shoot and canvas print that I won in a silent auction.  (PS - If you're bidding at a silent auction, be sure to check into what you are actually getting.  I was fortunate, but I have heard horror stories about the purchase of an affordable photo session but having to pay more to access the photos.  Yikes!)

Spa Day • Another gift that's not quite $50, but is a great option if you can split the cost with a sibling!  Mom works hard, and even a small, more affordable service is sure to make her happy.

Day at the Movies • My mom loves seeing movies, but rarely makes time to go.  Take mom to see the movie of her choice, order one of those date combos with an enormous popcorn and two massive drinks, and go all out.

Flower Planting •  If your mom loves her flowerbed, buy some plants that would work well and offer to help her plant them.  Or work together to start an easy herb garden!

Girl's Night Out • When was the last time you had a girl's night out with your mom?  To keep it in the price range, keep an eye on Groupon and restaurant specials.  Or find a Happy Hour with endless apps!

Hope that you found this post helpful!  I want to hear from you - what are you giving your mom for Mother's Day this year?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Monthly Coffee Date

Happy May, y'all!  Long time, no talk.  It feels like I haven't written anything in forever.  I have been trying to get in a better rhythm of writing, but my goodness, it is so hard with other obligations. Kudos to y'all who manage blogging, a demanding job, and community involvement.  Send me your secrets please!  It feels so good to sit down and catch up with y'all.  I can't wait to hear what you're up to :)

Current coffee of choice • Iced lavender latte

Good news •  Thank y'all so much for your kind words regarding my biopsies.  Everything came back benign, and I am so relieved.  There has just been good news all around lately, and I am praising God for it.

New favorite snack •  I'm probably late to the game on this one, but y'all, Halo Top's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is everything.  I crave it constantly.  I don't count calories, but I feel better about my snack of choice knowing that there are only 360 calories in a pint.

Track meet season •  My brother is a runner, and my spring basically revolves around his meets.  I'm such a nerd, so I am constantly getting on Milesplit and pulling analytics on him, his teammates, and competing teams and scoping out the best places at the stadium to take photos and video.  Last weekend, my family helped throw a signing party for his best friend / teammate, and it was just the coolest experience.  

Essential oils •  Did y'all know that you can use certain essential oils on dogs?  I have been so pleased by my personal results that I've started using Young Living's Animal Care products on Francis.  She outsmarts me when it comes to doggy medications, so being able to use oils for things like storm anxiety and itching has been a big help!

Chop chop •  I cut six inches off of my hair and touched the blonde up.  I feel like a new person!  On the mornings that I wash my hair, I actually get up, wash it, condition it, and then blow dry it.  When I had long hair, I think I used a blow dryer once a month, and that is being generous!  On day two, I use a curling wand for fun waves, and on day three (I can actually get three days out of my hair now!), I play it by ear.  I can actually run my fingers through my hair now, and that is exciting.  I'm on the hunt for the perfect product for beachy waves, so please send those recommendations my way!

Shopping list •  Nordstrom triple points will be here tomorrow, and I have an entire list of goodies that I'm purchasing at that time so that I can take advantage of those points!  Haha. I fell in love with this shower gel while staying at my favorite hotel in Nashville, and I fell in love with this moisturizer when I tried it in the PLAY by Sephora box; I can't wait to order both of them!  Also planning on picking up a few goodies for my Momma during the sale.

Please please please tell me what's new with you!  How's work? School?  Tried any new products lately that I need to check out?  Keep me in the loop :)

Happy Tuesday, sweet friends!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How to Pack for a Long Weekend Trip

We're quickly approaching the season of long weekends and summer Fridays, and I cannot wait.  Spring kicks off a season of travels for me, but I do most of my traveling in the summer.  Whether it's spending Labor Day weekend on the lake in South Carolina or heading to Indiana for Father's Day weekend, I love the feeling of packing a bag and hitting the road.

In the past, I've been an overpacker to the point that it was embarrassing.  I traveled with a Vera duffel, a reversible tote filled with makeup and skin care products, my work bag,  and a handbag... for a two night work conference.  Each trip after that, I've worked to pack a little less every single time.  Everyone is different, but here are some tips that really work for me.

1. Start with the right bag.  Then pack multiple smaller bags into this bag.

I carry this bag from Carolina Dandy.  It's a little more sophisticated than the large duffel that I used to carry around, and much easier to maneuver.  It's also roomier than it looks, so you should be able to fit everything you need for a long weekend trip in there!  This bag was perfect for my four day trip to Folly Beach and Charleston, and I can't wait for the adventures it's going to accompany me on this year.

My trick to packing everything in one bag is to use a few smaller bags.  I pack a toiletry bag, my makeup bag, an accessories bag, a shoe bag, and an empty bag for dirty clothes.  It may sound excessive, but when I get home late on a Monday night after a fun weekend, and I'm trying to prepare for a long week ahead, I appreciate knowing exactly where to find my moisturizer and the stud earrings I want to wear to work the next day and being able to dump the dirty laundry bag right into the hamper.

2. Ask yourself "Do I really need this?!"

If you're going on a weekend getaway, are you truly going to apply every serum that you typically apply?  If you're going to spend a weekend at your best friend's place, can you get away with using her shampoo?  Every item that you put into your suitcase not only takes up space and adds weight, but it's one more item that you have to unpack.

3. Pack pieces that are versatile.

I really like to have options, especially when I'm on a trip where I don't have my evenings planned. I love pieces that can be dressed up or down - like fun blouses, chambray button downs, and destroyed denim - because I feel like I have options.

4. Roll your clothing to take up less space.

When I pack a bag, I like to roll my clothing, and stack it along one side of the bag.  When I'm trying to find something, it's easier for me to sort through the little rolls of fabric. If I forgot a dirty laundry bag and there's not something I can repurpose as one, I will roll and stack my dirty clothes on the opposite side of the bag.  If I'm traveling with pieces that can't be rolled (like a blazer), I pack them last and lay them folded in half on top of everything.

I want to hear from you - What are your best tips for packing for a long weekend?

Also, a big thank you to Carolina Dandy for partnering with me on this post.  I only talk about products that I love, and I love this bag.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Blogging 101: Five Programs That Make Blogging Easier

I love blogging.  I love having a creative outlet where I can talk about fashion and beauty and my life to balance out the things I talk about during the workday, like infrastructure and workforce.  However, there are things about blogging that stress me out.

I love to write.  It's the thing about blogging I love the most; give me a topic, and I'll give you 500+ words with a smile on my face.  I wish all parts of blogging came as easily to me as writing does.  But they don't, so through trial and error, I've found ways to make those stressful parts about blogging a little easier.  I'm finally at the point where I can whip up a collage without stressing myself out over it, and I actually enjoy editing photos now.  It's all because of the programs I use.

I'm not saying this is the easiest way for everyone, just that it's what works best for me.  With that being said, here are my favorite programs for bloggers.

Lightroom // Anytime I had to work in Photoshop, I felt panicky.  I would do the "auto tone + auto contrast + auto color" on photos, and every single photo taken in that series would look differently.  Lightoom is so much easier.  I actually use this tutorial, apply those settings to each photo in the series, then tweak them a little if needed.  My photos look better, it takes much less time, and I still have my sanity in tact post-editing.  I think pricing may depend on what Adobe Suite you use, but I pay $10 a month.  (If you're a student, there's a student discount!)

Powerpoint // Another way that I avoid Photoshop.  I know that a lot of bloggers use Photoshop for collages, but I just feel extremely overwhelmed if I'm doing anything besides popping photos into the collage.  Powerpoint makes things like removing the background of a photo so simple, and you can easily save your files as a photo.  (PS - Here's a post about how I make collages in Powerpoint!)  If you don't have the Microsoft Suite, you can get Powerpoint, Word, and Excel for less than $8 a month.

Hootsuite //  If you're unfamiliar with Hootsuite, it's a social media scheduling program.  After I schedule a blog post, I immediately schedule the social media for the post, and then it's done, and I don't have to think about it.  You can utilize features like "autoschedule", which will schedule tweets for times that will have the most impact.  Hootsuite has a paid package, but I had it for a year, and I wasn't impressed, so I just use the free version.  

(PS - I also like Buffer a lot!  Unlike Hootsuite, when you go to schedule a post in Buffer, the photo from the link will automatically pop up.  Buffer also has a "requeue" feature, which allows you to tweet anything you've already tweeted through Buffer again.  The only downside to Buffer is that when you hit the @ sign and start typing a username, it doesn't search for users the way that Hootsuite does.  I use Hootsuite for blogging, and Buffer for my professional social media and the YP account that I run.)

Canva //  Yet another product that helps me to avoid Photoshop.  I'm really bad at design, and I love that Canva has templates that I can just pop things into, and they're already sized for social media.  You can even use color codes to match the brand colors that you use!  This site has made me go from dreading design to actually enjoying it.  The basic plan is free, but the monthly plan is only $8 and I'm definitely considering the investment.

Ahalogy //  Pinterest is the social media for driving traffic to your site.  I use Ahalogy, which allows me to upload my pins, and autoschedules them for me.  (You can schedule them, I just prefer not to.)  Ahalogy also allows me to schedule pins from other Ahalogy users, and Ahalogy users are also sent special sponsored opportunities.  There are other great Pinterest schedulers out there like Boardbooster and Tailwind.  (My friend Jenny is the Pinterest queen, and she has a lot of great articles on her site Confetti Social about different schedulers.)  Ahalogy is a program that is free, but you do have to apply to be part of the network.

Shew, that was a lot! I want to hear from you - which programs do you use to make your life easier?  See any on my list that you want to try out?