What’s In My Bag?

In the spirit of spring cleaning and because I wanted to swap the purse I’ve been carrying around all winter, I thought I’d do a “What’s In My Bag?” post. I love watching these kinds of posts on YouTube because I just find it interesting to know what people carry around with them, what products they use, or what they carry their stuff in. Plus, I’m just nosey… 😉

I needed to clean out my purse, since I couldn’t remember the last time I had done that, but I also am reminded every time I go to the grocery store that I need to carry a bigger purse so I can take my Target grocery/shopping bags with me. (You can save $.05 for every bag you bring for your items, instead of using plastic bags. You don’t have to only use bags you bought from Target, but if you can’t find or don’t have bags, you can buy them for $.99/ea. Plus, if you’re environmentally conscious, it helps with that too…) But even after changing purses, I’m not sure I’ll be able to carry my grocery bags without some reshuffling before my next grocery trip… Since I’m saving up for a designer handbag, the purses I use now are pretty inexpensive, but still great bags! I tend to buy my purses from Target (do you see a theme? I heart Target!) because they have great designs and are affordable. NavyPurse All winter, I’ve been carrying this nifty navy purse that I bought from Target for about $30-40. I like that it has three outside pockets and is open in the center. I like to keep my keys, my phone, pens, and other items that I need to be able to find quickly. NavyPursePocket1 I like to keep my keys and phone (not pictured) accessible in the front pocket. I also like to keep my pens and pencils accessible…and apparently chocolate! I love Sharpie pens, they just have a nice smooth flow of ink and come in a range of colors, plus they don’t bleed through the page. Chuao chocolate is so good! If you haven’t tried it yet, you should. They offer so many unique flavors! Each bar is a little pricey, but the chocolate is high quality, rich, and surprisingly, not high in calories. 😉 NavyPursePocket2 NavyPursePocket3 In the other two pockets, I like to keep my headphones, charger cord, mobile charger, and memory stick easy to reach, especially when I’m in the car and need to charge my phone. My mobile charger is handy for times when I can’t get to an outlet or my car. For whatever reason, I’ve also been carrying around a tape measure. Hey, never hurts to have some tools on hand! NavyPurseTop NavyPurseCenter The center section of my purse holds pretty much everything I could need while out and about:

  1. Blogging notebook for jotting down ideas on the go.
  2. Coupon wallet/folder. This is what I keep all of my coupons in, however I don’t take this to the register with me, since it would take too long to hunt for all the coupons I’d use. These folders are perfect for couponing, they’re cute, durable, and they don’t cost much!
  3. My GorillaPod was a gift from my mother-in-law and it’s helpful for taking steady photos with your phone or camera. It’s a flexible tripod that can wrap around or attach to numerous surfaces while still providing grip to help stabilize your shot.
  4. A lady “always” needs necessities for that time of the month…
  5. Trident gum. I like this container because you don’t have to worry about a wrapper, plus if you want to share with people, there’s a lot more gum in one of these containers than a little packet.
  6. Planner. Find out how I use my planner here.
  7. Password log. I don’t always keep this with me, but it depends on what I’m doing or where I’m going as to whether I need it or not. I know that there are password apps that store your passwords and protect them, however I’m old school and I like to keep our passwords in a booklet.
  8. More gum… I like Orbit, but these packets tend to spill in my purse or get lost.
  9. Granola bars for when I need a boost of energy or I need a snack. Lately I’ve been enjoying Special K bars and the Simply Balanced nut granola bars. They’re good for you and they taste  good!
  10. My wallet. I keep all of my cards, sometimes cash, business cards, gift cards, and always at least one giant paperclip for my coupons. I love that this wallet zips closed so nothing falls out.
  11. Sunglasses case. I keep my sunnies and some lens cleaner in this nifty little case.
  12. This metallic pouch is where I keep all of my little beauty things that could get lost in the bottom of my bag. I’ll show what’s in this pouch in further detail below…
  13. Hand cream. I like to use Bath & Body Works hand creams both for the fragrance and because they soak deep into the skin quickly. My hands tend to dry out easily since I wash my hands a lot, so having lotion on hand is a must for me.
  14. Apparently I need to carry two of a lot of things… I like to always have hand sanitizer in my bag. You never know when there might be gunk you could get on your hands, plus these smell so good! Both of these are also from Bath & Body Works.
  15. Tums Smoothies. This is a nifty travel size that I bought before a trip and I just keep in my purse now and refill it as needed.
  16. I guess I need chocolate on hand at all times… I mentioned these in my February Favorites post. They’re so yummy!
  17. This is the one shopping bag I can fit in my purse right now. I got this at Pier 1 a while back up at the register. I like that this bag folds up to this little size and fits in a little pouch so it stays neat and compact.

TanPurse I decided to switch to a tan purse for spring. This purse is a little bigger, but does not have pockets to help contain like items. So, I decided to add a few more pouches to help keep items together and make them easier to find. Since I’ve been subscribed to Ipsy, I’ve collected a few little makeup bags that have come in handy for organizing my purse items. SilverPouch

  1. Tissues. These are always a good thing to have on hand…
  2. I like to keep these Colgate Wisps in my bag in case I need to brush my teeth while I’m out. You know when you go out to eat and sometimes you feel like you just need to brush your teeth right after? These are perfect for those times.
  3. Dental floss. See above… Dental floss is never a bad idea.
  4. Band-Aid Friction Block Stick. I love this little dude! It looks like a little deodorant stick, but it’s for your feet. It helps prevent blisters from forming when you rub it on areas that you tend to get blisters or when your shoes feel a little tight. This item has saved my feet on long days or late nights when I’m wearing heels!
  5. Nail file. You never know when you might break a nail…
  6. Soap. This is a little nifty packet of lavender soap leaves that I picked up from Pier 1. They’re nice to have when I find myself in a public restroom that’s run out of soap in the dispenser. You can just take out a little sheet of soap, run some water over it in your hands and it foams up!
  7. Powder. I always keep an extra compact of powder in my purse for any necessary touchups I may need while I’m out and about. This is Neutrogena’s Shine Control Powder.
  8. Oil blotting sheets. These are also helpful for touching up your makeup, especially in Oklahoma summers. I like these Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing sheets. The Body Shop also has some nice tea tree oil sheets that work well too!
  9. Lip gloss. Always. Currently I’m carrying around Rimmel’s Show Off Lip Laquer in 101 Celestial. It’s a nice nude/pink shade that has been going with any makeup look I happen to be wearing. The formula is moisturizing and stays on like a lip stain.
  10. Bandaids. It never hurts to have some bandaids… PenPouch ElectronicPouch

I added these two pouches to my bag, since I don’t have any exterior pockets or additional pockets on the inside of my purse. The first pouch holds all of my pens and pencils. The second pouch corrals all of my electronic accessories and tools.

So that’s pretty much it! What essentials do you carry in your purse or bag?

What kind of purse do you like to carry?

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March Makeover – Week 3 Progress Recap!

We made it halfway through March! This was another busy and productive week. Even though this week, most of these projects didn’t get done or posted on Instagram before midnight each night, the perfectionist in me is learning to give myself grace and not beat myself up about it. To be honest, my day doesn’t end at midnight…but it also doesn’t start until about lunchtime. 🙂 #LEOlife #paralleluniverse  So here’s how the week panned out:

3/15: Downsize clothing and put away for seasonal storage if necessary // Purge purses and handbags
I had already gone through my clothing and somewhat downsized it and organized it, so the seasonal storage wasn’t really necessary this go round. So, I focused on going through all of my purses and handbags. I ended up having about seven to give away and the rest I was able to organize and store neatly in my closet. I didn’t take a picture of how they really looked in my closet beforehand, but let’s just say all of my purses now are up off the floor and easily accessible. I’m working on a “What’s In My Bag?” post coming soon, so stay tuned!

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3/16: Get crafty and make something useful (instead of buying home decor, make it!) // Purge board games and candles
This was quite the fragrant day! I discovered that all together, I had 71 candles stashed around my house. SEVENTY-ONE! I had apparently been collecting a stockpile from all my Bath & Body Works sales shopping… I was able to whittle my collection down and sort out the half burned and never burned candles. I tossed out the used up candles (except for one or two, which you’ll see why further down in the post) and now can easily store all of my candles to use. I think I’ll need to put myself on a candle spending freeze at least until I can get through most of these… *Goes and lights a candle 😉
I also went through all of our board games, puzzles, and playing cards. I had forgotten how many fun group games we had! We’re going to have to schedule some game nights with some friends soon. 🙂

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3/17: Finish useful craft project // Purge desk
Since I’ve been slowly working on our home office, thankfully this day wasn’t too bad. I was able to get our desk cleared off, organized, and clean for hubby to use while he studies or for when I do any paperwork.
I also finished up the useful home decor project I had started the day before. I made a cleaning chart to use throughout the week. Using a photo frame that I already had, I wrote the daily and weekly cleaning tasks on some blank stationery and framed it. I use an Expo marker to mark off tasks for each day and can wipe them off to use over and over. I hung it our hallway so it’s not just out where everyone can see, but still where I’ll see it everyday as I do stuff around the house!

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3/18: Recycle by finding new uses for old things // Purge bills
This task took a while, but it’s FINALLY done! All of my filing is finally finished! This is a big deal for me, because I’ve been trying to get through our combined files since we got married (four years ago), but with our busy schedules and when I worked outside the home, I wasn’t able to get it all done. It feels so nice to be able to find paperwork whenever we need it. I know, I sound like a nerd, but there’s just something about having things in order that let’s me be able to relax and have peace of mind – especially around tax season!
I found a new use for some of those old used up candles I went through earlier in the week! I cleaned out the wax and took off the labels to use the glass canister for a cotton pad storage solution in our bathroom. At first I wasn’t sure how to best clean the wax out, but after a little research, I followed Ingrid Nilsen‘s method. You can check out her video here. Her channel is pretty upbeat and fun to watch too, if you every need a bright and cheery pick me up for the day! I’m thinking I may need to make some makeup brush holders like she made in her video sometime…
P.S. Mahogany Teakwood candles from Bath & Body Works are probably the best candle scent in the world, in my opinion! Jonathan thinks they smell like the mall…but that’s fine with me! 😉

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3/19: Purge nail polish
Thursday’s task was to go through all my nail polish… Now, for a person who only consistently wears nail polish on her toes, I don’t know how I ended up with this much nail polish! Looks like I need to start giving myself a manicure every now and then. I was able to weed out a few colors that just weren’t my style, but I still ended up with quite a few colors. I store all of my polishes in a drawer, since that’s the most convenient place for me, so a while back I had come up with the idea to use a q-tip to paint the tops of all my polishes the color that was in the bottle so I could see colors easier without having to go through every single shade to find the one I was looking for… I have a few stragglers that I need to do this to, but overall, it’s been a very helpful little trick.
What’s your favorite nail color for spring?

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3/20: Purge spices
Did you know spices expire? Apparently I didn’t… I went through all of my spices and found several had to be tossed because they had expired or lost their taste. After a little research, I learned that on average, ground spices only last about 3-4 years, of course it ultimately depends on the spice and whether it’s ground or whole. I was able to pair down quite a few spices and figure out what I really use and need to replace. I also had been storing my spices on two separate sides of my kitchen, so with a little rearranging, I was able to get all of my spices in a more convenient area for when I’m cooking. Now I just need to go through my recipes and spice things up a bit… 😉 Here’s a handy link for how long kitchen spices typically last

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3/21: Week 3 Progress Recap // Purge tupperware
Tada! We’ve reached today’s task. Today was pretty easy, I didn’t need to throw anything out and just had to rearrange a few things. I honestly don’t use plasticware all that much, since I rarely cook large meals that require leftovers. Plus, I personally don’t like leftovers, I know, I’m weird. But for the times that we do end up with leftovers or need to bring a dish to a family or holiday function, I love these Lock & Lock plasticware pieces! My husband’s sweet grandmother has been helping me build a nice collection of these sturdy containers and they are the best I’ve ever used!

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All in all, this was a pretty productive week, but not too overwhelming. My house is feeling cleaner and I feel like I’m able to find things a lot easier. I’m being reminded of how blessed we are and despite our spending freeze, I’m finding that there’s not much that we truly need to buy. I’m hoping we can keep up this momentum of living on less, both financially and with all of our “stuff.”

How was your week?
Random question for this week:
What is your favorite flower to plant in your front yard and why? I’m wanting to gather ideas… 😉

February Favorites!

No, I didn’t forget about my favorites post for February… I know this favorites post is a little late (now that we’re halfway through March!), but with my March Makeover, I’ve been so busy! Even though February was a short month, I found a few favorites that I enjoyed throughout the month… So, better late than never, here we go!

Products

2015-03-10 12.17.27So when I go grocery shopping, I like to carry my coupons that I plan on using with me for reference. It used to be a hassle trying to juggle all these pieces of paper, my phone, and picking out items in the store, but I finally found something to help keep all my coupons together! I found these great giant paper clips at Target in the office supplies. I love Nate Berkus’ products and these look classic, but also work well for keeping everything together! It’s the simple things, but I love these…

Beauty

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.43.26 AMLately, I’ve been loving several beauty products! First off, I lucked out with scoring samples of Benefit’s Roller Lash mascara at both Ulta and Sephora. I saw several beauty bloggers reviewing this mascara before it came out and I was really curious about it because it’s supposed to curl your lashes and keep them curled longer. My lashes will curl for about a minute before they start straightening out again, so I was really intrigued to try it. And I have to say, besides one other high end mascara I’ve tried, this has been the only mascara to hold a curl all day! I’m still not sure I want to shell out $24 for a tube right now, but it’s nice to know that my lashes will cooperate with a mascara for once! Right now, I’m using the Roller Lash as my first coat of mascara to hold the curl and add length. Then I apply a second coat with the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara that I mentioned in my January’s Favorites.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.48.24 AMSpeaking of eyelashes, I received a new eyelash curler in my Ipsy Bag and it has made a noticeable difference in my eyes looking more bright, open, and awake! The Emite Make Up Professional Eye Lash Curler is amazing. It gets in so close to your lash line and presses the curl into your lash without creating an awkward dent. Even when I’ve not used the Roller Lash mascara, my lashes have look more curled. I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t received this curler in my Ipsy Bag, I don’t think I would spend $25 right now on an eyelash curler, but it IS a quality beauty tool, so I still think it would be a good investment in your beauty tool collection.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.54.06 AMAnother beauty product I’ve been loving is the new L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation. I tend to have oily to combination skin that is sometimes a challenge to keep from looking too shiny throughout the day. I saw this foundation and had heard some good reviews on it, so with coupon in hand, I decided to give it a go. This foundation is awesome! It applies beautifully and smoothly, it goes on matter but isn’t cakey and my skin doesn’t get shiny. A bonus is that this line provides a light fair color that matches my skin tone perfectly. Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.53.56 AMSo for all you fair skinned ladies out there, this foundation might be for you! If you like to set your liquid foundation with powder like I do, I highly recommend using the L’Oreal Infallible Makeup Extender Setting Spray with this foundation to keep it in place and help set the foundation and powder together. The setting spray is half the price of Urban Decay’s All-Nighter or De-Slick (both great settings sprays, by the way, but a little expensive fore everyday use in my opinion), so it’s a great everyday option for your budget!

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.01.37 AMWith the new pro-matte foundation I’ve been using, I’ve started applying my foundation with the Precision Blending Sponge from the Grab ‘n Go section of Ulta. I wasn’t able to find it on Ulta’s website, but Amazon has it listed on their site. However, at Ulta, the sponge is half the price than what Amazon listed. I know that there are other blending sponges out there, but I tried this one since it was way cheaper than the popular, yet expensive, Beauty Blender and I’d never used a blending sponge in my routine. I don’t think I’ll go back to applying my foundation any other way! Using a damp blending sponge to apply my foundation has minimized the amount of foundation I have to use and gives my face a more smooth and flawless look. I’ve also noticed that it helps my makeup stay on longer than before. I’m hoping to try a few other blending sponges (this one is my next one to try) to find one that is reasonably priced but also made out of a quality material that will hold up well through cleanings. Regardless, I’m sticking with blending sponges for my routine from now on!

Entertainment & Technology

I tend to binge watch a lot of TV on Netlfix and Hulu, but lately I’ve been watching YouTube more often than TV. I’ve always loved YouTube and my subscription list is pretty long, but during February, I found myself watching a few channels more often than others:

TheKitchyKitchen – I recently discovered Claire’s channel and just couldn’t stop watching her videos once I found her. Her videos are so inspiring and refreshing. She has a lot of fun and simple recipes that are so sophisticated. Her dishes look like they would be challenging, but they are so easy and take hardly any time to make! Most of her recipes are pretty healthy too. It makes me want to bust out my mixer and start baking and throwing dinner parties. The design and editing style for her videos are very professional and it’s like watching a magazine. I absolutely love her channel! Her website is pretty neat too!

GlamLifeGuru – I have been watching Tati’s channel for a couple of years now and I love her reviews and tutorials! She shows a wide range of beauty products from high end to drugstore makeup products, but she also focuses on getting the best deal for your dollar. What I love about her channel is that she is so genuine with wanting to show her subscribers what they really want to see and goes the extra mile to answer their questions. She has a very down to earth personality that is so fun, it feels like you’re just hanging out with your friend and talking about your favorite things. She recently launched an app that allows her subscribers to interact with her and each other. She’s simply lovely and I look forward to watching her weekly videos!

PrettySparklyShiny – Kristina’s channel just makes my day every time I watch one of her videos. I feel like I can relate to her tastes and interests in a lot of ways. She does a lot of makeup videos, but she also does reviews on technology, designer handbags, and planners on her blog as well. Her vlogs are so fun to watch, since you get to follow her all over Houston and enjoy her weekends with her. She has a really positive and optimistic style to her videos while still keeping’ it real, if you know what I mean.

Clothing

Ok, prepare yourself, we’re about to get personal here. But ladies, this really is a crucial part of working out. Having the proper clothing can make a big difference in your confidence to work out and also at times, motivate you to workout. I find that when I’m wearing clothes that make me feel good, I feel better about working out, because I don’t feel frumpy. So, I discovered a new sports bra that I love. Typically, when you work out, there’s the standard sports bra you can wear…which can sometimes be a hassle to put on or take off and can discourage you from working out. At least, that’s how it’s always been for me. I decided I needed to invest in something that would make me feel feminine, be comfortable, and still support me. I discovered Victoria’s Secret Sports bras. They provide the perfect amount of support, comfort, and they make you look cute while you workout. They also offer different kinds of fits and closures which can make it way easier to wear. Yes, they are a bit more expensive than a standard sports bra, but if you’re signed up on their mailing and email lists, they send out coupons and have sales running all the time! I don’t think I’ll ever go back to another kind of workout gear. 🙂

Food

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.08.31 AMDespite focusing on my health goals in February, I did have a few favorite treats that hit the spot! Justin’s peanut butter cups are better than Reese’s in my opinion. I usually will keep a pack in my purse in case I need a little bit of protein or just a snack. My favorite are the dark chocolate cups! They’re organic and they taste so good.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.09.23 AMAnother chocolate favorite is Hershey’s chocolate spread (can you see the chocolate theme?). Since it was Valentine’s Day in February, I enjoyed some chocolate strawberries with this chocolate spread. I seriously could eat it with a spoon right out of the container, but I try to reserve it just for strawberries. 😉

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.10.28 AMI’ve given up soda with my new fitness plan and so instead, I’ve been drinking a lot of water and juice. I discovered Disani sparkling water and it has just a hint of flavor and carbonation. So, when I’m craving a soda, instead, I can mix some of the Disani sparkling water with some juice and get a healthy soda substitute. Plus, the sparkling water is good on it’s own, so when I’m enjoying a meal that I’d usually pair with a soda, I just get a sparkling water instead.

So before March is over, what have you been loving in February? Who do you watch on YouTube? What’s been your favorite snack or most motivating workout gear?

March Makeover – Week 2 Progress Recap!

Week 2 down and another busy week! I love how my house is shaping up and getting more organized. If you follow my Instagram, you’ve already seen everything that got done with week, but let’s break it down:

3/8: Create a spring cleaning plan // Purge cleaning products
I wrote up a daily and weekly cleaning plan and have been trying to stick to it everyday. So far, I’ve been able to do the weekly plan, but the daily tasks are a challenge to build into a habit right now. I’ll still keep working on it. Ideally, if I can do the daily and weekly tasks, my house should stay clean and I’ll be able to work in spring cleaning all year round. By the way, since it’s not pictured, the daily tasks I wrote up are: wash dishes, wipe down counters, tidy rooms, make bed, and sort/file mail.
I went through all of our cleaning products and I shouldn’t have to buy any cleaning supplies for about 4-6 months! Seriously, I have plenty of Windex! I was able to get it all wrangled despite a 4.0 earthquake coming through in the middle of my organizing. No joke! Oklahoma’s got it all, we have been having earthquakes for the last few years. Pepper is still getting used to the rumbling, so when it came through, we both jolted and she jumped in my lap and would not move for a while…

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3/9: Spring cleaning day // Purge shoes
I started implementing the cleaning day, since it should keep our house spring cleaned year round with daily application.
Since it was my hubby’s day off, we both went through our shoes. His shoe purge was much faster than mine…He only had one pair of shoes he didn’t want or war anymore. 😉 I was able to go through all my shoes and together, hubby and I were able to donate 13 pairs of shoes. I now have my shoes fitting all neatly in my shoe rack and not all piled up. Now I’ll just need to restrain myself from buying new shoes. I love shoes!

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3/10: Clean and organize bonus rooms (we don’t currently have kids,
so we have bonus rooms) // Purge/clean out cars
Thankfully our bonus rooms were already pretty organized and cleaned up. We organized our dining/bonus room when we painted it. Hubby’s man cave is his space, so I decided to leave it alone. He has his all of his stuff in his room where he can find it and the way he likes it.
So I focused my energy on my car! I wish I had been able to take it through a car wash too, but I decided since we were on a spending freeze, I’d wait for rain to come later in the forecast. I cleaned out all the extra stuff and trash in my car. Now my glove boxes are actually helpful instead of a scary place to open up and try to find something. I vacuumed the carpets, wiped down everything, and even broke out the glass cleaner to clean off Pepper’s window art in the back seat. 😉 It feels like a new car!

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3/11: Organize master bedroom closets // Purge master closets
It was still our weekend with hubby being off work, so we went through both of our master closets. He started on his closet before I did, so I missed the “before” picture. But, between the two of us, we were able to clear out a good sized stack of clothes to donate. I mentioned my hanger method on Instagram. Basically, I hang all of my clothes on hangers backwards at the beginning of a season or after a big clear out. As I wear clothes throughout the season, I hang up the clothes on hanger facing the normal way. Then, after a few months when I’m ready to go through my clothes again, I can tell what I’ve wore and what I haven’t. This makes it easy to decide what I need to maybe toss out or if I should try it on to see if still fits, etc.

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3/12: Organize bathrooms // Purge bathroom cabinets
We have two bathrooms in our house, but the master bathroom cabinets took the longest. In our guest bathroom, we use the cabinet mostly for storage, so it was pretty easy. I went through our master bathroom and went through all of our products and got them organized. I still have plenty of hair products even after throwing out old half empty ones that needed to go. I’m realizing that I have a beauty product buying problem. I have plenty to go through and will need to learn to use up what I have before buying more. Wish me luck, it’s going to be hard! …Maybe I need to put myself on a beauty spending freeze in the future?

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3/13: Purge medicine cabinets
This task was pretty simple, since a while back, I had already purchased some little office organizing drawers to keep medications and first aid supplies in. I mostly went through all of our medicines and tossed the expired ones. I put like things together and got everything back in the cabinet in an orderly fashion. Now we can find what we need when someone’s under the weather!

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3/14: Week 2 Progress Recap // Purge books
Tada! Week two is now done! Today, I purged our books, which was not as hard as I thought it would be, but I still had to resist the urge to begin cataloging all of our books and creating my own version of a Dewey decimal system… I love our books and I feel like when you get rid of a book, you get rid of a friend sometimes. But decided to I step back and try to think with each book I picked up, a) Have I read this and was it good? b) Would I read it again or do I want to read it? Is it useful for future reference? c) I don’t want to read this and I don’t see a future use for it… That kind of thinking helped pull things into perspective a little better. After going through all of our books, I put them into general categories. Now, we have two boxes full of books we can give away!

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So this week was a success, thankfully! How did your week go?

Quote

Stability

“Stability yields freedom.”

I couldn’t find the original source for this quote, but I first heard it on the Accidental Creative’s podcast in The Power of a Morning Ritual episode. I love this quote and find it to be very true in various areas of my life.

Pepper’s Makeup Bag | All About Those Brows

I decided to start a new series featuring beauty products that I use, products I’ve tried, products I love, and drugstore substitutes I’ve found for high end products. Please keep in mind that these posts are just my opinion, and know that I typically try products that I’ve heard good things about from beauty bloggers, vloggers, and people I know in real life. I am not sponsored to post these reviews. I am not a beauty guru, nor do I have any professional background in cosmetics, I just love makeup!

This week raises a few eyebrows, since we’re talking brow gels and brow pencils. Brow gels have caught my eye in the past year or so and have made a huge difference in my makeup routine. Until the beginning of last year, I had never really done anything to my brows and usually just ran a brow comb through them. I started hearing some of my favorite beauty bloggers talk about brow products and doing brow tutorials and began seeing the benefit of what finishing out your brows can do for your overall look. Brows frame your eyes, give more definition to your face, and help polish your look. I honestly can’t do even my most simple and quick routine now without doing something to my brows.

I’ve been using my favorites for the past year: 150227-BrowPost-BrowWhiz150227-BrowPost-GimmeBrowthe Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Brow Whiz and Clear Brow Gel! I’ve tried the ever popular Gimme Brow by Benefit in the past, too. However, since we’ve become a sin150227-BrowPost-ClearBrowGelgle income household, these high end products, while they’re amazing, they burn a whole in your budget quick! Benefit’s Gimme Brow is teeny tiny, and costs a whopping $22 and while the Brow Whiz by Anastasia Beverly Hills last longer (mine lasts on average 6 months with everyday use) it’s still a chunk of change at $21, plus the Clear Brow Gel at $22, they add up to $43.

So, I had been on the hunt lately for a drug store 150227-BrowPost-BrowMascaraand more budget friendly option. I was excited to see an ad for L’Oreal’s Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel Mascara as I was clipping coupons. On my next errand run I made sure to check it out and my jaw dropped when I saw the price: $8.99! My wallet breathed a sigh of relief and when I tried it at home, I was converted! The wand is the length of a mascara wand which offered much more control. I was able to have a lighter touch and not have to clean up or redo my brows, like I almost always ended up having to do with Benefit’s Gimme Brow’s short wand. The L’Oreal gel has fibers to help fill in your brows, a slight tint, and held my brows in place all day! Since I’ve had this in my makeup drawer, I noticed I’ve been grabbing this instead of my Benefit Gimme Brow or Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel. I like using this gel, because if I’m just having a light and easy makeup day, I can just use this gel and still have brows that look neat and filled in.

150227-BrowPost-NyxFor days when I’m wanting fuller more defined brows or doing a more glammed up makeup look, I use both a brow pencil and brow gel. I still have a special place in my heart for Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Brow Whiz, but I just recently found a drugstore alternative with the same concept. Most brow pencils have to be sharpened and don’t come with a little handy spooly which is why I fell in love with the Brow Whiz in the first place. Nyx finally came out with a twist up pencil (no need to sharpen) and a spooly combo brow pencil! Priced at $9.99, it’s a perfect dupe for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Whiz. I can’t tell you how I excited I got when I found the Nyx Micro Brow Pencil! I absolutely love it!

So altogether, my brow budget has gone from $65 (when you add all the high end brow products I was using…OUCH!) to $18.98! These drugstore products are easier to find, cost less, and give you the same great results. I highly recommend them!

What are your favorite brow products?
What kind of beauty products would you like to read about next?

Aside

Fitness Tip – Hydration

Since my goal is to drink a gallon of water a day, I thought I’d share a quick and easy tip on how I do it. Instead of lugging around a gallon jug all day, I use just a regular 16oz water bottle. I know there are other water bottles you can buy with the nifty little oz measurements on the side, but in the past I’ve always lost track of whether it was my first water bottle of the day or my fifth… So, I use a water bottle that I can just toss at the end of the day and mark it with little tick marks for every bottle I’ve had for the day. With drinking from a 16oz bottle, my goal is to drink 8 of those to reach a gallon a day. Whenever I refill it, I use a permanent marker and add a tick mark to keep track of how much I’ve had.

What tricks do you use to stay hydrated?

FitnessHydration2Pepper wanted to get in the picture… 🙂