Monday, September 28, 2015

My September Favorites!

This month, I was on a no buy, so I got into my collection and tried some things that I haven't been using regularly.  Which is really why I wanted to do the no buy.  When you have a lot of makeup items, you tend to forget what you have and end up neglecting great products.  The downside was that we got a brand new Ulta in my town, so that was quite torturous for me!  Anyways, this is what I used over and over for the month of September.

The Balm Meet Matt(e) Nude Palette - I have had this palette for over a year now, maybe two, I'm not sure, and while I used it and liked it in the past, I just kind of forgot about it.  As the name indicates, these are all matte shadows.  There are 9 in all, and the colors range from white, to rich browns, and neutral grays.  The size of these shadows are actually quite large for being in a palette.  You get a good amount of product and quality shadows for a really good price!  This palette is great on it's own as well as a companion palette for shimmery eye shadow palettes.  It is also lightweight, has a full size mirror, and a magnetic closure.  With the range of colors, you can create so many great looks.  I bought my palette on Hautelook.  They have flash sales and The Balm is on there quite often.

Pixi Correction Concentrate in Brightening Peach - I heard of this concealer from a youtuber that I have been watching for a long time.  I was interested in it, because I have pretty dark circles with some veining, especially under my left eye.  I wanted a correcting concealer to use under my regular eye concealer, because I had never tried one.  I have been using Maybelline's Dark Spot Eraser Concealer in Brightener for a very long time, and I think it is a fantastic product, but I use it after my concealer and it is a thin formula.  I wanted to see if I could find something that is a little thicker and really correcting.  This Pixi corrector is just that.  It is in a pot and it is much thicker than my Maybelline Dark Spot Eraser.  I apply it under my Mac Pro Longwear Concealer.  It is a salmony-peach color that blends well and really does a great job in correcting and brightening my dark under eyes.  I blend mine out with a damp beauty blender, which makes it very quick and easy.  I also set it with my favorite under eye setting powder, the NYX  Radiant Finishing Powder in Brighten.  You can find Pixi products at your local Target store.  I think it retailed for around $10 - $12.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Eye Pencils - Rimmel Scandaleyes eyeliners have been my favorite since I first tried them a few years back.  But over the summer, I didn't find myself wearing eyeliner.  I guess I just didn't want to mess with it because of the heat.  So, I either wore none or used shadow as liner.  Now that the weather is changing, I am reaching more for eyeliners and I remember why I love these pencils so much!  They are creamy, pigmented, have lots of shades, and last all day.  They are waterproof, so smearing or having watery eyes shouldn't affect the look.  They retail for around $5.

*If you are looking for a great lip pencil, try the Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liners.  They are also my favorite liner, with lots of great shades and a terrific formula!

Essential Oils - I have been using my essential oils for an array of things from health to skincare, and I have seen results and am really enjoying them.  I diffuse them, put them in oils for my skin, put them in all natural cleaners that I make at home, and use them with baking soda as all natural room deodorizers.  If you would like to learn more, please check out my recent blog post by clicking here!

Sleek Blush in Antique & Suede - This is my first Sleek Cosmetics purchase.  If you haven't hear of these, it is because they are a UK brand.  I have heard about them for a long time from youtube, and decided to order 2 blushes in August (I was sick in August and did my share of online shopping, which also prompted my no buy:))  I really like these colors for fall.  They are unique and unlike any other colors in my collection.  Since they came from the UK, the shipping did take longer, but the shipping cost was only $2, which I thought was excellent.  With shipping, I paid around $15 for both blushes.  I am very happy with my purchase, and would order again.  The only complaint that I have is that the packaging on these blushes is very hard to open.  I have to use my tweezers to pry it open, which is slightly irritating when you are getting ready, but it wouldn't keep me from buying from them in the future.  If you would like to see the Sleek Cosmetics line, go to

Suede & Antique 

Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Touch Of Spice - I think this matte line came out last year, and I have to say that for someone like me, who isn't a fan of matte lipsticks, this is a really nice formula.  I know matte lipsticks are all the rage right now, but I find many formulas uncomfortable and very drying.  I don't have small lips, so mine tend to get chapped as it is.  Plus, I'm not a huge fan of the look of a matte finish.  I don't mind to wear it once in awhile, but I really prefer a creme finish that has some shine and is moisturizing.  Having said that, these lipsticks do not look, feel, or wear like a matte finish.  They are actually creamy, don't look drying, and last well on the lips.  Plus, I really love this color for the cooler weather.  I think it screams FALL!  If you haven't tried this formula or are someone who isn't in love with matte lipsticks.....try these.  I think you will be surprised!  These retail for around $6.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Drugstore Beauty Deals From 9/27/15 -10/03/15

CVS Deals

-  Any Revlon Cosmetic:  Spend $15, get $5 in Reward Bucks

-  Buy 2 Garnier Skincare Products: get $5 Reward Bucks

-  Buy Any Nivea Lotion or Cream:  get $3 Reward Bucks

-  Buy Any 2 L'Oreal Cosmetics:  get $5 Reward Bucks

-  Buy Any 2 Maybelline Eye, Blush, Concealer, Foundation, or Powder:  Get $5 Reward Bucks

Walgreens Deals

-  Revlon Eye Shadow:  BOGO 50% Off

-  Cover Girl Eye Shadow:  BOGO 50% Off

-  L'Oreal Colour Rich Lip Balm:   BOGO 50% Off

Rite-Aid Deals

-  Rimmel Scandal Eyes Eyeliner (My favorite!):  BOGO 50% Off

-  Revlon Color Stay Eye Shadow:  BOGO 50% Off

-  Physicians Formula Cosmetics:  Spend $15, get $10 Plenti Points

-  L'Oreal Go 360 Scrub (6oz.):  BOGO 50% Off

-  L'Oreal Eye Shadow Single:  BOGO 50% Off

-  Maybelline Eye & Nail Items:  Spend $15, get $3 Plenti Points


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

For Allergy Sufferers: Tips To Help Keep You Symptom Free!

I have severe allergies, especially to ragweed.  I am allergic to everything, but food.  Most of the year, I live a normal life, but when ragweed comes around my life drastically changes.  I do all of these things during ragweed season, because I have to.  Some of these may seem a little extreme, but that depends on how bad your allergies are.  If yours are mild to moderate, all of this would not be necessary, but incorporating a few could make a big difference in how you feel.

-  Netti Pot - This is awkward to use at first, but really helps with nasal allergy symptoms.  You can find these at your local drugstore or pharmacy.  Just empty the saliene packet into the pot, and fill with warm water.  Hold the pot up to your nostril, bending forward and tilting your head to the side.  Breathe through your nose, the entire time.  Those who don't end up feeling like they are drowning. The solution will drain out the other nostril, getting rid of mucus, allergens, and other debris.  This really helps with clearing the nasal passages, and relieving sinus headaches.  I like to do this at the end of my day.

-  Eye Wash - I do this every evening and sometimes in the mornings.  You can find this at your local drugstore.  It comes with a cup and solution.  It is easy to use, and feels quite soothing.  You just fill the cup up to the line with the solution, hold it up to your eye, and tip your head back.  Look up, down, and side to side to cleanse.  I always follow up with allergy eye drops.

-  Essential Oils - I have really gotten into essential oils lately.  I tried them for the first time over winter.  I was sick for four months, went to two doctors three times, was diagnosed with sinusitis and an upper respiratory infection, on 3 different antibiotics, and nothing was making me better.  I would feel better for a few days only to get worse again.  I was told that if the last antibiotic didn't work, I would have to see a specialist.  Needless to say, the last antibiotic was as successful as the previous two.  I was sick of being sick and did not want to see another doctor.  So, I took matters in my own hands.  I used my netti pot twice a day and a blend of essential oils from Doterra called breathe.  I used breathe in my diffuser only.  To my surprise, I was finally cured.  It took a few days, and I was feeling better, and haven't had a virus since.  If you would have told me that these things would have healed me when 3 antibiotics couldn't, I would have said that you were a nut bag!!  I am always a skeptic, but now I am a believer.  I started using essential oils again with my allergies.  I diffuse them in my diffuser and use them in a carrier oil (I like olive oil) to apply topically.  I have made up an allergy blend that consists of peppermint, lemon, and lavender.  I have also made a roller ball of this blend to keep in my purse when I am on the go.  I use a variety of essential oils every single day for different reasons.  They are helping me so much.  I could go on and on.  Do a little research online, and check out some books from your local library.  I have learned so much, and love using all natural products instead of over the counter and prescription drugs.  If you would like to learn more about what essential oils I use, and how I use them, Click Here!

-  Wear Large Sunglasses - Wearing sunglasses really helps keep pollen from getting in your eyes.  I have severe eye allergies where my eyes and face will get very red and swollen.  I have had my eyes swell shut on many occasions.  It is very itchy and very painful.  Once I swell, it is hard to get back to  normal, so I wear the biggest sunglasses I have.  It also helps if they wrap around the sides of the eyes.

-  Saline Nasal Spray - I don't use this a lot, but it is good to have on hand to use away from home or if you don't have a netti pot to flush out your nasal cavity.

-  Local Honey - People have used local honey for years to aid in allergy relief.  The idea is that if you consume honey from your local area, it will have some pollens that are indigenous to your region, that over time in small doses will help you to develop an immunity to those pollens.  Pretty much how allergy shots work.  I take honey everyday.  I put it in my tea or yogurt.  Sometimes I just drink it straight from the bottle.  I love the taste!

-  Apple Cider Vinegar - ACV offers a variety of health benefits, but did you know that it also helps with seasonal allergies?  ACV is a natural antihistamine.  People who suffer from allergies have very sensitive immune systems that overreact to pollen and other allergens.  Their bodies release histamines to defend against the harmless, yet foreign substance, which causes the body to bring on the typical symptoms associated with allergies.  Antihistamines helps to stop the release of histamines, that bring on the nasty symptoms.  I drink ACV daily, by diluting it in a glass of water.  I usually do 2 tablespoons or so.

-  Hygiene -  If you have spent time outdoors, take off your clothes immediately when returning home,  and wash them or put them in a clothes bag.  Take your shoes off outdoors, or keep them contained somewhere in the home.  Wash your body and hair as soon as possible.  Pollen collects on our clothes, hair, and skin, so being diligent in these areas will remove them quickly, and keep them out of your home or at least contained.

Also ask family member to at least remove their clothing and shoes as quickly as possible when arriving home.  Sitting on furniture with pollen filled clothing will contaminate the home.  If you have a dust allergy, you are probably use to dusting and sweeping a lot, but be extra diligent about it during that times that you are also fighting seasonal allergies.  I try to do my home twice a week, and mop at least once a week.  It is beneficial to wear a mask over you nose and mouth while doing this type of cleaning.

Another thing to consider is our pets.  The longer they are outside, the more pollen they are collecting on their fur and bringing into the home.

-  HEPA Filter and Room Air Purifiers - I use both during the worst times of the year.  Have a quality furnace filter that you can out regularly will help keep your home cleaner from allergens.  I also have an air purifier in my living room and bedroom.  I turn them on high when I leave the room or home for extra cleaning power.

-  Do Not Open Windows -  This goes for the car and your home.

-  Limit Your Time Outdoors - I go out as little as possible, but it's not like I can stay indoors for several months of ragweed season.  So, I park as close to stores as possible, and if I am with someone else, I have them drop me off at the door and pick me up.  I cannot attend any activities or functions that are outdoors.

-  Take A Probiotic - The verdict is out on probiotics on allergies.  There are studies that show probiotics show a decrease seasonal allergy symptoms, and other that show no change.  The theory is that because we live in cleaner environments than ever before, and everyone is always dousing themselves in antibacterial soaps, hand lotions, etc., our bodies have weaker immune systems, because we haven't been exposed to as many germs.  Being exposed helps build our immune systems and make them strong.  90% of our immune system is in our intestines.  Probiotics increases the amount of good bacteria in our intestines making them better equipped to deal with foreign bodies and viruses.  I take a probiotic every day along with my multivitamin and other supplements.  I also eat Activia yogurt most days of the week, because it also has live cultures to help the intestines/immune system.

-  Vitamin D - There are studies that have found that children with seasonal allergies are 20 times more likely to be vitamin D deficient than those who have no seasonal allergies.  Vitamin D was shown to decrease allergy symptoms across the board.  They studied even further finding that those who took 600 IU's of vitamin D3 showed improvement in hives associated with allergies, but those who took 4000 IU's of D3 showed a 40% improvement.

Monday, September 21, 2015

How I Use Essential Oils

I started using and learning about essential oils almost 10 months ago.  I am a skeptic about everything, and essential oils were no different.  Last October, I got really sick.  I was sick for 4 months, and had been to the doctor 3 times.  I was on 3 different antibiotics, and nothing made me well.  I was told that if the last antibiotic didn't work, I was going to have to see a specialist.  Not wanting to do that, I researched essential oils.  I used my netti pot twice a day to clear out my nasal passages.  I also used Doterra's Breathe blend of essential oils.  I put it in my diffuser and diffused it the entire day.  I also applied it topically.  Within a few days I was feeling better, and actually made a full recovery without any more prescription drugs.

Then, in August, I got really sick with my seasonal allergies due to ragweed.  My face swelled up like a big, red balloon, I was on 2 different steroids, and sick and in bed for 2 1/2 weeks.  It was horrible, and I am still trying to get back to my full energy levels.  This last bout was so bad that I decided to dig deeper into researching all I could do to keep my allergies at bay.  Again, I turned to essential oils remembering how they had helped me over the winter.  I researched online and got many books on the subject from the library.  I learned that peppermint, lavender, and lemon are very helpful in treating allergy symptoms, and I currently use them daily.

Another ailment that I help treat with essential oils is insomnia.  I have had it for 13 years now.  It goes from really bad to sleeping fairly well, but it is never gone.  I use lavender and frankincense to treat my insomnia and to also calm and relax me for the evening or when I know I will be in  a stressful situation or one that brings me anxiety.  Both oils are also good for pms and menopausal symptoms also.

Another benefit to lavender and frankincense is that they are great for the skin.  They help in treating skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema (I have both), and dermatitis, as well as with anti aging.  I use them daily on my body and face.

When I am feeling tired during my day or just feel like I can't focus, I use lemon.  Lemon helps with energy and mental alertness.  When I am in a hurry I will put a few drops of lemon into my palms, cup my hands over my nose and mouth,  and take 4-6 deep breaths.

I am not a big headache person, but I do get them from time to time.  When I do, I use peppermint to aid in my relief.  I try the oil first, before I turn to Ibueprofen or aspirin.

Recently, my son has been congested from his seasonal allergies.  Instead of using Vick's Vapor Rub, I use eucalyptus mixed with coconut oil and rub it on his chest and the bottoms of his feet.  I also diffuse it in his room.

Another oil that I use a lot is tea tree oil.  It is a natural antiseptic, anti-fungal, and antibacterial oil.  I use this for any cuts, insect bites, skin abrasions, acne, or when I feel a bump from my psoriasis coming.  I apply the oil directly to the area a few times a day, and it is always better by the end of the day.  Any pimple that I have coming, will never fully surface if I get the oil on it quick enough.  I also have my son use it for his breakouts.  I get fever blisters once in awhile, and I will also be trying tea tree oil for those as well.

There are a lot of essential oils and a lot of benefits from each one.  Whatever your ailment is, research which essential oil is best for you.  There are a few ways in which you can use your oils.  The most popular one is probably diffusing it.  I have bought both of my diffusers on amazon, and am very happy with them.  You fill them with water and a few drops of oil, and turn it on in whatever room you will be in.  You can stand over the diffuser for a few seconds, just to breathe it in, but having it dispersed throughout the day in your room is quite beneficial.  I also wear a diffuser necklace everyday.  I had never heard of or seen these before, but stumbled upon them while searching for room diffusers on amazon.  It is really the same concept as a room diffuser, but it is mobile, so wherever you are, you don't have to be without your oils.  The diffuser is actually a locket, that holds a small felt type piece of fabric.  You put a drop or two of the essential oil of your choice on the fabric and keep it in the locket.  The locket has holes so you will be inhaling the benefits of the oil.  When you wear it, you won't get a whiff of the oil with every single breath, but it is something that you notice here and there.  It is not annoying or overwhelming, and I think I am pretty sensitive to smells.  My mom and son loved mine so much that I bought each of them one, and they wear it pretty much everyday.

Another way I use my oils is with a carrier oil.  The carrier oils that I choose are extra virgin olive oil and organic expeller pressed coconut oil.  For many years, I have used these oils on my skin.  Now, I add a few drops of my chosen essential oil and apply it on my face, body or both. Typical places that are used for application are behind the ears, the bottom of the neck, and the bottoms of the feet.  I use my oils on all these places and more, depending on my ailment.  I have made up mason jars with my essential oils and carrier oil that I keep marked and in my night stand for daily use.  I also bought roller balls on amazon to make oils that I can have with me on the go.  I have made 4 different varieties and have them in my purse at all times.  Some oils can be applied directly to the skin, but some are too strong for that and can irritate the skin, like peppermint and eucalyptus.  Before applying any oil directly to the skin without using a carrier oil, test it on a small area of the skin to make sure you don't get irritated by it.

If you make a batch of oils, put them in a dark or colored glass container, or keep them out of light.  The light can weaken the benefits of the essential oil.

*  Some oils can also be consumed, but those oils need to be of very high quality and you should consult with your physician before doing so.  

These are the oils that I use the most and how I use them.  This is just a quick overview.  I encourage you to do your own research online or from the library.  There is so much great information out there on the subject.  If you can use at least one oil for one ailment instead of prescription meds or over the counter drugs, that cost a lot in terms of money and potential side effects, I think it is worth it.  Do you use essential oils?  If so, which ones and for what ailment?  Leave any comments or questions you have below, I would love to hear from you!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

How I Organize & Prep For My Day!

I HATE to be rushed and unprepared.  It gives me so much stress and anxiety, and I am all about making my life as happy and as simple as possible.  If I am rushing and can't find my makeup, clothes, etc, you are not going to want to be around me for that day.  So, to keep away my crazy and make my life more harmonious, this is what I do.

Makeup Storage - I have a lot of makeup.  I don't have enough space in my bedroom to keep it all together, but I do have a system.  My daily makeup, and products that I have to have are kept in my vanity drawer for easy access.  This drawer pretty much stays the same except for the blushes and foundations.  I rotate blushes seasonally, and go between foundations regularly.

On my bookshelf, I keep my eyeshadow palettes, blushes that I will be using during the season, lipsticks for the season, lip glosses for the season, my L'Oreal Infallible single shadows, Maybelline Color Tattoos, and seasonal perfumes.

In my bathroom, I have a storage shelving unit that I got a long time ago at Big Lots.  This is where I keep my makeup that I won't wear during the season along with extra makeup that I have that I don't wear daily, back ups of holy grail products, and eye lashes.  I keep the top drawer for most of my hair accessories.

This system works for me, and have each drawer or storage container dedicated to particular items.  I am currently in the process of putting all my products on my snupps app, which is a catalog of whatever you choose.  This way I will know what I have and exactly what colors, so I won't buy duplicates of anything or if I run out of something, I will have my color cataloged so I can look it up while I am out.  Snupps is social as well so you can follow others and see their collections.  If you would like to follow me. I am urbanchick77.

Skin Care Storage - I have a lot of skin care that I cycle through. A lot of it I buy when it is on sale or when I have a coupon.  My extras are kept in a white storage cabinet in my bathroom and under my sink.  What I use daily, is kept in a container on a shelf in my bathroom.  I keep my am and pm skincare all together.  All I do is pull down my container, and everything is together for easy access.

Closet Organization - My closet......It is a walk-in with only my clothes in it, but it isn't big enough.  So I rotate my clothes seasonally like I do my makeup.  I keep winter/fall together and spring/summer together.  I also do this with my shoes and handbags.  My off season clothes are kept in 2 standing closets in my basement along with shoes.  It takes a few hours to completely switch everything over, but it helps keep me organized and makes getting ready so much easier.  I have been shopping for some new pieces for fall.  I have these new pieces along with a few of my favorites together and ironed, ready for me to wear.  In Ohio, the seasons can change rather abruptly, so I like to be prepared and have some things ready so I'm not scrambling at the last minute trying to run downstairs, because everything hasn't been switched over.

Laying Out My Clothes, Accessories, & Essentials - Every night, whether I am going to stay home most of the day or if I am going out on a date with my husband, I lay my clothes out.  I like waking up knowing that everything is taken care of and I can have a relaxing, stress free morning.  If I am wearing accessories and makeup, I lay all of that out also.  I also lay out my shoes, and switch out my handbag if need be.  I also lay out my son and husband's clothes, iron them if need be, and pack their lunches.

Iron When Possible - If I have an extra half hour or am watching TV or Youtube, I will sit and iron.  If I watch TV, I feel like I am wasting time, so why not kill two birds with one stone??  If my husband's clothes are ironed, I will move on to my favorite items that I know I wear regularly.

Sharpen Makeup Pencils - This only takes a few minutes to do every few weeks, but it really makes a difference.  I hate when I am doing my makeup and I have to stop , retrieve my sharpener, sharpen, and throw away the shavings.  It just messes up my groove, so while I have a few minutes, I go through and sharpen all my eye and lip liners.

Brush & Sponge Cleanings - I have 2 Real Techniques beauty sponges that I can rotate between, but at the end of the day, I do wash whichever one is dirty.  I wipe off all my brushes after every use, and wash them after a week of use.

Vitamins & Supplements - On Sundays, I refill my vitamins.  I take several supplements, so I keep them in a pill box that marks each day of the week.  I didn't always do this.  I used to pull down my big box full of vitamins and get each one out everyday, which took too much time, and I would be more likely to forget to take them.  I usually take them right after breakfast, so I don't have to worry about it for the rest of the day.

So, this is my routine and what I like to do to make my life easier.  Does it take time....yes, it does, because I also do my skincare and allergy homeopathic treatments at night, but it keeps me organized, less stressed, and gets me out the door as quickly as possible.  I actually enjoy the whole process now.  It's kind of my time to take care of myself, destress from the day, and it prepares my mind to slow down and rest.  You may not want to incorporate all of the things I do, but incorporating just one or two will make your mornings easier, and who doesn't want that?!?!

If you have any routines or suggestions, please leave them below!