Featured

How I turned into the mother I swore I wouldn’t…

10926400_1028848027143456_4581691770910582551_nI was once one of those AWFUL people who would secretly judge parents from afar on their parenting skills, yet – I wasn’t even a parent yet!  I know, I know…GASP! I despise people like this (judgers who have never spent a day in your shoes) but I was one of them…right on up until AJ was born.  Somehow, I thought I knew exactly what type of mom I was going to be and was certain of my list of things I would never do as a parent.  At only eight months into this motherhood thing, I’m here to say I AM SO SORRY to all of the mothers of the world I secretly judged.  You did what was best for your babies, and I’m doing what’s best for mine.  We may not agree on everything, but we can agree that we love our children and are doing our best. Point blank.

For me, there is no right or wrong way to parent, there is only my “gut intuition way” and that’s what I follow…even if it’s not by-the-book parenting or what all of the other moms told me to do at my baby shower.  I’ve been having an internal battle as of late on whether or not some of my parenting methods are “spoiling” AJ but I’ve decided to stop worrying about it. I am doing what my gut tells me is best for him. I am sure many parents and non-parents alike won’t agree with over half of my list, but the cool thing is, I don’t care! For once, I don’t care what other people think of me. :-D I only care that I personally no longer judge other parents on their choices (even though I don’t always agree) and that I am doing my absolute very best to raise my son the best way that works for us.  My goal is for him to grow up knowing he is loved and for him not to be afraid to express love.  For him to be happy, disciplined, responsible, healthy, wise, educated, spiritual, well mannered and have a good sense of humor. For him to be a gentleman and open doors for ladies and the elderly.  My list is endless of my wants and desires for him and my methods of reaching those goals may be different or take longer to achieve than yours, but I am working towards it all just the same.

Here is my list of my pre-motherhood parenting truths for myself, next to the reality.  I just thought this was so interesting when I wrote it all out.  You really cannot say what you would do in someone elses’ situation until you are in it yourself.  Here is proof:

Untitled

 

I am sure every parent out there has a completely different list than I do too! Some may have no list at all. That’s what makes us all unique and what makes the world go round.  We all have different ideas for what is best for our children and that’s okay.  At the end of the day we are just all doing the best we can trying to raise the next generation.  I hope this post inspires other moms and moms-to-be not to judge your peers and to respect everyone and their choices (well, not child abusers and such but you know what I mean.) This has been so hard for me because I am VERY passionate and opinionated on a lot of controversial topics, but I’ve finally seen the light.  Just because I believe something doesn’t make it right (see above) and just because other parents do things the opposite of how I would doesn’t make them bad parents. Stop the arguing, forcing of your opinions and the judging of other parents on their choices.  Chances are you’re not going to be able to change their mind to believe whatever you believe, instead you’ll just start an argument that gets both parties upset.  Let’s just raise our beautiful babies to be good human beings together and respect each other, different choices and all. :)

signature

Featured

MAKEUP TUTORIAL: 3 Levels of “No Makeup” Makeup Looks

IMG_8207

Now that I’m a mom, my time is of the essence more than ever.  Spending time with my baby boy takes precedence over spending God-only-knows-how-long doing my makeup.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still makeup obsessed and love to completely glam out now and again, but it’s not an everyday mission like it use to be.  Now it’s more about looking presentable and fresh faced.  These days you will 75% of the time find me with either “no” makeup, barely any makeup, or full makeup done as quickly and naturally as possible.  It really depends on the day when I determine which look I’m gonna rock.  Sometimes my face looks better makeupless and other days it doesn’t.  Regardless all of these looks take less than ten minutes (the first two, less than five.) ;) PRODUCTS DISCUSSED BELOW ARE BOLDED AND LINKED, SO CLICK ANYTHING YOU’RE INTERESTED IN.

Untitled

FullSizeRender[2]OK – so I made a small fib.  No is in quotations because I do wear a few makeup products. An under-eye cc cream brightener, a little tinted lip balm or clear gloss on my lips even on my no makeup days. And listen – I HAVE to fill in my brows..they are balding in spots, no joke so I’m pretty sure none of you would leave the house with half balding eyebrows.  As soon as I start using my Careprost on my lashes again, I’m also going to use it on my brows to grow the hair back…then I won’t have to fill my brows in at all! Here’s what I do to achieve my presentable “no” makeup look:

  1. Complete my morning skincare routine (this has changed a bit but I still completely love all of the products in that post), followed up by my Yasou Day Cream.  This cream has a matte finish, tightens skin and leaves an overall glow which is awesome for no makeup days (CLICK HERE to enter the giveaway for this and the Yasou Night Cream worth $150!)
  2. I then brush my brows and fill them in with my Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Kit.  You obviously don’t need to fill yours in unless your brows are balding too ;)
  3. I then curl my lashes.  I always run my lash curler under hot running water for 30 seconds, dry it off, then curl my lashes.  Heating up the lash curler maximizes it’s curling potential and keeps your lashes from falling flat.  CLICK HERE for the lash curler I use.
  4. Next I use my favorite makeup item of last year.  My Estee Lauder Double Wear Brush-On Glow BB Highlighter. I am still obsessed with this.  I apply just a small dab under each eye, then pat it in until blended with my Beautyblender.  This product has to be one of my favorite makeup finds! It lightly conceals, highlights AND brightens all at once.  The triple punch really gives a luminous glow and a well rested look.  I think it’s absolutely amazing and use it daily!
  5. For my cheeks, I don’t pull out my blush but I do run my blush brush quickly over my cheeks as there is usually a bit left on the brush from the last time I did my makeup.  Just enough to cheer up my cheeks a bit. ;)
  6. Last, I apply either a good tinted lip balm or a clear gloss.  In the photo above I’m wearing Dior Addict Lip Maximizer High Volume Lip Plumper.

Untitled

FullSizeRender[3]

For this look, I basically complete all of the steps that I list above only I also include an all-over bb or cc cream (currently using Kate Somerville IllumiKate CC Cream) and I actually apply blush and some lipstick. I still leave out the mascara as it’s always so time consuming for me for some reason…but you could always throw on a quick coat if you can’t go without it.  I literally have like NO eyelashes so to me mascara is pointless unless I have the time to sit there and apply like 4 coats.  Again, another reason why I’m excited to start using my Careprost again.  Lashes just do so much for the face, I think.  Anyway, I go without and rock it the best I can. ;) These were my lashes when using Careprost though….WAAAAAAH! The difference is extreme! :(

Screen shot 2015-03-12 at 1.42.44 PM

Untitled

IMG_8206Last but not least, my full face of makeup made to look as natural as possible in under ten minutes.  Here are the steps I use when I choose this look:

  1. Prep my face using my morning skincare routine (above).
  2. Apply a foundation primer.  I use Temptu Base Smooth and Matte Primer.
  3. Apply my favorite concealer (Miracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal) anywhere I need it and any areas I plan to apply highlighter to brighten.  This is a FULL coverage concealer and hides everything! I apply my concealer with my BeautyBlender sponge by patting it in under my eyes, on the bridge of my nose, my t-zone, above my upper lip, etc.
  4. Apply my foundation.  I use the Temptu Airbrush system and highly recommend it! Leaves you feeling like a walking magazine page.  It is very pricey though, so if you are looking for another good foundation, check out my DUPES post where I discuss Diorskin Airflash and Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse (those are the only other two I would use.)  Regardless of foundation choice, make sure it’s well blended! And if not using the airbrush, make sure you are patting it in until blended with a sponge, as opposed to rubbing it in.  This makes a HUGE difference!
  5. Next I apply a highlighter.  I currently use the Temptu highlighter for my airbrush machine, but a great regular highlighter is theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer! I apply highlighter to the bridge of my nose and t-zone, under-eyes, cupids bow, chin, and anywhere else I want to “glow.”
  6. Fill in my brows with my Anastasia brow kit and highlight them with my Chella Highlighter Pencil
  7. Next I curl my lashes and apply a bit of black liner to the outer corners of my eyes to open them up, followed by a single coat of mascara to both top and bottom lashes.
  8. Next I apply blush to the apples of my cheeks.  I’m currently using a blush I got in my recent Ipsy Glam Bag.  I LOVE IT! I use whatever is left on the brush and rub it into the creases of my eyelids since I don’t have any shadow on. This adds a bit of dimension.
  9. Finally I line my lips and add a nice, natural light color. I always love a good pink.  None in particular…I have what seems like 5,000 lipsticks and glosses that I love…LOL. I’m sure you all can relate!

That’s it! For my No Makeup looks anyway. Things get much more complicated when I apply a full on face with glammed out eyes and the whole deal.  Those types of tutorials I’ll have to do videos for.  Hope this post helps to give you ideas when you have little time to get out the door but still want to look presentable.  I know everyone’s skin and face is different, but hopefully there are a few takeaways for you here. :-D

CLICK HERE TO READ MY LAST POST – MY 30 DAY LEMON WATER EXPERIMENT/WHITE DIET

signature

Featured

YBJ MONTHLY EXPERIMENTS: Warm Lemon Water ends, White Diet begins…

Photo from: http://www.undergroundhealth.com/health-benefits-of-drinking-warm-lemon-water/
Photo from: blogcrew.com and realfoodmovement.net

They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so 30 should really set it in stone! ;) As I am always on a mission to better the health of myself and my family (and because I love a good challenge) I have decided to do a “Monthly Experiment” post on the blog.  Every month I will challenge myself to implement a new healthy habit for 30 days, then blog about my experience at the end.  Hopefully I will continue these new positive habits past the 30 days, but my mission is to at least make it that long! :) Some will be diet related, some fitness, some spiritual/mind, and some beauty but I will commit to one per month.  I would love for readers to join me and share their experiences throughout the month! :-D

I have just completed my first 30 Day Challenge – drinking a warm glass of lemon water every morning first thing upon rising.  I have seen countless articles attest to the many health benefits of this healthy habit and I was curious if I would notice any difference after a month of doing it myself.  Here are some of the health benefits:

  • Replenishes your body with electrolytes (potassium, calcium and magnesium) and hydration after a long night of fasting/sleep.
  • Purportedly reduces pain in the joints and muscles.
  • Helps with digestion and the bowels.
  • The liver produces more enzymes from lemon water than any other food.
  • Cleanses the liver.
  • Rids you of bath breath.
  • Natural anti-inflammatory.
  • Protects the body from free radicals, fights infection and strengthens the immune system due to high vitamin C levels.
  • Cleanses the blood, blood vessels and arteries.
  • Lemon is alkalizing (this one is HUGE – CLICK HERE to find out why having a more alkaline body is so important) and if you drink it before a meal, it can help you maintain a higher level of pH which better helps your body fight diseases. Cancer for example – can not thrive in an alkaline environment.
  • It’s amazing for the skin and will improve the condition of your skin overall.
  • Helps with weight loss as lemons contain pectin fiber which helps suppress hunger cravings.
  • Helps with tooth pain, gingivitis and bad breath

These are just some I found online. You can google to find more or to verify the validity of any of the above listed items, but the benefits lists are endless.

DAY 1 – 30: EVERY MORNING FIRST THING UPON RISING

I squeezed the juice of half of a lemon into a glass of room temperature water (about 10 oz.) I read that the water needs to be room temperature as cold water can shock the system and take away from some of the health benefits (I don’ t know how true this is but I did it anyway.) I downed the lemon water within one minute then waited to eat or drink anything else for at least 45 minutes to let the lemon water do it’s job without interruption! ;) I used this time to feed the baby, make our coffee and breakfast, etc.

HERE IS WHAT I NOTICED DURING AND AFTER THE 30 DAYS

The BIGGEST changes I noticed were the following – in order:

  1. I became VERY ummm “regular” lol.  You may already be, but I was NOT.  This has me going at the exact same time every day without fail.  Even on the days I’ve gone without coffee.
  2. I have more energy throughout the day.  I think the simple fact that I’m hydrating my body first thing upon rising at all is responsible for this.  Normally I would wake up and go straight to the dehydrating coffee before anything else.  Not good.
  3. This month (interestingly enough) my entire family got sick with respiratory bug.  We were all sick for what seemed like forever (including me), but I was the least sick of the three of us, never had a fever and my cough literally lasted ONE day and was gone.
  4. I lost 5 lbs.  I don’t know if I can say it’s because of the lemon water every morning or what, but I lost 5 lbs and this is the only thing I did different.
  5. My skin is more amazing than ever! And not just my face from all of the amazing products and tools I use, but my entire body! I’m softer, need less body creams and have an overall glow.  I have had eczema for a long time and I currently have no rashes anywhere on my body.  Now if only this one would go through my breast milk to help my son’s eczema :-/
  6. Last but not least, the week before I started this I was having extreme pain in one of my back molars.  I couldn’t figure out what was wrong and assumed I had a cavity so I went to the dentist.  They took an x-ray and found nothing wrong and told me I had an infection in my sinuses which was causing the pain in my tooth.  I found that odd because I had NO symptoms of sinus issue at the time but assumed they knew what they were talking about. I dealt with this pain for weeks until it finally just went away…and it hasn’t come back.  Now, it could be the lemon water, or it could be something else but I found it interesting that tooth pain was listed as one of the things lemon water helps.

Other than that, other changes have been very subtle.  And I haven’t noticed any change in my chronic pain from drinking lemon water.  What I have noticed though is enough to keep me going with this newfound healthy habit! I highly recommend starting off your day with a warm glass of lemon water.  It can’t hurt! ;)

Untitled

Image from: http://turbolinds.blogspot.com/2012/10/eating-clean-101.html
Image from: http://turbolinds.blogspot.com/2012/10/eating-clean-101.html

My next 30 Day Challenge which I started today is much more challenging than this lemon water “challenge”, but I’m excited to accomplish this one!  It’s cutting out “THE WHITE FOODS” (white flour, sugar, white rice, anything processed or chemically enhanced and artificial ingredients.) All are detrimental to your health, empty calories, addictive and absolutely unnecessary.  When I mentioned this on my personal Facebook page, a friend of mine told me it sounded to her like the Whole30 program which I’d never heard of, but I was intrigued so I looked into it.  It is very similar, but the Whole30 takes things a step beyond the sugar, white flour and rice by also eliminating ALL grains (even whole), dairy, even natural sweeteners like stevia and also legumes.  I’m not quite ready to commit to the Whole30 program as dairy will be a HARD one for me to let go of, so I’m sticking to my original “cutting out the white foods” and limiting grains for now.  If I can do that in 30 days, then maybe I will attempt the Whole30 as my next challenge.  This isn’t meant to be a 30 day diet though, it’s meant to be a positive lifestyle change. We shall see! :-D

EXACTLY WHAT I WILL BE DOING:

  • Cutting out all sugar of any kind (including alcohol which breaks down in our bodies as sugar.) I will even be avoiding honey, maple syrup and natural sweeteners like stevia for the 30 days.  The only sugar I’ll be consuming will be from fruit (and I’m not going to overdo the fruit either.  Even though it’s good for you, it still spikes blood sugar! ;)
  • Cutting out anything with white flour and limiting grains altogether.  I will still have some grains (whole grains) but I’m not going to over do it. Interesting fact: Did you know quinoa isn’t a grain? It’s a seed! Score! Learning how to use it as a flour and more. :-D
  • I’m not doing the Whole30 as I’m not ready to cut dairy, but I am going to try to limit it as it does cause digestive upset for me.
  • My diet will consist of lots of fresh organic vegetables, lean organic meats, eggs, some fruits, some whole grains, and some dairy.  I will continue with my lemon water, one cup of black coffee in the morning and water throughout the day. Basically I will be eating clean.

Looking forward to updating you all in 30 days! I’ve been sooooo bad with sugar lately and am hoping I am strong enough to kick this nasty habit to the curb! Let me know if you’d like to join me! :-D

signature

Featured

GIVEAWAY WORTH $150! FULL SIZE YASOU DAY & NIGHT CREAMS!

PANEL1REVISEDIn case you missed my post last week, Yasou’s Natural Cell Renewal Night Cream and Cellular Day Cream are the face creams I have been searching high and low for! My absolute favorite facial moisturizers that I will be using for years to come.  You can read my full review by CLICKING HERE.  Upon posting that review I had quite a few people reaching out wondering if there were samples as it is hard to spend a lot of money on face creams you’ve never tried before (I get it.) While I don’t have access to samples, Yasou has so kindly offered a giveaway of a full size day and night cream to one of my readers! This is one you definitely don’t want to miss out on entering.  I’m telling you, it’s the best of the best and will not dissapoint! :-D

giveaway

You must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  This giveaway starts now and ends Friday, March 20, 2015 at midnight.  Complete the first entry task to be entered once and unlock up to 28 more additional entries! :) GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

signature

Featured

RECIPE: YBJ Gyros!

10981999_1020520574642868_6403981323918840882_nYet another twist on a recipe I got from Plated (save up to $30 on your first box by CLICKING HERE)! Their recipe was for Gyritos, but I put my own twist on it and made them actual gyros. :) These are TO DIE FOR! And super easy to make!! Only one of the ingredients may be hard to find (not at my local grocery story anyway) so I had to order it on Amazon – Dried Aleppo Pepper. You’ll want to pick some of that up before you make this, otherwise all other ingredients are pretty standard.  This serves two. :)

This is a great idea for a week night dinner because it’s super quick and easy to make.  Also a great idea for a group gathering if you just double or triple the ingredients! We have been having these at least once a week they are THAT deelish.  I recommend doing the prep ahead of time so when you’re ready to cook it up and eat, it will only take you ten minutes max! ;) ENJOY! XO

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 oz steak thinly sliced (we used boneless ribeye – the original recipe was inside round, I think any type will work)
  • 1 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber finely chopped
  • 1/4 of a bunch of parsley finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper (CLICK HERE to order online)
  • 2 pita pockets
  • 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper

MEAT: In a large ziplock bag combine the meat, onion, bell pepper, spices, 1 clove of the garlic crushed, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Seal the bag then massage all ingredients together to ensure everything is thoroughly combined and coated. Place in fridge to marinate for at least a half hour (can marinate overnight if you wish.) When ready to cook, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan then dump contents of ziplock into the oil to cook.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until steak is done.  TZATZIKI: In a medium bowl, place the yogurt, cucumber, parsley, remaining garlic (minced) and juice of the lemon.  Combine well then add salt and pepper to taste.  I probably put in 1/2 to 1 tsp of salt but that might be too salty for some so put in what you prefer. Stir one last time then put in fridge until you’re ready to serve the gyros.  PITA: Take two whole pita pockets and slice each in half.  Warm either in the toaster or in the oven in foil.  BUILD THE GYRO: First stuff each pita halve with the meat mixture, then top with the tzatziki! It’s that easy and is seriously deelish! :-D

signature

Featured

DUPED! With YBJ – Cheap duplicates of expensive beauty products!

UntitledI’ve been wanting to do a post like this for a while but just never got around to it.  I’m thinking about making this a regular monthly post where I introduce at least two new “DUPE” products to help you all save some mulah! This post will include a couple items I have already shared with you as well as a few new ones, just so I can keep all of the “DUPES” in one place! Hope you find this useful! Let me know below if you’d like this to keep coming. :)

Untitled

4i9LKdxiE     

I have used both, and I can honest to God say that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in quality.  The only difference is the name and…the price.  You can buy one BeautyBlender for $20, or four BeautyMatters for $15.  The choice is obvious, but regardless of which you choose, I highly recommend that you are using one of these amazing sponges to apply your foundation and concealer.  They make a WORLD of difference in the outcome of your finished face. :-D  YOU CAN CLICK THE PHOTOS OF THE ITEMS ABOVE TO BE DIRECTED TO THEM.

Untitled

     4i9LKdxiE                 

I have used both and I can honestly say I was never a fan of drugstore foundation before I tried the Dream Liquid Mousse.  I blogged about it a couple of years ago I loved it so much and was shocked at how amazing it worked.  If used how I used it (with a good primer as a base, then patted on with a makeup sponge) I think you would be extremely impressed. I honestly could not tell a difference between this or the Dior Airflash!  Both are full coverage foundations. I never applied the Airflash by spraying it onto my face though because soooo much product was wasted (and it is EX-PENSIVE!) when I tried it that way, so I always sprayed onto my BeautyBlender and patted it on.  I currently use my Temptu airbrush machine to do my makeup which is my number one choice for foundation, but I still keep a bottle of my Dream Liquid Mousse for travel. :) YOU CAN CLICK EITHER PHOTO ABOVE TO BE LINKED TO THAT PRODUCT.

Untitled

 4i9LKdxiE     

I just posted about this yesterday! As I’m starting a new monthly “DUPES” post, I wanted to be sure to keep all of my current ones in one place, hence I’m posting this one again. You can read my post about this here, but I can summarize by saying that there really is ZERO difference, that I’ve noticed.  Besides price.  ;)  YOU CAN CLICK EITHER PHOTO ABOVE TO BE LINKED TO THAT PRODUCT.

Untitled

4i9LKdxiE FullSizeRender[1]

The photo stock images make the color look so different but as you can see, it’s a very similar color and sheen.  They are not EXACT, but I think this is as close as you can get.  I still personally prefer the NARS as the quality is a bit nicer, but if you are looking for a similar powdery pink color for less, you should definitely check out the Revlon! I’m currently on the hunt for a DUPE of my fave Estee Lauder lipstick “Impassioned.” Hopefully I will be able to share one in my next DUPES post! :-D YOU CAN CLICK EITHER PHOTO ABOVE TO BE LINKED TO THAT PRODUCT.

Untitled

Screen shot 2015-03-12 at 1.35.50 PM4i9LKdxiE      Screen shot 2015-03-12 at 1.33.43 PMScreen shot 2015-03-12 at 1.42.44 PM

Another product I’ve already blogged about, but this is way too good of a dupe not to include! Latisse and Careprost are the EXACT same thing (Bimatoprost) in the same size bottle and strength.  The only difference is brand name vs. generic name, and price.  I have never used Latisse (only Careprost) but because it’s the exact same ingredient there really isn’t any need.  My results in the photos are from the Careprost.  You can read my original post by clicking here if you want to know more or see my before photos.  Keep in mind three things if you decide to order either – 1) this is a medicine so if you don’t know anything about it, research it first – I’m not a doctor, just a consumer who LOVES it lol, 2) shipping is around $20 because it comes from India (to get it here you’d have to see a plastic surgeon or go to a med spa) and 3) you can buy one bottle of the Careprost for $13, but you’ll need about 2 – 3 bottles ($40) to achieve your full results (it takes 16 weeks.) I, as well as family members and friends of mine, have used this from the company linked above for years.  CLICK THE PHOTOS ABOVE OF THE PRODUCTS TO BE DIRECTED TO EITHER ONE.  THE CAREPROST PHOTO WILL DIRECT YOU TO THE PHARMACY TO ORDER FROM, JUST TYPE “CAREPROST” IN THE SEARCH FIELD TO FIND IT. ;)

Well that’s all for now! Hope you enjoyed this post! If you’d like me to make this “Dupes” post a regular monthly thing, please let me know. :-)

signature

Featured

RECIPE: Sweet Potato Lasagna ~ Our latest family fav!

FullSizeRenderI loathe sweet potatoes.  Until I discovered this recipe, they were probably my least favorite vegetable.  As you all know we are subscribers of the dinner delivery service Plated.  One week about a month ago, I forgot to go in and alter my meal choices so we were sent the recipe and ingredients to make a turkey sausage sweet potato lasagna and I was SUPER bummed.  Of course I had to make it because I’m not wasteful. When I sat down to eat what I thought was going to be the worst meal of my life, I ended up being very pleasantly surprised.  Shocked actually.  This was one of the most delicious dinners I had ever made! Even Aaron was impressed.  I decided to make it again tonight, but I put my own little twist on it and low and behold it’s even better! Whether you like sweet potatoes or hate them, you will LOVE this lasagne!!!!

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1.5 lbs of sweet potatoes

1 lb of Italian chicken sausage

1 jar of marinara sauce

1 cup of ricotta cheese

1 tsp each of rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano

1/4 cup of Romano cheese

1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella

Crushed red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

IMG_7744Slice the sweet potatoes to 1/8 thickness then put into boiling salted water to blanch for about 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  Cook Italian sausage (if yours is in casing, remove from casing) in a tablespoon of olive oil.  Break it up with a wooden spoon. When cooked through, add the marinara sauce and let simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta with 1/2 of the romano, all of the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.    Using a skillet pan, build your lasagna as follows: Place 1/3 of the sausage and sauce mixture on the bottom of the pan.  Place 1/3 of the sweet potatoes over that. Place another 1/3 or the sauce mixture over that. Place 1/2 of the ricotta mixture on that layer followed by another 1/3 of the potatoes. Pour on the remaining sauce and the remaining ricotta mixture.  Sprinkle red pepper flakes to your liking.  Place the rest of the potatoes on top.  Top this with the remaining romano and the mozzarella.  End with a drizzle of olive oil.  Place lasagna in a preheated 350 degree oven for a half hour.  Before removing from oven, switch the heat to broil for 2 minutes until the top has slightly browned.  Remove from oven, cool and serve! I slice it pie style.  ;)

I’m so thankful to Plated for introducing me to recipes like this that I would have otherwise NEVER tried in a million years.  It is an expensive service, but if you can swing it even for a once a month delivery, it really is such a nice luxury.  Not even for the easy dinners, but more so for the introduction to so many amazing recipes!  They are offering two free plates with new sign ups by CLICKING HERE.  You can always cancel after your first delivery too, there are no contracts.  That was my plan,  but we ended up falling in love. LOL. :-)

signature

Featured

Clarisonic Love…and CHEAP head replacements!!

You all know I can’t live without my Clarisonic and if you don’t already have one, it really is worth the investment.  I received mine as a Christmas gift from my husband the year before last and it has made a huge difference in my complexion.  Those of you who also own one know exactly what I’m talking about.  I use mine EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Sometimes twice a day.  It takes every amazing face wash and exfoliator up a notch by working them into your skin well and ensuring COMPLETE cleansing.  When you just wash your face with your hands or a washcloth, you aren’t cleaning every pore and most of the time are just touching the surface, leaving behind a ton of dirt, old makeup and oily residue.   Not to mention you probably waste a lot of product.  A little dollup of your cleanser goes a long way with this tool. While I give most credit for my skin’s current state to the products I’m using, I really think their jobs are helped along immensely thanks to my Clarisonic.

I found these before and after images on their website:

Screen shot 2015-03-11 at 12.03.59 PM  Screen shot 2015-03-11 at 12.12.31 PM

Screen shot 2015-03-11 at 12.12.41 PM   Screen shot 2015-03-11 at 12.12.59 PM

Not sure what the people in these photos used for product (I’m guessing Clarisonic’s own line) but I’ve had just as awesome results with my own favorite products.  One of my only complaints about the Clarisonic has been how expensive the brush head replacements are! I mean $30 for one brush head?? Come on. So after doing some research, I found these cheap Clarisonic brush heads on Amazon.com with super high reviews.  So I bought some and tried them out for myself.  You are suppose to replace your brush heads every three months.  I bought these heads (photographed to the right) about two months ago and have been using one of them ever since.  Honest to God, they cleanse just as well as the authentic Clarisonic branded brush head did.  My skin is equally as happy and it feels exactly the same during use. The best part?  You get FOUR of them for only $7 as opposed to ONE for $27. Ummm, yes please!  Just wanted to tip you off to them if you weren’t already aware you could get them cheaper. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE OR TO READ THE OTHER REVIEWS. :)

signature

Featured

YASOU: Your new favorite face cream (and mine too)!!!!

PANEL1REVISEDOk, so I totally know what you’re thinking…”Does this chick LOVE everything?!” LOL. :-D The answer is – no.  No I do not.  What you don’t see are the products I don’t fall in love with, hence don’t blog about…there’s actually a lot, sadly. I want this to be a place where my readers can go to find the best of the best and nothing less, so I leave those off the blog. ;) Although what I consider “the best” may be different than what you do, chances are high that you will be equally as impressed as I am with the products I discuss.  These face creams are no exception…they are truly incredible and unlike any other facial moisturizer I have used.  As a matter of fact I clearly remember stating a few skincare posts back that I’ve yet to find a moisturizer I’ve fallen in love with.  Well I have now.  Thank God YASOU heard my cries! :-D

I was sent the absolute most magical day cream and night cream to test for review purposes.  From YASOU, “The new Yasou moisturizing face treatments deliver a boost of essential, naturally-sourced ingredients combined with our exclusive Calityl-O Complex, to hydrate, replenish and reinstate the skin to it’s optimum condition and keep it looking stunning every day.  Yasou has harnessed all the goodness of Greek ingredients, including pure olive oil, into a transformative and luxurious facial treatment that delivers results.”  The benefits are: wrinkle reduction, firming, exfoliating, cell renewal, building of collagen and elasticity, smooth texture, moisturizing and looking and feeling better. :-P

YASOU CELLULAR DAY CREAM

This is my favorite of the two! The fact that this product is 99.6% natural isn’t even my favorite thing about it…it’s that it actually works and WELL, natural or not.  People are really noticing and complimenting my skin more than ever lately, and the Leo in me can’t help but lap it all up. ;)  I finally feel comfortable going around makeup-free and while there are a lot of skincare products attributing to that fact, I do think that this particular cream plays a major part in my complexion’s current state.  This claims to exfoliate, brighten, boost collagen and tone on a cellular level. I have noticed SUCH a major difference in just one week of use! Seriously! My FAVORITE skincare ingredient is in this product which I know plays a major role too….if you know me, you already know what it is…..AHA (Glycolic Acid!) :) This does mean those with sensitive skin should use conservatively until you know how your skin will react.  I don’t have sensitive skin though so I use it every single morning as the end point to my morning beauty routine before applying my makeup.  This cream has a matte finish which is super nice as a base to your primer and foundation! The other ingredients that make this so wonderful are:

  • Sugar cane extract – a natural exfoliant that doesn’t clog pores and eliminates blemishes
  • Lemon extract – another natural exfoliant and skin brightener
  • Orange extract – mild bleaching properties
  • Apple extract – toning, exfoliating and rejuvenating
  • Green tea extract – protects skin from free radicals, decreases wrinkles and promotes collagen
  • Tocopherol (aka: vitamin e) – protects and repairs skin
  • Malic acid – a natural humectant that keeps skin hydrated
  • Organic extra virgin olive oil – soothes and moisturizing
  • Grape seed extract – boosts collagen
  • Cucumber extract – Astringent properties as well as being an effective antioxidant

YASOU CELL RENEWAL NIGHT CREAM

This is the most luxuuuuuuurious night cream and is a perfect way to end your nighttime skin care routine before slipping into bed for the night.  I love knowing this cream is hard at work while I slumber and my face really does seem more fresh and firm when I look in the mirror in the morning…and it’s DEFINITELY baby-butt soft.  Quite refreshing! It has a very natural scent unlike most commercial night creams which can be very perfumey, so it makes me feel good about what I’m coating my face with.  I use a liberal amount too so I like knowing it isn’t just a bunch of chemicals I can’t pronounce.  This treatment is designed to stimulate the skin and promote collagen with Hyadisine (described below) and Calityl-O Complex.  This formula eradicates imperfections and diminishes fine lines and wrinkles.  The powerful antioxidants are said to fade age spots, firm and plump skin. The most impressive ingredient in this night cream has to be the Hyadisine.  I had never heard of it before, but it’s an active marine-based ingredient and alternative to hyaluronic acid.  The pamphlet I received with this cream states you will notice results in only TWO HOURS! While I can’t honestly say I’ve studied my face for two hours to see if I can tell a major difference, I will say that I wake up looking refreshed and to not sound like too much of a broken record, have truly never loved my skin more than I do now.  Here are the key ingredients in this cream:

  • Certified organic extra virgin olive oil and jojoba oil – Soothes and moisturizes
  • Shea butter – one of the best anti-aging moisturizers
  • Aloe vera – Moisturizes and hydrates
  • Hyadisine – Described above
  • Cucumber seed extract – Hydrating, nourishing and astringent properties. When used in skincare formulations cucumber seed extract can assist with skin regeneration and be used to combat wrinkles
  • Stay C 50 – a stable form of vitamin c which prevents free radicals and increases firmness
  • Unitrienol T27 – Studies show that this reduces the appearance of wrinkle depth and is also known as a cell regenerator

Here is my makeup-free face (foundation free – wearing an under-eye highlighter, clear lip gloss and a touch of blush) after a week of having added these two creams to my skin care routines. This photo was brightened but that is all (it’s a cell phone photo):

10403469_1017417181619874_3417900054432716057_n

our-story-new1I feel that I need to give you all a quick background of this company because it will help you to understand the quality and love behind Yasou.  This skin care line was inspired from the heart, heritage and passion of it’s creator Theodora Ntovas (to the left.)  She often traveled to Greece as a child to live and visit with family.  As an adult she felt a calling to return to the Greek village from her youth.  While shopping at a local farmer’s market in Archia Feneos, Theodora discovered the purist, most unique organic skin care product and was intrigued.  It was made from local natural essential oils, flowers and indigenous plants, plus locally produced organic beeswax.  Upon returning to the states she realized there was a need and a niche market for natural/organic skincare that felt like the luxe products you find in high end department stores. Inspired by the organic product she discovered at the Greek market this luxurious skin care line encompasses Greek-insprired beauty and philosphy, melded together with the state of the art science.

Other notes about these creams: all ingredients come from natural origins, no animal testing, packaging is environmentally friendly and recyclable, all products have been tested and insured, customer satisfaction guaranteed (you can return within 30 days for full refund if you aren’t satisfied for some odd reason), and all products are actually good for you!

I really recommend these – obviously! I will be using them for years to come as I can pretty much say for sure that I won’t find a face cream I love more than either of these.  I’ve tried them all! And you can hunt high and low through hundreds of my blog posts.  Nothing compares! This company also makes body cream but I haven’t tried that yet…I will be now.  ;) CLICK HERE for the day cream and CLICK HERE for the night cream. :)

signature

Featured

LIVING NATURE’S SKIN REVIVE EXFOLIANT: 2 in 1 for glowing skin!

SkinRevive_Exfoliant_75ml_Box_Tube_NR_ep_NS_RGB_largeYet another fab product from one of my favorite skincare companies, Living Nature! You all know I’m a sucker for a good exfoliant and have blogged about a few over the past few weeks…this one can hang with the best of them!  Exfoliants are either win or lose..there is no in between.  I’ve had quite a few I’ve been unable to blog about and share with you in the past because they made me break out, were too gritty/scratchy or just did nothing at all for my skin, so I love being able to share a real winner like this one! Many thanks to Living Nature for allowing me to test it out. :-D

This product contains micro-beads AND cleanser in one, hence it is probably topping my list right since it’s a time saver.  Most exfoliants are just an exfoliant requiring you to use a separate cleanser as well.  I like being able to kill two birds with one stone when it comes to my morning and evening beauty rituals.  The cleanser in this is phenomenal too! Word for word from Living Nature: “New Zealand’s native soap Kumerahou cleanses naturally, loosening oil, dirt and debris around dead skin cells with the added benefit of phyto-saponins for antimicrobial protection.  Jojoba and Candelilla beads gently and effectively lift keratinised dead skin cells in minutes, leaving skin clean, soft and smooth with no micro-tears or damage to the skin.” ;)

Skin Revive is a GREAT everyday cleanser, not just a weekly exfoliant! This will absolutely reveal younger, healthier, glowing skin as it stimulates healthy cell renewal.  My YBJ tip would be to use it in conjunction with a Clarisonic.  That’s the only way I cleanse my skin as it really helps the product do it’s job much more effectively than simply rubbing it around your face would…although it’s not required, it’s just what I do! :-P

signature

Featured

MOMMY & ME: Our monthly LIFE update & AJ’s favorite products!

11001744_10205388946990553_8597732351555621145_nI’ve been swimming in fabulous beauty products lately so I thought it would be nice to take a break to just fill you all in on the little one and I.  Daddy has been working like a horse lately, so we rarely even see him (except for a bit in the evenings.) It’s mostly AJ and I all day long which is bittersweet since I get to hog him, but we miss Dada.

This little one is on a mission to be BIG and NOW.  I swear he has been so over this baby business since the moment he was born.  At just a mere seven months old my little man is crawling so fast I literally have to run after him.  He stands and pushes himself along with his walker toy too and I can pretty much say for certain he’ll be walking by eight or nine months…if not before. Seriously. He says “Mamamaaa” and “Dada,” nods yes, laughs at his shows, dances and is eating three meals of solid food a day – which he feeds himself mind you! He amazes me and I’m so proud of him. :-)

This is his new favorite snack…I shared it on social media but wanted to include it in this post as well.  I take his baby food purees and squeeze them into little dots on wax paper.  I freeze this for about ten minutes, then scrape the dots off with a spatula, place them into a baggie and put back in the freezer.  When I put him in his highchair before each meal, I give him a handful of these to keep him busy while I make his meal.  Not only are they nutritious and great for a baby learning how to pick up food and place it in their mouth, they are also awesome for teething since they’re frozen! He is such a happy baby when he sees the baggie come out of the freezer. Super cute! :-D  If you click on the photo, you’ll be led to the food I use to make his “Dinner Dots.” ;)

IMG_7529

To take a bit of a break from all the baby bragging there is something still very “baby” about him.  He still cosleeps at night with his Daddy and I.  I know there are all kinds of opinions on this, but for us it works and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  One big reason why is because he’s still nursing and STILL wakes in the night at least once to nurse.  If he slept in his crib I’d have to wake all the way up to walk in there and sit and feed 10991109_10205422212022158_7685378454819581449_nhim, whereas with him sleeping next to me we can easily do a feeding and fall back asleep easily so I still wake up the next day feeling rested. When I wake all the way up in the night is is REALLY hard for me to fall back asleep, so our setup is awesome.  He takes all of his naps in his crib though (including his evening nap when it’s dark) so he’s perfectly comfortable in his own room on his own.  I think the through the night transition, which I plan to do when he turns one and stops nursing, will be just fine. ;)

As for me…when I’m not being AJ’s chauffeur, maid, chef, nurse and security, I’m usually cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, shopping or behind my laptop screen keeping up with this here blog!  He’s my first priority but he takes 3 naps a day still which enables me the time to sit down and write. I’ve also been starting to gather ideas for his first birthday party in July so I’ve been a bit of a Pinterest junkie again too.  :-P

My days are no longer days.  I live one big long ongoing Mommy day it seems, but as exhausting as it is, it really is the most fulfilling, magical time of my life.  Call me crazy but I already can’t wait to give him a sibling.  Well, we go back and forth.  Sometimes I think maybe we should stop with just him, but I always wanted a sibling myself and I would love for him to have a companion through life and vice versa.  We will decide soon though, and if it’s going to happen, we plan to start trying in the next couple of months. :-D

So that’s about it for now.  As usual in these posts, here are some of our latest and greatest must have baby items we’ve come across this past month!  Here are our top three! Click on the photos to be directed to the items. :)

Have you heard of the Boon?! Mommies of babies, get you one! These are AWESOME! Just preload your Boon with your babies favorite puree and let them feed themselves! Or if you still feed them, it’s a lot less dish cleanup and mess to just squeeze each bite out for them.  AJ does majority Baby Led Weaning, but sometimes we are in too big of a hurry to deal with that mess so I just fill his Boon up! There’s a cap for it too so whatever they don’t finish can be saved.  Great for travel feedings too! :-D

IMG_6519I’ve posted a few photos of AJ in his bean bag chair on social media and have had so many other mamas asking me where I got it.  I got his from Target, but there are a ton on Amazon too!  I think his is more meant for a toddler than a baby, but it works for him.  He’s actually taught himself how to roll onto his tummy then scoot off of it as opposed to just rolling off and bonking his head. :-D He literally sits in his chair every morning while he watches his BabyFirstTV…it’s so adorable. He will crawl over to it and lay down too when he’s tired.  This has absolutely been one of my favorite purchases for him! I’ll even sit in it sometimes and although it’s small, it’s super comfy! :-P

FullSizeRenderOnce he started pulling himself up onto everything (the couch, cabinets, doorways, etc.) I decided it was time to get him a little walker.  I didn’t think I had to get him anything like this for a long while still, but he had other plans! This has by far been his favorite thing over the past month since my last life update.  Not only does he stand up and take steps with it, the front panel also happens to be a giant educational activity center that keeps him busy for a long time! It can even be removed so that you can tote the activity panel along when you travel.  The wheels have settings that make it harder to roll and easier to roll depending on the standing ability of the baby so it’s safe for him to stand with too.  I highly recommend this for any babies who are close to walking.  :)

That’s it for now! You can look for our life updates once a month.  I’m starting monthly regular topics like this as well as monthly guest posts from my hair dresser and my esthetician.  I’m also looking into different baby subscription boxes to do a comparison review on.  I’ve been told about three or four different ones so I plan to try them all out and tell you which I liked best and why.  You can look for that in the coming month.  :-D

signature

Featured

A Prime Time Experiment With Guest Blogger – Hillary from HankeringYankee.com

1Hello, beauty junkies! Hope your March is getting off to a splendid start. When Jamie asked me to do a guest post I was beyond excited and knew I needed to do something special. I had a brainstorm and decided I would love to do a beauty experiment on something I’ve been curious about for a bit.

//QUESTION//: Do eyeshadow primers actually do anything?

//BACKGROUND RESEARCH//: I was directed to the Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer on a recent visit to Mecca Maxima (A cosmetics store here in Australia). You can view the haul video from this trip by clicking here.

//HYPOTHESIS//: I predict they will initially boost the colour but over time make little difference. (Spoiler Alert:Boy was I wrong….)

2 3

//EXPERIMENT//

Step One: I applied primer only to my right eye. I used a brush to make sure there wasn’t any contamination from the natural oil on my fingertips. Step Two: I applied eye shadow evenly to both eyes. I immediately saw that the colour definitely popped more on the eye with primer.

4

5
6


Step Three:
I waited TEN hours to re-photograph my eyes- being extra careful to not touch the eyelids. However, as I had been out late dancing the night before I ended up having a nap which will AMAZE you when you see the final photos from this experiment.

7

As you can see on my hand, I applied the eyeshadow to the back of my hand on top of this primer and on top of the skin directly. The primer clearly gives the shadow a much more neutral base and therefore lets the colour really pop.

Step Four: After ten hours of shopping, eating, napping, and generally enjoying a Saturday afternoon I took the after photos. These photos are without any touch ups whatsoever.

8

//CONCLUSION//: As you can see, the unprimed eye has lost most of its shadow and ended up with creases whereas the primed eye looks almost as good as when I first applied! I was so overwhelming impressed with these results!!! Clearly this product is a must have for anyone looking to get a longer wear out of their shadows.

You can read more about this amazing product from Too Faced by clicking here.

Thanks so much for having me Jamie and I hope this has been helpful to all of your lovely readers! X

To keep up with Hillary of HankeringYankee.com, follow her blog heredon’t miss her monthly giveaways!! ;)  You can also LIKE her Facebook by clicking here. She is an amazing, funny writer and she also happens to be my beautiful cousin, so we would BOTH appreciate the support. :)

signature

Featured

GIVEAWAY: Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening Custom Trays!

smilebrilliant-teeth-whitening-kit-giveawayIt’s been about a year since I’ve posted about my favorite teeth whitening system, but I still love it just the same.  It’s the only method I use to whiten my teeth.  CLICK HERE to read my post about how it works.  They have so kindly offered a giveaway to you all through their site. Simply click the photo to the left to enter to win…and good luck! This giveaway begins now and ends March 12, 2015 at noon.  I will announce the winner at that time. :-D

Also, don’t forget about my other giveaways that end tonight at midnight.  CLICK HERE for the Nuxe Paris Masque Creme Fraiche giveaway and CLICK here for the Strivectin, Might Leaf and More giveaway!

signature

Featured

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Nuxe Masque Creme Fraiche

10985898_1014494441912148_6669853453334406363_n
While I honestly can’t say for sure if it’s thanks to this face mask or if it’s the combo of amazing new skincare products I’ve been using as of late, but my skin just keeps surprising me by looking better and better! I literally ALREADY have to do an updated Skincare Routine post soon (I just did one last month!) While I still cherish every item in my previous routine, I’m loving these new ones a bit more.  One of my absolute favorites of the bunch, is this face mask by Nuxe.  I received it to test out and review from Skin1.com and it is nothing like what I expected it would be.  According to the website, this product  is formulated with 8 plant milks and soothing extracts to deeply nourish and soften and reveal supple, radiant skin. NUXE Masque Creme Fraiche® de Beaute instantly plumps cells with moisture and continually provides intensive hydration and comfort.” :-D

Sundays are typically my at home spa days.  I always do a mask as they always leave my skin looking radiant and my pores tighter. Although it’s not Sunday, I couldn’t wait to test out the Nuxe Masque Creme Fraiche that I received as I have heard such amazing things about it, mostly from girlfriends of mine who have received it in past Birchboxes. So I washed my face with my Clarisonic and my new Living Nature exfoliant (that review will be up later), patted dry then applied this “mask” all over.  First of all, it’s not so much a mask like you would expect.  It’s more of a thick serum.  Directions state to apply it all over your face, leave on for ten minutes, then either pat into your skin, or remove with a cotton pad and toner.  I chose to remove with the cotton pad and toner as it’s a little too moisturizing for me to want to leave on all day.  But, wow! I wiped it off, then brushed my hand against my cheek and was amazed at how smooth and soft my skin felt.  I followed up with my normal routine of my Murad Complete Reform and my new favorite skin cream (post coming soon!) I literally feel flawless! I will continue to use other masks on my Sunday spa days, because I will be using this product EVERY day.  It’s not often I feel like I want to flaunt my bare makeup-less face, but I do right now. ;)

giveaway

Skin1 has so kindly offered five of my readers an opportunity to try this mask for free as well! I already gave two away on Facebook the other night, but the other three are still up for grabs! Winners will receive their code to order their free 1.7oz Masque Creme Fraiche online via email upon winning. It is a $32 value. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. This giveaway begins now and ends Saturday March 7th at noon. Be sure to complete the entry task in the Rafflecopter widget below! Doing so will gain you an entry into this giveaway as well as unlock a chance to get up to 18 more entries! The more you get the higher your odds of winning. :) GOOD LUCK! XO

a Rafflecopter giveaway

signature

Featured

MINI REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Just a few of my favorite things ;)

IMG_7454

As I was sipping on a cup of my favorite tea this evening after just having given myself an at home facial, I was feeling so good I decided to share the wealth…well, at least a little of it. ;) The items in the photo above are literally a few of my favorite things (although the samples included I’ve never tried.) The winner will receive as follows:

STRIVECTIN-SD INSTANT RETEXTURIZING SCRUB: One of favorite exfoliants ever! I blogged about it recently in my Skincare Routine for Glowing Flawless Skin. I’m currently using another amazing exfoliant by Living Nature which I’ll be reviewing soon, so I decided to give my brand new tube of this away to one of you. It’s a 3.3oz tube.  Click here or on the photo to your left for more info. :-)

MIGHTY LEAF TEA – WHITE ORCHARD: I can pretty much promise this is the most delicious tea you will ever taste. OMG. It is sooooohohoho good that there is no way for me to emphasize just how much via blog post. I actually received a sample tea bag in a recent Birchbox and didn’t think much of it until I started getting sick the other day and it sounded good.  It’s a white tea (better for you than green tea with the same amount of caffeine) infused with melon and peach.  It is freaking delicious. If you add a smidgen of honey and lemon too it’s over the top good.  After I had that one cup I sent my husband searching for it all over town…lol.  Unfortunately they don’t sell it anywhere locally so I had to order it online.  This box I’m giving away is an unopened box of 15 whole leaf tea pouches.  Click here or on the photo of it to the right for more info. :-D

NEUTROGENA MAKEUP REMOVER CLEANSING TOWELETTES IN HYDRATING: I despise washing my face before bed.  I do anyway but there are those days where I just can’t make myself and that’s where these come into play.  I’ve blogged about them numerous times and I’ve still yet to find any other makeup wipes better.  This “hydrating” one is my favorite of the bunch too.  I’ve tried the original light blue package as well as the purple. They are just as awesome in removing makeup but I love the scent of this one. I keep a package by my bed, a package in my bathroom and one in AJ’s diaper bag so I have them handy to take my makeup off where ever I am.  I still use a toner or astringent after and then followup with my nighttime skincare ritual, but these things are awesome in getting your makeup off quickly and effectively. I use two wipes at a time; one removes my makeup and the other ensures it’s completely gone.  These are legit the best. Click here or on the photo to the left for more info. :-P

FURLESSE ELEVENS: I’ve blogged about them before, and I still love them! They really work is why.  Furlesse Elevens get rid of that hideous “#11″ wrinkle between my eyebrows.  It’s a temporary fix (just like the lip cupping temporarily plumps), but it’s safer and better for you than Botox and if you do it often enough, the results will stick. For a night out on the town though, this will get rid of those deep frown wrinkle lines! I was amazed the first few times I used this as it looked like I had received Botox.  It’s an amazing little product so kudos to whoever thought it up! I am a sucker for any product that can give results that a Plastic Surgeon can, even if it is just temporary.  Click here or on the photo to the right for more info. :)

The other two little packets included are just random surprise samples I received in a recent Birchbox that I’m passing along since I’m literally swimming in beauty product samples over here. Good luck to you if you enter, and I would really appreciate a share on this post!

giveaway

This giveaway begins now and ends Saturday, March 7th, 2015 at noon.  You must be 18 years of age or older and live in the continental United States to enter. I will the winner at random using Rafflecopter below.  If you complete these three entry tasks below, you will unlock a chance to have 20+ additional entries into the contest!! Good luck. XO

a Rafflecopter giveaway

signature

Featured

LUNA: SO CHIC! SO CLASSY! The ONLY maternity line that NON pregnant women will want to shop!

logoWhere WAS this company when I was pregnant?!? WAAAH! :( Good thing Aaron and I plan to start trying for #2 before year’s end. I will be looking much more chic at 8 and 9 months pregnant this next time around.  Luna had approached me about reviewing some of their maternity wear toward the end of my pregnancy, but as you all know I had taken a step away from my blog to enjoy those last few months and the birth of my son, so I totally missed out on this.  While going through email recently playing catch up, I sent my regrets but told them I was still interested in learning more about the company.  After browsing through their site and being totally blown away by how gorgeous everything is, I was curious for the future. ;)

They told me that these clothes (though called “maternity”) will fit anyone as they are made to stretch and shrink with a woman’s changing size.  Basically, all clothing items will look just as hot on a non-pregnant woman as they will on a woman 9 months pregnant.  And these are probably the only maternity clothes you won’t have to pack away after a pregnancy…you can continue wearing them as you won’t look like a frumpy mom, but rather a stylish MILF. LOL. To top it all off, I discovered they have some absolutely ADORABLE baby clothes and shoes too, so I will be doing a little shopping for AJ. And me. :-P

I mean…are these not the CUTEST?!? Totally classic.  Just a few of the gagillion gorgeous items to choose from.  They are on the spendier side, but I’ve been told they will last in your wardrobe forever.  And there are some AWESOME sales going on too…especially on the jeans! Click on photos to be linked to any item.

Screen shot 2015-02-26 at 2.16.35 PMScreen shot 2015-02-26 at 2.05.04 PMScreen shot 2015-02-26 at 3.59.14 PM

must_have_maternity_jeans_1024x1024jennifer_blue_04_large3378_1024x10241199_1024x1024

And would you LOOK at these darling baby clothes?!

Screen shot 2015-02-26 at 2.12.25 PMScreen shot 2015-02-26 at 2.11.49 PMScreen shot 2015-02-26 at 2.13.47 PM

Screen shot 2015-02-26 at 2.13.05 PMScreen shot 2015-02-26 at 4.07.47 PMScreen shot 2015-02-26 at 2.14.32 PM

I could literally go on forever sharing clothing with you from this site, but you will just have to browse them on your own.  Whether you are pregnant, post-partum, neither or are looking for an adorable baby shower gift,  you definitely don’t want to pass Luna by.  Be sure to check out their sale items too! Some marked down by half! Also they are offering FREE SHIPPING on orders over $100 to the US with code YBJUSA until March 1.  They are based in Canada so orders in Canada always have free shipping over $100. :-D CLICK HERE TO VISIT LUNA

signature

Featured

MURAD: Youthful glow, from head to toe!

Screen shot 2015-02-23 at 1.20.19 PM

If I were banished to a deserted island, and I could only bring one skincare product for my face with me, and I had to get rid of everything else….my product of choice would 100%, hands down, be Murad’s Complete Reform with Glyco Firming Complex.  I blogged about this numerous times in the past, and briefly covered it last week in my post about my skincare routine for glowing flawless skin. But I wouldn’t even have to think about it…and that’s saying a lot because I’m probably “in love” with 50 different skincare products…as you all know! :-P I could go on forever about this product that I’ve been using religiously for months, but I’d be getting repetitive since I’ve already covered it. ;) To quickly summarize though, in case you’ve missed my past posts, I will share this from Murad: “Transforms skin by increasing firmness up to 61% after first application, while also improving skin’s texture to reveal softer, smoother skin.” While I don’t recall what my face was like after first use, I will say that this product absolutely has given me softer, smoother skin over time and I cannot and will not live without it! :-D

Needless to say, when my doorbell rang last week and I opened it to find a great big box with “MURAD” posted on it, I squealed with joy.  Literally.  Not only do they make my favorite facial product ever, I’ve yet to meet any of their products that I didn’t love, so I was beyond excited to try out more of their goodies.  Inside was their new Youth Builder Bodycare line as well as a couple winners from their Age and Pore Reform lines! And thanks to this delivery, I’ve now found a few more favorites not only for my face, but for my entire body! :-D

Before I breakdown my thoughts on the products received, those of you who are unaware of what this incredible line of spa grade skincare products developed by doctor Howard Murad, MD is all about, you should click here to read up on him. And below you can click on the photos of the products for more info or to purchase. :)

Screen shot 2015-02-23 at 1.53.45 PM

This Detoxifying White Clay Body Cleanser is heavenly.  It claims to draw out impurities while exfoliating and hydrating your skin for a more youthful appearance.  Ginger Root Extract helps stimulate circulation while Safflower and Sunflower Oils impart moisture to skin, leaving it smooth and hydrated. While I’m no scientist to be able to prove that impurities are actually being drawn out, all I can go by is how I feel during and after using it. For starters, I feel like my shower or bath is transformed into a spa…something about the gingery-citrus scent and the luxurious lather.  Pure. Heaven.  It even doubles as an amazing shaving cream due to it’s thick, creamy texture! After drying off, my skin is left feeling super soft and moisturized so I could go without moisturizer if I wanted to, but there is nothing better to me than lathering up with a fab after shower moisturizer…

Screen shot 2015-02-23 at 1.56.43 PMWhich is exactly what this Collagen Support Body Cream is! I assumed it was going to be more like a body butter because of the packaging (body butters are usually my favorite as I looooathe lotions) but this is actually more of a silky mousse than a butter.  A silk mousse that with very little used will leave you feeling ridiculously soft and moisturized.  I swear it doesn’t take much AT all! The claims that it will immediately triple your skin’s moisture and provides 24 hours of hydration are 100% correct. I have very dry, “ashy” skin and while I’ve used some wonderful body butters in my day, I can’t say that by bedtime my skin is still just as hydrated as it was in the morning when I first put it on.  I lather this all over my legs and tummy every day after showering…most would just use this all over, but I’m weird and have my own “routine” LOL! :-D

Screen shot 2015-02-23 at 1.58.52 PMAfter moisturizing my legs and tummy with the body cream above, I use this AAAAAH-MAZING Firming Peptide Body Treatment on my rear end, thighs, sides and anywhere else I want to firm up my skin.  This product really is meant to be used all over the body before moisturizer to “elevate your moisturizer to a youth building ritual” but again I’m using them my own way.  This product has the Glyco Firming Complex in it which is what my Complete Reform I was gushing about above has to visibly firm the appearance of your skin.  It also has grape seed oil to provide the skin with weightless moisture to improve texture and restore youthful appearance.  After using it about four times, I can honestly say that some smaller dimples as well as unsightly little bumps on my upper thighs have diminished and my butt is LITERALLY as soft as a baby’s butt – yes. My son has “softest butt” competition now.  :-P Going forward I’m going to start using this all over as recommended, underneath my moisturizer, because after checking out other reviews on it, it apparently leaves your whole body glowing and with summer just around the bend….I want that! ;)

Screen shot 2015-02-23 at 2.00.45 PMThe last product they sent me from their Youth Builder line is this Rejuvenating AHA Hand Cream.  Once again – glycolic acid (aka: AHA) to the rescue! I’ve never met a skin care ingredient that I love more than glycolic acid. Seriously.  I use to love getting facial peels with it because it lightened dark spots, tightened pores and evened out my skin tone…I’ll have to use this longer to know for sure, but I would love if it would rid my hands of some dark spots due to scars I’ve collected over the years. It promises to improve the clarity and texture of your hands thanks to the AHA and improve hydration thanks to the hyaluronic acid. So far, both of those are accurate.  This is a thick, luxurious hand cream that keeps my hands and arms super soft and smooth. :-D

This product is probably my favorite of the bunch (tied with the Firming Peptide Body Treatment.) It’s slated to revitalize lips for a plumper, more youthful appearance while simultaneously working over time to reduce the appearance of vertical lip lines and wrinkles.  So far I can tell you that after using this serum for the past week, it is an AWESOME base for lipsticks and balms and it really does fill your lips out too! Nothing as dramatic as the lip pump I reviewed the other day mind you (although I have been using them in combo and am LOVING my results.) It just adds more of a fullness to your lips by boosting microcirculation,leaving them looking very natural, smooth and wrinkle-free.  This is an AWESOME lip product!! :-D

Last, but certainly not least, is an awesome exfoliant for your face! The Skin Smoothing Polish from their Pore Reform line (same line as my Complete Reform product above) is gentle enough to use daily even though it states to use it 3-4 times per week.  I’ve been using this every single day for the past week by placing a dollup of it onto my Clarisonic Mia 2 and working it into my skin in a circular motion.  I then rinse well with as hot of water as I can stand, pat dry, tone my face and then pat in my Complete Reform.  I’m telling you – the combo of these two products alone will leave you looking like you’ve just had a facial. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Mark my words and thank me later.  I have skin that very easily breaks out (and not just those “oh darn!” little zits – the big honkin’ cystic zits that hurt, scar and ruin my life) and I haven’t had to deal with a zit in AGES, so for those with similar skin as me, this might just be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Once again Murad far from disappoints.  Every morning when I enter my bathroom now feels like a spa day…only I’m doing all the work! ;)

signature

Featured

FOR THE MAMA-TO-BE: Breastfeeding – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly!

IMG_7344When I was pregnant with AJ, whether or not I was going to breastfeeding wasn’t even a question. I knew I wanted to for a million different reasons, but the top two were health benefits and bonding.  As you all know AJ ended up being born via emergency c-section, so I was very lucky that he had no problems with latching.  I don’t know how true it really is, but I’ve heard most c-section babies have issues with nursing. He did not however, and two of my close friends didn’t have issues with their little ones either.  When they put AJ on my chest for the first time, it was so magical watching him root for my nipple..it really is instinctual! I knew this already though, so naturally I thought breastfeeding was going to be a cinch.  I was wrong. It hasn’t been so easy for me. It’s been a roller-coaster from day one but I have not, and will not give up until he’s at least one year old.

When he was a couple of days old and my milk came in, he could no longer nurse off me directly.  My “let down” as they call it, was too fast for him.  Basically the milk came out of me too fast for his little body to handle so he would have these extremely frightening choking episodes.  I had no other choice but to pump my milk and feed him out of bottles.  That lasted for about three very long exhausting months.  I literally pumped every 2-3 hours, all day, everyday for three months…just so he could eat and to keep myself from drying up.  Luckily he grew out of not being able to handle my let-down though, and can now nurse directly off of me. At near seven months old he doesn’t even want or take a bottle anymore.  He’s had maybe three in the last four months.  Now when he has to drink my milk and for some reason can’t breastfeed directly, he’s moved on straight to a sippy cup with a straw. Skipped right over bottles and regular sippy cups. LOL. :-D We have a few favorite products (including his favorite cups) that I’ll share below. :)

Here is “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” of breastfeeding from my point of view:

The Good…(I’ve linked all facts stated to their source.)

The Bad and the Ugly…

  • I absolutely LOATHED those three months of exclusively pumping and feeding him via bottle.  It was exhausting.  Pumping might be my least favorite thing ever.
  • It hurt like a b!&$# at first.  Those first couple of weeks are close to hell as far as pain is concerned.  At least they were for me and I could not live without my nipple butter and these cooling pads. It went away completely after a few weeks though.
  • Now that he’s teething…yeah.  Enough said.
  • He’s easily distracted while eating and when he just randomly pulls off to check out what’s going on around him, my nipple sprays milk everywhere..all over him, me and our clothes.
  • Breast milk stains. Those annoying oily type stains so have stain remover handy for your clothes!
  • My breasts are no longer perky and cute. Nope. They are bigger though by two cup sizes. You win some you lose some. LOL
  • Leaking is not fun.
  • Engorgement is not fun.
  • Public breast feeding stares (even when covered up) are annoying.
  • When he’s hungry he pulls my shirt down in public.
  • If you’re working full time, it may be hard to find the time to pump, store, etc.

As you can see, it’s not all roses and butterflies, but if your body allows it – it’s worth being selfless for your child’s sake. I personally didn’t bring this little human into this world without the intention of giving him the absolute best start in life, and for me that means putting him first and taking the back burner myself.  I know some moms are unable to for health reasons, some state their bodies just don’t make enough milk and there are other reasons I’ve heard so I’m by no means bashing formula feeding mamas, I just hope that those who are able to, do.

Here are some of the products that have helped me through this journey so far. I can’t imagine life without any of them! You can click on the photo of the item to be linked to them.  In order, this is the Medela breast pump I use, the organic nipple butter I used during those painful first weeks – safe for baby to nurse without needing to wipe off first, the most AH-MAZING cooling breast pads (seriously stock up on these…they gave me one set when I left the hospital and it was the best thing to happen to my sore nipples), these are the nursing pads I used for leaking, the storage bags I use for storing breast milk in the freezer, and last but not least is AJ’s favorite cup with a straw that he drinks his milk out of when not feeding off of me. :-D

 

    

Oh – and I cannot forget about these BPA-free straw sippy cups for only $3 for four of them!! These ones aren’t great for traveling like the one above, but for at home in the high chair, they are awesome. That’s about it.  If there is anything I’ve left out that you’re interested in knowing more about just comment below and I will get back to you.  :)

signature

Featured

LIP CUPPING: Full lips naturally, without injections!

FullSizeRender-7FullSizeRender-8I have always envied woman with those big, sexy, gorgeous, pillowy lips a la Angelina Jolie. While mine aren’t “thin” per say, they definitely aren’t full.  While I like being me and looking like me, sometimes it’s fun to play dress up with my face! ;) I was one of those people totally perplexed by the celebrities out there who one day had thin lips, the next day had full lips and swore it wasn’t surgery…yet wouldn’t say what exactly it was (ie: Kylie Jenner.) Normal people like you could care less about things like this, but the crazy beauty junkie in me HAD TO KNOW! :-P I just couldn’t believe she didn’t have work done because only surgery could give results like that…right? Wrong. After searching high and low, I came across this device called CandyLipz said to be what gives Jenner and others like her that full pout.  I was a skeptic, so I did some research on it and TONS of women (including friends of mine) swear by it and similar lip cupping products. I am just shocked it’s been kept such a secret! So I’m here to share that secret for other beauty junkies like myself who are dying to know.  :-D

FullSizeRender-9So now…what exactly is “cupping” you ask? Medically, It’s an ancient Chinese and Middle Eastern therapy where cups are applied to the skin creating suction to stimulate the flow of energy.  From WebMD: Supporters of cupping therapy believe the suction of the cups mobilizes blood flow to promote the healing of a broad range of medical ailments.” It is said to help migraine, asthma and even high blood pressure! Cupping didn’t become popular cosmetically however, until recently.  It is used for an array of things like ridding the body of cellulite, enlarging breasts and…..you guessed it – LIPS! :-D It is currently the ONLY 100% natural and safe method for lip plumping.  

There are a variety of lip cupping devices on the market ranging in price (I will cover that at the end of this post).  I went with the CandyLipz system because the reviews all seemed really good (although after I received it a friend told me that the cheaper models are just as effective).  I do LOVE my CandyLipz though! As soon as I received the package I tore into it, read the leaflet to ensure I knew what I was doing and went to town! I was crazy about my results (see images throughout this post).  They were exactly what I wanted and expected when I ordered the product. You can go from just a touch fuller or the complete duck-lips extravaganza depending on how long you leave it on. :-D As with anything there are pros and cons.  The pros for me are: 1) Angelina Jolie-esqe lips in under five minutes by doing nothing more than suction cupping my lips, 2) Results are temporary lasting only max two hours at a time yet in the long run, lips will stay full with regular use – if that’s what you’re after, 3) It’s affordable as compared to invasive medical IMG_7127procedures and 4) It is really easy to use! The cons: I went overboard the first day I got it and it clearly states not to – so my lips were completely purple the next day…just one big hickey! Apparently this only happens the first few times you use it. Also, if I want full lips throughout my day, I have to bring the device with me and do it every couple of hours, otherwise they deflate. Waaah. :(

Overall, this is probably going to go down as my favorite product of the year! It is only February…but I have been dazzled! They just do exactly what they say and I’ve finally got to experience what it’s like to have big, sexy lips without having to inject my body with scary chemicals. :-D

Here are before and afters of my lips:

IMG_7195IMG_7196

Since I hashtag everything on Instagram, I was curious what I would find under the #lipcupping hashtag and I found others who were just as happy as I am, so I screen grabbed them for you all in case you want other reviews:

IMG_7189 IMG_7186 IMG_7187-1

Now for which one to get, and prices. CandyLipz is probably the most well known lip cupping device, but it’s pricey at $119 for the set. I really love mine though, so I would say it’s worth it.  I have been told that cheaper models are just as effective however, but I can’t give my word personally since I haven’t used them.  I found these ones online for you though.  If you end up purchasing and trying any of the cheaper models, I’d LOVE feedback and before and after photos to add to this blog post (they can be sent to me at jamie@yourbeautyjunkie.com!) Here are the other lip pumps I found: Fullips Lip Plumping Enhancer  at only $40 (this is the one recommended to me by a friend, FYI. The Amazon reviews are good too.) LURE Lip Enhancer at only $25! Miss Pump at only $16! Redcolourful Elegant Edition Lip Pump at only $10. Again, I can’t speak for the last three super cheap ones, I just wanted to find other options for those wanting to try lip cupping at a cheaper price.  Happy pumping friends! :)

UPDATE 3/10/15: A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, so apparently the LURE one for $25 is good too. :)

Screen shot 2015-03-10 at 2.16.11 PM

signature

Featured

BELLA ORGANICS: Iced Lemonade Deodorant & Luxurious Organic Skincare Line!

IMG_54332__06264.1408330462.451.416I was thrilled when Bella Organics approached me about reviewing their line of organic skincare since I am always on the hunt for quality organic skincare products. One item in particular that they sent me will become a staple in my daily routine – the Iced Lemonade Deodorant! First of all, it just smells YUUUUUMMY and second of all, both Aaron and I have switched to organic deodorants as of late.  Him because the anti-perspirants and commercial deodorants started making him get painful rashes in his armpits…no matter which brand he used! Me because I’m breastfeeding and everything that goes on my body (just as everything goes in) can travel through breastmilk.  Being that the first ingredient of most antiperspirant deodorants is aluminum, I’d prefer to leave that out of my babe’s milk. ;) Not to mention we plan to start trying for baby #2 during the next year so the same applies for being pregnant.  If you don’t believe this is true, try cutting up a clove of garlic and rubbing it on your foot…I bet within only a few minutes you will taste the garlic in your mouth! :-/ Creepy, huh? Make you think twice about the chemicals you lather on your body? It does me.  ;)

IMG_Ocean__71275.1412124340.451.416Don’t get me wrong, not EVERY product we use is organic.  There are lots of amazing commercial skincare and cosmetics that I use (because they work wonders) that I don’t understand what half the ingredients are, but I do try to be conscientious and give my body a break from the chemicals once in a while. Deodorant however, is something that I do use organic 100% of the time now after all of the research I’ve done on anti-perspirants.  I’ve blogged about another great all-natural one in the past but even that isn’t organic and it goes on wet and has to dry (I despise those kind!) This one is an actual cream you rub into your underarms with your hands.  I put it on in the mornings, and by the end of the day I’m still dry and feeling fresh.  I haven’t actually worked out with it on, so I can’t speak on that, but for a regular everyday deodorant, this is it for me! It’s a deodorant though – NOT AN ANTI-PERSPIRANT to be clear, so if you are prone to sweat, you will probably still sweat, but it has kept me dry since I’ve used it. :-D

The ingredients are: Organic arrowroot powder absorbs wetness naturally. Organic Shea butter soothes and moisturizes dry skin. Coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial properties as well as soothes and conditions the skin. Organic lemon, peppermint and tea tree essential oils provide anti-bacterial and germ-killing anti-septic properties. (From Bella Organics website)

Aaron hasn’t used it yet, but I’m ordering him the male deodorant from their site.  I’m sure he’ll be pleased since I love my lemonade one and we both hated the last one we tried out.  He said he smelled like he took a bath in patchouli after using it…hahahaha! That made me laugh so hard. :-D It did though. Blegh. And it didn’t even work that great. :-/

new_2098__39469.1407825014.451.416Aside from introducing me to my new favorite deodorant, they also sent me a heavenly body butter in “Sweet Orange.” It’s super light and fluffy going on and kept me moisturized all day.  The ingredients in this product are: Organic Shea Butter, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Sunflower Seed Oil, Organic Macadamia Oil, Organic Arrowroot Powder & Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oils. Orange is great, but I can’t wait to try the Caribbean Coconut, Coconut Lime, and Pina Colada scents! Is your mouth watering?! Omg…

They also sent me a wonderful lip balm in “Vanilla Tangerine.” :-P This companies scents alone are worth checking out.  Everything smells so good you’ll want to eat it! This lip balm though is in heavy rotation (I’m a lip balm junkie – EOS Lip Balm in Sweet Mint and Burt’s Bees are just a few of my favorites.) This one is now by my bedside however and it’s totally addictive!

I haven’t tried the Body Balm they sent me yet, but I will update this post when I give it a try.  I’m not a big body balm person but I will probably start using it on my really dry areas (elbows, knees and heels) to see if it softens them all up. I read that lathering up your heels with a good amount of body balm and then putting socks on after a bath really helps to give you baby soft smooth heels. :)

They have a couple of organic baby products too! I’m going to have to check them out. All in all, I am very, very pleased with Bella Organics! :-D

signature

Featured

AJ’S PERSONAL CHEF: Baby food recipes and Baby-Led Weaning

IMG_6961As a first time mom I was SO anxious to feed AJ food for the first time. I don’t know why, I guess I just was excited to see him eat food.  So much so I wanted to start giving it to him at only four months old.  His doctor even okay’d it, so I was pumped.  But after feeding him a few times here and there, I stopped and decided to wait until he turned six months.  I read way to many articles making it very clear that a baby doesn’t need solids until six months…that it can actually mess with their digestive systems if you don’t wait.  They get all of the nutrients they need from breast milk (or their formula if that’s what you choose.) So, I used that two months to research like a mad woman; best first foods for baby, organic baby food recipes, and I even read up on the whole Baby-Led Weaning craze.

Baby-Led Weaning quite simply, is allowing a baby to feed themselves whole foods from the get-go, and avoid the mushy puree progression all together.  Check out these links before continuing to read my post:

BABY-LED WEANING DEFINITION ON WIKIPEDIA

BABY-LED WEANING BREAKDOWN ON BABY-LED WEANING WEBSITE

IMG_6962I loved what I read in regards to BLW, but I was still majorly skeptical about it.  Wouldn’t he choke? How will he know what to do? What about the 4 day rule? I had so many questions, so I took it up with his pediatrician. I was certain she would tell us this was a bad idea…but she didn’t.  In fact, she was okay with it and told us that a lot of her patients use this method successfully.  Chewing (even without teeth) is instinctual and a baby’s gums are strong enough to break down soft foods on their own.  As for the 4 day rule, she told us if neither of us had a family history of food allergy, we didn’t have to worry about it.  He could basically just, eat what we eat. There are a few exceptions like honey for example which absolutely has to wait until after one year, but your pediatrician can you fill you in on that.  :)

While some Baby-Led Weaners (haha) may disagree with me, I don’t believe it has to be an all or nothing method.  AJ is currently fed 25% purees and 75% BLW method.  The only reason I still do purees at all is because BLW is incredibly messy at this early stage.  Sometimes we are in a hurry for him to eat and for us to get out the door so we don’t have time for the full after meal cleanup and feeding him purees by spoon enables me to get him fed and be out the door quickly.  The majority of the time he feeds himself though.

These two books have become my baby food Bibles (click on them for more info):

           

One of the biggest benefits of BLW is that you don’t have to feed baby separately from the rest of the family…they eat what you eat.  Since I’m very particular about what goes into his pure little system though, if we are having a pizza night or something like that, AJ will still get his healthy homemade dinner of steamed broccoli and boiled chicken. ;)

At almost seven months old, AJ is currently getting three meals and is still breastfed 5+ times per day.  At his meals I try to include a protein, vegetable or fruit and a grain.  My personal favorite foods for AJ are as follows – These are just top 5 ideas for each meal:

Breakfast:

IMG_7133

    • “AJ Cakes” – I put the following into our Vitamix: 1/2 of a banana, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup of organic baby oatmeal cereal.  Blend all until pureed.  Grease a nonstick pan with coconut oil over medium high heat.  Pour this pancake batter into pan as you would any other pancake.  You can tell when they need to be flipped.  Once cooked, cool then slice length wise and put on baby’s tray. AJ LOVES these so much that on Sunday’s I’ve been making a large batch and freezing them for the week.  Now in the mornings I just take one out of the freezer and let it thaw then slice up for him!
    • French Toast! This is no baby recipe…I make this for all of us and it is AMAZING! In a shallow bowl crack 4 eggs, add 1/4 cup of milk, a little salt, stevia sweetner, cinnamon, and a teaspoon of vanilla. Whisk until combined.  Coat slices of Dave’s Killer Bread with this batter.  In a non-stick frying pan, add a tablespoon of coconut oil.  When hot, add the battered bread to the pan.  Cook until done on both sides! Allow to cool then slice into sticks for baby.  I always serve this along with a fruit like mandarin orange cut up into little bite sized pieces.
    • Hard boiled egg yolk balls (I slice them into quarters) with toast and fruit of choice.
    • On those “in a hurry days” we just do his Organic Quinoa Baby Cereal Made with Sprouted Whole Grain Quinoa mixed with some breast milk a bit of cinnamon and chopped up cooked apple.
    • I also am a huge fan of these organic ready to go pouches when in a serious hurry or out at a restaurant since I don’t trust restaurant food for him yet.  :)

  

Lunch:

IMG_7241

  • Whole wheat or quinoa penne noodles with steamed broccoli and parmesan cheese.
  • Garbanzo bean patties (in a blender combine one can of drained organic garbanzo beans, 1/2 of a red onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour – this is a recipe adapted from the Baby-Led Weaning cookbook above.  Form this mixture into patties and fry in coconut oil until browned on both sides.) Serve with whole wheat pita bread and some avocado.
  • Smoothie! I make a smoothie for my own lunch so sometimes I make him a baby version.  In our Vitamix I add Greek yogurt, baby spinach or kale, banana, blueberries and apple (all organic) and blend until liquified.  I pour this into his sippy cup with a straw and let him drink it.
  • Chicken with quinoa and avocado.  I cook chicken and tear into small pieces for him and serve along side quinoa and avocado slices.
  • In a hurry organic “lunch in a pouches” come in handy too when out and about! I literally screw off the top and he sucks the food out of it like a straw. ;)

 

Dinner I won’t list because he really just gets whatever we eat into baby sized portions.  This forces us to eat better too since there are certain things I don’t want him eating.  But, spaghetti with turkey ricotta meatballs, chicken caesar salads (minus dressing for him) or even deconstructed soup are great dinners for Mr. AJ. Here he is tackling a deconstructed chicken caesar salad with avocado:

IMG_6993

Also, if he’s ever in his high chair waiting to eat, if he wants a snack or if we’re out and about just because, he LOVES these Plum Organics Super Puffs!! I mean – LOOOOOVES them.  They are like baby crack! :-P

That’s it for now! If you have any questions or if there is anything I didn’t break down into enough detail for you, just let me know.  This isn’t meant to be any sort of medical advice…this is just about me and how I feed my son.  I hope you found it helpful if you’re looking for any ideas! :)

signature

Featured

BABY POST: AJ’s Daily/Weekly Schedule at 6 Months Old

10942673_1006857462675846_8022039227485253832_nI’ve had so many messages between my YBJ Facebook, Instagram and email asking me about AJ’s schedule.  Honestly I’m surprised at how much I’ve been asked since I am so new at this whole mom thing, but I will gladly share with all of you who care to know.  I hope it helps you out as you climb these new mommy-hood ropes right along with me. :) It helps that I’m able to be a stay at home mama and that’s really how I’ve been able to find a rhythm for us that works.  AJ is now almost seven months old but I started him on a schedule at only two months and it’s for the most part remained the same ever since.  The only difference is now after turning six months, we leave the house for different activities to socialize him with other babies.  There are pros and cons of being a stay at home mama afterall.  Of course the pros are obvious, but a major con is that he doesn’t get to interact with other little ones or learn how to socialize with anyone other than me since he doesn’t attend daycare.  His daily schedule looks something like this (keep in mind the times vary depending on when we start our day):

7:00am: Wake up, nurse (or bottle, whichever you do) and cuddle in bed.

7:30am: AJ goes in his high chair and eats his breakfast while I make coffee for Daddy and I.  He feeds himself 75% of the time since we’re doing Baby-Led Weaning (my next baby post will be all about BLW and AJ’s favorite recipes)

8:00am: Playtime with mama.  We read books, play with toys and do his ABC’s & 123’s ;)

8:30am: BabyFirstTV time! I let him watch some educational baby shows for a half hour.

9:00am: Morning nap. I rock him and nurse him to sleep in his room. He usually sleeps for 1.5 to 2 hours.

9:00am – 11:00am: While AJ sleeps I get my shower in, laundry, housework, etc!

11:00am: Nurse then get him dressed, ready for the day and into his highchair for lunch.

11:30am: I put him in his stroller and we go for a walk. If the weather is nice we go to the playground a few blocks away. I just try to get him lots of fresh air!

12:30pm: Playtime with mama.

1:00pm: Nurse and naptime.

1:00pm – 3:00pm: Napping baby = More mommy time! ;)

3:00pm: Another half hour of BabyFirstTV

3:30pm – 4:30pm: On and off time in his highchair or playpen while I prep dinner.

4:30pm: Dinner for AJ.

5:00pm: Bathtime.

5:30pm – 6:30pm: Nurse then short evening nap.

6:30pm – 8:30pm: Family time.

8:30pm: Bedtime for AJ.

So there you have it! This is our standard at home schedule. A few days a week though we fall off schedule to get him out of the house and socialized.  Our week as a whole looks like this:

Monday: Home schedule above.

IMG_6672

Tuesday: Baby swimming lessons, lunch with Grandma and errands.

IMG_7024

Wednesday: Home schedule above.

IMG_6981

Thursday: Home schedule above, but we go grocery shopping or to the Children’s Museum during his “walk/park time”

FullSizeRender-11

Friday: Baby music class/mommy and me fun in the morning, then errands or visiting with friends.

FullSizeRender-10

Weekends vary based on plans but whenever we’re home we stick to the above schedule.

This schedule has been working amazing for all of us! At just shy of six month AJ started sitting up, crawling and pulling himself up.  He feeds himself, drinks with a sippy cup and understands and complies to the words “no,” “kiss,” and knows what “mama,” “daddy,” and “milk” are among other things. I have a smart little cookie on my hands.  He is such a joy and so much fun, I just wish time would slow down just a smidge. ;)

signature

Featured

NATURE’S TOOLS HYALURONIC ACID SERUM: Throw away your daily moisturizer!

51rjNj0QjYL._SL1000_I have to be honest.  When I was first approached to review Nature’s Tools Hyaluronic Acid Anti Aging Lilac Stem Cell Wrinkle Skin Serum (boy that’s a mouthful!), I questioned it because let’s face it – 1) it’s marked down 78% and 2) facial serums are a dime a dozen. I’ve tried so many that I never even reviewed because quite frankly, they did nothing for me worth mentioning. I have a couple of favorites out of probably 20 that I’ve tried. Being that this product has only FOUR ingredients, I was certain it would be added to my growing pile of useless serums.  Thank God I was wrong! I was using both a serum and a moisturizer as part of my daily routine before I received this, but this eliminates the need for a moisturizer.  It keeps my face so supple, radiant, clear and smooth in conjunction with my regular skincare routine and bonus – it smells like a huge bouquet of Lilacs!!! :-D One of my favorite scents on earth.  It just soothes me to my core.  I’ve literally just opened the bottle to take whiff here and there…no lie. LOL. :-P From their product link on Amazon:

  • COMBATS AGING: Highly effective and proven to remove fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen
  • IMPROVE SKIN APPEARANCE: Reduce blackheads, pores, breakouts and other many other skin impurities.
  • LILAC STEM CELL TECHNOLOGY: Help improves your skin through very powerful anti-inflammatory activity
  • BRIGHTENS SKIN & EVENS SKIN TONE: Helps reduce any dark skin marks and returns skin to natural tone.
  • ULTIMATE DRY SKIN SOLUTION: Keep your hands & face hydrated and moisturised in harsh winter climates

The product does what it says, plain and simple.  It has almost a perfect rating on Amazon as well, so I’m not alone.  This little bottle of green gel is not only as amazing as it sounds, it’s actually affordable at only $22! I’m glad I decided to give it a shot. :)

signature

Featured

Temptu Airbrush Makeup System 2.0: No need to photoshop your photos when you airbrush your makeup! ;)

It’s an obsession. I actually very rarely even do my makeup anymore thanks to this new mommyhood thing, but when I do I like to take my time and look my very best.  I had a different model, an older more professional grade Temptu machine, but I sold it to a friend who’s a professional makeup artist. I thought she would get better use out of it and I thought I could learn to live without it.  Wrong.  No other foundation even comes close.  I even used Dior Diorskin AirFlash for a while (which I would still put in 2nd place to this) and it just didn’t leave me with that perfect flawless look that my airbrush machine did.  And if you’ve used one before, you know what I’m talking about.  Nothing. Compares. End of story. ;)

This model is the everyday girl’s airbrush machine.  It is very easy to use on a daily basis and it’s so small and compact making it easy to travel with.  You can even use it to highlight, contour, add blush and so much more if you feel like being adventurous with it! I just use mine to apply my foundation and highlighter.  After cleansing and prepping my face for the day, I apply Temptu Base Smooth and Matte Primer (recommended with this makeup) then I apply my favorite concealer under my eyes and anywhere else that needs it. My favorite is STILL the Miracle Skin Transformer.

After I’ve been primed and concealed, I airbrush on my foundation. It is SOOOO painfully easy.  I literally snap in my foundation airpod, push the one and only button on the machine to turn it on, pull back the trigger on the airbrush gun, and keeping it about 6-8 inches from my face, I spray in a circular motion until done.  If you’ve never used one before check out YouTube for about a million instructional videos but it really is a cinch.  Then using a BeautyBlender makeup sponge I pat in any areas I may have over-sprayed if at all.  I let it dry for about 30 seconds then pop out the foundation pod and pop in my highlighting pod.  I airbrush highlighter to any areas of my face that I want to have that “glow.” I finish by applying my favorite setting powder, Estée Lauder ‘Re-Nutriv’ Intensive Smoothing Powder (review coming soon!) and the rest of my makeup as usual.  My makeup doesn’t budge for the entirety of the day.  Sometimes my eyes do actually, but that’s because I’ve been using a crappy eye primer and need a new one.  LOL. :-P

FullSizeRender-2FullSizeRender-3FullSizeRender-4FullSizeRender-5

These photos are 1) no makeup, 2) after airbrushing my foundation and highlighter, 3) after finishing my makeup and out in the sunshine, and 4) how it looks at the end of a long day. None of these photos have been altered in any way. The lighting is different because the first two were taken inside our dimly lit bathroom and the other two are outdoors. I will update this post with better photos soon but I promised you all this post a few days ago, so I hope in the meantime you’re able to catch my drift on the amazingness of this product! :-P

I highly, highly recommend.  I can’t actually imagine anyone being disappointed with flawless, movie star makeup. :)

signature

 

Featured

PLATED: A Foodie’s Dream Come True!

4966dbc66b38a29a2053e60ad3024bb8There are so many different subscription services these days from beauty products, to clothing, to baby items and more.  And I am a sucker for them all. Mostly because thanks to them I’ve learned about products or things that have bettered my life that I would otherwise know nothing about.  My latest favorite subscription service is a meal delivery service called Plated.  Maybe you’ve heard of it? If not, I’m sure you’ve heard of Hello Fresh! or Blue Apron.  Those are the three most popular companies.  I’ve tested them and although they are all super tasty, Plated is hands down the very best! Plus the food is all natural, hormone-free, etc. I’ve been introduced to so many new, amazing recipes I would’ve NEVER thought to whip up on my own. You can select which meals you want from their Land, Sea and Veggie categories depending on your family’s tastes. I’m not a big seafood eater, and Aaron does’t care for Vegetarian dishes so we have only chosen meals from the “Land” category, but I have no doubt everything is just as scrumptious. :-P

I have the Plated subscription set to send us 3 meals for 2 people every other week.  You can also do weekly or monthly deliveries.  I wish we could do weekly but bi-weekly is more cost effective for us. Although, if you consider the groceries you won’t need to buy and meals you won’t need to go out to eat it kind of all evens out.  Plated sends us 3 recipes and all of the ingredients necessary to make those recipes. They aren’t just your run of the mill dinners either. They WILL blow your mind.  We always have leftovers too.  Not usually meat but we always have the side dishes leftover. I am so in love. This company speaks right to my foodie heart. :-D

Here are examples of the meals we received in our last two shipments:

Screen shot 2015-02-12 at 5.08.14 PMScreen shot 2015-02-12 at 5.09.17 PMScreen shot 2015-02-12 at 5.08.29 PM

 

Screen shot 2015-02-12 at 5.09.40 PMScreen shot 2015-02-12 at 5.09.27 PMScreen shot 2015-02-12 at 5.08.47 PM

They were every bit as yummy as they sound to! It’s fun for me to stick AJ in his high chair, turn on some music, pour myself a glass of wine and dive into preparing one of these scrumptious meals. Since they give you the recipe cards with the ingredients you can make all of your favorite dishes from them again and again! It just keeps on giving.  I even bought this Collected Recipes Cookbook from Amazon to store all of my Plated recipes in so on our delivery off weeks I can go find something yummy to make.  I’ve found myself making Plated recipes now most nights of the week. We are eatin’ good in this household! I highly recommend you try it out.  This service does not disappoint! I love it so much I bought my stepdad a gift membership for his birthday last week.  He’s a foodie like me and he LOVED it!  CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT PLATED :-P

signature

Featured

My Top 10 WOW Baby Products!

My husband says I need to go to “AA”…AMAZON.COM Anonymous. LOL. He’s probably right, but any and everything you could possibly want or need is right there at your fingertips…and now with the free shipping thanks to Amazon Prime, why would I shop anywhere else? I have found gadgets and items I wouldn’t even be able to find anywhere else that have literally SAVED MY LIFE as a new mom! Seriously…amazing items! So, I’ve decided to make a list of our Top 10 Favorites for other new moms looking for time saving, helpful products to get them through those first six months or so. These items will be my go-to for baby shower gifts as well.  ;)

CLICK ON THE PHOTOS OF THE ITEMS TO BE DIRECTED TO THEM.

61cxEoMZ90L._SX522_My first must have item is this pacifier and bottle sanitizer.  Boiling nipples, pacifiers and toys to sanitize was the absolute WORST. So time consuming and out-dated, especially when there are products like this on the market! You literally stick your baby’s pacifier inside, push down the button on top and wait 30 seconds while it’s sanitzed via UV light.  Or, screw the bottom off and set on top of your baby’s bottle to sanitize the nipple. The ONLY drawback I could even say about this is that the batteries run out fast.  It takes two AA batteries and we changed them weekly…but I was doing a whole lot of sanitizing as the over-anxious new mom that I am. ;)

UnknownMy second item that was sent to us from the heavens, is this bath chair! You cannot find this anywhere else…believe me, I looked high and low.  I’m actually not quite sure why there isn’t an abundance of products like this one for that stage between newborn and sitting on their own.  AJ outgrew his baby bath at around 4 months, and although he was able to sit up with support, he was still too small and wobbly to sit in a bath or sink on his own.  So I ordered this and it’s been amazing.  It’s small enough to fit in our sink too! There are suction cups on the bottom so it stays in place.  He’s 6 and a half months old now and we are still using it because although he can sit on his own, he still gets over-excited now and again and falls over sideways…LOL. This chair has broke quite a few bath falls too.  I absolutely love it and tell every new mom I know about it. :-D

My third “new parent must-have” is the Dropcam. Oh. My. God. This thing makes us feel like we live in the future. We had a top-rated baby monitor for the first few months of AJ’s life and it was a piece of trash.  Constantly shorting out, freezing, buttons didn’t work, the picture was grainy and worst of all – the microphone would keep turning on and waking him up for no apparent reason!!   It was so awful that Aaron searched high and low for a better replacement, reading review after review of what the absolute best baby monitor was, and although it’s not technically considered a “baby monitor”, the Dropcam came up a lot in his searches. It’s a home security camera that can be placed anywhere in your house…in our case, the nursery.  The image is super crisp no matter how close you zoom into your sleeping baby and the coolest part of all is that you view everything from your smartphone or tablet.  Aaron can be two hours away and login to see AJ napping if he wants to…as a matter of fact he logged in once and talked to us through the cam while we were playing.  This will be great when leaving him with sitters too.  It’s very easy to move to another location as well if you do want to use it for security purposes when you aren’t home.  This item is a God send.

My fourth item is this baby’s first toothbrush! It’s not in fact a toothbrush, it’s a teether that’s meant to help them get comfortable with a toothbrush but of all of his teether toys we own (and believe me – we have a LOT) this is his favorite.  He will chew on these “bristles” forever.  I think it feels good since it massages his gums.  It’s even better fresh out of the freezer! You won’t find him watching his BabyFirstTV every morning without his banana teether in his mouth.  As with all baby items I purchase, it’s BPA-free too. ;)

My fifth item is the one and only Captain Calamari! Everyone who knows our family well, knows “The Captain” as we call him.  This is probably the best “toy” you will find out there for a 0-6 month old.  He started showing interest in it at only two months old and it was the first toy he learned how to bat and grab at.  It’s a sensory wonderland for babies! All kinds of different fabrics, colors, sounds and textures.  He still loves it to this day.  It keeps him busy in the evenings when mommy and daddy are trying to wind down from the day.  We all love The Captain! :-P

My sixth item is this Serenity Star nursery clock.  We got it as a baby shower gift and it’s awesome! It’s not only an adorable star-shaped clock, it’s a night light, a nursing timer and it tells the temperature of the room.  Not only does it tell the temperature, it lights up red for too warm, white for just right, and blue for too cold.  Because of this we actually realized we had a problem with our heating system in the house and got it fixed.  AJ’s nursery was about 5 degrees colder than the rest of the house, but after getting fixed it’s just right.  This is an amazing product!

My seventh item is for when it comes time to start feeding your little one solids, if you plan to make your own baby food that is.  Even when I was pregnant I was certain I was going to make my own baby food because you just can’t trust what gets put into commercially made baby food.  I wanted to be certain what I was giving him was organic, nutritious and sugar and salt free.  So with the help of our Vitamix, I puree his foods and then freeze them in these awesome silicone freezer trays.  Each serving pops out super easy, then I just warm on the stove and feed him.  Every Sunday I make sweet potato-apple-cinnamon, pear-blueberry-banana, applesauce, and various other baby foods. I freeze it all for the week ahead and it makes life so easy.  It can also be used to store breast milk! :)

My eighth must have item is this adorable glow seahorse.  AJ has been on a schedule since he was only two months old, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t fight nap time sometimes.  There were times I’ve just given up on making him take his nap until I got this seahorse! We got it for him as one of his first Christmas gifts and when he’s overly hyper or energetic at nap-time, I’ll squeeze the seahorse’s tummy to light it up and start playing it’s soothing lullabies  while I nurse.  Without fail, he falls right to sleep. This was a major score for us! :)

Our ninth item is this sippy cup! I read that 6 months old is a great time to start introducing sippy cups (or even regular cups!) so I did some research and this one had great reviews. I was shocked when AJ just started sucking out of the straw when we first introduced it to him.  It was a little awkward at first but he now is use to it.  I like to give him a little water with his meals so this has worked perfectly.  It doesn’t leak when he holds it upside down either! I’m going to try regular sippy cups next, but this straw one has been awesome.

unnamedMy tenth item isn’t actually a physical item, but rather apps for your phone.  When AJ was about three months old a friend of ours told us to download the free Fisher Price Baby apps on our phone for him.  There are so many and he loves them all! They are educational, bright and fun.  Great for times when he’s bored while we are out and about or even just when he’s crabby for no reason.  I highly recommend downloading some of these on your phone and/or tablets. :-D

There are many other things that we use and love, but these are my favorites. I will continue to share products as he grows. I hope you new mommy’s find this post helpful! I wish I would’ve come across something like this when I was pregnant. :)

UPCOMING POSTS:

  • Temptu Airbrush Pod Makeup
  • Candy Lipz Lip Plumper
  • Plated (Meal Delivery Service)
  • AJ’s Daily Schedule
  • My Favorite Hair Products
  • Estee Lauder Highlighter and Powder
  • My Favorite All Natural Deodorant
  • And many more items that are currently en route!

signature

Featured

My Skincare Routine for Glowing, Flawless Skin!

IMG_6634

When I was pregnant, my skin did the OPPOSITE of what everyone told me it would do.  It did not “glow”, it was not “flawless”…in fact I broke out constantly, had weird rashes around my mouth and chin and had an all over blotchy appearance.  The skincare regimens I had used forever no longer worked for me. After months and months of playing around with different products, I’ve FINALLY settled on a routine that I use both morning and night that has given me the skin I’ve always dreamed of.  None of these products were sent to me for review, they are just products I’ve tested on my own and fallen in love with.  Quite a few were thanks to samples I’d received in monthly Birchbox shipments. ;)

NoMakeupPictured above are the products that have worked for me (and I use them in the order pictured).  The photo of me to the right is sans-makeup (with the exception of lipstick and eyebrows lol) and has not been altered.  The only item I use that I haven’t listed is toner or astringent because I don’t necessarily stick to the same brand…any will do as long as you use one.  I’ve linked everything below if you’re interested in any product mentioned. :-D

While in the shower or bath, I wet my face with hot water to open up my pores, put a nickel sized dollup of the StriVectin – SD Instant Retexturizing Scrub  onto my CLARISONIC ‘Mia 2  and wash. I rinse this off with cool water and finish my shower as usual.  After getting out, I apply a toner or astringent to my face and neck with a cotton pad and allow it to dry.  Then I put two pumps of the Murad Complete Reform with Glyco Firming Complex onto my finger tips and pat all over my face and neck until blended into my skin. I let that air dry while I get dressed and brush my teeth. My next step is a serum that I received in a recent Birchbox and am absolutely crazy about..Paula’s Choice RESIST C15 Super Booster.  I use about 4 drops of this by placing on my fingertips and patting onto my face and neck.  I allow this to absorb, and then use a moisturizer.  The above steps I would say are what have attributed to my new “glowing and flawless” skin the most.  I’ve used so many different moisturizers with this routine and have had the same, amazing results.  Right now though, I’m using one that I really love (another Birchbox score!) called Eco-Beauty Good Day, Day Moisturizer.  It’s a thick face cream without being greasy.  After the serum soaks into my skin, I pat this moisturizer on and my skin is left feeling silky smooth and flawless all day long. I am then ready for my makeup primer and makeup! The only thing I do differently at night is I pat on my fav eye cream, Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream.  I pat a liberal amount of this in all around my eyes right before bed. :-D

So that’s it! I have never felt better about going around makeup-free than I do now.  I do ALWAYS still fill in my brows and throw on a bit of gloss or lipstick, but I only do a full face of makeup once or twice a week anymore (motherhood)! ;)

UPCOMING POSTS:

  • Temptu Airbrush Pod Makeup
  • My Top 10 WOW Baby Products
  • Candy Lipz Lip Plumper
  • Plated (Meal Delivery Service)
  • AJ’s Daily Schedule
  • My Favorite Hair Products
  • Estee Lauder Highlighter and Powder
  • My Favorite All Natural Deodorant
  • And I’ve just responded to over 100 emails for product review and giveaways so there will be TON more.

Stay tuned and thank you all so much for welcoming me back with open arms. :)

signature

Featured

Life These Days…

I cannot BELIEVE my last post is dated June 7th of last year! That’s eight entire months I took away.  I really did not intend to be gone for that long, but life called. I was seven months pregnant when I wrote that last post, and now I have a gorgeous 6 and a half month old, happy, wild, intelligent little boy. AJ was born via emergency c-section at 39 weeks pregnant on 7/31 (three days after my birthday!), weighing 7lbs 7oz and was 19 and 3/4″ long. Seems like just yesterday yet he’s already started crawling at just 6 months and 4 days old so I’m definitely getting my exercise…and “NO!” has become my most used word. ;)

For my readers who looked forward to my regular posts, please forgive my lengthy absence but I needed that time to enjoy the end of my pregnancy and being a new mommy.  It’s been absolute heaven.  Challenging at times, euphoric at times and exhausting at times…but I could never imagine life without this little squirt. I’m very blessed to be able to be a stay at home mom and I don’t take a single second for granted.  I have finally reached a point where we are on a good schedule and I’ve learned how to make a little time for me again…so consider me back! :-D

I have created a lengthy list of new beauty products I’ve been wanting to review while away, as well as awesome baby products we can’t live without, new yummy recipes and so much more! There will be sponsored giveaways too once I get back to my over 3,000 emails and respond. :-/ LOL. Thank you all again for your patience and understanding.  I’ve missed YBJ tremendously! Here is a little glimpse of what my life has looked like since I last posted:

PregoBandWpregnant

AJFreshOutAJNewborn

AJHospFamPhotoAJNewbornProfessional

AJMommySleeping1month

AJ2Months

AJ3MonthsAJ4Months

AJ5months

AJ6Months

AJCuteOutfitFamilySeahawks

signature

Featured

ORGAIN & My FAVORITE Smoothie Recipe!

I’ve always been a fan of daily smoothies (particularly as my after workout snack) but gave them up during pregnancy since I’m not a fan of the insane amount of chemicals and crap found in conventional protein powders (have you looked? EEK!) I even tried switching to straight Greek yogurt for my smoothie protein base instead, but it’s just too sour tasting for me and I can’t add sweetner since I have Gestational Diabetes. :(

While doing our weekly Costco run the other day, my husband and I came across this Orgain Protein (plant based protein powder sweetened with Stevia!!) in Creamy Chocolate Fudge! I think I literally screamed, “HONEY LOOK!” when I saw it because we were both prior fans of Orgain’s ready to go meal replacement drinks in Vanilla Bean (SO yummy!) :-D Needless to say we bought it after skimming the list of good-for-you, plant based, organic ingredients and quickly looking on Google at the endless positive reviews.  I am SO glad we did! I’ve tried the powder now in a variation of different recipes (even just plain old water mixed with the powder) and was amazed at how delicious it was. Even though I prefer the vanilla in the ready-to-go drinks, this chocolate protein powder is so good! :-D :-) :-P ;-)

Below is my absolute FAVORITE creation I’ve made with it thus far…I had to share! This doesn’t even taste like it’s good for you! Yet it is. Totally and completely – a nutritious power drink. This particular recipe tastes like a chocolate, banana, raspberry milkshake – only it’s not! You can actually feel good about drinking it. At 300 calories, 31 grams of carbs, and 26 grams of protein for the recipe you can either use this to refuel your body after a workout, as a meal replacement or just when you’re craving something naughty but don’t actually want to give in! ;)

I put the following in my Vitamix blender: 3 ice cubes, 2 cups of kale, 2 scoops of Orgain Protein powder in Creamy Chocolate Fudge, 1 cup of frozen organic berries, two slices of frozen Dole Banana Dippers (half of a 100 calorie pack of them basically – they are just banana slices covered in 67% cocoa and nothing more.  Find them in the freezer section next to frozen berries) or just a half of a banana, and a cup of organic almond milk. Blend all together and pour in a frosted cup. HEAVEN!!!!!! :-D

Enjoy! XO CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO OR TO PURCHASE

signature

Featured

Jani Banani Infini-Tees Review & Giveaway!

Screen shot 2014-05-27 at 3.17.37 PM

I’m very excited to share this review and giveaway with all of you.  Not just because I love hosting giveaways, but because this company is extra close to my heart.  My family is my world, my everything, and when I see any of them create greatness (like this tee shirt company for example) it brings a special kind of joy to my heart. :-D

Screen shot 2014-05-27 at 3.17.56 PMI come from a line of extremely intelligent, talented, creative, classy and spiritual women and my Auntie Janice proves she is all of the above and more with these spectacular tees! She is bringing this line to the world in hopes that we will all remember to appreciate our connection to everyone on the planet as well as the importance of living in the present moment. Wearing these shirts will make you a walking, talking positive breath of fresh air, reminding everyone you come in contact with to see the greater good. ;) Photographed in the “Love Rules” shirt is my beautiful mother, “Jani Banani’s” sister! :-P

In my opinion, you will get three things out of a Jani Banani Infini-Tee:

  1. Beauty as each design is created from the mind of a true artist with love, placed onto a tee-shirt and then embellished with Swarovski crystals.
  2. Inspiration as your shirt of choice will inspire you and those around you.
  3. Comfort as my Auntie only makes these tees on good quality material.

These are a couple of my personal favs:

Screen shot 2014-05-27 at 3.19.12 PMScreen shot 2014-05-27 at 3.20.26 PM

Jani Banani is currently in the process of setting up her site to have a percentage of her profits go directly to a food bank nation-wide charity and will update her site when it’s a go. She has also so kindly offered up TWO giveaways to two of my lucky readers. Whoever wins will be able to select whichever shirt they want from JaniBanani.com!

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, June 6th at noon.  You must be 18 years of age or older and live in the continental United States to enter. I will select two winners at random using Rafflecopter below.  If you complete these three entry tasks below, you will unlock a change to have 20+ additional entries into the contest!! GOOD LUCK LADIES! :-D

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Featured

Your Beauty Junkie’s Future: LIFE WITH YBJ

(Reposted from my Facebook account)

VERY LONG BUT VERY IMPORTANT!! PLEASE READ:

So I’ve come to a decision about Your Beauty Junkie’s future, and I realize I may see some of you go because of this and as much as that saddens me, I completely understand and wish you all well. Obviously my lack of posting lately is apparent and will continue to be until after my son arrives as I’m busy preparing for him. Once he’s here and I get into a stay at home mommy rhythm I plan to change the theme of this blog…although I kind of already am now, it just won’t completely be changed over until he’s here and I’ve found my balance with caring for him and everything else.  Please consider this blog “UNDER CONSTRUCTION” until late August 2014. It will still be a “beauty blog” per say, but it will be more driven towards moms/pregnancy/etc. Helping busy mamas still feel pretty without breaking the bank…also sharing great finds, recipes, health and fitness tips, etc. Pregnancy and mommy tips (as I learn them too!) ;)  Beauty product reviews and giveaways WILL NOT STOP though, they will just be in addition to everything else. I am not deleting any post I’ve written thus far either they will still be archived on the site. I’ll be changing the logo and layout of the site once he’s here and I’m ready to jump back in…but the name change will be LIFE WITH YBJ (with formally known as Your Beauty Junkie underneath) effective immediately – it just won’t show until the web address and logo changes.  As this pregnancy progresses I’m just realizing that as much as I still am passionate about all things beauty, I’m also very passionate about pregnancy, my growing son, being a homemaker, yummy recipes I’ve created, good health and so much more. I am a mega-sharer who already sees all of that passion taking over the beauty page and I just don’t want it to confuse people any longer lol. I’m personally very excited about the changes and looking forward to it all. There will still be sporadic posts and giveaways in the meantime too while everything is under construction. Thanks for reading and hopefully understanding!!! Lots of love. :-D XO

10401420_841363815891879_7870212914201005609_nphoto

 

Featured

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Spoiled Mama – Organic Skincare Line!

photo 1[4]

This is one of those posts I’m actually really excited to sit down and share with you.  Whether you are pregnant or not, The Spoiled Mama skincare products are in a class all their own and I guarantee everyone who tries them will fall in love as I have.  I actually wrote a post about this amazing company earlier in my pregnancy.  I had done some research online for the best anti-stretch mark products I could find since genetically I’m predisposed to have them, and ended up giving their Tummy Butter and Bump Gloss a shot due to the high ratings and reviews from others.  I loved them so much I wrote a review which the company saw and in turn asked me if I’d be interested in trying more of their products! Ummm…duh! Yes please! LOL. What they sent me I loved equally as much as their Bump Gloss (which is a pregnant body GOD SEND)!!! But more on that below…

photo 4[2]I was sent their Indulge Peppermint Body Polish, more of their Bump Gloss (I was almost out!) and their Rehab Serum for acne.  The Peppermint Body Polish is almost orgasmic..and I’m not exaggerating! Pregnant or not, this is a MUST HAVE! It’s an organic, peppermint sugar scrub for the body.  After cleansing like normal in the shower, I take a hefty scoop of this body polish and scrub down my entire body from neck to toes…and omg…the sensation of the scrub against my skin is magical and when the sugar dissolves and you rinse off, you are left with a layer of the healthy oils from the polish that will keep you moisturized for the ENTIRE day! This seriously makes for a heavenly shower experience. I actually looking forward to my showers now thanks to this, whereas before they were just an annoying chore. lol. :-D

photo 2[4]The second product I’ve already semi-covered but it’s so good I will talk about it again.  The Bump Gloss. If you want to either prevent stretch marks or get rid of existing ones – you need this!!! I actually prefer this product over their Tummy Butter which was a previous favorite of mine because it’s extra, extra moisturizing!! It’s a mix of organic oils which I massage all over my tummy, breasts and booty after showering and toweling dry.  In combination with the body polish used in the shower you will be in awe at the silkiness and elasticity of your skin.  My skin looks more youthful than ever, I don’t have a single stretch mark at 26 weeks pregnant and the small stretch marks I had on my breasts and sides of my butt from gaining and losing weight in the past have faded so much I have to really look hard to even see them at all.

I highly, highly, highly recommend these products…and if you don’t want to take my word, Google them to see how highly rated they are.  Absolutely AMAZING!!! And I can’t say enough – ORGANIC! Chemical-free! I used Bio Oil in early pregnancy and wasn’t too fond of the ingredients listed once I read them…filled with crap and chemicals which seep into you, and if pregnant – baby.  No bueno. :-/

photo 3[2]The final product is so good I want to say I hold it in top place of all of the products I’ve mentioned so far – The Rehab Serum for Pregnancy Acne.  Which again, can be used even when you aren’t pregnant and I personally plan to continue using it when I’m not.  I was already using a combination of other natural skincare products I really liked when I received this but I was excited to give this one a shot since it was specifically MADE for acne and was the only acne product I’ve seen so far that was pregnancy-safe.  All I can say is WOW.  This is one of those products that I noticed an instant difference with.  After first application, my face looked smoother, more even toned and my pores almost non-existant.  After using it for a week now, I don’t even so much as have a tiny blemish anywhere on my face or hairline.  To top it all off, this is the ONLY product I have to use now after cleansing my face.  I literally wash my face with my Clarisonic and facial cleanser, pat dry and tone (so, I guess I do use a toner..so two products! LOL) then I apply this serum and voila! It keeps my face moisturized too so I haven’t needed a moisturizer.  The last few days whenever I get a glance of myself in the mirror I am pleasantly surprised for a change.  My other products I was using were wonderful, but the differences were more subtle.  Seriously an amazing product!

photoThe Spoiled Mama so generously wants one of you to experience this organic skincare heaven as well, so they are giving away a $50 online gift certificate to a lucky YBJ reader!! The winner can get whichever product they want from TheSpoiledMama.com! They will give me a code to give to the winner to shop with once I draw the name at the end of the giveaway.  You must be 18 years of age or older and live in the United States to enter.  This giveaway starts now, and ends Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 at noon. Enter below! If you complete the first three entries you will unlock a TON more chances to win! GOOD LUCK!!!  :-D :-) ;-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

signature

Featured

CATE AND CHLOE REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Chic, classic accessories delivered to your door TWICE monthly!

photo 2Some posts I’m extra giddy to hop on my computer and write about.  This happens to be one of them.  So much so that I just barely received this package in my hands thirty minutes ago before jumping online to share with you!  I was THAT impressed. :-P Have you heard of Cate & Chloe? I hadn’t before they reached out to me and I seriously feel like I’ve been missing out! It’s what Birchbox and Ipsy are to makeup, but to jewelry instead! :)

Screen shot 2014-03-28 at 3.02.42 PMThey sent me this absolutely STUNNING necklace!  I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning unwrapping the gorgeous box they sent it in too.  This particular Diana “Divine” Necklace took my breath away too. I’ve never been a big CZ fan but I’m telling you, photos do not do this piece any justice.  It’s absolutely GOOOORGEOUS in person! So sparkly and clean looking on it’s equally gorgeous 18″ sterling silver chain. Wowza! :-D

photo 5They sent this item to me for review purposes, but I will now be becoming a member myself. LOL. I can’t help it! If you also decide to join, then for only $39.99 per month you will receive $200 worth of designer jewelry!! You will get one of their most popular pieces sent to you every two weeks (free shipping!) The membership also enables you to take 20% off any other item in their online shop, including sale items. ;) Probably photo 4one of the most deal binding things for me is the fact that you can exchange the items you receive if you aren’t a big fan of one of your deliveries. That’s something that the makeup subscription services don’t do…and should. Last but not least, every new membership will receive a free welcome item worth $100 (that’s three pieces of jewelry worth $300 for only $39.99 that first month.)

My contacts over at Cate & Chloe are also doing two things for Your Beauty Junkie fans; 1) 20% your first month’s membership by using the coupon code YOURBEAUTYJUNKIE upon signing up…and 2) A GIVEAWAY! See details below. :-P :-D :-)

i9du88tqltfljo1658rsdlm0k71396043686

Cate and Chloe are giving away a piece of jewelry to a lucky YBJ reader! The item will be a surprise (maybe this same necklace I got?) but will be worth $100 or more. This giveaway begins NOW and ends Monday, April 7th at noon! You must be 18 years of age or older and live in the United States to enter.  The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter.  Complete the tasks below (complete the first three tasks to enter and to unlock a TON more entries for yourself) to be entered to win! I will announce the winner after noon on April 7th, 2014 and they will have up to 48 hours to respond via email.  If they do not, another winner will be chosen. Have fun and GOOD LUCK! :-D

a Rafflecopter giveaway

signature

Featured

Express Organic Home Facial featuring Living Nature!

photo 1My love for this organic skincare and cosmetics company is never ending.  The latest allotment of products they sent me to review were an absolute GOD SEND! If you’ve read previous skincare posts I’ve written during this pregnancy, then you know how absolutely wretched pregnancy hormones have made my skin. I had been following a new regimen I put together for myself (you can read about it a few posts back) that seemed to be doing the trick…but I was still getting a zit here or there and not all of the products used were organic (which is important to me this pregnancy).  What I consume, baby consumes.   ;)

About a week ago my esthetician friend Kat, an angel from heaven who blesses me with monthly brow shaping house-calls (she use to work for Anastasia Beverly Hills and knows her ish!) also gave me a much needed facial.  My skin looked flawless and glowing when she was done and it made me even more anxious to find a way to keep it that way for the remainder of this pregnancy! Luckily the following day my Living Nature package arrived and my prayers were answered! :-D

photo 2I immediately went upstairs the second I received these goodies and tried them all out, starting with the Skin Minis! Inside the cute box was a purifying cleanser, a hydrating toning gel and a balancing day lotion.  I will have you know I looked at every single ingredient in each of these products and Google’d the ones I didn’t know…call me psycho if you want but it’s important for me to know what is soaking into my body.  Not only are these items organic, they are ALL naturally derived (from plants, fruits, etc.) No fishy chemicals here! :-D

photo 5I first splashed my face with hot water to open up my pores, then squeezed some of the cleanser onto my CLARISONIC ‘Mia 2  and lastly I let this fabulous beauty tool work the wonderful CLEAN cleanser into my skin.  The Clarisonic helps to exfoliate while cleansing which is really important when trying to avoid acne and blemishes! When my face was thoroughly lathered up, I rinsed it off with hot water yet again (as hot as I can stand it) then splashed cold water onto my face to close my pores.  I patted my face dry with a clean towel, then moved onto the next step – the Deep Cleansing Mask! :-D

photo 4This box contains individual use face masks which is AWESOME as it prevents you from drying out the clay every time you open the packaging.  There is a perfect amount inside each packet to liberally cover your face with this blemish and dirt sucking clay! The directions state to leave it on your face for 10 minutes, but I lost track of time as I started working on laundry and household chores with it on…lol.  It dried solid within about 7 minutes though making moving my face completely impossible! :-D According to the Living Nature website, “Deep Clay Cleansing Mask will detoxify the skin, leaving it clear and balanced, with pores refined. Antimicrobial Manuka extract helps cleanse and heal and Active Manuka Honey nourishes and repairs. A weekly ritual of deep purification to restore your skin’s health and balance.”

I rinsed the clay off my face photo 2-1with hot water and then splashed cold water on my face to re-close my pores.  I patted dry and moved onto the second product in the Skin Minis package – the hydrating toning gel! I smoothed a dime sized amount all over my face and neck and allowed it to air dry for about 5 minutes before applying the balancing day lotion.  I like to give each product applied to my face time to soak in completely before piling on other items.  The lotion completely surprised me! I half expected it to be kind of watery/runny.  I usually avoid anything with “lotion” in the title and stick more to “cream” labeled products. However this was every bit as thick as a cream and was 110% moisturizing to the point of making me “ooh” and “ahh” while massaging it in! I photo 3-1absolutely LOVE it! I finished everything off with the Active Manuka Honey Lip Balm.  This “balm” is shiny enough to be used as a lipgloss and every bit as moisturizing and nourishing to pass as a balm.  Multi-purpose! :)

This entire skincare routine took me a half hour from start to finish! I won’t do every step of it every day (like the mask for example, I will limit to once per week), but these products took my face from tired and drab to completely glowing and energized as though I just had a professional facial (mind my HORRIBLY filled in brows in this photo -I was in a hurry to wrap up this post LOL)! This “Express Organic Facial” is something I will definitely be doing every week between my professional Kat facials! :-)

signature

Featured

NO MO-STACHE: A Hilarious Beauty MUST!

photo 3

Those of you who follow me on social media already know about my quick obsession with this amazing product! No Mo-Stache is both effective and hilarious at once.  They’ve found a way to make an embarrassing problem for some, both lighthearted and quickly non-existant! Little wax strips that you warm between your hands, stick to your upper lip and pull off like a bandaid to reveal truly hairless skin – heard of this type of thing before? Yeah, me too…and I’ve tried the products in the past only to be disappointed. They’d remove like 10 hairs and leave a sparce mess of hair behind. Blegh! So imagine my surprise when I received this ADORABLY packaged product that actually does what it promises – and beyond! Want to know another embarrassing secret aside from my hairy upper lip? This pregnancy has given me a hairy tummy! :( So you better believe while I was sitting watching TV this morning I used about 5 No Mo-Stache strips and removed every last hair from my stomach! LOL! Seriously! They worked and it only took about 5 minutes. It hurts about as bad as ripping off a bandaid hurts too (ie: not at all – a quick sting!) :-D

At only $16 I highly recommend every beauty junkie adds this little gem to their arsenal (Click here to purchase)! That’s how much about two salon visits to get your “stache” removed will run you, only these will last you 12 waxes (unless you use them in other areas like I did…lol!) I will never be without these! Thank you No Mo-Stache for allowing me the opportunity to review your wonderful product.  Can’t wait to hear what others think about them too. XO

signature

Featured

My Valentine Surprise from Mario Badescu!

photo

This post is a little late, but I wanted to give a HUGE thanks to Mario Badescu for the thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift.  My bad skin has really spun out of control.  If you’ve been following me since before my pregnancy you would know that I had really clear skin (minus the occasional that-time-of-the-month blemish)…until I got pregnant. If I do not keep on a twice a day (morning and night) routine, all hell breaks loose on my face…I’m talking little cluster zits AND the deep, painful cystic ones.  Which just recently happened because I’ve been home, not feeling well and extremely lazy with keeping myself up. :(

When I was working everyday it was habit to wake up and cleanse my face prior to putting my makeup on and heading out the door, and then of course at night I’d wash my makeup off and cleanse my skin again…so I never had an issue. While home and sick however, I’ve been lucky to wash my face even once a day.  Luckily now I’m feeling much better and have my energy back so I’ve found a new routine that – HALLELUJAAAAAAH – is working for me…as long as I stick to it! ;)

Since I’m preggers and overly cautious with skincare products, I’ve finally after much trial and error, found a routine using natural (or pregnancy-safe) products that is clearing up my skin and giving me that sought after pregnancy glow! Mario Badescu had no idea, but they completed this search for me with these two products.  Here’s what I do every morning and every night now:

I cleanse my face and pat dry. I then use Oil of Olay’s Oil Minimizing Toner because it has witch hazel in it (as opposed to salicylic acid which is what my pre-pregnancy astringent had in it. Salicylic acid is not pregnancy safe. Witch hazel is an all natural astringent made from a plant.) Once that air dries, I spritz on my Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs & Rosewater and also let that air dry/soak in.  I LOOOOVE the smell of this and I can actually feel my skin soaking in the natural moisture and cleansing properties of this product.  It’s only $7 too so I will definitely keep this in my daily routine. Then I mix three pumps of my Manomai Around the Clock Facial Serum with three drops of the Mario Badescu Rose Hips Nourishing Oil (which lucky for me happens to be a natural antiseptic for your skin!) I massage this mixture into my face and neck and – you guessed it – let it soak in! At only $20 and knowing how safe and effective it is during pregnancy, I will keep this in rotation for sure! My final step is spot treating any blemishes I do have with my Living Nature Manuka Honey Gel for Trouble Spots (an all natural acne medication free spot treatment that REALLY works!) And that is it. It may seem like a lot but this all takes me under 5 minutes and since last week my acne is fiiiinally going away, my skin is always baby soft and I’m finally seeing a bit of a glow. :)

Follow me on social media by clicking here.

signature

Featured

THE SPOILED MAMA TUMMY BUTTER: Pregnant or not, this product is wonderful!

Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks was not sent to me for review, I just read so many amazing reviews from others about it online that I tracked down their website and purchased it myself! You all know I was using Bio-oil to prevent stretch marks during this pregnancy, and I really love it, I just didn’t love that 75% of the ingredients were chemicals and things I couldn’t even pronounce…so, I sought out a natural alternative that was highly rated.  One particular review I read online stood out from the rest for me.  A woman stated that both her mother and her sister got horrific “Freddy Krueger attack” style stretch marks during their pregnancies and she was terrified of the same happening to her, so photo 3after researching stretch mark prevention she gave this cream a try…and she swore up and down she did not get a SINGLE stretch mark on her stomach, breasts or butt after giving birth to her child.  Now, I’ve always thought that if something is hereditary, it’s hereditary and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.  I gave my own mother really, really bad stretch marks when she was pregnant with me, so I figured I’m destined for the same…and honestly, I will take the worst stretch marks on earth in exchange for a healthy baby, but I figured attempting to prevent them couldn’t hurt.  Especially if the product is natural. :-D

I also read another review from a woman who wasn’t even pregnant but had stretch marks from losing 60 pounds so she bought it to fade them…and it worked! This is actually something I can relate to.  I’ve always fluctuated 25 pounds since my mid-twenties.  I go from 115 to 140 and back again what seems like yearly so I’ve got ugly little stretch marks on my butt and sides of my breasts…not really on my stomach though.

photo 1The cream was pricey for a fairly small jar ($34 for 4oz) but again, the reviews gave me hope, so to me it’s worth a shot! The product came really fast after ordering (3 days) and was accompanied by 3 samples of other The Spoiled Mama products.  I started using the stretch mark cream immediately upon receipt.  It smells okay. Directions state to use it three times a day, so this might get me in trouble because I’m only using it once per day (after showering) but then again maybe it won’t? After all, in just three weeks it’s already faded my existing stretch marks from my weight gains/losses with my once per day use. I do use it pretty liberally though. I have faith it’ll work! ;)

From TheSpoiledMama.com: “Our Best Seller! Our Tummy Butter for stretch marks is made with the finest ingredients available. We start with pure cocoa butter and then added organic Rosehip oil, organic Tamanu, and Kukui Nut oils which contain Vitamin A and E, and high amounts of essential fatty acids. Together they promote collagen and elastin levels to increase cell regeneration. This results in firmer skin with greater elasticity and helps defend against pregnancy stretch marks. Mama’s Tummy Butter stretch marks lotion penetrates into the deepest skin layers, while creating a protective shield that locks in moisture and nourishes your growing belly. Our Special stretch marks Butter blend will help fade scars and pregnancy stretch marks and prevent new ones from appearing. A perfect pregnancy stretch marks treatment. Works wonders on C-Section scars too!:-D

I HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend this product whether you already have stretch marks or are looking to prevent during a pregnancy! And now I’m really wanting to try out their pregnancy acne product and buy a full size of the body wash (really loved the sample!) Did you use any special products or do anything to prevent stretch marks during a pregnancy? :-D

UPDATE 2/19/15: I gave birth to my beautiful son on July 31, 2014. He is now six months old and my tummy has gone back to just as it was pre-pregnancy.  I do not have a SINGLE stretch mark, hand to the Bible.  I ended up using The Spoiled Mama’s Bump Gloss Stretch Mark Oil in exchange for the Tummy Butter for the remainder of my pregnancy as I preferred the oil to the cream (and it smelled better to me) but that’s just a personal preference. I will use these products again without question, in my next pregnancy. :)

signature

Featured

Birchbox vs. Ipsy

Birchbox-logo VS. logo_ipsy_Hq41iQOvARqkKCe2HV2VsnOBpaOwwHmAsmxPtd1GtFO

Well beauties, this one is tough! I’ve been getting Birchbox for years and Ipsy for only two months.  When I received my first Ipsy Glam Bag last month I was WAY happier with it than I was with my Birchbox and was actually starting to tell people I preferred it.  And then this month the opposite happened.  I liked my Birchbox better than my Ipsy Bag.  So, I can’t really say one is superior to the other until I continue to get both of them for at least a year.  What I CAN say however, is that at only $10 a month for both services, I think it’s worth it to get both.  That’s a whole LOT of beauty goodies for only $20! And after doing a pro’s and con’s list for each, they are equal in their highs and lows.  In my opinion anyway.  I know some of you are VERY vocal on which services you love and “hate”. LOL. To me, there’s really not much to hate when spending $10. Some are going to be awesome and some are meh, but at the end of the day you’re still getting to try out beauty products you may otherwise never know about.  Some of these products I’ve received have changed MY whole beauty world!

JanuaryBirchbox-logo

photo 1

My January Birchbox was mighty pleasing! Tons of fabulous items, all of which I will use. I’m most excited to try the Nail Rock Glitter product! You simply paint your nails with two coats of the polish, then roll it in the included glitter, allow to dry and voila! Gorgeous nails. Most people know I generally either wear my nails red or French so they couldn’t have sent me a better color! Also, my hair has been a dried out frizzy nightmare so I’m always glad to see hair smoothing products.  I haven’t used any Fekkai products in my hair before, but I’ll definitely give this one a shot and will report back if I’m happy with the results. The Inika eyeshadow looks really pretty too! I’m not generally a fan of loose mineral shadows but this organic shadow vows to “stay vibrant for hours” so we shall see.  The four packets of coconut body cream and the tea were awesome additions as well.

I have to say Birchbox has a history of sending more smaller one time use packet samples than they do bigger deluxe samples and full-size products, but this box took that complaint and punched it in the face! Hoping to see more Birchboxes like this one going forward! :-D

Birchbox

Januarylogo_ipsy_Hq41iQOvARqkKCe2HV2VsnOBpaOwwHmAsmxPtd1GtFO

photo 2

This was my second Ipsy Glam Bag delivery and I loved it (although not as much as last months.) The delivery bag was adorable as usual.  I actually love having a little collection of makeup bags. They are useful for so many different things aside from just makeup.  I consider it an extra product, rather than just the packaging for the Ipsy beauty items.  The eyeshadow pencil this month was FABULOUS! Glittery, pigmented and long wearing (over primer.) I’m also loving the face lotion.  It’s a great light-weight everyday face lotion. That was pretty much all I was excited about with this Ipsy delivery, but check out what I got in my Glam Bag from last month! I loved ALL of it (POP shadow palette, Be a Bombshell blush stick, an AMAZING blending brush by Mirabella, false lashes – always good, and a J. Cat Big Lip Pencil in the puuuurfect red).  Oh and the bag was just as fab as it’s contents:

Screen shot 2014-01-18 at 5.53.15 PM

Ipsy

Well, there you have it! I plan to continue my comparisons of the two boxes each month to see how they continue to differ from each other.  For now though, I recommend getting both! Why not? What else are you going to spend $20 on this month? 3 and a half coffees?  I’d personally rather make my coffee and have the beauty.  Plus it’s like your birthday or Christmas twice a month when your Birchbox or your Ipsy is waiting for you in your mailbox. Heehee. ;) CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO BIRCHBOX & CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO IPSY 

signature

Featured

I’m Living Naturally with Living Nature!

logo

Whenever I see a package on my doorstep from New Zealand, I smile big because I know exactly where it’s from.  One of my very favorite all-natural beauty companies, Living Nature. They could not have picked a better time to send me some of their fabulously pure and wonderful skincare products.  You all know I’m striving to be as clean as possible during this pregnancy and with Living Nature products I can rest easy knowing they are free of any toxins or damaging chemicals.  Pure, clean skincare. :-)

Ultra_Rich_Body_Cream_Bottle_Box_NR_grandeThis allotment gave me two products I actually really needed.  An AMAAAAAZING body cream and an acne spot treatment. The Ultra Rich Body Cream is nothing short of heavenly.  It’s as thick and luxurious as a body butter with a nostalgic scent that makes me smile.  Do any of you remember those old school Smarties candies?  Those tart little candies that were big back in the 80’s (maybe they still are?)? Well, the instant I twist off the cap I get that EXACT scent from the body cream.  I personally love it! A little goes a long way too as this is a very thick, rich cream…probably why it’s named “Ultra Rich Body Cream” LOL. Duh, Jamie.  Anyway, after showering I apply this cream and am left feeling silky soft and smooth all day.  I get REALLY dry skin and dry skin makes my skin crawl, so it’s nice when I find a good product to keep the skin crawling at bay from morning to night. :-D

Manuka_Honey_Gel_10ml_Tube_Box_NR_1cbfd21a-0345-4b7c-bfb6-dd461ac08b43_1024x1024The second item was also a MASSIVE score! This pregnancy has graced me with wretched  skin.  I’ve always been one to get an occasional zit or two around my period, but never like what I’ve seen since entering pregnancy.  It’s hideous.  Acne on my chest and all over my face.  Acne medications (even topical over the counter ones) are not okay during  pregnancy.  I’m sure you remember my last post where I explained that I even had to give up my favorite Neutrogena astringent because it has salycic acid in it.  Well, this beautiful little answer from God is called Manuka Honey Gel.  It’s acne medication FREE, yet naturally heals blemishes with Manuka Honey.  Heard of it?  From Living Nature’s site: “Active Manuka Honey is one of nature’s miracle healers, and anti-microbial Manuka Oil is a super protector – both with proven skin benefits.” Feel free to Google it for more info on it.  I did and this truly is a miracle product.  I’ve been using it for only 3 days and every SINGLE blemish spot has already tamed down tremendously and I’m guessing, will be gone within a few more days.  I absolutely recommend this to anyone with acne prone skin.  It’s very cost effective too at only $16.11. :-D

Feel free to click on the photos above to be linked to the items. Hope you all have a great weekend! Lots of love. XO CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK

signature

Featured

Where Have I Been? PREGNANT!

photoHello friends! First off, I want to thank all of my readers for your patience.  I took a little hiatus from YBJ at the end of November and am just now getting back.  A LOT has happened in the two months I’ve been gone.  The most important being that Aaron and I found out we were PREGNANT on December 2nd! This will be the first baby for us both and was 100% planned as we started trying immediately after the wedding.  I’m just about out of the first trimester (11 weeks yesterday) and it’s been a rough start, which is what’s kept me away from blogging.  From intense all day “morning” sickness, horrific migraines and extreme exhaustion it was a battle just getting through each day.  I also quit my full time job and will be staying home now to build Your Beauty Junkie, work on finishing my real estate school and of course, taking care of my growing family.

1557558_757969644231297_45372260_nNow that I’m feeling better I have a rapidly growing to do list to tackle since I basically did NOTHING for two months straight! LOL.  I have to take everything one step at a time though and it’ll all get done.  I have to completely baby myself during this pregnancy as I’m high-risk for multiple reasons.  Praying all goes well and I have a healthy pregnancy, delivery and baby.  We’ve already chosen our name for boy or girl.  If it’s a boy, we are naming him after Daddy – Aaron Nathan Thomas, Jr. But we will call him “AJ” for short.  Not only does that stand for Aaron Jr. it also is the first letter of Daddy’s name and the first letter of Mommy’s name.  Love it.  Oh yeah, our girl will also be AJ – Ava Jayne Thomas or AJ for short. We should find out the sex the week after next. I’m in love already.  Because I’m high risk we had a very early ultrasound back at 9 weeks to ensure baby was growing okay and the heart was beating.  Hope you like the first photo of AJ looking more like an alien than a baby…LOL! :-D

I’m doing weekly “Bumpdate” photos and messages to AJ (I’m sharing them on my social media pages) so that after he or she is born I can put together a little book for baby that shows my belly growing with each week.  I think as an adult, AJ will appreciate my little weekly love letters I wrote throughout pregnancy. Here’s an example of this weeks:

1525080_10202518110581437_579160724_n

Don’t worry, I won’t ONLY be blogging about pregnancy now (or only baby after birth) however a lot of the products I’m using now have to be all-natural and pregnancy-safe so there are some items I will be avoiding during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  I will do an occasional pregnancy posts here and there too though as I know some of you are interested in following along with AJ and I, but for the most part expect business as usual around here. ;)

Obviously my AM and PM beauty routine has changed.  For example, I am OBSESSED with Neutrogena Clear Pore Oil Eliminating Astringent but I can’t use it because it has Salycic Acid in it and that isn’t considered safe in pregnancy. GRRRRR! It was the ONLY thing that made my face feel 100% clean so I’m currently on the hunt for an acne medication-FREE astringent to replace it.  Aaron helped ease my loss of having to give up my beloved astringent though by getting me a Clarisonic as one of my Christmas gifts.  Talk about a deep clean. It’s like having a professional facial everyday.  I still want that safer astringent (it’s a mental thing) but the Clarisonic truly cleans my face unlike anything.  If you don’t have one yet, I STRONGLY suggest getting one.  I honestly can’t believe I went as long as I did without one with as many of my fellow beauty bloggers out there raving about.  It’s a magical beauty wand. :-P Click photo to research or purchase

Another thing I’ve given up are body lotions and butters that have parabens, mineral oil or other nasty chemicals in them.  Instead I’m using a combo of two things; Bio Oil and organic or all-natural (with ingredients I understand) body butters/lotions.  My mother got really bad stretch marks with me and my brother and I hear they’re hereditary.  So after doing some research I’m giving Bio Oil a try…it’s suppose to completely prevent stretch marks if used from the first trimester through birth.  After showering I dry off then massage the Bio Oil all over my stomach, sides, breasts and butt.  Then I use my natural body creams for my legs and arms.  This combo leaves me thoroughly moisturized throughout each day. I’ve heard about a combo of natural body butters that you can make yourself to prevent stretch marks and I will probably give that a try when my Bio Oil is gone, but I’m not sure yet.  So far I really like it. :) Click photo to research or purchase

I am also assuring that I’m only using Naturally Fresh deodorant.  I blogged about it a long time ago.  I’ve gone back and forth between standard ones like Secret and such, but during pregnancy I’m really trying to avoid the non-natural ones since they are jam packed with cancer-causing aluminum and other chemicals.  Anything you put on your skin seeps in…and baby is in there. People ask me all the time if Naturally Fresh actually works.  For me, it does – but there’s a technique to it.  I first apply it and let it dry, then I apply it again.  For some reason just one application doesn’t work, but two does.  I’ve used Tom’s and other natural ones before and they didn’t work for me at all (just left me smelling like peach scented BO…lol) but I honestly really do like this one.

As far as my makeup goes I haven’t really made many changes.  To be quite honest I haven’t really worn makeup the majority of this pregnancy so far since I’ve been so sick in bed most of the time. But when I do, the products I use are pregnancy safe. I do want to find a good natural line of nail polish but for the time being have continued with the gel polish – I just don’t soak them off with acetone.  Instead I do what I tell everyone NOT to do and peel them off when it’s time to re-do them *gasp!* LOL.

That’s it for now my loves.  Thought you’d all want a little YBJ life update. so there you have it.  I’ve got product reviews and giveaways coming out of my ears (I am SO behind) so please stay tuned! Lots of love! XOXO

signature

Featured

SMILE BRILLIANT LED TEETH WHITENING: Review & Purchase Information!

Screen shot 2013-04-12 at 3.31.05 PM

Yet another product SUCCESS! I received this teeth whitening kit from the amazing people over at Smile Brilliant today.  I had heard such rave reviews about LED teeth whitening but my expectations were exceeded by leaps and bounds!  This system is meant to be used for 20 (or more) minutes once per day until desired whitening results are achieved.  I did just one session so far though and my teeth are as white as if I had done five straight days of Crest White Strips! I can only imagine how they will look in another week.  Looks like my dress will not be the only white at my wedding! ;) :-P :-D :)

Here is a photo of me trying out the system as well as a photo of my teeth after my first session. I’m an idiot and forgot to take a before photo (sorry).  They weren’t yellow to begin with by any means, but they weren’t even CLOSE to this white! I’m totally blown away.  And FYI the second photo is completely unfiltered! ;)

65606_614669411894655_2084420526_n

photo

Here is a review of this same system from a YBJ fan who purchased it after reading this post! Thanks Trisha! :)

404683_619324534762476_1866083745_n

Smile Brilliant is one of the friendliest companies I’ve come in contact with since starting my beauty blogging journey and I’m so excited to be working with them.  Communicating with them is like talking with old friends.  Such a great experience.  If you want to just purchase this NOW is the time because they are discounting it from $129.95 to $39.95! I’m about to sound like an infomercial, but IS THAT ALL? NO! LOL.****UPDATE ON 5/31/13 AT 1PM: THE FIRST 25 PEOPLE TO ORDER WILL GET 25% OFF WHICH BRINGS THE ALREADY DISCOUNTED PRICE TO $29.96!!!! THE ORIGINAL TOTAL IS $129.95 SO THIS IS HUUUUUGE! YOU MUST ENTER 25at25off TO GET THIS DEAL!**** If you weren’t one of the lucky 25 to get that deal, don’t fret – enter BEAUTYJ at checkout to get 15% off indefinitely! This brings the final total to $33.96! I’m even going to purchase a few more kits myself (one for Aaron, and a few extras as future gifts for people)!  If you want to purchase, click any of the photos above, or this link here to be directed to their website.

u6nuorrtgff60id1n6s3a886371361850318

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! Congrats to the winner Jasmin R Wilson! She has been notified via email. :)

And now the fun portion! This giveaway begins NOW and ends Tuesday, April 30th at midnight.  You must be 18 years of age or older and live in the United States to enter.  As usual, be sure to complete the first three tasks to unlock a ton more! a Rafflecopter giveawaysignature

Featured

BooHoo.com Style for Less!

My Boohoo.com delivery was by far one of my favorite deliveries of the year! When they reached out to me to review their site, I felt like a kid in a candy store..an overwhelmed kid in a candy store! How could I decide what I wanted?! There were adorable item, upon adorable item…and pages and pages of them! I finally was able to narrow it all down to a few things I loved and they arrived only TWO days later! :-D

Every single item was just as darling as it was on the models online…and we all know how rare that is! ;) Everything fit perfectly and brought on compliment after compliment throughout my days. The quality is not the greatest, but the prices are low so you can get a LOT of clothing for your money! I would compare Boohoo to Forever21…only I find Boohoo’s selections to be way cuter personally.

My favorite item of the bunch was DEFINITELY the fleece jacket! OMG it is probably the coziest coat I’ve ever owned!! I’ve always had a really weird phobia of clothing with silk lining. Well, I guess it’s not a phobia but I despise the way silk feels against my skin…like nails on a chalkboard!! Ewww. Gives me goosies. Especially when it’s cold out because I swear it makes me even colder! I have found the warmest, cutest looking coats in the past and if I open up and see silk lining, I won’t get it.  Anyways, I digress. My POINT – this coat is lined with the waaaaaaarmest fleece-like material. It literally feels like you’re wearing around a blanket all day! And let’s talk about how warm it keeps you…it’s like a little toaster oven. Absolutely LOVE this. Check out this lining for yourself:

I want to buy the coat in the other color now too! *sigh* My other favorite was of course, the big oversized brown sweater.  I am a forever fan of oversized sweaters and leggings though.  Even if they go out of style, I will be the one person left out of style still wearing them.  It’s the easiest way to feel cute, confident and be comfortable all at once! This brown sweater arrived just in time for me to wear it on Thanksgiving and it’s so perfectly Fall so I’m sure I will wear it all season long, every Fall.  Super cozy and equally as cute!

The other pair of leggings and the studded headband were just as big of hits as everything else and they are all items I will definitely wear more than once! I am pleasantly pleased that every single item I received was such a hit! I will be Boohoo.com’ing it up every time I need lots of cute new clothes and don’t have a lot of money to spend!  Had you ever heard of this online clothing site?  Have you purchased from here before? Would love to hear your thoughts as well! :-D

Click on any of the photos of me to be directly linked to the items on the site!

 

Featured

R.E.I.G.N. Beauty will leave you feeling like Miss America!

photo 2-1I LOVE THIS COSMETICS LINE!! So completely fabulous! Gorgeous pigmented colors, high-quality products and adorable packaging. Have you ever heard of R.E.I.G.N. ? I hadn’t, but that’s probably because they just launched their new skincare and cosmetics collection in 2013 by Joshua Brands in partnership with the Miss America Organization.  The proceeds for all products sold (which are aptly named from the state flowers of the State Titleholders who compete for the crown) go to help support the Miss America Organization’s Scholarship Program.  All R.E.I.G.N. products are proudly made in America and the brand aims to inspire everyday girls and young women from all walks of life. This company not only leaves us looking beautiful, but IS beautiful. :)

I fell in love with the products they sent me at first use.  My absolute favorite of the bunch is the lipstick Apple Blossom Red.  This is such a perfect, classic, sexy red that will leave you looking and feeling confident and glamourous.  The perfect color isn’t even the best part about this lipstick…it literally stayed put for HOURS.  The Lasting Luxe Lipsticks are an honest to God long-wear line of colors.  I put mine on before work one morning and by lunch it still looked as perfect as it did when I originally applied it hours photo 4-1earlier.  It faded a bit after eating, but not a lot.  It just needed a little touch up and was as good as new.  I have had so many ladies ask me both what my favorite red lipsticks are over the years, as well as what the best long wear lipsticks are, and I can honestly tell you all that this covers both of those needs, in one pretty little tube. ;)

My second favorite of the bunch is definitely the Lip Nectar! This lip balm is deliciously moisturizing and tastes oh so yummy! I have been applying it after brushing my teeth and before going to bed.  I use a liberal amount and try not to mess with it.  I wake up every morning now with the most supple, soft smooth lips ever! :-D

photoThe Glazing Dual Lipgloss is my third favorite.  It’s VERY sheer, gorgeous and uber shiny without any stickiness (which I totally despise in lip glosses!) I use either a nude or light pink lip liner to line my lips and slightly fill them in a bit, then I apply this gloss over the top.  I apply the pink side of the dual gloss as an all over color, and then I use the clear, sparkly side as a highlighter just in the center of my bottom lip. This product is NOT a lip plumper but this technique in which I apply it makes my lips look so much fuller than your average lip gloss does. Absolutely love this!

I also ADORE the Chunky Lip Crayon! The nude color is perfect for my everyday “Light Makeup” look.  It obviously also works as a liner and gives just enough color to leave your kissers looking subtly full and pretty. :-P

I’ve yet to try the mascara but I’m sure I will love it after experiencing the awesomeness of these other items! I’m so glad I’ve discovered a cost effective line of cosmetics that actually has pigment and lasts! I really want to try their foundations next.  I will report back.  Have you tried R.E.I.G.N.? Have you heard about them?

signature

Featured

Perfect “SkinAgain”

photoOne thing I never take for granted in my life is this beauty blog and all of the opportunities it has presented me thus far, including all of the beauty products, cosmetics, and fashion items I get to test.  When I am introduced to or discover an amazing new product, my fingers itch to get to my computer and share my experiences with all of you.  Believe me, there are plenty of items I try and sadly don’t end up liking at all, so I don’t review them…but sharing my experiences about the products I not only love, but also feel they’d improve the confidence and beauty in others, is something that genuinely excites me. For those of you who haven’t read my “About” section, this site is negative-free and every item reviewed is something I’ve given a 5-star rating.  :)

SkinAgain is a company I’d never heard of prior to their reaching out to me. Their products contain the highest grade of active ingredients available for OTC Function Skin Care remedies…their formulations actually include the highest percentage of active ingredients allowed without a prescription.  These products are fragrance-, paraben- and cruelty-free and their mission is to contribute happiness and self confidence to their customers by healing skin with compassion. LOVE.

My new daily face cream from SkinAgain is called Youth and it is meant to reduce fine lines, dark spots, wrinkles and restore elasticity in the face.  I’ve only been using it for a couple of weeks after a month or so of using a different face cream that I really wasn’t crazy about.  It’s amazing what a difference it’s made in such a short amount of time! The elasticity in my face is what I’ve noticed the most, but my fine wrinkles and dark spots definitely have softened too so I can’t even imagine how my face will look after a month or two of using this everyday.  I honest to God feel like I look younger when I look in the mirror. I also love that my skin is always silky soft and smooth now and never gets oily anymore.  This product is EXCEPTIONAL as a makeup base too…I have not needed a primer since using this! Everything about Youth is WOW worthy and will not disappoint! :-D

Screen shot 2013-12-01 at 11.30.31 AM

Skinagain also so graciously sent me their Vanish product to try.  This is a body cream meant to prevent and reduce the appreance of scars, stretch marks and cellulite. I cannot honestly say I’ve noticed any difference with this product yet, but again, it’s only been a week – and I’ve got some deep rooted cellulite under my booty. Ugh. LOL. In addition to exercise, I have faith in this product after how wonderfully the Youth has worked for me. Regardless though, even without any appearance bettering benefits, I LOVE this cream and the way it feels on my skin.  It leaves me feeling cool and silky soft.  I don’t use it everywhere, just areas where I have imperfections; my butt and sides of my breasts (stretch marks). Since Aaron and I are trying for a baby this product will definitely be my bff as my tummy grows in hopes of preventing stretch marks! Stay tuned for a future review of this after I’ve used it longer. :)

CLICK HERE TO SEE BEFORE & AFTERS

At only $49 per product, they don’t break the bank either! If you’re reading this review prior to Cyber Monday you’re in luck because by entering “CYBERMONDAY” at checkout, you’ll receive 50% off your entire order! ALSO, DO NOT miss out on my YBJ’s CHRISTMAS  SHOPPING GUIDE while doing your Cyber Monday shopping…RIDICULOUS deals on my highest rated products. :-) ;) :-D :-P
signature
Featured

Don’t Exfoliate Without Dermasuri!

photo 3-2Do you exfoliate your body? Do you realize how important it is to exfoliate your body? I really didn’t until recently.  I love body scrubs and things of that nature, but I thought actual exfoliating was bad for your skin for so long.  I thought it caused tiny bumps on the backs of my arms and legs so I avoided it.  Then I realized what I was using to exfoliate were really just chemical filled products that clogged my pores, hence causing the bumps.  True exfoliation will actually reduce ingrown hairs, bumps and clogged pores! Exfoliation also improves circulation, stimulates collagen, fights aging, evens skin tone, prevents dullness, removes impurities and rejuvenates skin.  Feel free to research more for the endless benefits of exfoliation. :-D

The Dermasuri Deep Exfoliating Mitt is my new favorite tool for exfoliating my body, so many thanks to them for sending me this product. It’s so easy to use too! I use it once a week while showering.  I first get into a hot, steamy shower and let the water run over my skin for a few minutes to open up my pores and soften the dead skin.  I then turn off the shower, ring out my Dermasuri mitt, then I exfoliate using vigorous, upward and downward strokes until I actually see the dead skin cells rolls away, per the instructions.  I do this all over my entire body and then turn the water back on and wash up with a good organic body wash and rinse.  My skin is left RIDICULOUSLY soft, glowing and smooth.  This is the closest you will ever come to having baby soft skin again and you CAN quote me on that! If you haven’t tried this product yet, it’s only $19.99 and I highly recommend it! Would make an awesome stocking stuffer too! ;)

signature

Featured

All-Natural MUST HAVES from Living Nature!

photoOkay, so we all know I’m a massive skincare product junkie. Well, here is yet another Living Nature product that didn’t disappoint. As a brief reminder, Living Nature is an all natural skincare company based in New Zealand who is the maker of one of my all time favorite face serums, Radiance Night Oil, that I’ve been reviewing since I started this blog almost two years ago.  Every product of theirs I’ve tried since has been just as spectacular as the last and this Extra Hydrating Toning Gel is no exception. :-D

After cleansing my face and patting dry, I apply a dime sized amount of this gel all over my face and neck and let it dry and soak in before applying my moisturizer.  For starters, this product smells SO good and really familiar to me for some reason, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. Hmmmm…Anyway, after it soaks in, my face is left looking incredibly hydrated and even-toned without looking greasy and/or oily at all.  I could totally go without moisturizer because this leaves my face moisturized on it’s own but I love mixing products for added benefit.  ;)

photo 2-3Now how freaking CUTE is this smokey eye kit? What a great gift or stocking stuffer idea! Everything you need to create the ultimate smokey eye.  And it’s not just a bunch of crappy cosmetics stuffed in a pink box.  It’s Living Nature’s high quality, all-natural cosmetics. You will receive three shadows (a highlight color, crease color and a black), an amazing creamy pencil liner, a fab mascara and a little compact which the three eyeshadows that come with photowill magnetize into! LOVE! It’s fun to open up, fun to put together and of course, fun to use.  It looks amazing on! I am the self proclaimed Queen of the smokey eye so this little package just sings to my heart! :-P

Whether you’re a die-hard all-natural product junkie, or someone just looking for great quality products, Living Nature will leave you smiling and definitely satisfied.  All products are shipped from New Zealand, but all of my packages from them come really quickly! CLICK HERE TO BROWSE THEIR SHOP.

signature

Featured

Glossybox? Yes Please!

photo 1Glossybox is a monthly beauty subscription service, similar to Birchbox and Ipsy.  The pricing is higher than the other two (click here) but you get what you pay for! No paper samples here…only high quality full size beauty products and deluxe sized samples!  I had never heard of this particular monthly beauty box until I was approached to review it on YBJ and I’m oh so thankful that they reached out to me.  Add this to my list of monthly must haves! :-D

The box I received for review was amazing!  It was their November 2013 “Holiday Romance” box.  Apparently each box has a theme.  I have no other boxes to compare it to, but I will say that this particular one was worth WELL over the cost of the box itself.  Inside I found a face wash that would become my new favorite, a highly pigmented black eyeshadow, a
photo 2hair treatment which I’ve been told from others is amazing (I will report back), an awesome eyeshadow brush, and a two in one eyeshadow/thick liner. You typically receive five full size products and or deluxe samples in each box.  Here’s a quick run down of my favorite products in the November Glossybox that I received. :-D

The Aloe Source face wash is freaking SPECTACULAR! I had never heard of it prior to Glossybox but I am in love.  It’s a “Jojoba Radiance Cleansing Polish” so it gently exfoliates as it cleanses.  I use this product by getting my
face wet, then massaging it in and wiping it off with a hot, wet muslin cloth (you can use a washcloth if you prefer.) My face is left silky soft and thoroughly clean! I should mention that it removes makeup really well too! This is something I will continue to use, I loved it THAT much. :-)

photo 3My second favorite product was the Emite Micronized Eyeshadow in a matte black color. This is a highly pigmented fabulous black shadow.  Everything you want in black shadow.  Makes for a sexy smokey eye and when worn over an eyeshadow primer, it lasts all day!  This eyeshadow alone is worth more than the entire box! It would be $27 if I were to buy it so that alone goes to show what a fabulous deal you are getting with a monthly Glossybox subscription ;)

My third favorite item was definitely the Jelly Pong Pong 2 in 1 Eyeliner and shadow! This also is highly pigmented and goes on smoothly and easily! I received the pencil in “Steel” and I love it.  I used it to photocomplete a subtle Thanksgiving Day smokey eye in conjunction with the Emite black shadow.  I’m going to try the pencil today for an all over color too and will share results on my social media pages. LOVE! :-D

The other products I received I’ve yet to use, but I will say the Nicka K New York Eyeshadow brush I received is gorgeous and of high quality! I highly doubt it will disappoint.  The final item, Color Protecting Leave in Oil Treatment, I’ve also yet to use personally, but when I posted about receiving a Glossybox on my Facebook page, MULTIPLE ladies informed me that this particular item was amazing! So obviously, I’m excited to try it out now!  As usual, I will inform you of my thoughts on social media. :-P

There you have it! Glossybox is simply fabulous and even though it’s double the price of other monthly beauty boxes, you really do get what you pay for.  If I could go back in time I would have definitely added this to my GREAT BIG CHRISTMAS SHOPPING GUIDE for sure! I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with a Glossybox.  Do you subscribe? If so, what are your thoughts?? :)

signature

Featured

This is a TRUELY Amazing Kit from Mario Badescu! A MUST HAVE!

This kit totally and completely blew me away! I have to start by saying that I almost sent it back (so glad I didn’t!) When the company told me they were sending me product to test/review I was SUPER excited because Mario Badescu is one of my absolute FAVORITE skin care lines.  When the package arrived though, I noticed it was an acne kit. I was a little confused so I immediately wrote my contact at the company and informed her that I don’t have acne so I would have a really hard time reviewing the kit for her and then offered to send it back to them. :(

Well, I honest to goodness think she cursed me because the very next day (I am not even joking) I woke up with THREE zits! One hideous ugly cystic zit on my cheek, a smaller one by my nose and some tiny ones kind of in a cluster under my mouth.  WTH?! I seriously don’t get zits aside from the occasional hormonal blemish so this must be a bad month I’m approaching – OR, I’m pregnant. LOL. Either way, I had a nasty breakout and suddenly found myself running for the Mario Badescu kit I received just one day prior! :-D

photo 2At first I was totally perplexed by the Acne Repair Kit.  First glance had me thinking it was an acne system like Proactive or something, but at closer look I saw that there were actually three separate spot treatments inside. Who needs more than one, right?! Well, then I read the back of each bottle.  The first one titled “Drying Lotion” was a little glass bottle with half clear and half pink separated liquids inside.  This one is meant for small little surface zits and white heads.  You are directed NOT to shake or mix the separated solution, so I stuck a Q-tip all the way down to the pink, pulled it out and dotted my smaller zits with it.  The second product titled “Drying Cream” is an AWESOME Aloe Vera rich cream meant to disinfect and dry up underground blemishes as well as HEAL already erupted pimples.  The final (and my personal favorite) of the bunch is the “Buffering Lotion” which I’m pretty sure is a magic potion.  This one is meant for those nasty, scary cystic pimple(s).  After washing, toning and moisturizing my face, I squeezed some of this milky solution out onto a cotton pad and wiped it over my deep photo 5painful zit, all over my nose and gave all of my other zits a quick swipe of this too.  It goes on clear and smells like alcohol. I then used the Drying Lotion and covered each zit then went to bed.  The next morning all of my blemishes were DRASTICALLY smaller! I did the same routine the following night and by morning they were all almost gone. I am being 100% honest with you! :-D

This was Friday mind you.  It’s now Monday and I do not have a single zit or even a semblance of one anywhere on my face.  Typically the cystic ones will last longer than a week on me until I’m able to pop it, and then I will inevitably pop it because I can’t control myself and will be left with a disgusting scar for well over a year.  This is absolutely a magical, one of kind product and I now realize why I was told this is one of their most popular kits.  Everyone should keep this on hand! It will SAVE you and your face, believe me!  CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE :-D

signature

Featured

Step out of your shower feeling SEXY with Splurge Skincare!

photoThere are very few things I love more than a good quality, heavenly scented, all-natural body scrub. GAH. They take an everyday shower from a chore to an experience.  So naturally, I said HECK YES when Splurge Skincare asked if they could send me a few products to try/review for them. :-D

There comes a point in time in the life of a busy beauty blogger where I’ve over-promised and there are multiple items that need to be tested – and if loved – reviewed my me. What I do is line them up in order of what I received first and try them in that order.  My shower specific products I line up on this shelf we have next to our shower.  So, apparently my darling husband didn’t know about this system of mine and steps out of the shower one morning saying, “WOW! That Splurge body scrub is like heaven in a jar!” LOL. I was like, “Awesome, thanks for ruining my lineup and doing my review for me!!” No, I honestly love when he gives me input on products because I don’t ever ask him for his thoughts on them, so he very rarely says anything…and when he does, that just tells you how good the item is! ;)

therubSplurge sent me two scents of the body scrub, “Winter” and “Almond” and also a totally fab lip balm called “Lip Buttah” in Peppermint. My favorite of the two scrubs was definitely the “Winter” aka Peppermint. The scrub down was almost euphoric.  After cleansing my body, I massaged the scrub from the bottoms of my feet all the way up to my neck. I scrubbed and scrubbed until the rub melted down from a rough sugar scrub to a moisturizing body wash.  Aaron was right, everything about the experience was utter heaven, and I didn’t even need moistuizer on my body after toweling off.  The scrub completely exfoliated me from head to toe and left my skin lipbuttahsilky smooth and feeling incredibly sexy! It even put me in a good mood! Absolutely wonderful product.  The Lip Buttah was equally as awesome! You all know I am an EOS a-d-d-i-c-t, but this is a top front runner. A fun, oval-shaped tube and an extremely cool, tingly balm that smooths onto your lips with ease and keeps those kissers in tip-top shape! I keep it on my bathroom counter as part of my pre-bedtime routine. :-D

If you are looking for a great Christmas gift, add this to your list! The recipient will most definitely love it. Also, don’t forget to check out my “YBJ GREAT BIG CHRISTMAS SHOPPING GUIDE” for all of your Christmas shopping needs! Quite a few YBJ discounts on some of my favorite products of 2013! Whether you need stocking stuffer ideas, gift ideas for your mom, sister or wife, or gift ideas for your dad, brother or husband. Lots to choose from.  Happy holidays! :-D ;) :-) :-P

signature

Featured

VITAMINO: My Current Shampoo & Conditioner!

I have been extremely pleased with my hair these passed couple of days (for a change)! Ever since going lighter six months ago, it’s been a battle to keep my hair looking silky and shiny like it was when it was all dark. And every time I go back in and get it even lighter, the texture gets even worse! I LOVE the color, I just wish the texture would remain the same as it was when it was dark. As you all know bleach (in any amount) is EXTREMELY damaging. :(

My salon, Teze Salon in Tacoma, WA had an event about a week ago called “Girl’s Night Out” where they opened their doors to their clients and friends of their clients in hopes of spreading the word about the new location. They taught us how to do GORGEOUS and very easy hairstyles on ourselves (big pin curls for sexy looking vintage waves was my FAV and I tried it in the photo of me above), served wine and appetizers and handed out gift bags.  I threw my gift bag in my purse and didn’t really think about it until I got home…not realizing that bag would soon change my hair world! ;)

I decided to try out the items in the gift bag the next day.  There was a deluxe sized sample of a L’oreal Professionnel Vitamino Color Shampoo and a Masque inside, along with a hairspray.  I’ve used every shampoo and conditioner combo as of late, from salon quality hair products to drugstore products and haven’t really been THAT impressed with any lately…so even though this was a high-end product, I didn’t get that excited over it…until I used it! :-D

Shampoo is a b-word on lightened hair. Trying to scrub my scalp can be excruciatingly painful and not to mention frustrating, when my hair is getting tangled and stuck the entire time…and I am a lather, rinse, repeat kind of a girl so it’s a long process.  This shampoo was different however! Washing my hair was actually an easy, pleasant experience…and it smells really good too! I was able to scrub my scalp with ease – twice! I also used the L’oreal Professionnel Vitamino Color Masque that I received.  After shampooing and showering I didn’t condition AT ALL.  I got out of the shower, towel dried my hair and then put in a hefty amount of the masque.  I left it on and wrapped my hair back up in my towel while I got dressed and did my makeup.  When I was done with everything else I had to do, I dumped my head over the side of my tub and rinsed the masque out with cold water then towel dried, blow dried and styled as usual.  My hair was left totally silky yet still full of volume! The ends don’t look even remotely fried anymore and it feels like it did before it was lightened! :-D

If you are in need of a heavy duty shampoo and masque this is it! You can find it online or at Teze Salon in Puyallup or Tacoma, WA. Your hair will thank you! :-D

signature

Featured

YBJ’s 2013 GREAT BIG Christmas Shopping Guide!

cooltext1270666976

The time has finally arrived! My absolute favorite time of year…big sweaters, leggings, tall boots, scarves, fires, cozy blankets, hot cocoa and the holidays. All of those items envoke happy thoughts…but one unfortunately also brings along a world of stress. The HOLIDAYS. The act of giving has got to be one of the most fulfilling feelings you can experience, but when you have no idea what to give, it can make a cheerful happy time, a pain in the rear. ;)

Let me try to ease your pain this year.  I thought long and hard about these lists.  Every item is something I personally would be OVERJOYED to recieve as a gift. There were tons more beauty products I fell in love with in 2013 aside from the below mentioned, but these were the top 10 of each category – for me, and the top 15 for Aaron! ;)

Below you will find three shopping sections: Top 10 Stocking Stuffer Ideas, Top 10 Christmas Gift Ideas for Women, and Top 15 Christmas Gift Ideas for Men (also including some electronics!) The men’s list was created by my husband.  Being married to a beauty junkie has benefited him greatly in the men’s beauty department especially! LOL ;) HAPPY SHOPPING! :-D

If you are looking for something in particular beyond these three lists, don’t hesitate to ask for our thoughts/opinions on other items! We’re glad to help. :-D

Stockings

  1. eos Smooth Lip Balm - Sweet Mint in particular, but I’ve linked you to a great deal on a variety pack! I am lost without these delicious, organic lip balms.  They can be found all over my home, car and desk at work and will continue to forever.
  2. Beautyblender Makeup Sponge - These completely changed my makeup routine and my world.  I no longer use foundation brushes to apply my foundation or concealer…these fabulous sponges do it all! Apply foundation by patting on with the large edge of the sponge and pat on concealer with the smaller edge.  You will be left with an airbrushed flawless finish, regardless of the product you’re using!
  3. Benefit Fakeup – My new favorite undereye concealer.  It’s a concealer with a ring of balm around it.  It not only covers up any undereye flaws but leaves a smooth finish that prevents the concealer from settling into any creases.  I even use this to highlight now and am loving my results! :-D
  4. FLO Refillable Perfume Atomizer- MUST have.  Fill these darling little spritzers up with your favorite perfume so that you can have a travel size to carry in your purse or take on vacation with you!
  5. theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer - Also known as the world’s most gorgeous highlighter! When I highlight and contour my face, I use a concealer underneath my highlight areas and then I dust this Mary-Lou Manizer over the top.  SO gorgeous. SO flawless. It can also be used as an eyeshadow…a very pigmented one mind you! ;)
  6. Dior ‘Addict’ Lip Maximizer – Okay, well this one is one of my all time favs…not just 2013…but I couldn’t leave it off the list! It’s truly amazing! Takes my mediocre lips to va-va-voom full, sexy and glossy! A lip plumper that definitely works! I wear it over lipsticks and sometimes just on it’s own.
  7. Anastasia Beverly Hills ‘Brow Wiz’ - I cannot do my eyebrows without this product.  The skinny tip is so fine that it looks as though you’re drawing tiny hairs back onto my sparce brows.  I have multiple bald spots but you’d never know by looking at me thanks to this product! You can literally draw on a perfectly shaped brow with this tool and make it look absolutely, completely natural! :-D
  8. Benefit they’re Real! Mascara – I will no longer use another mascara. The End.
  9. Furlesse Elevens – Now these are just plain old fun! Apply a patch between your brows (covering those deep #11 wrinkles so many of us have) before bed and wake up in the morning to find the wrinkles gone! No, it’s not a permanent “Botox” like fix, but it lasts for the day after you use it! Great for special occassions when you want to look your very best!
  10. Eylure Naturalites Evening Wear Lashes, – My absolute favorite brand of falsies.  I’ve tried them all from MAC to Ardelle and these are by far my favs.  Easy to apply and look like real hairs! :)

Slide1

  1. Smile Brilliant Custom Trays – This is my absolute #1 MUST HAVE gift idea! Who doesn’t want bright white teeth – and quickly?! This incredible deal is for a kit that contains everything needed to create your custom fitted trays as well as pre-filled syringes with 22% dentist grade whitening gel! You or your recipient will LOVE this gift. BE SURE TO ENTER BEAUTYJ AT CHECKOUT TO RECEIVE 15% OFF THE ALREADY DISCOUNTED PRICE ~ JUST FOR MY LOVELY FANS! ;) For more info, read my review about it here. :-D
  2. Folle de Joie eau de parfum – If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I’m obsessed with this scent.  It’s now known as my “signature scent” by those close to me because it’s the only scent I ever want to wear (and I own more perfume than anyone in their right mind should). From the website: “…blend of calming citrus and a light woodsy floral, giving away to playful hints of cognac. Its middle notes—jasmine and Damascenia rose—give the fragrance a carefree vibe. Finally, warm base notes of spicy woods and rich leather add a seductive finish.” It’s heaven in a bottle and you can take my word for it without needing to smell it first. :-D
  3. Birchbox Subscription - This will be on my list every year.  For only $10 per month you receive a monthly delivery of high-end deluxe beauty samples and often full size products worth WAY more than the box itself! The best part about Birchbox for me, is that I discover these new amazing products I would otherwise not know about, and when I go online to purchase the full-size, I earn points toward future products. $1 = 1 point and can be redeemed after 100 points, or $10 off.  LOVE. :-P
  4. Jurlique Ultimate Skin & Body Collection – I have never met a total body (from head to toe) skincare line that I love more than Jurlique.  Every item I’ve ever used is rich, luxurious and intoxicating.  To make matters better, Jurlique is an organic skincare line so you can rest assured you aren’t jamming your skin full of chemicals.  I personally would do backflips for this gift package so I know just about any true beauty junkie would do the same! :)
  5. CLARISONIC ‘Aria – Candy Apple’ Sonic Skin Cleansing System – If you haven’t yet had the chance to use a Clarisonic, you are truly missing out! Your face has never felt or been as clean as it’s been after using a Clarisonic. This is the ULTIMATE Christmas gift for any lady in your life (or yourself of course!) ;)
  6. Benefit Cosmetics It’s A Love Fest – Benefit Cosmetics, in general, was my discovery of the year! I’d used plenty of their products in the past but I went on a couple big “Benefit Hauls” in 2013 and have officially decided that it’s my all around favorite cosmetics line. From the PERFECT quality of the products to the absolutely adorable packaging, there really isn’t another cosmetics line that compares in my eyes.  This particular gift package includes a couple of my favorites too! ;)
  7. Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette – There is not another eyeshadow palette more perfect or complete than this.  Every shade you could need and so deliciously pigmented.  A MUST have for every woman’s cosmetics arsenal.
  8. Keranique Hair System – This was sent to me for review about a year ago and fell in love at first use which you can go back and read in my previous reviews.  This is technically a hair system to give volume to women with thinning hair (which I do not have) but any woman can and SHOULD experience these products.  There really is nothing like it..from drugstore hair products right on up to the creme de la creme high-end salon brands, Keranique WINS in the YBJ book! :-D
  9. Murad Environmental Shield Intensive-C Radiance Peel, 1.7 fl oz – The ultimate face mask/peel! Your skin will look so youthful and radiant after first use and will stay perfect with time! If you haven’t read the review I wrote on this, you really should take the time to do so! It’s amazing.
  10. Miracle Skin Transformer Miracle Skin(TM) Transformer Body SPF 20 Sheer Enhancer – Lets just say that I don’t leave the house with my legs or arms showing WITHOUT this product! Who wears nylons these days (no one!), instead make your legs, arms, whatever part of your body you want – flawless by rubbing this in.  I always use it on my legs and am always in awe of how flawless and airbrushed it leaves them. ;)

Presentation1

  1. Birchbox Man Subscription - At $20 per month it’s twice as much as the women’s subscription but that’s because the men get quite a bit more as well as multiple full size items in their boxes.  My husband looks forward to his Birchbox each month and it has turned him onto multiple items he might otherwise know nothing about! This is my #1 Men’s Gift suggestion for this Christmas! :)
  2. Smile Brilliant Custom Trays – (COPIED & PASTED FROM ABOVE – AMAZING GIFT FOR BOTH MEN & WOMEN!) This is my absolute #1 MUST HAVE gift idea! Who doesn’t want bright white teeth – and quickly?! This incredible deal is for a kit that contains everything needed to create your custom fitted trays as well as pre-filled syringes with 22% dentist grade whitening gel! You or your recipient will LOVE this gift. BE SURE TO ENTER BEAUTYJ AT CHECKOUT TO RECEIVE 15% OFF ~ JUST FOR MY LOVELY FANS! ;) For more info, read my review about it here. :-D
  3. The Art of Shaving ‘Fusion Chrome Power Shave’ Collection - Something I’ve heard every man in my life (not just Aaron) rave about! Supposedly the most luxurious, rich shave a man has ever had.  DEFINITELY an excellent Christmas gift!
  4. Vitaman Products – Aaron recieved the face wash in one of his Birchboxes and has been non-stop raving about it ever since! If your man is looking for (or you feel he needs) a good quality skincare line, make sure to check out VitaMan first! :-D
  5. Viktor & Rolf ‘Spicebomb’ - OKAY. So you ladies LOVE Flowerbomb, right? Well, here is the men’s version.  I, Jamie Lee Thomas, will vouge for all, that this is the absolute sexiest scent for men on the market right now.  *Panting!* YUM.
  6. Burberry Brit ‘Rhythm’ - Another incredibly sexy manly scent! My second fav after Spicebomb! ;)
  7. Billy Jealousy ‘Combat Lines’ Face Moisturizer - Aaron loves this moisturizer! Before my time I don’t even think he knew what the word “moisturizer” was (lol), but thanks to Birchbox Man, he’s finding new treasures like this one, and raving about them!
  8. eos Smooth Lip Balm - It’s not just for women! Sweet Mint is Aaron’s fav too!
  9. Skiva External Cell Phone Battery Pack – Okay, so I’ve basically stolen this from Aaron (sorry honey!) It’s a sexy little device that holds two full charges for any Apple or Android phone! Just plug it in to it’s charger or a computer’s USB port to recharge it and never again be stuck somewhere with a dead cell phone! ;)
  10. OSCAR BLANDI ‘Pronto’ Dry Sculpting Pomade – Once upon a time when Oscar Blandi sent me hair products to review for them, they so kindly threw something in for Aaron too…this pomade.  Ever since he refuses to use anything else in his hair.
  11. Clinique Skin Supplies for Men Anti-Fatigue Cooling Eye Gel  – The best undereye product for men. Period. Cools, removes puffiness, and brightens.
  12. Traeger Grills – This goes down as the discovery of the year in our home! If you have over $1,000 to spend on your honey, THIS is the gift to get! It is the future of BBQ’s! Wood pellet smoker grills that take grilling to a whole other level! These grills cook up the absolute TASTIEST meals by way of flavored pellets and electric heat.  There aren’t enough words in the universe to describe the amazingness of this item! Aaron didn’t step foot in the kitchen the first two years we were together, and now he cooks 5 nights a week.  Reason enough to spoil your man with this! ;)
  13. Nest Thermostat - Coolest item ever! We officially live in a Jetson’s world! Simply install this where your old thermostat use to be, download the “Nest” app to your iPhone, and change the heat in your house whether you’re in the comfort of your own bed, or out of the country! It’s a learning thermostat too so it will automatically adjust the heat whenever you normally would.
  14. Apple TV - Access to endless entertainment and so small it fits in the palm of your hand! We were just able to get caught up on a new TV show that just came out by finding all of the episodes on our Apple TV! Watched a few downstairs then moved it up to our bedroom to watch the rest.  Love this thing!
  15. Google – Chromecast - Now I personally am unsure what Chromecast is, but after doing some research, I see that it’s very similar to Apple TV (and a lot cheaper!)

935985_10201769960638156_934144777_n

For more information on any of the above mentioned beauty items, just go to my home page above and type the product name into the search field and press enter.  That will bring up every review I’ve ever written about the product in question! :-D

There you have it! Hope you were able to get a little shopping done! I know I’ll be using these lists to do mine.  Don’t forget to spoil yourself too…I’m postive you’ve all been good girls and boys this year. LOL. HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM YBJ & FAMILY! :-D

signature

 

Featured

Make a STATEMENT: Ruffles with Love!

1460178_722954731066122_1887183066_n

How absolutely darling! When Ruffles with Love reached out to me to tell me about their Etsy shop and to ask me to try a couple of their items, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The shop was started about a year and a half ago by a girl named Vanessa who was getting married. She made workout shirts for herself that said “Sweating For The Dress” and everyone loved them so much that photostarted selling them on Etsy. After a while she branched out into other fitness shirts. They now have a huge selection of high quality tees, tanks and sweatshirts with empowering, funny and inspirational messages.  They even have sports team apparel for the female sports fan (GO LAKERS!!) :-P

It took me forever to settle on two tops that I wanted but I finally did.  These racerback tanks are super cute and of high quality material!! Whether you’re looking for some new workout gear, loungewear or some Christmas gift ideas, check out Ruffles with Love on Etsy.  Be sure to enter BEAUTYJUNKIE10 at checkout for 10% off! :-D Happy shopping! XO

 

signature

Featured

Get on my EOS Sweet Mint wagon people!

1380306_714448401916755_1079850805_nI  fell in love with these little bulbs of heaven quite a while ago after giving into the hype and picking one up.  I purchased the Pomegranate Raspberry at the time and immediately became addicted (so did my husband because I’d always find mine on his side of the bed! grrrrrr.) :( Anyway, we went through it pretty quickly both using it every day so I picked up a few more – specifally the “Summer Fruit” and the “Sweet Mint”.  I, being the nice wife that I am, gave Aaron his very own and then kept one for me.  I ended up keeping the Sweet Mint. 

Ok, it’s no secret that I’m a sucker for packaging and this product is just about at the top of the list! Something about the silky smooth little colored balls are just so fun (that sounded bad) that I’ll actually catch myself messing with them when I’m stressed or bored.  They just feel so freaking cool! And then you open them up to the most insanely incredible lip balm to ever grace your lips! 95% organic and 100% natural, these are packed with antioxidant rich vitamin E, shea butter and jojoba oil. For the past ten years my favorite lip balm has always been Burt’s Bees, but they have sadly dropped down to second place.  Not because of these EOS balms in general, but because of the Sweet Mint flavor in particular! WOW! It leaves that cold, tingly, soothing feeling you expect from a mint balm and leaves your kissers super baby soft.  I put it on probably 100 times a day now.  When I first wake up, underneath my lipstick, throughout my day and then right before bed.  I do love all of the different flavors but this one has them all beat! It even tastes good! :-/ LOL

I just found a great deal  on Drugstore.com for you all too! Only $10.99 for 4 different flavors (including the Sweet Mint!) They are normally $4.19 each so this deal has them at $2.75 each! Click the photo of the package above to purchase and enjoy! If you haven’t tried these yet you will thank me later! ;)

signature

Featured

SpaLife Wake Up Under Eye Revitalizer!

photo 1I received these heavenly little under eye strips from SpaLife yesterday and couldn’t wait to test them out! I suffer from severe puffy “tired” eyes from time to time (they’re especially bad in the mornings and during allergy season) and am always looking for a good, natural remedy.  Packed with Vitamin E and Espresso these soothing, healing little eye strips don’t only make for a relaxing experience but a beneficial one too! The package says that this product “Hydrates & Perks Up Tired Eyes” and I really couldn’t have said it any better myself. I am a believer! 

Just before bed last night I opened up the little plastic bag containing 24 eye strips soaked in serum (12 total applications).  I stuck one under each eye, then crawled in bed to watch The Voice with my husband.  The entire experience was quite wonderful.  The sensation was cool, soothing and slightly tingly. I kept getting whiffs of yummy coffee every so often too, thanks to the espresso ingredient and I hardly even noticed they were there.  You’re suppose to leave the strips on for 20 minutes photo 2but I kept them on for a half hour.  I removed them, then patted any remaining serum left behind into my skin then went to sleep.  When I woke up this morning I had super smooth under eyes free of any puffiness! :-D :-) :-P

Luckily SpaLife sent me two packages of these strips, so I’ll be keeping one of them at my bed side so I can relive this experience every night, and I decided to give the other pack away to a lucky one of YOU on my Facebook page! I love when I have the opportunity for others to experience what I have which is part of why I love giveaways so much! This giveaway is open until Friday 10/25/13.  If you want to purchase for yourself they are only $15 on SpaLife’s website! :-Dsignature

Featured

No makeup without FAKEUP!

I had heard about, seen it and even swatched it…and all I thought was, “eh” because it wasn’t what I was use to.  Benefit Cosmetics Fake Up is an undereye specific concealer with a ring of hydration around the concealer.  I unfortunately let my first impression get the best of me with this one.  I typically like really thick, heavy duty concealers as I use them not only to conceal but also to highlight and I thought the hydration ring would take away from that.  Key word there – “Thought”.  All I can say is that I am SO thankful Birchbox  (<– a God send) sent me a deluxe sample of this product in my October box because it forced me to give it a shot, and I fell in LOVE! No, I don’t use is it as a highlighter too…just as an under-eye concealer, but it’s so wonderful that it’s worth using two separate products to conceal and highlight.  I use Fake Up under my eyes and to conceal blemishes, and I use a Sephora highlighting concealer to highlight my face.  Such a better finished look than using the highligher for both! This product is every bit as fabulous as it’s sexy packaging is! :-D ;) :-P

photoI simply prime my face (using The POREfessional) , apply my foundation (still obsessing over Maybelline’s Dream Liquid Mousse), then take my Fake Up stick and glide it on thick under my eyes and on any area I have a blemish or spot.  I use the pointy tip of my beautyblender to pat until well blended.  Then I finish with a setting powder (currently loving Benefit Cosmetics ‘Hello Flawless!’ !) The appearence I’m left with is silky smooth undereyes minus any tired dark circles or puffiness! It’s amazing.  My prior concealers (which I still love) were great, but they did tend to settle a bit in the creases after a long day and had zero moisturizing qualities to them.  This gives you a flawless finish to your undereyes without looking like you’re even wearing concealer and it never cakes, creases or settles.  It’s seriously great and I will be purchasing a full size when I run out of my generously portioned sample tube. :-D

signature

Featured

SANS: Treat Yourself to a Naturally, Luxurious Experience!

photo 3

What an absolutely incredible at home spa experience I get to have every single day now, thanks in full to San’s! This 100% all-natural skin care line (hence the name San’s as in sans-chemicals) is not only great for you, but the experience it leaves you with is memorable and the packaging is beyond adorable.  I love companies that give so much attention to detail.  Upon opening each item, there is a darling little green wax leaf sitting atop the product, reassuring you that what you’re about to use is of the earth and nothing more. I love that! As for the actual experience…heavenly. The moisturizing sugar scrub and sugar scrub squares photo 1are pure luxury.  After cleansing my body in the bath or shower, I follow-up with a scrub down using one of these two products. It feels almost euphoric (like you’re getting a really good itch all over your body) just scrubbing and exfoliating away until the sugar breaks down leaving you with extremely moisturized skin! Even after getting out of the shower and towel drying my skin is baby smooth.  I follow it up anyway with the INCREDIBLE whipped body butter in “Gardenia” that they sent me. The scent is intoxicating and the silky, smooth feeling it leaves behind is unparalleled.  I swear, after showering with the scrubs and moisturizing with the body butter, being naked feels more like wearing silk pajamas.  It leaves my 33-year-old skin as soft and delicate as a newborn baby. The lip balm is so incredible too, that I’ve added it to my nightly regimine.  I apply a liberal amount to my lips just before going to bed each night and wake up with super soft and supple lips the next morning…no more dry, peeling, cracked lips! These reasons alone are enough to make me want to replenish when I run out, but there is so much more to San’s that makes their products so MUST HAVE worthy.

photo 2PART OF THE EMAIL FROM SAN’S CREATOR, RENAN KENNEDY, TO ME: “It’s really crazy how sometimes the universe points you in the direction into which you were meant to go! I began this line out of an attempt to find natural products for my beautiful, sweet mother who after being diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and undergoing heavy chemo began to develop very dry skin. To my surprise, I couldn’t find any all natural, pure, clean moisturizers to put on her skin. Every moisturizer I found contained water, and I knew when there is water in a formulation, there will be life in it in the form of bacteria, mold, and other dangerous pathogens, so because of the presence of water, there must be a preservative added to prevent these pathogens from growing. In my research I found that there simply are no all natural preservatives, some preservatives are only less harmful than others. I couldn’t find any products that didn’t contain water. The ones that did contain water and claimed to be all natural were preserved with essential oils, or Vitamin E, Rosemary Oil, Grape Seed Extract all of which I found out were not suitable for protecting against all pathogens that might grow in a formulation. I really couldn’t find anything so I decided to make my own creams for my mother. One thing lead to another and I started Sans! My formulations contain no water, and I am very careful to use the appropriate antioxidants to keep the formulations from spoiling. My formulations have a shelf life of up to a year because I use ingredients that intrinsically have long shelf lives. My sweet mother lived long enough to see my line go into its first store.”
 
Amazing story for this amazing product line.  Renan also started a baby line called ‘Sans Petite’ which will be out very soon! To shop her fabulous products click any of the photos above or here to be directed to the site.  Enjoy! :-D
 
signature 
 
Featured

BENEFIT HAUL: World’s GREATEST Mascara, Face Powder & Primer, OH MY!

IMG_1309

For the LOVE of this fabulous brand!! YOU GUYS! I am obsessed!!! It all started with my addiction to the Porefessional face primer (click here to read my previous post on it) and was followed by my discovering the mascara “they’re Real!” and then the “Hello Flawless” powder cover-up.  Beauty Junkies, you are in store for VERY happy faces if you take my word and try these products out for yourselves.  My mini Benefit shopping haul pictured above was some of the best money I have spent in a VERY long time! :-D

I HAVE to start with they’re Real! Mascara.  It is in a league all its own and has no competitors.  You have GOT to trust me on this!  I’ve reviewed some other pretty fabulous mascaras in the past, which I still swear by and love (like L’Oreal’s False Fiber Lashes) but they just can’t compete with this one.  It’s a combo of the actual mascara and the magic wand of a brush it comes with. I apply three coats and it takes my lashes from short little stubs to long, lovely seductive lashes reminiscent of my Latisse days.  My favorite LATISSEAFTERpart of the brush is the tip that is rounded making getting your bottom lashes a clean, easy experience as well as helping to elongate your lashes on the outer top corners. It really is a magical mascara and is worth every single penny of the $23 that it’s worth! You can find this at any department store that sells Benefit brand, or by clicking the photo of the mascara here. :-D

My next FAAAAAVE is the ‘Hello Flawless!’ pressed powder foundation! As you know I am currently using Living Nature and/or Maybelline’s Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation as my base (my two current obsessions) but I always top my foundation off with a setting powder in the Fall and Winter to give more of a matte finish.  Well, the girl at the Macy’s counter had me SOLD on this one so I picked it up to give it a try.  It can be used as a foundation altogether by using a sponge to apply it on for max coverage, or you can use it as a setting powder only by dusting it over your face with a powder brush (my method)…Hello Flawless, is RIGHT! My foundation already leave a pretty flawless finish on their own, but topped with this it’s almost unearthly! It blurs everything and just looks so…flawless. There really isn’t another word to use! LOL. $34 VERY well spent! :-D Click photo to purchase.

I also tried the primer ‘That Gal’ known as a brightening face primer and I have to be real with you and say it’s on par with the Porefessional…in fact, it may ever so slightly beat it out?? I received a sample of it which I’ve been using everyday in place of my Porefessional but it really does add a brightness to your face when worn under foundation. Very subtle but brighter nonetheless. Gorgeous! I’m definitely going to pick up the full size when I run out of Porefessional! Gorgeocity!

So there you have it. My mini Benefit haul. I’ve yet to try “Sun Beam” or the “It’s Potent” pictured above, but you can be sure I’ll be posting if they are as amazing as their counterparts here! These products are not only incredible, affordable and quality, they also have just about the cutest packaging EVER (I’m a sucker for packaging) close only to theBalm cosmetics. Check out these items I’ve shared with you above when you’re in the market for mascara, primer or face powder and I guarantee you will be thanking me! ;) Lots of love my ladies!

signature

 

 

Featured

LIVING NATURE: QUALITY Natural Cosmetics & Skincare & Breast Cancer Awareness!

photo

If you’ve been following me for a while then you already know about my love affair with the New Zealand based cosmetics company Living Nature. It all started back when I had barely started up YBJ and I won a bottle of Living Nature’s Radiance Night Oil (<– click link to read my review of it) from a fellow beauty blogger’s giveaway.  I fell deeply, madly head over heals for this product.  It meets all of its claims and then some! I highly Radiance_Night_Oil_10ml_bottle_Box_NR_affb771d-3533-4572-a0e1-cb854d248a68_1024x1024recommend reading my post on it but here’s a reminder of its promises: “The luxurious formula is scientifically proven to stimulate structural skin cells up to 43% in 72 hours to increase the production of collagen and elastin. It also inhibits environmental damage to prevent premature aging. Skin is soothed, moisturized and softened for with a blend of regenerating rosehip, soothing calendula and antioxidant-rich vitamins A and E. One drop sparingly applied to the eyes, cheekbones, neck and upper lip will revive your skin as you sleep. Has a gorgeous rose scent.” This is a truly beautiful product. And I use 3 drops instead of 1, FYI. ;) Click photo of it to purchase.

I was so blessed that Living Nature not only loved my review but that they also wanted to start working with me.  They’ve always so kindly replenished my Night Oil as needed and are always on board for giveaways whenever I ask.  When they surprised me this month by informing me that they also make cosmetics, I about lost my mind! As you all know, I’ve been on a year-long hunt for GOOD quality organic and/or all natural cosmetics products and have had a little luck here and there, but nothing every mind-blowing.  The products they sent me are high-quality, natural and SO SO WONDERFUL!!

Illuminating_Foundation_with_NH_sticker_14_1024x1024The Soft Lights Illuminating Foundation is like a dream come true.  This is NOT a full-coverage foundation by any means but if you are like me and use more sheer foundations and bb creams by day, you will LOVE this.  ILLUMINATING is really the key word.  It makes my face look super radiant and fresh with a slight shimmer of pearlesence. I apply it with a beauty blender sponge over a good primer and voila! Beauty.  I do like full coverage foundations sometimes (at night and when it’s “that time of the month” and my hormones are raging) so all I do is put two pumps of this on my hand, followed by two pumps of my favorite full coverage foundation (Maybelline’s Dream Liquid Mousse), mix the two, then pat on with my sponge.  The most flawless I’ve ever looked.  From their website: “WINNER: ‘Best Skin Perfector’, 2013 Natural Health Magazine Beauty Awards, Jamie Lee Grace Awards 2011 Best Natural Foundation A wonderful light foundation tint in a medium shade, with a gentle shimmer or pearlesence. Gives your complexion a soft radiance and minimises the appearance of fine lines. Manuka Honey and natural oils give nourishment, and pure minerals provide the soft healthy glow.” I am seriously, honest to God in love with this! They have full coverage foundations too which I’m hoping to try next.  If it’s equal to or better than my favorite Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse then I’m switching! The more organic and natural cosmetics I can switch over to the better.  With our skin being our largest organ we really need to be more conscientious of what we are putting on it.  Chemicals seep in and chemicals cause disease. Food for thought. I will report back! ;)

photo

85249_NEW_Precious_Offer_IMAGE_copy_1024x1024They also sent along a gorgeous new lipstick which I love for more than one reason.  One is it’s obvious beauty (see the swatch on the photo of my hand above). Second is how creamy, luscious, and long-wearing it is.  Third is that it’s all natural and lead-free.  Fourth – last but NOT least, this particular lipstick, “Precious by Lorraine Downes” is a new natural pinkish-nude lipstick specially launched in support of Breast Cancer Network NZ by Lorraine Downes, New Zealand’s only ever Miss Universe! “Precious” joins nine other shades from nature to expand the already fabulous Living Nature color palette. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it hits home for me this year.  Sadly, I just found out that a friend of mine (co-founder of Fashion Lab LA who YBJ has partnered with on many occasions) was just diagnosed last week with stage 4 breast cancer. Please pray for her and support cancer research! The more awareness and research there is to rid the world of this wretched disease the better. I will always be inclined to spend my hard-earned money on beauty products whose proceeds help find a cure. :)

Big thanks again to Living Nature for this fabulous package and for turning me onto these new and wonderful products! They also sent along an “Ultra Nourishing Face Mask” which I’ve yet to try, but if it’s anything like their other products I’ve used so far, you can count on a review of it in the near future…and hopefully a Living Nature Giveaway sometime soon?? Hmm? ;) LOVE TO YOU ALL! XO

signature

Featured

Amazing Skincare Collection by DermaMD!

photo 5[3]

Yet another AMAZING collection of products that I not only had the honor of reviewing but the company is also sponsoring a giveaway of the same products to one of you! DermaMD is an Arizona based skincare company and these particular products are seriously L-E-G-I-T and worth all of the $450 that they cost if you buy them all outright! I’ve used them for the past couple of months in prep for my wedding and I have to say my skin felt and looked more youthful than EVER when I walked down that aisle.  I no longer feel 33 when I look in the mirror…my skin looks like I’m still in my twenties and most ladies 30+ will know how amazing that feeling is. The products are as follows:

Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 8.40.05 AMPEPTIDE 3 EYE CREMEPrice: $58.  This product claims to remove puffiness, fine lines and under eye circles.  It also claims to make your eyes look firmer and tighter.  Well, the claims are accurate.  I noticed results almost immediately too!  This is considered an “Age Management Eye Cre’me” on DermaMD’s website and I’d say it’s categorized pretty darn accurately! I use it every night before bed.  After cleansing, toning and moisturizing my face, I then pat just a little bit of this wonderful eye cream under my eyes and up and around my brow bone and lid – NEVER rub over skin with any eye cream…this can actually create wrinkles with time. This eye cream is a MUST HAVE in my book! :-D CLICK ON THE PHOTO OF THE EYE CREAM TO THE LEFT, TO READ MORE ABOUT IT OR PURCHASE IT ON DERMAMD’S WEBSITE.

Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 8.47.08 AMPINK SILK FACE FIRMING REJUVENATORPrice: $121.  This product is hands down my FAAAVORITE of the bunch. It’s no wonder why it’s their #1 best selling product.  From the DermaMD website: “A unique and one of a kind product that will change your skin forever! Reduce fine lines and wrinkles, stimulate collagen synthesis, assist in tissue repair, hydrates, nourish the skin, reduce erythema (redness) and feels silky smooth. Formulated with the recently talked about ingredient, AstaXanthin (red algae), by Dr. Perricone, which is found to be potent anti-inflammatory antioxidant. You have it all in Just one Bottle! No other product can do all of this!” I personally use it both morning AND night after cleansing, toning, and moisturizing but it is so moisturizing on it’s own that you really don’t even need a moisturizer.  I apply it all over both my face and neck and not only does it make your skin look up to ten years younger seemingly over night, I’ve noticed another strange benefit to it (and this is HUGE ladies) – it makes even my makeup look better! I thought I was crazy and imagining things, and then I came across these other reviews online: “I love this product and have for 10 years. Being an aesthetician, I know that the properties of astaxanthin (red algae) is protecting my skin from free radical damage that will slow down my aging process. Also the feel of it allows my makeup to glide on, so it provides my skin with the appearance of looking flawless and more radiant.” -Shelia. “ Helps maintain normal levels of collagen AND actually feels like silk! BUT, if that wasn’t enough it also doubles as a makeup primer. I use this before I apply my foundation for a flawless look that lasts all day.” -Mindy. Whoa.  Yeah.  I use a face primer too, but this takes it up about 1,000 notches.  A MAJOR MUST HAVE.

Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 9.04.41 AMS-CARGOT FACELIFT ANTI-AGING SERUMPrice: $160.  SO amazing. My second favorite product of the bunch.  I apply it morning and night after cleansing and toning and allow it to fully absorb before putting on moisturizer or my Pink Silk.  From the website:  “This unique (paraben free-no animal testing) product will help to reverse signs of aging, and result in skin that has a more vibrant, youthful and radiant appearance.  Apple Stem Cell Extract and Snail Secretion Filtrate work synergistically to promote collagen deposition, thus helping to reduce appearance of fine lines and unsightly wrinkles.  TRF (tissue respiratory factor) helps to increase oxygen providing a healthier cell which makes for healthier skin.  Snail Secretion Filtrate, is rich in vitamins such as A, C and E.  Found to be a natural source of skin-softening, allantoin, collagen and elastin work as active ingredients for skin repair, dead skin removal, and anti-bacterial treatment. This product reverses signs of aging in just one bottle!” It’s really hard to say since I’m using so many amazing products at once, but I’m telling you guys – MY SKIN HAS NEVER LOOKED OR FELT QUITE SO AMAZING. :-D ;-) :-)

Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 9.10.37 AMUPLIFTING FIRMING NIGHT CREMEPrice: $86.  Ok, this product is fabulous too but I have to be honest in that I just haven’t used it enough.  Whenever I do though, it leaves my skin feeling UBER moisturized and silky smooth.  It’s quite heavenly and I’m going to start using it more to see what happens long term, although at this point my skin is looking so amazing that I can’t imagine what more could possibly happen?!?! LOL. From their website: “Designed to provide hydration, firm and tighten the skin, giving it an instant lift effect with the additional ingredients of Alpha Lipoic Acid with DMAE complex, and Syn-Coll.”

ldfeckv3ki4dnj0kbn0pulco361378916333

This giveaway begins NOW and ends September 30th at 9pm.  You must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  As with all of my giveaways the first three entries below are mandatory…complete them to unlock up to 60 more entry options!! The more entries you complete, the higher your chances of winning.  GOOD LUCK!!! :-D

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. CONGRATS TO ELIZABETH ALEXANDER COHEN! :-D

a Rafflecopter giveaway

signature

Featured

PRODUCT REVIEW: Model in a Bottle – Hairspray for your FACE!

L10350026I’ve been meaning to blog about this product for the past YEAR when I first bought it, but haven’t seemed to get around to it until now.  Model in a Bottle is seriously one of my TOP 5 MAKEUP FAVORITES of all time! After finishing my makeup, I hold this spray about 8 inches from my face and spray approximately 3 times.  It feels super weird and almost like you are ruining your perfectly done makeup, but you aren’t! It sets everything in place and keeps it from going anywhere – All. Day. Long. This is a MUST HAVE item especially for special occassions.  Just as you would spray your hair with hairspray to keep your hair in place, you spray Model in a Bottle to keep your makeup in place…it really is “hairspray for your face!” It smells SO good too! Like a yummy perfume. :-D The only drawback is that it stings just a teeny, tiny bit right after applying, but the benefits WAY out-weigh that very minor stinging sensation.  Plus they make a sensitive skin spray which I’m sure prevents that.  At only $18 there is no reason every beauty junkie shouldn’t have this in their makeup arsenal. Have you heard of this product or have you tried it? :-D

signature

Featured

CLOSED GIVEAWAY: Gelish Mini’s Fall Colors, BASIX Kit & Light!

gelishGosh it feels good to be back! I get SO excited to host giveaways more than anything else that I do on YBJ because I know how much you all love them, and because I only host giveaways of products I am personally obsessed with, so I know whoever wins will be beyond pleased! :-D On that note, my wonderful contacts over at Gelish Mini have sponsored a giveaway of their new Fall 2013 collection, “Under Her Spell”, a BASIX kit (everything you need to do a gel manicure: top coat, base coat, phBonder, etc.) and the light that sets Gelish-Mini-Basix-Kitthe polish! This is HUGE as it’s a very expensive giveaway and something that will save the winner HUNDREDS of dollars in nail salon visits long term. I just wrote a post about this collection two days ago, so check that out if you’d like more information on gel manicures.  In a nutshell, gel nail polish is unlike standard polish in that it lasts for up to 3 weeks without chipping, has to be soaked off and dries instantly when put under the special light. What’s better than no polish dry time?! Whoever wins will have everything they need in order to give themselves flawless gel mani’s and pedi’s at home and will only have to worry about adding to gelish_pro45_ledlight_cg_basegeltheir collection of colors whenever they so choose (can be found at Sally Beauty Supply or online)! :-D I bought my first Gelish kit about two years ago and it was some of the best money this beauty junkie ever spent! ;) I now have an array of colors to choose from and even when I do still want to go to the salon to get pampered, I bring my own polish with me now and they usually discount me! It’s awesome on multiple levels! LOL. :-D Below are swatches I found on Google of these amazing, dark, sultry colors so you can see what they look like on.  Gorgeous, right? :-)

gel3

Now for the giveaway! Good luck to you all.  Remember – the first three items are mandatory.  If you complete them, you will unlock 50 MORE entry options!!! Each one ups your chance of winning so try to complete them all! :-D This giveaway begins NOW and ends Monday September 30th at 9pm.  You must be 18 years of age or older and live in the United States to enter.  Many thanks to Gelish Mini for sponsoring this amazing giveaway.  Have fun all, and again, GOOD LUCK! :-) 

CONGRATS TO THE WINNER SARAH PARANICH-GROSS! :-D

a Rafflecopter giveaway

signature

Featured

MUST HAVE: The ULTIMATE Body Cream ~ Souffle Body Creme by Laura Mercier!

photo 2You KNOW a product is amazing when I take to my blog to write a review – off of a sample! On my wedding day, my super fabulous friend Kat Clark, aka my makeup artist, aka my eyebrow esthetician, gifted me a bag of beauty goodies from her new job as manager of the Laura Mercier counter at Neiman Marcus.  In that bag was this INCREDIBLE body cream – Souffle Body Creme by Laura Mercier. You all know, I’m a sucker for thick creams (there is almost nothing worse than a watery, runny lotion..BLEGH!) and this is as thick and luxurious as they come.  You will seriously feel like you’re massaging pure silk into your skin.  Heaven.  A single application keeps you moisturized for hours without having to reapply too.  What could possibly top all of that? Oh, the seriously INTOXICATING scent “ambre vanille.” It smells like vanilla made into a really high end perfume – not the normal headache inducing perfume scent that you get from most lotions though.  I get asked what I’m wearing constantly…even my husband comments when I put it on.  He actually thought I was trying to get fresh with him after moisturizing my dry hands after doing the dishes the other night! HA! I was like, “Calm down babe, it’s just my hand lotion!” :-D It’s that good! ;) Something about the mixture of the scent and the way it feels just makes me feel good all around.  Yes, the hand cream makes me happy.  I’ve been using it as my handbag lotion since receiving it and am forcing every last drop out of it.  You know it’s time to purchase the full size when panic ensures after realizing you’re almost out of a product! :-D If you are on the hunt for the PERFECT body or hand cream – this is a big time winner in my book! Yes, it is pricey – $55 – but well worth every scent, I can guarantee you that. Thank you to Kat for my brand new obsession. ;) CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

From Nordstrom’s wesbite: “Laura Mercier ‘Ambre Vanille’ Souffle Body Creme
Just as milk nourishes your body, the key ingredients in Laura Mercier’s Souffle Body Creme instantly nourish your skin. The silky smooth creme, with its lightly whipped texture and delicious Ambre Vanille scent, enriches skin with much-deserved vitamin A, C and E derivatives….”

signature

Featured

MUST HAVE PRIMER: the POREfessional – for TRUE Beauty PROfessionals! ;)

photoI am SO in love with this face primer.  Since starting Your Beauty Junkie a year and a half ago, I’ve blogged about maybe three or four different primers…but I can honest to God tell you now that this trumps them all! My new must have favorite – Benefit The POREfessional.

The POREfessional is a tinted primer that glides on your skin like silk, filling in every wrinkle, pore and imperfection making for a smooth surface for your foundation to sit on.  It’s tinted unlike most primers which I feel makes for a more natural appearance.  Once you put your foundation over it, you will look like an airbrushed magazine page! My current foundation favorite is STILL my drugstore gem, Maybelline’s Dream Liquid Mousse (I swear – BEST $10 money can buy…CLICK HERE to read my review of it) although I’m sure any foundation would go on amazing over this primer. :-P

My three “Must Follow Tips” for a flawless made-up face are as follows:

  1. Cleanse and tone face, then moisturize with a daytime Oil-Free moisturizer (stay tuned for my favorite day time oil-free moisturizer – review coming tomorrow!)
  2. Apply the Porefessional primer all over your face (about a dime size amount.)
  3. Using a make-up sponge (preferably a Beauty Blender) PAT ON your foundation all over your face until well blended; never rub on, smear or use your fingers! *cringe*

Voila! A perfect, flawless canvas ready for the rest of your makeup. You’re welcome! ;)

The POREfessional can be found anywhere Benefit products are sold (Nordstrom, Macy’s, Sephora, Ulta, etc.) You can also purchase by CLICKING HERE. One of the best $30 you can spend your hard earned money on. I LOVE it! :-D

signature

Featured

I’m Under Their Spell! Gelish’s 2013 Fall Line

Screen shot 2013-09-06 at 3.49.47 PM

A big thanks to Gelish Mini for sending me their Fall 2013 line – Under Her Spell! I am IN LOVE.  I was just thinking yesterday how I was ready for Fall & Winter; boots, jeans, sweaters, fires, cocoa and the Holidays.  Then this package shows up on my doorstep.  Perfect! I immediately took of the peach color I had on my hands and feet from the wedding in favor of this gorge Fall color on my feet “A Touch of Sass” and a classic French Manicure on my hands.  I now feel a little less Summer and a little more Fall!  Going to try out the “My Nightly Craving” on both hands and feet next! I’ll be sure to share on social media, so follow me on Facebook and Instagram if you aren’t already.

In case you aren’t already aware, Gelish and Gelish Mini are gel nail polishes that require an LED light and a BASIX kit (includes base coat, top coat, etc.) in order to use them.  The polishes stay for up to 3 weeks without chipping and ever since I received my kit almost two years ago, I haven’t gone back to regular nail polish.  I highly recommend purchasing the kit for yourself if you haven’t already – ESPECIALLY if you pay a nail salon to give you a gel manicure every two weeks! The kit pays for itself rather quickly.  You can pick it up from any Sally’s Beauty Supply or online by clicking here. :-D

Also, just a heads up – I’m awaiting a return email from my contact at Gelish on a possible giveaway of this line, a BASIX kit and a setting light for one of you lucky YBJ readers! Keep your fingers crossed! Love you all. XOXO ;-) :-D :-)

NAILS

signature

Featured

I’M BACK! And Married! ;-)

1239964_10201500710787078_1284118429_n

Hello my beautiful YBJ Readers!!!! It has been FAR too long (two months since I’ve posted to be exact!) Thank you for allowing me time away to marry the love of my life and to work on a surprise that I will be able to share with you all in just a few short weeks! ;) We did not go on a honeymoon and after a week of getting back into the swing of life (we were married 8.30.13), I’m ready to get back to this second love of my life…my beauty blog, YBJ and all of you!  I have boat loads of reviews coming your way over the coming weeks, multiple giveaways and a couple of video tutorials I’d like to try and get to! Be patient as it still may take me a bit to fall back into the swing, but for now, count on at least three posts per week from me! :) Here are some photos from the best day of our lives…and I will share more when our fabulous photographer gets his over to us! :-D

 Just me gearing up for the day ahead!58831_10201512848010501_546247036_n

At the end of the night in front of our 1952 Bentley rental at our hotel! 1236652_10201500804469420_1857678022_n

One of my beautiful bridesmaids (Yoga Pants & High Heels) and I

KateandI

 The ceremony…*sigh*1236477_10201505171698598_2033934082_n

WE DO! ;)

1234744_10201505189139034_1600847321_n

My adorable best friends/sisters/bridesmaids!

1173784_10201505184298913_232352623_n 524501_10201505168018506_1835951726_n Bridesmaids

Belly dancer, first dance and reception fun!

1240230_10201505164538419_2053771019_n 1237498_10201505179098783_1776215697_n 1170962_10201505176778725_2108785471_n

My daddy & I :-)

1240565_10201505159378290_1752414883_n

My mommy and I :-)

1185106_10201505190099058_1470469926_n

Just a little of our flowers and decor…

1174569_10201505172098608_1489460975_n 1006345_10201505194619171_1998945764_n 1170711_10201511206169456_852804447_n

That’s it for now! I’ll do a “Part 2″ Wedding Post soon…when I get the rest of the professional photos and video of our first dance! In the meantime, stay tuned for tons of reviews and getting me back in your lives! LOL. XOXO

signature

Featured

Pur Minerals = Long term pure skin with a FLAWLESS instant finish!


Hello beauties! I really haven’t had time to post during this insane month of my wedding (3 more weeks!), but this beauty set was way too good not to find time to sit down and share with you.  My wonderful contacts over at Birchbox shipped me this package to review for them last month and I told them what I tell all of my contacts – “I would love to, but you’ll have to wait until September when my wedding and hectic life slows down.”

And then I received and started using the product.  WHOA! You all know that I was LOVING (and still do) my Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation as it provides an airbrush quality finish for a very small price.  I actually stand by my word that I like it better than the Dior Airflash foundation that is quadruple in price! Well, this Pur Minerals set gives the exact same airbrushed looking finish (a smidge better I might add) and actually is good for your skin at the same time. Yes – it is CLINICALLY PROVEN to improve your complexion over time.  I’ve been using it for two weeks and I can attest that it’s doing just that. ;)

8652_10201295180448948_1302271513_nThe set is awesome too.  It gives you everything you need for a naturally flawless base;  An amazing pore minimizing primer, a 4-in-1 pressed mineral makeup, a mineral bronzer, hydrating mascara and a chisel brush for foundation application.  It’s so easy to use! I start by using an oil free moisturizer, follow it up with the primer, then I use the chisel brush to blend the pressed mineral foundation powder in circular motions all over my face until I cover every square inch and it’s nice and flawlessly blended.  I add a little of my own favorite concealer under my eyes and highlight areas and blend well. Then I use the same chisel brush to blend the bronzer into my contour areas (under my cheekbones, sides of my forehead, sides of my nose, and my jawline.) I am left looking just as flawless as I do when I use my Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse or my Temptu Airbrush machine (I mean, what do you think? I used this kit in the photo of me above)! What makes this better than my other favorite foundations is that it’s better for your skin than the drugstore foundation, and it’s a fraction of the price of the airbrush foundation.  The entire kit is only $39 plus free shipping through Birchbox right now! LOVE LOVE LOOOOOVE! :-D Click the photo of the kit above to purchase. You won’t be disappointed! ;) XO

signature

 

Featured

AUGUST 14TH: National Wear Your Hair Curly Day!

I received this email from my friends over at Garnier, and as an ethnic woman with naturally willd, curly hair, I was all over it! I alway love hearing new tips on how to keep my natural hair more curly and less frizzy so I had to share this email with you guys! Join me on August 14th – Wear Your Hair Curly Day! I will let it go au-natural using these tips given below! Remember to share any photos you share with the hashtag #WearYourHairCurly on the 14th ;) XOXO

923075_10200809942758309_1098033811_n

Curly Hair How-To Tips: by Celebrity Hairstylist Tommy Buckett  

 “I am a huge fan of curly hair. When done right, it can speak so much about your personality and beauty outlook. But textured hair requires the right care and styling products. You need the perfect amount of hydration, frizz-control and styling, otherwise hair just falls flat.” – Tommy Buckett

Tommy Buckett, celebrity hairstylist for Garnier Fructis, boasts an incredible roster of celebrity clients at the Serge Normant Salon in New York City. Here is his expert how-to advice for naturally curly and wavy hair:

  • “Curly hair tends to get tangled easily. To avoid stubborn knots and tangles always use a wide tooth comb to brush hair. Start at the ends working upwards and spray hair lightly with Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil. It gives instant smoothness and shine.”
  • “Invest in a silk pillow or wrap your hair in a silk scarf before going to bed. Silk is very gentle on the hair cuticle and won’t roughen hair fibers. You’ll wake up with great-looking hair every time.”
  • “With each new season, switch your hair routine just like you do with your skincare. The summer months call for lighter products which can be used on wet or dry hair to boost and define natural curls or give added definition and shine. Try Garnier Fructis Style Curl Shaping Spray Gel – it gives the perfect amount of light control for soft waves and curls.”
  • “If you’re beach bound, grab SPF for skin and Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Moroccan Sleek Oil Treatment for hair. Saturate wet hair with it for extra conditioning and protecting benefits.
  • “Twisting hair after washing will break the curls and create frizz. Instead, gently squeeze excess water from hair using your towel and then apply Garnier Fructis Style Curl Calm Down Anti-Frizz Cream.  Work a big dollop of the product in your hands first to activate the ingredients, then gently massage into hair without pulling or tugging. Allow hair to air dry for frizz-free curls.”
  • “Color-treated curly hair needs extra conditioning. A weekly conditioning treatment like Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition 3-Minute Undo Dryness Reversal Treatment quickly reverses dryness and adds lots of nourishment to curls. Hydrated hair holds on to color longer and always looks healthier.”

For more tips and product recommendations, visit garnierusa.com

About Garnier:

Garnier believes in beauty through nature. Scientifically developed with selected natural ingredients, our products help you look healthy and feel better every day. Established in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, Garnier is the #1 beauty brand in France and a trusted leader throughout Europe, Asia, Canada and Mexico. Dedicated to providing a new vision for health with high quality beauty products, Garnier also provides a wide range of hair care, skin care and sun care products throughout the world. For more information, visit www.garnierusa.com.

signature

Featured

MURAD SKINCARE: You chose, I listened – and I’m so glad I did!

photo 4

A few months back I was contacted by Murad to test out and review some of their skincare products.  Unlike most companies who approach me, they told me to tell them what I wanted to try.  I went to their website and scanned page after page of endless amazing sounding products…I was totally at a loss! I decided to take to social media to ask you guys which Murad products you used (and loved).  Luckily I was flooded with responses!

I took the top three suggestions from you guys, then researched them more online.  I was pleased to find nothing but 5-star reviews for each of the items! The items were voted on in this order: 1) INTENSIVE-C RADIANCE PEEL, 2) COMPLETE REFORM & 3) RENEWING EYE CREAM. :-D

I started testing them out immediately upon receiving them in the mail and have continued using them over the past month.  When it comes to skincare items I always use them for at least 2 weeks to a month prior to reviewing them in order to give an honest review.  Here were my findings with these goodies! ;)

Please keep in mind since I review a TON of skincare products – when I’m testing products for review, I do not use ANY OTHER PRODUCTS IN COMBO WITH THE ONES I’M CURRENTLY REVIEWING. ;)

3q4ajaaki5hpjl929vcke7k0c71373509185

photo 1FROM THE WEBSITE: Primary Benefits 

“Actively smoothes and perfects skin to enhance luminosity. Reduces hyperpigmentation to restore clarity.”

This Murad Intensive C Radiance Peel truly was an OMG product from first use! This creamy, almost glue-like textured face mask is SUPER cooling from the second you put it on your face.  This is a feeling I hope for in masks and peels as opposed to the burning sensation you sometimes get.  In just ten minutes time this peel improved my skin’s softness, texture and left me feeling like I just left the spa. :-D

That was just after first use.  After using this three times per week consecutively for a month, I have seen incredible, noticeable results! My discoloration spots which seemed to have been minimally fading with the use of past products, have shown a massive difference with this peel.  I had a sun spot the size of pencil eraser under my left eye for years and it’s hardly noticeable now! Loving this, and at only $49.50 per tube, I can continue to use it forever and ever. :-D CLICK PHOTO TO PURCHASE 

3q4ajaaki5hpjl929vcke7k0c71373510066

photo 2

FROM THE WEBSITE: Primary benefits

“Increases firmness 61% after just one application. Improves skin texture to reveal softer smoother skin.”

UMMMM – YES! This Murad Complete Reform With Glyco Firming Complex is probably my favorite product of the bunch (although that’s a tough statement to make because I really love them all!) Honestly though, I did notice the most difference the quickest, with this.  I have used it for the past month every morning and every night – without skipping a beat (after cleansing my face and prior to moisturizing).  Look at the photo to the left to see for yourself.  After applying this, my skin instantly looks tighter, younger and overall more fresh! I’m actually sad that I have to stop using this for a while since I’m about to test another product for review but it will be sitting on my shelf calling my name in a few more weeks! :-D

I have had a TON of compliments on my complexion since using these Murad products and I don’t know if it’s the combination of all of them, or a certain product causing the positive change…but I’ll take it! And my hunch is that this Complete Reform is the reason why. It’s slightly more pricey than the peel at around $70, but well worth it’s money in gold! If you don’t believe me, read other people’s reviews too.  It’s truly amazing! CLICK PHOTO TO PURCHASE

3q4ajaaki5hpjl929vcke7k0c71373510622

photo 3

FROM THE WEBSITE: Primary benefits:

“Increases elasticity and firmness. Reduces wrinkles and sagging.”

Last but certainly not least – this Murad Resurgence Renewing Eye Cream is a solid eye cream! Can I shout from the rooftops?! This is why it was so hard for me to say the last product was the best of the bunch…because this one is soooo fa-reaking amazing too! This literally – ACTUALLY – takes away puffiness, crows feet AND dark circles.  It just plain does what it says. I don’t know if it’s allergies or the change in season but I wake up every morning with extreme puffy eyes with dark circles. Double UGH.

As soon as I wash, tone, apply my Complete Reform and moisturize, I dab a small amount of this eye cream to both under eyes.  At first use I was scared because it actually burned a little…and I have had TERRIBLE experiences with burning eye creams to the point where I refused to review them because they left my under-eyes red, MORE puffy and even caused them to peel!  This did just the opposite strangely enough.  Yes it burns for a few seconds, but almost as quick as that sensation passes I look awake, refreshed and ready to take on my day! Looking for a multi-purpose eye cream? Take my word for it – THIS IS THE ONE.  I don’t review products unless I feel passionate about them..and I really love this one because it really works. CLICK PHOTO TO PURCHASE.

Hope you ladies enjoyed reading about my experiences with these fabulous goodies! Thank you all again who gave me tips on what to try from this line…I really had no idea what to expect from Murad, but your sales pitches all really excited me! Now that I have seen the change for myself, I can’t wait to try more! Definitely a splurge worthy line. :-)

signature

Featured

YBJ’S #1 DRUGSTORE PICK!

photo

I’ve discussed Maybelline’s Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation NUMEROUS times on social media outlets, but realized I’ve yet to do a blog post! I am seriously over the moon for this foundation and have been using it as my everyday foundation for the past six months! Get this: I gave up my $70 Dior Airflash foundation in exchange for this! THAT is how good it is.  It is second best only to my Temptu airbrush machine (which I only pull out for special occasions) and the results quite honestly are very similar.  It wasn’t until just recently that I even noticed the words “Airbrush Finish” at the bottom.  Accurate. :)

If you decide to give this a shot – for a whopping $8.79, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND applying it in the manner that I do for optimal results.  Wash and moisturize your face using an oil-free moisturizer.  Follow by using a good face primer (my current favorite: Benefit The POREfessional – review coming soon).  Last but not least, pump about 4 pumps of this foundation onto your hand, then dip a Beauty Blender sponge into it and begin patting the foundation all over your face until well blended.  NEVER DRAG. NEVER SMEAR.  NEVER APPLY WITH YOUR FINGERTIPS. Take the time to pat with a sponge, over a primed face, and you will end up looking as flawless as a magazine supermodel.  I promise! ;) And this is seriously just as amazing as an expensive department store foundation..if not better! Click the photo of the foundation to purchase this online, or get in your car and hit up your nearest drugstore.  And thank me later for saving you LOADS of money. XO :-D

signature

Featured

MY BRIDAL SHOWER: Dressed like a STAR – even on a budget – with RentTheRunway.com!

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 7.38.27 PM

NEW OBSESSION ALERT! RentTheRunway.com is like a dream come true for ladies with expensive taste but not a huge budget (like me :-P).  Do you ever find yourself flipping through fashion mags wishing you too could slip into that gorgeous Oscar de la Renta dress for an upcoming party? How about that stunning Herve Leger? The Vera Wang maybe? Rent the Runway is an online service that allows you to do just that – for a fraction of the price! How so? You don’t purchase the dresses, you rent them! That’s right, now you too can turn heads at upcoming events, parties, weddings, what-have-you, in the creme de la creme of designer dresses and accessories worn by the likes of princesses and movie stars.  What a brilliant idea!!! At first I thought renting a dress was a waste of money, but then I thought about it logically.  Usually when I buy a dress for a big party or event, I don’t wear it a second time because there are already a ton of photos of me in the dress, so I wouldn’t personally want to wear it again to another party where more photos might be taken.  Ridiculous? Maybe.  But I’m being honest and I know a lot of you feel the same.  When you think of it that way it actually ends up being more of a waste to purchase an expensive dress outright because after you wear it, it hangs in the closet forever collecting dust.  At least this way the dress is being recycled and you aren’t paying a fortune to be seen in it. ;)

The site is laid out beautifully and was so easy to use! I simply searched “Bridal Shower”, and from there I was able to sort down even further by choosing “white”…BAM! There were zillions of adorable dresses which I had a really hard time narrowing down from. They were all spectacular and really any of them would have worked out.  Here are the ones I liked for my bridal shower (notice the retail price, brand names and then the rental price…WOW right?!):

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 7.41.26 PMScreen shot 2013-07-02 at 7.41.04 PMScreen shot 2013-07-02 at 7.40.29 PMScreen shot 2013-07-02 at 7.42.02 PM

After thinking about it long and hard, I went with the second dress in the lineup above.  I felt it was the perfect, classy dress for a bride-to-be at her bridal party.  It looked very Charlotte from Sex and the City and screamed, “PICK ME!” :-D

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 7.51.42 PM

The process was so easy from start to finish.  I LOVED LOVED LOVED that they gave me the option of choosing a second size free of charge too because really, you just never know what is going to fit you when you order clothing online. I also read the reviews and felt reassured that I would love the dress due to the star rating from previous renters, plus I got to see others wearing it to their own events…and they all looked immaculate! After reserving the dress, the site also gave me options of accessories that I could also rent to go along with the dress.  I found some gorgeous earrings (that I would NEVER be able to purchase on my own) and just couldn’t resist.  ;)

The total for a 4 day rental was only $80 (for a $500+ outfit!)! They delivered the Friday before my Sunday event and the package included pre-paid packaging to send the items back in at the end of my rental on Monday.  The dress fit like it was made for my body and the earrings were absolutely DROOL worthy! I’ve never been complimented on an outfit in my life as much as I was in this one.  And the icing on the cake was that I felt like a glamourous movie star on my special day. :)

Here are some photos of myself and my loved ones at my bridal shower.  It was an absolutely perfect day that I will never forget.  My Maid of Honor did an amazing job and I was filled to the brim with love from the moment I walked in the door.  It was my last day as a single woman with every last one of my best friends and a handful of my close family all in one place.  The next time I will be together with them all again will be on my wedding day. :-D

Here I am in my rented dress! :)

1016157_10201079878746540_171015119_n

A couple close-up’s of the earrings I rented:

1044909_10201074777339008_1388961583_n

931249_10201075128827795_477457392_n

Me with my beautiful mother:

1001500_10201079661941120_1016356243_n

Me with my entire gorgeous bridal party:

1017375_10201079479296554_682012245_n

Me with my handsome groom who showed up to surprise me:

1001130_10201079593139400_1365676044_n

Me with my amazing, beautiful Maid of Honor, Leah:

1016822_10201079593019397_1676499701_n

Me with a couple of my bridesmaids:

1002245_10201086696276974_1119387592_n

Last but not least, my bridal shower turned into a baby shower! LOL! My family and friends are very hopeful.  I thought this onesie was adorable. “Habibi” means sweetheart in Arabic (I am half Middle Eastern) so it was really thoughtful and touching and has been placed in a safe place for future baby! Thank you to Katie, aka Yoga Pants and High Heels (a YBJ contributor) for this darling gift. ;)

1044289_10201079390854343_1143876209_n

Well there you have it! I hope you all enjoyed this post.  Lots of love to all! Life is crazy right now as you can imagine, but I will try to find time to tackle this pile of beauty product and fashion reviews I owe you guys! One down, 17 to go! LOL. XOXO

signature

Featured

FURLESSE: Number 11’s BE GONE!

8703_643792288982367_1586415210_n

I am obsessed with these Furlesse Elevens patches! I received three of them in my most recent Birchbox and after first use (worn at bedtime until the following morning) I saw a major difference! I’ve joked for years about my “Number 11″ between my eyes (two deep wrinkles between my brows) and have wanted to try Botox but I’ve managed to help them subside with my skincare regimen…these patches took it to a whole other level though! In just ONE night they are almost gone! I literally cleansed and toned my face last night, stuck one of these stickers between my brows covering my lines and went to bed.  I woke up this morning, peeled back the patch and…GONE! I was honestly confused and baffled.  I mean if you look close you can still see them very faintly, but I imagine if I use the other two patches tonight and tomorrow they will be gone gone. So crazy!

Google these Furlesse patches if you don’t believe me.  That’s what I did when wanted to know more about what they were and I found nothing but amazing reviews from shocked women.  Mark my words ladies, these little stickers are going to EXPLODE in the beauty industry the more women hear about, and then try them! No need to spend hundreds to inject poison into your faces regularly anymore.  At only $19.99 for 30 of these patches from Birchbox.com  I’d say this is a much cheaper (and safer) route to take that is just as effective! ;) I don’t know how long the results last but for what just one of these patches did for me, I’m willing to use them as long as I live to keep those pesky lines at bay! Check ‘em out – you won’t be disappointed, I promise! ;)

999381_643787162316213_987891210_nAnd if you still aren’t a Birchbox subscriber, you are missing out! I don’t care HOW much money you make, $10 a month is nothing. I’m sure most of us could scrounge that up in change from the bottoms of our purses…LOL. A year later and I’m still in love with this amazing service that sends me beauty samples once per month and has introduced me to SO many products (like this one) that I otherwise would never have known about.  I highly recommend it. :-D

signature

Featured

No time to dry and style your hair? No problem!

photo 2-12Thank you to Seven Sins for their new LUST Pre-Styling hair lotion! I am obsessed! Washing and going is a rare occurrence in my world thanks to my unruly, frizzy natural locks, but I’ve found the cure! I’ve blogged about some other great wash and go favorites over my YBJ journey, but this is by far my favorite! The process is SO easy and my natural curls are left without a single frizzy hair or any greasiness whatsoever! RARE in wash and go products.

The directions state to “pump 2 – 3 pumps” into your hand and then work through hair.  I however needed about 7 pumps because of the amount of hair I have.  I simply worked it in from roots to ends using a wide toothed comb, threw in a headband so I didn’t have to fuss with my bangs, and voila – READY IN FIVE MINUTES FLAT! :-D

I knew NOTHING about this company Seven Sins and even tried to Google them to see what else they sell or to find out more about the company but they are really hard to find any info on.  Then I remembered the product they sent me came with a press release so I scrambled to find it because I couldn’t believe that of ALL the hair products on the market, I’ve yet to find something as amazing as this, and I would never have found this had they not found YBJ (thank you Hair Gods for crossing our paths!) ;)

photo 1-18Seven Sins all started two years ago when it’s creator (hairdresser John Michael Zucco) realized he was having to “cocktail” multiple brands to achieve the looks he wanted for his clients.  It gave him the incentive to begin the creation of a line of products that contained everything needed for “infallible styling results” all in a single product line.  In doing this he realized he was using seven different products that actually translated into seven catagories that “all” hair styling products fit into; shampoo, conditioner, pre-styling, matte finish, satin finish, shine finish and fixatives (holding sprays)…hence how the name “Seven Sins” came into play! Each sin has a virtue! The sin is what is wrong, and the virtue is what to use and how to do it. :-D

The “sin” for LUST? Unruly, unmanageable, out of control, dull hair

The “virtue”? Smooth, controlled, shiny hair!

This is a definite MUST and at only $25 there’s no reason everyone can’t try it! The only place to purchase is online by CLICKING HERE.  Enjoy this secret treasure find ladies! If you try this out I KNOW you will thank me! ;)

signature

Featured

Give yourself an everyday facial with Oxygen Pur Serum!

photo-132Loving this product Oxygen Pur sent to me! I had NO idea what to expect and quite frankly thought it was just another face serum that wouldn’t do much (I’m not generally a fan of facial serums).  But, as usual, I did my research prior to use so I knew what to expect.  Apparently oxygen is REALLY good for your skin.  Scientific research has proved that it increases skin cell metabolism and maximizes skin’s regenerative powers.

I’ve been using it about week now morning and night.  I wash my face, tone, then apply a pea sized amount of this serum to my face, neck and décolletage.  I let it dry for about 10 minutes to ensure it’s soaked into my skin prior to applying my daily moisturizers.  One crazy thing I’ve noticed is that I barely even need moisturizer after applying the oxygen serum! It makes my face so incredibly soft, plump and tight looking all on it’s own – even after first use! Excited to see what will happen long term. :-D

Straight from the website:

“The oxygenated infused serums enter the dermis, immediately elevating tissue oxygen levels in excess of fifteen times the norm. The effects of this oxygen skin care product are profound, visible and lasting. The patented science and technology behind these ground-breaking, age-defying serums is the result of extensive clinical and laboratory research and testing, which proved that Oxygen Pur Skin Serums have the unsurpassed power to hydrate, stimulate and renew facial skin unlike anything else.”

Benefits of oxygen in skin care products when used regularly day & night:

• Optimizes cell repair
• Promotes cell renewal and healthier skin
• Stimulates collagen production
• Reduces the appearance of fine lines, crow’s feet, wrinkles, dryness, enlarged pores, age spots, uneven texture, and saggy, blotchy, pigmented skin
• Stimulates elastin production
• Plumps up facial skin from the inside out
• Rejuvenates and visibly firms skin for a more youthful looking, glowing appearance
• Reduces the effects of free radical damage from the environment/foods
• Increases blood flow improving vasodilation (widening of blood vessels from relaxation of smooth muscle cells in vessel walls), increasing blood flow in the body to tissues that need it most
• Reduces the effects of sun exposure and pollution
• Rapidly absorbed and non-greasy

I really highly recommend this product! It runs $80 through their website and is money well spent! Your skin will lap this fountain of youth right up! ;)

signature

Featured

SMILE BRILLIANT CUSTOM TRAYS: Professional teeth whitening for a fraction of the price!

photo 1I’m not surprised that the Smile Brilliant Custom Trays (and the process of getting them) completely exceeded my expectations! Most of you probably recall the last review I did for Smile Brilliant on their LED Light Teeth Whitening Kit.  I didn’t think teeth whitening could get much better than that – but it does! It’s called dentist-grade 22% carbamide peroxide whitening gel and trays that are made for YOUR teeth. Here’s how the process works:

1) First, purchase the custom tray kit by CLICKING HERE! Enter BEAUTYJ at checkout, to receive 5% off. You will NOT find deals like this anywhere for dentist grade whitening gel and custom fit trays! :-D

photo 22) A few days after purchasing you will receive your kit in the mail.  It includes the different clays and tools needed to make your custom tray imprints, your whitening gel in syringes and detailed instructions as pictured above. :)

3) Follow the instructions carefully to make your teeth molds.  Once they are done (see photo to the right, throw them in the pre-addressed, postage-paid envelope and put them in the mail.  You are sending them off to get made into your custom trays! ;)

photo 34) Only TWO days after sending my molds off, I got my trays back! I was so excited to start using them.  Following the instructions, I used the gel filled syringe and carefully filled my trays and slipped them on my teeth.  Putting them on was crazy! I literally barely slipped them onto my teeth and they SUCTIONED themselves covering every single tooth perfectly with gel! They strangley felt good on too.  I was able to keep them on for two hours while I went about my business.  I’ve never worn braces, but they remind me of what I would think Invisalign braces would feel like. I was able to talk, drink water and everything! :-D

Here are a few more photos of me showing you the gel syringe, my teeth with the trays on, and what my teeth looked like after my first use! To answer your question, NO – my teeth were not yellow before use.  Obviously not.  I’ve been using the LED whitening system from Smile Brilliant so they were white already thanks to that, but this definitely lifted them a few more shades, and I’ll continue to use the trays daily until I feel they are at their optimal whiteness! :-P The instructions state that you can leave these trays in for up to 3 hours at a time and you can whiten your teeth daily for 1-3 weeks (or until the desired level of whiteness is achieved).  Loving my new pearly whites! I need a good tan to go with them. ;)

photo 4  photo 5  photo

Here’s a before an after of my friend Isaiah Trufant of the Cleveland Browns after using the Custom Trays three times! Amazing! :-D

1470093_738609919500603_1555465465_n

Again, CLICK HERE if you want to order these and be sure to enter BEAUTYJ at checkout to get your extra 5% off! ;) XOXO

signature

Featured

EMINENCE COSMETICS: An Organic Junkie’s Dream Come True!

photo 2-1Thank you to Eminence Cosmetics for hearing my cry for help.  Not too long ago I reached out via social media asking for recommendations on high-end quality organic cosmetics lines.  I was given a few tips and I tried a few brands, but they were just kind of “eh”. I had yet to try a line that would make giving up my standard department store and drug store favorites worthwhile.  Why is finding an organic cosmetics line so important to me? Because I eat very clean, I workout daily, and I use organic and/or natural skin care products yet I still, every morning, cake on the chemical-filled cosmetics like it’s no big deal…when in reality, it is a big deal! Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and whatever we put on it soaks in.  I so badly wanted to stop being so blind and mindless about cosmetics particularly because we plan to start trying for a baby at the end of the year and I want to be as clean as possible on every level.  No, I don’t think this will make a difference in how my child turns out, but it’s a mental clarity thing for me personally. ;)

Needless to say, Eminence Organic Skin Care heard my cry and sent me three fabulous products that I am now completely addicted to and fascinated with! :-D

The Carmel Latte Tinted Moisturizer is wonderful! I generally use a full coverage foundation, and this is very light coverage but it gave me a glow that I just love! I’ve been using it as my everyday foundation since receiving it and I love knowing my face is chemical free.  I apply it just as I would apply a foundation (first I prime my face, then I pat this on with a Beauty Blender sponge).  I still need to find an organic full coverage foundation (thinking about trying out their Antioxidant Mineral Foundation) for nighttime and events, but this is PERFECT for the daily grind.  :-P

photo11My FAVORITE product they sent is the Chai Berry Glow Mineral Illuminator! This takes the glow the tinted moisturizer gives to the next level.  I use it as an all over powder to set my foundation (or tinted moisturizer).  Just a light dusting controls oil all day long and the natural illuminator gives sheer highlight and contour…I’m talking SERIOUS glow like you-don’t-miss-your-8-daily-glasses-of-water glow! LOL! :-D You can apply this heavier in your contour areas too and voila, you’ve got a fabulous bronzer! If you haven’t watched my latest video makeup tutorial, CLICK HERE to view it so you can see how these cosmetics products work for yourself.  ;)

citrus-lip-balm-203_zoomLast but not least, they sent me a wonderful Citrus Lip Balm! Who doesn’t love lip balm? As far as I’m concerned, you can’t have enough good lip balms lying around the house, and this one rivals Burt’s Bees (which is pretty hard to do).  If I could give awards for packaging, this would WIN the Lifetime Achievement Award for Lip Balm Packaging! LOL. I’m in love with the little bronze domed container and find myself reaching for it constantly.  LOVE! :-D

Needless to say, I am crazy about this company and am very excited to try out other products they make now that I know the quality is superb and they leave me looking and feeling great! If you too are on a quest for cleanliness, or if you just want to try out some really great products, give Eminence a chance to leave you smiling too. :)

signature

Featured

Achieve perfect, sexy brows with Billion Dollar Brows!

photo 3I have been eyebrow obsessed since as long as I can remember.  I discovered at about thirteen years old that eyebrows truly make or break a face.  Being that I’m half Middle Eastern, I was blessed with HUGE (and I mean HUGE) naturally bushy eyebrows.  Obviously as a young girl I couldn’t do anything about it, but I never really felt “pretty” when I looked in the mirror.  I remember BEGGING my Aunt Judy to manicure my brows for me and she finally obliged when I officially hit my teenage years.  She cleaned them up beautifully with a simple pair of tweezers and for the first time in my life, I felt confident and beautiful when I looked in the mirror.  I remember getting complimented by all of my friends at school which really upped my confidence levels.  Isn’t it crazy what a difference good eyebrows can make? Well, that confidence didn’t last forever.  At eighteen years old, I went to a nail salon to get my brows waxed for the first time…need I continue?  They waxed my perfect, thick, exotic brows off and left me with two pencil thin mis-matched, halfmoon-shaped lines above my eyes. :( It took me ten years to get them back to (somewhat) normal too.  I may now finally have my shape back, but they are forever sparse in spots so I’ve had to learn how to make them look normal again with makeup! ;)

photo 1

photoI am absolutely IN LOVE with Billion Dollar Brows products! They recently sent me their Take Back Your Brows Kit which includes my two new favorite brow products; their Universal Brow Pencil and their Brow Powder in “Taupe”.  The awesome thing about the Universal Brow Pencil is that whether you have blonde brows or black brows, this same pencil will work for you! I use the pencil to create my brow shape, then I use the powder to fill in my brows.  If you haven’t seen my latest makeup tutorial video, CLICK HERE to view it.  At 3:56 in, I show you how to do your brows using these two products! ;)

photo 2At only $45 this is a kit every beauty junkie should invest in! Not only do you get the brow pencil and powder, you also receive an AMAZING set of tweezers, trimming scissors and a Brow Buddy.  In case you aren’t familiar, a Brow Buddy is a tool created by BDB which shows you where to start, arch and end your brows with precision and ease. It makes both shaping and styling your brows quick and easy! I personally haven’t used the Brow Buddy yet as I have finally perfected my brows and know how to fill them in, but those of you who struggle with achieving great brows – this tool will be a lifesaver! :) Have you tried BDB products yet? :-D

signature

Featured

PERFUME OF THE YEAR: Folle De Joie!!!

photo-131Move over Flowerbomb. So long Jimmy Choo. HELLO Folle de Joie eau de parfum! If you follow me on social media then you are already well aware of my obsession with this scent – probably to the point of annoyance. LOL. Not all of you are on social media however, so I just couldn’t keep this treasure a secret! I’m telling you guys, this is the best scent I have ever owned to date…and I am a perfume junkie who is constantly falling in love with new fragrances (I currently own about 12 different perfumes). This is the first time I’ve found a perfume that has literally made me care less about the rest of my perfume collection! Many thanks to Birchbox because had I not received a sample of this in my last box, I would never have known about it. I think Birchbox described it best, “There are two spots that feature prominently in our wanderlust-fueled daydreams: SoCal beaches and Parisian sidewalk cafés. Luckily, we can live vicariously through Joie’s refreshing new fragrance. Folle de Joie, which translates to “crazy with joy,” evokes both the relaxed and playful vibe of California and the seductiveness and refinement of the City of Light.” :-D

This scent combines a blend of calming citrus with light woodsy floral and hints of cognac.  It’s middle notes are jasmine and damascenia rose and it’s warm based notes are of spicy woods and rich leather.  This perfume is seductive, intoxicating and perfect for EVERY season (an every season perfume is so hard to come by)! It also lasts ALL day.  I spray a spritz behind each ear, on my décolletage, and on each wrist in the morning and at the end of the day I still smell it on me! It DOES NOT fade! My fiance loves it too. I’ve never heard him comment on how good I smell as often as he has been lately. The icing on the cake is the packaging (which, you all know I’m a sucker for)! The vintage-inspired glass bottle is super chic and looks like gorgeous decor atop your vanity or bathroom counter. Perfection in every sense of the word. ;)

You can purchase this by CLICKING HERE! I highly recommend it! I’ve purchased this as a birthday gift for two of my girlfriends already since they always die over the way I smell when we hang out. LOL! It’s pricey but what good perfume isn’t? Enjoy ladies. Let me know if you’ve have the pleasure of smelling this yet! Can’t wait to here others thoughts. :-P

signature

Featured

ROCK YOUR HAIR!

photo-129What completely FABULOUS hair products – in every sense of the word! As you all know I’ve been in a torrid love affair with Keranique. I’ve always heard though that you should switch up your products from time to time but until now, there just wasn’t another line of products I loved as much that was worth trying.

From the moment I opened up my shipment from Michael O’Rourke Rock Your Hair I was in love.  I am a SUCKER for packaging and appearance and it doesn’t get much better than this! Pink products with sassy white writing and bedazzled rhinestone hearts on every item! SO cute.  What’s better? Oh, how about the hilarious and creative names they gave each product; names like “Size Matters” for the root lifter and “Spray It Hard” for the hairspray. LOVE! :-D

If packaging could matter less to you, you’re still in luck because the products are just as perfect as they look.  The first thing I noticed was the smell! Just plain yummy.  I had a couple of girlfriends over when I opened this up and we all kept passing around the shampoo taking turns smelling it going “MMM!” if that tells you anything…LOL! ;)

photo-130They work wonders too! They are all great, but my favorites of the bunch have to be the conditioner, the leave-in conditioner and the root lifter! I am EXTREMELY picky when it comes to conditioner. I have a crazy amount of hair and now that I’ve been lightening it, it’s super coarse.  I need a thick conditioner that easily detangles as I run my fingers through my hair.  If a conditioner is even remotely thin and watery or causes me to have to tug and pull it through my strands, it gets immediately tossed into the garbage.  This conditioner however was my dream conditioner; thick and easy to maneuver with a smell that just plain made me happy! :-D I use leave-ins in addition to regular conditioner to give my now coarse hair some extra softness and the Rock Your Hair Miracle Leave-In Conditioner lived up to it’s name! I threw in some of the “Size Matters” into my roots as a finish, blow dried and straightened and my hair was left looking full, fabulous and super healthy!

I obviously would REALLY recommend these products.  I know a lot of you will like the fact that they are actually affordable for most – every item is under $20! You can’t beat those prices for products that actually WORK…and that look cute sitting in your shower and on your counters! :-D ;-) :-P :-)

signature