Happy Mother’s Day!

I have a wonderful mother who is definitely my best friend and I have always tried my best to make her feel special on mother’s day. However, this mother’s day has a whole new meaning for me this year. I have always been so grateful for such a wonderful mother and love to celebrate her, because man does she deserve it! But, I never knew just how incredibly special this day could feel for me personally. I am so incredibly honored to get to celebrate as a mother this year. Being a mother is not something you can you put into words. It is the greatest honor of my life. It is my most proud title. It is a million little moments that create a joy that is immeasurable.

I understand that mother’s day can be an incredibly difficult time for some people. The sadness and pain that this day can hold is not lost on me. If you want to be a mother and aren’t yet, if you have lost your mother or never really had one to begin with, I hear you. I feel you. I have been there with you. For you, I hope you can get through this day surrounded by people who love you and support you. I hope they hold you up and carry you through this day.

For the rest of you mothers, I hope you enjoy every second of this day and what it represents. Being a mother is incredibly difficult at times but is the most important job of your life. You are raising the next generation. You were given your child or children specifically. Jerimiah 1:5 says, “Before you were formed in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart”. That is one of my favorite verses in the Bible and personifies to me that Ella was mine long before I knew Ella was mine. She was created to be my child and I was created to be her mom. So, on the long days that are exhausting just remember that you were chosen for this. Women, mothers, are a force to be reckoned with. So keep on keeping on and know that what you are doing is amazing. I hope your day is filled with love and gratitude…..and hopefully a nap.

I love these matching dresses so much! They are called the “Rosie” dress, which is such a special name to me. I knew that it was meant to be that Ella and I had to wear these dresses on mother’s day! You can shop them here: http://liketk.it/2OwjB.

Billie Razor Review

I literally feel like every other post I see on Instagram is about the Billie razor! Unless you have been living under a rock, I am sure you have seen numerous posts about the majestic razor that is sure to change your life forever. At first, I brushed these rave reviews off and kept scrolling. However, I find myself getting curious when I see every single blogger on the internet pushing a product. Is this razor really the best thing since sliced bread? I have never really cared about my razor before to be honest, but I decided to give this a try. I thought I would give my totally unpaid, unsponsored review of the product!

Okay, I think quarantine has gone to my brain because I decided to post a no makeup picture right out of the shower LOL
This is the magnetic shower holder for the razor

Okay now that I have posted a picture of myself fresh out of the shower, lets talk about this razor. I have never been someone that really puts much thought into my razor selection. I have used disposable razors, refillable razors, , razors for sensitive skin, men’s razors, cheap ones, expensive ones and so on. I have never found one that I necessarily think is any better than another. So, I tried the BIllie razor and here are my honest thoughts!

How does it work? Billie is a subscription service that sends you razor cartridges based on how often you usually shave your legs. Initially, you purchase the razor starter kit, which includes the razor handle, two blades and a magnetic holder for your shower. The razors have 5 blades and the handle is supposed to have a rubber back to prevent slipping. The cost of this initial bundle is $9 and then you can choose to receive the refills once a month, every two months, or every three months based on how often you shave. The refills are also $9 and come with 4 refill blades. You can also choose to add on different products to your order like body lotion, shave cream, or face cleansing wipes. All of the products are made in the USA and are considered clean products (free of a lot of gross ingredients like formaldehyde, lead and artificial dyes).

I initially bought the Billie kit one day when I was shopping at Madewell. I know that sounds random, but they did a collaboration with Madewell and the kit included the razor, 2 refill blades, the shave cream and a cute travel bag. I was excited to get this unicorn product that I had heard so much about. According to the internet, this would provide the closest shave of my life and would cut down on how often I had to shave.

The first few times I used this razor, I was not impressed at all. For starters, the razor cartridge kept popping off the handle every single time I tried to use it. It was very frustrating and annoying. I was hesitant to use the magnetic holder because I have a marble shower and I was somewhat unsure about sticking the holder onto the marble and causing damage if I tried to remove it later. The next time I got in my shower and tried to grab my razor, I found it was very stuck down and I had to work hard to get it removed from the bench in my shower. There was a thick layer of white residue left behind that I had to scrub off. Apparently, there is a charcoal soap surrounding the razor which is meant to provide protection as you shave. It is also very, very sticky when wet. Now onto the shave cream. It literally felt like I had rubbed wet slime down my legs. I know that sounds dramatic, but it was a really icky consistency and I really felt like it kept the razor from getting as close to my skin. Needless to say I went ahead and threw it away.

After a few times of trying the razor and it continually popping off, I decided I must have had a faulty razor. Surely everyone on the internet was seeing something that I was missing, so I decided to go online and order another starter kit. I chose to receive my cartridges every three months as you can always change the frequency if you need more.

Pros:

It does provide a nice, close shave.

I definitely did not notice any razor burn or any nicks with this razor (which I have experienced with other razors).

The cost is very low. I am shocked at how expensive some razors are!

Very convenient. It is very nice to have the razors mailed to you and you never have to think about it!

The razor is cute. Let’s be honest, we buy things just because they are cute.

Although I really did not like the shave cream, I don’t think you really need anything at all because of the charcoal soap surround.

Cons:

The charcoal surround is very messy if you choose not to use the magnetic holder. It will stick to your shower or anything else it is placed on to dry.

The razor pops off frequently. It didn’t seem to do this nearly as much with the second one I purchased, but it did still happen occasionally. I promise this is way more annoying than it sounds.

The shave cream is very slimy.

I find myself not using up all of my refills before I receive a new shipment. Maybe I don’t change the blades as often as I should, but such is life. You can go online and pause your refills, but I don’t know my password and it requires a lot of effort. Just being honest.

I do think this razor provides a nice shave, but I definitely don’t think you have to shave any less with this than any other razor you can buy anywhere.

Overall, I will continue to use my Billie razor for now. The main thing I like about it is the convenience of having the refills mailed to me. It is one less thing to think about. It’s a decent razor for a great price. Do I think it will change your life forever, ummmm no. Do I think you will be pretty satisfied about something that really doesn’t matter that much, sure.

So, that is my totally unfiltered review of this razor. About 10,000 bloggers will tell you otherwise because they all seem to really, really love this product. Maybe I am missing something, but I think I gave it a fair chance and my life is still unchanged. My leg hair still grows and still has to be shaved just like when I used a Bic. But hey, at least this razor is a fun color!

If you are interested in purchasing the razor and trying it out, you can shop it here: http://liketk.it/2OofL.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

I want to start this post by noting that what I am about to say may sound cliché, but I truly mean it more genuinely than any words I have ever spoken. The day I birthed Ella was the day that I was truly born. I have never wanted for anything so badly in my life. I prayed, no-I begged God to give me this child. The first few days I was in the hospital after having her, I would literally cry every time I looked at her because I was just flooded with such joy. The day she was born I became so much more than anything I had ever been. I became a mom. If you are a mom, you will know what I mean. There is no love like the love between a mother and a child. It is fierce. It is deep. It is a God given love that can not be explained. So, with all of that being said I truly and genuinely feel like Ella is my mother’s day gift this year. At the same time, us mamas work hard, so we deserve to be spoiled. All I asked for this year was to be able to sleep in until I wake up and to have cinnamon rolls for breakfast. That sounds pretty darn good to me. But, its also fun to think about a wish list of items that would make great gifts to spoil the mom in your life. I have rounded up a few of my favorite things just incase you need a little inspiration!

I genuinely love each and every piece in this collage! Some of these items are splurge items, but this day is supposed to be special. I couldn’t pick a favorite off of this list because they are all my favorites, but I will say the silhouette necklaces are pretty amazing. I think this would surprise any mom in the best way possible! I also included some cute sneakers for a busy mom, a face mask so she can pamper herself and the perfect throw on dress that is comfy but still so chic. Go on and treat the mom in your life this year and make her feel as special as she is <3. Shop the collage here:http://liketk.it/2NRTM.

Shop the silhouette necklace here: https://lepapierstudio.com/collections/silhouette-necklaces/products/tiny-silhouette-charm-necklace-1.

At Home Gel Manicure!

Let me start this post by saying, I am in no way a professional manicurist. I have no training whatsoever, other than what I have googled to use on my own nails. About 5 years ago my husband got really tired of hearing me whine when I would take the time to do my nails at home, only to inevitably mess them up five minutes later. He finally did what any desperate husband would do and headed to Amazon. There, he found me an at home gel manicure UV light and immediately added to cart.

So, here we are 5+ years later in the middle of a global pandemic. I truly never would have thought my self training as a nail technician would come in so handy, but alas it has. Since no one is able to get out and get their nails done, I thought it might be helpful to do a quick post featuring the gel products that I love and have used for years. I do go to the salon and get my nails done sometimes too, but it is very expensive and time consuming. When I do my own gels at home, they last just as long as when I go get them done….I just miss the hand massage and warm towels.

I have purchased all of these products from Amazon or Sally Beauty or Walmart. I will link everything used here: http://liketk.it/2Nz2p.

You can look at my UV light and tell that it is very well loved!
The finished product…let me just tell you how incredibly awkward it is to take a picture of your hand…

First step: Soak your nails in warm water for a few minutes and then gently push your cuticles back. Sometimes my cuticles look so bad, that I use the Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover and cuticle clippers. I find that it works really well at removing excess cuticles. Wash it off really well and then grab your nail clippers and file!

Next, clip your nails to your desired length and then shape them! I like mine short and square, but there are so many options. You can do round, oval, almond, or anything in between! Once you have your cuticles clipped and your nails shaped, then you are ready to get started with the fun part! You want to make sure you nail is nice and clean and free from any oils or lotions before you begin. You can purchase a solution (that is similar to nail polish remover) and give your nails a swipe to make sure they are prepped and ready. I have also used acetone nail polish remover and it works great too!

After your nails are prepped, you will want to apply a pH bond agent to your nails. This goes on just like a very thin, clear nail polish. It is very quick and easy to apply. This acts as a dehydrator so the polish can really bond to your nails. After you have applied the pH bond, the next step is to apply your foundation coat. Please note that this polish is very thick and a little more difficult to apply than regular nail polish. It is very important that you know that once you apply this foundation coat and cure under the UV light, any imperfections on your nail will be baked on. For instance, if you have any air bubbles, or a tiny piece of lint, it is there to stay until you remove this polish!

After applying the foundation coat, you will want to let your nails bake under the UV light for 60 seconds. This coat will be dry when you remove from the light and you are ready to apply your color! This is the part where you can really go crazy! Pink, blue, yellow, purple, whatever you desire you can do! Today, I have the color “Passion” on my nails by Gelish. It is the perfect pinky-coral and is great for summer! I usually do a thin coat of color and cure my nails for 60 seconds. Then, I do a second thin coat and cure for another 60 seconds.

Lastly, you are ready for the “top it off” coat. This is also a very thick top coat. One you have applied this coat, you will want to let your nails bake for 2 minutes, and then voila, you are finished! Your nails will be completely dry, which is wonderful! No chipping or worrying about messing them up! The last and final step is to take the nail cleaner that you used way back in step one, or a swipe of acetone nail polish remover, and run it over your dry nails. This will remove the “tackiness” left behind from the top coat, and also make your nails nice and shiny! I usually add some hand cream and sit back and admire my handiwork! Just like anything new, this takes a little bit of practice. But, once you get the hang of it you will love the convenience of doing your own nails at home. I prefer gel manicures to dip but if you like dip, you can also do those at home as well. I hope this was helpful, and I hope you will have fun experimenting with this while you’re hanging out at home.

One more note, just like the gel manicures you get at the salon, these do have to be soaked off in order to remove them. I usually soak a piece of a cotton ball in acetone and place it on my nail bed. Then, wrap the nail in aluminum foil with the cotton ball on your nail. Let that soak for 20 to 25 minutes and then remove the foil. You should then be able to easily scrape off the remainder of the polish!

Sephora Sale Picks!

The Sephora sale is like Christmas to me. I am literally sitting here browsing the site and thinking about taking out a second mortgage on my house so I can buy all of the things that I have added to my cart. Just kidding….sort of. I seriously love Sephora, and I love makeup and products. If you are a Rouge member you can shop with 20% off from April 17 – May 1. If you are a VIB member, you can shop with 15% off April 21-April 29, and finally if you are an Insider you can shop 10% off April 23-April 27!

This sale is a great time to try a new product you have been thinking about, or to make a large purchase like a new hair tool. I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to go about this post. First, I thought I would do a post of my tried and true favorites. I decided that was kind of boring because I have talked about those items on my blog already several times. Then, I decided I could do a post focusing on splurge items that you may want to buy while on sale. Ultimately, I decided to talk about the items that I am the most excited to shop. Most of the items on this list are new to me products that I am super excited to try. There are few things that will be repurchases for me, but since they are in my cart, I thought I would include them. This route seemed like the most fun to me. I love to see what new and exciting things people are trying, so I hope you enjoy! You can shop everything here: http://shopstyle.com/shop/shoppingwithsum.

Glamglow Thirsty Mud: This mask is a favorite of mine! I haven’t had this in forever and am definitely planning to purchase during the sale. It is a rinse off mask that is ultra hydrating! If your skin needs a little boost, this is great! Also, there is a lot of product in the jar, so it lasts for a while. As we are all staying home right now, indulge in a little self care and treat yourself to a mask!

Tatcha Lip Mask: I constantly struggle with dry lips so I am excited to try this! It’s an overnight lip mask that is supposed to hydrate and plump dry lips! Bonus, the packaging is so pretty and it comes with a cute little applicator 🙂

Charlotte Tilbury Exaggereyes Palette: I included this because it is by far my most used eyeshadow palette. The colors are so pretty for everyday use. It is definitely pricey for eyeshadow, so it’s a great time to buy it while it’s on sale!

Lilah B. Lovingly Lip Tinted Lip Oil: I recently reviewed the Aglow Primer by this brand and have been dying to try some of their other products. This lip oil is the prettiest color and is supposed to be a lip oil with sheer to medium pigment!

Subversion Lash Primer: I recently wrote a blog post all about this lash primer. I realized today that I am almost out and it is something I use every single day. I will definitely be repurchasing! This is a must for longer, thicker looking lashes.

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Highlighter Wand: I think these are just beautiful and appear to provide the prettiest glow. I haven’t tried these but I am very excited about it. They come in four different shades and I am interested in the peachgasm shade. It is a glow gel that provides a dewy effect on your skin!

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter: This is a product that you can wear alone on no makeup days, or under your foundation for a glow! It is supposed to illuminate skin and smooth pores and fine lines. I have wanted to try this forever, so it is time to pull the trigger!

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation: Are you sensing a theme here? I love Charlotte Tilbury but there are so many products that I still haven’t tried from the line, so now is the time. I have seen so many great reviews of this product so I am excited to try it!

Dae Haircare Shampoo and Conditioner: This line was created by Amber Fillerup, who has amazing hair. She has a whole line of amazing extensions and has recently released this line of hair care products. I have heard great reviews, so I am excited to try it out!

Wishful Yo Glow Facial Enzyme Scrub: I have not tried this product, but I am excited to check it out. It is an exfoliator with papaya and pineapple enzymes that is supposed to make your skin soft and glowy!

Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Face Buttter: OMG this stuff is awesome! I recently cashed in several hundred of my Beauty Insider Points to get several sample bottles of this and I fell in love! It is so hydrating for your skin, but not greasy or heavy. It makes your skin feel incredibly soft. After trying it out for about a month, I am excited to buy the full size. Also, it is very well priced for a great moisturizer. If you have dry skin, check this out!

Josie Maran Beta Retinoid Pink Algae Serum: I always read about how important it is to include retinol in your skincare routine. However, I have really sensitive skin and tried a retinol a few years back that really upset my skin. It was also very painful and I spent a long time trying to get my skin back to its normal state. I have been terrified of retinol since then. I nervously tried this product for a few weeks and was so pleasantly surprised by how gentle it is. It really did help reduce fine lines and help with dullness. I am very excited to continue using this more long term!

Skin Fix Triple Lipid Boost Eye Cream: The last time I placed an order online at Sephora, a sample of this was included. After it sat in my drawer for few weeks I decided to try it and absolutely loved it! It is so creamy and hydrating but very light. I was so surprised by how much this helped the dry skin around my eyes. I was so sad when my sample ran out so I knew I would be purchasing this at the sale!

Okay, whew that is a lot of products! I am so excited to place my order tomorrow and start using all of these awesome new products! I hope you found this helpful and maybe discovered a few new things to try out while they are on sale!

Feeling groovy with Free People!

I know, I know, my titles have gone crazy lately lol! But, in my defense the dress I am chatting about today is called the “Feeling Groovy” maxi dress. Things I have learned about myself since I started this blog: 1. I love makeup and skincare products, like A LOT 2. I love finding a piece of clothing or shoes and then finding an affordable option and 3. I love a good dress. I mean, I seriously love a good dress! Now, you may be shaking your head at #2 because I wouldn’t necessarily mark this dress as an “affordable” option but I have worn it enough to definitely get my money’s worth!

I am usually very decisive about clothing items. Generally, when I put something on I know instantly if I like it or not. When I was wedding dress shopping, I bought the first dress I tried on. I just knew it was the one. When my mom and I went shopping for a dress for me to wear to my baby shower, she wanted me to find a dress that I just loved and that felt very special. I found this Free People dress and instantly fell in love. I knew as soon as I put it on that this was the one. My mom encouraged me to look around just to make sure, but I knew without question. There is just something about Free People that makes me feel special. Their pieces are flowy and happy and make me want to be in a field of sunflowers on a sunny day (quite descriptive but true). Of course I wanted to feel that way at my baby shower! So, I went with this dress and I do in fact feel groovy every time I wear it.

I mentioned earlier that the cost of this dress is a little steep. That being said, I wore this dress when I was nine months pregnant, and here I am 7 months post partum and still loving it! I have worn it totally casual to go to lunch and I have dressed it up more with heels for a nice dinner. It can be worn with a belt, with a hat, even with sneakers. So, while it is pricey, it is so versatile! Also, any outfit you wear that makes you smile from the inside out is totally worth it!

Here I am almost 9 months pregnant, in the middle of summer in TN…it was HOT and I was very uncomfortable–but my dress wasn’t! Pictured here are my mom and grandmother. I love this picture. It took a lot to get to this point and I couldn’t have made it without them!
And here I am wearing the dress while playing with my little love in the yard. All of the hard work was worth it!! She has made me realize my purpose for being on this earth.
Its a great dress to wear with a belt and super comfortable for hanging out and having a drink!
And its a great dress to twirl in so that is always a bonus!

Free people is one of my most favorite brands. To me, their clothes stay in style from year to year and never seem too trendy. I don’t mind investing in pieces like that! Also, this brand frequently goes on sale and the Ivory color is currently on sale for 30% off here: https://www.macys.com/shop/product/free-people-feeling-groovy-maxi-dress?ID=8924956. It comes in multiple colors all of which are beautiful! Shop my entire look here:http://shopstyle.com/shop/shoppingwithsum.com.

Hair Care Favorites!

You would never know from looking at pictures of me now, but for most of my life I had platinum blonde hair! I loved my blonde hair and always swore that I would have it forever. Well, never say never because here we are in 2020 and I no longer have platinum blonde hair! When I became pregnant with Ella, I made the decision to stop coloring my hair. Please note that I am not a doctor and I am in no way saying that it is bad to color your hair while you are pregnant, I just personally made the decision not to do it anymore. The upkeep for platinum blonde hair is a lot! It is expensive and very time consuming and I had done it for so long that I decided it was the right time to stop coloring it and see what happened!

At first, I decided this was a horrible decision! The first few months were rough. I had a clear line of dark roots and it definitely looked like I had just totally given up on even attempting to look decent. I hated it and swore I had made the wrong decision. However, luckily for me the “ombre” look became very popular during my transition. After several months the color began to get washed out and toned down. It somewhat started blending in with my natural color (which isn’t super dark) and I began getting a lot of questions from people about my hair. It seemed that people thought the look was intentional and always wanted to know “who does your hair?” I slowly began to love my natural, darker color and I certainly loved that it was so low maintenance. I also noticed my hair was so much softer and shinier when I stopped coloring it! Overall, it was a great decision for me and I haven’t looked back. I thought it would be fun to share some of my tried and true favorite hair care products.

Keep in mind that everyone has different hair. My hair is fine, but I have a lot of it. It is naturally curly (not pretty curly, think frizzy and unruly). It is not oily at all and honestly with the help of my favorite dry shampoo I can really push the limits of acceptable hygeine (meaning I can really go a long time in between washes). My hair holds curl very well when I use the right tools!

Over the past year I have tried several different hair care products and the products listed today are the ones I always go back to over and over! Here are some others I have tried over the past year:

Shampoo/Conditioner: Verb, Living Proof, Olaplex, Kerastase.

Hair oil: Oribe and Olaplex

Styling products: Oribe, Alterna Hair Care

After my most recent haircut!
I love to wear headbands on days when I dont have a lot of time to fix my hair!

Now that you have an idea of what my hair looks like, I am including a list of all of my favorite hair care products! You can shop them here: http://shopstyle.com/shop/shoppingwithsum.

1. Redken Color Extend: I know I said that I dont color my hair anymore, and don’t, but I still love this shampoo and conditoner. It is my all time favorite. It makes my hair shiny and doesn’t weigh it down. Also, it doesn’t make my hair oily at all!

2. Ouai Hair Oil: This is by far my favorite hair oil! I apply it right to the ends of my wet hair and it helps to keeps my ends healthy. It doesn’t weigh your hair down or make it feel “producty” ( I realize that isn’t a real word but you get the point). Also, I love the way it smells! I heard so many rave reviews of the Oribe and Olaplex hair oils but I went back to this one with no comparison!

3. Wet Brush: my hair stylist told me about this brush years ago and I have used it ever since. It is very gentle on your wet hair and helps to easily get out all of my tangles from my curly hair. This brush is very inexpensive and is really good for your hair.

4. T3 Whirl Trio: Okay, I know this curling wand is expensive and you may think thats crazy, but hear me out! I have tried many a curling wand in my life and nothing, I repeat nothing curls my hair like this one. I go back and forth between the smaller straight wand and the tapered one and my curls will literally last forever. It is so worth the money to be able to curl my hair once and not have to worry about it again until I wash it. I have used cheaper ones and the curls just do not hold. I end up having to re-curl everyday and ultimately apply much more heat damage to my hair.

5.T3 Hairdryer: I have the same feeling about this product. It smooths my hair like none other and makes my hair really shiny! I feel like it is totally worth the money.

6. Revlon One Step Hair Dryer and Voumizer:I got this about a year and half ago and I LOVE THIS! I ordered it on Amazon Prime Day after hearing a lot of great reviews. It took me a few tries to tweak this to make it work for me but let me tell you, this gets the curl out of my hair like none other. I use my T3 to dry the bulk of my hair and then I section it off and use this to blow it out straight. The only negative about this dryer is that it gets really, really hot! That is why I find it best to blow dry with my T3 and then finish with this!

7. Conair flat iron: This is just the flat iron that I have. It’s fine and gets the job done. I use it to just straighten out my bangs and touch up around my face and ends if I need to. I have had this forever and it is still kicking so I would recommend it!

8. Living Proof Dry Shampoo: This is absolutely 100% one of my holy grail beauty products. I am never ever without a bottle of this. It is the best dry shampoo I have ever used. When it is getting time to wash my hair again, I shake this up and spray it at my roots. After it sets for a few minutes, I simply massage it into my scalp and voila- I have volumized, clean hair that looks like I just washed it! I could talk about this product for days, but I’ll just stop here and say this is the best ever!

9. Living Proof Dry Volume Blast: This is another Living Proof product that I love. After I curl my hair with my T3 wand, I lift a few sections of hair around the crown of my head and spray this. Then, I just massage it in and it adds so much volume to my otherwise flat hair!

10. Slip pillowcase: Last but not least this is one bouje pillow case and I know it. I received one as a gift and fell in love and ended up buying another one. It is pure silk and it really makes a differene in your hair. I can tell a huge difference when I use one of these versus just a regular cotton pillowcase. It extends the life of your curls and it is better for your skin! You can find these on sale from time to time and I highly recommend getting one. You will love it!

Okay, that it is! These are my most favorite products that I have purchased over and over! I don’t like a lot of product in my hair and like to keep it pretty simple (okay simpleish). I think these are all great prodcuts so I hope you can try some out and find something you love!