Saturday, March 25, 2017

October, November & December 2016 Empties

*Post contains affiliate links*
With my daughter being born early, I had no time to write up empties posts every month, let alone any posts really. I did still keep all the products I used up, and I'll have another empties post for the first 3 months of this year so far coming in the next couple weeks. 

I'll start off with some bath and hair products. The Pantene Volume Shampoo is one that both my husband and I used. I'm a big fan of Pantene shampoos and conditioners, and this one was no exception. I was sent the Derma E Scalp Relief Shampoo a while ago, and I did really enjoy it. It had a tingly effect on my scalp and made any dandruff I had go away. 

Two deluxe sized body washes I finished up were the Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Stress Relief, and the other was the Dove Deep Moisture. I LOVED the scent of the B&BW body wash and am considering buying a full size once I use up my stash. The Dove I didn't care for. It really wasn't moisturizing to me and left my skin feeling rough. 

We used up two toothpastes the last 3 months of the year. A Colgate Total Whitening, and a Colgate Enamel Health. The Enamel Health was mine and I really liked how it made my teeth feel. I would occasionally use the Total Whitening, but it made my teeth too sensitive. 

While I was pregnant, I took the Thorne Basic Prenatal vitamin. I liked these because they contain Folate, not Folic Acid. Folic Acid is the synthetic form of Folate, and I have a disorder where my body cannot process the synthetic version. These are more expensive than other vitamins, but they were worth it to me. 

Lastly for health products, is a mini Degree deodorant. Since I was in and out of the hospital for the better part of 5 months with my daughter, I would take travel sizes since they were easier to manage. I liked this enough, but probably wouldn't buy again. 

For anyone that doesn't know, NICU's are very warm and very dry. My lips, hands and whole body took a beating, and I went through all these lip balms the last three months of 2016. I love The Body Shop lip butters, and this one was the honeymania scent. Families who have had babies in the NICU tend to give gifts here and there throughout the year,and in a gift bag I had gotten, there was the Blistex Fruit Smoothies lip balm in the Berry Explosion scent. I kid you not when I say I went through this tube in just two weeks! Last lip balm is the Serious balm in the Snickerdoodle scent. I love these balms and was sent a few, I wanna say last Spring. I still have the other two to use up and I'm sure I will get to them soon. 

Last up is some skincare! I'm fairly certain I used the BioRepublic Green Tea Detox sheet mask just before having Olivia, because I had zero time or energy to do any kind of face mask after she was born. I finally used up the First Aid Beauty Daily Face Cream that I had been working on for probably a year. I love this face cream because it's fragrance free and simple to use. The White Tea Facial Cleanser from Korres was nice, but slightly drying. I liked the scent, but this is better for me to use in the warmer months. 

I've used up more hand creams since, but the one I had finished up before the end of the year was the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula hand cream in the fragrance free version. I adore this hand cream as it's nice and thick, but is gel-like and sinks right in. I washed my hands probably 20 times a day, at least, while tending to my daughter, and needed something that would help heal the dryness and cracked skin I had. 

Total number of products used up: 15
Total for the year: 128

128 products used up in 2016 is not too bad! Considering having my daughter early, I'm pretty proud I did as well as I did. My lofty goal was to use up 250 products, and I initially wanted that to be my goal for this year as well, but I decided to be nice to myself and lower it to 150. Olivia has only been home for 2 weeks now, and we're still figuring out a good routine, so it may take a bit to get into a groove of using products efficiently. My husband and I would also like to move, maybe in the Summer, and I'd like to use up as much as I can before that. Anyway, like I said above, I will have an empties post for the first 3 months of this year up very soon, and will go back to monthly empties after that. 

Did you keep track of how many products you used up last year? 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sephora VIB Sale, Ulta & Birthday Haul

*Post contains affiliate links*
This post is coming quite a few months late, but for very good reason. My birthday was back in December, and Sephora usually does their VIB sale sometime around late November or so. I decided to treat myself to some beauty bits while my daughter was still in the hospital. 

After Olivia came along, I was mainly into skincare and getting my skin in good shape. I hadn't worn makeup in ages, and still haven't worn any since she was born. I still have boatloads of makeup that I slowly want to get back into doing, but skincare is my main focus. During the VIB Rouge sale (which I am no longer part of Rouge), I had picked up 3 of the Sephora Favorites sets: Soko to Tokyo, Scouted by Sephora, and Beauty Sleep. All of these sets came with brands that I had been dying to try, and now that Olivia is finally home, I can really focus on getting my good skin back. 

After the VIB Rouge sale, I got one of those $25 off of $50 giftcards sometime in December, so I ended up buying a few things for my birthday. I got the Too Cool For School Egg Cream Mask set that comes with 6 sheet masks. Ever since I learned how to properly use a sheet mask, they've become so much more fun to use. I also got the Tony Moly Coconut Face Mask Sheet in the 2-pack. 

To get to the $50, I purchased two lip balms from Smith's: one in Minted Rose, and the other in Rose & Mandarin. I've used these balms before in other scents, and love how they smell and feel on my lips. They're nice and thick, and perfect to use before bed to really soak in and hydrate dry, cracked lips. 

Since it was my birthday, I chose to get the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser as my birthday gift. I really like how there are options to choose from now, versus just a one product for all people. I also had 500 points to burn, so I chose the Glamglow face mask and cleanser set. I love the masks in the white and blue jars, but not so much the black one. I have yet to try their cleansers, but will probably save it for the warmer months when my skin gets more oily. 

I need more eyeshadow palettes like I need a hole in the head, but everyone and their dog was raving about the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette. Since Ulta gives you double points during your birthday month, and it was a time where I had a 20% off coupon, I treated myself. The colors are super pretty, but more warm toned than I'm used to. I honestly still have yet to try it with all the stuff going on with Olivia. 

Since I was on a skincare kick, I got some individual sheet masks from Tony Moly: Refreshing, Skin Purifying, Moisturizing, Pore Care, Skin Soothing, and Clear Skin. These sheet masks are so inexpensive and I always hear great things about them. I can't wait to dig in and try them!

I hope you all didn't mind my ultra late haul from my birthday and the VIB sale! Since these purchases, I haven't bought a single thing and have put myself on a spending ban for the entire year. Maybe once December rolls around again, I'll treat myself for my birthday, but other than that, I truly don't need a thing beauty related. Is there anything you've bought recently that you're liking?  

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Life Lately

Hello? Is anyone there? *blows cobwebs off the computer* 

Hey guys! It sure has been quite a while! My last post was back in November and it was my goals for the month. It's fairly safe to say I did not accomplish pretty much anything I had set for myself. After my daughter Olivia was born 10 weeks early back in October, things have just been really crazy. 

But, she is now finally home! It's still so weird for me to say that, I thought the day would never come. A little backstory on Olivia these past 5 months...

She was born on October 17th, 2016 but was due on Christmas Eve. She has Down Syndrome and was also born with a heart defect called a Complete AV Canal. That is essentially a big, giant hole right in the center of her heart. With that hole being there, it was mixing the oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood together, making it really hard for her to breathe, so she was on oxygen support for her whole life. Since she was born premature, it made that complication worse. Until we got transferred to one of the best hospitals in the country to repair the defect. She had surgery on March 1st, and then came home on the 9th, with no oxygen or feeding tube! To say that my husband and I were ecstatic that she had done so well, and could come home without wires and tubes, was a massive understatement. 

It was getting to be so hard going back and forth to the hospital every single day, and once we were transferred for surgery, I lived at the hospital since it was quite far from our home. A good friend of mine set up a fund for us, which you can find here, to help us out with bills that were piling up, as well as getting anything we needed for Olivia still. Since I never did have a baby shower, we weren't able to get alot of what we needed. if you're able to give anything at all, it would mean the world to us. Even sharing the page on your social media is incredibly helpful as well!

Now, with all that being said, blogging should hopefully return to normal very soon. I'll still be talking about beauty, but I'll be adding in some lifestyle and baby posts, since my priorities have changed these last few months. I don't have a set schedule yet, but I'm hoping to be publishing at least 2 posts a week for now. I'm so glad to be writing again finally, and I missed all of you terribly!

Here is a recent picture of Olivia! Considering what a peanut she used to be, she looks giant here!

What would you all like to see here on the blog? I have some ideas floating around in my head, but I could always use more inspiration!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

November Goals

It's that time again where I share with you the goals I have set for the month. Last month was a whirlwind with our daughter being born 10 weeks early, so it's safe to say that most of the goals I had set went out the window. Lets see how I did anyway!

Goals from October

- Get more baby stuff set up: Ha! Yeah, didn't happen.

- Clean and declutter our home more: ...Nope!

- Take better care of myself: Nah, sadly. Olivia was born October 17th, so between being in the hospital for a week and going back and forth constantly to the NICU, I look like I'm homeless. 

- Post at least 3 times a week: Didn't happen, obviously. I had every intention of being a good blogger, but Miss Olivia surprised us!

Goals for November

- Take better care of myself. Now I know I had this for last month, but this month I really need to do it. I'm sleep deprived, eating a ton of junk food, and shower 2 or 3 times a week at most. I know that's probably gross, but I'm at the hospital pretty much every single day. I get there bright and early and I'm typically not home until late and crash into bed. As much as I hate leaving her there, I need to start really caring for myself. Taking a shower and cooking myself a meal needs to be a priority again. 

- Blog at least once a week. I'm starting to bring my laptop to the hospital with me now, so I can take pictures at home and then write up posts while I visit Olivia. 

- Clean our house. This needs to get done, like yesterday. Since Olivia's been born, our house looks like a tornado hit. I may have to bite the bullet one of these days and not visit so early in the morning just to clean. 

I think I'm going to leave it at these three goals for November. Life has been absolutely insane and I'm trying my best to get into a routine. If you all are interested, I can do an update post on Olivia when she's a month old. Just let me know!

What are some of your goals for this month?

Monday, October 31, 2016

When Plans Don't Go As Planned

Hey guys! I know it's been quite a while since my last post, which was my letter to my future daughter. Well, who would've thought that she'd be born just 5 days later, a whopping 10 weeks early!

This is Miss Olivia about a week after she was born. I wasn't able to hold her for a while because she had so many wires attached to her and she had a tube down her throat helping her breathe. 

This is a more recent picture of her when she didn't need the cpap machine anymore, and nasal canulas were the replacement. She still had a feeding tube down her throat too, which she was always tugging at trying to take it out (she was successful quite a few times).

This was taken just a couple days ago. She sleeps EXACTLY like me, so I had to take this picture. Her feeding tube is now through her nose and they keep lowering the amount of oxygen she needs, which is fantastic. She's doing so much better considering her traumatic birth.

I don't think I mentioned her full name yet, and it's Olivia Penelope Curran. She is seriously the sweetest baby ever, even though she had a pretty rough start in life. We knew before she was born that she would have a heart condition that will require surgery, as well as Down Syndrome. She was 3 pounds, 10 ounces at birth, which I was told is a great weight for only being 30 weeks and 2 days along. She is finally just past her birth weight and is slowly getting bigger and stronger everyday. 

She has a very long road ahead of her, and will be in the NICU for quite a while. Sometimes plans definitely don't go as planned, and we were so scared at her being born 10 weeks early. I wanted to mention in this post that I have also set up a GoFundMe page for her. We luckily have good insurance that will cover everything medically, but between all the trips to the hospital and my husband still having to work 50-60 hours a week, we've been spending so much money on gas and food just to be able to see her, and we still need a ton of baby things since I had to cancel my baby shower. She will eventually be transferred to a better hospital for her surgery, but that hospital is well over an hour away from us. We won't be able to see her as often when she is transferred, and we want to try our best, but are starting to not be able to afford much. If anyone would like to donate anything or even just share her page, it would mean the world to us. The money donated will be going towards the baby supplies we'll need when she comes home, gas and food. Again, here is the link to her page. Any prayers and positive thoughts are more than welcome as well :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Letter To my Future Daughter

My Dearest Olivia, I can't believe in just two and a half more months you will be here. It's been quite the journey having you in my tummy. We found out early on that you may have Down Syndrome, and then a couple months after that we were told you have a heart condition that will require surgery when you're no older than 4 months. To say that Mommy and Daddy aren't scared and nervous is a lie. I am scared that you might have developmental delays, and I am scared that you're going to need surgery so young. We just want you to be okay.

Do you know that you have a big brother? His name is Aiden and we found out about him in the Summer of 2015. We unfortunately never got to meet him, as Heaven needed another angel much too soon. He would've been born the month before we found out about you! You have a very special angel watching over you, making sure you're going to arrive safely. I miss Aiden terribly and you will grow up knowing he is always with you. 

Despite everything Daddy and I have been through, we both love you so much already and can't wait to see your beautiful face when you arrive. We already know from pictures that you look like Daddy, and I can't wait to see the bond you two will have. He's always saying how excited he is to finally meet you and can't wait to hold you. I hope you can hear him when he's talking to you. 

No matter what happens, we are always going to love and support you through everything in life. I'm excited to see if you'll like beauty products like I do, or be a gamer like Daddy and play Minecraft and watch Game Grumps with him. You are our little miracle and we wouldn't change that for the world. We love you so much Miss Olivia, or Oli as your Dad likes to call you, and we can't wait to see the person you become. 

Love, Your Mommy and Daddy

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Derma E Launches New Packaging!

*Disclosure* This post is sponsored by Derma E. All opinions are 100% honest and my own like always!

Hey guys! I have some exciting news from Derma E for you today. They are going to be launching new packaging starting Sepetember 2016 through March 2017, and I have to say, I really feel this is a wonderful change the brand is doing. 

The packaging on the left is the older packaging. To me, it's nice but very medical looking. When I'm in-store looking at products, it's not really something that stands out to me. 

The packaging on the right is the newer, fresher look. I have to say, I absolutely love it! It's calming, relaxing, and definitely something I would pick up in the store. 

You might be wondering if formulas are changing as well, and they are most definitely not! All products will still be the same great formula we all know and love, just in a newer, updated packaging. 

You may have already seen a few products in the newer packaging, like the Hydrating, Anti-Wrinkle line, Firming, and their best selling Microdermabrasion Scrub and Overnight Peel. I'm a big fan of the Microdermabrasion Scrub, and their Hydrating line is amazing for my oily skin in the colder months. 

I love both of the products pictured above. The Day Creme is great for day or night (for my skin at least), and I feel the Night Cream has a bit of extra hydration for the super dry skin types. 

As I stated above, the new packaging is rolling out slowly with the first products being the ones I already mentioned in September, and slowly introducing the others through March 2017. Derma E is available in Ulta, Whole Food's, Sprouts and Target.

I, for one, am very excited for this relaunch. I've gotten the chance to try a few different products of theirs in the past, and now with the new packaging, I feel like it's more spa-like and calming, which is definitely something I love. With a new baby on the way, I'll have to be sure and take some pampering time, and Derma E will definitely be included in that!

What do you think of the new packaging design?