Remember when I proclaimed the start of a new blog series? Well, it's officially here! And because Husband is the man he is, I have a name for it. If it weren't for him, I'd still be toiling away trying to come up with a title. (I'm easily distracted + find every opportunity to procrastinate. As soon as I figure out how to tame that beast, I'll add it to the series. It may be a while. [I'm a mess.])
As you know, I'm in a phase. A stay at home parent of a single child in school still trying to figure out her heart's desire phase. Let's just say it's incredibly easy to wear joggers (read: trendy sweatpants) and go sans makeup every day. (Note: I'm not ragging on joggers. I love joggers. I just haven't mastered the art of styling them... I think I lack the motorcycle jacket and edgy accessories? I've been ripping pages out of the Athleta catalog to use as study guides.)
Sometimes I drop Kiddo off at school before daylight has made an appearance (don't even get me started on the archaic notion of daylight savings time), drive back home, and, well, I'm not sure what else. The kitchen usually gets wiped down and a load or two of laundry folded, but much to my chagrin, there are entire days where I can't definitively account for my time. (Though there are certainly days when I tackle three month's worth of neglected projects in a single afternoon.) And, you know, we could discuss the minefield that is stay-at-home parenting, but that's a conversation for another day.
I treasure this time with Kiddo so darn much. I've had this amazing opportunity to transition into our new life without the pressures of employment or a daily schedule. But day after day spent without any real focus isn't easy for this restless soul. I'm kind of new to this whole lifestyle and have yet to find my groove. Which shows in other areas... my blog, for instance. My original content has drastically reduced, and while profound realizations should certainly be written down, sometimes it's nice to blog for the sake of blogging. Documenting my everyday life is the nuts and bolts of why I started doing this in the first place.
What I've come to realize is this: I need to feel human in order to be productive. If I approach every day like it's Sunday, I'm going to act accordingly. This doesn't mean I look like a Real Housewife everyday. No pageant lashes or mile-long hair extensions here. It's amazing what a touch of makeup and a going-out-in-public outfit can do to one's perspective and productivity. Even if my only plans involve hand washing the wooden utensils and sorting skivvies.
My routine is pretty simple: a touch of foundation (maybe), brow gel, mascara, and a little cheek stain. Five minutes or so and I feel put-together. I let my hair do its own thing while it (air) dries, then I rein it in with a messy bun or ponytail most days. (At this point I'm wondering if I'll every master my mane. Though I've found fighting its nature is futile.) Perhaps most importantly, I've found a consistent skincare routine over the last couple months. Including my oft-neglected body, which not only makes me feel better, but has also helped curtail my nagging dry skin and occasional patch of eczema. (When I'm tired or in a hurry, body lotion is first to go.)
Although I try to be frugal, I do place an emphasis on quality when seeking out beauty products. Some drugstore brands are equally as good as the pricey stuff, but that isn't always the case. I sample pricier potions before taking the plunge and use promo/coupon codes whenever possible. In the end it really comes down to what makes me feel my best.
Here's a glimpse at my current routine + some product reviews:
Korres Black Pine eye cream // I never buy the same eye cream twice. (Perhaps nothing has wowed me before?) This is my latest find and, almost two months in, I'm pretty smitten. It goes on like silk and has noticeably softened and revitalized my under eyes. I really love this stuff. (Dare I say it could be first eye cream I buy twice?) // Clarins UV Plus HP moisturizer
Aden + Anais Ultra Gentle Lotion // Bridget mentioned this lotion a while back, and since I was in the market (and trust her taste implicitly), I bought it. The smell! The softness! I apply this to my hands and elbows before bed and sleep like a baby. //
Sonia Kashuk Tinted Brow Gel // Since discovering the art of brow-filling, I've tried a wide range of products and learned I favor a more natural look. This gel goes on easily and adds build-able color to my brows. And unlike mascara, it doesn't clump or separate which means I can nurse a tube for months and months. I have the Clinique Brow Shaper for times when I need a little extra filling, but this is my everyday go-to. // Covergirl Professional Remarkable Washable Mascara // I like to experiment with mascaras, but at the end of the day I always come back to this one. It stays put all day, but washes off cleanly with a baby wipe. It's good stuff. // StriVectin-AR Advanced Retinol Night Treatment // Full disclosure: I wrote a Birchbox review proclaiming my undying love for this product while adamantly denying I would ever buy it because of the ludicrous price (tsk tsk, StriVectin). Well, I bought it. After scraping every last drop from the sample tube, I cobbled together Birchbox points with an anniversary discount (which made it slightly more reasonable) and took the plunge. It is hands down the best face product I have ever used. My skin is even and glows like crazy. Most days I skip foundation since using it... because I hate the thought of covering up my natural skin tone. I know. I'll definitely have to plan ahead when the time comes to buy another tube. // Not shown: tarte Cheek Stain in Sheer Berry Rose.
// Ouidad Wave Create Sea Spray // This gives my naturally curly/wavy hair a little more structure (read: less frizz). // Acure Dry Shampoo // I snagged this at our local food co-op in New Hampshire and apply it at night before bed. (I wash my hair every other day but hope to extend to every third.) It's a bit messy and leaves my hair white, but the key is to apply it at night. (A revelation, Natalie!) In the morning it's all blended in and I usually only need a couple spurts of aerosol dry shampoo to touch things up. (I still haven't found the perfect aerosol dry shampoo, but it's not for lack of trying.) The powder is much cheaper, more natural, lasts longer, and does a better job overall. //
L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil // Another sample that I milked to the last drop. It makes my skin soft and smooth + smells amazing. This is the only body wash that hasn't ended up abandoned under my bathroom sink. // AHAVA Dead Sea Essentials Relaxing Almond Bath and Body Oil // L'Occitane makes a body oil to accompany their shower oil, but I wasn't thrilled about the price. While at Target one day, I saw this stuff on clearance for a 1/3 of the normal price and decided to go for it. It absorbs quickly, makes my skin super smooth, and has a nice smell. (Husband once told me I smelled like cake.) I'm not usually into uber-sweet smelling bath products, but this one becomes more subtle as it sinks in. //
// PaleoBalance Whole Foods Multivitamin // So technically this isn't a beauty product? But is relevant somehow? (Beauty starts on the inside and all that jazz.) I was looking for a new plant-based multi last month and came across this one on Amazon. I really like it! I feel more energetic and my hair and skin look healthier. //
The moral of the story? Taking care of myself makes me a more productive, happier mother, wife and human being. I'm certainly not denouncing natural beauty or implying that one must present themselves in a certain light. To each their own. As someone who struggles with my identity outside of career and family, embracing each day is a must.
On those days when I'm unsure or conflicted about my life's trajectory, a little rouge can go a long way.