Friday Flatlay: Sweet Dreams

Friday Flatlay: Sweet Dreams

She’s back, and she’s absolutely glowing! #Fridayflatlay is here for all you makeup and skincare flatlay lovers. Enjoy some gorgeous shots while you hustle through the end of your busy week and work on accomplishing your dreams.

♥  ♥  ♥


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Thank goodness for the weekend! This #fridayflatlay post is inspired by sweet dreams and recovery through the weekend. We’re hard working individuals and we deserve some relaxation in between doing big things! I got this adorable light box print as a gift from a friend a few years ago, so I’m not sure where it came from but this quote rings true. “Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move mountains.” These last few weeks have been absolute chaos for me, I’m looking forward to spending some relaxing time with my love and trying out my new jade roller that I’ll be reviewing for you all soon.  Keep your eyes out for a review on that next week babes.

What are your weekend relaxation plans? Any big goals you’re working on right now or mountains you need to move to make your next big step? Let’s chat in the comments below, I’d love to know!


Product List:

The Ordinary

  • “Buffet” Serum, you can read more on this product in my review here:  The Ordinary: Triple Threat
  • Lactic Acid 10% + HA, also reviewed on The Ordinary: Triple Threat
  • Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalene – Anti-Aging and fine line and wrinkle fighting little gem that is already starting to show results after a few weeks of inconsistent use. I’m going to begin using this regularly and will update you all in a new and much more thorough review soon!

It Cosmetics

  • Confidence In An Eye Cream – Anti-Aging Eye Cream to help balance and heal skin and help with aging eyes and wrinkles. – – – I’m really trying to finish up this product as fast as possible! My eyes are really suffering right now, and I ordered a new eye cream to help with moisture and puffy eyes rather than wrinkles. I’m 23, I gotta get my priorities straight! I originally tried this after reading excellent reviews online, but I personally won’t be repurchasing this item.

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Let me know what #fridayflatlay content you guys want to see next!

See you next week,

Mia ♥

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Buying Makeup on a Budget

Buying Makeup on a Budget

Looking to expand your makeup collection without breaking the bank? Here’s my favorite tricks to build and buy without destroying my wallet every single month. 

When it comes to my spending habits, I know I have to keep them under control. I still want to enjoy my hobby and find new great things for all of you to try, but I’ve had to find smarter and more affordable ways to do it. Here’s a few ways that I have found work really well for me, or that others have tried and found success with.

♥  ♥  ♥


Store Programs: 

Store programs usually offer discounts, monthly email alerts for sales and coupons and other perks for singing up. The most popular beauty programs are Sephora Beauty Insider and Ultamate Rewards. For some people, monthly email alerts might do more harm then good for sticking to budgets and making sure you don’t splurge regularly. If that’s you, I would opt out of the monthly emails and stick to browsing these websites only when necessary.

Sephora Beauty Insider

Sephora’s reward program is one of the most well known in the beauty industry. Starting as a Beauty Insider for signing up, members automatically start earning points for purchases. To level up and earn more rewards at the VIB level, you’ll need to spend at least $350 that year on makeup or skincare products. Rouge is the most coveted of the status levels likely because they get free shipping on all orders, have access to exclusive brand launches and events and your own private hotline for any questions you may have. It’s a steep climb to get there though. You have to spend at least $1000 per calendar year to maintain this luxury status level.

The most appealing level to me is VIB, which allows you to still recieve birthday gifts and free beauty classes but it also gives you access to some sweet free monthly gifts, too. Sephora has great redeemable rewards too at every level, right now for $100 points you can redeem for a sample of the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream, a STILA Huge Extreme Lash Mascara, a CLINIQUE Take The Day Off Makeup Remover For Lids, Lashes & Lips and some other high-end goodies to try. For most, this is the best part of being a Beauty Insider, VIB or Rouge member. The sample sizes are easy to test before committing to full size splurges and also offer an opportunity to try new things they may not have thought of before.

Ultamate Rewards

My personal favorite beauty brand rewards program is the one offered from Ulta. Instead of earning points to get to higher levels of rewards and more sample options, Ulta has you spend to earn money back on future purchases. Based on the dollar value spent annually, you get a credit of points back to get large purchases significantly discounted. The best part about the Ultamate program is that they also offer regular sales on beauty and skincare products as well frequent promotions where you can earn 2x, 3x, and even 5x points on specific purchases. They also have different levels of rewards you can earn too. First time members are just titled, um.. members. There’s also Platinum, and Diamond levels. Platinum can be achieved after spending $450 in a calendar year and at this status, your points don’t expire and you also get a $10 coupon every birthday, as well as a birthday gift. Diamond status can be achieved after spending $1000 per calendar year, where you also get exclusive free shipping on all orders over $25 and an annual $25 gift card to be used toward one of their beauty services.

Here’s how the points stack to get you your money back:

100 points = $3 off

500 points = $17.50 off

750 points = $30 off

1000 points = $50 off

2000 points = $125 off

Clearly, at 2000 points, the value starts to be very worthwhile. I honestly think it’s easier to spend a higher amount at Ulta rather than Sephora because they carry both high end and drugstore products. Let me tell you, it’s so much easier to rack up spending when you’re already getting your regular beauty product backups or replacements and then decide to let yourself have one nicer, or more expensive product every now and again. I do it a little too often sometimes. 🙂 With this in mind, you can easily lock in your points at the Platinum level, aka $450 spent annually so you can continue to stack your points until you’re ready to use them.


Discount Retail Stores (TJ MAXX, MARSHALLS)

If you haven’t checked your local TJ Maxx or Marshalls for Beauty or Skincare items yet, you need to. Usually only a small aisle or two, those white, dusty shelves are filled with incredible products most would overlook. Often found in the makeup section are brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills, BITE Beauty, Kat Von D, Burberry, Too Faced Cosmetics and even more incredible brands can be found throughout. Some of my favorite beauty and skincare products were purchased from TJ Maxx or Marshalls, and at a discount! Recently, I picked up the ABH Cream Contour palette in Light/Medium, La Roche Posay Anthelios Sunscreen SPF 15 Moisturizer and even a neat little oil diffuser that I’m using instead of candles to reduce spending costs. I freaking love these stores. Most of the products are discounted by at least  20 – 30% but some people are lucky enough to find products for up to 50% off. There’s definitely a better time to go though, these stores usually receive shipment on or around Tuesday’s. So check back then to see if your local stores might have something you’ve been looking for!


Monthly Subscriptions 

If you’d like to gradually and affordable build your collection but you don’t know where to start, a beauty box subscription is likely a great option. Shipping monthly or even seasonally, many subscription services offer a variety of sample, deluxe and full size products to see what works and what doesn’t work for you. Most are very affordable, and easy to cancel if you need to. Ipsy and Birchbox are only around $10/mo and claim to even be customizable, where you can build your own beauty and skin profile and choose some spoiler options for your own box/bag. My personal favorite is Boxycharm. Boxycharm sends 4-5 full size beauty and skincare products, and there’s usually at least 1 high end product in every single box. At $21/m it’s a little more expensive han boxes that strictly do samples like Birchbox and Ipsy. The quality is worth it to me though, and most boxes are valued at over $100. If you’d like to take a look at more great subscription boxes, I’d check out http://www.mysubscriptionaddiction.com where they constantly review and post information about all kinds of subscription boxes.


Reddit: aka r/MakeupExchange 

Reddit has been a great tool and resource for me. I use it for everything; research, affordable makeup buying options and incredible advice from a thriving community. One of my favorite subs is r/makeupexchange. This subreddit is dedicated to selling and buying lightly used or new makeup online. Even if you’re just browsing, you’ll be surprised at the quality of the makeup you can purchase through this sub. You’ll see incredible posts selling hundreds of high end products with low to no shipping costs at all, just be careful to watch for spam and always remember to follow the community rules!

No need to buy at all either! If you’re looking to sell some of your collection before adding anything additional back in this is the perfect place to do it!


Gift Sets

Even before blogging, strict budgets and adult responsibilities gift sets have always been my favorite way to try products and save money. For most, you spend 30-50% less on all of the products you’re buying.  Most are usually store themed or brand based so you can really discover more from a brand or other products you might not even try if you hadn’t purchased the set. Gift sets can offer new combinations of products you might really dislike too, try reading reviews and commenting questions on forums before investing in larger sets.

Sephora is one of my favorite places to shop for gift sets. They have a huge variety of different sets, including skincare, hair care and even body care ones. I love giving these as gifts, using them for reviews or even just for everyday makeup fun!


Do you have any specific tricks or habits you’ve implemented to stick to your beauty budget? I’d love to hear what works for you, or even what didn’t. Let’s chat about it in the comments below! 

Affordable Skincare: Tips and Tricks

Affordable Skincare: Tips and Tricks

Looking to add to your skincare routine without breaking the bank? Here are my favorite tips and tricks to staying on track with your goals while still improving your routine. 

Skincare has been my favorite and most expensive hobby. I remember insisting to my father at the age of 12 how important it was for me to introduce a sunscreen moisturizer at my age or else I’d be dealing with wrinkles before my 30’s. Eventually I leveraged that skin cancer has a history of running in our family, and he gave in. Finally, I was able to cultivate my own little routine and kill all of my acne before starting High School! That was the goal at least, I’m sorry to say that I never beat teenage hormonal acne. I suffered through with cystic pimples, blackheads and little comedones that would pop up whenever my period was about to return. I hated it.

Now, I frequently purchase a variety of skincare and beauty products. I’m also subscribed to multiple beauty boxes so I don’t even need to go online or in store to add to my collection anymore. It seems luxurious and awesome, but the truth is that my love and addiction to skincare was hurting my wallet and depleting my shelf space. To fix this, and to give my boyfriend more shelf space on the counter, I decided to slowly implement some new habits to get my obsession under control. I hope some of these tips work for you too! Comment below if you’ve ever tried any of these methods or if you’re working on your own affordable skincare plan.


First, plan out your budget

Think of how much you can realistically let yourself spend within a month, two months, six months or even a year. You can plan to budget for as long or as little as you need to meet your goal. Create a hard number for that allowed time period, and stick to it. This is the hardest part! For example, Audrey might have a budget of $100 every two months, and Kayla might have a budget of $20 every month. Some people prefer to give themselves larger allowances over the course of a couple of months if you tend to purchase luxury skincare or sample and gift sets, while some individuals have to adhere to a more strict monthly schedule because they know they can find products that work for them every single month.

* Super Helpful Tip: Include all your beauty/skincare subscription boxes if you have any, these still count as monthly purchases!

Track your “empties” (aka your used up products)

The best way to find out what products you liked and didn’t like is to keep a list of what you’ve tried. I try to create a small photo journal (aka an album on my phone with the products I’ve recently emptied). This is especially helpful if you have a lot of samples you would like to go through but have a hard time keeping track of what you have and haven’t used. By tracking your empties, you’ll be able to clearly identify what you didn’t like or even products that have always worked well for you. It’s also a great way to let your friends and family know about products you’ve tried and results you’ve seen, even if it was months ago! It’s amazing how this seems like an easy trick, but remembering to log and save notes about a product is a little more tedious than you think.

* Super Helpful Tip: iPhones have an option in Notes where you can post images and then comment on it for yourself, this is the easiest way I know to organize an empties journal on an iPhone. You can always use traditional pen and paper too, I just prefer the photo journal approach because it’s easier when you have an image to associate the product name to.

Introduce Project Pan

I used to see posts on reddit titled Project Pan that would fall into my feed on a regular basis. At first it sounded a little weird, people posting photos of their used products. There were images of worn makeup palettes, concealer tubes with stoppers taken out and product running over. The most interesting photos were tubes of products like primers and foundation cut open in order for the person to use up every last drop of product. Now, it just makes so much sense. You use up all of your products, samples and backups before purchasing new items. No more backups of cleansers that already last for months, and finally finding out if that sample hair mask really works or not.  It’s even better if you subscribe to beauty box subscriptions because you can finally use up all of the samples that fill your drawers and extra the bins underneath your sink.

* Super Helpful Tip: If a product irritated your skin, give it to a friend or donate it to a local shelter. You can try to use it again to make sure it really didn’t work for you, but use the potential problem child by itself before implementing it into your routine again. Better safe than suffering through a breakout!

Re-Gift/Trade Unwanted Products

Friends or family that collect samples, products or even subscriptions are probably in a similar situation as you and want to get rid of things they know they don’t like or won’t use. This is especially helpful if you and your friends or family have different skin types, which means that products are likely to work differently for each of you. Then you’re more likely to see some benefit out of the cleanser that didn’t work for Annie at all, because she has dry skin and you have oily! It’s awesome, and it’s a fun way to share and reach out to others that share similar hobbies. This is especially helpful on lower budgets, because you still get to try more products without having to spend any money

The One Product at a Time Approach

 Using one new product that you already have or just purchased every 30 days. Spacing out your purchases allows you to purchase a little bit better products with your budget allowance. Introducing a single product at a time is much better for your skin too, it allows it to adjust and helps you identify if the product is causing any irritation or acne breakouts. If you have a larger collection of products that you want to use before buying new ones, working on rotating one new item might seem a little slow to eliminate items you’ve gathered. However, that slow pace of decluttering and using up products will help keep you from impulsively purchasing new ones as often.


Top 10 Best Skincare Products you can buy on Amazon

Top 10 Best Skincare Products you can buy on Amazon

Do you want to change your skincare routine but don’t know where to start? Read on to find out about the Top 10 Best Beauty Products you can buy on Amazon to see what you can introduce, affordably! 

COSRXPATCHES

COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch, 24 Patches

I’ve been using these hydrocolloid patches for the last three months, and I’m so happy that I found them. These are a quick, effective, gentle and affordable tool in fighting acne breakouts. Before using these, make sure your skin is cleansed, exfoliated and free of other products. Once you see a pimple start to form a head, place one of these over the head of the pimple and leave on overnight. In the morning, your zit will be sucked into the gel of one of these patches. It’s sick how satisfying it is to see all the gunk out, and even better that the spot is either gone completely or significantly reduced in size.

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Hangsun Electric Face Brush SC200

I have spoken about this exfoliating electric face brush before, and I’m still in love with this product. I found this a few months ago online and was intrigued because this face brush is completely water proof! That means if you need to, you can use it in the shower and not worry about cleaning the brush. The kit also came with multiple brush heads including a sensitive facial brush, a regular facial brush and a larger body brush. The brush heads are great quality, affordable to replace and I can always rely on this brush to exfoliate all the dead skin away and remove any leftover makeup before bed. I use this nightly, but if you have sensitive skin introduce this product into your cleansing routine every other day to start!

AZTECHEALINGCLAY

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing

This is one of the most raved about mud masks on the internet. It’s easy to see why too, the mask is affordable, has a fun DIY quality to it and actually works! The product comes in a tub as a powder and to create the mask you need to combine it with apple cider vinegar (the most effective option) or water. After combining, spread this mask across clean skin in your acne/oily problem areas with your fingers or a brush. I find that a brush works best, as it reduces the amount of times you touch your face and add unnecessary oils to it. The bentonite clay in this masks helps to deeply penetrate pores, absorb oil and keep your skin looking great and clear from toxins. Be careful though, this mask is a little tough on sensitive skin! It’s advised to not wear this mask for more than 5-10 minutes on delicate skin types.

BIOREAQUARICHWE

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+/PA++++

The holy grail sunscreen of all holy grail sunscreens. This SPF 50 Watery Essence is so gentle, fast absorbing and doesn’t irritate skin. It’s gentle enough to wear and reapply throughout the day without having to worry about grease and intense flashback in photos. Created by Korean skincare experts, this sunscreen lasts even in tough humidity, so you can count on it all summer long. It’s also incredibly affordable, so you don’t have to worry about adding an expensive product just to get the proper sun protection your skin deserves.

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Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser for All Skin Types

This is another repeat item that I’ve spoken about before in a previous article. I really enjoy how gentle this cleanser is and that almost all skin types can benefit from introducing this simple step if they currently don’t have a skincare routine. It’s affordable, and the amount of product you get is insane! I go through a container of this every 6 – 8 months, and that’s because I share it with my boyfriend. He has very oily skin and noticed that it was getting less oily throughout the day with regular use of this product. I feel even better about my purchase knowing it’s paraben free, sulfate fee, and fragrance free.

Ceravemoisturelotion

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Yet another sulfate, paraben and fragrance free product! Yay! Adding a moisturizing lotion with Hyaluronic Acid in it has made a huge difference in the elasticity and plumpness of my skin. HA’s help your skin retain moisture, but can cause skin sensitivity so it’s still a good idea to use this product either exclusively in the evening or with a sunscreen if you’re going outside. This lotion is my top pick because it’s gentle on skin, and a great starter option if you’re new to moisturizers or have dry or combination skin.

Biodermamicellar

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Cleansing Water

You’ve seen this before on instagram, Pinterest and your other favorite websites. This is the most raved about micellar water on the market because it doesn’t leave behind a residue on the skin, doesn’t irritate sensitive skin and takes off all my makeup before following with my second cleanse. This micellar water from Bioderma even takes away the most finicky of mascara’s, which is why she’s the only one I’m going to repurchase in the future.

differingel

Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1%

Used for anti-aging and acne, retinoids are making a break through across all ages of individuals in their skin care routines. This retinoid gel is an easy, affordable way of getting a strong dose of treatment to your problem areas. Start slow with this product, and only use it at night. Retinoids should traditionally be used 1 at a time, so be careful with this product if you already use one in your routine. I have used Deciem’s The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalene but I prefer this product because of the easy application and price.

madhippievitc

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

While this is one of the most expensive products on this list, it is also one of the most impressive. Vitamin C serums are a great fighter of anti-aging signs like fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. I use this product almost every day and have noticed a significant improvement in my skin texture and dark spots that usually pop up on the apples of my cheeks. Vitamin C is also known to improve collagen production in the skin, and is completely natural! You only need a few drops of this every evening, so it will last you quite awhile.

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TONYMOLY Master Lab Hyaluronic Acid Mask

Tony Moly is a well packaged and very effective affordable Korean skincare brand that recently has been making waves in the United States. Making everything from hand cream to face masks and peels, they have a lot of unique and adorable products that are so tempting to try! I have been trying out a lot of their masks lately, and the Master Lab have seriously been outperforming a lot of my other masks! These are very affordable, and have powerful formulations of ingredients like hyaluronic acid for moisture retention and collagen for restoring elasticity to the skin. They have so many different versions of the Master Lab, and most come in a very thick and sticky serum. There’s enough to save for later or to apply to your neck or chest after use.

Have you used any of these products? Comment down below your skin type and if any of these have or have not worked for you!