Done and Dusted Product Review – YSL Touche Éclat All Over Brightening Pen

The empty product.

Hi all – back with a very quick “done and dusted” product review. This is on the *eponymous* YSL touche éclat brightening pen. This pen is a “cult favorite” per Sephora’s website and I’ve purchased this a few times over the past 15 years. I have to say, this will be my last time and I don’t recommend it for others in my age group. While the packaging is beautiful and functional (and it should be for the price) the product no longer suits my skincare needs.

This is somewhat of a hybrid product, crossing between a concealer and highlighter stick. I mainly use it under my eyes for brightening and concealing purposes. It is very lightweight and goes on very nicely and blends beautifully, and it has a nice consistency. While it has some good elements, I think that if YSL would formulate this product as one or the other (concealer or highlighter) it would make for a better product overall. While the consistency is great, it doesn’t provide enough coverage concealer wise or enough highlight to make it worthwhile. I may have liked it more when I was younger because my skin was different and doesn’t require the, ahem, ~upkeep~ it now requires. However, I have always felt that this product leaves something to be desired, and I am finally putting my foot down. This will be my final purchase of this product!

Bottom line: This $38.00 hybrid product just isn’t worth it for me. I have a bigger need for concealer under my eyes than highlighter at this point. If you don’t have dark circles/ bags, then this may work for you! An added bonus- this pen will last a very long time (I purchased this one in November of 2018 !). I still think there are probably better products for way less. I do think that YSL makes a more concealer heavy version, but at this point, I’m ready to move on, and keep using my Covergirl concealer until it runs out.

Price: $38.00

Repurchase: No

Why: Cost, product effectiveness , skincare needs

The Easiest Way to Save BIG On Rugs

Hi all-

A few days ago I posted a few stories about how to find expensive rugs (and other products) for way less. I got a ton of messages so, today, I am going to write about how you can do this. It could not be any easier, and you would be crazy NOT to do this before purchasing decor for your home.

I came about this method as I was researching rugs to buy for our home. I read that Pottery Barn rugs aren’t the best quality, and that is somewhat surprising given the price point of their items (although not surprising to me personally because I think most of their stuff is cheaply made). Further, I also read that Pottery Barn resells rugs that you can find elsewhere for a fraction of the price. Pottery Barn is not the only offender in this scheme!

So, how do you find a rug for less?

It’s simple. It’s called “Reverse Image Search” and it basically just means you search the image itself vs. searching by a title or the name of a product. Brands will rename items to differentiate them, so it can be difficult to find the “dupes.”

How do you Reverse Image Search? It’s all of three steps. 1. Open Google Images search bar on one tab of your browser. 2. Drag the selected image of the item you are searching into the Google Images Tab and 3. Hit Search! It couldn’t be easier. An even easier way? If you have a Mac, you can right click on the image and hit, “Search Google Image.” You will get a lot of random results sometimes because Google is literally searching the image. You may have to do a little bit of digging, but wow is it worth it!

I am going to share some of my best finds below. Happy shopping!

If you’re interested in the above rug, it’s linked here.

I think it’s pretty nice for a printed rug. $674 at Pottery Barn vs. $209 at Overstock.

McGee & Co does this too with their rugs. Maybe not quite as bad as an of offender as Pottery Barn but you can find almost all of their rugs on other sites.

This is another pretty rug – feminine with warm colors. If you’re interested in getting on the waitlist, Wayfair is excellent about notifications for in stock items. Check out the Wayfair option here.

This next item a hand-knotted rug by Erin Gates. I actually really love it, but with having a dog I honestly doubt we will ever buy a hand-knotted rug. Just look at the price difference. At McGee & Co it’s $4,025. At Wayfair, it’s $1,399.99. Click here for the Wayfair version and add yourself to the waitlist! As a side note, we do have a rug in this Erin Gates brand (indoor/outdoor), and we love it.

Back to Pottery Barn. Here’s another one I had saved and found for much cheaper. $359.00 vs $109.00. Add to your wishlist/ in stock reminder here.

I love the above rug and was *this* close to buying it from Pottery Barn (we are looking for a new rug for our bedroom). Just look at the price difference (not to mention the fact that Overstock offers free shipping)! If you are interested in checking out this rug (I think ALL the colors are beautiful) click here.

Moving on to every blogger’s favorite home decor store- Serena & Lily. I will say that the hand knotted rugs on Serena & Lily appear to not be mass produced, as I could not find many dupes there. I am also not looking to spend $6,000 on an area rug from Serena & Lily tbh, so it all works out. I did find a dupe pretty easily though, and it’s a style I actually love – jute. Unfortunately, jute/ sisal/ other natural fibers do not work great with pets, because the weave is much looser and the natural fiber absorbs dirt/ stains/ etc.

If you love this rug, you can check it out on here. Personally, I love everything about this – can go in any room, with most types of furniture and adds nice texture and warmth. If we didn’t have a dog, this would be at the top of my list. Also, I actually have ordered from before and had no issues, even though the website itself leaves something to be desired.

So there you have it – a few finds and favorites from my rug search. I believe this also happens with furniture from various retailers, so be sure to use the image search function as you are looking at home decor!

Kayaking the Upper Cuyahoga River

If anyone is looking for a fun socially distant summer activity, I highly recommend kayaking! There are lots of places to kayak in the northeast Ohio area, including the Upper Cuyahoga River. I’ve been kayaking in this area half a dozen times or so, during different seasons, and it’s always lovely. My mom started taking my sister and I to this area when we were young and I’ve been going ever since!

If you don’t own a kayak, there are a variety of places you can rent kayaks from along the Cuyahoga. Ryan and I actually have an inflatable kayak which worked great on our recent trip to North Carolina. However, because the Cuyahoga is very rocky/shallow in certain areas, we ended up renting some from Burning River Adventures. We’ve rented kayaks from this company before, and we felt safe with the social distancing precautions they had in place. Burning River Adventures also provides shuttling and drop offs if you do own your own kayak.

Ryan organized our excursion as a birthday gift for his Dad, and it was so fun. We had perfect weather and it was beautiful out. Birds were chirping, dragonflies humming, and the cicadas whirred as we floated down the river. You do not need kayaking experience to head out and paddle the Cuyahoga. It is slow paced with a few “rough” spots of water, but you mostly just glide with the (2 mph) current the entire time. As I mentioned before, the water is shallow in some parts, so you can get stuck! Just push with your paddles and scoot your way out if this happens.

We rented kayaks and did the 4.5 mile trip. I would love to do the longer 10 mile trip next time.

Some beautiful flowers near the river.
A serene setting.

We rented sit on top kayaks which I love. They’re much more comfortable than traditional sea kayaks in my opinion, and much more open. This leaves you exposed to the elements so they wouldn’t be ideal in open water or inclement weather, but for a slow paced trip down the river, they were perfect.

Debbie and Gregg paddling along.
📸 by Ryan

There are also some other great areas to kayak in the greater CLE area.

  • 41 Degrees North Kayak Adventures – kayaking rentals and tours out of Rocky River. My mom and I did the Lake Erie sunset tour years ago and it was amazing!
  • Hinckley Lake – another great spot for any skill level. You can rent kayaks through the Metroparks here.
  • LaDue Reservoir – a big reservoir with lots of nooks and crannies to paddle around. I love that this company gives you a sizable discount on rentals if you help keep the area tidy while out paddling- check out Breakaway Excursions, here.
  • The Metroparks has additional rental options on their website. They usually have special outings but unfortunately have scaled back this year.
  • River Cruiser Kayaks offers a couple of unique routes – one of which ends up downtown.
  • More Upper Cuyahoga River rentals through Camp Hi. Camp Hi also offers canoe rentals as well as pavilions and campgrounds.
Camp Hi started as a camp back in the 1930s – photo c/o Camp Hi website

Kayaking is a beautiful way to spend a few hours and it felt so peaceful. I think getting out in nature is always so good for the mind, body and soul, especially in the craziness that is 2020! What other activities do you think would be fun? Leave some ideas in the comments below!

Book Review(s) – ‘Circe’ and ‘Song of Achilles’

Popping on to quickly talk about two books I read recently, both by the extremely talented writer Madeline Miller. I read these this past month and thought they were both absolutely phenomenal. I truly cannot say anything negative about either of these books, I just wish they had kept going.

They are two individual books but in the interest of time, I’ll write about them as one. Everything about both of these books was incredible. There are a lot of articles and summaries available out there, so I won’t do much recapping but wow- these have to be two of my favorites I’ve read in a long time.

Both of these books are based on Classical Greek mythology and both draw largely from Homer’s the Iliad and the Odyssey. I think part of the reason I enjoyed them both so much is that it took me back to my Latin and classics classes which were always amongst my favorites.

You don’t have to have read the Odyssey or the Iliad to enjoy either of these novels. Miller breaks down hugely complex epic poems into brand new and inviting tales all her own. Her writing is so beautiful it’s hard to describe.

Anyways, if you have any interest in history, classical mythology, or just a beautifully written book, I highly recommend either of these novels. I don’t think I could pick a favorite between the two as they are both fantastic. I will say I think ‘Song of Achilles’ is a little easier to get into, but ‘Circe’ is more of an epic tale and I really enjoyed that it was written from a female perspective, given that it’s set in Ancient Greece. I recommend both and give them 5/5 stars ⭐️.

Done and Dusted – Product Reviews: Acqua di Parma Rosa Nobile

Starting a new series of posts that I will update periodically called “Done and Dusted.” I am going to review products that I have finished and my thoughts on them!

Acqua Di Parma Rosa Nobile Parfum: Buy it here.

I bought this perfume (in the smallest size, during a VIB sale) after receiving a free sample with a previous Sephora Order. It is a beautiful, light every day scent that I feel can be worn year round. It’s floral and not overly sweet at all. It is also not powdery smelling whatsoever which can be the downfall of many rose scented products. This smells like something you could wear for years, at any age. I definitely recommend this and will likely repurchase at some point after I run out of other perfumes. It stays on fairly well (the scent is still obviously present after 2+ hours). Not as good as some Chanel or Aerin perfumes, but better than many others I have tried. This is the fastest I have ever gone through a bottle of perfume, because it became my everyday scent soon after purchasing. I also received complements on this several times. If you’re looking for a lovely, everyday perfume, I love this product! And yes, I had been using daily even while WFH just because.

Would I repurchase? Yes

Price: $72.00

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Cocktails 101: Spicy Palomas

Hi all! This past Friday I posted a cocktail on my Instagram stories and got several messages, so I thought I may as well let you know how I made it. It could not be any easier and Ryan and I both thought they were refreshing and delicious (and tasted like a fancy cocktail from a restaurant, remember those?).

We will be making these all summer long (once it finally arrives!) . If you don’t like spice, I would recommend omitting the jalapeños. Try adding in some fruit slices instead – oranges, strawberry, mango, etc. Now is the time to get creative!

Ingredients (for one drink):

  • Tequila (one shot glass full)
  • Lime juice (3/4 of a shot glass)
  • Simple syrup (1-2 tsps)
  • Sliced jalapeños- I used 1-2 slices per drink and they were pretty spicy (I have a moderate- high spice tolerance)
  • Grapefruit LaCroix (1/3 can) – feel free to use any flavor or juice you have on hand!
  • Ice – I used ~4 normal sized cubes

Put your ice in a glass. Add tequila, lime juice and simple syrup. Stir to combine. Add jalapeños and stir again, trying to muddle the jalapeños as you stir. The muddling is not super important because the peppers will impart a lot of flavor naturally. Top off your drink with Grapefruit LaCroix (although I think any flavor would be good). That’s it! Enjoy!


Praiano, Italy

As promised, here is part two of my Italy posts! Ryan and I visited Praiano on our two week tour-de-Italy last year, and it’s one of my favorite places I’ve ever been to. We left dreaming of returning!

Praiano is a very small village on the ‘Costa d’Amalfi’. The Amalfi Coast is a small region along the Tyrrhenian Sea in southern Italy. This whole area is just breathtaking (honestly breathtaking is an understatement). There are many villages and towns in this area, most of which sit high up in the cliffs, overlooking sparkling blue water. The drive from Naples to Praiano was filled with gorgeous vistas and dramatic scenery. Praiano, as with most towns in this coastal region, started out as a fishing village many centuries ago, and has remained fairly small throughout it’s history.

We picked Praiano for a few reasons. Ryan’s parents had stayed in this village (upon recommendation) on their previous trip to Italy and loved it. After some research, it sounded like the perfect place to relax and slow down after a stop in Rome. It wasn’t very touristy and we enjoyed seeing residents just going about their normal day to day activities throughout our stay.

Praiano has a beautiful little beach in an inlet close to town. The water alternates between a deep cerulean blue and aqua depending on the sunlight and shadows. It was remarkably clear. The pricing at the local beach is very inexpensive (for the area). Ryan and I shared a bottle of wine one day for €11. Considering this was likely marked up because we were at the beach, it’s still very reasonable! The open air restaurants and hotels surrounding the marina add to the charm.

If you’re heading to the Amalfi Coast, I don’t think you can go wrong in any town that you pick. Positano was much more crowded/touristy, but it has more expansive shopping/dining options and a much bigger beach area along with gorgeous views. Ravello (which we didn’t make it to) is even more removed than Praiano (with no readily accessible beach), so it might be nice if you just want to relax at your hotel pool all day, enjoying the incredible scenery.

I read a book called “100 Beaches of the Amalfi Coast,” during our stay in Praiano and it provided great tips on visiting the area, including geographical insights, the colorful history of the region (pirates and pillaging included!) and beautiful photographs to boot.

Beautiful book! Unfortunately I can’t find it online anywhere.

We stayed at a hotel in between one of the beaches and town, built into the cliffs (like the rest of the Amalfi Coast). It was under a ten minute walk to town and a 15-20 minute walk to the beach. This whole area is very hilly, so we definitely got in some steps during our stay!

The restaurant at our hotel.
Watching the sunrise from our room. This was one of my favorite things from our entire Italy trip. Tranquility.
Just stunning. See the little wisps of clouds over the cliffs?
Our hotel had an absolutely divine breakfast included, and each morning we enjoyed a cappuccino (or two) and frolla (a Sicilian pastry).

Ryan’s parents recommended a great hike from Praiano to the neighboring town of Positano. The trail is called “The Path of the Gods,” and it is easy to see why. You climb above the clouds to views that left me speechless. The hike was about 7.5/8 miles and took us about three hours. We took the bus back home from Positano afterwards.

Beautiful view of Praiano in the foreground and Positano across the inlet. This was about five minutes from our hotel, still a long way to go.
Every where you look is beautiful!
This unassuming door opened up to a well tended garden overlooking the sea.
Making our way up and saw this dog enjoying the sun. What a life!
A small church we passed towards the top of the mountain. I think it’s just beautiful.
The trail.
Positano in the distance.
Our delicious lunch in Positano after the hike! One of my favorite meals of our trip.

Most of our days in Praiano were spent relaxing. We walked to the beach and enjoyed pizza, seafood, and wine. The beach at Praiano is small but gorgeous, set in a little cove with the local marina and a few restaurants/ hotels around it. We also explored the town and stopped in a Limoncello factory which was super fun! We ended up sampling and buying several different kinds of Limoncello to bring home. The owner was so friendly and helpful.

This was my screensaver for several months! The water 🤯.
A refreshing drink at the beach.
You can see how buildings are built into the cliffs.
Pre – Dinner photo 😊

I have tons of beach pictures but again, I’ll save you all 😉. FYI: the Amalfi coast beaches are generally rocky (or just slabs of rock jutting into the ocean). Just something to be aware of.

Praiano was one of the highlights of our whole trip to Italy, and the place that I reflect back on the most. It was so relaxing, peaceful, and enjoyable! I guess I am tending to gravitate towards the more relaxing parts of vacations these days! Duh- isn’t that the whole point of it? Being near the water and feeling the sunshine on my face just makes me happy, what can I say. The town itself was small and beautiful, with many delicious dining options. I would stay here again in a heartbeat and hope we do!

Some more favorite pictures:

Stairway to heaven 😉
Golden hour. Love this couple making their way up a very steep hill.
Prosecco and sunsets 🌅.

Highlights (hint, everything).

  • Peace. This leg of our journey was such a wonderful and relaxing stop. I can’t recommend a stay on the Amalfi Coast enough. This is somewhere I must return to.
  • Insanely beautiful setting. Every morning we woke up, we couldn’t believe our eyes. Fresh air, sunshine, salty breezes, stunning cliffs, you get the idea.
  • The food here was amazing. Such good seafood and pizza!
  • The location. Praiano specifically was a great location to explore the Amalfi coast. We only ventured to Positano but if you had more time, you could easily go to Ravello, Amalfi, Atrani, Minori/Maiori, etc. There’s a convenient bus that goes along the coastal highway so it’s very easy to navigate.
  • The people were super friendly!
  • The Limoncello factory – so amazing to see and hear how it is made and the history behind the shop.

I don’t have anything negative to say about this leg of our journey, I just wish we could have stayed longer (read: forever)! It left such and impact on Ryan and I that we joked about buying a home here…. maybe someday! Until then, we will just have to come back to visit often. I also would love to explore the other towns in this area more. I think a whole summer on the coast is in order ☺️. A girl can dream!

Have you been to Praiano or the Amalfi Coast? What’s your favorite local spot? Comment below!

Ya Gotta Frittata

If you’re looking for an easy, crowd pleasing and hearty meal, look no further! We have a frittata almost weekly (either for dinner or brunch) and it’s just the best. If you’re not familiar, a frittata is similar to an omelet, but instead of solely being cooked on the stovetop, it’s also baked as well. It’s kind of a hybrid of an omelet and a quiche (without any crust).

The finished product!

We love frittatas for several reasons:

  • It’s a great way to use up aging veggies or meat in your fridge
  • They are easy and straightforward to make
  • They are very filling
  • They can be adapted to many types of diet and are relatively healthy
  • They’re delicious and keep well for leftovers

Here’s a recipe Ryan’s Mom Debbie gave us – I’ve updated it and changed some things.


  • 5 eggs, and 1-2 egg whites
  • 1 tbps butter or olive oil
  • 1 small/medium yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped veggies – I’ve used zucchini, broccoli or asparagus but use whatever you heart desires! I love asparagus with eggs, but anything works.
  • 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (optional, but a great add. Try any fun toppings you have on hand- extra onions, regular or some canned tomatoes, scallions, etc.)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup cooked meat (Canadian bacon, sausage cooked through, bacon, lunch meat, tofu, etc. this it optional!)
  • 2 red potatoes or 1 small/medium sweet potato – this is optional and a variation I just started incorporating, you could also try squash
  • Salt and pepper (haven’t measured- just to taste)
  • 1-2 tsp Garlic powder
  • Your choice of cheese for topping (optional)

How to make it:

  • Pre- heat oven to 415F.
  • Heat up your butter or olive oil in an oven safe 10” non-stick skillet over medium heat
  • Add your onion to the skillet, let it cook for at least five minutes (if you have time!) I try to let the onion caramelize a little bit.
  • Add in your chopped veggies and potatoes if you’re using those. Stir to combine with the onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let these cook anywhere from 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. They should be somewhat cooked but don’t necessarily need to be “done” or totally cooked through at the end of this timeframe since we’ll be baking this dish as well.
  • While the veggies are cooking, crack your eggs into a medium bowl and mix well with a whisk, adding in the two egg whites as well. Season with salt and pepper, and a little bit of garlic powder or seasoning du jour.
  • Add in the cooked meat and sun-dried tomatoes to the skillet. Stir to combine everything. At this point the skillet should be looking fairly full.
  • Add in the egg mixture, pouring evenly around the skillet. Let it cook on the stove top for 1-2 minutes, until the edges of the mixture are beginning to solidify. Top the mixture with cheese of your choice (optional).
  • Once the egg mixture has solidified around the edges (it will still be liquid-y in the middle) remove it (carefully!) from the stovetop and pop it in the oven.
  • Cook in the oven for 15-18 minutes.
  • That’s it! You’re done! Remove the skillet from the oven (using a mitt obviously but it’s easy to forget!) and slice it up, adding extra cheese as needed (or requested ☺️).

This recipe makes 5 good sized servings or 6 smaller servings. Ryan and I usually save half for later. This keeps really well overnight and is also great if you are hosting a brunch. I love this recipe because as long as you have eggs, you really can add any ingredients you like to make a delicious meal! We’ve used a variety of vegetables, meats, toppings, etc.

We use a non-stick skillet since we love ours, but a seasoned cast iron skillet would also work well I would think. If you have a bigger or smaller skillet on hand, make sure to adjust the baking time accordingly. Let me know if you try this- it’s so easy and is great to use up ingredients you may already have.

New (and old) Skincare Haul + tips for layering products!

I recently got to that point where I was running out of several products, so I decided to repurchase and try a few new ones as well. I noticed a ton of stores are having sales currently – there are sales at Sephora, Nordstrom, Ulta, Neiman Marcus, Tarte cosmetics, and various other beauty related sites. I am NOT here to talk about these sales today. I am here to tell you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for great skincare products. All of the items in my haul (photograph below) were under $150 total!

This may still seem like a lot (everything’s relative), but keep in mind many of these items will last at least a year, and this a full routine with items you may or may not want to incorporate. You could easily buy one or two products at Sephora for that price, and get a lesser quality product at that. Let’s dive in!

Repurchased Items:

I’ve already posted about this oil cleanser here, and I have a very important update 🚨. It *totally* wins over the more expensive Elemis brand oil cleanser, in every 👏🏻 single 👏🏻 category🚨. Having tried 4-5 oil cleansers, this one is hands down the best. This is one of my all time favorite skincare products and I would recommend it to anyone. Price: $17.00 linked here.

I am pretty bummed because the Elemis oil cleanser was so much more money and I had high expectations having heard great things about it from a few people. On the other hand, I’m also very happy because now I definitively know I can get a better product for 75% less. I think I kind of knew this would happen, because based on the price, the Elemis cleanser literally would have had to make me look 20 years old again to justify keeping it in regular rotation. Kind of a big ask for a cleanser, but nonetheless still annoyed about wasting my money. Live and learn!

The Banila product cleans much better, so you end up using way less. I think it takes off way more makeup/ buildup and is much easier to spread than the Elemis product. Similarly, I liked the texture of the Banila better – much less sticky. Lastly, as soon as I started using the Elemis products, my skin started breaking out in areas I’ve never really any issue with. It was honestly odd! Back to my old standby I go (happily)!

Ok. Moving on. I also repurchased the Biore UV Aqua Rich SPF. Best facial sunscreen ever and I stand by that! I blogged about it here. Light, moisturizing and blend-able – it bears no resemblance to traditional sunscreen products. Price: $8.48. Grab it here.

Up next is another repurchase from a few years ago! Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule. Does it sound gross? Yes, absolutely. Is it amazing? Also yes! Snail 🐌 mucin (literally snail slime) is very hydrating and wonderful for skin texture. Sidebar: Who discovered these benefits? And how? I digress. Snail “mucin contains ingredients like glycoproteins, hyaluronic acid, and glycolic acid which all have long-documented skin benefits.” Read more about its benefits here. Price: $15.89.

New Products:

Next up is a product I have been wanting to try for a while now. ‘The First Treatment Essence’ by Missha has somewhat of a ~cult~ following. This hydrating essence contains saccharomyces ferment filtrate (a type of yeast extract) amongst various other humectants, meaning it’s super moisturizing for your skin. This product is extremely similar to SK-II Facial Treatment Essence which retails for over $220.00. This post breaks down the similarities between the two products even more so. My skin has been looking a little bit drab lately so I figured I’d finally test this out! First thoughts: the packaging on this product is beautiful and feels very high end. It blended into my skin nicely. I will follow up once I’ve been using it consistently. Price: $29.00.

Another new-to-me product I purchased (also by Missha) is the Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule. This is also extremely popular and has been compared to Estée Lauder’s Advanced Nighttime Serum. A lot of beauty bloggers, skin experts, etc. swear by the EL product, but it’s at a much higher price point. I’ve heard a lot about this Missha dupe for years so I decided to finally test it out. First thoughts: again, beautiful packaging. I used it last night along with these other products and after my routine it seriously felt like I had a facial. Too early to see if it actually is the fountain of youth, but I’ll keep everyone posted. *Spoiler alert: there is no fountain of youth, except sunscreen.* Price $28.00.

I also purchased this vitamin C serum since I just ran out of my old one. Honestly, I’ve never heard of this brand (just like my last one) but it contains 20% vitamin C, 2% retinol, 5% hyaluronic acid, 2% salicylic acid, et. alt. For $15, it sounded like a great deal to me. Compare this with Sunday Riley CEO Vitamin C brightening serum which has 15% vitamin C, and no hyaluronic/ salicylic acid that I could see, the Eva brand is a better fit (for my current skincare needs and wallet – clocking in at $14.95). The Sunday Riley product retails for $85 for the exact same size (1 ounce), however it also contains glycolic acid (which is an AHA) if you are in the market for that. First thoughts: I used it this morning after splashing my face with water. This followed a full cleansing routine the night before. It has a very nice, herbal smell and went on smoothly without burning my skin.

Next on the list – Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Gold Eye Gel Patch. These eye patches contain five collagen peptides and are supposed to be great for reducing puffiness. Honestly I bought them on a whim (somewhat) but I really struggle with puffy eyes quite frequently. For $15, you get 30 pairs of eye patches. I will likely use these on an “as-needed basis” so I’m hoping they will last a good amount of time. First thoughts: I used a pair this morning and I’m not gonna lie, after I removed the patches, they had de-puffed noticeably. Coincidence? Timing? Not sure – I left them on about ten minutes. More to come! PS – these have a lot of extra product so make sure to take advantage and rub it into the surrounding eye area.

Last but not least, I bought this CeraVe retinol serum. I was interested in a retinol product because I’ve noticed some discoloration where I had breakouts in the past. Retinol helps refinish the texture of skin (which should hopefully help with my aforementioned skin spots) and it can also help reduce pore size. CeraVe doesn’t list the amount of retinol in the product (which I find odd) but since it’s my first foray into this ingredient, I’m not too concerned. If I need something stronger, I will likely go to a dermatologist. I haven’t tried this serum yet but will post an update once I do.

It is important to note that if you are using a retinol product in addition to any sort of active acid (AHA or BHA) in your skincare routine you should really apply the products at different times. This is important because your skin could get not only get irritated, but retinol and acids just don’t mix well at a pH level. Retinol does not sit well on acidic skin, and vice versa! Using the two products back to back will also make both products less effective. Read more about the science in this great article.

If you want to incorporate both (like myself), you could use one in the morning and one in the evening. As an alternative, you could also rotate nights, aka, use AHAs/BHAs on M, W, F, and use a retinol product on the other nights. This is how I plan on working these products into my routine since I don’t necessarily use an acid every day – usually 3x per week. The other option is to wait 20-30 minutes in between use of these two products to allow your skin’s pH to return to normal.

Well that just about sums it up. I wanted to provide some great products that won’t break the bank! You don’t have to shop the sales when you can get great products at great price points. Have you tried any of these products? Any other favorites you love to use? Let me know in the comments.

Spring, or April Fool’s?

Good morning and happy weekend everyone!

What a weird spring it has been. Aside from COVID affecting every aspect of normal life, we’ve also had some really weird weather in Northeast Ohio this month. We went from almost 70 degrees to snow overnight! It’s almost as if Mother Nature knows *something* is up and is throwing her hat in the ring too!

That said, I can’t complain at all. I’ve been walking outside every single day (multiple times a day) and have really enjoyed being able to see all the spring blooms and shoots sprouting up from the frosty earth. Even my morning walk in the recent snowfall (on April 16th 😭) was peaceful and beautiful. I feel extremely lucky that I am healthy and able to experience the beauty of the season, more so than in past years.

Here are some shots from walking around the neighborhood these past few weeks! These are all on an iPhone 📱 so nothing too remarkable from a photography perspective, however I enjoyed noticing little bits of beauty, rays of sunshine, and other things I may have missed in years gone by when I wasn’t getting outside as much this time of year.

Our lovely little street. This day was perfect weather wise!
This house is on a street we walk by frequently. I love the symmetry (shocker) and the little dormer windows. What a beautiful home!
My two favorites on one of our regular routes.
Happy daffies!
Blossoming beginnings

Same tree as above but in full bloom!

Snowy morning April 16th, 2020
This house ☺️

I hope that you’re having a great weekend and spring season, staying healthy and safe. Cheers to warmer, sunnier days ahead!