Five on Friday – For the Face

It’s FRI-YAY! This week has gone by surprisingly fast and I’m looking forward to a weekend with NO plans. Count ’em… zero! Not even Super Bowl plans! I like it that way.

Toward the end of last week, our little guy was hit with a stomach virus and I took a day off work to care for my baby. I loved every second of it. We snuggled, played, rested… it was perfect. On Saturday I managed to sneak out of the house for a couple hours to have my hair cut and colored and Sammy felt well enough to go to his grandparents so hubby and I could go on a dinner date. We had an early dinner at a local Italian restaurant and treated ourselves to an appetizer and wine. It was nice to talk, laugh, and relax… and shop for work shoes at JCP. #romantic We picked up little guy and got him as close as we could to his normal bedtime. At 10:30 p.m. the evil virus struck me and had me down for the next day. Man oh man, it was rough!

I fought through it and went to work Monday morning and have had a very productive week!


Let’s talk about this week’s Five on Friday, the Face edition. I’ve made a few new purchases (some unusual ones) for skincare/makeup lately and have a fave worth mentioning.

1. cleanser & make up remover

neutrogena fresh

This stuff is the My hands-down favorite cleanser to wash off my makeup each night before bed. Yes, even mascara and eyeliner! It has a creamy lather and takes off the fullest face of makeup with minimal work. I squirt half a pump into my wet hands and rub it onto my face and all my makeup comes right off. Does it sound too good  to be true?

Many cleansers leave my skin feeling tight and raw. Not this stuff! I do apply a moisturizer after using this stuff, but I am not in a rush to do so. (I’ve used some products that left my skin feeling so tight and dry that I couldn’t put on moisturizer fast enough!).

At $6ish bucks, this is a total bargain and something I will (and do) continue to repurchase.

2. yes, this is aftershave and yes, I put it on my face

I’m not crazy, I promise.

And no, I’m not shaving my face.

One of my besties works for Sephora and as you would expect, has an intense love of all-things-makeup. When she told me that she was wearing Nivea Aftershave as primer I could not believe her! Her skin looked greatly and she swore by the staying power.

So, next time I was at Walmart I searched the men’s shaving products for this little gem. It was about $6 so I thought, eh, if I hate it maybe Jeremy will like it.

Well, I love it. A pea to penny sized amount, rubbed into my palms and then evenly across my face is a god-send. This product keeps my makeup “stuck” to my face all day long. There is a man smell that comes along with it, but fades away after a minute or so. It’s nothing your coworkers will catch a whiff of.

It feels slightly tacky on the skin about 2 minutes after application. I apply my liquid concealer, liquid foundation, and then a little bit of powder and I am set for the day.

Try it. Trust me.

3. I never knew dark circles til I had a baby

I’ve always had dark circles, or rather dark pigmentation under my eyes, no matter how much sleep I get. However, since becoming a mother I can tell that they are only darker. No surprise there!

As far as concealer goes, I’ve been a fan of the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer for the past couple of years. It is affordable, easy to use, blends like a dream and doesn’t crease under the eye. Recently, I couldn’t find my shade at Walmart so I went searching for another brand,

I remembered reading rave reviews about Hard Candy Glamoflauge concealer one of my favorite blogs and decided to give it a shot.

I’ve been wearing it in the shade ‘light’ and have been really happy with the results! It reminds me of the Kat Von D tattoo concealer I used to wear in college… when I thought my dark circles were a big deal 🙂

{I am now realizing I only have 3 face products to talk about… so… I’ll make an obvious transition from dark circles to coffee…}

4. liquid cinnamon rolls, please

Still haven’t fixed the damn Keurig, but my MIL is kind enough to prep their Keurig for me when I drop off Sammy in the mornings. I’ve been bringing along my travel mug and creamer and pouring in this absolutely delicious Cinnamon Roll flavored coffee. It’s one of those things that smells just as yummy as it tastes… mmm!

5. bachelor obsessed

How can you NOT be? My final 3: Lauren B., Jo Jo, Caila with Lauren B. as the winner!

After last Monday’s “to be continued”, I think Ben will warn Olivia to settle the heck down and will let her keep her rose. But, I don’t think she will be around much longer. I would love to hear your predictions!

…Oh, and thank goodness he sent Jubes packin’!


Happy Weekend!


Current faves

Between my weekly pregnancy updates and unpacking – I haven’t had much time to post about my Five on Friday faves, Weekend in Photos, Recipes, or any other random topic I have on the mind.

Today I’m taking time (at my work desk, I’m bad) to do a quick update of my current faves.

1. brown sugar cake k-cups for the win


Gotta keep this skin in check, even during pregnancy! My old friend and esthetician Kristin researched the EmerginC Organics line that her spa carries to make sure if was pregnancy-friendly and gave me the best facial yesterday. Complete with a little brow and lash tint to prepare me for the many make-up free days to come with a newborn. I’m feeling totally refreshed – and that cucumber mask… OMG.

3. scentsy, please!

I’m either an all-Scentsy or an all-candle kind of gal. Right now I’m in a Scentsy phase. Currently enjoying Serene Green in our hall bathroom, which is at the end of the hall and makes the bedroom side of the house smell fresh and spa-like. In the living room I’m using up Soft Amber Cashmere (all time fave by the Better Homes & Gardens line at Walmart – $2). I haven’t bought a warmer for the nursery, but I have a bar of Newborn Nursery (thanks, Sydney!) opened up that is giving the room the perfect baby smell. I told Jeremy that I loved seeing and smelling Sam’s nursery when I walked by and he gave me the strangest look and said it smelled like diapers. To each his own 🙂

4. all things baby

Obviously. This weekend I took a trip to Babies R Us and dropped a few Benjamins on the remaining essentials from that registry. I need to do the same at Target, but I’m trying to pace myself with the major expenses. The diaper bag I wanted wasn’t in stock and I had to order it. I’m obsessed with it. Hopefully J won’t mind carrying such a fashion-forward diaper bag around…

I did order the orange arrow crib sheet from Land of Nod, and unfortunately it is on back order until mid-August. My parents bought a light-mocha colored sheet as a backup that is on the crib and ready to go in case Samuel Hayes arrives before the crib sheet. I know, I know… he won’t actually be in his crib for a long time.

5. “crazy bitches night”

… That’s what my husband calls Monday nights. We got wayyyy too invested in the last season of The Bachelor, so naturally we’re all about The Bachelorette.

I aggravate myself by even liking this show because I’m not the biggest fan of Kaitlyn’s sense of humor or her sequin dresses, but I do love the drama. And come on, we all know she’s going to pick Nick even though the finale isn’t until next Monday.

Will we be recording/watching Bachelor in Paradise? You better believe it. It looks too good.

6. make-up wins lately

7. those kate spade glitter studs

Yeah, the same ones floating around pretty much every blog I follow. They are perfect. Damn you baby budget! I’ll take them in any color because they are so perfect.

kate spade new york glitter stud earrings | Nordstrom

Have a terrific Tuesday!




Must-have Monday: It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream

I’ll admit, I kind of forgot about my little Must-Have Monday series. There haven’t been many products I’ve tried that I felt were truly MHM post-worth until this one…

Today I’m sharing about my experience with the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream.


Why is it a must-have? 

When I’m looking for a foundation I have key criteria that a product must meet to be a winner in my book. Those criteria are: (1) lightweight feel, (2) coverage without looking like a mask, (3) benefits my skin, and (4) is long-wearing. Here’s how the It Cosmetics CC stacks up in those categories:

  1. I definitely do not feel like I’m wearing anything on my face when I have this on. I apply it just as a would moisturizer. Right after the shower, with nothing underneath. Occasionally I do use a primer, but that’s rare. Throughout the day I feel like I’m not wearing much of anything at all.
  2. This little baby has coverage! Don’t let the “CC Cream” wording fool you. I think this has medium coverage that borders on full coverage. I like to have coverage to smooth out discolorations, red patches, scars, etc., but I do not want my freckles to be completely covered. I have tried full coverage foundations that do that and I feel like I don’t look like myself. I look too ‘flat’.
  3. This product is not only a color-correcting cream, but boasts 50+ SPF and an anti-aging system. It moisturizes wonderfully and I do feel like the texture and appearance of my skin has improved since using this product! I do feel like it is safe for my skin during pregnancy. I have done my best to avoid toners and moisturizers with acne-fighting acids and definitely haven’t even needed those kind of products since using this CC cream.
  4. I apply this at 7 a.m. each morning and go throughout the work day without seeing blotchy-ness or oxidation like I have from other products. I do set it with a powder (I’ve been using NYX Stay Matte but not Flat) in the morning, but do not reapply throughout the day — because I’m lazy.

Cost: Little bottle for $15.00 and full size for $38.

Where to buy: I have purchased this product at Ulta. I do not believe my local Sephora carries the brand (I could be wrong). It Cosmetics appears frequently on QVC as well!

Read more about the ingredients, benefits, and details online at:


Random Thoughts:

  • I’m so ready for our house to be finished… I can’t stand it! I did peek in the windows yesterday to see that the granite has been installed in the kitchen. Yippeee! Come on flooring guys… let’s rock this thing out.
  • We had a nice weekend visit from one of my aunts and cousin who live in New Orleans! It was great to catch up and have a relaxing weekend all in one.
  • I can’t stop by things for little Sam on Zulily. Baby Under Armour may be a weakness of mine! Oh – waiting on a precious Burts Bees onesie and an Aden + Anais swaddle with big red stars. I love the Zulily prices, but hate the wait!


Five on Friday

Happy Friday to you! This week’s post is a random hodge-podge of things I’ve been loving lately. No rhyme, reason or theme to this list. Enjoy!

1. e.l.f. warm eyeshadows palette

ELF eyeshadow palette 2
Photo courtesy of Google Images

If you’re in the market for a super affordable eyeshadow palette with options to create several looks, look  no further than this product from e.l.f. I picked this up from Target a year or two ago and have forgotten about it. I “found” it in our move and have been reaching for it more lately. The palette offers a wide range of shades and finishes. To be honest, some shadows in this palette flat out stink and some are stunning. But for $6 – I’ll take it. A few of my faves are the darker metallics and the mid-tone neutrals. It’s a winner!

2. a seriously good cookie

I’m typically not an impulse buyer at the grocery store, however… I had a frustrating day at work on Wednesday and had a raging tension headache when I exited off the interstate on my way home. I knew our pantry was bare – so bare that we had cinnamon pancakes for dinner the night before – and I had no other option than to go grocery shopping. What makes it even better? I am sure that I chose the store’s worst shopping cart too. Bad wheels and all. I think I got a serious upper body workout keeping that baby on course.

I bought a lot – 9 dinner meals worth! When I was almost finished, I talked myself into a treat for battling with the cart… and the headache.

I’ve never had Coconut Dreams, but these spoke to me! Holy cow, they’re good. Chewy, not overly coconutty, caramely, with a crunch in the middle. So good. So good, in fact, they’re gone. Oops.

3. Christmas!!!


Christmas has arrived at the Graddy house! Jeremy and I decorated our tree on Monday and I just love it!

I also took time this week to decorate our tree at work! Can you tell that I have a thing for red and white candy cane stripes?




4. Zulily

It’s the bomb. Join the site here:

A couple weeks ago I scored 2 super cute Jessica Simpson brand purses for $25 each – and they’re leopard print! Perfect for Christmas gifts. Then, I bought a couple pairs of booties this week for $14.99. Seriously! One pair for myself, and the other pair will be a gift.

Also, as you browse Zulily, look for their “Ship by Christmas” icon next to items if you plan on purchasing a Christmas gift.

5. 25 before 25

Remember that long list I made about 11 months ago? I’ve been thinking about it lately. After all, I have a little over a month left to complete it! Things on my radar: make chimichurri, homemade pasta, and smoothies. While it isn’t necessarily smoothie-weather (isn’t spring and summer prime smoothie time?), I need to get crackin’. If you have a favorite recipe, please let me know!

That’s it for today’s post. I need to leave my office and pick up a few things for our work Christmas party this afternoon. I just love the holidays 🙂 Have a great weekend!

5 skin essentials for Summer

It’s true. Your skin does change depending on the season. Temperature, humidity, and sunlight combine to create a skin-freakout for me in the summer. I’ve drafted a few new players into my summer skincare routine for 2014 and it’s shaping up to be a great skin season.

In this post I’ll give you a quick run-down of my all-stars for a flawless face. My aim is to provide you with enough information for you to decide if any of these players could work for you.

Background on my skin: It’s pretty normal. Maybe the most normal thing about me! I do have eczema on other parts of my body, but thankfully I’ve never had a problem with my face. Sure, I had a go around with acne during my teenage years and it’s left a few scars, but nothing too terrible. I tend to be dry in the winter and normal in the spring/summer and maybe just a tad oily (depending on the makeup products I’m using- some enhance the oil, some improve).

I’ll start with makeup removal. My friend Melodie turned me onto this product and I am so thankful for her sharing it with me! The Garnier Clean Nourishing Cleansing Oil is an interesting product.

garnier clean

I pump twice into my dry hands. Then begin working it into my face. It dissolves my makeup, including my eye makeup. I like to use 1 additional pump on my eyes and I gently rub it into my lashes to remove my eye makeup. I then wet my hands and begin “lathering” the oil and it then starts to emulsify and break up. When I’ve completely rinsed my face, my skin is free of makeup and is as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Some people may not want to use this oil to remove eye makeup. Totally understandable. I would still recommend it for all over the face.

Also, oily skin girls are probably scrambling as fast as they can to close this blog after thinking about adding oil to oily skin. Never fear! My oily skin friends love this product. My only complaint is the packaging. From what I can tell the pump does not lock and my leaks when it’s tipped over.

Now that I have removed my makeup, I cleanse my skin. My favorite product for this step is the Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleanser. I’ve raved about it before. It is perfectly gentle while still getting the job done. This is safe to use on your eyes. I use it to remove any last bits of mascara or waterproof eyeliner that may be hanging around.

neutrogena fresh

My favorite part about this cleanser is that it does not leave my skin thirsty. I’ve used other products that made my skin super tight and dry feeling immediately after washing my face. This product does not give me that sensation at all.

I’ve never been much of a toner gal, but since I have been working out regularly I want to make sure my pores don’t get junk built up in them and cause a breakout. I have been using Clean & Clear Deep Cleansing Astringent.

deep cleaning toner


You may remember me mentioning this product in my Biore pore strip review. Because this toner is medicated, I only use it once a week. (Maybe twice if I’m feeling a little pimple coming on). I think this is a good product to have on hand so that you’re totally prepared for a breakout, if and when it happens. It’s all about offense and defense. This product can work double duty for you!

Another winner on the offense, is the Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Defense Face Lotion. Even though “defense” is in the name of this product, it is something I have to have. If I am using this at least once a day my skin will ward off any possible enemies. I’ve gone periods of time without using this… like when I run out, or get a bright idea to try something new just for fun. I always go running back to my tried and true Rapid Clear wondering why I ever left!

neutrogena rapid clear

In the morning I will apply this right out of the shower. Let it dry, then march ahead with my makeup primer. At night, I’ll use this after makeup removal, cleansing, and toning (if I do it).

If I’m dealing with any dry patches, or more recently the effects of a little too much time in the sun, I’ll reach for my Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil.

argan oil

After seeing numerous YouTube and beauty bloggers rave about this stuff, I picked up the tiny bottle for $16 at Sephora. The big one is nearly $50 and I didn’t want to commit to that cost not knowing if my skin would like argan oil.

Like I said, I use this when my skin is thirsty. I use the dropper and put 5-6 drops on the back of my hand and work the oil into my face, focusing on my problem areas and of course rubbing the oil all over my cheeks, edges of my nose, undereyes, etc.

While I don’t find this oil to be groundbreaking, I do think it is helpful on occasion. I would say that I use it once a week. (Not the same day as toning!)

There you have it — a little update on my skincare routine for summer. I hope you found this post to be helpful! If you have used these products and have a comment to share, please do so below!

Note: None of the products mentioned contain SPF. If you spend any time in the sun and do not use a foundation that contains some SPF I would search for something new. 


Must-have Monday: Milani Extreme Eye Tech Eyeliner

It’s been so long! I’m thrilled to back in the MHM game. Let’s get going…

This week I present to you, Milani’s Extreme Eye Tech Eyeliner in Black.



Why is it a must-have? I suck at liquid eyeliner, true story. With this eyeliner, I consider myself a liquid eyeliner wearer. The thin-tapered felt tip is a dream. In the past I struggled with traditional liquid eyeliner applicators. I ended up with eyeliner everywhere EXCEPT for my lash line.

I’m an artistic person and I totally feel like this is why I’ve had success with this product. It’s like using a little marker.



I have had this eyeliner for months. I need to replace it because I have noticed some drying in the product. Even though this eyeliner is far from new I’m still getting a bold line at even light pressure. I like the slightly shiny black appearance, too. The light line on the right was me barely brushing the skin…. I mean barely. Perfect for lower lash line definition. The swatch above does not do this liner justice.

One reason I love this eyeliner is the staying power. This baby doesn’t budge. It claims to be waterproof – and I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s not. You’re not going to be able to shower, swim, etc. without a little “raccoon” action.

One thing it is, is sweat proof. I can sweat my booty off and this eyeliner does not budge. I will rub my eyes with my shirt while working out (usually because I get sweat in my eyes – currently searching for an awesome sweat-wicking headband.. more on that later) and this eyeliner doesn’t budge. My mascara will smudge, but not this eyeliner. Love that.

Cost: The $7 range.

Where to buy: In my opinion, Milani products can be tricky to find. In my area, I buy Milani at Kmart CVS stores. I have seen Milani at Walmarts in other states.

There you have it, another product recommendation from me to you. I hope that you’ll consider this eyeliner if you’re in the market for a liquid liner that’s fool (and sweat) proof.


Random Thoughts:

  • Loving NYX lip products right now. Mmmm butter glosses!
  • My husband is still waiting to hear about a job that he has had 2 interviews for – it’s driving us nuts. Tomorrow marks 3 weeks since his first interview.
  • What are your plans for 4th of July? I’m looking forward to a 4-day work week.
  • I’m waiting on a couple shipments of online purchases to arrive. Those leopard Tom’s and my first Fabletics outfit!


Review: Biore Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips

Nobody likes a clogged pore – especially my husband. You see, he’s got a nose full of them and this weekend we set out on an adventure to help his poor pores.

He knows that I’m a YouTube junkie and thought we should consult YT vids for product suggestions. A few videos we watched recommended using a clothes steamer to open and loosen up your pores prior to cleaning them out. We thought that was a great idea! We received a really nice quality clothes steamer for our wedding and haven’t used it yet. Quickly we ran into a problem, where is the freaking steamer? We decided we’ll use the steamer once we move out of my parents and can actually locate our things.

(Because he’s not proud of his pores, I didn’t use his before and after photos for this post so you’ll be looking at my nose.)

The products used are:


  • Biore Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips ($5-6)
  • Clean & Clear Deep Cleaning Astringent ($5-6)

Neither Jeremy or myself had ever used pore strips and we loved it~ I like using a product when you can see immediate results. Here’s how we used the products, step by step.

1. It was a no-makeup weekend for me so I started by cleansing my face with my Neutrogena Naturals Cleanser (read my skincare routine post). If I had makeup on, I would have removed it with a wipe before washing my face.
2. I wet my nose and dried my hands, then applied the pore strip. My biggest problem areas are the sides of my nostrils so I made sure the strip got down in that crevice.


3. I set a 15-minute timer. It too everything I had to not put moisturizer on my thirsty skin. We quickly noticed the pore strip becoming plaster-like.

4. After the timer went off, the removal process began. I started pulling from the outside in, going very slowly. I loosened the edges working toward the center of my nose one side at a time. Then I pulled from the top down. The entire process was painless, but this did make my eyes water a bit. The key is to pull slowly so that the gunk is pulled out of your pores as the plaster-like strip comes off your nose.

5. Then, I applied toner to my nose and the rest of my face using a cotton pad. Yes, there was a sting! Just remember that your skin is cleaned and rid of gunk so your pores are definitely soaking in the toner. The Clean & Clear toner we chose has 2% salicylic acid. There were .5% options for those of you who want to take a more cautious approach.

6. The toner should dry quickly and then it is time to quench the skin with moisturizer! I’ve been having a few problems spots on my skin so I used an acne fighting face lotion by Neutrogena but used my sensitive skin moisturizer around my eyes.

Here are my before and after shots:

before on the left, after on the right

Would I repurchase this product? Yes, I think it is beneficial for my skin. I can see what it removed from my skin on the pad. I am not sure how often I’ll be using them, but when I notice a pore problem I’ll know what to do.

Is the product worth the price? I think so. If this can extend my time between costly facials I would consider it a win.

Does the product live up to its claims? Mostly. It does unclog pores and leave the skin clean. Jeremy has more visible, larger pores on his nose than me. He was hoping for a quick fix didn’t get as wonderful of results as he wanted. I think that if he keeps up with the products we purchased (also picked up a deep cleaning exfoliating daily cleanser and his own sensitive skin moisturizer) he will see results over time. Will he actually do it? Who knows, but I’ve done my best to arm him with the proper tools.

For someone like me who has average pores, I think this product is a hit. If you have tried these pore strips, successfully or otherwise, please let me know what your experience was. I’m curious to hear what you all have to say!