Friday, July 28, 2017

Life Lately: July

It's time for another life update. I have been trying to do these monthly because I'd like to share more of my life and it doesn't really fit in with daily style posts! It's been a busy month for us with our trip, my daughter's surgery, and house related things. 

Books I've Read:

This story alternates between the present life and past of the main character Victoria. She has been a foster child her entire life and has learned the meaning of flowers at one of her foster homes. She uses her knowledge in the book to work through some issues she has. It's a really good book and I enjoyed the characters and storyline. Because you learn her past slowly during the book, it keeps you turning the page! 

This is a JA book but the plot sounded interesting so I added it to my Kindle before we left for Ireland. It's a historical fiction novel that centers around an English girl whose father moves to Whales with her and one of the Welsh servants in their house. It's set in the 13th century and there is a lot of unrest between the English and Welsh that culminates in an uprising. The relationship between the two girls is very interesting as it develops and I thought the author did a great job of staying true to the time period and maintaining the characters' personalities. I'd recommend it if you are looking for a historical novel that doesn't require background research to understand.

I was looking for an easy read and sometimes I like to pick up Nora Roberts. I appreciate her plots are not completely romance based and the romance doesn't get too, um graphic? This is the first in a trilogy about 3 brothers restoring a historical inn in a small town. The first book is about one of the brothers rekindling a crush he had on a girl in high school along with their progress on the inn. Oh, and the hotel is haunted, too. It was ok. I might end up reading the other 2 books in the series I might not. Honestly I liked the back story of the inn and learning about the restoration the most! The love story didn't hook me as much. 

Recipes I've Tried:

Cowboy Butter- We tried this over grilled chicken and it was delicious! We had some extra so I am saving it and using it on veggies. Definitely a hit with my husband!

Caprese Burger with Artichoke Pesto Sauce- These were amazing, but also kind of hard to eat. With the burger, mozzarella, sauce, and tomato, it gets piled pretty high! I did like all the flavors together though and I am sure we will make these again. I think the sauce was my favorite part!

Skincare & Beauty Products I've Tried:

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation and Setting Powder- I received the Laura Mercier foundation and setting powder to try from Influenster in the Flawless Fusion Voxbox. I am pretty partial to my drugstore brand (reviewed here), but I am always willing to try something new. I really liked that I got about the same level of coverage and it was long lasting. Even though it says it is matte, I found it to have a very slight dewiness to it which I really liked. Combined with the setting powder, this foundation stood up to high humidity all day long and had a nice finish.

When Masks- I love my masks and do one a couple times a week. I received 5 different ones from When through Brandbacker to review including:
10:00 PM - Anti-Aging
Contains watermelon extract and collagen to protect skin and help improve skin conditions

Glamour Base - Primer (previously called Makeup Base)
Contains adenosine, collagen and peptides to help improve skin elasticity

Snow Magic - Brightening
Contains niacinamide (vitamin B3) and aloe vera leaf extract for brighter, glowing skin

The Last Choice- Hydrating
Contains sodium hyaluronate and saccharide isomerate to help keep skin moisturized

Travel Mate - Rejuvenating 
Contains chamomile flower water and Swiss Alpine herb extracts to gently hydrate and soothe skin

All When masks contain hyaluronic acid and ginseng extracts to help keep skin moisturized and healthy. They can be found at Sephora online (here). So far I have tried the 10:00 PM and Snow Magic. I felt like my skin was smoother, brighter, and more moisturized. I've tried other sheet masks, and these are made of thicker material, but stay on much better. Normally I need to constantly adjust and reapply them during the 20-30 minutes, but not with When masks. They really feel like quality masks and I love them! 

Jan Marini's C-ESTA Serum 
This is another product I received from Brandbacker to try. C-ESTA serum a powerful serum that contains several antioxidants including Vitamin C and DMAE. It claims to lift, firm, and tighten the appearance or your skin to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I used it after my toner and before my moisturizer. I used it for about two weeks once a day. I do think after two weeks I was seeing a small difference with my fine lines and skin texture. I was pleased with the overall results and plan to continue using it. Ever since I started using products with Vitamin C, I have been really pleased with the change in my skin tone! It's a great ingredient to include in your skin care routine. Thumbs up for C-ESTA serum! 

Simplicity Skincare- The idea behind Simplicity Skincare is to deliver a high quality, anti aging skincare in one product. I was excited when I received this from Brandbacker to try because it is quite different than my typical routine. My daily skincare routine often consists of up to 7 products before I put my makeup on. It takes a lot of time to put them on and to wait for them to absorb. And especially while traveling it gets problematic. But I have a strong desire for results so I continue to use that amount of product to get the results I want. It does make you wonder if you can get results from less products. Simplicity Skincare is a dual chamber system designed to work together, by delivering the highest quality anti aging peptide moisturizer and hyaluronic serum available. It's also carry-on compatible making it perfect for traveling! I wish I had this before we left for Ireland. Most of the time I just leave many of my serums and creams at home, but this would have been perfect! The pump works easily and the product is just enough for your entire face. After using this a week, I liked how much time it saved me. It kept my skin hydrated without feeling oily or sticky at all. I am looking forward to continuing to try this longer to see what the long term results are. 

Simplicity Skincare is giving away a year's supply of Simplicity Skincare's Reversal Protection Complex! You can enter for a chance to win here.

iphone Case Giveaway

I recently received the EVO Check Lace Edition iphone case from tech21 and have been loving the pretty lace pattern! If you missed it yesterday, you can enter for a chance to win your choice of the Lace, Urban, or Active edition cases from tech21! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ireland and Gender Reveal

Right before we left for Ireland, we had our 20 week anatomy ultrasound for the baby and opted to find out the gender. We thought it would be special to tell our family and Claire the gender while in Ireland. We didn't want to have anything extravagant, so I bought Hershey bars and colored in HE or SHE for girl and then wrapped them up with this little poem. Our first day in Ireland we visited County Wicklow and had tea at Avoca where we gave everyone a Hershey bar. 
Most of us thought it was a boy, especially Claire, but we were wrong! Luckily she took it all in stride and I have the cutest video of her opening her candy bar! 

I still plan on doing an Ireland trip recap, it's just been really busy lately! We've been getting a lot of house work done to get ready for our little one's arrival. I tend to go a little overboard when getting projects done so this means we've installed closet organizers in two bedroom closets, gotten some drywall repair (we had a few small cracks), we are planning on refinishing the wood floors in 2 bedrooms, gotten new closet doors, and been painting and organizing. And that's all before we can get the baby's room ready! We are going to move Claire to what is now our guest room so that room really needs to get done first. Hopefully by the end of August we can start getting it organized. I am so excited to decorate her new room for her and start to wash all the baby clothes and blankets we have stored in our basement. And Claire is still recovering from her tonsillectomy this past Monday. Hopefully things wind down in August.


  1. Thanks for the update. The Language of Flowers is one of my favorite books. I brought it our book club years ago. All these products look amazing. I am a big fan of Laura Mercier. Have a great weekend Laura!

  2. Oh yey! Congrats on finding out the gender! How exciting it will be for you to have two adorable daughters - Claire will be so excited to be a big sister so I'm sure that's why she was happy even if it wasn't what she expected! It's funny you'll have 2 girls and I'll have 2 boys - lots of benefits to having them both the same - you can reuse clothes for one haha!

    Hope things get less hectic for you next month and you are having a great week :)

    Away From The Blue Blog

  3. I love reading your product reviews, I am looking for a good face mask, I try to use one at least once a week. What a fun gender reveal, congratulations on another little girl!!!!

  4. Loved this fun update and the book reviews! And CONGRATS on your baby girl!! How exciting and what a fun gender reveal.
    Gina || On the Daily Express

  5. Oooh! I would have loved to have been sent the Laura Mercier stuff! I love that brand a lot! I really like the When face masks, I've only tried one so far! I am so excited that you're having a baby girl! I always wanted a sister, that will be fun!


  6.'ve been crazy busy, Laura!!
    I love those candy bar wrappers---how fun!!

  7. That is such a cute idea for a simple gender reveal! Cant wait to see your trip pictures

  8. Those makeup products sound so good! Love the phone case too :)

    Jessica |