Another month has blown by, so I've got another monthly favorites blog post for you. I was fortunate to try a number of things this month. So, let's get into it!
MY NEW CAMERA FROM MY MOM!
RUE 21 FLOWER DRESS | $24.99
RUE 21 YELLOW BODY CON DRESS | $12
L'OREAL INFALLIBLE FOUNDATION | $11.99
TARTE SHAPE TAPE CONCEALER | $27
PHONE TRIPOD | $15
I wasn't able to try much this month, but I absolutely LOVED everything that I tried! Keep reading to learn more!
DISCLAIMER: I was sent a PR package containing the BioClarity Essentials Skincare line for free. I was asked to review the skincare products on social media, which I have! While the skincare line was gifted to me, I was in no other way compensated to promote or review this product. A huge thanks to VoxBox and BioClarity for this PR package opportunity.
BIOCLARITY ESSENTIALS SKINCARE | $29.95
JOAH BEAUTY JELLY BAE LIPSTICK | $6.50
JOAH BEAUTY PRIMER AND FOUNDATION | $10.50/$9.50
RED AVIATOR SUNGLASSES | $5
NETFLIX MOVIE: MURDER MYSTERY
Today's post is all about my favorite things from May. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try a lot of new things like I did last month. However, I do have a few things to brag about. Keep reading for a few of my favorite things:
MY NEW GLASSES! | $69.95/2 PAIRS
PEEL-OFF FACE MAS HEMP SEED OIL | ~$5
NEW RUE 21 OUTFITS | $UNKNOWN
"KILL THIS LOVE" BY BLACKPINK
If you're looking for a new song to jam out to, I recommend "Kill This Love" by Blackpink. This is a K-POP girl group, so parts of the song are in Korean. However, most videos you watch will have subtitles available in English. This song is so fierce and features my favorite from the group, Lisa.
Everyone has those specific products that they won’t give up! Today, I wanted to share five of my holy grail products ranging from makeup to skincare.
I’m going to tell you the price that I found for the product and where else you could find it:
1: NEUTROGENA’S HYDRO BOOST CLEANSING GEL | $10
2: MORPHE 35M BOSS PALETTE | $24
3: BATH AND BODY WORKS STRESS RELIEF LOTION | $13.50
4: JOHN FRIEDA FRIZZ EASE TOUCH-UP CRÈME | $7.50
5: JEFFREE STAR’S VELOUR LIQUID LIPSTICK | $18
WHAT ARE YOUR HOLY GRAIL PRODUCTS?
Comment down below or share some of your holy grail beauty products with me on Instagram, Twitter, or on my Facebook page!
Welcome to another favorites post! I’m excited to share with you the few things I’ve tried this month that I’ve really enjoyed.
I say few because I didn’t get to try much. However, there are a few things I know I love enough to share with you!
12-PACK CELAVI ESSENCE FACIAL SHEET MASKS | $10.95
MORPHE 35M BOSS MOOD ARTISTRY PALETTE | $25
I’d be lying if I said I went in to Ulta with the desire for this particular palette. In fact, I was actually hoping I’d find a James Charles palette. Alas, there were none in stock.
However, I was so excited to start playing with the palette, and I’m lowkey in love with it. There are plenty of both matte and shimmer shades. Both are super pigmented. I’ve never had a nicer brand eyeshadow palette. Most of the palettes I have are either the Ulta brand, or a drug store brand. I loved that I didn’t have to pack on the color as hard. I’m looking forward to getting the James Charles palette, though. I've already played with the brown and red shades, and I'm pumped to dive in to the purples and greens! Wish me luck!
LAC MATTE LIPSTICK SHADE: STARLET | $1
Whenever you find that "magical" lip color that you can't live without, it can be hard to give it a break. But, I've recently started wearing this lipstick, which I'm pretty sure Jonathan bought for me as an advent calendar gift when we did our little challenge this past Christmas.
I just really like the red shade and the lipstick is truly matte, which I appreciate. It just goes to show that you can find great options anywhere, even at the dollar store!
“US” MOVIE | TICKET PRICE
I think that some people are giving this movie hate because they don’t understand it. The message is a little more buried than the one that was presented in his movie, “Get Out.” However, I really enjoyed the movie and thought that it had some valuable themes and lessons. If you’re interested, check out Monday’s post where I dissect some of the themes and symbolism I found in the movie. There will be spoilers though, so go get your tickets and check it out quick!
WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO IN APRIL
- Purchasing ColourPop’s Dr. Facilier Collection. It is a small kit that comes with a lipstick, lip gloss, and a highlighter. They have one for each of the big villains (save a few, of course).
- Purchasing Tarte’s Sugar Rush skincare kit, especially the star factor cleansing brush. I felt the brush when I was in Ulta, but they were out of stock, so I didn’t get to get one this time around.
- Good Friday/Easter because I will have a long weekend to hopefully spend with family or give back to the community.
What did you love from this month? Share your products, services, and entertainment ideas below so we can all check them out!
Please go check out the original post from Hannah Mary! She posted about her most inspirational women television characters. Check it out here: https://hanmwill.com/inspiring-women-tv-edition.
Today, I want to focus on some of the women who inspire me, real or fictional, from the last 100 years.
1910 - WINIFRED BANKS, FICTIONAL CHARACTER
1920 – HELEN KELLER, DISABILITY ACTIVIST
Helen Keller lost both her sight and her hearing in 1882. At such a young age, Keller was instructed on how to live a normal life with a disability.
She went on to graduate college in 1904.
In 1920, she helped found the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, which has since helped fight for equal rights for both women and for people of color!
1930 – ZORA NEALE HURSTON, WRITER
In 1937, Zora Neale Hurston wrote one of my favorite books, Their Eyes Were Watching God. She collaborated with Langston Hughes for a play that was never finished.
She also served as a faculty member for the now North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C., my home state.
I have a soft spot in my heart for writers, and Hurston really paved the way for other African-American writers to be recognized for their scholastic and academic achievements!
1940 – ANNE FRANK & MIEP GIES, WWII ICONS
Image living in a small, cramped attic with your entire family and another family to escape a dictator who was out to kill you for something you couldn’t change. Anne Frank remained extraordinarily child-like in such a hard time.
They were hidden by Miep Gies, a non-Jewish woman who helped to hide the Franks from Nazi soldiers. It took so much courage from both of these women, but only one escaped with her life.
Miep is featured in one of my favorite movies “The Freedom Writers.”
1950 - ROSA PARKS, CIVIL RIGHTS ICON
I can’t imagine how scary it was for Mrs. Parks to sit down in the front of a bus surrounded by men and women who were willing to do just about anything against people of color. But, when you've had enough, you've had enough! Parks serves as an inspiration to so many, including myself. It took real guts to do what she did!
1960 – SKEETER PHELAN, FICTIONAL CHARACTER
Skeeter Phelan, played by Emma Stone, is an aspiring writer who decides to work with African-American house workers to uncover the reality of their every-day lives. While Skeeter isn’t one of my favorites of the movie (I fancy Minny Jackson, myself), I identify with her. I’m a writer and I was a journalist for a while.
1970 – GLORIA STEINEM, JOURNALIST
As I’ve mentioned, I have a soft spot in my heart for journalists and writers, particularly ones that are motivated to expose wrong in the world. She went undercover as a PlayBoy club bunny in 1963. She is a champion of women’s rights and event helped form the National Women’s Political Caucus. I don’t agree with absolutely everything she stands for, but I love her persistence and opinion!
1980 – MATILDA, FICTIONAL CHARACTER
I can’t actually imagine a life without watching Matilda make magic while staying positive under the roof of an emotionally-abusive family. I really love how brave Matilda is and I think she taught the children of that generation that it is OK to be brave and speak out. Being little doesn’t discount you!
1990 - SELENA QUINTANILLA, SINGER/WRITER
I don’t know about you, but Selena captured my heart when I learned about her during a project in my high school Spanish class.
Selena was a talented singer/songwriter and fashion designer. Although she couldn’t speak Spanish fluently at first, but she overcame her challenges to become the “Queen of Tejano Music.”
She was sadly murdered by the founder of her fan club after questions involving money fraud were addressed.
2000 – J.K ROWLING, AUTHOR
While Rowling began publishing the Harry Potter book series at the end of the 1990s, I think it is fair to say that much of her work was recognized in the 2000s.
She has openly spoken about her struggle to get published and has been an advocate for everyone to follow their dreams, despite any rejection letters they may receive.
She gives hope to a ton of young writers and encourages them to pursue their passion!
PRESENT - SUSAN ISAAC, MOTHER
This is my mom! She is without a doubt one of the most inspirational women in my life. I have a blog collaboration I recently did with my friend from Gratisoul.com!
To put it plainly and in simple terms as to not overshadow my collaboration post, my mom raised my brother and I as a single mother, and she always made a point to go the extra mile every holiday to make my brother and I feel so loved. If you’re reading this, I love you mom!
STRAWBERRY GUAVA DIET COKE | $3.50/8 CT.
I am usually a Diet Pepsi girl, but Jonathan (the hubby) saw this in the store when he was picking up a few things and decided to purchase it so we could give it a try.
One thing I love and appreciate about this drink is that the taste doesn't seem overly synthetic. The strawberry and guava flavors taste very natural. The drink has zero calories and only 35mg of sodium. It also gives you 2 percent of your daily potassium needs. I love these and can definitely see myself repurchasing them in the future!
ILLUMINATOR/HIGHLIGHTER | $8.99
This isn't actually a new palette, but I found it while I was cleaning the other day. It is called the "I Came, I Saw, I Contoured" palette and I purchased it from Rue 21.
I have never used illuminator before, and I rarely use highlighter because it just doesn't blend well with my skin. However, I used it the other week during date day/night and I felt so flawless and full of myself. The product was easy-to-use and applied nicely. It came with a handy guide on where to apply each product, so that really helped me!
THESE CUPS | $5 EACH
Both of these cups are perfect for different things. To begin, I was very shocked to see this Starbucks coffee tumbler on sale for only $5. Jonathan and I snagged two of them and they are perfect for your morning coffee, especially if you need to take them on the go.
Check your local Walmart or department store to see if they have any Starbucks tumblers on sale. This one has come in handy more than once, and I'm excited to take it to meetings at work and beyond!
I almost died when I saw this cup at Walmart. It is coated in whatever magic they use to make things look holographic.
I've used it for actual drinking before, but I found that it fit well with my home office decor and it is the perfect height to store my white board markers. They had many different styles of cups and different colors, including green and pink.
Check from The Pioneer Woman brand in your local Walmart. These are called "pearlized tumblers."
DOVE OXYGEN MOISTURE CONDITIONER | $3.98
I have to confess something that may make some of you hair lovers a bit queasy: I haven't used conditioner in YEARS.
Ever since a few years ago, when I started having an allergic reaction to my favorite hair brand ever, Aussie, I had to switch to more mild shampoos for sensitive scalps. I currently use Head and Shoulders, although I don't really suffer with issues from dandruff.
My hair was just getting out of control. After just one use, it made my hair feel so much better, and I'm so excited that I added conditioner back into my routine!
POP-UP PHOTO CUBE | $14.89
All of the photos taken of my products for this post have been taken inside of my brand new pop-up photo cube.
This one came from Amazon and had good reviews. It plugs in to a USB box or port on your computer. There is a flat at the top so you can take photos from the top down. This one also came with five different backgrounds. The flamingo one on the Diet Coke photo was one I made myself from 97 cent cloth from Walmart. Super cute and easy to use and would recommend this for bloggers to use for their product photos!
WUNDERLIST APP | FREE
So, I've always loved to put what needs doing into words. However, there was never really a good way for me to keep track of the things I had to do. This app has really helped. You put in your to-do lists for various parts of your life (mine are blog, home, and freelance), and you get to hear that satisfying "ding" sound when you check something off of them.
FAVORITE YOUTUBER | SAFIYA NYGAARD
Safiye is quirky and funny, and you'll love watching her do various lifestyle and fashion videos with her now fiancé Tyler. Check out her channel and let her know I sent you!
JEFFREE STAR VELOUR LIP SCRUB | $12
On Black Friday, I took advantage of Jeffree Star's gigantic mark-down sale and actually ended up getting mine for only about $8. Mine is in the scent Hot Cocoa Peppermint and it smells amazing!
The other thing I really liked about this product is that there are not a ton of mystery ingredients in them. Jeffree Star's products are also cruelty-free and vegan. I'm not personally vegan, but I have a friend or two who is, and I'm sure it can be somewhat difficult to find various products that fall into their lifestyle choice!
Anyway, this is great for cracked lips and I'll be looking forward to using it more this winter!
JEFFREE STAR VELOR LIQUID LIPSTICK | $18
For the most part, I really love Jeffree Star's Velor Liquid Lipsticks as well. I would say that I get a pretty good wear of them, and they do seem to matte down a bit. I personally love a good matte liquid lipstick, so I was happy to get this for myself this Christmas.
This shade is Calabasas and it gives real dark mauve vibes to me. I am actually in love with this shade, or anything close to it. A good dupe, in my opinion, is Hard Candy's Velvet Mousse in the shade Heather. It retails at about $6 or $7 in somewhere like Walmart or Target.
I did manage to pick this one up during that mega sale. My only complaint is that it doesn't have a great smell. But, I will chalk that up to the brand keeping the formula vegan and cruelty-free.
MORPHIE M143 LARGE FAN BRUSH | $7
I originally saw this fan brush on the ULTA website, and I wanted to get myself one for highlighting. I've seen a lot of people use fan brushes, but I've never actually owned one.
When I got the brush, however, it was much larger than I expected. I've been using it for contour, as you can see by the brownish tinge on the bristles.
I actually really like the brush and I think it does the job pretty well. I think I may pop in to ULTA when I have some spare cash so that I can get myself a smaller version that will work for my highlighter.
AMAZON ECHO DOT | $30
I would be lying if I didn't say that I absolutely LOVE the Amazon Echo Dot. I saw them on sale before Christmas and decided to get one for the house. We now have two in our home, one in the bedroom and one in the living room.
Alexa has proven to be so useful for getting my news, weather updates, and for listening to some music to help move my day along. I actually wrote a whole post about how the Amazon Echo Dot makes my life better.
Check out the full post here: Five Ways the Amazon Echo Dot Makes My Life Better.
TANTAN SMART PLUGS, 2-PACK | $19
After we added the Amazon Echo Dot to our home, we saw that adding a few smart plugs could make our lives a little bit easier. These smart plugs are wifi enabled, so everything can be communicated on the same network.
I've plugged my coffee machine in to one of these and I pre-load my coffee grinds and water the night before. When I wake up, I simply say, "Alexa, turn on the coffee machine" and I have coffee that is hot and ready for me to pour after I finish putting on my makeup and clothes.
Such a great investment!
MY FAVORITE YOUTUBE CHANNEL | THE INGHAM FAMILY
The Ingham Family has been so much fun to watch in January. I guess I'm yearning for some children of my own! The channel follows mom and dad Sarah and Chris as well as their children Isabell, Isla, and Esme.
The couple are about to have their first son, and I've loved watching the family prepare for their new addition.
MY FAVORITE MOVIE | AQUAMAN
Hands-down, Aquaman was my favorite movie from January. I really loved how Jason Mom portrayed the super hero, and I really liked the storyline.
I would highly suggest catching this movie before it gets out of cinemas near you. If you miss it, please do yourself a favor and rent it. I really liked it!
Ever since setting it up, I have purchased some items to go with it that have made my life so much easier! Keep reading to learn more about how the Echo Dot can improve your day-to-day life.
STRETCHING YOUR BRAIN
The Echo Dot, or any Alexa-enabled Amazon product, can help you stretch your brain by offering a number of trivia-related games.
Jonathan and I love playing Jeopardy each weekday, and we recently learned that the Dot also offers Teen Jeopardy, which is great if you have young ones! My second favorite game is Song Quiz.
PRO-TIP: You don't have to spend a ton of money on Amazon products. Check on Amazon to see if the plug, smartbulb, or smart TV is compatible with Alexa!
GET NEWS FAST
I don't usually find myself getting up early enough to browse the news on TV or online. Since we've added Maisel into our household, I've been able to stand at my door while the dog goes to the potty and ask Alexa to read me the news. I get a flash briefing on important things happening in the world and in the US. You can also customize what outlet you receive your news briefing from! Pretty cool.
WEATHER FORECAST READER
I sometimes forget to check the weather on my phone and will find that it is colder, wetter, or hotter than I thought it was. Alexa is great at telling you the weather for your area.
Another great thing she can do is tell you the weather for a period of time in a different place. I travel a lot to see family, so this helps me when I'm packing!
Each Sunday this month, I will be updating my blog with my answers to the Tweet-tober challenge. Of course, if you want to see my answers by the day, instead of getting these updates each week, you can follow me on Twitter @gemusiclover!
As you can see to the right, I've created a subject to talk about for each day of the week. I hope if you are reading this that you will jump on to this tag and play along with myself and all of my other blogger and Twitter friends who have decided to participate.
The topics range from fall to Halloween-related questions and they kind of transition to more Halloween-centric topics around the 12th. I wanted this because I thought the topics could give other followers and bloggers ideas for their Halloween like costume ideas, movie suggestions, and so on. So, without further ado, check out my Tweet-tober challenge answers:
TWEET-TOBER | OCT. 1-7 ANSWERS
OCT. 1 | FAVORITE FALL COLOR
My favorite fall color, really my favorite color for outfits year-round, is burgundy. I feel like it is a color that looks good on everyone and it is the perfect color for fall, as it is reminiscent of fall leaves when they change in my area. What is your favorite fall color?
OCT. 5 | SWEATERS OR HOODIES?
I actually love sweaters. Hoodies are nice, because they have pockets. I also haven't used a hood in ages, but that is another point to hoodies. However, I think sweaters are super cozy.
Check out this Halloween costume my husband and I made from sweaters. Which is your favorite?
OCT. 7 | FAVORITE FALL DATE IDEA
I think a great fall date idea is to just snuggle up in a pillow fort and enjoy some of your favorite foods and some spooky movies (or some rom-coms). I love this date idea. Jonathan and I did this recently with some Chinese food, chocolate-covered strawberries, and some Redbox movies!
TWEET-TOBER | OCT. 8-14 ANSWERS
My favorite fall drink would have to be apple cider. The only thing is that my husband doesn't like it. I've tried giving him both hot and cold apple cider, but he just doesn't like it.
The good news is that my family likes it, so when we visit them, they sometimes have a few packs of it laying around.
My favorite thing about fall is the temperature change that comes with it. I live in North Carolina in the Southern U.S. Summers are hot and humid, so I'm always glad when things cool off!
Not to mention, cooler temperatures always mean cheaper electricity bills for Jonathan and I, since we love to keep it ice cold in our house.
I am grateful for my family members, Jonathan, and my friends. I love having friends who may live hundreds of miles away, but when we meet up, it was like we saw each other yesterday.
Big shout outs to Jonathan, Jeremy, Lauren, Paige, and Tyler. These are my closest friends. My mom is also one of my best friends. I love you all!
I really love pumpkins, but I love eating apples much more. In particular, I love Granny Smith Apples, or green apples as most people call them.
I feel like they don't get as mushy as the red apples. The mushiness of those apples you got in the school cafeteria forever ruined apples for me! So, I'm going to go with apples of pumpkin!
My favorite Disney Villain has almost always been Hades from the movie Hercules. That is my favorite Disney movie, so it makes sense that I like him the most. I think his attitude and his fiery responses also resonate with me.
On top of everything, he is also pretty funny but manages to be serious when needed!
I don't like haunted houses. I would much rather scare someone than be scared. I helped my brother and students at my school put on "haunted school" where they could walk through the halls and be spooked by various monsters and ghouls.
So no, don't try to convince me to go to a haunted house. The answer will likely be no!
TWEET-TOBER | OCT. 15-21 ANSWERS
My favorite fall memory is when my sorority participated in a trunk-or-treat event where all of the neighborhood children came by in their costumes asking for candy. It was the only real time I've been able to hand out candy to a ton of kids, because I have yet to live in an area that has a lot of trick-or-treaters.
My favorite fall decor items are Halloween decorations.
That of course leaves a lot of options, but I do have a favorite type of Halloween decoration. Out of all of that, I would say that I love sugar skulls. I painted this one, and I know it is a bit ugly, but I really like them.
I love the Latino culture and the idea of Dia de los Muertos, so it's amazing for me!
My dad's mom took us to a haunted house one year, even though we mentioned that we didn't want to go trick-or-treating with her if she was going to go. She drove up and let my brother and cousin out. A man dressed up like a creepy creature found his way over to the car and tapped on the window. It freaked me out and always has ever since.
TWEET-TOBER | OCT. 22-31 ANSWERS
I don't "not" believe in ghosts, but I would have to have a pretty clear and inexplicable experience with one to believe in them.
I do believe in the after life (Christian) and I believe that things happen to people that can't be explained. I think it would be interesting to learn. But, to any ghosts out there one the internet reading this, don't scare me!
Black History Month
Civil Rights Movement
National Women's Day
Save A Life
Stop The Bleed
The Ingham Family
The Opinionated One
The Pioneer Woman
Things I Love
What I Learned
Year In Review