Ireland-Bound Pt. 2: Cute & Comfy

Hey, y’all!

Our trip is getting closer and closer, and I’m getting more and more excited! This post is going to be about some clothing items and accessories I bought for this trip, as well as for future travel. We’ll start from the bottom up.

Storm III Waterproof Hiking Shoes for Ladies

from The North Face

Photo of Women's Storm III Waterproof Hiking Shoes from The North Face
$109.99; Bass Pro Shop

I’m pretty sure the last time I got new hiking shoes/boots, my age was in the single digits. (I’m not exactly Queen of the Outdoors–glamping is more my speed.) Anyway, I read several posts online that recommended having some waterproof hiking boots for wandering around the Irish countryside. The hightop boot style isn’t really my thing, so I was looking for an actual shoe. I found these at Bass Pro Shop and loved them! They’re super comfy; I wore them one Saturday thinking I needed to break them in, but they’re good to go as-is. This color way isn’t showing on The North Face’s website, but they’re the same price as Bass Pro.

They have a Vibram sole for extra grip, a breathable mesh upper with waterproof membrane technology, anti-microbial OrthoLite footbeds, lots of cushioning, and great mid-foot support. I also just love the fact that they look more like hardcore sneakers than stereotypical hiking boots.

I’m super pleased with the compression socks I bought for the flight, too. I have 6 more pairs on the way that I’m going to use throughout the trip, but they’re taking forever to ship from New Jersey.

Women’s Denim Leggings with Pockets

from No Nonsense

Photo of Women's Denim Leggings from No Nonsense
$14.97; Amazon

Ok, I’ll fully admit that I used to be super judgy about jeggings, but I get it now. They’re super comfy, and for a trans-Atlantic flight, they’re perfect. These have a fake fly and fake front pockets, but the back pockets are real. I doubt I’ll use them, but whatever. I like the dark color and the softness of the fabric.

Chloe Glow Women’s Jacket


Photo of Chloe Glow Travel Jacket from SCOTTeVEST

Last Christmas I bought my husband the BauBax Men’s Sweatshirt. We had seen it blow up on Kickstarter, and they were having a holiday sale. I thought about buying a women’s one for me but decided not to. Now I’m super glad I didn’t because I LOVE this SCOTTeVEST jacket!

The cut is really flattering; it’s not bulky or baggy. It boasts 18 pockets–it took me a while to find some of them, and I honestly still haven’t found #18 yet. There are even pockets inside of pockets! There are pockets for your ID, camera & SD card, passport, tablet…the list goes on. The glasses pocket even comes with a chamois attached, and the chamois has a map of the jacket printed on it (I’m gonna need that!) There are loops along the neck to hold your earbuds, and there are buttonholes throughout the jacket that connect pockets to each other, so you can feed cables throughout as needed.

The sleeves also have a contrast cuff you can fold up, and those cuffs have thumb holes. This jacket is going to be perfect for flying, and the moisture wicking fabric means it will be great for trekking around without getting too warm. One feature I don’t understand is the infinity zipper–the front zipper literally goes all the way to the top of the hood, covering your face completely. It’s too fitted for that to be comfortable, so it’s not like I can use that to nap on the plane. If I did, I’d wake up with a zipper imprint on my nose. Oh well, no big. Honestly my ONLY complaint about this jacket is the fact that while it is machine washable, you can’t put it in the dryer. I’ll live.

Women’s Ultimate Gore Windstopper Hoody

from Mammut


This jacket is discontinued on the Mammut website, but you can find it in select sizes on other sites. I found this one on eBay for less than half of the original retail price. Somehow even though I live in Florida, where it rains all summer, I didn’t own a rain jacket, other than a short trench coat. This Mammut jacket is nice and lightweight, is a flattering slim cut, packs away nicely, and is really comfy. I don’t really understand the point of 2-way zippers on the front and sides, but whatever. I was kind of “meh” about the color because it looked like a seafoam in the photos, but in reality it’s a pretty Tiffany Blue. I would have preferred grey for versatility, but this will make it harder for Jeff to lose me in crowds. 🙂

I think Mammut’s jackets are made with climbing in mind, so several of their jackets have hoods that are helmet compatible. This appears to be one of them, so I should have room to wear a ponytail with little issue.

7-Piece Packing Cubes w/ Shoe Bag

from Mossio Travel

Photo of 7 Piece Packing Cube Set with Shoe Bag from Mossio Travel
$12.99-$15.99; Amazon

I picked up this handy set of packing cubes and laundry bags to help organize my suitcase, and it came with a shoe bag. Each cube has a handle on one side, and the non-mesh sides are a durable water-resistant nylon. I’m obsessed with anything organization-related, so I’m actually looking forward to packing……what?

Side note: as a woman, I hate the “pink tax” as much as anyone else, and for the first time ever, the pink set was cheaper than any of the other colors! Win!

Anti-Theft Signature Quilted Expansion Crossbody

from Travelon Bags

Photo of Anti-Theft Signature Quilted Expansion Crossbody in "Smoke" from Travelon Bags
$75; Travelon Bags

I only wanted to bring one purse with me on the trip, so I was looking for ideas on The Container Store’s travel section of their website. I came across several Travelon bags and was intrigued. Theft isn’t something I’m super worried about on this trip, considering that we won’t be spending a whole lot of time in big cities, but it will be nice to have for future travel.

Anti-Theft Features:

  • Main compartment has an organizer with RFID blocking card and passport slots
  • Main compartment and front pocket have zipper pulls that hook onto D-rings
  • Slash-resistant body panels and shoulder strap
  • Lockdown strap

I also like that the fabric seems to be water-resistant, and the pink lining is pretty. 🙂 The fact that it has a zippered gusset around the outer edge means I can expand it to fit everything I need with no problem at all.

PS: I got it cheaper on Amazon. 🙂

Slim Business 17″ Computer Backpack

from Kopack

Photo of Slim Anti-Theft Business Laptop Backpack from Kopeck
$36.99; Amazon

I have my Barracuda carry-on bag that I love, but I needed a personal item that was easier to carry than a tote. Since I’m planning on starting grad school next fall, it made sense to look for a backpack and kill two proverbial birds in one stone.

I ended up choosing this grey one for its features:

  • The laptop compartment is anti-theft in 2 ways: it has a zipper pull that clips to a D-ring, and it’s also located behind the straps, making it impossible for someone to take something out of it while you’re wearing it. It can also fit up to a 17″ laptop.
  • The main compartment has a double-layer anti-puncture zipper closure, and the zipper pulls can be locked together with a small lock (not sold with the backpack).
  • It has a USB port to be able to charge a phone/iPod/whatever, and the cable that connects that port to a power source is detachable. The backpack doesn’t come with a power bank, but it does come with the cable. I didn’t want a built-in cable because when the cable eventually goes bad (they always do), that feature would end up being useless.
  • It’s water- and tear-resistant.
  • It has a slim profile while still having lots of pockets to organize everything I need.

I was that nerd growing up that absolutely LOVED back-to-school shopping and getting my backpack, binders, etc. organized for the new year. Nothing has really changed, so I’m super excited to get this backpack all ready for flying across the Atlantic!

What are some clothing items and accessories you can’t bear to travel without? I’d love to hear about them!

Have a great week.


Sarah xoxo

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Ireland-Bound Pt. 1: Charged & Organized

Hey, y’all!

Our belated Irish honeymoon is just a few weeks away, and I’m so excited! We’ve been buying stuff to prepare for our trip, and I decided to do a 3-part blog series about it. Stay tuned for parts 2 & 3, and in the meantime, let’s jump into part 1: traveling overseas as conveniently as possible with electronic devices. So far the only thing we haven’t figured out is what we’re doing with our cell phones. Since we’re going to be renting a car and driving around, we want to have navigation available. We need to go to the AT&T store and figure out what our options are. Any suggestions from fellow travelers?

When I think about using electronics, the first thing I think about is a power source, and traveling overseas means I’m going to need an adapter to keep my devices charged. When I spent a summer in London during college, I bought a set of adapters that had me covered for all the major plug types, but that only means being able to plug in one device at a time. Now it’s 2018, and I was able to get something way more convenient:

Power Plug Travel Adapter International w/ 5 USB Ports

from Sublimeware

Photo of Power Plug Travel Adapter from Sublimeware
$23.45; Sublimeware

It has 3 different switches that each expose a different plug type: C (used in Europe, South America, and Asia), G (used in the UK and a few other places, and A (used in the US and other places). The pins for the A can also be tilted in to become type I, which is used in Australia. This website is a handy reference. With this one adapter, I could have up to 6 devices plugged in at any given time: 4 in the USB ports, 1 in the Type C USB port, and one in the regular socket. It claims to work in over 150 countries, so hopefully we’ll be set for awhile. 🙂

It also came with a little carrying case, but we’ll be storing it in this with our cables and such:

Glendale 2-Layer Organizer in “Heather Coral”

from Bagsmart

Photo of Glendale 2-Layer Organizer in Heather Coral from Bagsmart
$27.99; Bagsmart

I saw this one of those lists of 30-something things on Amazon that you didn’t know you needed, and it was so true! Until I bought this, traveling with electronics meant wrapping each of my cables with double sided velcro and then putting all of those in a zipper bag of some sort. The velcro would get stuck on stuff all the time, and any bulkier plugs would have to go somewhere else in my suitcase. Now I can put it all in one place. The elastic bands in the top layer keep cables neat and organized, there are mesh pockets for things like batteries, and there are even little pockets for SIM and SD cards. The bottom layer has a padded pocket that fits up to a 10″ tablet and padded dividers that velcro together, so they can be configured in different ways to best accommodate items like adapters, a mouse, etc. It’s made of a water-resistant polyester, and its dimensions (10.8″L x 8.3″W x 3.7″H) mean it will fit nicely into my carry-on bag.

What are the electronic devices you can’t travel without? Any suggestions on the phone thing would be much appreciated.


Sarah xoxo

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Ulta Beauty Haul: August 2018

Hey, y’all!

I’m so excited that September is here–just a few more weeks until hubby and I are Ireland-bound! Switching gears, check out my August haul!


Énergie de Vie Eye Illuminating & Cooling Anti-Fatigue Cooling Eye Gel

from LancĂ´me

Photo of Illuminating & Anti-Fatigue Cooling Eye Gel sample from Lancome
$39 for .5 fl. oz.; Lancome

I’m sure this product is much more effective when you have the rollerball applicator. The caffeine and antioxidants brighten and de-puff the eye area, while the gel texture and triple-rollerball work together to cool, hydrate, and calm. I’m pretty happy with my Juice Beauty eye cream right now, so I don’t see myself buying this any time soon.

Live Irrésistible Blossom Crush Eau de Toilette

from Givenchy

Photo of Live Irresistible Blossom Crush Eau de Toilette sample from Givenchy
$91 for 2.5 fl. oz.; Ulta

Fragrance Notes:

  • Top – Peony
  • Middle – Essential rose
  • Base – Cocoa bean, musk

Strong florals aren’t my go-to, but it’s ok. I’m not likely to purchase it myself.


Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

from Cosrx

Photo of Advance Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
$19 for 3.38 fl. oz.; Soko Glam

I was using this essence about 6 months ago. Once I used it up, I wanted to see what else was out there, and now I’m back. This essence feels a little sticky when you first apply it, but it absorbs quickly. It’s a really reasonable price point, and I thoroughly trust Korean skincare products. My skin never looked so healthy and radiant, and since it nourishes my skin so much, it help with everything from dry patches to breakouts to hyperpigmentation. I was a fool to ever leave you! ❤

BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

from Cosrx


Photo of BHA Blackhead Power Liquid from CoxRX
$22 for 3.38 fl. oz.; Ulta

In case you can’t tell, I really like Cosrx. Even though I have combination skin, I love that I can use this product on my whole face without my cheeks drying out. I use this is my morning serum, and I use my retinol in the evening. The thin texture allows it to absorb quickly into my skin–2 pumps is all I need. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, and I’m definitely noticing a difference in my T-Zone. Can’t wait to see how my skin continues to improve!

Key Ingredients:

  • Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water & Vitamin B5: moisturize and help prevent wrinkles
  • Betaine Salicylate: closely related to Salicylic Acid, this BHA performs time-released exfoliation, which means it keeps exfoliating long after the product has evaporated

Mint Mojito Lip Scrub

from Fizz & Bubble

Photo of Mint Mojito Lip Scrub from Fizz & Bubble
$8 for 1 oz.; Fizz & Bubble

I was getting really frustrated with my Laura Geller lip scrub because the amount of sugar crystals varied each time I squeezed some out of the tube. Sometimes I’d get 3 (no exaggeration), sometimes I’d get an even amount to exfoliate my entire lips. Over it.

This lip scrub is all-natural, cruelty-free, and edible! Besides the obvious ingredient (sugar), it has Vitamin E, shea butter, and avocado oil to nourish your lips. I don’t really taste the mint, but it does have a little bit of a cooling sensation. Definitely use it over the sink because it does get a little messy. I absolutely recommend it!


Big Sexy Hair: Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray

from Sexy Hair

Photo of Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray from Sexy Hair
$18.95 for 10 fl. oz.; Sexy Hair

I’ve been using Alterna’s Bamboo Anti-Humidity Hairspray for years, but I’m almost out, and I wanted to try something new. This one caught my eye because not only does it claim to hold up to humidity, but it also has UV protection–2 very important factors in the Sunshine State! We’ll see how it goes.

Healthy Sexy Hair: So You Want It All Leave-in Treatment

from Sexy Hair

Photo of Healthy Sexy Hair: So You Want It All Leave-In Treatment
$19.95 for 5.1 fl. oz.; Sexy Hair

Ulta was have a 2 for $22 on some haircare products, so I picked this up with the hairspray. I can’t seem to find a list of all 22 of the supposed benefits anywhere, but the ones I can find are:

  • Detangles
  • Repairs
  • Nourishes
  • Soothes
  • Strengthens
  • Anti-Aging
  • Color Protection
  • Improved Elasticity
  • Thermal Protection
  • Environmental Protection
  • Damage Control
  • Damage Prevention
  • Adds shine
  • Style Control
  • Priming
  • Reduces static
  • Reduces frizz
  • Protects against humidity

My only real complaint about this product is the fact that it makes my bathroom floor slippery. Other than that, it makes my hair look, feel, and smell fantastic!


I reached Diamond Status with Ultamate Beauty Rewards!


Part of me feels like I should be embarrassed that I’ve spent this much on beauty products already in 2018, but this is one of my hobbies, and I look at skincare as an investment. 🙂 The photo above was my “welcome gift”: a Tarte Cosmetics liquid eyeliner sample, a Clinique mascara sample (that’s getting added to my giveaway bag), and a $25 beauty services reward card.

Diamond Benefits include:

  • 1.5 points per dollar spent
  • Free birthday gift
  • 2x the points during your birthday month
  • $10 birthday coupon
  • Points never expire
  • Everyday free shipping on orders of $25+
  • Annual $25 beauty services reward card

Sometimes Platinum and Diamond members also get bonus offers (sales, bonus points, etc.) If you shop at Ulta, you might as well sign up for Beauty Rewards. It’s free, and you have nothing to lose!

How many of these products have you tried? What are you looking forward to in September?


Sarah xoxo

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Instagram: sarah.elizabeth614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

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ipsy Glam Bag Review: August 2018

Hey, y’all!

The bag might have been a little boring this month, but the products inside weren’t. Check out what I got!

Fresh Face Blush in “Beach Rose”

from Pixi by Petra


Photo of Fresh Face Blush in "Beach Rose" from Pixi by Petra
$12.78 for .16 oz.; Amazon

The color of this blush is really nice and compliments my skin tone nicely with its light diffusing properties. It’s got Vitamin E and mica, which help it to blend easily. I also like the fact that it’s completely matte, so it looks really natural and subtle–perfect for everyday wear.

My Rating: 5/5

Gel Effect Nail Polish in “Parasol”

from Adesse New York

Photo of Gel Effect Nail Polish in "Parasol" from Adesse New York
$18 for 11 ml.; Adesse New York

This is a new brand for me. It claims to be like a gel polish by filling ridges and lasting a long time without needing a lamp and that it removes easily with regular nail polish. I tried it out on my toes. After 5 days of ballet flats and aerial classes, it’s still holding up pretty well. Just some minor chipping that’s hardly noticeable. It’s free of 12 different chemicals (ex. Formaldehyde) found in many nail polishes, and it’s infused with Bamboo Extract, Shea, and Argan Oil. It’s a little pricey, but I’d consider looking into other shades. I’m not crazy about this shade–it’s kind of a dull brick red, which wouldn’t be high on my list.

My Rating: 4/5

Foiled Again Eyeshadow in “Locked Up”

from theBalm Cosmetics

Photo of "Locked Up" eyeshadow from the Foiled Again Collection from The Balm Cosmetics
$34 for 12-shade palette; The Balm Cosmetics

You can’t by this eyeshadow individually; it’s part of the 12-shade Foiled Again palette. I thought this color would be a nice greige with some shimmer. It turned out much brighter and silvery than I expected. When I tried building the pigment, it only made the shine brighter, so I had to tone it down with a matte shade. I could see using this as a highlighting shade in the corners of my eyes, but I don’t think I’ll be reaching for this on a regular basis for day-to-day use.

My Rating: 3/5

“Take Away the Drama” Youth Boosting Honey  & Copper Peel-Off Mask

from Hey Honey

Photo of sample size "Take Away the Drama" Youth Boosting Honey & Copper Peel Off Mask from Hey Honey
$49 for 2 fl. oz.; Hey Honey

I used this for Spoil Me Sunday recently–you can read my full review here. It’s a neat idea, but boy, is it pricey.

My Rating: 4/5

Glow-To Highlighter in “Moondust”

from Ciaté London

Photo of Glow-To Highlighter in "Moondust" from Ciate London
$29 for .17 oz.; Ciate London

I absolutely love this highlighter! The pearlescent oyster shade makes it subtle, with just enough shimmer to make my cheekbones pop. It blends so nicely and lasts all day long. Love, love, love!

My Rating: 5/5

This month’s bag had an average rating of 4.2. How many of these products have you tried?

Any new favs in your August beauty subscription(s)? Tell me all about them in the comments!


Sarah xoxo

If you’d like to be notified when new posts go up, please subscribe to Balanced Life Beauty.

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Yes, Oh Yas!: Get 3-7 full-size beauty products worth $65+ delivered to you each month for $14.99 + shipping. Use coupon code SARAH614 at checkout for 10% off your first box!

Yes, Oh Yas! August 2018

Hey, y’all!

This month’s theme was “Cali Love,” and I got 5 full-size products. I absolutely loved the amount of pink in this box!

*Note: prices listed as photo captions are what I found on the respective product websites. Retail values listed below my descriptions are what was listed by Yes, Oh Yas!

Cali Set Eyeshadow Palette

from Beauty Creations

Photo of Cali Set Eyeshadow Palette from Beauty Creations
$17; Beauty Creations

This palette is absolutely GORGEOUS! It’s a perfect combination of 5 matte shades and 4 foil finish shades. Since last month’s palette was a warm tone palette, this cool tone was a nice balance. The pigment of all of the shades is fantastic. A couple of them have some kick-up in the pan, but there’s no fallout. I have a feeling I’ll be reaching for this palette a lot; it compliments my Urban Decay Naked 3 palette nicely.

Retail Value: $28*

*That’s an $11 difference that I can’t explain…

“Just Blot It Out!” Tea Tree Blotting Paper

from Sormé Treatment Cosmetics

Photo of "Just Blot It Out!" Natural Tea Tree Blotting Paper from Sorme Treatment Cosmetics
$10.99; Amazon

I was excited to try these out because I didn’t read very closely, and I saw “Tea Tree” and automatically thought tea tree oil. I was disappointed to find that they didn’t smell like tea tree oil at all. Shows I need to actually read the information lol. They do absorb oil well (I tried one on my face and one on my husband’s), and with a pack of 100, they should last me a while.

Retail Value: $12*

*SormĂ© doesn’t sell directly from their website, so Amazon seems like a decent place to buy these.

Cloud Lips in “Cherub”

from Laqa & Co.

Photo of Cloud Lips in "Cherub" from Laqa & Co.
$17; Laqa & Co.

I was a little apprehensive about this one because it’s not a long-wear liquid lipstick. I was afraid it was basically a tinted lip balm, which I’m not a fan of. Oh my goodness, this lippie is so incredibly comfortable, and it packs a lot more pigment than I expected. The avocado oil in it keeps my lips moisturized all day, and it was so light that I didn’t feel like I had anything on my lips at all. I just put it on, let it set for a minute or so while I finished getting ready, and then I lightly blotted with a tissue. It looked great all day and didn’t crack, flake, or get patchy. There are only 3 other colors available right now, but I’ve got my eye on “Daydream” and “Storm.”

Retail Value: $20*

*$3 difference–I’ll let it slide…

Angle Contour Blush Brush

from Crown Brushes

Photo of Ombre Angle Blush Brush from Crown Brushes
$14 (currently on sale for $0.95); Crown

I’m flush with blush brushes, so I’m going to add this to my giveaway bag. The main highlights of this brush: synthetic bristles, ergonomic handle, can be used with liquids, powders, or creams.

Retail Value: $22*

*Why does this seem to happen with Crown brushes every time? $22 is quite a difference from $14 and a HUGE difference from the current $0.95 sale price. What gives??

Pre-Party Prep Hydrating Sheet Mask

from MaskerAide

Photo of Pre Party Prep Hydrating Facial Sheet Mask from MaskerAide
$7 CAD; MaskerAide

Based on the last time I tried a “primer” sheet mask, I’m pretty dubious about this one. I’m actually going to hold off on using this because we’re going to Ireland in about a month, and I wouldn’t mind being able to give my skin a moisture boost after a trans-Atlantic flight. The fewer liquids I have to transport, the better. This sheet mask is made of Tencel, which is a 100% biodegradable cellulosic fiber (why can’t all sheet masks be biodegradable??) The packaging is recyclable (hooray!) and their products contain no parabens, mineral oils, sulfates, phthalates, benzophones, artificial fragrances or pigments. Now this is a line of sheet masks that catches my attention.

Retail Value: $12*

*Again with the price differences. What the what??

Total Package Value: $94*

*If you go off of the website prices, it’s $52.94 (using the sale price of the brush), but for $14.99, it’s still a great deal.

I’m curious to see what September brings. I’m on the fence about the highlighter palette that’s coming because I already have so many highlighters, but supposedly there will be “brushes, brushes, and more brushes.” I’m hoping it’s the ones in this photo.

What goodies did you get in your beauty subscription(s) this month? Anything you recommend?


Sarah xoxo

If you’d like to be notified when new posts go up, please subscribe to Balanced Life Beauty.

Instagram: sarah.elizabeth614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

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Yes, Oh Yas!: Get 3-7 full-size beauty products worth $65+ delivered to you each month for $14.99 + shipping. Use coupon code SARAH614 at checkout for 10% off your first box!

Spoil Me Sunday: Bronze Goddess

Hey, y’all!

Despite the title, this post has nothing to do with tanning. Behold the peel off mask that made me look like a female version of Xerxes from the movie 300 (minus all the bling).

“Take Away the Drama” Youth Boosting Honey & Copper Peel Off Mask

from Hey Honey

Photo of sample size "Take Away the Drama" Youth Boosting Honey & Copper Peel Off Mask from Hey Honey
$49 for 2 fl. oz.; Hey Honey

This peel off mask came in my August ipsy bag, and it’s so pretty! It comes out of the tube totally metallic, almost like a copper paint. The ingredients list says there’s fragrance in it, but I didn’t notice it.

Key ingredients:

  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Camellia Sinensis (Tea) Leaf Extract, & Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter: provide moisture to the skin
  • Honey: antibacterial properties, full of antioxidants to combat aging, moisturizes, soothes, and clarifies skin–it’s a skincare powerhouse!
  • Lactic Acid: exfoliates
  • Copper Gluconate: copper peptides reduce signs of aging by increasing collagen and elastin production, helping to nourish skin and increase its elasticity
  • Zinc Gluconate: boosts skin’s healing process and can help fight acne

The mask went on pretty smoothly, but I had some trouble getting it off. I think I applied too thin of a layer, but with it being a fairly small sample, I was afraid to use too much. So many good-for-you ingredients, and my skin looked great afterwards, but I don’t know if I care to splurge on the full-size.

What are some of your favorite honey skincare products? Any DIY recipes you swear by? I’d love to hear about them!

Have a great week!


Sarah xoxo

If you’d like to be notified when new posts go up, please subscribe to Balanced Life Beauty.

Instagram: sarah.elizabeth614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

Twitter: @SarahLiz614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

Yes, Oh Yas!: Get 3-7 full-size beauty products worth $65+ delivered to you each month for $14.99 + shipping. Use coupon code SARAH614 at checkout for 10% off your first box!

Ulta Beauty Haul: July 2018

Hey, y’all!

July flew by and with it came a new job offer (that I accepted) and new beauty finds! I’m so ready for fall, but in the meantime, check out my July haul!


Moisture Surge™ 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator

from Clinique

Photo of Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto Replenishing Hydrator sample from Clinique
$19 for 30ml; Clinique

When I first started using skincare products in middle school and high school, I used Clinique’s 3-step system a lot because it helped keep my acne at bay. I eventually drifted away from Clinique, but this moisturizer felt really nice.

Key Ingredients:

  • Caffeine–encourages skin’s natural rehydration system
  • Hyaluronic Acid–helps skin retain moisture
  • Activated Aloe Water–plumps skin
  • Humectants and Polymers–seal in moisture to reduce water loss

Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser

from Jack Black

Photo of Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser sample from Jack Black
$22 for 3 oz.; Jack Black

I’ve never purchased any products from Jack Black before. You can use this particular product as a cleanser or as a mask. I gave this sample to my husband, so we’ll see what he thinks of it.

Key Ingredients:

  • Glycolic Acid–removes dead skin cell buildup
  • Volcanic Ash–gentle physical exfoliant to help smooth skin
  • Kaolin Clay–draws out skin impurities, oil and dirt, plus helps control oiliness

Green Apple Peel Full Strength Exfoliating Mask

from Juice Beauty

Photo of Green Apple Peel Full Strength from Juice Beauty
$48 for 2 fl. oz.; Juice Beauty

The skincare angels heard my prayer and granted me a sample of Green Apple Peel Full Strength! (I had to buy $50 of Juice Beauty products, but whatever, it’s stuff I needed.) I tried it out last week for Spoil Me Sunday.

Mon Guerlain Eau de Parfum

from Guerlain

Photo of Mon Guerlain Eau de Parfum sample from Guerlain
$66 for 1 fl. oz.; Ulta

Inspired by Angelina Jolie, this sensual perfume has a complex combination of floral and spicy notes:

  • Top notes: bergamot and carla lavender
  • Middle notes: paradisone, sambac jasmine, and coumarin
  • Bottom notes: iris, tahitensis vanilla, and album sandalwood

Decadence Eau So Decadent Eau de Toilette

from Marc Jacobs

Photo of Marc Jacobs Decadence Eau de Toilette sample
$87 for 1.7 fl. oz.; Marc Jacobs

The full-size bottle is adorable and almost makes me want to buy it! This light and feminine eau de toilette has a combination of fruity and floral notes:

  • Top note: nashi pear
  • Middle note: pink lily of the valley
  • Bottom note: white amber



Coconut & Hibiscus 2-in-1 Foaming Milk & Body Wash

from SheaMoisture

Photo of Coconut & Hibiscus Foaming Milk & Body Wash from Shea Moisture
$9.99 for 16 fl. oz.; SheaMoisture

I love this brand–quality ingredients, cruelty-free, and good price point.

Key Ingredients:

  • Coconut Oil–nourishes and firms skin thanks to Vitamins E and K, iron, and fatty acids
  • Hibiscus Flower–a natural emollient that treats dry skin and improves skin tone
  • Songyi Mushroom–brightens and evens skin tone

Yes to Tomatoes Acne Fighting Micellar Cleansing Water

from Yes to

Photo of Acne Fighting Micellar Cleansing Water from Yes To
$8.99 for 7.77 fl. oz.; Yes to

Another great brand with a reasonable price point. Tomato extract, salicylic acid and micellar water gently cleanse, treat, and moisturize, so your skin isn’t left feeling dry. I had been using the Micellar Water from Formula 10.0.6 first thing in the morning, but honestly the bottle annoys me. Either I don’t get enough on my cotton ball, or I accidentally soak it. This dispenser method seems a lot better.

I’m a little confused about this product, though, because I bought it from Ulta for $2.25, but now I can’t find it anywhere on the website, even though it’s still listed on Yes to’s website. You can’t buy directly from their website at this time, so who knows? Anyway, you can still get the Charcoal one for $8.99 at Ulta.

Blemish Clearing Cleanser

from Juice Beauty

Photo of Blemish Clearing Cleanser from Juice Beauty
$24 for 6.75 fl. oz.; Juice Beauty

I’m trying to find the perfect cleanser that gets my skin clean without drying it out. This one just might be a contender. Most of the ingredients are organic, and it’s cruelty-free.

Key Ingredients:

  • Lemon Juice & Cherry Juice–cleanse
  • Aloe Juice–moisturizes

Skin Renewing Cream Serum

from CeraVe

Photo of Skin Renewing Cream Serum from CeraVe
$16.99 for 1 fl.oz.; Ulta

When I got my birthday facial, the aesthetician recommended that I start incorporating Retinol into my skincare regimen, since I’m approaching my 30s. When I ran out of serum, I decided to try this out.

Key Ingredients:

  • Encapsulated Retinol–Retinol reduces signs of aging, but it’s a pretty unstable molecule. By encapsulating the molecules with lipids, it lengthen’s the Retinol’s shelf life. The capsules break when applied to the skin and helps facilitate better absorption of the Retinol into the skin.
  • Ceramides–protect against moisture loss and keep skin firm
  • Hyaluronic Acid–helps maintain moisture

Pep-Start™ Daily UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 50

from Clinique

Photo of Pep-Start Daily UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 50 from Clinique
$19.50 for 1 fl. oz.; Clinique

This mineral sunscreen protects against UVA/UVB rays, plus it has a (supposedly) universal tint to it helps perfect your skin’s appearance. It’s oil-free, and I’ve had no issues with it underneath my makeup. Not sure I’d repurchase because of the price point (I had a gift card this time). Any mineral face sunscreens out there that you recommend?

Bust Dust

from Megababe

Photo of Bust Dust Anti-Boob-Sweat Spray from Megababe
$16 for 3 oz.; Megababe

I was waiting for a friend while she went through the checkout line at Ulta and she showed this to me because the name and the specificity of its use made her giggle. I was like, “Oh my goodness, they make something specifically for this? I need this in my life!” I’m probably about an F or G cup, and when you work out 6 days a week and live in Florida, the boob sweat struggle is REAL. I was hoping this was a spray that dried with a powdery finish, but it’s just a true powder that sprays out, so it’s a little messy. It smells great, though, and it’s cruelty-free and talc-free. It’s not an antiperspirant by any means, but it helps keep things a little drier and fresher until I can get home to shower.

Key Ingredients:

  • Aloe–soothes skin
  • Lavender Oil–natural antiseptic that inhibits bacteria growth
  • Chamomile Oil–source of antioxidants and essential oils to reduce skin irritation
  • Corn starch–absorbs moisture

I’m curious to try out a couple of their other products, as well: Thigh Rescue and Rosy Pits.


Stem Cellular CC Cream in “Natural Glow”

from Juice Beauty

Photo of Stem Cellular CC Cream in "Natural Glow" from Juice Beauty
$39 for 1.7 fl. oz.; Juice Beauty

I was running low on my CC+ Cream from IT Cosmetics, and I think it was contributing to my breakouts, anyway. I thought I’d give this a try because it’s got 20% zinc oxide for sun protection, plus it’s free of synthetic fragrances. There are only 5 shades, but their website claims that since they don’t use artificial dyes, the colors work for skin tones from very light to dark as the colors blend and adapt.

It does seem to blend pretty well, but it’s thick, so I’m still trying to find that sweet spot of how much to squeeze onto my mixing palette for one use. I find it works best if I apply it with my stippling brush, blend a little more with the flat side of a beauty sponge, and then let it sit a couple of minutes before moving on to contouring and blush. I tried baking it, but my face came out looking really cakey, so I recommend doing the above and then finishing off with a setting spray and/or light layer of translucent powder.

Benefits according to the website:

  • Reduces appearance of fine lines & wrinkles
  • Broad spectrum sun protection
  • Evens skin tone
  • Smoothes uneven texture
  • Creates a radiant, glowing complexion
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Protects with mineral SPF 30
  • Ultimate moisturizer
  • Skin perfecting color
  • Mineral tinted coverage
  • No chemical sunscreen
  • Non-nano natural sunscreen

24-Hour Brow Setter Clear Brow Gel

from Benefit Cosmetics

Photo of 24-Hr Brow Setter from Benefit Cosmetics
$24 for .23 fl. oz.; Benefit Cosmetics

I tried this a few months ago and loved it, but I wanted to see if a drugstore brand could do the same thing for a lower price. So I bought one, and it didn’t even come close. This one is waterproof (the other one wasn’t) and it keeps my brow powder in place, even when I’m sweating at the gym. I love the applicator, too! The long bristles on one side are great for the main part of my brows, the shorter bristles on the other side help tame the really unruly hairs, and the bristles at the tip get the tails of my brows just right. If you’ve got a drug store brand that you think can top this, I want to know about it!

Brush Bath Purifying Brush Cleaner

from IT Brushes for Ulta

Photo of Brush Bath Purifying Brush Cleaner from It Cosmetics
$18 for 3.4 fl. oz.; Ulta

I only bought this because I couldn’t find my usual 30 oz. Japonesque refill bottle on the Ulta website or on Japonesque’s. It’s back on Ulta’s now, so I exchanged it, since Japonesque’s is a better buy ($30 for 16 fl. oz.) What do you think? Have you used either one before?

Whew, what a month! Let’s go, August! How many of these products have you tried?


Sarah xoxo

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