Spoil Me Sunday: Spoiled Rotten

Hey, y’all!

After a long week, I was excited to do some head-to-toe pampering this weekend. I picked up this $25 Spoiled Rotten At-Home Pampering Kit from Patchology for 30% off during 21 Days of Beauty at Ulta. I don’t see this particular kit on the Patchology website, but they have lots of others to choose from. This kit includes 1 of each:

FlashPatch Rejuvenating 5-Minute Eye Gels

Photo of FlashPatch Rejuvenating 5 Minute Eye Gels from Patchology
$15 for 5 pairs or $50 for 30 pairs; Patchology

I started out with the eye gels and the lip gels at the same time. The instructions say to leave them on for 5 minutes or a little longer, if you want. I did 10, but I noticed that they were starting to dry out. Once you remove the gels, gently pat any remaining serum into your skin. Active ingredients include:

  • Caffeine–improves circulation to brighten and reduce puffiness
  • Sodium Hyaluronate–helps skin retain moisture
  • Centella Asiatica–encourages collagen synthesis while preventing inflammation
  • Hydrolyzed Collagen–improves skin hydration, elasticity, tone, and density
  • Portulaca Oleracea Extract–rich in Vitamin C and Omega3s, so it brightens.

There’s a fine silver glitter inside of the gels, which was pretty, and the cooling sensation was heavenly. I like that they’re also reversible, so you can put the wide part on the inside or outside of your eyes, depending on whether you’re trying to target crow’s feet or undereye bags.

I loved the product, but I hate how much packaging is involved. It seemed wasteful, and it wasn’t recyclable, plus the gels then need to be disposed of, as well. I’m trying to become a more conscious consumer. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad if you got the jar of 30 pairs instead of the individually wrapped pairs.

FlashPatch Hydrating Lip Gels

Photo of FlashPatch Hydrating Lip Gels from Patchology
$15 for 5 or $50 for 24; Patchology

I left the lip gel on for 10 minutes, as well, and noticed it starting to dry out, too. I would recommend maybe 7 minutes. Just like with the eye gels, gently pat any remaining serum into your skin after removing the lip gel. Active ingredients include:

  • Peptides–soften fine lines and wrinkles
  • Green Tea Extract–antioxidant and soothing properties
  • Niacinamide–fatty acid that helps skin retain moisture

There was a pretty pink glitter inside of the lip gel, and it was so soothing on my skin! I loved this product, too, but hated the amount of packaging. At least the lip gels are biodegradable, which doesn’t appear to hold true for the eye gels. Maybe the packaging wouldn’t be as bad with the jar of 24; I’m not sure if there are plastic dividers in between.

FlashMasque Illuminate 5-Minute Sheet Mask

Photo of FlashMasque Illuminate 5 Minute Sheet Mask from Patchology
$30 for 4; Patchology

After the eye and lip gels, I moved on to the sheet mask. It was one of those cloth sheet masks, rather than gel, so it didn’t stay adhered to all the contours of my face. It didn’t have a protective film, so that was at least less waste, even if it meant it was a little tougher to unfold. It had a clean scent to it that wasn’t overpowering. Active ingredients include:

  • Licorice Extract–brightens and evens skin tone
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract–provides antioxidants

You only have to leave it on for 5 minutes, but I did 10 for this one, too. Afterwards my skin looked revitalized and felt hydrated. This was a nice mask, but I’m gravitating away from sheet masks because of how wasteful they are. I’m going to try to purchase masks that come in (preferably recyclable) jars and tubes in the future, rather than single-use masks.

PoshPeel Exfoliating Pedi Cure

Photo of Poshpeel Pedi Cure Treatment from Patchology
$20 per treatment or $35 for 2; Patchology

It was time to move on to my feet, and because I go barefoot so much with aerial, they need some help. This treatment was interesting. It comes with a pair of plastic Foot Masque Socks that have a cotton lining and two packets of Activating Essence (one for each foot). You empty one packet into a Sock, distribute the treatment evenly throughout, then put it on your foot. There’s an adhesive strip attached to the Sock that you remove the backing from to be able to cinch it around your ankle. Active ingredients include:

  • Glycolic Acid–penetrates skin to exfoliate
  • Salicylic Acid–softens and removes dead skin cells
  • Lactic Acid–hydrates and encourages skin to slough off
  • Citric Acid–helps speed up new cell turnover
  • Botanical Extracts–brighten skin

Sit back and relax for at least 60 minutes while the ingredients go to work, but you can leave it on for up to 90 minutes, which I did. Progressive peeling will take place over the next 3-7 days, so we’ll see how that goes. My feet do feel softer already, but my heels are still pretty tough, so the jury is still out. One thing I noticed is that it caused some of my toenail polish to peel off. Not a huge deal because I’m overdue to give myself a pedicure anyway, but just something to keep in mind.

Overall, I really liked the products in this kit, but the amount of packaging and waste left me feeling guilty, so I’m honestly not sure if I’d repurchase. How much does environmentality factor into your beauty purchases? What are some great eco-friendly brands you’ve found? I’d love to hear about them!

Have a great week!


Sarah xoxo

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Spoil Me Sunday: Bubbles!

Hey, y’all!

How are you? It’s been another busy week, and the weather here is getting hotter by the day. I may hail from Central Texas, but that doesn’t mean I’m a fan of the heat. Anyway, I wanted to give my skin a boost, and I was eager to try out a new mask today!

Rapids Soothing Probiotic Bubble Mask

from H20+ Beauty

Photo of Rapids Soothing Probiotic Bubble Mask from H20+ Beauty
$6 for 1 fl. oz.; H20+ Beauty

I had heard about bubble masks but had never tried one. I had also never tried anything from H20+ Beauty before, either. I picked this mask up on a whim during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty, and I thought I’d give it a whirl. According to the website, active ingredients and their benefits include:

  • Champagne Extract–promotes an even complexion
  • Oat Derived Active–reduces signs of irritation and leaves skin feeling soft
  • Yuzu Extract–rich in Flavonoids and Vitamin C = radiance
  • Probiotics–promote water and nutrient retention for improved suppleness

Apply to clean skin–the package says a thick layer, the website says a dime-sized amount…who knows how much? You do you. You massage the gel into your skin, and it starts foaming almost instantly. It had a nice fresh, somewhat floral, scent to it. Sit back and relax for 10-12 minutes (website says up to 15) while the bubbles fizz away. It was a fun sensation, even though it tickled my nose. I got my husband to do it with me, and he described it as “Pop Rocks for your face.” hahaha I personally think Pop Rocks are more intense than this; I would describe it as what it would be like to stick your face in a glass of champagne.

By the end, all of the bubbles are gone, and you’re just left with the gel texture. You massage the gel into your skin for 30 seconds before rinsing it off with warm water. My skin felt so soft and healthy afterwards; I absolutely loved it! Recommended use is 2-3 times per week. After 2 weeks of use, you should see reduced occurrences of blackheads. Judging by how much I have left, I think you could easily get 2 or 3 uses out of a single 1 oz. packet, possibly 4. I would definitely recommend this for when your skin needs a calming boost!

Have you tried a bubble mask before? What did you think? Let me know if there’s one you think I should try!

Have a great week!


Sarah xoxo

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Spoil Me Sunday: Tighten Up

Hey, y’all!

We’ve finally been getting some much-needed rain here in Orlando. Rainy days are perfect for curling up on the couch, getting some writing done, and being a little lazy. For this Spoil Me Sunday, I decided to use one of the items from my April ipsy Glam Bag!

Pore Tightening Pearl Clay Mask

from Biorace

Photo of sample size Pore Tightening Pearl Clay Mask from Borate
$25 for 3.88 oz.; Biorace

This mask claims to tighten pores, reduce excess sebum, and deep cleanse. The pearl extract in it brightens and evens your complexion (I assume that’s what the black flecks were). I’m a June baby, so Pearl is one of my birthstones (the other is Alexandrite), so this was made for me! I only  applied it to my T-Zone and the apples of my cheeks, where I have the most obvious pores. As it dried, it visibly tightened my skin to the point where it visibly pulled, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. I rinsed it off somewhat easily after 15 minutes, and my pores did in fact look smaller and my skin felt smoother. I’m curious to see what results I’ll get with regular use (they recommend 1-2 times a week). Considering how little I need to use at one time, this sample will last me a while. I would absolutely recommend this mask!

My full April 2018 ipsy Glam Bag review will be coming soon, so keep an eye out! What do you think of this mask? Would you try it?

Have a great week!


Sarah xoxo

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Spoil Me Sunday: Lift Me Up

Hey, y’all!

It’s been one heck of a week, and I’m sure next week will be a doozy, too. Even if I’m keeping my cool, sometimes stress will start to show on my skin: dullness, breakouts, uneven tone, fine lines, etc. No thanks! Yeah, I need to make sure I’m getting enough sleep (the answer is usually no), and I need to make sure I’m drinking enough water (the answer is usually yes, but sometimes I lose track). Sometimes, though, you need a little pick-me-up.

Face-Lift in-a-Bag

from Skyn Iceland

Photo of Face-Lift in-a-Bag from Skyn Iceland
$19.50; Skyn Iceland

Let me start off by saying that Skyn Iceland is 100% vegan and cruelty-free! It was also started by a fellow Sarah, so there’s that. 😉 Anyway, about this product:

Each bag consists of:

  • 2 pairs of eye gels
  • 2 pairs of smile line gels
  • 2 forehead gels

You can use these gels all together or individually as needed. All you have to do is cleanse your face, pat dry, and apply the desired gel(s). Leave them on for 10 minutes (take some time to relax!), then remove the gels, toss them, and voilà! The cooling sensation when you apply the gels is incredibly soothing, and I could really see the different under my eyes and around my mouth when I took them off. It’s a nice rejuvenation for my skin when it needs a little boost but I’m strapped for time.

Active ingredients include:

  • Organic tomato callus stem cell extract – full of antioxidants (only found in the forehead gel)
  • Hydrolyzed extension – helps skin retain moisture
  • Hydrolyzed elastin – helps restore firmness under eyes
  • Ginseng callus stem cell extract – full of antioxidants and improves collagen production (only found in smile line gels)
  • Ginkgo biloba leaf extract – improves blood flow under eyes, reducing puffiness
  • Copper tripeptide-1 – increases collagen production and cell turnover
  • Coenzyme Q10 – antioxidant that fights free radicals
  • Acetyl hexapeptide-8 – calms muscles under the skin to reduce fine lines and wrinkles

I definitely recommend this product if you’re prone to stress like I am. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wear my stress on my face. (Stressing less is a whole other conversation for a different day.)

How do you like to de-stress? Leave a comment below. I’d love some new ideas!

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Ready for another week? We’ve got this!


Sarah xoxo

Spoil Me Sunday: Put Your Best Foot Forward

Hey, y’all!

I’m going to be traveling again this week, this time it’s for work instead of personal reasons, but I’m still looking forward to it. I’ve never been to Fort Lauderdale before, even though I’ve been living in Florida for almost 7 years now. It seemed appropriate that I should give my feet some TLC, since I’ll probably be wearing sandals at some point, and Spring is pretty much here anyway.

The Prep Work

Prepping my feet started out last night with removing my old nail polish, clipping, shaping, etc. Then came the fun part…exfoliating!

Pedi Perfect Electronic Foot File, Extra Coarse

from Amopé

Photo of Amope Pedi Perfect Electronic Foot File, Extra Coarse
Regularly $49.99, on sale at the moment for $39.42 from Amopé

Using this device beats the heck out of manually filing your heels; I certainly have no patience for that! It’s powered by 4 AA batteries and gets the job done with little effort. The ergonomic design is very comfortable, and the file pops right out to make cleaning a breeze. Extra coarse file refills are $19.99 for a 2-pack; as of today, they’re on sale for $16.04. I’ve used this device maybe 10 times since I bought it, and I haven’t had to replace the file yet. It’s important to note that you should only use this device on dry skin. If you want the option of wet or dry, try this device, instead.

Foot Works Double Action Deep Moisturizing Cream

from Avon

Photo of Double Action Deep Moisturizing Cream from Avon

After exfoliating, it was time to moisturize. Admittedly, I’m not great about foot care, and I don’t moisturize as often as I should, so I’ve had this foot cream for a while. It seems that this exact one has been discontinued and replaced with Avon Foot Works Deep Moisturizing Cream. It usually retails for $6 for 2.5 fl. oz.; at the moment, it’s on sale for $3.99. The cocoa seed butter provides intense moisture and healing for your skin, while the peppermint oil provides a cooling sensation and a fresh scent. I slathered this on my feet and put on some comfy fuzzy socks before heading to bed.

The Nails

Ultimate Shield Base & Top Coat

from Sally Hansen

Photo of Ultimate Shield Base & Top Coat from Sally Hansen
$4.99 for .45 fl. oz. from Target

Every good manicure or pedicure needs to start with a good base coat if you want it to have any chance of lasting. This is my favorite, partly because it works so well and partly because I love any multi-purpose beauty product. I like not having to buy a separate top coat. One thin coat of this helps protect my nail and extends the life of my polish.

“Booze Cruise” Nail Polish

from Trust Fund Beauty

Photo of "Booze Cruise" Nail Polish from Trust Fund Beauty

Now comes the fun part–color! Trust Fund Beauty is one of my favorite nail polish brands because it lasts well and you get a good amount of product for the price. Depending on the color intensity I’m going for, 1-2 coats is plenty. I’ve never had to do more than that. “Booze Cruise” has an incredibly subtle shimmer to it and “Spring” is written all over it. It seemed appropriate for traveling to a beach town like Fort Lauderdale. I doubt I’ll have time for the beach while I’m there, but we’ll see! Then again, with Spring Break going on, avoiding the beach might be best…

I bought this particular color last July, and it seems to have been discontinued. Looking at their website, it seems the next most similar color to this would be “Emotional Hangover,” which you can purchase here. All of their full-size nail polishes are .57 fl. oz. and retail for $12-15.

I finished it off with a top coat of Ultimate Shield, let it dry, and I’m good to go!

What are some of your favorite nail polish colors for Spring? How often do you get pedicures? Do you get them done professionally, or do you DIY it like I do?

Please subscribe to Balanced Life Beauty if you’d like to be notified when new posts go up. You can also follow me on Instagram (click the icon at the top of the page.)

Have a great week!


Sarah xoxo

Photo of Biore Self Heating One Minute Mask

Spoil Me Sunday: Fire & Ice

Hey, y’all!

After being out of town the past couple of weekends, the name of the game this weekend was getting back into a regular routine. The biggest focus was meal prepping (we’re making an eggplant parmesan from scratch that I’m super stoked about) and cleaning our condo. I wanted to focus on deep cleaning my skin, too. It’s finally starting to clear up, and I’d like to stay on that trajectory.

Self Heating One Minute Mask With Natural Charcoal

from Bioré Skincare

After using my ExfoliKate, I wanted to heat things up a little more, so I popped on this mask for a minute. The warming sensation felt so good, and when I rinsed it off, there was a refreshing cooling sensation, thanks to the menthol that’s in it. Yes, it has fragrance in it (sigh), but I noticed the menthol more than anything else. I loved how clean and fresh my skin felt afterwards. After a day of cooking and cleaning, it’s exactly what I needed!

You can find a box of 4 single-use packets for as low as $5.82 on Amazon, or you can find it at your local drugstore for a little more (usually around $7.99.) This is a skincare item I always like to have on hand for whenever my skin needs it.

What do you think of self-heating skincare products? Are you a bigger fan of products with a cooling sensation? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Have a great week!


Sarah xoxo

Spoil Me Sunday: Fly Me to the Moon

Hey, y’all!

Spoiler Alert: this post has absolutely nothing to do with beauty or skincare products. This Spoil Me Sunday is special because it’s my husband’s and my first wedding anniversary. After booking our (belated) honeymoon in Ireland, watching one of my best friends marry the man of her dreams last weekend, and spending a long weekend with mine, I’m brimming with love, happiness, and excitement. Frank Sinatra’s version of “Fly Me to the Moon” was our first dance at our wedding reception; it’s been stuck in my head most of the day, and it always puts a big smile on my face. I didn’t need to do any special beauty regimen this weekend because as Audrey Hepburn once said, “I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls,” and our mini getaway this weekend made me really happy.


I’ll start this off with saying that as my anniversary gift, Jeff planned this entire weekend without any assistance from me, and as a bonus he did the driving. Perfect! We kicked off our long anniversary weekend with lunch at Fogo de Chão (thanks for the gift card, Aunt Cathy & Uncle Jodie!) It was delicious, as always, and met my meat quota for like a week haha.


After lunch, we drove down to St. Petersburg and checked into the Cordova Inn, which is an adorable boutique hotel originally built in 1921. The location in downtown St. Petersburg was perfect: it was within walking distance of countless restaurants, shops, museums, and points of interest. I’d definitely recommend staying here, and it has a pretty interesting history, if you want to check it out on their website.


All the museums and such in St. Pete seem to close at 5, so there wasn’t a whole lot for us to do once we got settled in, but we walked around to scope things out, grabbed a small bite to eat, and came across a taproom that was right next to our hotel, called Pour Taproom. They started in Asheville, NC, and they’ve expanded to a handful of locations on the east coast and one in California. The setup is really cool: when you open your tab, you get a rubber wristband that has some sort of electronic component to it (I assume RFID). They have 85 different beers, ciders, & wines to choose from, and you just tap your wristband on the screen of the beverage you want to try, serve yourself as much or as little as you want, and you get charged by the ounce. At the end, you just turn in your wristband to close you your tab. It’s a great way to sample several different beverages without having to commit to a whole drink and rack up an enormous tab. It’s definitely beer-centered, but maybe the cider and wine selections will grow eventually (I hope!) Jeff was totally stoked that he could drink Belgians for around $.75/oz. We drank outside so that Jeff could vape, but I noticed they had all kinds of board games and card games you could play inside.



We slept in a bit, took our time getting ready, and made our way over to the Iberian Rooster for brunch. We had picked up one of those tourist maps in our hotel lobby, and Iberian Rooster had an ad boasting bottomless mimosas and brunch Saturday and Sunday until 3pm–we were sold! We got even more excited when we arrived and discovered that there were 10 different flavors of mimosas to choose from: classic, Bellini, Creme de Peche, Batida de Coco, Frambois, Creme de Mure (my favorite), Pamplemousse Rose, Cedilla Açai (my second favorite), Tipplers Orange, and Banane du Brasil. It’s a family-owned Portuguese Fusion restaurant and speakeasy near the Central Arts District. Everything we tried was delicious, and considering we didn’t even get to try their lunch or late-night menus, we definitely plan on going back next time we’re in St. Pete. PS: If you go for brunch, don’t skip on the cheese grits–they’re fantastic!


After brunch, we made our way over to the Morean Arts Center’s Glass Studio & Hot Shop. We arrived just in time to watch a glass-blowing demonstration, which was absolutely mesmerizing. Seeing the demonstration before going to the Chihuly exhibit helps you further appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship required to make these glass masterpieces. The Chihuly Collection was just a short walk away, and it certainly didn’t disappoint! The variety of colors and textures, as well as just the sheer magnitude of some of the pieces was absolutely breathtaking. I found it interesting that the building was designed specifically for this collection, so the architecture and the art work very harmoniously together. This collection is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss when visiting St. Pete.


After leaving the gallery, we walked over to South Straub Park to check out the 5th annual St. Petersburg Fine Art Festival that happened to be going on this weekend. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it over there until around 4:30, and they closed at 5. So we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our evening plans: dinner at Sushi, Inc. (I was craving seaweed salad!) and a show at the Palladium Theatre. We enjoyed one of the performances of the 10th annual St. Petersburg Jazz Festival, featuring the Helios Jazz Orchestra and vocals by Whitney James & Chuck Wansley. The music selection had a Big Band vibe, which Jeff and I both really enjoyed.


We finished off the evening with some rolled ice cream from Dot Ice and another stop at Pour. I had seen rolled ice cream online before, but I’d never had an opportunity to try it.  I got the “S’mores Galore” flavor, so they started out by chopping up a graham cracker on the flat pan, which is kept at -17°F. Then they pour sweet cream on the pan, mix it all together, and spread it very neatly and evenly until it freezes to the point where they can roll it up and put it in a cup. My anal retentive soul found it very gratifying to watch. 🙂



After checking out of the hotel, we went to a 24/7 diner next door to Pour, called 2nd & Second. Oh my goodness, they had so many things we wanted to try, but I went with a “Grilled Cheese Your Way” (sourdough, cheddar, tomatoes, grilled onions, and mushrooms.) This is yet another place we plan on going back to next time we’re in town because there were just too many choices!


After fending off the hangriness, we finally made our way over to the Salvador Dalí Museum. We had to rush through a little more than we would have liked because we needed to start heading home, but we enjoyed what we did see, both the exhibits and the gardens.

Now it’s back to real life: meal prepping, laundry, preparing for work tomorrow, etc. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past year, though, it’s that if you choose the right partner, even “real life” is pretty great. I might be a little biased, but I think I married the most wonderful man in the world, and you’d have a hard time convincing me otherwise.

Wedding Day

St. Petersburg might only be 2 hours away from home, but since we both left our work cell phones at home, we got to disconnect from our everyday life for a couple of days and explore a new place together. I’m looking forward to the next 70+ years of exploring this big world hand in hand.

I hope you had a great weekend, too! Have you ever been to St. Petersburg? What looks the most interesting to you?



Sarah xoxo


Spoil Me Sunday: Paint It Black

Hey, y’all!

Ok, so this week’s Spoil Me Sunday actually happened on Saturday because one of my best friends is getting married on Sunday. Since it’s in preparation for Sunday, I think it still counts. 🙂 Between sleep deprivation, traveling, and hormones, my skin is NOT happy, and in anticipation of all the photos that will be taken this weekend, I attempted to appease it…

Blaq Mask Tube

from Blaq

Photo of Blaq Mask Tube
60 ml for $29; Blaq

I brought this mask from home, just in case. I got it as a sample in my ipsy bag a few months ago, and I always love a good peel mask. Removing them is so gratifying, and the fact that this one has bamboo charcoal as an active ingredient makes it even better! The Blaq Mask has a bit thinner consistency than your typical gel peel mask, and it dries down completely (no stickiness). I just tend to use it on my nose area, and I can totally feel a difference afterwards: my nose feels smoother and so clean! The ingredients say it has fragrance in it, but I hardly notice it, which I’m not complaining about at all. If you have sensitive skin, you should definitely do a patch test before applying to your entire T-Zone. I might buy the full size at some point, but I have some other masks to test first.

Polishing Charcoal + Black Sugar Gel Mask + Scrub

from Freeman Beauty

Photo of Polishing Charcoal + Black Sugar Gel Mask + Scrub from Freeman Beauty
.5 fl. oz. for $4.29; Ulta

The wedding this weekend is in Austin, so in my hurry to pack Wednesday night before flying out Thursday, I forgot a few things, including my lip primer and my lip liner for the wedding. This meant a trip to Ulta yesterday to get replacements. While I was there, I decided to pick up some kind of clarifying mask to fight this breakout on my cheeks and jawline. I came across this one, and it looked interesting. You apply it to damp skin, let it sit for 5-7 minutes, then scrub and rinse. It’s suitable for all skin types, and while it also has fragrance listed in the ingredients, it’s very subtle like the last one. My skin felt so clean and exfoliated afterwards! It also didn’t dry out my skin, which is always a risk on my cheeks. Since that’s where I’m breaking out, I was grateful for the moisturizing factor. I have a ridiculous number of masks to get through at this point, but I’d consider buying the full size of this later on down the road.

The next morning, my skin looked clearer and felt so much smoother. The blemishes are still healing, but they’re at least flat now, so my foundation can cover them. This “Best Woman” is ready for photos!

What are some of your can’t-live-without items that you pack when traveling? How do you keep your skin happy when you’re on the go?

Have a great week!


Sarah xoxo