Beauty Tips: Summer Skincare Essentials

summer skincare essentials

Ever since I started listening to Natch Beaut (which I highly, highly recommend as a podcast!), I have gotten very into skincare. 

I used to be really... lazy about my skincare. But the more I listen to the experiences of others, the more I realize I need to get on top of a good skincare routine. I wanted to share a few of my essentials for summer skin. 

1. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum 

My skin texture pre-Ole Henriksen Truth Serum was... not great. I have really scarred skin thanks to years of cystic acne, plus I have rosacea and some melasma from my pregnancy. Overall, it's not really realistic for me to go bare-faced most days--or even use a lighter coverage foundation. However, Truth Serum really changed my world. My skin texture after 3 weeks of use is totally changed; my pores are smaller, my rosacea is really improved, and my dark spots have faded. I've gotten to the point where I dab on just a little concealer on weekends and go. This is huge. 

2. Source Vital Customized Facial Cocktail

I love Source Vital. I learned about them from Natch Beaut and immediately ordered my own custom cocktail. Here's what is in my cocktail: a base of neroli oil; infusions for acne & blemishes and oil control; and an extra shot of prickly pear oil (for dark spots and pore size). It is so soothing. I use it at night after my Ole Henriksen Transformation gel. I've only been using it about a week, but it has made my skin so moisturized and glowy. If you have drier skin, it's definitely a great way to go. 

3. Coola Suncare Classic Face SPF 30 

Listen, as I wrote on Monday, you need to wear a SPF moisturizer every single day. I recently started using this one from Coola because it's an unscented, cruelty free, available on Amazon option. I wear it mixed with my Transformation Cream moisturizer underneath my make up every single day. 

4. Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist

"But Michelle," you say, "how can I reapply sunscreen on my face over my make up?" Because, remember, you have to reapply sunscreen ever 60-90 minutes. 

Well, stress no more! Supergoop! has a setting mist with SPF 50; so when you're out at the lake, on the go, at work outside, or whatever, just mist some extra on your face, neck, and shoulders to get a double dose of sunscreen. It's also super refreshing. Supergoop! is a little expensive at $28 a bottle, but for something to keep in your bag for out-and-about retouches, it's pretty affordable. There is also a travel size if you just want to test it out. 

My Daily Essentials

I have a busy life. 

Those are words I really thought I'd never write. I hate that tendency of bloggers (especially full-time bloggers) to always write or post about how "busy" they are--when, in reality, they're probably not that super busy. Not that this is the busyness Olympics or anything.

But now that I'm legitimately busy, I feel stupid for all the times I thought I was busy in the past. A combination of sleep deprivation (although that's coming to an end), working a full-time job in half-time hours, and taking care of an entire small human has made me realize what it actually means to be "busy." 

The past few months, I've found a few ways to keep myself organized and on top of things, while effectively doing all my different jobs. These are my absolute daily essentials 

1. Bullet journals

I'm a list maker. I always have been and I always will be. I find it easiest, for all the various hats I wear, to keep a running calendar or list of deadlines, things to do, and notes. I started bullet journaling at work 2 years ago and it has worked wonderfully. I keep my bullet journal very simple: I have an index and then a full month master calendar for each month. Each day gets its own page where I record notes, things to do, and deadlines to add to my master calendar. I keep one notebook for my job and one notebook for home and it works really well to keep me feeling sane. 

I also have a "fun" bullet journal where I can do whatever list pages I want--and I don't do daily pages. I keep track of habits, saving, and all the lists I need, from books I want to buy to home improvement projects. 

2. Meal Planning  

Every Wednesday, I sit down and plan meals for the week. I know this seems like a strange day to do it, but I typically go grocery shopping with Forrest on Thursday or Friday morning. I don't use anything fancy: I use Pinterest and make a list in my journal. Then I create a grocery list out of all the recipes and add them to OurGroceries. 

3. OurGroceries

Have you guys ever used this app? I've used all kinds of different ways to try to organize my grocery lists. For a while, I used the basic Notes app on my iPhone, but I needed something better. OurGroceries can sync across different phones, so if Danny and I had the app, I could add a list of things I needed him to do on his way home from work. If I'm grocery shopping with Forrest, I don't necessarily have the ability to carry a notepad (and pen to cross things off). I can, however, hold a phone and tap to cross things out. And I never forget my list at home because it's already with me. 

4. Google Calendar & Reminders

I have an increasingly terrible memory. I used to be able to remember anything without writing it down, but those days are gone, clearly. Just like OurGroceries, it helps me to write things down in a bullet journal (usually my work one); but then I also add everything to my Google Calendar and iCalendar on my phone. I set reminders for 30 minutes and 5 minutes, just in case I forget. If I don't do this, I forget--like the doctor's appointment I completed spaced on at the beginning of June. Oops. 

What do you use to keep yourself organized? Share with me on Twitter!

A Few More Things My Baby & I Can't Live Without

I've written previously about some newborn essentials that made my life easier in the first few weeks of Forrest life. As babies grow, they basically change their minds every single day about what is going to work for them. It's probably because they are physically changing into new and different tiny humans each and every day, rapidly learning new skills, making connections, and absorbing the world around them. So that thing that helped your baby sleep for the first four weeks of their life (our trusty Rock'n'Play) suddenly becomes the enemy overnight (curses!). 

I thought I'd share a few items that are rocking our world lately. 

1. the Love to Dream Swaddle UP 50/50 

Full disclosure, we haven't had this swaddle too long--but on its first day in use, it totally changed our lives. Forrest slept through several naps on his own. I have held him for every single nap since he was about 4 weeks old. Yeah. It's a big deal. For $25, I will pay for the chance to pump, wash bottles, and eat a snack without juggling a sleeping baby. 

2. The O-Ball

I have a bunch of vaguely "rattle-like" objects for Forrest, but a lot of them are heavy and, for little hands that are just learning to grip and otherwise weak, just kinda too smooth. The O-Ball is great because: it rattles; it's brightly colored; and it's a soft, flexible, lightweight plastic that is super easy to grab. Forrest loves it. 

3. The Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up 

A few weeks ago, a woman in my due date group on Facebook shared this toy--and immediately, everyone in the group ordered one. I mean, easily 80 women ordered this toy. And about 85% of us love it. Forrest digs sitting in it. It makes it easy for him to play with toys, work on his ab muscles, work on grabbing stuff, and observe me folding laundry. Plus, the toys from his playmat also fit on the toy loops, so I can switch out toys depending on what he's into! 

4. UpSpring Baby Milkflow

I've written pretty extensively about my hatred of exclusive pumping--one of the most difficult parts of it is, honestly, the fact that my supply dips at the slightest change in my diet or routine. Whether it's drinking too much soda, not enough water, too many carbs, whatever. A friend recommended this supplement alongside my other supplements (lactation cookies, 100oz of water a day, Mother's Milk tea) and, I have to say, it works amazingly well. It tastes absolutely terrible, so I mix it into orange juice or Naked juice and it's not so bad. 

5. Pumpin' Pals Pump Flanges 

The flanges that come with the typical Medela pump are, frankly, way too small for most people and uncomfortable. These flanges are lifesavers. Firstly, they come with a guarantee that if you don't pump more milk per session, they will refund your purchase. That' awesome. Secondly, they are designed with a rounded edge to prevent the cup from cutting into your skin. And third, they are designed with a downward slope, which means that when you pump, you don't have to lean forward or sit straight up. Which, again, if you pump a lot, makes a huge difference in your life. They are absolutely worth the money. 

My Top 5 Third Trimester Pregnancy Essentials

Depending on what your doctor says, the 3rd trimester starts at either 27 or 28 weeks (there is some debate). However, the real slog doesn't seem to really start until about 30 weeks. This seems to be when the exhaustion starts in. If you've known about your pregnancy since very early on (3 or 4 weeks early), you've been excited and mentally preparing for a very long time. By 30 weeks, you're ready to have the freaking baby already... and you're not even full term yet!

In my case, by the time I was 30 weeks, I experienced a few things: none of my shoes fit; none of my tops fit; my back hurt, I had heartburn, I cried all the time, and I just wanted to spend all day eating chicken strips and chocolate cake. Who could blame me? 

When it comes down to it though, my 3rd trimester has been relatively smooth sailing (so far). I have days where my feet aren't bloated (although my carpal tunnel means me hands are pretty permanently puffed up) and I haven't had any pregnancy-related health problems. I'm not plagued by extreme symptoms like some women... but that doesn't make for a "pleasant" 3rd trimester by any means!

Here are my top 5 essential for surviving the last few weeks... and hopefully, the last four.

1. My Kindle

Where would I be without my nightly bath-and-reading session? I'm pretty sure I would have ran away forever by now without having the escape of a good book after a long day at work. Plus, holding a Kindle is much easier on my carpal tunnel plagued wrist than a book. It's lighter and I don't have to worry about turning pages. Win-win. 

2. Camisoles.

Remember that bit about none of my shirts fitting? It's not that they're too small... it's that they have gotten too short. My solution to this problem was long camisoles. I can wear them under tee shirts and sweaters to lengthen them and cover the three inches of belly that sometimes show. I can also wear them plain under cardigans and scarves for a somewhat lighter fall look (since I get overheated super easily these days). My favorites are from Forever 21--and at $1.90 a piece, they are a steal. (They also come in v-neck, which I love as well!) 

3. My "Husband" Pillow.

I don't think the technical name for these pillows is "husband" pillows, but that's what Danny and I call them. I got mine from Target for $14.99 (and you can get it for 10% off with a code!) I use it to prop myself up at night to prevent heartburn, to read in bed, to elevate my feet when they get mega-puffy... It's soft. It's cuddly. I love it. 

4. Faux-Uggs... or Fuggs.

I bought a pair of Faux-Uggs for $15.00 at Wal-Mart. They are two sizes too big and seasonally inappropriate, but I would not have made it through the last few weeks without them. Why? They fit my feet even when they are dramatically swollen. They support my ankles. They are easy to take off and put on. They are extremely comfortable when my feet hurt. They aren't the most attractive option... but at a certain point in pregnancy, you have to give it up and accept whatever you can to be comfortable. 

5. Water Bottles.

I keep a water bottle with me at all times: at work, in the car, at home. I also try to keep one or two extras in my fridge, full of ice and water, for the middle of the night (so I don't have to use the ice maker and wake everyone up). Staying hydrated during pregnancy is insanely important. Basically, most unpleasant pregnancy symptoms (Braxton Hicks, back pain, swollen feet) are given the advice of "drink more water." Drink more water! Drink it! Water has also helped my heartburn in the middle of the night: when I just can't bring myself to eat another Tums, I take a big swig of water... and it calms my heartburn enough to let me sleep. It's the little things. 

Have your own pregnancy essentials? Share with me on Twitter or in the comments below!