must haves

3 Essentials for Oily Skin

I've always had oily skin. Always have, probably always will. I still struggle with break outs. When I was a teenager, I remember reading teen magazines that said, eventually, I would just stop breaking out whenever any minor environmental or health change occurred. The fact is, that just didn't happen. 

I have found ways, as I've gotten older, to deal with my skin. Ultimately, as much as I would like to fundamentally change my skin (or, realistically, the balance of hormones that causes this travesty), it probably isn't going to happen any time soon. So, I learned to take care of the skin I have, prevent break outs as best I can, and soldier on no matter what. 

Here are the 3 products that I absolutely depend on for my skin's survival. 

1. Charcoal Cleansing Bar, Beautycounter

My sister sells Beautycounter and for my birthday, she gave me the Charcoal Cleansing Bar. It's $24 for a bar, which seems pretty steep, except it lasts forever. I use it to wash my make up off every night and honestly, it leaves my skin feeling super soft and clean, without that weird, waxy, squeaky feeling that other cleansers cause. I have also noticed a significant improvement in my skin since I started using it, both in terms of break outs and how greasy I get throughout the day and night. With almost 2 months of solid use, I'd say it is reduced in size by about 1/3--so a bar should last 5-6 months, depending on how often you use it. 

2. Clear Start Matte Moisturizer, Dermalogica

Moisturizer is key to preventing oily skin. When I was around 13, my pediatrician (seriously) explained that people with oily skin actually have quite dry skin; the body produces more oil to help with the dryness, thus creating too much oil and causing acne. I know, right? So keeping your skin moisturized is super important when you have oil skin; it will help prevent excess oil. I love this matte moisturizer from Dermalogica; it's the perfect base for primer and foundation in the morning, and it doesn't have that gross, greasy feeling I associate with a lot of moisturizers!

3. Studio Finishing Powder, NYX Cosmetics

I posted about NYX two days ago, but another reminder: if you have oily skin, a finishing and blotting powder are musts! I carry a compact of blotting powder in my purse, but I always top my foundation with a light dusting of Studio Finishing Powder. If I forget to do it, my make up is sliding off by 9am. However, with finishing powder, I'm pretty much set until noon--and even then, it's only the oiliest parts of my face that get bad (my nose and forehead, mainly). Give it a try, I promise you'll love it! 

5 Things You Absolutely Need for Your Baby's First Year

I've written quite a few posts about items that we love for Forrest. Looking back over the last almost year (really, almost a year now), I can pick out a few distinct items that we absolutely love, use every day, and cannot live without. 

My usual disclaimer, of course, stands: not every baby is the same; not every baby will like the things Forrest likes, and not every parent will like the things that Danny and I like. But that being said, I really feel like these items have made our lives easier--and that's why I say, you absolutely need them. 

1. the myBaby Sound Machine 

This is a sound machine and projector for baby's specifically. We didn't get it until June and let me tell you--I wish we'd bought one sooner. We used an app on our phones for the first 8 months of Forrest's life, but it was hard to leave him in his room with our phone, with an app that needed restarted every 30 minutes. This sound machine... it's amazing. In all honesty, we don't use the projector; I don't like the idea of him having a light playing images all night, it seems odd. But the sound machine. is. amazing. There are a ton of sound options, including heart beat (very popular with newborns) and rushing water (Forrest's fave). Totally worth the $24. 

2. HelloBaby Wireless Monitor

I had said I wouldn't get a video monitor because I thought they were unnecessary and weird. But when we started sleep training Forrest, we knew we needed one. Forrest could already stand up by then and so would often stand in his crib; I just wanted to be able to see if he'd hurt himself or genuinely needed help. This one is affordable, incredibly light, and has absolutely zero fancy features. It's perfect. You don't need a $200 camera to watch your baby sleep. 

3. OBall Rattle

This is a $4 ball that rattles. It is one of Forrest's favorite toys and has been for ages. He can chew on it, crawl on it, throw it, bounce it, hit it, offer it to Remus, and use it in the bath tub. It's a multi-use toy and he freaking loves it. $4. Drop the $50 activity centers and grab a bunch of Oballs. You'll thank me. 

4. Munchkin Microwave Sterilizer

I never imagined I would need so many bottle supplies, but here I am. Washing bottles is a huge pain in the butt and sterilizing them is worse. I sterilized until Forrest was 6 months old because I was paranoid like that. This microwave sterilizer was a constant on our kitchen counter. It was easy to use, easy to clean, and didn't take up too much room (not any more room than our bottle drying rack which I can't wait to get rid of). Even if you think you'll be exclusively breastfeeding, having a good bottle sterilizer on hand is good for pump parts, bottles, and toys (in case you end up getting thrush). 

5. Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water

Gripe water is used to help calm colic. Some babies live on this stuff. For the first 12 weeks of Forrest's life, we would give him this every evening to head off his crying streak that occurred from 6pm to 9pm. If he was crying, it would stop him in his tracks just long enough for him to go to sleep. It was a total game changer. Affordable, easy to use, and mostly non-medicinal. 

Have items your baby couldn't live without? Share with me on Twitter!

6 Beauty Products I Refuse to Live Without

Confession: For the last 6 months, I have really fallen down on skin care. I found myself hurriedly rubbing foundation on my face and putting on mascara then bolting out the door (Forrest in tow) for doctors appointments, lunch dates, and, worst, work. Combined with the fact that I wear leggings and a sweatshirt 2-3 days a week, it was adding up to a pretty bad look (as well as making me feel pretty sloppy most of the time). 

A few weeks ago, I decided it was time: Forrest is old enough to entertain himself for 30-40 minutes at a time (even if he whines about it), which means I deserve time to shower and get ready like a normal human. I also set a goal that I wasn't going to leave the house in the same sweatshirt I'd worn 20 days in a row ever again. 

I started cleaning out my make up in the mean time. I have a lot of crap I've collected over the years, as well as some favorites that I'd let myself run out of. After deciding to repurchase all my favorites and start from scratch, I realized there are a few things I just refuse to give up. 

1. Laura Geller Spackle Supercharged Primer, $32. 

The struggle is real when it comes to primers and oily skin. People with oily skin need a primer more than anyone else, but literally no primers are made for oily skin. None. Most of them leave the skin feeling slick (and trust me, I've tried tons). However, Laura Geller's Spackle Supercharged is, hands down, the best primer I've ever used. A solid runner up is Tarte's tinted BB cream, but it is the same price for a smaller tube. I like a good bang for my buck! I wear this everyday and my foundation is usually set through the entire day. 

2. Urban Decay Primer Potion, $12.

This is one of those stupid expensive things that I know I could probably find a cheaper dupe of, but I just don't want to. It's so good. It's good for eyelids and keeping eyeshadow and liner set all day. It's also good for blemishes and keeping concealer set all day. It's also good for lips and keeping matte lipstick set all day! I mostly use it for a lip primer these days and I swear, it's the best thing out there. A tiny tube lasts forever too, so I feel a little more justified regarding the price. 

3. Beauty Blenders, $20 for name brand, $5 for Ulta brand

Beauty Blenders are a specific brand and a specific product: those egg-shaped make up sponges that you use damp. Some people swear by name brand, which are $20+ a pop. However, I use the Ulta brand for $5 a piece ($10 for 2) and I like them just as well (and yes, I forked over $20 for a tiny freaking sponge a few years ago). They are so good for blending foundation and concealer (and contouring, if you're into that), but you can also use them to apply moisturizer and primer, to buff out too much blush (it happens), and to protect your under eyes from fallout as you put on eyeshadow. 

4. Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation, $39.

I love a full coverage foundation and Tarte's is the absolute best. I also like Naked by Urban Decay, but it doesn't come as close to matching my skin town. Tarte comes in a wider variety of shades and provides the same great coverage. A tube can last me anywhere from 4-8 months, depending on how often I wear it. It's the only foundation that has come close to matching my skin tone at all. 

5. NYX Powder Foundation, $9.99

Some people don't wear powder everyday, but I do. I used to be a devoted fan of Covergirl's Professional Loose Powder, but they recently stopped making the original and replaced it--and now they don't make a shade light enough for my skin tone. I started using NYX's powder foundation as a finishing powder (just using a brush instead of sponge) and it's so good. And for $9.99, you can't beat the price. If I need extra coverage, I just use my Beauty Blender to apply where I need it. 

6. Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, $18. 

I've done the leg work: you cannot find a better liner for winged eyeliner. You just can't. I also love that it's a pen with a flexible brush head. Here's why: most liners for winged liner have a felt tip and I actually don't get that because it's like putting on eyeliner with a marker. How does that make sense? It's the perfect matte black; it has the best brush head; you can get that perfect pointed wing. And at $18, it's not too bad! A close runner up is NYX matte black liquid liner, but I find it gets flaky and the brush is harder to control.