Top 5 Beauty Bargain Buys

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a makeup junkie. And, as a fashion lover who loves to splurge on clothes, I kind of have to cut down the price of my beauty products so I don’t break the bank. 

But even on a budget, the possibilities for it are endless – face masks, lipstick, eye creams, and mascara are just a handful of options out there for you to choose from. 

One of the reasons why I love makeup so much is that you can literally find it everywhere you go –  whether it’s at the drugstore, Kroger, or, of course, the internet, it’s never far from reach.

And the best part? It’s affordable.

Of course, you can always splurge and buy that $50 Chanel lipstick you’ve been eyeing for months, but there’s always a more economical choice right around the corner. 

Now, if you’re looking for cred as far as beauty choices go, just remember that I’m usually mistaken for a 29-year-old when I’m actually about to turn the big 4-0 next year. I have no doubt that my makeup plays a part in this, so it’s about time I give my essentials a little shout out, don’t you think?


Here’s some of my favorite tried and true bargain beauty buys that I use on a daily basis, all under $10: 

  1. Maybelline’s Dream Matte Mousse Foundation ($7.99 at Target)

I’ve been using this foundation for years and have yet to find one that rivals its magic. What makes this product different from all of the other foundations I’ve tried is that it covers literally everything. If you’re like me, and like heavy coverage, then this one is definitely for you. But don’t worry, no one will know, as this foundation blends seamlessly into your skin.  

Since there’s not a shade that perfectly matches my skin tone, I usually mix two shades to get the right look, but after that, I’m set and ready to go. I highly recommended this one.

  1. E.l.f. Cosmetics Poreless Face Primer ($6 at Ulta Beauty)

About a year ago, a co-worker recommended this product and I have been thanking her ever since. It literally blew me away the first time I tried it. I put on just one layer of this product, looked in the mirror, and said, “Oh my god, it really works!” It’s that good, folks. In fact, e.l.f. Makeup’s putty primer is so popular that it’s often pretty hard to find on the shelf in stores. Thankfully, there’s plenty of online retailers to buy it from. Believe me, you’ll be in heaven with this one, too. 

  1. JOAH Truly Yours Dark Circle Concealer ($7.99 at CVS Pharmacy)

One day last year I picked up this concealer on a whim while I was perusing through CVS and thankfully, this did not disappoint. What I love about this product is not only the actual concealer, but also the perfect sponge applicator that’s included. It’s a great dabber to use for those annoying dark circles under our eyes. It’s light, gentle touch is a lifesaver, especially when I’m running late in the morning and slathering everything across my face way too fast in an effort to dash out the door as fast as I can. And for $7.99, it’s quite a steal! 

  1. Flower Beauty Eyebrow Pencil ($8.23 at Walmart)

This is my most recent beauty purchase. And let me tell you folks, Drew Barrymore does not mess around when it comes to her new makeup line, Flower Beauty. Whenever I buy a new makeup product, I usually keep my expectations low so I’m not disappointed, but this one was a pleasant surprise. It rivals even the $15 eyebrow pencils from other drugstore brands. The best part? It’s so easy to use. Unlike pretty much every other eyebrow pencil I’ve used, the tip of this one does not crack or break. But what I love most is the natural look it creates on the brow. Best of all, with Flower Beauty’s eyebrow pencil you’d never guess I pulled out one too many eyebrow hairs back in my college days, and for that, I’m thankful.

  1. L’oreal’s Voluminous Mascara ($8.99 at Ulta Beauty)

This staple was recommended to me by a friend about five years ago, and has never failed since. It’s become one of those everyday makeup essentials that I can’t live without. L’oreal’s Voluminous mascara has such a rich color with a lash extending formula that makes even the faintest eyelash come back to life. I can honestly say that everytime I put on this product my eyes pop! It’s a great feeling, guys. If you want an extra bang for your buck, just use this with an eyelash curler, and you’re golden. Ready, set, go! 

Quick, little disclaimer: I’m not getting paid by any company or being reimbursed with products for this post, so you can trust me, folks.


And there you have it! So, whenever you’re so broke that you’re down to counting every penny, or even if you just want a fresh, new makeup look, I highly recommend trying these beauty products. Because, let’s face it – we all deserve to treat ourselves every now and then!

Let me know what you think about these products in the comments below!


Five Ways to Relieve Anxiety

In a post corona virus world, it’s hard not to feel anxious these days. From watching the 24-hour news cycle of doomsday headlines to the constant flux of quarantine orders, it’s clear what we’re experiencing is far from normal.

These days the key is learning how to let go, even when it feels impossible.

Uncertain of where to start?

Try these tips:

1. Move

Whether it’s getting up from your couch, taking a shower, or going for a walk, your body needs a physical reminder that it’s not stuck.

Think of a tiger moving towards its prey in slow motion. Now replace the tiger with your terrifying thoughts on what could happen in the future, and you see what I mean. Stop focusing on the danger, and move on to something else. It’s important to do this physically so your brain understands that a change is taking place.

So, practice some yoga poses. Do some jumping jacks. Heck, why not even run around the house for a hot second? Believe me, your body will thank you.

2. Take a Deep Breath

Now that you’ve moved around, it’s time to take it easy. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit, put your hand on your belly, and close your eyes. Slowly inhale, as you count up to 4 seconds. (You should be able to feel your belly moving while you’re doing this) Then, hold your breath for 7 seconds. And finally, exhale for 8 complete seconds. 

Try to do this for at least five minutes every day. 

Believe me, your body and your brain will thank you.

3. Change Your Inner Dialogue

Inner dialogue, so to speak, are the things you tell yourself in your head. The voice that only you can hear.

So when you find your brain constantly being a debbie downer, spruce it up with a deep clean of positive, grateful tidbits. 

Think of this practice like a vacuum, sucking up all the cobwebs in your brain. 

And when all else fails, remember the words a wise therapist once said – “What you’re feeling is real, but it may not be true.”

4. Laugh

I learned the importance of this many moons ago when one of my boyfriends at the time saw me frantically reading a self-help book and pulled up a funny YouTube video on his phone. 

“Hey, check this out,” he said with a smile. 

Guess what happened next? I laughed. It was like pouring a magical elixir on my thoughts- suddenly everything started to look a little rosier.

You see, by doing this, you’re consciously moving your brain to a lighter head space. And when your brain is in chill mode, your body will be, too.

5. Create

Have you ever started drawing or writing and suddenly forgot all the nagging things you were thinking about? 

There’s something pretty magical about art and the very act of creation in itself. It can be anything, from dance, to music, to painting, or even acting. 

Studies have shown that after making pretty much anything, our cortisol levels are drastically reduced. 

What’s cortisol?

Well, it’s a harmful substance our body creates whenever it’s in a stressful situation. Too much cortisol can increase your blood pressure, decrease your sex drive, and even give you type 2 diabetes if it’s not kept in check.

So, pull out that easel board and conjure up your inner Rembrant. Find that guitar you buried under the bed and make some tunes. Write the novel you keep putting off. Dance your heart out to some of your favorite tunes.

Don’t worry about making the next masterpiece. Just do it.  


Remember, anxiety is something that can only be tackled on a day-to-day basis. Healing takes time. Every step forward, no matter how small, is a win. 

Trust me, you got this. 


Living in the Digital Age

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In a world permeated by technology, it’s hard not to become immersed in it. The patterns we create in our brains become habits, and the habits become our lives.  And in 2018, it’s hard to think of life without the great worldwide web. I don’t know about you, but whenever I think about the fact that the majority of my time is spent looking at a screen and pressing buttons, I freak out and have a mini-meltdown.

According to most, I’m considered a “millennial,”  – a term I have never been quite comfortable with as I have lived half of my life with technology, and the other half , without it.

I was born in 1981, back when the internet was still a pipe dream, and the only kind of media people knew about were the newspapers and reporters on TV.

As a teenager in the 1990’s, the only interaction I had with the internet was when I was in high school and hogged my parent’s phone line with AOL’s dial-up internet. I was never on the internet for very long, though as my mom or dad, twenty minutes after logging in, would yell out from the living room, “Honey, I have to use the phone – only five more minutes, okay?”

In 2002, I studied advertising, as a college student in New York City, and read about a new thing in the industry they were calling, “interactive television.” At the time I thought it was a nutty idea and privately doubted the possibility of it ever becoming a reality.  But with the rise of the internet and its seemingly endless possibilities, we now pretty much have interactive television  with streaming media channels like Netflix, Hulu, Roku, and Amazon Prime, among many more.

But despite all the technological advances of the digital age, none of it has lived up to my childhood fantasies. When I was little, I always imagined that my adult life would be like “The Jetsons.” Who doesn’t want a robot maid and flying cars? So, as much as I like technology, I’m also a little disappointed, as it never became as wondrous as my childhood fantasies. But technology is a changing sphere, full of more innovation than any other industry. And I, for one, secretly hope my Jetson’s dreams will one day be a reality, complete with a life on Mars and an apartment that orbits the sky. It’s possible, right?

Why Music Matters

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Have you ever wondered why you remember your favorite song more than your favorite book? You know, that one song that’s always playing in your head?

Well, it turns out that when our brains listen to music they produce dopamine – that feel good chemical we all love and crave.

Even as we get older and slowly lose our motor skills and memory, we still recognize our favorite tune the minute we hear it. This is because listening to music pretty much uses almost every aspect of our brain – from the hippocampus to the nervous system, as well as our auditory cortex, among many, many more. Think of it like this – if every part of your brain was hooked up to wires, they would light up an electrical storm the minute you started listening to a song you like. Pretty cool, huh?

What’s even more mesmerizing, though, is that people with severe brain damage can still enjoy listening to music just as much as anyone else. For instance, I met an elderly lady who had such severe dementia that when she talked her words came out all muffled and jumbled. But when she heard one of her favorite Motown songs she immediately started dancing and singing to the song in perfect enunciation. It was mind blowing, to say the least.

Music is pretty powerful, to say the least. Listening to certain kinds of music can even reduce anxiety, improve your mood and lower your blood pressure, among many other things.

Studies have shown that people who play an instrument activated more neuron communication throughout both the right and left sides of the brain, aiding in learning new skills, motor skills, verbal and non-verbal reasoning and even a better memory!

So, the next time you hear that song playing in your head, remember to relish the moment as your brain is most likely in seventh heaven, since it is now able to use every single tool it has up there.

Good times, indeed.

 

 

 

Six Tips for a Sharp Memory

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What our brains lack in size, they make up for in substance. We have a sort of hard drive in that three pound noggin of ours that puts even the most high tech robots to shame. Why? Because our brains are capable of holding the same amount of memory that it takes for the internet operate – 1 million megabytes to be exact. If your mind isn’t blown away yet, wait ‘til you hear this – our brains actually start forming memories when we’re still in the womb!

Needless to say, memory is important, as it helps us lead long and fulfilling lives. So, if you’re wondering how you can make sure your memory is in tip-top shape, check out this handy, little list I put together:

  1. USE IT OR LOSE IT

Like anything else, our brains work better when they’re stimulated. Not using it is like leaving your car in 6 feet of snow all winter, and expecting it to run as good as new afterwards. So, start using that magnificent brain of yours! Get in the habit of doing puzzles. Quiz yourself with some trivia on your favorite hobby. Take a class on the weekends. Forget autocorrect and spell it yourself. Think of your brain like a muscle – the more you use it, the better it works.

  1. WORK THOSE MUSCLES

Speaking of stimulation – exercise! Ride your bike to work. Take that spinning class you’ve always been tempted to join. Go for a walk with your dog. Start taking swimming lessons. Any activity that bolsters your heart to work a little faster ends up pumping more oxygen into your brain. Even better, exercise helps your brain create new neuron connections. Neurons are basically what connects your brain to your body – the messengers, per say. So, hop on that treadmill and give your brain the best you’ve got!

  1. SLEEP LIKE A BABY

Getting a good chunk of zzz’s every night is just as important for adults as it is for kids. Naptime, anyone? Believe it or not, our brains actually work harder when they’re sleeping. They use that down time to clean out all the junk we’ve collected throughout the day. So, treat yourself and go to bed just a little earlier. Fluff up the sheets and relax. You’ll thank me, later.

  1. STAY SOCIAL

Research has shown that our brains can’t survive off loneliness.  We need a daily dose of interaction with other humans to survive. And yes, that includes all the introverts of the world, as well. A study from Harvard found that people who have the busiest social lives also have the best memory. Coincidence? I think not.

  1. DE-STRESS YOUR LIFE

You only live once, so you might as well make it a happy one. Chronic stress is poison for your brain – it literally kills brain cells and wrecks the hippocampus, where memories in the brain are formed. Do some spring cleaning this season, and toss out anything in your life that causes you long term stress. Burnt out from your job? Find a new one. Crying all the time from someone’s unrealistic demands? Give them your best “Hasta la vista, baby!,” Arnold Schwarzenegger impression and get the hell out of there. Believe me, your brain will thank you.

  1. EAT HEALTHY

It sounds simple, but in this day-in-age, when fast food and junk food run a-plenty, eating healthy isn’t always easy. But you know what? It’s worth it. You wouldn’t want to fly on a plane that was low on fuel, so don’t let your brain run on empty, either.
It’s always better to get your nutrients straight from the source, so hit up that local produce stand you’ve been eyeing on the weekends, or start a garden of your own. Who knows? You could just find a new hobby.

CONCLUSION

I don’t know about you guys, but I want to feel just as good at 60 years old, as I did when I was 16. And if getting older has taught me anything, it’s this – take nothing for granted. So, up your self-care rituals up a notch and take care of your body and your brain. Because life, my friends, is meant to be lived to its fullest.