Posted in BEAUTY, Birchbox, BODY, lifestyle, SKINCARE

Birchbox-May 2017

My May Birchbox had some familiar favorites and a surprise.


I’ve received several Coola products in my monthly subscription boxes. They always work great, so I look forward to using this sunscreen/primer. Full-size $42


I’ve used Whish body cream before and it smells luscious, but the sample tubes don’t have enough product to see if it works. This cream is supposed to help stretch marks and scars. Full-size $36


I don’t know why Birchbox keeps sending me hair products I can’t use. Full-size $24


I’m excited about this mascara by The Beauty Crop. Not only is the packaging adorable, but the mascara has argan and jojoba oils in it. Full-size $22


This perfume is described as sophisticated and glamorous with notes of sandalwood and jasmine. I call it heaven. Full-size $105.

Stay blessed,


Posted in BEAUTY, Ipsy, lifestyle, SKINCARE

May 2017 Ipsy Bag

Of course, this month’s Ipsy bag has a  summer theme.



I received a clear plastic bag decorated with ice cream cones and fudgesicles. This will be handy at the pool or beach.


This is a repeat from Ipsy. I got this brush last year and it’s perfect for highlighting. I guess I have a spare now. In fact, I’ve received about four Luxie brushes from Ipsy over the months. No complaints here.


This Manna Kadar bronzer and highlighting duo is another duplicate. I think I gave the other one away, so I’ll use this one. On the right side of the picture is a Hikara cream eyeshadow pigment. These pigments rock. A couple of months ago, I received a gold one and it’s one of the most gorgeous golds I’ve ever owned.  This month’s cream pigment is a metallic coral pink color. Just swipe it on and go.


I haven’t bought a mascara in years, thanks to Ipsy and Birchbox. I usually receive great quality mascaras. If I don’t like one, I toss it and move on the next.


How can you go wrong with coconut oil?

Nice bag, but I can’t wait to see what June brings. It should be good.

Stay blessed,


Posted in BEAUTY, Birchbox, BODY, SKINCARE

Birchbox -April 2017

I’m a little late with this Birchbox review for April but I think it was worth the wait. I received five items in my monthly subscription box and all for $10.



Dr. Jart’s Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream is described as healing and calming for the skin. According to the box, you apply it to your face and let the warmth of your hands help the skin absorb the cream. Full-Size $48


Number 4 Jour D’Automne Sugar Texturizing Spray. This didn’t work well on my hair. But if you like salt texturizing spray, this is supposed to be gentler. Full-Size $22


This is a Michael Todd blue-green algae antibacterial toner. It should be good removing sweat and oil from your face and neck after a good workout. Full-Size $19


Amika hair products work like magic on my hair. This is a blow out spray with seabuckthorn berry.  It leaves my hair looking fabulous. Full-Size $48


My favorite part of my Birchbox is this Beauty Crop GRLPWR lips liquid lipstick.


The color is Imma Bawse.  Kind of a orange-red. I love this because it dries matte and stays on forever. Check out the colors here: The Beauty Crop Full-Size $14.95.

Stay blessed,


Posted in BEAUTY, budget, Sales, SKINCARE

Budget Buys-Natural Face & Body Products at Marshall’s

I noticed that my face has been dry and dull looking lately which means that it’s time for me to switch up my skin care.  As you know, I like bargains so I headed over to Marshall’s and found the following goodies.


Alba Botanical  Hawaiian Facial Cleanser is vegan and paraben-free. It contains pineapple enzymes which not only smell amazing, but they also brighten the skin to keep it from looking dull. There’s also passion-flower, aloe vera, and hibiscus in the cleanser. $7.99 (retail price $10.00)


MyChelle is one of my favorite skin care lines. Normally, I can only afford to buy the travel kits which have sample sizes. Not today. I grabbed two full-size products. Make that the last two full-size products in the store. Pumpkin Renew Cream contains pumpkin seed oil, shea butter, and Vitamin E. Incredible Pumpkin Peel detoxifies the skin and clarifies the pores. This skincare line is vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and paraben-free. I really like the pumpkin smell. I paid $7.99 for each product. They retail for $28.00 a piece. Yeah. I got a bargain.


Continuing with face care, I bought these Body Prescriptions facial wipes. They’re infused with aloe vera and they only cost $2.99. Much cheaper than at a drug or grocery store where face towelettes average $6.00 a package.


I generally avoid natural toothpaste because it doesn’t whiten my teeth. However, Crest White toothpaste has been irritating my mouth, so I decided to try Nature’s Gate whitening gel. So far, it’s gentler on my mouth but we’ll see if it keeps my teeth white. $3.99 (retail $6.00)


For several years, I’ve been using aluminum-free deodorant.  I’m just about out so I decided to try Stinkbug Naturals unscented deodorant. I like the fact that there are only four ingredients: coconut oil, sodium bicarbonate, beeswax, and cornstarch. $3.99 (retails for $6.00)


I picked up this wooden travel brush. It’s by Mystique and the bristles are made from Tourmaline which is gentler on the hair. $3.99 (retails for $8.00)


*Sidenote. I already own this comb, but I wanted to point out the benefits of using a wooden comb versus a plastic one. Click here for details Benefits of wooden combs.


I’ve been looking for a new body scrub. These Somerset scrubs caught my eye. Rosehip smelled so incredible that I forgot to read the label, and unfortunately, the scrub contains wheat. If you’re wheat or gluten sensitive, this scrub may cause issues. So far, I haven’t experienced any problems. This is one of the best smelling and effective scrubs I’ve ever used. $5.99

body shop

I discovered a Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Massage Soap at Marshall’s as well. I just had to buy it because you can’t go wrong with argan oil. $1.99 (retails for around $4.00)


I’ve been eyeing Alaffia’s body wash and skin lotion, waiting for a good sale. Marshall’s delivered. I found 32 oz size containers of Coconut Lime body wash and lotion for $7.99 each. They retail for $15.00 a piece.  Alaffia’s products contain high-quality shea butter, coconut, and other natural ingredients. The company is based in Togo and provides jobs and resources for the community there in Togo.

After I scored at Marshall’s, I stopped by Whole Foods to pick up another Alaffia product which I’ve discussed in past posts.


I use this black soap with shea butter and peppermint for everything. I wash my face and body with it and even clean my bathroom with it. I caught it on sale for $10.00 for a 32 oz bottle. It retails for as much as fifteen bucks. Read more about the company here Alaffia.

I have to say this is the best Marshall’s haul I’ve ever had. I can’t believe I found so many products at such great discounted prices.

Stay blessed,













Posted in BEAUTY, BODY, Health, SKINCARE

Skin & Body Must Haves

I have a list of products that I always keep on hand. Normally, I purchase them online but now I can find them locally at discount places. Marshall’s has really stepped up its natural skin care inventory.sam_1959

I always keep pure tea tree oil on hand. It’s a great antifungal and antibacterial oil which can be used for toe fungus, acne, skin tags and even bad breath.

I was surprised and pleased to find some of my favorite soap brands at Marshall’s at a discounted price. Nubian’s Indian Hemp & Haitian Vetiver soap smells amazing and has crushed hemp seeds to exfoliate the skin. There’s also Neem oil in it which is great for skin disorders.

Speaking of neem soap, I discovered  Auromere Ayurvedic soap and Chandrika. I use these soaps for my face, and I’ve previously only been able to find them online. Now, I can pick them up locally.


I found these Earth Therapeutics gel booties. These socks are lined with a cooling and moisturizing gel. They are simply the most delightful thing you could place on your feet. I bought them at Steinmart for $14. The booties can be hand-washed and worn over and over again.

Stay blessed,





The Magic of Black Soap and more…


It’s not much to look at but African Black Soap is considered a miracle healer. It relieves dry itchy skin, lightens dark spots, improves the appearance of scars, dissolves fine lines, and much more. It’s been wonderful for my sensitive skin. African Black Soap is made in West Africa generally by tribal women. It’s comprised from the bark of plantains, shea trees, palm leaves, and cocoa pods. Palm oil, shea butter oil, and coconut oil are added to the roasted plant barks and you end up with African Black Soap. You can purchase raw black soap (pictured above) on Amazon, Ebay, and some local ethnic stores.

I prefer more refined brands with additional additives like shea butter, aloe vera, and Vitamin E. These are readily available at health food stores and beauty supply stores for generally two to five bucks.


I always keep a bottle of Dr. Woods’ liquid Raw Black Soap with shea butter in my house. It’s  by far the easiest way to use black soap. You can wash your hair, body, and even your dog with this stuff. It’s great for people who are allergic to household cleaning chemicals. I clean my tub with it before I bathe and that has helped my sensitive skin.


The black soap is 99.3% natural and cruelty-free. I buy it online at Vitacost Dr. Woods Black Soap. A 32 fl oz  bottle sells for $10.99.


Recently, I fell in love with Alaffia African Black Soap with shea butter and peppermint. This liquid black soap is creamy and the peppermint makes your skin tingle as you wash. You feel refreshed and invigorated.


The company employs the women of Togo, West Africa and invests in the community. I buy the liquid black soap at Whole Foods usually on sale for ten bucks. This is really a great brand that’s become the heartbeat of the Togo community. To learn more about the company, click here Alaffia.

Here are some of the other soaps I like to use.


Mountain Ocean Skin Coconut Trip soap is a staple in my home. It’s luscious. As you can see, the first ingredients listed on the box are coconut and olive oil. Guaranteed to moisturize dry skin like mine. I purchase this soap at Vitacost Mountain Ocean Coconut Soap. The soap is two for $4.19.

Here’s another coconut soap. This one has oatmeal in it. It feels great on my skin and the Shugar Soapworks company is committed  to the environment.  The soap is made of pure vegetable oil. You’ll never believe where I found this soap. The Dollar Tree. Yes, it costs one dollar. I’ve also purchased Shugar Soapworks soaps at TJ Maxx and Marshalls for around four dollars.You can learn more about the company here Shugar Soapworks.

Beessential Honey and Oat with Peppermint soap. The oatmeal is great for exfoliation while the honey is moisturizing. I picked this soap up at a local boutique, but you can buy it online at Beessential Soap for $5.99. It’s worth every penny.


As the weather turns cooler, my skin gets dry and I have to step up my moisturizing routine. Body butters are a necessity for my skin and I load up on them. I’ve been lucky enough to find one of my favorite brands at Marshalls. The Body Shop Body Butters are often there in fantastic scents. I got an Olive Oil 10.1 oz container for $7.99. The Olive Oil has a delicate scent and is packed with moisturizing power. I also found a Moringa scented body butter. A 6.5 oz container was only $5.99. It’s $21 at The Body Shop. So if you see these body butters at Marshalls, stock up.


I loved the Moringa scent so much that I purchased the matching body wash. It was just $3.99 for an 8.4 oz bottle which is normally $10.00. Such a luxury to bath and moisturize in this lovely scent.

That’s a quick update on some of my favorite soaps and body butters. Of course, I’ll be doing more updates as I try new products out. I’m curious. Do you have any hidden gems that you purchase at Marshalls? I’m always looking for new things to try.

Stay Blessed,







Cleaning & Organizing My Beauty Collection

I own an embarrassing amount of makeup and skin products. Add to that, the new products I receive every month in my subscription boxes and anything I happen to buy in the store, and I end up with a plethora of products piling up and gathering dust.


Lately, I’ve been leaving my Ipsy products in their bags and tossing my Birchbox items wherever they land. No real organization. I end up forgetting what I have and not using the items. The problem gets worse. Take a look at this.




I have several acrylic organizers that are cluttered and filthy.


I should be ashamed of myself. Oil and makeup on this acrylic unit.

Miscellaneous items on top and inside. Let’s peek inside. Since I start my makeup routine with my eyebrows and a coat of lip balm, this top drawer has items I use for eyes and lips. It’s sort of organized. LOL.

These middle drawers hold highlighters, eyeshadows, rarely used lipsticks, and a tube of old BB creme. In the last drawer, I store  several palettes. I love them but some are really old and need to be tossed. The jars that hold my makeup brushes need to be cleaned and so does my lipstick holder.

That’s colored face powder and my hair that’s found its way into the nook and crannies of the organizer. Yuck.

Once again, dirty inside and out. Let’s clean this mess.


The first step is to throw away the old products. I shed some tears over my GO palettes but they had to go. I wiped all of my items off with Lysol antibacterial wipes. Then, I cleaned my acrylic organizers with a vinegar, water, and dishwashing liquid mixture. It worked like magic.


Look at them sparkle. I don’t remember where I bought the top two organizers. They’re decent quality,  but not as good as my two Muji organizers. One is a two-drawer acrylic unit and the other (not pictured here) has five drawers. These organizers costs $28 and up, but they’re well worth the money.

I’ve ordered a new five-drawer Muji to replace the two smaller units with the silver knobs. Here’s a link to the website for Muji.  The five-drawer Muji is on sale for $10 down from $38 until October 16th. I may actually buy a second one since the price is so good.


We’ve got the first three drawers organized. Let’s look inside.


As I previously mentioned, I start my makeup routine with my eyes, so those items go in the top drawer: eyebrow items, a sharpener, razors, and eyeliners.


Next, we have cream eyeshadow, primer, concealer, and mascara.


Highlighters and bronzers in the next drawer. Some of these I’ve never used because I didn’t realize I had them.


The next three drawers are for overflow items.There will be lots more room when my new five-drawer Muji arrives.


Extra sharpeners, sample eyeshadows, and a palette


overflow lipsticks and lipliners


At the bottom of the tower, the two-drawer  Muji unit holds palettes.



I actually really love all of these palettes, but I forget to use them.


Here a few more in the last drawer. I plan to buy more palettes to replace the ones I tossed due to age.


Now let’s move to my five-drawer Muji organizer. These drawers aren’t as deep as the two-drawer unit.


The top drawer holds my Mac lipglasses, liners, a lipbrush, and all things lips go in this drawer.


Individual eyeshadows are stored in the next drawer.


More eyeshadow in the next drawer.



Commonly used blushes are in the next drawer.


My favorite palettes in the bottom drawer.sam_0614

I bought the Skinn palette on Hautelook for around $10. The eyeshadow colors are beautiful and the texture is silky and smooth. I’m going to pick up more of them when they return to Hautelook.



I put my lipstick holder and makeup brushes on top of the Muji unit. I turn my lipsticks upside down so I can see the labels and find the color I want easily. The makeup brushes are held in wide mouth containers you can find anywhere.


The blue glass accents came from The Dollar Tree for a buck a bag. I put them in a collander and washed them with the vinegar, water, and dishwashing liquid mixture.

I get a lot of hair products from Ipsy and Birchbox. I decided to store them in little blue plastic bins that I keep in the bathroom shelving unit along with my other hair products.


I’ll keep a travel sized shampoo and conditioner set in an Ipsy bag, ready to go for a trip or to take to the gym.


Instead of letting face products pile up in a drawer, I decided to put them in the medicine cabinet where I can see them daily as a reminder to use them.


I came across these baskets at the Dollar General . I think I got them for fifty cents a piece.


I hung them on the wall next to my shower, so I can easily reach in and grab a goodie.

Inside one basket, I keep the sample and trial size cleansers, masks, and moisturizers. Inside the second basket, I store shampoo and conditioner samples. It’s all right there in front of me and ready to use.


The top of a wicker chest I have in my bathroom is used for storage.


This wire basket holds my lipglosses and lip treatments that are in tubes.



More lipglosses

I get a lot of sample perfumes, cologne, and oils. I thought it would be a great idea to store them in this candy-apple colored Ipsy bag. I just reach in and grab the scent I want for the day.


I found a neat way to store my facial masks and bathing salts. I put them in a wicker basket so I can see what I have.


Finally, I use this spice rack to store my nail polishes. I purchased it on Amazon for eleven bucks. It looks good and holds loads of nail polishes. Since I get a lot of nail polishes in monthly makeup subscription services, I need a lot of storage. I can fit sixteen nail polishes on each shelf for a total of forty-eight.

I feel really good about my beauty collection now. Everything is where I can see it and use it easily. Best of all, I was able to organize  my items with relatively little expense. Do you have any makeup organizing tips? Please let me know in the comments.

Stay Blessed,