AFFORDABLE, DRUGSTORE SKINCARE ESSENTIALS THAT ACTUALLY WORK – MY EVERYDAY MORNING ROUTINE Y’ALL!

Hi loves!

I have been wanting to share with y’all my tried & true, go-to skincare products that I have been obsessing over these past few months of my pregnancy. & y’all! They do not disappoint. As someone who breaks out more often than most, pregnancy truly does a number on my skin… AKA: It gets real bad, real fast! So, when I find products mid-pregnancy that are not only affordable, & feel like a spa treatment in a bottle BUT actually work, I can’t help but throw on “The Git Up” & do a country girl happy dance.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in:

BIORÉ “BLUE AGAVE + BAKING SODA CLEANSER – $5.64

In the morning, I like to cleanse with Bioré’s “Blue Agave + Baking Soda Cleanser.” Y’all! It is literally UNDER $6. I truly, truly attribute my newfound clear skin to this cleanser. As someone who is super sensitive to Salicylic Acid, I find that this cleanser has a very small trace amount – making it super effective & not at all irritating. Cleanses while exfoliating, & perfect for combo skin types.

NATURAL KONJAC FACIAL SPONGES – $9.99

OKAY! Y’all want the real 411? Forget electronic spin-care cleansers. I, personally, never use one as (1) they are plain ol’ bulky & (2) often costly, & the not-so-expensive ones are simply ineffective. YOU NEED TO STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING, & ORDER THIS SPONGE: “Natural Konjac Facial Sponges.” I buy mine on Amazon. This 4 pack provides you with 2x activated charcoal “sponges” & 2x aloe vera. The “konjac” that these particular sponges are made of, is taken from the “konjac” root, which is a porous vegetable that grows in Asia. They are a SUPER gentle way to exfoliate dead or dry skin during your daily face wash. & so good for ALL skin types!!!

So, I literally apply 1x pump of my Bioré cleanser to my wet Konjac sponge, & use the sponge in place of my hands. & simply rinse with water! MAGIC.

HOT TIP: Let your skin air dry after cleansing! Even if you use a new face towel after each cleansing, it still may contain tiny traces of bacteria! I say ditch it – I have literally been doing this for years & years.

cleen beauty VITAMIN C PAPAYA GLOW SERUM – $9.97

Next, I go in with a vitamin C, papaya GLOW serum from cleen beauty – Walmart y’all… Under $10. I apply 3-4 drops to my freshly cleansed, slightly damp skin in a patting motion focusing on my more pigmented areas). I absolutely live for this serum. It is ultra-lightweight, extremely effective & derm-tested.

KEY INGREDIENTS:

  • VITAMIN C & LICORICE ROOT help to brighten uneven skin tone & reduce the appearance of dark spots
  • PAPAYA ENZYME acts as a natural exfoliator
  • FERULIC ACID is a plant-based antioxidant that helps improve skin’s natural glow

*NO PARABENS, NO PHTHALATES, NO SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES OR DYES, NO MINERAL OIL*

SUPER FRUITS BRIGHTENING CITRUS DAY GEL CREAM – $8.94

Lastly, after that glow-y goodness soaks into my clean & refreshed skin, I go in with my Super Fruits Brightening Citrus Day Gel Cream from Earth to Skin. Another super affordable Walmart purchase. Walmart is my jam y’all. LITERALLY less than $9. Perfect for: Brightening, Radiance Boosting, Illuminating. & the Vitamin C helps SO MUCH with pigmentation. What I love the most? It dries on your skin & feels like air. The most perfect, weightless (non-oily) day cream for under your fave BB/CC cream or foundation or just on bare, au natural skin. Highly, highly recommend! Truly leaves my skin soft, supple & glowing.

HOT TIP: Hydrate & plump your pout with Milani Cosmetics “Rose Butter Lip Mask” – $9.99 [Formulated with Rose Oil, Shea Butter, Cupuacu Butter & Hyaluronic Acid] – I like to apply this first-thing after finishing my skincare routine. & right before I head out of the house, & this product has worked its magic, I’ll apply a bit of lipliner & lipstick or gloss.

What are your fave, go-to drugstore skincare products for your morning routine?! Leave them in the comments below!

Xo, A

THE (NEW and SEASONED MAMA’S) ULTIMATE HOSPITAL BAG ESSENTIALS CHECKLIST

Hi y’all!

So I am sure that y’all have come across your fair share of “Essential Hospital Bag Checklists” on Pinterest. I myself, have too.

Honestly though, when I began to prepare for our second baby gal, Lyla Rae, I found myself scouring Pinterest & the Internet for alllllll the must have, essentials. I even consulted with my gal pals, both personal & on social media.

So, I have curated a list of the most essential, totally necessary weekender bag items for your most beautiful & blessed stay at the hospital/birthing center for the delivery of your babes. I’ve also included photographs of what exactly I will be bringing with me, when I go to deliver little miss LR later this month.

What I find most special & unique about this list (verses the rest), is that it isn’t just my take on what-to-pack. Rather, it has been carefully crafted & constructed by myself & all my mama gal pals!

Enjoy loves!

Be sure to leave your “hospital bag” essentials down below in the comments!

Xo, A

FOR MAMA:

  • “GOING HOME OUTFIT”:
    • If you’re expected to deliver in a warmer season, I personally, would opt for a cotton capri gaucho pant & extra-long t-shirt (bc ya know, you gotta cover up that 100 ft long Maxi you’ll be sportin’! Sssssss’ cute.) I also like to pack a cozy, light zip up or button up. Comfort is key! On the flip side, if you’re expected to deliver during a cooler season, swap out gaucho’s for a sweat pant or loose-fitted legging! Other options include: A light/heavy Juicy tracksuit, a loose-fitted Maxi & loose cotton shorts.
  • NURSING BRAS x2
  • NOT-SO-SNUG, LOOSE-FITTED UNDIES x3
    • I picked up an ultra-affordable pack of 5 (Hanes) from Target!
  • SHOWER FLIP FLOPS
    • PRO TIP: If expected to deliver during a warmer season, wear your shower flops TO the hospital/birthing facility you’re headed to! One less thing to pack & lug around! If you’re facing some not-to-warm weath, (in addition to packing shower flops), wear a pair of closed toe slip-ons to the hospital/birthing facility! Think L.L. Bean mocs & Skechers slip-on sneaks – Both lightweight and ultra-comfy.
  • HAIR BRUSH & TOOTHBRUSH/(TRAVEL-SIZE) TOOTHPASTE/FLOSS
  • HAIR TIE/CLIP
  • CHAPSTICK !!!
    • TRY: MILANI Rose Lip Balm, Rose. Enriched with rose oil, coconut oil & Vitamin D. Also, so cool! pH reacting polymers respond to your unique skin to create a personalized & universally flattering deep rose shade. I found mine here for $8.97! Or Milani’s Rose Lip Mask (HOLY GRAIL)!!!
  • TOILETRIES, & JUST THE ESSENTIALS MAMA!
    • Unless you’re partial, the hospital SHOULD supply you with body wash/shampoo. If you’re concerned, def call & ask!
    • DEF consider packing: Dry shampoo (bc I *can never get myself to shower), (makeup wipes, maybe?), face wash, moisturizer/serum, deodorant.
    • If you’re a glasses-wearer, & want to pop in contacts at any point – bring your contacts & solution.
    • Any/all medications &/or herbal supplements that you need to take, that won’t be administered by the hospital/birthing center.
  • A SMALL MAKEUP CLUTCH, WITH A FEW OF YOUR MAKEUP MUST-HAVES
    • Def nothing over-the-top! Just a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ to make yourself feel good (& bit more like yourself) after delivery!
    • FOR ME: A tinted moisturizer & CC cream (Thrive’s Buildable Blur CC Cream w/ SPF is to die for), a bit of concealer, bronzer, blush & mascara. Just a simple & fresh-faced look.

FOR BABES:

  • CAR SEAT, W/ NECESSARY NEWBORN INSERT(S)
    • PRO TIP: Install the base into your vehicle ahead of time!
  • OUTFIT x2:
    • 1x for a super cute newborn pic and one 1x for “goin’ home”
    • ADDT’L MUST HAVES:
      • 2x short sleeve onesies for under his/her outfit;
      • 1x beanie &/or cute bow (or none, as the hospital/birthing facility SHOULD & most likely will provide you with a newborn beanie);
      • 2x pairs of socks (plus, I like to pack a pair of booties too!); and,
      • 2x pairs of no-scratch mittens; My friend Jess recommended Lou Lou’s & God, she was so right! They are seriously the most amazing quality, & are snug enough to stay on babe’s wrists without being overly tight.
  • 2x SWADDLE BLANKET
  • 2x PACIFIER & PACIFIER CLIP
    • I’ve decided to pack 2x BIBS’ & 2x Ryan & Rose Cutie’s to see which LR prefers!
  • CAR SEAT CANOPY
    • I found mine at TJ Maxx in Oklahoma months ago! I found it online, & have linked it for y’all here! Super affordable – Zulily ($12). It is the sweetest lightweight, lemon-printed soft-cotton blend canopy cover. (If you know, you know! My husband had to talk me out of naming our first daughter, BM, “Lemon” & so instead, I named one of our pups Lemon!)
  • SOMETHING “YELLOW” – My sweet mama offered me this bit. It is said to bring blessings & good luck. I brought a yellow, cotton muslin burp cloth to Brooklyn Meadow’s birth, & will be bringing the same to LR’s!

RANDOM, BUT NECESSARY ITEMS:

  • Wallet – ID/Insurance card/Credit/debit card
  • Phone charger (with an extra-long cord)
    • I found this super affordable, 6-ft long charger for my iPhone on Amazon!

RANDOM, BUT NOT-SO-NECESSARY ITEMS:

“Mama Bird”

There I was. Day old sweatpants, Ralph Lauren exotically-patterned night gown tied in the most casual knot, resting just above my growing belly. Relaxed and barely clinging to my waist, a brown lightweight down parka planted its roots, fanning with each carefree twirl I made. The heat, oppressive, warmed my very soul and through that very air, swirled an aroma of Magnolias and the nearing hope of warmer days.

The sun, shining down, created the most perfect old film effect of my world. Time moved slow during moments like these. B entered my frame, twirling, arms spread wide. Flutters of giggles glided over the birds’ happiest of chirps.

We flew amidst the wildflowers, racing past the trees of grapes, the sweet taste of Spring dancing on our lips.

Forever in my heart wild child. Mama loves you.